Israel, the Trip of the Sunrises. Makhtesh Ramon

Makhtesh Ramon, one of the most amazing geological phenomenon in Israel not many travellers know about.

The big question now, what Makehtesh Ramon is? Maybe I should answer this question with a story…

One morning, more exactly hundreds of millions of years ago, when Negev Desert was covered by the waters of a big ocean, the sun was rising. Maybe it was a sunrise that marked the beginning of the period when the ocean started to retire his waters towards the North, leaving behind a hill shaped formation. Without the protection of the ocean`s waters, the hill found himself at the mercy of nature. Little by little, it was flattened by the repeated slaps of the rain and wind. Soon though, it wasn’t only the rain and wind which were starting to carve the crater. After a while, the Great Rift Valley, which starts from South Lebanon and goes to East Africa, was formed and because of that, rivers changed their courses. Two rivers started to flow in the Negev washing out the softer layers of the crater. The crater started to deepen being surrounded by vertical walls made out of harder rocks. By the time that those rivers dried out a 40km long and 8km width crater in shape of a heart was left behind.

Israel, the Trip of the Sunrises. Makhtesh Ramon

The Trip of the Sunrises. Israel, Wadi Arugot

Wadi Arugot, or what to do in Israel when you have less than 24 hours till your flight back

Who would have ever imagined that in less that 24 hours I was able to do so many things in Israel? Definitely not me. Especially because when I woke up that morning around 6 AM I was still in Eilat and by 9 PM I was supposed to be back to Tel Aviv to catch my flight.

The initial plan was that on the way back to Tel Aviv to visit the ruins of Avdat Fortress which caught my eye when I was heading to Mitzpe Ramon. On the other side, somehow I was not that keen on going there. The wadies around the Dead Sea were still lighting up my imagination. I knew that there were more wadies/ nahals worth exploring than Wadi Dragot and Wadi David and especially Wadi Arugot was lingering in my mind. So, I had to return to the Dead Sea, I just had to explore Wadi Arugot also.

The Trip of the Sunrises. Israel, Wadi Arugot

The Trip of the Sunrises. Israel, En Gedi, Wadi David

The fascinating world of En Gedi Nature Reserve, Wadi David

My beloved is unto me a cluster of henna blossoms From the vineyards of En Gedi“ Song of Songs

6 AM and I was staying in front of my hut at Metzoke Dragot Hostel watching how the haze above the Dead Sea was starting to glow when the sun was rising from behind the Moab Mountains in Jordan.

It was the beginning of a new day and while the sun was becoming more bright I was thinking how interesting the path of my life was until that moment. Probably it was one of those moments in which I was trying to find an answer to “the meaning of life “ question. Considering where I was there was nothing strange about it, for millennia people were coming here in search of themselves and to find answers.

The Trip of the Sunrises. Israel, En Gedi, Wadi David

The Trip of the Sunrises. Israel, Wadi Dragot

Wadi Dragot, probably the most challenging and spectacular canyon in the Judean Desert

Away from a bustling and never sleeping Tel Aviv and from the prayers rising to the sky from the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, deep in the Judean Desert, winding its way towards The Dead Sea, lies the most scenic and challenging canyon in Israel, Wadi Dragot or Wadi Darga. Nature was particularly generous with the deserts of Israel because for millennia was continuously carving deep hidden valleys, where rapid waterfalls were creating natural pools and high dry falls. Life was thriving in those places and even now a very rich flora and fauna can be found despite the dryness around.  Amazingly, this magnificent place is lesser known to travellers since most of Israel tourism is a religious one and not too many dare to search thoroughly the desert. Although lesser known to the foreign tourist seems to be popular among Israelis in search for some adrenaline rush because this particular trail is difficult and spectacular at the same time. I can’t say I knew about it either, but somehow, the choices I made during this trip took me right in the vicinity of this astonishing place.

The Trip of the Sunrises. Israel, Wadi Dragot

Roque Nublo, The Clouded Rock of Gran Canaria

Roque Nublo, the pillar of heaven and the most iconic landmark of Gran Canaria

 

The tallest standing rock, 80m, Roque Nublo defies gravity, seeming that it needs just a push to fall in one of the steep valleys around it. Probably one day it will. But till then, it will continue to guard over the island. Same as its brother Roque Bentayga, it is a volcanic plug made of basalt, a reminiscence of Caldera de Tejeda. It is the world biggest natural crags of volcanic origin and it stands at 1813m altitude.  After its conception, the forces of nature were constantly shaping and chiselling it for millions of years. The volcanic activity that gave birth to Roque Nublo happened 4,5 million years ago. Durig this period it was carved out from the bulk of the Island by the skilled hands of forces of nature while it was looking at this brother in pain Pico del Teide on the neighbouring Tenerife Island.

