Travel

A month in the Pacific

22/07/2019

We returned home from our month long adventure somewhat two months ago, and the memories are still lingering in my head. And I am pretty sure that they will be for the rest of my life!

The recent trip to Hawaii and French Polynesia was like a dream come true, so I want to document it and share it with you – maybe you will find it helpful when you are planning your own dream destination getaway.

In this blog post I will share some details about the whole trip: where we bought the tickets, what islands did we visit, and overall experience – and later on I will elaborate on every single one of them. So without further ado, let’s start, shall we?

Flight Tickets to South Pacific

Our initial travel plans were a bit different for this year (but that is another blog post), and when those didn’t turn out, we started brainstorming other possibilities  and destinations. It was one evening, that I was scrolling through Facebook and my eye caught a deal for relatively cheap tickets to French Polynesia (including a stopover in San Francisco and a week in Hawaii). It sounded something like this: “California + Hawaii + French Polynesia hopper from Stockholm! Visit San Francisco, Honolulu, Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Maupiti, Raiatea and Huahine!” Something clicked in my head, I showed the deal to my husband and long story short – we were buying the tickets to one of our dream destinations!

The offer came up on the page Fly4Free – and I have actually seen this deal still floating around! Some of the flights differ slightly, because there is a low cost carrier French Bee flying from France with stopover in San Francisco, but it might turn out even better now (keep those eyes open!).

Travel Itinerary

Our itinerary for the trip was as follows:

  • Travel dates: 25.04.2019 – 23.05.2019 (It turned out great for French Polynesia, as it was a so called “shoulder month”, with lower prices and less people than it would be during high season)
  • Flights:

04.25: Bergen (BGO) – Copenhagen (CPH) – San Francisco (SFO) – SAS

04.27: San Francisco (SFO) – Honolulu (HNL) – Hawaiian Airlines 

05.04: Honolulu (HNL) – Papeete (PPT) – Hawaiian Airlines

05.05: Papeete (PPT) – Moorea (MOZ) – Air Tahiti

05.08: Moorea (MOZ) – Bora Bora (BOB) – Air Tahiti

05.12: Bora Bora (BOB) – Maupiti (MAU) – Air Tahiti 

05.17: Maupiti (MAU) – Raiatea (RFP) – Air Tahiti

05.18: Raiatea (RFP) – Huahine (HUH) – Air Tahiti

05.21: Huahine (HUH) – Papeete (PPT) – Air Tahiti

05.21: Papeete (PPT) – San Francisco (SFO) – United

05.22: San Francisco (SFO) – Copenhagen (CPH) – Bergen (BGO) – SAS

Islands Visited

During this trip we got to be both in North and South Pacific – sounds very cool when I put it that way! 😉 And…it actually is. It is a very strange and amazing  feeling when you start thinking that you are somewhere in the middle of the Pacific ocean, on a small piece of land, that is surrounded by water! Highly recommended to experience this at least once in your lifetime.

First stop before the islands: San Francisco, USA

Aaah, our beloved San Francisco! It always gives us good feelings at it is always nice to come back. So we were more than happy to have it in our itinerary and to start our trip here.

Hawaii Islands: Oahu, Hawaii

We have visited Oahu before, but we felt that we wanted to come back. Hawaii is always a good idea, right? From sunset chasing, to spotting some wildlife (hello, turtles!), to hiking some of the most picturesque mountains, to acai-bowl tasting and more… It has it all!

The Islands of Tahiti: 1. Tahiti

The first, and biggest island, which we got to see only a little glimpse of. It was our pit stop before the further island hopping. But it looked lush, wild and beautiful anyway!

2. Moorea

The first island that gave us that very first impression of French Polynesia – beautiful turquoise waters, palm trees, rugged mountains covered in lush jungle – it had everything! And before you ask – I think “lush” will be the key word for the description of this island.

3. Bora Bora 

We came for the experience, and it definitely delivered! The lagoon is as beautiful as it gets, and staying in an overwater bungalow, facing the famous Mt. Otemanu, is one of those lifetime experiences  that you have to add to your bucket list. Trust me on this. 😉

4. Maupiti

Called Bora Bora’s discreet little sister, this island is worth the visit 110%. Without the fuss of the resorts , with only family-run pensions, this little charmer will steal your heart away.

