Travel

Barramundi Gorge and sunset vibes in NT

23/02/2018

Happy-almost-weekend, people! 😉

We had quite a few sunny days here in Bergen this week, so it definitely works in my favour. Aaaand…I want to give myself a pat on the back, because this will be my third post in a week on le blog, and I couldn’t be more happy about it!

***

Today, I want to share the second part of our day in Kakadu National park – where we went exploring a number of beautiful places. You can catch up with the first part here.

After soaking up the sun and enjoying natural pools in Gunlom Falls, we decided to drive back with several stops along the way. When we were checking places of interest, Barramundi Gorge (Maguk) caught our attention. It was supposed to be another beautiful place with the possibility of taking a dip in its refreshing waters. We took a turn to Maguk on the Kakadu Highway, and enjoyed (:D) 12 kilometres of unsealed road (better known as the grater, haha). At the end of the road, there’s a parking spot and a walking track that leads you to the gorge. We were a bit hesitant about this tour as the rain clouds started rolling over, but we decided to go with the flow. And I’m glad we did! The place was completely empty – we were the only ones there, and it made the experience even more special. The path that we took winds through the tropical savannah, then along the river changing into a rocky track. And of course, there were signs of water safety everywhere and that crocodiles inhabit the area. Yikes! We did not see any (phew), but were annoyed by hundreds of flies (and that is one thing you can’t avoid in the Australian Outback). So when we reached the place, we enjoyed it for a while (did not swim, though) and saw some curious fishes and tiny frogs everywhere. We also got to see our very first and very alive kangaroo! It was such an amazing feeling, because she jumped right in front of us as we were heading back to the car.

    

While driving back, we thought that the clouds that rolled in, will be a nice addition to the sunset – so G. had an idea to find a hill and watch the sunset from there. He spotted a hill near the road, and I knew that nothing  will stop him or change his mind at this moment (I mentioned the fact that there might be snakes, or something, but he just said to watch my step :D). So we rushed to the top just to witness this… Let me tell you – that sunset was so beautiful that it’s imprinted in my mind forever. For those few moments you can stand still and enjoy all the beauty nature has to offer.

I recommend it to everyone!


Love, V.

Travel

Gunlom Falls in Kakadu

21/02/2018

And good evening! Somehow the words for the blog come to me later in the day, so I have to go with it… 😉

Our second day in Kakadu National park started early in the morning – I woke up to cockatoos singing (or rather making very loud noises), grabbed some freshly made coffee (YES!), and did some grocery shopping for the day (in the only store that was in Jabiru). Our breakfast had to be very fancy – while on the go (time saving), and we started moving to our destination – Gunlom waterfalls, which were about 3 hours away. That day we realised the concept of the outback – it is actually only you and the road, as we did not see that many people or tourists on our tour. However, we were very ready for this adventure!

As I remember this was a vanilla rice pudding – very yummy! And we liked the fact that it’s Australian made (and later in the trip we actually looked for this symbol)

  

The whole thing of driving on the other side of the road was tricky for a couple of days (but Giedrius got used to it, of course 😉 ).

Finally, we saw the sign for our upcoming destination (but we still had about an hour driving after that), and then the fun began. This road felt like driving on a grater – so we were moving very slowly, and could not understand how we should drive. We were really careful at first, but frustrated at the same time, because  at the pace we were moving it meant that we will reach the waterfall really really late… Hm, that was not our plan… And then we saw a couple of cars overtaking us much faster – which is the trick of driving on the road like that – and the fun came back! We were making moves and leaving lots of red dust behind us, haha :))

When we arrived, it was boiling hot – around 42 degrees C, so we had to prepare, because to reach the waterfalls and the creek you had to do a little hike first. So we packed at least 3 liters of water (always stay hydrated!), some snacks for the energy, and started adventuring 😀 The hike was not that bad, a bit steep and only a little challenging (all the heat), but we reached the natural pools and were ready to relax and recharge.

For the next several hours we enjoyed the water and stayed in it as much as possible (because if you were outside on the rocks, your feet were burning!) But it was simply incredible to enjoy the nature itself in those natural infinity pools, overlooking the hills and ridges.

