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27.12.2019

After a few years of wintering in the Spanish province of Cádiz, we finally made our way to the capital city of the same name. According to Wikipedia, Cádiz is one of the oldest, continuously inhabited cities in Western Europe, with origins dating back to the 7th century, BC. It is spectaculary located on a little strip of land that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean, specifically the Bay of Cádiz.

The city's old town is beautiful with plenty of narrow alleys and open plazas where you can wander around. Which is exactly what we did, we just happily wandered around with no specific route in mind. This was just before Christmas so it was quite festive and it was fun to watch the little girl skating in the afternoon sunshine.

Shona



17.12.2019

On my way back from Africa, I had a short stopover in Rome.  It was a warm and sunny Sunday. The city, full of late fall colours and sharply dressed strollers, looked beautiful.

Andrzej



15.12.2019

South Africa. You definitely need time to fully experience this country. Mine was just a short visit, to get a feeling of the place.  No, I didn’t go to Cape Town. No, I didn’t stay in “the giraffe hotel” (on the top of Shona’s bucket list, hahaha). After visiting Durban, I made my way to Lesotho (country number 99 on my list) and then back north, to Johannesburg/Pretoria.

It was a very interesting experience. The country obviously has a lot of issues and challenges but, at least from security point of view, the situation is not as bad as people want you to believe. Of course, you have to be aware of your surroundings all the time and try not to look like lost tourist, with a city map in hand, expensive camera on your shoulder, and a fat wallet in your back pocket, hahaha …

I will definitely try to go back one day.

Andrzej







10.12.2019

“Why do you want to climb Mount Everest?” “Because it's there.” was George Mallory’s famous reply.
Why do you want to go to Mozambique? Hahaha …

I only went to the capital city, Maputo. The north is out of question because of a terrorist treat.
Would I recommend it? I’m not so sure.

Be prepared for all kinds of experiences. From meeting a very helpful border guard (he used his own phone to help me with a necessary hotel reservation), to being robbed (first time for everything) in broad daylight by a police patrol with machine guns in the center of Maputo, and everything in between. If you do go there, be very careful and watch your back…

Andrzej



25.11.2019

Who knows where eSwatini is? Seriously?

From Wiki: “King Mswati III announced on April 19, 2018 that Swaziland would now be known as eSwatini. The name-change was driven by a desire to fully break from the country's colonial past, while ending international confusion between Swaziland and Switzerland, the king said.” Hahaha…

I can see the confusion. The country is as green and as peaceful as Switzerland, but (damn it!) no mountains. Not very touristy though (unlike CH), so be prepared to be on your own.

Andrzej



15.11.2019

Our friends from Canada, Ewa and Peter, came to Spain for vacation. They'd never been to Gibraltar, so I took them for the day. After hiking the Mediterranean Steps, we went (of course) to see the monkeys. I’m an animal-loving person but I was not impressed when a big, angry guy (actually, I’m not sure about the angry monkey gender, maybe it was a girl) jumped on me. Hahaha …I literally had to get a monkey off my back …

Andrzej



25.10.2019

We are back in beautiful Spain. I like the beach, but …a few days in the mountains is always refreshing for me. This time I went to the south-east part of the Sierra Nevada range. After driving to Trevelez, I hiked to the spectacular Laguna Hondera, where I set up a base camp. In the next couple of days I managed to conquer a few of the three-thousanders, with the summit of Alcazaba (3371 m, the third highest mountain of the Sierra Nevada and the fifth in the Iberian Peninsula) as my main accomplishment.

More pictures in Sierra Nevada gallery.

Andrzej



30.09.2019

I’ve just returned from a trip home to Canada. As always, it was a bittersweet experience. Reconnecting with close friends and family was wonderful, especially the time I spent with my parents. As with everything in life though, things have changed and not all for the better. I really noticed that things aren’t quite as rosy as I always imagine them to be. I don’t know if that’s because I’ve been gone long enough that I’ve forgotten what life in Canada is really like, or if things really have changed. According to the people I spoke to, they agree that things have changed. You can see it in the daily interactions with people, that many are not as polite and helpful as Canadians are normally famous for. Having said that, it’s still way nicer to deal with strangers in Canada than in Poland!

