My first expression of the Philippines was great. And when we came down to the beach at Port Barton the long flight was all forgotten. This place is SO nice! I thought to myself that it was so rare to see such a beautiful location shared with just a few backpackers. I’ve traveled frequently to Thailand and seen every place I love change rapidly, so to get to this place was like time travel. After all, the Philippines have over 7000 islands, that makes up a lot of beautiful beaches and lagoons. Let the Paradise hunt begin!
Along the beach there were a few guesthouses. But to our surprise everyone was full. So there were some people hanging around after all, but the accommodations were limited. In Thailand I never booked ahead, unless I was arriving late at night. Then I would reach for my Lonely Planet guide and call a day in advance. So even though this was unexpected, I liked it! We found one available room at Summer Homes and booked the next night not far away at Elsa’s Place. We decided to just try and juggle between places and see what we liked, if a place didn’t open up we had the rest of Palawan to explore anyway.
The quiet beach with a couple of guesthouses hidden among the trees.
Loved this cozy hut! Tattoos anyone? 😉
When we walked down the beach there were three young locals sitting in the shade. One of the guys approached us with his phone and asked me for a photo. “Sure!”. I was pretty surprised when his two friends walked up to us and posed beside us. I thought I was going to take a photo of them! I want that picture, I’m pretty sure I looked like one big confused question mark. It was fun though! Everyone says hi, the smiles are real. Genuine. And the culture seem very honest and straightforward, I love that!
More of this coming up! Check out the tag Port Barton, for everything I have from this beautiful place.
Finally. Finally. FINALLY! ASIA!
When I ask people; if you could choose any place in the world, where would you go? So many answer places like New York or Paris. Since I was very little I’ve always had this pull towards the Asian countries. I love the culture. And above all, I am a nature junkie. I am always looking for my perfect island, with pristine white beaches, tropical jungles and clear turquoise waters. Thailand has been my second home for a long time and I felt it was time to find something else, the same beautiful nature but without the major crowds.
After flipping through countless images on Pinterest, the choice landed on no other than the Philippines!
We like to travel freestyle. That means nothing planned, no bookings no nada. We purchase the plane tickets and then we map out a couple of destinations we would like to see and go from there. You never know if the place you are going to see is paradise or just the result of good photography and some Photoshop magic. So we keep all possibilities open. We wanted to discover the island Palawan, especially El Nido in the north and a smaller island not far off called Coron.
I asked how to get there in a few backpacker forums and I noticed the name “Port Barton” popping up now and then. The trip to the Philippines was a long ride, we switched planes in Istanbul and were quite stressed about it since our plane departing from Oslo was originally several hours delayed. It was pretty confusing. In one minute the board announced “2 hours delay” in the next second we all of the sudden got “Go to gate”. So we made it. Stayed one night in a shitty room in Manila before we took a small plane over to Puerto Princesa. It’s been so long since I was on a proper trip backpacker style and as a flight attendant it’s my job after all. So it wasn’t until we flew over the dense jungle covering Palawan that I actually realized that this was it. Holiday and 4 glorious weeks of freedom!
At the airport we figured that Port Barton was “only” 4 hours away and at that point a even longer trip to El Nido wasn’t very tempting. So we thought why not! Let’s check it out and stay for a couple of nights. To my surprise the island was a lot less developed than I had imagined, I instantly loved it but I do however wish we had withdrawn some more cash in Manila. Our driver took us to over 3 separate mini banks that were all down. We finally found one that only had the smallest notes available and it made things a little tricky but we managed. We felt like millionaires stuffing our wallets with all of these notes that ironically wasn’t worth much.
The ride through the jungle was bumpy. So bumpy that my fitbit registered 18 thousand steps that day. But once we reached the top of the mountain and saw the beautiful little village down by the sea, it was all forgotten.
More of this beautiful place coming up! <3
In the morning this waited outside our bedroom door as usual. I’ve heard breakfast is sacred in Italy and apparently cappuccino and croissants are normal for breakfast. The stereotypical Italian guy with the loud voice and the wavy hands is starting to make sense now. If this were my regular diet my blood sugar would be off the charts!
Today we visited Pantheon, Vatican city and one of the many Michelangelo museums in town. We ended our evening outside Colosseum but unfortunately the doors were closed for the day.Pantheon
Flowers at the market. Dogs <3
Fancy buildings everywhere.
Just because I happen to like it. Assassins creed vibe!
I am in no way a religious person but I do love architecture and art. And that makes Vatican city a must see. The buildings are incredibly detailed and there isn’t a corner that isn’t endorsed in paintings and baroque ornaments. I choose to leave most of my pictures out of this post, because to be fair they don’t do this place any justice. This just needs to be seen. (but a fish eye lens would sure help..)
Beautiful painted ceilings inside the Vatican.
Anonymous on a field trip, who would have known..
I wish we had more time to explore more of this city but we need to get back to our jobs. This will surely not not be the last time we make time for these short trips. I would love to see the coastal cities that are built into the mountains north of Italy. They look like they belong to a fairy tale and are oh so beautiful! We’ll see next time!
We stopped by Castel Sant Angelo as the sun set and had a pretty cool experience exploring the castle. We didn’t do any tours though, we just walked around and looked at whatever fascinated us.
Tiny guardhouse Inside Castel Sant’Angelo and a creepy zombie looking statue.
A pretty impressive window view of the Vatican.
Not into weapons, but the details on this one is so cool!
On the rooftop we had an amazing view of the city and the Vatican. More of than soon!
We wandered the streets in search of gelato and stumbled across this creepy ass store.
We had our last stop at the Trevi fountain before we jumped into bed, with over 22 thousand steps we were exhausted.
