Running for perspective

“You can’t run away from your problems.” 

You've heard that one before. Maybe from your parents when you were ten years old and tried to run away in the literal sense when they wouldn't let you eat candy every day. Or from a good friend, trying to talk some sense into you when you needed it. 

They were not wrong, of course. Being on the run is tiring and no matter how fast you are, you’ll never be able to shake them off. Your problems are persistent chasers. Trust me, I’ve tried.

But, I’d still argue that physically running away can be a great strategic move. 

You can run from your problems without actually moving. Distractions are a form of running. Occupying yourself with work, gym, social activities, alcohol, without space to reflect on your priorities, to name a few. From the outside, it might look like you’re living the life you intend to, but only you know the real story. If you’re being honest with yourself, that is. 

When I started traveling, part of it was definitely running away. I was desperate for a change. When I asked my manager to work remotely for a period of time, that was part of how I explained my reasons. “I need to not be here, in Stockholm, at the office. I need perspective.”

Since making that decision a lot has changed. Not because I managed to shake off my commitment issues in a narrow alley in Bali or drown my anxiety among the jellyfishes in Koh Tao. But changing my environment did change my perspective. It draws the attention to those darker corners I wasn’t able to see when I was preoccupied with my daily routine of commute, work, gym, socializing and everything I did to keep myself busy.

I don't think everyone should be as dramatic as I was. But a little bit of running away, by yourself, would do most of us some good. 

Oktoberfest Survival Guide

Beer. Giant pretzels. Lederhosen and dirndls. October is almost over, and you know what that means? Time to start planning for next year's Oktoberfest!

 First beer. At which point we all look like normal humans, able to communicate with words and not only by singing German drinking songs.

First beer. At which point we all look like normal humans, able to communicate with words and not only by singing German drinking songs.

Ever since my first time in Munich I've taken it upon myself to convince everyone I meet to join next time. You could call me an unofficial Oktoberfest Ambassador. An important role which pays nothing, even though it should, because half of my Instagram stories are about dirndls and beer.*

In line with this mission, I've decided to share some wise words with anyone who has not yet been but considering booking a ticket.

A brief description of Oktoberfest 

The basic premise of Oktoberfest is simple and therein lays its charm. You sit at large tables with friends. You drink beer in glasses bigger than your head. You talk, sing and cheer with everyone you make eye-contact with. The music starts with traditional German songs and then escalates with every cheer. This playlist will give you a good idea of what to expect.

The festival goes by the local name Wiesn and runs for about 16-18 days, ending in the beginning of October. There's no entrance fee, but you have to get to the tents early to secure a spot. 

Also, the event is run with the efficiency you would expect from Germany. Sorry for enforcing the stereotype, but can you imagine a festival where you never have to stand in line to the bathroom? Just that makes it worth a visit.

Where to stay

 

The priciest part of Oktoberfest is usually accommodation, although it might depend on your beer drinking skills. It’s going to be expensive and you need to book well in advance. I stayed in Airbnb’s both times and would recommend booking six to three months beforehand. The sooner, the better.

The local transportation in Munich works well, so if you have to stay a bit further away from the area, it’s not a big problem. 

Dress the part

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If you’re going to do Oktoberfest, you ought to do it properly. I bought my dirndl (traditional Bavarian dress) here last year, and this year I accidentally walked past a trachten** outlet in Berlin and ended up with another dress (damn you, pretty dirndls). Amazon is a great option too, and if you aren’t sure of the style that suits you, there are plenty of places to shop in Munich. As long as it doesn’t cut into the beer drinking time, of course. 

Advice from local friends is to not buy the cheapest option since it will be obvious from miles away and make you look like a "dumb tourist" (their words, not mine). If you need dirndl inspiration,  Pinterest is a reliable source. 

Plan your time

Get to the tents early, especially if you’re going on a weekend and you're in a larger group. Aim for around noon and you should be fine. Pick your spot with care - you'll be there for at least ten hours. 

Two days of Wiesn partying is usually enough. I would recommend staying for 3-4 nights and have a day of exploring Munich in between the beer drinking. It's a gorgeous city. 

 The feather was 5 euros extra. Totally worth it, with the logic of someone who just had six liters of beer.

The feather was 5 euros extra. Totally worth it, with the logic of someone who just had six liters of beer.

Cash rules

One liter of beer will set you back about 10-11 euros, and you pay cash. Make sure you have all the money you need for a night, and not more.