But us would not be us if we didn’t try something a bit more – we climbed even higher, so that we could have one pool for ourselves, without people – and that we could take pictures – and the view was amazing!

Near the parking spot, where we left our car, is a camping and picnic area, but sadly we did not have the time to  sit there (but I would not mind coming back!).

Later that day we also visited another spot, and viewed the most amazing sunset ever – but that will come in another blogpost! Are you hooked on Australia yet? Ah…

   

Love, V.

Travel

Australia: going to the land down under!

19/02/2018

Hey!

And happy start of the week. Today I woke up, and had this good feeling all over – the sun was shining since early morning, and I felt like I finally wanted to do something. For myself 😉 So I took a long walk in the city and enjoyed the sun. I also felt a bit of inspiration, so I will hang onto it and start our travel stories this week! Ah, this is exciting! So, are you ready to travel with us a bit…?

***

Sunday, 15th of October, 2017. We were in  Singapore airport, waiting for our overnight flight to Darwin, Australia. And all I can remember is that I couldn’t believe it! In fact, I couldn’t believe it until we were in Darwin airport. The whole flight I was trying to imagine how it will be, how it will look, how it will smell there. I was trying to sleep a little but it was worthless, so I just gazed through the airplane window, watching some storm clouds doing their magic (aka lightning show in the skies). Then we landed, and were greeted with some heavy rains and thunder (very normal for that time of the year – so I did not mind it that much). The experience of going through passport control and customs seemed a bit surreal, and as we were a bit tired I do not remember it that much. But then we went to the rental car counter and were greeted by a bit sleepy, but very friendly aussie guy. He fixed our documents for the car, explained where to pick up the vehicle, and wished us good travels. And then it hit me: WE ARE IN AUSTRALIA! And we will be here for the next 18 days. Way too little for a country that big, but a good start for sure 😉

As we had some plans for the day (we had to reach a town of Jabiru in Kakadu National park and buy some equipment for camping), we started moving. It was still quite early in the morning (around 7 AM), so our first mission was to get a good breakfast and some coffee. Don’t judge us, but all we can find that early was a McDonald’s – and we were pleasantly surprised. The food tasted good, but what impressed us was their coffee. A really good coffee (and this impression stayed with us during the whole trip)! After that we found a supermarket where we bought an inflatable mattress, a pump, a couple of camping chairs, a tent,  pillows, blankets and two cute mugs for less than a 100 $ (Australian $).

All set, we started our journey to Jabiru. If I was being completely honest, the landscape at first was not that impressive – just plains with some bushes on both sides of the road, but everything was new, so we tried to notice as much as possible. Yes, on our first day we managed to see several road trains, a couple of not-so-alive kangaroos by the road, a buffalo without the head (yup, you read that right) also on the side of the road, and lots of cockatoos everywhere!

  We arrived to our hotel (which has a shape of a crocodile – no kidding!) a bit too early, but the receptionist was really nice and said that our room was ready and we can check in. We freshened up, jumped in comfier clothes, and went exploring. We wanted to drive to Jim Jim falls (the most popular tour there probably), but we found out that our 4WD is not a 4WD that we need – the roads there get really challenging, so we should be taking a guided tour instead…which is not happening now, because of the heat. Eh… we were sad for like 5 minutes and decided to book a river tour, which ended up being one of the best experiences for sure!

It is called a Yellow Water cruise, and is one of those “must do” activities while visiting Kakadu. If you are a person who enjoys nature, and likes to observe all kinds of animals, this is surely for you! The guides there are not only informative, but very passionate about their job and lifestyle as well – and that makes you interested the whole time. Oh, and they know when to crack a joke, so you will not be bored, haha. Anyhow, during the cruise I felt as if I was watching a BBC documentary – crocodiles, snakes (we spotted one!), colourful birds, – everything was so beautiful. I just needed the voice of sir David Attenborough in my head (calling out all Planet Earth fans out there!). So to get a glimpse of it, I will leave you with the pictures…

   

I was mostly impressed with this little fella! 

Our day ended in the best possible way – our first sunset in Australia! I can still feel the warmth from that day… All happy, and very very tired we went to our hotel (G. was so tired, he started seeing tall buildings alongside the road – when there clearly weren’t any – and I was concerned at that point, but we got back safely). We went to sleep exhausted, but waiting for the next day – which I will tell you about in the next blog post. So stay tuned!

