It’s been a few years since I stumbled across a photo of a shimmering emerald green lake on Instagram with a rugged mountain backdrop in the background. The mountains were mirrored crystal clear in the smooth surface of the water, on which a lonely old wooden boat was floating. This photo completely flashed me and it didn’t take long until I found out where this magical place was: it was the Pragser Wildsee (in Italian Lago di Braies) in the middle of South Tyrol, more precisely in the Dolomites. What might have been an insider tip years ago has long since ceased to exist: along with the Three Peaks, the Braies Lake is the most popular spot in the entire Dolomite region . Has it lost some of its magic as a result? Yes, perhaps. It took me three tries to really take him into my heart. Lake Braies: Instagram hype in the heart of the Dolomites The Pragser Wildsee is located in the middle of the Dolomites at the end of the Pragser Valley at an altitude of almost 1500m. It was created by a mudslide, from which a dam was formed. The lake is approx. 1200m long and measures approx. 400m at its widest point, the deepest point is approx. 36m. The 2810m high Seekofel on the opposite bank of the lake is responsible for the striking mountain backdrop that has made the lake so famous. It is hard to believe that another 1300 meters of altitude separate you from the lakeshore to the mountain peak that is enthroned in front of you. Viewed from the Seekofel, the Braies Lake probably looks like a greenish-blue shimmering pearl with bustling ants on it. Maybe that’s why it is also called the ‘Pearl of the Dolomites’. My 1st visit: So this is the famous Lago di Braies? A few more years passed from the time I discovered the photo of Lake Braies on Instagram until I felt the bottom of the lake under my feet for the first time. The Dolomites were too far off the beaten track for me, too little time … you probably know the Struggle. But in summer 2018 the time had finally come and I was able to include a visit to Lago di Braies on the way back from Venice. It was late afternoon when I got there and what followed was … disillusionment. The parking lot was super full, on the lakeshore crowds of people and prams clogged the paths, no crystal-clear reflecting water and the boats on the lake looked as if they were in a war battle. Idyll? Nothing. The attempt to take at least a few nice photos of or on the jetty of the boathouse was stopped very quickly. It is forbidden to stay in the boathouse if you do not want to rent a boat. Drone flying is also prohibited. I withdraw to the edge of the lake to escape the hustle and bustle and let my disappointment sink in. It’s nice, no question about it, but I didn’t expect any of that. You can see the photos of my first visit here. My 2nd visit: Lake Braies in winter Since I’m not someone who gives up quickly or who doesn’t miss second chances, I drive back to Lake Braies only a few months later in winter. I’m curious how the lake looks in the snowy mountain scenery. Since it has not been very cold in the past few weeks, to be honest, I am not assuming the scenario that then presents itself to me: the lake is completely frozen over and completely covered with snow. What somehow still has its charm in reality (after all, you can walk far out onto the lake), unfortunately, does not work at all in photos. And again – disappointment. All good things come in threes: It’s a wrap! Well then, I’m not giving up. In the summer of 2019 I will return to South Tyrol and, with full intent, to Lago di Braies again. And this time I’m better prepared. It is 5:30 in the morning when we park our car (in the parking lot that is not empty to our horror) and walk to the lakeshore with our camera and drone in our luggage. With us there are only two handfuls of other people at the lake and we all have the same goal: beautiful photos. Correspondingly, we treat each other with respect, nobody gets in each other’s way. For the first time, Lake Braies lies in front of me, as I had imagined it to be over the years: infinitely calm, the water shimmers in all nuances from deep dark blue to emerald green and the brown wooden boats are lined up along the boathouse like a pearl necklace. The mountain scenery of the Seekofel is reflected in the smooth water surface and there is no breeze blowing that could destroy this photo idyll. Now he has me, the Pragser Wildsee. At last. Getting the photo opportunities that I have in my head is no easy task in the end. But more on that below, there I will give you detailed instructions on which obstacles you have to reckon with and what you have to pay attention to. Tips for Lake Braies – parking & renting a boat But first of all, very quick and dirty, a few tips and information worth knowing for your visit to Lake Braies. Here we go. Directions & parking at Lake Braies Lago die Braies is located in the Braies Valley, a side valley of the Puster Valley and part of the Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park. If you simply enter ‘Pragser Wildsee’ in your navigation system, it should lead you there very precisely. Parking at Lake Braies is just as uncomplicated, there are a total of 3 large parking spaces for cars, buses, campers and motorcycles. The parking spaces are