Because, if you have more, you’re likely to spend it all on things that you may or may not feel like a great idea the next day.

Like hats. 

Eat properly

 So excited I don't know whether to laugh or cry. 

So excited I don't know whether to laugh or cry. 

Beer have the unfortunate consequence of making me feel like I've eaten two pizzas, a burger and a chocolate bar, when I've actually only had two bites of someone else's old pretzel for 12 hours.

This is not a great strategy. 

What a better grown-up than me would do is to eat a proper lunch before heading to the tent, order some food while in the tent and, of course, embrace the munchies when the tent closes 22.30. Nothing tastes better than bratwurst at that point, trust me. 

Don't try to outdrink your friends

This is important advice. Seriously. They have this thing where if you stand on the table and start chugging your beer, the whole tent starts cheering you on. That’s encouraging. And it might result in someone getting really drunk, and that, my friends, is not good. Because …

You’re a team - if one goes down, so does the rest of you

As we learned the hard way this year, if one person in the group messes up***, you're all out. In a very respectful and efficient way, but still. Your precious seats are gone and you're out in the cold again, wandering the festival trying to find a seat at 17.30. Yeah, good luck.

Did I miss anything? 

Send me a comment and I'll add the answer!


* Totally open for sponsorships.
** Another word for the traditional garments in German speaking countries.
*** Not me, for the record.

10 Lisbon Nuggets

Lisbon is often compared to San Francisco, referring to its hilly streets. Other times it's called southern Europe's equivalent to Berlin, because of the growing hipster tech scene. Or something. I was probably distracted, eating my weight in pastel de natas at the time. It happens when you're in Portugal.

Because if there's something I love about Lisbon, it's the food. And drinks. And the people! And also the architecture. And the weird narrow streets where I'm genuinely surprised every time I get where I intended to go. 

Ok, I love Lisbon for many reasons. But this post is about food. And drinks.

There's no lack of great guides on where to eat in Lisbon, and they're all more well-researched than this post. You see, when I find a place I like I have a habit of going there every day until the staff starts saying "see you tomorrow!" and that makes it awkward and I never go back. 

But whenever a friend goes there, they ask for recommendations, so I might as well gather a few of my favorites in a neat little list. All of the places here are in the center, as you can see on the shiny map at the end. 


 This is how excited I get about food. 📷  Janneke

This is how excited I get about food. 📷 Janneke

One of the classics everyone will recommend, and for a good reason. It’s a foodcourt of the classier kind, with something for every taste and plenty of space. Perfect for casual meet ups, especially if you’re a big group or have picky eaters with you (I would know, erhm).

9. Fábrica Lisboa

If I need to focus and get work done, this is my preferred choice. Fábrica is a cafe with that retro style every traveling hipster person has a thing for. Or maybe just me. Anyway, they also have decent coffee, solid internet, and the staff is nice.

8. Cafe Nicolau Lisboa

Yes, it’s a cafe optimized for Instagram, and yes, you will have to share the space with well-dressed teenagers who spend more time taking pictures of their food than eating it. But as far as breakfasts go, it delivers.

I still dream about their homemade granola.

7. Gelato Therapy

Lemon. Honey. Rosemary. It’s a match made in gelato heaven and no visit to Lisbon is complete without a stop here. 

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Pastel de nata

(Not from Manteigaria, because I obviously ate that one faster than shutter speed. Priorities, you know.)

6. Manteigaria

The best pastel de natas, the famous Portuguese pastry, is said to be in Belém, which is slightly outside the city center and I've never managed to make it there. I have tried a bunch of other places though, and can definitely vouch for this one. 

5. Cafe Tati

The coffee is not going to blow your mind, but the atmosphere is perfect for writing. Around 3 pm it will also be socially acceptable to switch over to red wine*, which will increase your creativity by at least 50%. According to empirical studies made by me. 

*Just kidding, it’s always socially acceptable with wine.

4. A Tabacaria

On my latest visit to Lisbon, in May, we ended up here one night. Sitting outside for hours, sharing stories which will hopefully never make it outside of that particular circle, because you know, reputation. 

The thing that makes it a new favorite of mine is that the owner doesn't do any classic cocktails. You have to tell him what flavors you like, and then he’ll make you an original. As you can see, we liked it so much we're basically family now. 

3. Café do Rio - Hamburgueria Gourmet

The only burger place you really need to hit in Lisbon. The thing is, the bun is meat. So it's meat, with two pieces of meat. Basically, it’s a lot of meat. Oh, and the homemade mayo is to die for. 