Love, V.

Travel

Travel bloopers

31/01/2018

As I am preparing the travel stories and posts from our recent trip, I thought I will share some moments that usually go by the name of  “unplanned stuff“. You know, the situations that happen whether you want it or not. Like delayed flights, or forgotten belongings, or whatever little/big things that make your stress levels go through the roof. (Ok, I am exaggerating a bit, but I guess you know the feeling…) But the best thing is that this usually leaves us with some laughs and stories at the end.

***

Our latest trip did have a few “bloopers” of the kind.

So we had three flights in total to get to Singapore. Bergen – Oslo, Oslo – Doha, Doha – Singapore. All this in a span of almost 20-24 hours. The first two flights went quite easy, we watched some movies, had food, some wine (because vacation!) and were really excited for the trip. Then we landed in Doha and had some hours to spare before our last flight – so we went to Duty Free looking for a perfume  (mind it, we were pretty tired as it was midnight already). A bit dizzy from all the smells, we boarded our plane, and were looking forward to a bit of sleep and resting. We had our dinner, G. fell asleep, and I decided to watch some more movies (aka could not sleep, I usually  never sleep on a flight). So I am sitting there, and I watch G. wake up, saying he’s feeling sick and if I could let him go to the bathroom. Immediately, I felt worried and decided to follow him “just in case”. After that there were two very intense movie-like minutes that unraveled right before my eyes. I see G. trying to grab the bathroom door, trying to open it, and even though his eyes are wide open, I  understand that he sees nothing. I am trying to ask what is happening, and right at that moment I see him falling down like a still standing tree. Just like that. Let me tell you, this was one of the scariest moments of my life. I did not know what was happening. I felt sick myself!  Many many thoughts were going on in my head, but thankfully the stewardesses were right there, very helpful and very professional about this situation. It turns out, it was way too little hydration (you are supposed to drink a good amount of water on the flight), a bit of wine, tiredness, and lack of oxygen. So he fainted. Thankfully, he went away from this with a little bruise on his hand and some lessons for future travels.

***

Our second “incident” happened in Australia. We had a rental car that we picked up in Darwin and drove it to Sydney (crossing the country from North to South with a stop at Uluru, Adelaide, then Great Ocean road, Melbourne, and finally Sydney). It was one piece of a road trip, very fun and memorable for sure! On our second week of the trip we arrived to Melbourne just for a short stay (half a day) – to explore the city a bit. We parked our car in a big parking lot (the one with several levels, well lit, etc) in the middle of the city and went out for some sights. When we came back, it was already evening, so we had to get moving to find an overnight spot. After driving for an hour we stopped at a gas station that has spots for campers like us (people who sleep in cars :D). And then we noticed that our licence plate in the back is missing! Did we lose it on the road? Did it get stolen??  Can we drive? Oh man, again, one of the situations that you don’t want to deal with. We reported it to the police over the phone that night, found a rental office that was close to us the next morning, went to the police station to take the report with us, and were set to drive. 😀 Oh, and it was stolen – either as a souvenir, or for whatever reasons… And that happened in the parking lot, in Melbourne. We were very aware of our remaining licence plate for the last part of our trip 😀

***

 

Our last day of the vacation has to be the most eventful one. Like all the best bits of the unplanned stuff happen at once! So we were in Los Angeles, and every time we are here, I feel very good! Not wanting to leave – good. I guess, my thoughts went into the universe 😀 We got the message that our flight got delayed for several hours. Well, ok, that means we have a bit more time here! All happy we went to do some shopping, and drove through a red light (with a rental car…and got a lovely flash from a camera, a big – oops). This meant we could end up with a fine, a big one…(maybe not, hopefully not). Then we got lost in time in the evening, and got stuck in a really bad LA traffic, that kept us on our nerves because we were about to miss our time for the rental car return. Eventually, we made it. 1 minute before the timeframe. 😀 And lastly, G. forgot his bag with some purchases on the transfer bus to the airport. We sorted it out, but I was exhausted at that point to say the least…

 

But what’s an adventure without some spice in it, right? Hehe… wish you all safe travels! 😉

p.s. Have you had any bloopers that happened on your trips?