5. Raiatea

Second largest island after Tahiti, it is the cultural, religious and historic centre of the Society Islands. Also, home to one of the rarest flowers in the world!

6. Huahine

This was the perfect island to end our trip, as it is effortlessly Polynesian, very calm, and very much in tune with nature.  Also, the name Huahine  would draw its name from hua, sex/gender and hine, woman. It is said that this name would refer to a pregnant woman – as the shape of the island resembles a lying woman with a belly.

 

Overall experience

(and what we could have done differently)

There are no words to express how we really felt. I wanted to pinch myself before the trip, during the trip, and after the trip! I feel incredibly grateful for these opportunities, I am happy that we love travel this much, and that this love lead us to yet another bucket list destination. As you can imagine, the overall experience was truly one for the books – I have never seen water so blue and so clear anywhere else, I loved the culture and the food there – and the people, of course!, and underwater life is simply captivating! I want to go back one day, for sure – just to explore the less visited coral islands (or the atolls, in other words).

However, there are always things to learn after each trip, and this time it was getting ourselves educated about each and every island before buying the tickets. I am sorry to say, but there was one island – Raiatea in this case, that we could have skipped and spent more days elsewhere. It does not have beaches, or turquoise lagoons as other islands have, mostly mountains – and if you want to go on a hike, you have to find a guide to go with you. That, sometimes, could be a task on its own. And overall, the island is best suited for the ones sailing with yachts – this way you can experience the island better. That being said, it is still a beautiful island, you just have to know what expectations you have before the trip.

Love, V.

♥️

 

 

Travel

Our trip to BALI – GILI – LOMBOK – video

23/03/2019

Hey you, guys! 

First of all, I have to address the elephant in the room: I am so so bad in this blogging game. A schedule of a blogpost every  3 months or so is not what it should be. I am on my way to improvement, though, but I leave this topic for the near future.

Today I have a video from our BALI / GILI / LOMBOK trip back in 2018 – it’s a highlight reel, and truly a one to remember! Let me be honest with you – I, myself, have watched it at least 10 times 😄, but it simply brings so many good feelings!

It was my husband that put time and effort into it (and I had my 2 cents on some parts), so I say a big thanks to him (ok, and a kiss, haha).

I hope you will enjoy it as much as we do, and if there are any questions about the trip – feel free to leave them in the comments 😉

Talk to you soon!

Love, V.

♥️

 

 

Travel

Autumn Trip to New York City

25/11/2018

Hey, and happy Sunday!

Well, this was a break I was not intending to take, but first things first – I will try to update you on what happened in the past two weeks (and a bit, since I posted on 7th of November last time, oops!).

We (aka my husband and I) had a trip to New York city – and it was a much needed break! It probably looks that it’s all we do most of the time, because I love to share our travel moments on Instagram, but it’s not (yet 😀 – just throwing it out there, Universe – to travel and work as a photographer full time is my goal). So we had a week of an intense “go, go, go” style vacation, with lots of sightseeing and active days, and once we got home we got sick. Both of us! A nasty cold + bad cough (I haven’t coughed like this before in my life) all the way. “Keep calm, and take it slow” kind of week, which, I can see now, we needed. We are getting better – finally – and I can sit and prepare a blog post for you!

So… New York! The Big Apple. A city, that never sleeps! Should I go on? It is as exciting as it sounds! This wasn’t our first time there, but it was a very special one. Because, I always wanted to visit it in autumn and… I have won this trip! How crazy is that???