2. Pistola y Corazon Taqueria

The food is great, but if you're a fan of tequila in general and mezcal in particular, then you have to go here. As you can see, I got so excited by my drink I had a mental breakdown. It happens sometimes. Mostly when tequila is involved. 

1. Tapa Bucho

When you get here, it will most likely be full. Because it's tiny and popular. This isn't a problem though. What you do while you wait is to hang out outside with a few beers, as you always do in Lisbon and yet another reason for loving this city. The food is incredible, and don't forget dessert. Trust me on that one.


Bali: The island of smiles, cafes & yoga

Every time I meet someone going to Bali, I go into tour guide mode and share every single recommendation I can come up with. I've been in Bali for almost three months, and have a few places I really like, so I might as well collect them in a post. I've divided it into the three areas where I spent most of my time (Canggu, Ubud, Seminyak/Kuta) first, then sections (stay, eat, do).

General tips

Accommodation

Since I'm a fan of hostels, Hostelworld is my go to-place. But once in a while, I like to enjoy some privacy as well, for hotels I recommend Agoda. Or Airbnb!

Local SIM card

I know, you might have vacation and be like "hey, I want to disconnect completely". I get that. But for me, the convenience of being connected outweighs the need to disconnect (which you can still do, just don't bring your phone with you when going out). This guide has some good information about how it works.

Uber

Maybe the strongest reason for getting a local SIM card. Especially if you're in the Kuta/Seminyak area, where Ubers are everywhere. A lot cheaper than the local taxis, and I love not having to spend time arguing about the price.

Scooter

You probably want to rent a scooter, especially if you are in Canggu or Uluwatu. A few tips: ask your hotel/hostel where to rent one (they probably have their own as well), take pictures or a video of the scooter when you rent it (to avoid discussions about damages) and always, always wear a helmet.


My Ubud

Stay

In Da Lodge (hostel)
In Da Lodge has two great qualities: atmosphere and a pool. I met some really fun people here, but this is also the only hostel where I've ever lost things. Keep all your belongings in your bag, and everything valuable in a locker.

Candra Asri (private rooms)
This location was, for me, unbeatable. Right across the road I had Kafe, it took five minutes to walk to Yoga barn and another five to get to Hubud. Not great for meeting new people, but for privacy and comfort for a good price it was perfect.

Eat

Kafe
Everyone knows Kafe. Healthy, yummy food and nice atmosphere, where you will find a lot of yoga people and expats hanging out. I spent so much time here that the staff were saying "see you tomorrow" when I left.

Soma Cafe
Soma Cafe

Soma
This is my personal favorite, especially for breakfast. They have a live porridge that I still dream of. Not as hyped as Kafe, so usually more quiet, and has good quality internet and nice staff.

Cafe Havana
I haven't been to Cuba, so I can't say how authentic the food is. But I can say it's really good. They also have live music and salsa dance nights.

Kebun Bistro
Next door to Kafe is this restaurant. Looks a bit fancier, but not too pricy. And their burgers were surprisingly "realy good" (internal joke, sorry).

Bali Buda
Good food, right across the street from Radiantly Alive.

Do

Yoga barn
My favorite yoga studio, of all times. Yes, it's crowded, but you don't really need more space than your mat anyway. The energy created by the area, participants and teachers blew my mind every class.

Radiantly Alive
Another yoga studio I enjoyed, where I mainly went for the Fly High Yoga and classes focused on arm balances. Great teachers.

Jungle Fish
Jungle Fish

Jungle Fish
This is part restaurant, but it belongs in the DO section because of the magical infinity pool. You pay 150 000 RP and to enjoy the pool, and you can eat and drink for the full amount.

Hubud
If you are working while you are here, or just need some quality internet, Hubud is the place to be.

Monkey Forest
Monkey Forest

Monkey Forest
It kind of has to be on the list. Monkeys! Also, the forest is really beautiful.

 Sunrise Ridge Walk Ubud.

Sunrise Ridge Walk Ubud.

Campuhan Ridge Walk
I recommend a walk here around sunrise. It's quite the view.

My Canggu

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Stay

Serenity Eco Guesthouse
This place is the cutest little oasis in Canggu. They have backpacker single rooms for a really good price, so you can get your privacy without blowing your budget. The location is close to the beach, with a nice pool and a cafe with good food. Also - as repeated below, they have two yoga studios.