Love, V.

❤️

Life Personal

Monday mood: as free as the ocean

29/01/2018

Let me ask you:

– are you an ocean child? Do you like to just stand there, with wind in your hair?

What do you like about it the most?

The sound of waves crashing on the shore?

The calm moments when you sit there all alone and try to breathe all the salty air?

The vast horizons?

The endless blues?

Or everything combined together?

I find it very soothing and healing. It’s one of those feelings when you are one with nature. I have a similar one after a good hike – when there’s nothing in your head, only a great respect for our planet, and an understanding of how small we are after all. And there you are – standing there, as free as you can be. Something that a lot (if not all) people seek these days. I seek it these days. Or for more than a year to be sure. I would love to share more (and I will eventually do it), but I do not think I am ready just yet. I just want to say for all the struggling souls out there – hang in, it will get better. And in the meantime – listen and talk to the people, you might be surprised of who is willing to help and understand you.

“Sometimes in the waves of change, we find our true direction.”

-unknown.

 

 

Love. V.

❤️

Food

Matcha Latte

25/01/2018

I bet you have heard of this strange word “matcha” at some point in the past year or so (past 2-3 years to be more accurate).  It has been all over social media – Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. – oh what a time to be alive! 😀 – and it still is. And that’s exactly how I found out about it. I wanted to try it immediately – because I like all things that are on the healthier side, and it looked intriguing.

But the first try was not that great for my taste buds. I found a café in Bergen that served matcha latte (and I think they were the first ones to do that), but it was so intense, that I had to pretend to G. that I like it. 😀 After all, I paid around 3 euros for that cup! Every sip was bittersweet, haha.  However, I did not give up after that failure and decided I should try to make a matcha drink myself. So I ordered a set of matcha tea powder (yes – matcha is finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea leaves) together with a whisk (you would need that for preparation). And let me tell you – a good and tasty matcha latte is only a matter of proportions.

Matcha Latte:

  • 1 or ½ a teaspoon high quality matcha green tea powder(the amount depends solely on you – start with a bit less and see how it tastes)
  • ½ cup hot water
  • ½ cup of dairy free milk (almond, coconut, cashew)
  • 1 teaspoon of honey or maple syrup ( I usually add less than that)

Add the matcha tea powder to a small amount of hot water into your favourite mug and whisk it with a bamboo whisk until it is completely dissolved. If you don’t have a whisk, you can use the back of the spoon to stir and make a paste. After that, add the remaining hot water and if you use the sweetener, add at this point. Prepare your almond milk (or the milk of your choice) as if you would make a latte – warm it up and make a foam with a milk frother, then pour it over the tea. Taste it to see if you need a bit more sweetness and enjoy!

And – if you like the tea, or the latte drink, you will probably enjoy other foods as well, because you can add the powder to smoothies, while baking or making some healthy treats. At the moment I am looking for recipes for the energy bites (or energy bliss balls), and I will let you know how it turns out!

If you want to find out about the benefits of matcha tea, you can read more here. It’s full of antioxidants, it’s good for your heart and your brain, and it gives you energy! I will say – give it a try 😉

Love, V.

❤️

Experiences

Dog sledding in Sjusjøen

16/01/2018

Evening, peeps! As promised, I am writing a post about our amazing dog sledding tour. I mean – how can I not(??), because this was truly a highlight of our little getaway!

I remember thinking of activities for our stay in the cabin, and I had a thought that it would be fun to experience dog sledding in full winter setting. So after some research, I found one company – Sjusjøen Husky Tours– that does exactly that. They say that this is a wonderful activity for everyone, and a unique way to enjoy beautiful Norwegian landscape – and I couldn’t agree more. You can check their website here and find out more about what they have to offer.

We chose a shorter ride – 6 km, that lasts for about 40 minutes, followed with a warm drink and “pinnebrød” snack after the tour. And that was very much appreciated as the cold pinched our cheeks during the ride, haha.

So we came a bit earlier to the place and were greeted with these amazing views! The humidity and mist that rises from the lake (or the river that flows out of it, because the lake is frozen) created this mystical cover of crystals in the air – and it looked really magical! We had some time before our tour, so we just took some pictures of the landscape and petted all the dogs. All dogs are very sociable and enjoy being cuddled, so I was extremely happy about it 😀 !

