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A summer I won’t forget easily: ‘the summer of 2014′! A beautiful summer. Wasn’t able to update my blog, because of all my travels so far . But, I’m back in business and this is what I did (Just leave when it’s getting too much, I’m aware of the size :p)!
As early as 18 juni my travels and therefor summer started. I took the train from Nanjing (where I studied for half a year) all the way trough China in 3 beautiful weeks. I already posted a lot about this, so I won’t repeat that here. Speaking a bit of the language in combination with traveling 4500 km all by yourself, was a unique experience!
After 3 weeks of China, I arrived in Hong Kong. In my eyes just a cool and westernised piece of China. No buying food at local markets here any longer, but Hilfiger shoes in big malls; no Baozi at the street stalls, but luxery dining in the fancy Dim Sum restaurants etc. Florian came here as well to meet me and together we stayed here for about a week. During this time we went to Macau as well, which is another Special Automonous Region in China. Here we stayed in the largest hotel in the world; the Venetian Macau!
After this ‘Urban Jungle’, it was time for the realll jungle: Borneo!! It’s always been a dream: Borneo’s pristine deep jungle. Unfortunately there was not that much left of this rainforest. Over 80% has been cleared for palmoilplantations. We only drove trough plantations the first few days; a very sad experience. In spite of all this sadness we did however manage to reach some beautiful places. First of all, we went to Uncle Tan. They have a beautiful basecamp in the middle of the rainforest (only reachable via river). They offered a large variety in jungletrips; boattrips, nightwalks, fishing etc. We joined all of them and saw about everything possible: Proboscis monkeys (with the big noses), Macaques, Gibbons, but also lanternbugs, king fisher birds and sea eagles. A unique experience! A little while later we visited a family for a homestay, a little downstream the river. Saw even more animals; more birds, big clans of proboscis monkeys. So beautiful! Everything just flew, climbed and swum around us! Crocodiles, hornbills, big lizards. For wildlife, go to Borneo!
Another highlight in Borneo would be diving the sea, so they said. And right they were! Sipadan has the most beautiful underwaterlife I’ve seen in my life! Florian decided to get licensed and I ( as I already had my licence) just did some fundives. We rented a little cabin above the water, near a small island in the so-called Sulu sea. What we saw was amazing. We dove in between large schools of fish, so abundant that sometimes the sun seemed to be extinguished. We saw big turtles every 5 minutes. Every now and then a shark came by to eat some fish. Wow, I have never seen something like this! If you like diving; go to Borneo!
Our last stop in Borneo was Tawau. The last change to see some of the jungle. No more river, so just walking, walking, walking. A totally different experience; fewer primates (best seen from the water, i guess), but lots of big (scary) insects, extraordinary plants and even a kilometer long canopy walk trough the tips of the trees.
Our next stop was mainland Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur! A very sophisticated, tropical city, which, in my opinion, had more in common with Australian cities than their Asian equivalents. Instead of climbing the famous Petronas Twin Towers themselves, we made a reservation for a table in a nearby rooftopbar. Cocktails with a magnificent view!
The Cameron Highlands are tea plantations located at a height of about 1500m. Crossing trough them with a motorbike is how we explored this ‘cool’ area. Besides teaplantations, there are butterfly farms, bee/honey farms, strawberry plantations and small pieces of jungle.
Pooh pooh, did this trip get us tired! Time for some rest! And where else better to take a little rest than a beautiful tropical island? Genau! I always thought Koh Tao (Thailand) was my favourite island, but after having been on the Perhentian Islands I’m not sure about that any longer. Perhentian Kecil (‘the small island’) really is a small paradise. Bamboo huts to sleep in, small restaurants on the beach to eat, beautiful beaches and (sometimes private) bays to swim, beachparties in the evening to dance around. This really was pure enjoyment, haha. It ended in us staying for 5 nights!
Kota Bharu was our last stop in Malaysia. There would be this am-az-ing market, at least Lonely Planet said so. Not true at all. It was a nasty, rat & cockroach ruled piece of asphalt. Even that many rats to make Florian step accidentally on a dead one (with his flipflops). Groseee. But all the misery was gone when we entered the plane to Bangkok!
Yes yes, Bangkok it was! I was so close to my favorite country, I had to! That was another week of chilleeee. Thailand is really awesome. The food, the culture, the people, just the whole ambiance. Perfecto. We’ve enjoyed all that comes with Thailand from Tuktukrides to dodgy bars and from buckets to 1 hour full body massages. And we visited the old capitol, Ayutthaya!
The 13th of august another adventure started: 24 hours in Moscow. Unfortunately I had found out earlier that I wouldn’t get a visa, just days before. So my adventure was nothing more than 24 hours at Moscow’s shitty Airport. Florian however did manage to get a visa. So while he was sightseeing I was trying to sleep on the concrete floor (but he did come back to sleep together ).
Next destination was Croatia! My parents were celebrating their holidays there, and they invited us. So we flew to Zagreb, spent some days there, and then took the train to Vrsar. My parents own a little speedboat there, as well as my sister and her boyfriend which came later as well. So we spent 10 days in two boats, crossing the Adriatic sea. From Vrsar it’s a small fare to cities as Porec, Rovinj en Funtana. Besides that there are hundreds of small inhabited islands where you can swim, snorkel, or just float around with a nice glass of wine in your hand. Just waking up in the morning, take a little swim, navigate to Rovinj for a pizza lunch, snorkel at an island, drink some wines and spot some dolphins (we swum with one!). Relaxing days!
Florian flew back to Berlin on the 24th, Michelle and Thomas went to Austria, and me and my parents went to Slovenia. We explored the so called Soca valley over there; a deep valley in the Julian Alps (extension of the Alps). My parents were too afraid to kayak, so we just walked and drove around. I almost slipped while climbing a mountain, ruining Florian’s camera. And now I even found out I accidentally deleted almost all the pictures
The weather was shitty in all Europe, so we decided to drive home straightly. There I was again, in the Netherlands. The first time in 2014, so I had to meet all my friends. I kind of managed to meet everybody who was home (did i?). Then I got an invite from a friend (Anne) to drive along through Scandinavia. An offer I couldnt refuse! So there we drove in the van to Stockholm, capitol of Sweden. A really beautiful city, discovered in one night/day. Next day we went to Malmo (south Sweden), and the day after to Copenhagen for a morning. A very quick visit!
Florian came afterwards to check out how I grew up. So last week I showed him all the (mostly unknown) highlights of the Netherlands; Appelpop in Tiel, navigating the Linge river by boat, searching for shark teeth in Cadzand, camping in Zoutelande (dutch coast). Did you know any of these places? :p. Amsterdam would be next, but unfortunately Florian had to leave earlier because of his sick grandma.
And unfortunately, since a day or 3, these beautiful summer days are over here in Eindhoven. In 2 weeks university starts as well. The summer is over! But what a summer it was