Farmer's Yard Hostel
Not the most comfortable beds, but it has a great vibe and the evenings are spent jamming in the garden. The staff is the sweetest. If my back wasn't killing me when I was here, I would have stayed longer.

Kima Surfcamp
Good value for money, but you need to book far in advance to get a bed or room. Nice people, good food and great surf in the area. German run, most people staying here are either from Germany or Switzerland.

Eat

Avocado Cafe
If I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would be avocados. This place has my dream menu. And the food is great. Eat all them avocados!

Betelnut Cafe
One of the places where everyone goes. Good for both breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Ithaka Warung
Indonesian food with a European twist.

Lacalita Bar y Cocina
Delicious mexican food. And the sangria was not bad at all.

Warung Dandelion
Great Indonesian food, and the garden is just beautiful.

Do

Serenity Yoga
Nice studio, with a lot of different classes. Loved the core focused Vinyasa one.

Deus
Good food, but you probably want to go here for some of their special events. Like the big party every Sunday, their movie nights or why not Tacos and Tattoos Tuesday.

Old Man's
Wednesdays and Fridays are the big party nights at Old Man's. I've managed to miss all of them, but I've heard the beer pong tournament is lots of fun.

Pretty Poison
Where the cool kids (and their groupies) hang out. Good drinks and music.


My Seminyak/Kuta

Stay

The Island Hotel Bali Hostel
One of my favorite hostels, I've stayed here multiple times. The location is good (quiet, but close to both great restaurants in Seminyak and party life in Kuta, and close to the beach), the staff are the sweetest and they have the most comfortable beds I've slept in during all my travels. The dorm is spacious with an atmosphere that makes it impossible to not make friends here.

Eat

Shelter Cafe
I'm here, like, A LOT. Actually writing this while sitting in my favorite spot, having my third coffee, making small talk with the staff. They know me by name.

Come for the breakfasts, stay for the vibe and music.

Grain Espresso
Grain Espresso

Grain Espresso
Another favorite where the staff kind of laughs when they see me (I may have gone there twice on certain days). They have the best coffee I've had in Bali, great food, and the drinks aren't bad either. The AC is a nice bonus, which is not too common and sometimes you do need a break from the 99% humidity.

Ginger Moon
The food is great, but what makes me come back is the drinks. Their Ginger Martini (yes, I love everything with ginger in it) is liquid gold and they know how to do the perfect Espresso Martini. A bit on the pricy side, but a great place to start your night.

Layali Arabiya Lebanese Restaurant and Lounge
Went here several times, just for the shish tawook, that was simply amazing. The do great hummus as well.

Do

Yoga 108
There are not too many yoga places in Seminyak, but this one I can recommend. The studio gets really hot, so I prefer the morning classes. Look closely at the map on the website.

La Favela
La Favela is a club worth going to just for the decor. Like an inside quirky jungle.

Potato Head Beach Club
Nice place to chill in the pool, have drinks and enjoy the sunset views. Pricy, but worth it.

Sky Garden
Sky Garden is a big club with several dance floors. It's a bit on the trashy side, but if you take it for what it is and enjoy dancing, there's a good chance you will have fun here.

White Water Rafting
Not as action filled as I would have thought, but fun and the scenery is beautiful.

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Abandoned amusement park (Taman Festival)
I was beyond excited about this one. Abandoned places is a guilty pleasure of mine, which many of my friends can verify. There is a famous abandoned amusement park in Berlin, which I tried going in to, but at the time we were there, the whole area was crowded with guards and dogs. So an amusement park you could just walk right into sounded good to me.

It had its moments and I recommend a visit if you are into slightly spooky places, reclaimed by nature. But it was mainly buildings, no old rollercoasters or other rides that could help you picture what it could have been.

Abandoned planes

 We got two photos before the guard kicked us out from this one.

We got two photos before the guard kicked us out from this one.

People are apparently really bad at keeping track of their Boeings in Bali. I visited two.

The first one was hidden behind a big fence, and I only got a few snaps from a distance before we got chased out by the security guard. Paying a fee for going closer was not an option. You get photos from above without breaking in.

The other plane was tucked away in the middle of several buildings. This one was easier to get into, we just walked around the fence and couldn't find any security. Not possible to climb it, but still fun.

So, this was some of my favorites. I hope it might be useful for someone!