 

Before the sledding, we were given instructions on how to break, turn, etc., – basically how to steer the sleigh. Also, we could have swapped at half way point, so both of us could enjoy and experience the ride, but I was a bit more comfortable sitting and taking pictures, so Giedrius was in charge the whole way. Along the way we tried to battle the cold, snap some pictures (it was -18 degrees!, your fingers become very numb very quick), and enjoy all the beauty and calmness of the surroundings.

And it was unforgettable! But check it out yourself…

          

It is amazing how nature can heal your soul and take all worrying thoughts that build up in your head. A bit of cold, a lot of snow, interaction with animals – and you are recharged! Well, at least it helped me, and still to this day I can’t forget how fun it was. I hope we will have the opportunity to do it again.

 

Giedrius, and our new friends. You can tell by the hair that it was really COLD, haha.

And as I mentioned, we ended our experience with having some tea/coffee by the fire in a little hut, followed by a bread on  a stick. The tastiest bread I had in quite some time 😀

So if you happen to be in the area, I suggest you do some research and book this tour – I promise you won’t be disappointed 😉

Love, V.

❤️

Food

The Best Banana Bread recipe!

14/01/2018

Well, at least according to me and my friends, who enjoyed it a lot while we were staying in the cabin. I guess, we left the place a bit more happier and with a bit chubbier cheeks 😀 Naaah, we walked a lot, so all the pies aka banana breads don’t count.

And the recipe is so easy you would probably be making one today! So, if you have basic ingredients for baking (flour, eggs, butter, etc.) roll up your sleeves and get to working 😉

Banana Bread:

  • 115 g butter
  • 250 ml suggar (1 cup)
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 3-4 bananas, finely crushed (you know, the ones that already started to ripen, with brown dots on the peel-the best ones!)
  • 375 ml flour (1½ cups)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla (optional)

1.Preheat the oven to 175º C. 2.Cream together butter and sugar. I tried to do it with both room temperature butter, and melted butter – it works fine both ways. Also, if you don’t have butter, you can use coconut oil – it is a nice substitute ( a bit healthier, but also high in calories, just so you know). 3. Add beaten eggs and crushed bananas and combine well. 4. Mix together flour, soda and salt and add to creamed mixture. Add vanilla if you prefer. 5. Mix just until combined (I use a spatula for this – it is a good choice for mixing a batter). 6. Pour into greased and floured loaf pan. 7. And finally – bake at 175 degrees for 55 minutes.

If you like dark chocolate (as obviously I do), you can chop some in small pieces and add to the mixture while you are adding flour. The melted pieces truly add some flavour to the banana bread. Oh, and if you eat it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, you’ll be in heaven for sure 😛

Have a great Sunday, and let me know if you try this!

#SummerBodyInTheMaking

Love, V.

❤️

Life Places to Visit

A snowy start to 2018!

10/01/2018

Hey, guys! How are you?

We literally talked last year!

A little update from my side – G. and I had a cozy Christmas with family in Lithuania (and now it seems it was ages ago!), I was reflecting on my life a lot (still do), managed to delete three blogposts by accident (backup, backup, backup! And it means that now I have to re-write them…not that bad, but I was mad at myself 😀 You live and you learn, haha), but the most exciting part was the end of the year – we were in a cabin with friends, celebrated New Years and had the best time ever.

  

The cabin is located in Sjusjøen, a skiing destination in Norway (30 minute drive with a car from Lillehammer). I don’t know what I was expecting before arriving there, but the location completely blew my mind – a true winter wonderland! The whole time we (I think I can talk for the whole group) felt like children – very happy and enjoying the snow, the cold, and the views every day! In Bergen we experience precipitation in different form, so you bet this was SOMETHING. One morning some of us went out just before sunrise, to capture all the beauty of it. My nose was freezing, and fingers were numb, but who cares!