So here’s a little backstory for you: I decided to participate in a summer contest on Instagram, for Instax Norge, showing off my best summer moment, and well, they decided that the picture is worth it! I got the news a week before my 30 th birthday (which was in August), and to say that I was happy probably would be an understatement. I was ecstatic – I read the email several times, checked their page, asked G. to read the email for me –  I simply couldn’t believe it, haha. But it was true! What I got was a gift card for flights and a hotel (everything else was on us), and even though we travel a lot and you think this is normal for me, I appreciated this more than you can imagine.  So after doing all the official stuff, I had to choose a travel company to take care of my trip. I decided to go with TravelBird, because they had a few nice deals for New York trips, but little did I know that this will cause a lot of headache for me and the company (Instax Norge) that I got the gift from. Our first trip was cancelled, because TravelBird claimed they have issues with partners, and we had to choose something else with them. After organising the second trip (while stressing at work on how to plan travel days), I hoped everything will be ok, but then they went broke. A week and a half before our initial travel date. Not so fun, right? But in all this mess I got the help and support from Instax Norge, and I can’t stress enough how grateful I am for all their help and amazing customer service! They went above and beyond to make sure that my trip would happen (even though they probably did not have to), and I say the biggest THANK YOU! to their team.I should add, that our ”adventures” and luck on getting to New York weren’t  the best this time – we had some flight changes that added time to our travel day, and some other issues that occurred. Talk about a flight from Bergen to Amsterdam arriving late, where we had to catch our connecting flight to Minneapolis with only a couple of minutes to spare. We were running through the airport like two working horses, gasping for air – and reaching the gates just moments before they were closed. Then the flight to Minneapolis (yup, our connection before going to New York), was one of the most turbulent ones I have ever experienced. And finally, the customs in the US took really long, keeping us worried if we will make our connecting flight (again!). We did make it, thankfully, and I just wanted to share this with you, because it’s not all fluffs and flowers most of the time. As everyone, we experience good and bad days, but it just teaches us something new every time, and makes appreciate things as they are.

I feel you know all the details now, so we can continue to our New York trip!

We arrived to the city very late, somewhat after midnight, collected our bags and called an Uber to get to our hotel. In other circumstances we would have used the subway as it is a pretty convenient (and cheap!) way to commute, but it was late, we were tired and I did not want to worry about our safety at night. After one of the most expensive taxi/Uber rides in my life (can you hear that ca-ching sound of 75$ going out of your account?), we were in our hotel! I was longing for a comfy bed and hotel pillows (I love to stack them!), a good shower and just some rest. I think I was out the minute I put my head on the pillow 😀

Because of the jet lag, we woke up pretty early and decided to go out and explore New York without a plan. Just do some walking, while enjoying the sunshine and experiencing  overall feeling of the city. We were staying in downtown Manhattan, very close to Wall street, so the first thing we visited was 9/11 memorial with One World Trade center right beside it. One of the most powerful monuments out there(IMHO), and one that still gives you mixed feelings – but definitely worth a visit!

After that we went for a stroll along the Hudson river – to the Battery Park. This is one of my favourite places in the city! Clean and beautiful area, with views to New Jersey and a Statue of Liberty in sight. As we were really early – around 9 AM on a Saturday morning, there weren’t that many people around, and I liked it a lot!

  The old and the new. This church and skyscrapers around it – what a view!

As we walked in “our” area a bit, we decided to go further – so we continued along the Broadway street and decided to visit neighbourhoods as we go. A snap from SoHo – I think it was an opening of a store, or something similar, and they had this balloon display outside, so of course I had to take a picture there! SoHo itself is very beautiful, and all those upscale boutiques attract lots of people. For us, it was only window shopping, but it was enough 😀

Ah, Washington Square Park – another one of my favorites! Those who saw the movie “August Rush”, will know what I am talking about. Lots of street artists like to perform there (and it is nice if you support them!), and it has a very good vibe after all. Nice to sit there with a cup of coffee, relax after some walking, and enjoy the atmosphere.

The picture below shows you one of the most Instagrammed streets in NYC- Stuyvesant St. We also noticed it while looking for places to visit – and were pleasantly surprised. It is also one of the oldest streets in New York, and I have to add that one of the hardest to spell and remember 😀

 

This townhouse in West Village was definitely my kind of townhouse. Can I please live here? Thank you very much. I also love how they put thought and effort in decorating their entrances! (I scrolled through images on Instagram for Halloween decorations – so this pumpkin display is nothing!)

 

Right about here, we had already made about 20 000 steps (or even a bit more),  but we were still going strong. We decided we will go to Central Park at this point, because we were full of energy and wanted to see as much as possible! So here are some snippets of Bryant Park, 5th Avenue, and the beautiful St. Patrick’s Cathedral! On 5th Avenue we finally experienced the crowds of people you expect to see in New York. You just have to be sure keep up with the pace! After some time we started doing as the locals – while waiting for traffic lights to turn green, we weren’t looking at the one that was in front of us, but rather the one that was on for ongoing traffic.