different distances from the lake, the front parking lot is the most expensive. From here it is only 2 minutes to the lake. Since I used the front parking lot (the hotel parking lot) on all of my visits, I can only tell you the fees. In the main time from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., these are € 6 for the first three hours (as of 2019). Here you can see an overview: Note: From 07/10/19 to 09/10/19 there was a traffic block to Lake Braies, how this will be handled in the coming years remains to be seen. The road to the lake is closed to motorized traffic between 10:00 and 15:00. The lake can only be approached by public buses, on foot or by bike. From the Monguelfo train station there is a specially arranged shuttle bus to Lake Braies every 30 minutes (price € 3 per person and trip). This drastic measure shows how hopeless the lake is now. On peak days, over 10,000 visitors were counted every day (!), An almost unimaginable number. The traffic block clearly serves to protect the environment, because as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Dolomites, a natural treasure such as Lake Braies must be protected. If you reach the Braies Valley before 10 a.m., you can easily drive in by car, park by the lake and of course drive out again. You do n’t have to wait until after 3 p.m. to leave the Braies Valley . A boat tour over the Lago di Braies – the boat rental We all know the wonderful pictures of the people in the nostalgic wooden boats on the lake. It looks nice and yes, it’s really fun to paddle across the lake in a boat like this. But you better not take too long, because the prices for the boats are steep. You pay 18 € for 30 minutes – 28 € for 60 minutes . When borrowing you pay 28 € – should you be back after 30 minutes, you will be reimbursed 10 €. I don’t know why this is done. The boat rental is open from June to September from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Personally, I have never seen a queue for the boats. The fluctuation is high due to the high rental fee, ie boats come back every minute and are lent again. This means that you never have to wait more than a few minutes. The best time to visit The cynic in me says: at night. In the winter. When there is a blizzard. At minus 15 degrees. Then you are guaranteed to be alone. Ha! Realistically, the following answer is probably the best: It depends on what you want to do. Taking photos? Then very early in the morning before the boat rental opens and before the first public bus arrives at 8:30 a.m. Do you want to go boating and take a few photos with your smartphone? Then the time is irrelevant. In general, the following applies: if it is important to you to escape the crowds a little, then use the off-peak times. Before 9/10 a.m., after 5 p.m. And preferably not on the weekend. And of course, Lake Braies is much more crowded in summer than at other times of the year.
In our article in pictures about the Lofoten we have already introduced you to the archipelago in the north of Norway and have already shown you one or the other place that you definitely shouldn’t miss in the Lofoten. However, we haven’t revealed much about the individual places yet and we noticed for ourselves when we were in Lofoten that the search for sights is actually a bit difficult. We assume that you want to travel to Lofoten because you are enthusiastic about extraordinary landscapes and have a great desire to take pictures, right? Great, because there are hardly any long party nights here. The only thing that dances here at night are the northern lights in the sky 😉 Nevertheless, the Lofoten Islands are a real adventure – provided, of course, you are in the mood for a lot of landscape and nocturnal northern light hunts. So: What do you absolutely have to see in Lofoten , where are the best photo spots and which highlights should definitely not be missed? We’ll tell you! At the end of the article we clearly marked all the sights on a map. Here we go! Haukland Beach: Caribbean feeling in Norway The beach of Haukland is the most famous beach in Lofoten and should therefore of course not be missing. It is very spacious, with light sand and blue water, so that even in winter it brings us to a dream Caribbean beachremembered. Haukland Beach is a popular spot for photographers and we saw it in all sorts of conditions in just one week in Lofoten: From wild and quick-tempered in a snowstorm (so wild that our tripod blew us away) to extremely calm and gentle Immersed in sunset light (you can really take pictures of sunsets here!). Haukland itself is a tiny little place, in which there are a handful of houses, unfortunately we could not see whether they were inhabited or uninhabited – the highlight here is really the beach. Lofoten attractions: Uttakleiv You will find Uttakleiv just a few meters from Haukland Beach. Once you have driven through a tunnel to the other side of the mountain, you will reach the centuries-old settlement in which only a few people live. Uttakleiv beach is ideal for photography and, like Haukland, is very wild on some days and quite tame on others. Well worth going by there more often! Instead of taking the car through the tunnel, you can also hike around the mountain. The hiking route from Haukland to Uttakleiv is approx. 