Yesterday I woke up to this!
We stayed at the breakfast buffet untill 11 o’clock, I had 4 cups of coffe and then I just walked around in the neighbourhood. I bought fruit at the market, snapped pictures with my phone and sat around in the park all day before pick up. I feel lucky as hell!
Today my view looks like this.
And I’m currently at a hotell room in Trondheim.
This is what I love about my job. Every single day is different. The surrounding, the people, the workload. The expression “Every day is a new beginning” was a phrase that was hard to graps before, when everything was exactly the same. (And in a very extreme way when you work with autism). But with this job it makes perfect sense and I’m finding it easier to change habits, make progress and have a overall more posetive attitude.
Just two more days to go! Palawan here we come!
Hi! January started with a dead laptop, luckily it was just the charger that was broken and not the computer itself. So I’m working on it.. In the meantime I’m trying to manage this thing with my mobile that is also pretty shitty. It’s so typical that everything expensive fails you when you really really need to save up some cash!
But negativity aside! I’m travelling to Asia again! And it’s been far too long! I’ve always been returning to Thailand for some reason, it has just become my second home. It marks the beginning of a new life, a good one. So going back always gives me the same butterflies I had the very first time the aircraft landed. But I’d hate to become one of those who get stuck at one place every year when I know there is so much more to see and explore. So I decided to go for something close to Thailand but still different. The Philippines!
Originally I had my mind set on Indonesia, but what I didn’t account for is that the rainy season is still not completely over in march. And as Scandinavians in serious need of some vitamin D we really want to make sure that we get the most out of our month. The climate in the Philippines should be pretty similar to Thailand, at least so I’m told. It looks amaaaazing! And with over 7 000 islands we are bound to find a place less affected by tourism. Diving and amazing nature here we come!
As I mentioned earlier my job gives us the opportunity to travel for nothing but small fees, it all came down to what flights were available in the little time frame we had. I was actually a little hesitant to go to Rome with a 7 year old at first. I though maybe Malta or some other sunny location would be a better match for us, but Rome surprised us. There was no problem at all and there is plenty of cool stuff to see that’s engaging for everyone despite of age. I think we walked at least 20 thousand steps per day and we didn’t plan anything. We just picked out some spots from our map and started walking. I’m so glad we just walked around and didn’t just jump into a taxi to get to every location. There’s plenty of quirky stuff that I had never seen if we didn’t take this route.
How amazing is this?!
What is this? This my friend, is Italian parking.
The Palace of Justice, Pretty fancy.And if the battery runs out; there is always gelato!
We tried a bunch of different shops that specialized in ice cream. With diamond decor, walls that looked like chocolate waterfalls and hundreds of flavors to choose from. But at this tiny shop outside the Palace of justice I found, hands down the best ice cream I’ve ever had! I would go back just for the ice cream..
We wandered the streets and stumbled across Piazza del popolo (People square). It has a beautiful viewpoint where you can view the city and walk through the Villa Borgese gardens. We wanted to hire a bike and explore because the garden is huge. But unfortunately we didn’t have enough time.
Obelisk of Rameses II. Finding hieroglyphs and even a pyramid in Rome felt so out of place! Apparently these hieroglyphs where brought from Egypt in 30 BC and there are thirteen of them all around the city. The Egyptian empire and Greece had a big impact on Rome and I love how they all had their very distinct style and culture. The obelisk was originally a pagan symbol dedicated to the sun. I find it funny how they just put a cross on tope like; Nope! If you are interested in more of this, Netflix just released a docuseries based on historical events called “Roman Empire: Regin of Blood“. Check it out!
The Villa Borgese gardens.
Simba Leo, all this will be yours..” haha sorry I could’t resist.
Nedless to say; Beautiful place.
.. do as the Romans do? Well that would be very nice if it weren’t 20 degrees and they were all walking around in the streets with huge winter jackets complaining about the cold. We declared Norwegian summer and walked the streets in T-shirts, haha! Just make sure you bring appropriate clothing if you want to visit Pantheon and all the other beautiful buildings.
After mapping out our must-see destinations we just started walking. There is something to see on every corner and to me, I got more fascinated by the little details and the way the city was buildt rather than the enormous buildings and tourist attractions. I absolutely love the narrow streets and the cozy restaurants on every sidewalk.
For those interested, Column of Marcus Aureliu.
Leo is obsessed with “Cars” I even baked a Lightning McQueen cake for his birthday. So when we stumbled across this Disney shop it was a very pleasant surpise. Disney break!
Cute rooftop terrace <3
Sant’Ambrogio e Carlo al Corso, just a church we stumbled upon that I thought was incredible detailed. I didn’t take any pictures inside because it was so quiet and I didn’t want to disturb anyone. But it would seem like this church was nothing compared to what we were about to see.
Now we’re going to explore that viewpoint in the distance, see yah! 😀
Rome is amazing. I think I had imagined something more modern, with some old buildings here and there. But Rome has old buildings and amazing architecture on every corner. I have hands down never been in a city this rich with history and architecture. Rome is considered the first metropolis of the world and it shows, it’s just really one big beautiful museum.
Haha Leo trying to decide his wish before throwing the coin into the fountain.
We got a awesome room a couple of minutes walk away from the famous Trevi Fountain. The streets are super cosy and narrow. But that didn’t stop the taxi from driving us to the doorstep. It would definitively just been a walking street in Norway, but on the contrary the public transportation in Oslo is very good and it Italy it has not exactly been a priority. The subway looked like it was ripped out of some thriller, but it was a fun experience either way. The lady at Town House Fontana Di Trevi was super nice and helped us circle the best destinations on a big map.
Let the adventure begin!