Roque Nublo, The Clouded Rock of Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria Island, probably one of the most spectacular Canary Islands

Another day, anther epic road on this stunning island

My second day on Gran Canaria Island begins early in the morning while sipping my coffee on the terrace. Our small casita rural was placed in Barranco Saint Bartolome the Tirajana 7 km from Maspalomas. It was rented with Airbnb and by far the best choice. I liked it more than a 4 stars hotel. Cosy and surrounded by silence gave me the perfect environment to enjoy my morning coffee. The air was crisp and I was drinking my coffee while Carlos Mendes the cat was still trying to jump on my lap. Since I did not want to accept downloading fleas from him I tried to ignore his cute glance that was following my moves. Somewhere, in the distance, a parrot was annoyingly trying to show that he can sing. I bet none told him that he should stick to his day job. Every sip of coffee was sending waves of heat through my body. I was waking up little by little. There was no wifi, therefore, I was disconnected from the rest of the world. The cup of coffee and I were sharing a moment…It was divine!

It was the second day and after doing the exploring in the first day we were thinking to hit the beach. The pleasures of the ocean were one of the reasons I came here in the middle of Winter after all.

The search for the less windy beach that day took us to the North of Gran Canaria Island, to Puerto de las Nieves.

Gran Canaria Island, probably one of the most spectacular Canary Islands

Epic trail. Masca Gorge, Tenerife Island

Rough, spectacular, wild…only a few attributes of this exhilarating  Pirates trail

I did some travelling since my visit to Tenerife and although I saw some beautiful places, Tenerife remains one of my favourite places. Sure, Portugal is also running for this place but Tenerife and Portugal are two different experiences…

There were many things which made me adore Tenerife but this time I will talk about the most spectacular trail I EVER DONE, Masca Gorge.

Masca Gorge is part of Teno Rural Park placed on the west of the island. It is one of the most sensational parts of the islands and if you happen to land at Tenerife Sur airport during the day you cant miss it. When approached  by car is not less spectacular, the road is winding through some scenic landscape. Indulge yourself with some adrenalin by crossing the park taking the road from Santiago del Teide to Buenavista del Nte. It will be worth it. If you add some fog , wind and twilight the fun is guaranteed. Proceed with cautious, though. The road is appealingly beautiful but none the less dangerous.

Epic trail. Masca Gorge, Tenerife Island

Lefkada again. Greece on the road.

Lefkada, a unique beauty with mesmerising blue waters washing its shores

It was those incredible blue waters that made me return to Lefkada. I could not stay away nor miss it. I could not have a road trip through Greece without going to Lefkada. I just couldn`t.

I left Corfu with no regrets. Two days are not enough for an island to visit, but it was enough for me. In my mind, I could already see myself wandering on the west coast Lefkada. From Igoumenitsa where the ferry left us after crossing the sea we took, the road E55. 135 km road to Lefkada is passing through some scenic landscape. Lefkada is an island connected to the mainland by a mobile bridge so it does not involve crossing the sea with a ferry. Be aware, thou, after you cross the mobile bridge you might encounter the “greeting committee“. This “greeting committee“ has the sole purpose to collect money for the budget so you might find yourself being fined without knowing why. Don`t worry they will find a reason. I am saying this because we had  the “pleasure “ of meeting this committee and our contribution to the budget was 40 euros.  The irony of the situation was that they accused Crina of speeding when she definitely was not. Don`t get me wrong, she is far from being a saint, speeding is her middle name. But that particularly moment she was not speeding at all.

Lefkada again. Greece on the road.

Greece on the Road. Parga

“There is a path in my garden which leads to my hidden place.
There is a place in my garden which is my secret space.
There is a space in my garden which is my little Heaven..Parga, Greece“  The Lonely Traveler

Parga…Parga, it is indeed my little piece of heaven…But wait…I forgot an essential thing.,What the hell is Parga!? I know. There aren`t may of you who know what Parga is so I should clarify this mystery.

Parga is a small town on the north-west coast of Greece in the region of Epirus. It is famous for its scenic beauty and the architectural style has French and Venetian influences. It was the only free village under the Ottoman Occupation and they fought along with the Venetians from Corfu Island against the Turks.

Greece on the Road. Parga

Greece. On the road series

Crossing Greece from Kavala on the East coast to Parga on the West coast. 495 km on Egnatia Odos Highway through mountainous regions of  Thrace and Epirus

Greece! YES!!! This time was going to happen and I could not wait to be again on the road. Packed as always more than I need it and we hit the road…If in Montenegro were three of us, this time, it was just Crina and I. Me as always being in charge of the navigation.

From Bucharest to Kavala are 569 km and to get there we had to cross Bulgaria where I discovered that besides navigation I had to do some camera spotting and traffic police spotting too in order to avoid getting any fine for speeding. This spotting business kept me alert and I did not realise when we crossed the border with  Greece at Makaza.

Greece. On the road series