Bryant Park

St. Patrick’s Cathedral – I really like this kind of contrast! I think this is what makes the city special. One of the days we went inside – and it is as stunning  inside as it is outside.

Finally, we made it to Central Park. What a beauty it is! With such a big area, there’s a lot to see – and one of the days we spent most of our time there – but it was so nice to visit it on our first day as well. At the end of the day, we had 42 930 steps in our pockets – that is quite a number even for us! But we were very happy and full of good emotions!

Until next time, hope you enjoyed this little recap!

Love, V.

♥️

Photography Travel

We Were Counting Stars

07/11/2018

One of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life? The night sky over Uluru – I think it goes to the top of my list! This place is so remote and so far from all the  light pollution, that you will be able to see, literally – a sky full of stars.

I remember the first nights we were camping in our car – we could see star constellations so clearly, we were in awe! So when we came to Uluru, we also wanted to go stargazing. We could’ve done a tour (because there are many of them) – but we just wanted to have that moment for ourselves.

First evening we found a spot outside our camping place. We stopped on the side of the road and walked up a hill (leading our way with a flashlight,  because we were a bit afraid to meet some creatures out in the desert(em…snakes), but all we saw was a lizard and a mouse-phew :D). There were some more people on the hill, aka the night-sky-enthusiasts/stargazers-community :D, so we stood there and tried to capture the beauty of it. Let me explain a bit –  I am not that great in doing night photography, but I am happy we have some memories from there! It is a good feeling and also a bit strange, when you stand there with your head tilted back, eyes wide open,  trying to figure out what is going on there and where does it end… if it does. (?) Makes you wonder, right?

The second night we decided to go into the park, in one of the sunrise watching spots. We wanted to get a shot of Uluru with the Milky Way above it – I only have a picture of the Milky Way, which is the one you see below 😉 In this place we were completely alone – and as much as it seems romantic, I felt a bit uneasy, haha 😀 Giedrius, on the other hand, was very excited – he loved it there. But I heard the wild dogs (dingoes) barking somewhere a bit further and it is better to keep away from them, especially at night. Despite this, we managed to gaze upon the stars – and even if the pictures can’t show it properly – it was so beautiful!

I do like to think in these moments, that ”it’s all written in the stars”.

We ended our evening in the local pub in our resort/camping place – with some pizza (why does it taste so much better outside???), and some red wine – to toast the day, and it was the best! These are the moments I live for.

I think this will be the last post about Australia for now – I will do a little break, as some other posts are coming, but I will keep you updated. I found so much love for my blog again, and I want to do  some changes – but that is for the future. Talk to you soon!

Love, V.

♥️

 

Travel

Sunrise Magic

05/11/2018

Good morning, guys!

Today, more than ever, I miss this beautiful sunrise! I have always told you that I am up for some sunset chasing, but sunrises are also my “jam“, haha. And the ones we got to experience in Australia, were really special. While in Uluru, we had to wake up really early every morning (5:20 AM or so) to go to a sunrise spot  – and wait for this magic to happen 😉

By the way, the mornings are pretty chilly in the dessert, so be prepared for the occasion – I had a jacket, but somehow decided that shorts are enough to cover my legs. Well, it was not 😀

However, it was so beautiful that I didn’t even care if it was chilly or not. We were standing there, looking at Uluru, and waiting for the first rays of sun to come up – and as at sunset, it was also changing colours – but in a different order. At dawn, it is still pretty much grey-ish, but just wait for that sun to come through – the mountain comes to life – simply beautiful. You can see the transformation in the pictures down below!

 

We didn’t want to leave yet after the sun came up – we wanted to enjoy a bit more of  this crisp golden hour. We walked in the area, while sun rays were kissing our cheeks and enjoyed the calmness of the morning. As there were many people who came to see the view, not all of them stayed afterwards – so that was a big plus! Some quiet moments just for ourselves –  a great way to start the day. I always feel very happy and energetic if I get to experience this.

 

The perfect moment.  

Until next time!

Love, V.

♥️