Next year, Portugal

In Costa Rica, I tried surfing for the first time. It was one of those things where you are sure you will not make it out of there alive, but at the same time, you are having too much fun to stop. A few months later, end of August, I went to Portugal. One week at Baleal Surf Camp and a few days in Lisbon. The perfect way to end the summer.

Baleal Surf Camp

After a few days of just hanging out, it was finally time for the first lesson. Good waves, high, but not that "holy shit, the ocean is trying to kill me"-wall coming at you like in Costa Rica. So I was feeling pretty confident.

Cut to my very first attempt. I got some help from the surf coaches with pushing the board, got up, actually went with the wave, still standing. All the way to shore.

But the last part, about being at the shore, was something I missed in all the excitement. When I jumped into the water, there wasn't really any water. It was just sand, and I fell with my full weight on my left leg and twisted it. It hurt like hell. But hey, I pole dance, so pain is nothing new. I waited a few minutes and got back into the water, trying to ignore the pain.

When I finally gave up, it didn't take long before realizing that it was worse than I expected. Long story short, I wasn't able to surf at all for the rest of the week and it took a month before my physiotherapist would let me back in the gym. It was most likely a second-degree injury to the lateral collateral ligament and it's not completely healed yet, but, at least, I can work out now. A few days ago I even managed to run!

(Photo courtesy of Edward.)

I may not have mastered the art of surfing (this time), but I did learn a lot of other things. Like how to swear in Italian, that chocolate with a cookie filling on bread is like "having two hot guys and not having to choose", that a GoPro is perfect for picking up girls, that Gothenburg Metal is a thing and that some people think all Swedes talk about while hanging out in bars is IKEA. Basically, the people at the surf camp made it all worth it. A bunch of fantastic individuals from all over the world, that kept me laughing for the whole week, even when I could barely walk. I hope I'll see all of you again next year. Or maybe at a surf camp in another part of the world (hey, I'm back in planning mode now! Sri Lanka? Brazil? Any suggestions?).

Lisbon and Sintra

After the surf camp, I limped back to Lisbon, where I stayed at the best hostel I've ever stayed at. Usually, you have to choose between a relaxed atmosphere or fresh and clean. Not at Home Lisbon. It felt personal, nice staff, comfortable beds, everything was clean and well maintained. And the best part - the dinners where you get to eat great food and meet other travelers. Can't recommend it enough.

Besides walking around and hanging out at beaches (trying to get as much sun as possible to prepare for Swedish winter) I also spent a day at Sintra. First, we went to Palacio da Pena, which looked like something out of a Disney movie.

My personal favorite place was Quinta da Regaleira. Even though the palace was beautiful, the thing that got to me was the caves. I love caves. Don't ask me why, because my worst fear is to be buried alive and just the thought of going underground should give me a panic attack. But no, it's just too much fun walking around in tunnels, pretending it's 1900.

Even though this trip didn't turn out as planned, it was still ten amazing days. Next year I'll be back, hopefully with more time on the surfboard and less at the hospital.

New York, New York

New York. One of those places you have to see, and before you even arrive you know you're going to love it. Expectations were high when I got on the plane a few weeks ago and headed to JFK. And I was not disappointed.

I will not bore you with some kind of travel guide. Other people have already done it way better than I could after ten days, Niotillfem and Helen to mention two. But since I want to remember what I did and where I went, and enjoy reading others stories, I will summarize what New York was for me.

Coney Island

Beach, boardwalk and photogenic carousels. You see why I had to go there. Spent the day hanging out with Jenny and Johan at the beach, walking around and taking pictures of every ride we could find.

The Bourgeois Pig
The Bourgeois Pig

My colleague recommended this place because of the champagne punches. Great place to stop by before dinner, we thought, but then we discovered the menu. Champagne and cheese in all forms for dinner? Yes, please. Also, it feels like you are sitting in the lobby of a red light district establishment. What's not to like?

Clinton St Baking Company

Ok, I confess. I went here three times. First time by myself, then I had to introduce Jenny and Johan to it, and then also Sandra, Malin, and Helene. So you understand why I had to go back. Erhm.

Everyone recommends this place, and if you are not there early, you will have to wait outside. Totally worth it, though. If you are going to indulge in American pancakes, you might as well do it properly. You will not be disappointed. (Bacon fried in sugar? Yes, please.)

Me and Jenny spent an evening at the hipster bar Union Pool in Williamsburg. Fun place. What was more fun though, was my roommate E's response when I told him about it.

