nature

Sunset at Kandy Lake, Kandy

The Landscapes of Sri Lanka (II)

Within a mile, the landscapes and views of Sri Lanka change constantly. So does the smell, so does the sound. The waves of mountains, endless oceans and beaches. Buzzing cities of life and chaos.

A new Sri Lanka around every single corner. What’s next?

The sunrise at Ella Rock, the famous mountain around the city of Ella. The strange rock formation at Sigiriya Rock and Pidurangala Rock, located in central Sri Lanka. The roaring city of Kandy, the combination of spiritual life and hard commerce. The silent beaches in the South around Tangalle. The railway system.
Keep on walking, keep on discovering a country of life and beauty – who knows what’s around the next corner. Things might change.


Sunset at Lake Gregory, Nuwara Eliya

The Landscapes of Sri Lanka (I)

The country of Sri Lanka offers a charming combination of a stunning tropical landscape presented by lovely people. A more and more popular destination, but still a silent gem in the south of India.

Sri Lanka. Be ready to be amazed and confused at the same time.

In recent years, Sri Lanka has become more and more popular as a travel destination. After the end of the civil war in 2009, the country can finally be visited without any unnecessary worries. Thankfully, as it offers so much impressions that you’ll easily be overwhelmed. Eight UNESCO World Heritage sites are waiting for you to be discovered, mostly in the cultural north. The ancient city of Anuradhapura. The stunning landscape around Sigiriya Rock and its temple (hint: best viewed from the adjacent Pidurangala Rock). The Old Palace of King Parakramabahu in Polonnaruwa. The impressive Buddha Caves around Dambulla. The list of beautiful cultural heritage is sheer endless.
Continue to visit the colonial history in the South and the Highlands. Visiting British-ish cities like Kandy, Ella, Nuwara Eliya. Discover the buzzing and hectic sound of multi-cultural melting pots. Be prepared to be overwhelmed by the different smells and sounds. Endless beaches around the south coast – villages like Tangalle of Weligama Bay.
And finally: Take your time. Use public transport. Don’t rush, life isn’t fast anyway.


Faroe Islands, Sunset at Gásadalur

The Landscapes of Faroe Islands (II)

The Faroe Islands’ mountainous islands will keep you waiting. And wandering.

Don’t mind returning. Don’t mind waiting. Be patient.

You will probably visit the spots more often; you simply have to. The waterfall of Gásadalur, one of the most beautiful views of the island. The remote village of Saksun with its natural lagoon and old farm houses. Gjógv and its famous natural harbor. The village and fjord of Tjørnuvík. Kvívík, one of the oldest settlements of the islands. The lighthouse of Kallur on the island of Kalsoy – famous due to its appearance as the cover of National Geographic. The extraordinary landscapes of high mountains, sharp cliffs and the rough sea will keep you going. Constantly, through the mist. Waiting for the light to win its endless fight at least for a second.


Faroe Islands, The Falling Lake (Leitisvatn)

The Landscapes of Faroe Islands (I)

The Faroe Islands is sometimes regarded as Europe’s best secret. Hiding in the mist of the North Atlantic Sea, somewhere between Iceland and Scotland.

The Islands of Silence and Weather.

A country of 18 islands, diving away from the waves of the rough sea. Mountains shaped by volcanoes, framing calm and endless fjords and green valleys. Moorlands, mostly – it’s hard to find a single tree. Usually, those landscapes hide themselves in obscure fog banks, keeping their secrets for themselves. Every now and then though, the sun breaks through the clouds, illuminating a ridiculous beautiful landscape. Lakes hurling themselves into the ocean (Sørvágsvatn, one of the most iconic places of the islands). The Waterfall of Gásadalur, a place so remote it was hard to reach before they’ve built a tunnel. The island of Mykines, the home of the famous puffins. Or Tindhólmur, the fantastic islet west of Vágar. Sometimes, you only get the chance to explore its endlessness only for a few moments. Then, the countryside grants a few minutes of ohhh and awe. But mostly, it will only reveal a small amout of itself.

The constantly changing weather seems to be the most dictating element of your trip. In summer, you might experience 21 hours of grayness. Wind cutting your face, water apparently coming from everywhere. All the time it seems to be slightly wet, even while the sun is shining. It’s a confusing experience – especially combined with the smell and sound. The overwhelming silence. The smell of nature, ocean and animals.

The islands’ tentacles will catch you. Adamantly. Thankfully.


Sunrise at the Bavarian Caribbean: Eibsee, Germany

At the base of the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain and close to Garmisch-Partenkirchen lies the world famous Eibsee with its eight smaller islands.

Eibsee. The Caribbean in the Alps.

The crystal clear water makes it stunning to look at. The background with the overwhelming Wettersteingebirge in the South and the beautiful but smaller Ammergauer Alps in the North creates an amazing natural habitat and a pretty popular destination among the people.