8km long and easy to do even for the inexperienced. You can read more about the hike from Lisa and Alex . Unstad beach A very special photo opportunity awaits you at Unstad Beach, because large parts of the beach are covered by large, dark rocks. We were on Unstad Beach on a day when it was extremely stormy, which is why some crazy people actually plunged into the waves to surf at 1 ° C, beaming with joy. Damn freaks. We tried to get the best out of it with trembling hands and a wobbly tripod and are very proud of our camera equipment that it weathered the worst snowstorm of all time. The highlight of Lofoten: Northern lights on Flakstad Beach Flakstad beach is surrounded on all sides by towering mountains and therefore always looks quite impressive, no matter from which direction you look at it. This gives off a real postcard motif during the day, but becomes particularly exciting in the dark: When it comes to how to photograph the northern lights “correctly”, the composition of the image also plays an important role. Just taking photos in the sky is a little boring, you also need a reference point on the picture: a building, a tree or mountains. And that is why Flakstad Beach is so popular with aurora photographers due to the impressive mountain backdrop. In the early evening hours there are easily 15-20 people spread over the beach – so completely overcrowded! 😉 Reine in Lofoten: The famous postcard motif The town of Reine is THE postcard motif of Lofoten. The small fishing village is located in the very south of the archipelago on the island of Moskenesøya and is surrounded by towering mountains. Be sure to come to Reine at sunrise! Then the snow-capped mountains are bathed in soft pink light and you can enjoy a sight that you will not soon forget. Unfortunately, we had a bit of bad luck with the weather, because it was always so overcast at sunrise in Reine that we unfortunately didn’t get any pink mountain photos. Instead, we took pictures of the backdrop once in a rather icy cold and once in bright sunshine. Like night and day, isn’t it? If you are traveling to Lofoten in summer, then you should combine your visit to Reine with a hike on the Reinehaben. From up there you have a breathtaking view! In winter, the hike is unfortunately not entirely safe, as the risk of slipping is very high due to the steep incline towards the summit. Lofoten attractions: Sakrisøy and Hamnøy The two villages are only a few kilometers from Reine and can be easily combined with a visit there. The same applies here: photos, photos, photos. In the two fishing villages you will find the so-called rorbuer, the typical Norwegian fisherman’s houses, optionally in yellow or red. Fortunately, for the perfect Lofoten experience, you can even rent the rorbuer as accommodation. AirBnB has a lot of them Sunset in Henningsvær Henningsvær is a small fishing village on an offshore mini archipelago in the southeast of Lofoten and somehow we didn’t even have it on our radar. To be honest, we only drove by because we still had time and it was on the way anyway. But as it is: the best usually comes unexpectedly. We went to Henningsvær by accident and it was just wonderful. Kvalvika Beach: Dream beach with a view The beach of Kvalvika is by far the loneliest beach in Lofoten. It cannot be reached by car, but only via a hike lasting several hours. You have to decide whether you want to hike directly to the beach or whether you want to catch a glimpse of it from above from the mountains. We decided on variant 2 and undertook an icy snow hike over the mountain Ryten in order to be able to enjoy this fantastic view. The route over the Ryten is said to be the most beautiful hike in Lofoten (if you believe our landlady, whose AirBnB we lived in for a week). The view over the mountain and fjord landscape is awesome and the view of the turquoise-blue Kvalvika Beach anyway – a real adventure! Excursion tips for Lofoten: Sea Eagle and Trollfjord Tour If you want to do something “real” in addition to sightseeing in the Lofoten Islands, then we can particularly recommend a Sea Eagle Safari , preferably one that leads through the famous Trollfjord. The Trollfjord is the narrowest fjord in Lofoten, the steep mountains rise up on all sides, which looks really impressive. The Sea Eagle Safaris are mostly offered from Reine, Henningsvær or Svolvær. A whale watching tour in the North Sea is also great: We would have loved to have done one, the only problem is that we couldn’t find a tour that starts in Lofoten. Google claims so, but all tours de facto take place from the village of Andenes, which is very high up in the northwest of the islands in the North Sea on the island of Vesteralen and not in Lofoten. However, if you want to spend a few days up there anyway, then definitely go on a whale safari! More information is available here. In general, the following applies to the Lofoten Islands: You have to be curious to find the best sights, photo spots and highlights! The Lofoten are an unbelievable piece of earth and almost every curve hides a new landscape panorama that you will probably not find anywhere else in the world in this form. Mountains, sea, stones, frozen lakes, colorful wooden fishermen’s houses, Caribbean blue