     

I think the cabin is located in a perfect spot – we had the views of the cross-country skiing tracks, the beautiful landscape, and a bit of the resort itself! Idyllic, if you ask me 😉

So we spent 5 days there, walking and enjoying the nature everyday, eating lots of pies, a bit of skiing for the guys, playing card games, laughing and just … being in the moment. Oh, we also did a dog sledding tour on a frozen lake, but I’ll write another post about it!

     

I was dreaming of a snowy, white New Year celebration, and well, my wish came true! Could not have imagined it any other way. I even let my mind to rest a bit and it was refreshing (and it is one of the goals, or wishes this year – let myself breathe more, overthink less ;)).

Love, V.

❤️

 

 

Travel

The Marina Bay Sands experience

25/11/2017

Hey! Or – hello – whichever you prefer 😉

*I am writing this post for the second time, because I deleted it *by accident*… I usually try to be cautious about these things, but oh well, life happens. And since I forgot what I exactly wrote the last time, I will try to recover as much as possible and probably put some new bits and pieces to this blog.*

Singapore was our first stop of our 5 week journey around the world. Sadly, a bit too short of a stop, but really memorable – not everyday you get to swim in a pool that floats above the city. And that is probably what pops to your mind when you think about the place – the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel with the infinity pool on the top floor! Now I cannot imagine the city without it – like Paris without the Eiffel tower, or New York without the Statue of Liberty. It has become the symbol of it. So when we bought the tickets and started planning our trip (where to stay,what to do, etc.) of course the thought of staying there crossed my mind, but I was like “naaah, too good to be true”. But too good to be true became a reality when G. said that we have to use this opportunity and pamper ourselves a bit, and it was one of the best decisions we made.

After 3 tiring flights and nearly 24 hours of travelling we finally landed in Singapore. We were greeted with a wave of warmth and humidity, and everything I really wanted was getting to the hotel as quick as possible, taking a refreshing shower and relaxing a bit.

We got to our hotel quite easily (with a MRT train – very convenient), and were more than ready to check in. Everything went really smooth and fast, we got upgraded to a bigger room (which has never happened before so I was excited!), chatted and joked a bit with the receptionist, and were pleasantly surprised when we asked if we could fly our drone from the infinity pool area, and they said YES. *p.s. you can check some drone shots on G.’s Instagram*

I remember the moment when we entered the room – the curtains on the windows started to part leaving us with the view of the city. I was in awe! Well, all I can say is that they really know how to make an impression 😉

  

We took some moments and enjoyed the view, I had a quick shower and we were ready for the pool!

  

This pool is really worth the hype, but you have to be aware that there will always be lots of people most of the time – even in the morning, but that did not ruin the experience for us. We rested on the lounge chairs, had a couple of cocktails (I almost fell asleep :D), and as real tourists – took some selfies 😛 You can’t blame us here, the view itself asks to do that, haha.

   

Later that evening we went for a walk, as we wanted to see a tiny bit of Singapore at night.

When we came back, G. was starving, so we had our first ever room service. And what did we order…? A burger, of course 😀

The next day we woke up at 6 AM, as we anticipated to see the pool without that many people, but you probably already guessed that it’s not possible. And, I really wanted to see the sunrise over the bay – so it was worth it, as the sky went from blueish to warm pink tones. The top floor also has some dining spots, as well as an observation deck and some jacuzzis on the other side of the pool. So whatever your preferences are, I am sure you will find a perfect way to spend your day there.

                     

Giedrius, feeling all bubbly 😀

 

After some pool time we were pretty hungry, so we found a spot for a late breakfast. As we did not do a good research, we ended up paying a bit more for a breakfast than we would want to (but there are some other options for cafes and restaurants outside the hotel where you can have it cheaper). The food was delicious, though, so no complaints here, only a tip if you want to save a dollar here and there.

 

The overall experience staying in a hotel was fantastic – from checking in, to enjoying the pool and the views, to later check out and luggage storage if you need that. For us it came in handy, because our flight was later in the evening, and we had almost full day to spare in Singapore.  Our plan was to visit Gardens by the Bay as well, but I will elaborate on that in the next post 😉

I hope you enjoyed this little tour of the hotel, so if a visit to Singapore is in your plans, consider Marina Bay Sands as one of the options. I believe, you won’t be disappointed. Have an amazing evening, and talk to you soon. ;)*

Love, V.

❤️