All in all it was a great trip, and I really enjoyed going on photo shoots with my parents, and my good friend, Linda. They’re all very patient with me and my camera. It was hard to say goodbye but I missed Andrzej and Felix, and it was time to return to Europe.

Until next time Canada.

Shona





17.08.2019

Running? I’m still doing it (from time to time). Just took a part in very difficult night half-marathon in Kalisz. Lousy time (02h 02min 28sec) was due to insanely hot and muggy weather conditions, and air pollution. Running events in bigger cities (especially in Eastern Europe) don’t make sense. Who wants to exercise while being surrounded by idling cars and other shit …

Also, I recently completed my 50th run with Parkrun (weekly 5k running challenge that happens around the world). Free t-shirt, yay!

Andrzej



10.08.2019

My friend from the local mountaineering club, Janek Mikita, and I went to the Austrian Alps for a long weekend. The main goal of our trip was the Donnerkogel Via Ferrata in the Dachstein Group. The main attraction of that particular route is the famous Sky Ladder, 40-meter long steel-cable ladder over a 700-meter deep gorge.

It was fun…

Andrzej





31.07.2019

In 2016, The “Tsar” of Belarus, Lukashenko, signed a decree allowing foreign tourists to visit few “tourist zones”, without going through a complicated and time-consuming visa procedure. The zones are located along Belarus’s west border and are easily accessible for a day trip from Poland. So, I decided to take advantage of this and signed up for a tour of Grodno with one of the travel agencies in north-east Poland.

Grodno is a centre of Polish culture in Belarus, with a significant number of Poles living in the city and its surroundings. The city has a rich and colourful history and has a number of tourist attractions (Old Grodno Castle being the main one). Of course, you can’t leave Grodno without taking a picture of the impressive statue of the father of communist revolution, Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, hahaha …

Andrzej



25.07.2019

Here we are, another summer in Jelenia Góra, Poland. It’s really amazing, for such a relatively small city, how many interesting cultural events are taking place here. Concerts, exhibitions, and festivals are happening every weekend, many of them free. It’s easy to keep yourself busy and entertained.

Shona



15.05.2019

Finally, I took a ferry to the other side of The Strait of Gibraltar and went to Ceuta, one the two Spanish enclaves in Morocco. When Spain recognized the independence of Morocco in 1956, Ceuta and the other Plazas de Soberanía (Strongholds of sovereignty! Hahaha!) remained under Spanish rule. Spain considers them integral parts of the Spanish state, but Morocco has always disputed this point. Ceuta is a very cosmopolitan city, with a large ethnic Arab-Berber Muslim minority as well as Sephardic Jewish and Hindu minorities.

From Ceuta I crossed the border to Morocco and took a bus to Chefchaouen, known as “The Blue City”. From Wiki: “The beauty of Chefchaouen's mountainous surroundings are enhanced by the contrast of the brightly painted medina (old town). Tourism is also driven by its reputation as the center of the marijuana plantations region in north Morocco”. Hahaha …

The city is a frickin’ tourist trap (picturesque though).

Andrzej





31.03.2019

A few days ago, I took a part in the XXXIII Bahia de Cadiz half-marathon. The weather was much better than last year, when we had strong winds and rain, so the run was much more enjoyable …if you are able to enjoy that sort of thing, hahaha. I managed to finish the race in under 2 hours (01h 57min 30sec) and got an awesome t-shirt. Not too bad for an old fart …hahaha!

Andrzej



20.02.2019

Every visit to Gibraltar is interesting and entertaining. The Rock is such a small but vibrant and ever-changing place. I hiked the Mediterranean Steps again. The trail starts from Jews' Gate on the southern end of the Nature Reserve, at 180m above sea level, and ends at O'Hara's Battery, at 419m. From there, only a short walk gets you to a top Gib attraction – the monkeys!

Originally from the Atlas Mountains and the Rif Mountains of Morocco, the Barbary macaque population in Gibraltar is the only wild monkey population on the European continent (according to Wiki).

Andrzej