One of the hardest moments to do in landscape photography is getting up early to capture the best light possible. The light around sunrise demands getting up in the middle of the night. But that’s also one of the most important things – and when it is achieved, it also becomes the most satisfying thing. Even regardless the outcome. Experiencing the mood and light situations at those spots makes it worth the fight at night, the driving through darkness and the strange feeling wandering around in utter silence at dawn. I’d suggest to do it.


Sunrise over Bled, Slovenia

The Landscapes of Slovenia (II) - Returning to Bled and Triglav National Park

I have not had enough of Slovenia. I need to return to Bled and Triglav National Park. Come back to drive Vršič. One more hike around Bled. Discover those gorges.

You need to come back to Slovenia one day.

Walk through the gorges of Vintgar and Tolmin. Listen to the water. Be amazed by those countless waterfalls hidden in the National Park (and funny enough, somehow easily accessible via the roads 102 / 203 / 206). Wander through the mountains, be magically dragged towards the hidden village of Planina Zajamniki. Hide in the forest and listen to the fog.


Sunrise over Bled, Slovenia

The Landscapes of Slovenia (I) - Bled and the Julian Alps

Recently, the streets led us to Slovenia and the landscape around Bled and the Julian Alps. A country I have never really thought about. How foolish of me.

In the heart of Europe: Start feeling Slovenia.

Indeed you can feel Slovenia. After a couple of days and endless hikes, you finally do understand why the country’s marketing department chose that slogan. Countless ways to discover such a beautiful country. Especially the famous sights around Lake Bled with its church on the island Blejski otok. Every single step offers stunning sceneries. Leave the more crowded area and discover stunning waterfalls in valleys like Vintgar Gorge or Tolmin Gorge. Drive winding roads towards the overwhelming Lake Bohinj. Curse the clouds to allow a peak and the stunningly pittoresque chappel of St.Primoz near Jamník. Explore the mountains around the summit of Mount Triglav in the National Park. Drive Vršič Pass. Fall in love.
Slovenia, I do get it now. I will return.

While we are here: Lago di Fusine.

On your way to Slovenia, be sure to visit the Italian part of the Julian Alps. Some miles before the border, there are two beautiful lakes hiding in front of the majestic mountains of Mt. Mangart. It perfectly prepares yourself about what lies behind the summit. (Or in the Carribean. Depens on where to go.)

To see a more detailed route of the trip around Slovenia, feel free to visit my trips description over at polarsteps.com


Reine, Lofoten, Norway

The Landscapes of Lofoten, Norway

You have to return to those winter landscapes of Lofoten, Norway.

The best advice on Lofoten? Turn around.

If you ever think of leaving Reine, this picturesque fishing village at the end of Lofoten Islands, you will start driving the magical E10. Drive carefully, because your eyes will be in trouble watching the road itself. The scenery will constantly distract and surprise. Check your mirrors. Turn around and drive back where you’ve come from. And enjoy the beaches of Flakstadoya like Skagsanden near Flakstad.

 


Pura Tanah Lot, Bali

The Landscapes of Bali, Indonesia (II)

You might easily get overwhelmed during the first sunset at Bali. During rainy season, just before the storm reaches the island, the light changes. It paints a different world.

Bali. I wish I could listen to those colors.

Instead, I try to capture them. Let them paint a landscape some might never see again. The beaches and landscape around Candidasa. The temples of Tanah Lot with the stunning rock formations. The famous temple of Ulun Danu Bratan, built in the Lake of Bratan, surrounded by mountains. Wait patiently for the people to walk by, let the light and clouds do the magic.
Continue your journey. Open your mind and follow countless paths. Explore, adore, repeat.

 

 


Sunset at Tegalalang, Bali

The Landscapes of Bali, Indonesia

Turn around and start leaving the crowded beaches of Bali. Head towards the back country of the island and discover a totally different landscape.

Explore the rice terraces of Bali, Indonesia. Reimagine the color palatte.

Among the most popular destinations of Bali are the rice terraces of Tegalalang and Jatiluwih. Both are perfect examples of a more rural, more authentic Bali. This cultural landscape belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage. The cooperative water management and farming system known as subaks reflect the omnipresent philosophy of Tri Hita Karana. It draws together the idea of the spiritual mind, the human world and nature. You might want to rest for a while, enjoy the constantly changing light of the scenery and enjoy the aura of the landscape. Its richness of colors, the complexity of the arrangements and the connection to the area are simply overwhelming.

 

Next to the popular rice terrages of Jatiluwih and Tegalalang, you’ll find hundreds of terraces in the other parts of the Island – you might not want to miss the landscape around the village of Pupuan or Karangasem. All of them have a beautiful tiny little detail in common: little shrines of the Goddess Dewi Sri, constantly filled with lovely (and sometimes surprisingly weird) offerings.