"Oh, you went to Union Pool? I see where you are. Like your state of mind. You know what I'm sayin'?"

I did not know what he was sayin'.

"It's a place where people go when they want to meet people. Know what I'm sayin'?"

Ah. Got it. It explained a lot.

The Meatball Shop

No, this is not like Swedish meatballs. It's a bit more exciting (if you ask me). You pick your meatballs, sauce, carbs and vegetables by drawing with a black marker on a laminated menu. Cozy environment, awesome service and I still dream about that affogato.

The High Line

Everyone recommends it, and I see why. Definitely worth walking through while in the area.

Another recommendation. At first we couldn't find it, then when we had given up, there it was. A small sign over a door you could barely notice. Cienfuegos is a Cuban bar, with a cozy atmosphere and some really special drinks.

And by special I mean insanely strong.

Saturday in Williamsburg

One day E, who I was staying with through AirBnB, invited me to tag along for a barbecue. It ended up being an awesome evening with water balloons, burgers, beers, drumming and singing in Portuguese, and then the night ended with dancing at The Woods. Needless to say, it was awesome.

The Spotted Pig

The burger. That's all I'm going to say. Go there, get the burger. And the fries are magical.

Hello street photographer

When I was walking through East Village with E one day, we ran into Richard Sandler, a street photographer. I didn't know about him before, but after looking through his website, I'm really impressed. Also, I may or may not end up in a photo somewhere.

Gemma

My last night we went to the restaurant Gemma, at Bowery Hotel. Great food, but what made it more awesome was the atmosphere, with a million candles.

Portrait

When you go to a club here, it may also happen that someone will draw your picture without looking at the paper and give it to you, framed and everything.

Love it.

So long for now

As I mentioned earlier, I stayed in a room through AirBnB. It was located in the middle of East Village, which was perfect for me. A lot of good restaurants and bars nearby. Also, my host E was really fun, and showed me around and let me tag along to things when I wanted to. The room was good as well, plenty of light and space. If you are planning to go to New York and need a place to stay, let me know and I will connect you!

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New York, New York. Can't wait to go back.

The awesomeness of Costa Rica

Pura Vida!

If I don't start this story with that phrase, no one would believe that I've actually been to Costa Rica. So, there it is. Pura Vida! A phrase that means "pure life", but is basically used in every way possible. Hippies getting high all day? Pura Vida! Response from the mechanic who accidently drilled a large screw into the inside of your car? Pura Vida! (True story.)

These are a few of the highlights from my recent trip to Costa Rica, collected in one huge blog post.

Life in Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa truly is a paradise. Magical sunsets, dogs  running free everywhere (and I mean everywhere) and if you do not have a surfboard while walking around, people might look at you funny. I was here for almost a week and well, I understand why people who come here simply never leaves. Everything looks like a postcard from paradise.

Yoga with a view

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If you are going to Santa Teresa, taking at least one yoga class is mandatory. I recommend Hotel Tropico Latino, who has several classes every day and the most amazing view right by the beach.

Surfing

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What is even more mandatory when in Santa Teresa is of course surfing. If you have never been on a board, like me (let's forget my sad attempt last summer in Biarritz), you need to take a lesson. Amit at Del Soul Surf School was awesome. He managed to explain the basic technique, get me up on the board and actually take a few waves in less than two hours. My biggest problem was the fact that the waves freaked me out a bit.

This wave is so small it's embarrassing to call it a wave.

I'm Swedish, our waves could barely make the water in a bathtub splash over and here they were way over my head. But after a while and with the help of some encouraging pep talk like "this wave is so small it's embarrassing to call it a wave", I did get over it and started to just enjoy it. It was awesome. I might very well take a full on surf trip this summer.

Rappelling in Manuel Antonio

This was one of the things I REALLY wanted to do and it was beyond awesome. There are an infinite number of tour operators, so we went with the company our hostel recommended, Quepo Canyoning. The guides were great and I pretty much laughed (or screamed) the whole time. We got to do several ziplines (one of them I did upside down), rappelling in a waterfall and a so-called "monkey drop". The excitement!

The Hostel Culture

Anyone who has ever met me knows I love hostels. Not all of them of course, but the concept. There are a particular culture and openness. A feeling that anything can happen and you never know who you end up sharing a room with.

Recommended hostels

Out of the six hostels I stayed at, these four are the ones I recommend.

Hostel Casa Del Parque, San Jose I just stayed here one night when arriving in Costa Rica. Nice and clean place and the owner was really helpful on how to get where I was going. Would stay here again if passing through San Jose.

Kokua Hostel, Santa Teresa Kokua is one of those hostels you could easily think "I'll just stay one more night" until you realise you have been there for months. There is just that vibe to it. Also, the owner is really great and helpful.

Hostel Vista Serena, Manuel Antonio Manuel Antonio is not really a must-see destination, but this hostel makes it worth the visit. There is something about the common room (it might be the view) that just makes people start to talk to each other and hang out.

Hotel Kangaroo, Jaco If it wasn't for the horseriding tour, I would not recommend anyone to go to Jaco. But if you have to, Hotel Kangaroo will make you feel right at home.

Horseriding in Jaco

Before my trip, I searched for horse riding tours in Costa Rica. One place caught my attention. Discovery Horse Tours, operated by Chris and Andrea Wady, is dedicated to treating horses the right way. The main part of their horses are rescues. Not that you could tell, because these were the most healthy and happy horses I've seen in my life. (And I've had my own horses for a large part of my life.)

I took two tours, the Jungle Spa Ride and The Back Country tour. I recommend both of them. The scenery is so beautiful it makes you want to cry (and chain yourself to a tree, so they can't make you leave, like ever). Chris and Andrea are amazing people (obviously), and Liana, who was my guide for both days, is really fun and inspiring. Definitely worth a trip to Jaco!

Final words

As you can probably tell, I really love Costa Rica. These two weeks was a small preview of everything the country has to offer and just writing this post makes me want to book a one-way ticket back.

24 hours at Kroombit

I have not updated this blog in over a year. That's insane. I just started it, and then I got swept up with work and all of the sudden it was 2013. Oh, well. I guess I better just get back on the horse, so to speak. And what better way to start than with a bunch of pictures from my Australia trip? I thought I would start with one of my favorite parts - Kroombit Lochenbar Station. Kind of a magical place.

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We drove by car, and stopped several times to take pictures of the view. A 50mm lens is not the best for landscape photography and I'm just not good enough to make it justice, so I will spare you most of them.

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As we were getting closer, we met these guys.

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And after ten hours by car (and an overnight stay at Rockhampton, not the most exciting town) we finally arrived.

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Hello Kroombit!

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We checked in and had a cup of "cowboy coffee".

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Then it was time to go horse riding! The fancy girl to the right was my ride for the day. Her name was Shy, which is kind of funny, since she was anything but shy.

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Our leader, Jonathan, checking his shoes for spiders.

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The whole crew! From the left: a girl who was working there, Ching, me, and Viriya. This was also Christmas Eve, so please observe our matching red and green scarves.

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I have had my own horses since I was seven years old, but sold the last of them 2004, if I remember correctly. So it's been a while, but it was so much fun to be back on a horse again.

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On the farm they have wild horses, and some of them they break in. This is one of the new fellas.

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Besides breaking in horses, Jonathan also takes care of animals that are wounded or does not have anywhere to go. We spent a couple of hours going insane over these two cute lambs. They were only four days old and could barely walk.

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I mean come on, have you ever seen anything cuter?!

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He also had three birds, not sure of the name of them though. They were almost well enough to be released into the wild again.

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And then we met this wallaby baby. They found his mom dead beside the road, and this little joey had a broken leg.

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Jonathan is taking care of him til he is well enough to be brought back into the wild. They do a thing called "soft release" if I remember correctly, which means that they will still have access to a farm with food and shelter at first, so they can come back to safety.

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The dog in the picture is kind of the mom of the little farm, and she is taking care of whatever animals Jonathan is helping at the moment.

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He has to spend all his time in this little bag, to avoid any pressure on his leg.

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Ok, just a few more lamb pictures.

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If I could, I would have taken both of them with me. Not sure they would enjoy a small apartment in freezing Stockholm though.

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On Christmas eve we also had a christmas dinner with everyone who worked there and a few locals, and then we had a good time at the bar. The next morning it was time to move on, though I could have stayed there for weeks if I had more time.

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Had the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich for breakfast. With cowboy coffee, of course.

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Then I walked around, taking pictures to remember the place.

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If one wanted coffee, you would just take a cup ...

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... and get some hot water from here. This is also where they cook all of the food.

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True.

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The bar. Somewhat more empty than the night before.

One day, I will definitely go back. Thank you for an awesome time Kroombit!