dream beaches , green northern lights – the Lofotenare the dream of every landscape photographer for a reason. We found it particularly exciting to deviate from the usual route: The European road E 10 leads over Lofoten and many of the sights and spots mentioned can be found along the E 10. Please do not imagine that you can explore and really get to know the Lofoten Islands by driving from spot to spot, because the opposite is the case. Get off the E 10, go to places you’ve never heard of and keep your eyes open! A highlight can be hidden behind every curve and the landscape in Lofoten changes with the season, with the weather and even with the time. Some places look very different today than they did yesterday, the best example of this is provided by Reine in the pictures above. We have often experienced that we just jumped out of the car somewhere on the way because we discovered something interesting, for example a tiny lighthouse, a lonely house by the lake, mountains reflecting pink in the water during sunset or a fox that tampering with a stockfish farm. And within 10-20 minutes, more and more photographers gathered there because they also found the subject exciting. That means: Be curious, look where others are taking photos and find your own spots and sights. Because the Lofoten itself is the attraction and there is a lot to discover.
We no longer need to discuss that the Lofoten is an absolute dream landscape, we have already provided enough evidence in the form of images . The beaches in Lofoten in particular, with their contrast of mountain landscapes, lush green meadows and turquoise-blue water, create a picture that captivates every photographer for hours. The wonderful Haukland Beach, Uttakleiv and the stony Unstad Beach are undoubtedly some of the most beautiful places . The absolute highlight of every trip to Lofoten However, it is hidden between pointed mountains and cannot be reached by car or boat, but only on foot through a not very easy hike: the Bay of Kvalvika. There you will find Kvalvika Beach, which could just as well be a dream beach somewhere in the middle of the Caribbean if you neglect the mountains around it. The hike to the bay or beach of Kvalvika is one of the most beautiful hikes in Lofoten and works in every season. We had a lot of worries in advance whether it would even be possible in winter because we couldn’t find any information explicitly about the weather conditions in winter anywhere. How steep is it, how great is the risk of slipping? Can you see the trail markings when there is snow? Are there deep water holes or lakes that can be fatal if they are covered in snow? Because we didn’t really know what the conditions would be, our pants were pretty full and we were very careful on our way – ultimately, relatively unfounded. There were some tricky spots, but no problem with the right shoes and clothing. If you are planning a hike to the Bay of Kvalvika, you have to decide between two options in advance: Do you really want to hike to Kvalvika Beach and experience the beach live or do you want to enjoy a fantastic view of the bay and the turquoise blue water from above? Both variants, i.e. the view from above plus the hike to the beach, can be combined with each other, but only in summer when the days are very long. There is not enough time for a day trip in winter, so unfortunately you have to make a decision. You should also be in good physical condition for this. We decided to look from above – so our hike led us to Mount Ryten. We will now explain in more detail what the possible hiking routes to Kvalvika Beach look like, what to expect and what to look out for. The bay of Kvalvika: location and how to get there Kvalvika Beach is located on the island of Moskenesøya near the village of Fredvang. You can reach Fredvang relatively easily via the E10 after following the signs and passing two bridges. Two different parking spaces serve as starting points for the hikes, be it high on the Ryten or directly to Kvalvika Beach. Version A shows you the starting point for the hike to Ryten , version B shows you the starting point for the hike to Kvalvika Beach . With a view: the hike over the mountain Ryten (version A) You will find the parking lot as the starting point for your hike on the Ryten if you follow the signs to “Yttersand”. At some point you will pass a dilapidated house that Frankenstein must have built himself. Follow the street until you see a white house with a double garage on the right, where you can park (next to the garage of course). A few meters further on, a gravel path leads into the mountains on the left side of the road, you have come to the right place. It doesn’t take long for the climb to begin and it’s a steep uphill climb. For the hike you need sturdy and waterproof footwear, waterproof pants and warm, waterproof gloves with which you can grip. After a while you will reach a small plain with a mirror-smooth, small mountain lake. Keep to the right and follow the red path markings on the stones . It is now pretty steep uphill, the path is becoming increasingly slippery and you have to climb properly. Be careful where you step on the whole route, under the snow and moss there can be unpredictably deep water and mud holes (small all-clear: even if you sink to your knees, you can get yourself pulled out of the mud together). The view from up here over the mountains and the fjord landscapes is amazing, we always took a little time and just stood there and was amazed. At some point you will reach another mountain lake on your left. At this point there is also the possibility to descend to Kvalvika Beach, the path is signposted and you can already see the bay. If you continue to follow the red trail markings, from here it goes steeply up to the Ryten. At this point the conditions actually got really hairy for the first time on the track. We did our best and climbed as high as possible, but at some point it got so slippery on the steep slope with all the snow and ice that we didn’t dare move a meter further. The danger of falling was too great and we had to break off a few meters before the summit. So we quickly took a few pictures at what felt like – 30 ° C, the incredible view down to the icy, Enjoyed the Caribbean blue Kvalvika Beach and will be back quickly. We were very happy when we had secure ground under our feet again at the level of the mountain lake. The route on the Ryten is about 5km long oneway , you need about 2-3 hours for it . You should plan a (relaxed) full day for the entire route. On the way back you can follow the signs and descend to Kvalvika Beach. Please note, however, that you a) need to be in good physical condition and b) the day must be long enough for it. In winter, when you only have a few hours of daylight in the north, there is not enough time. Then you have to tackle the two hikes separately! As a separate hiking route to Kvalvika Beach, however, there is another route, for which you should also plan a full day. Hike to Kvalvika Beach (Version B) You can see the starting point for the direct hike (B) marked on the map above. You can also easily reach the parking lot via Fredvang. The route is shorter than up on the Ryten, but no less strenuous or challenging. Anyone who thinks that they just have to quickly get over a hill and then stand on the beach is pretty wrong. A particular challenge is crossing the rocky outcrop that splits Kvalvika beach into two individual beaches: There you climb over the rocks on steel chains in a rather adventurous way to get to the other side (luckily this is not a must, you don’t have to both See sides of the beach). On the way back you don’t have to take the same route, you can also choose a different route. In this case, however, note Since we couldn’t do the hike directly to the beach ourselves due to lack of time, here are a few helpful articles and experience reports explicitly about the hike directly to the bay of Kvalvika: Day tour to Kvalvika beach Overnight hike Route not to be copied By the way, there is something very special to discover on Kvalvika Beach itself: a small ‘hobbit house’. Not so long ago, a couple of surfers lived here for 9 months, completely isolated from the rest of the world. The small cave is still completely preserved and equipped and can be used by anyone who wants to stay overnight and live in it. There are a few impressions here . We really enjoyed the hike up to the Ryten and the solitude of nature up there. The cold was bearable thanks to continuous movement and the right clothing. We needed a total of about 5 hours for the hike, including photo stops (which worked well with the 6 hours of daylight in Lofoten at the beginning of February, but in the end we actually had to hurry a little to avoid getting into the dark). The hike was sometimes quite strenuous and even if we swore a lot during the time, whose stupid idea it was again, we didn’t even have mini muscle soreness the next day 😉 It’s worth it!
I usually know pretty much what to write about in a blog article. I come up with a title, think about what could be of interest to you on this topic and try to give as much information and experience as possible along the way. The article about Swedish Lapland will be a little different. Or rather, it is actually wrong to call it an article about Swedish Lapland, because we were only there for one day. And collecting valuable information about a place in just 24 hours – that is not possible. So I argued with myself for a while whether I should write about Swedish Lapland at all … added value and such. But hey, this is my internetwork here, if not here then where. And for this reason I will very well write about Swedish Lapland, because the impressions have to go somewhere. The first time on the ice made a lasting impression on me. You expect a lot of information and specific travel tips about what you can do in Swedish Lapland and why you absolutely have to go there? Sorry, nothing. You have to google it again. But if you are in the mood for a little disorderly narration and icy pictures and always wanted to know whether sled dogs actually stop to poop – a warm welcome! Stopover in Kiruna (Sweden): arrival in the ice How we ended up in Swedish Lapland in the first place is relatively simple to explain: We wanted to go to Lofoten in Norwayand the little town of Kiruna in Sweden looked like a useful starting point for us (cheap flights, cheap rental car). We had never heard of the place before, the airport looked tiny and accordingly we expected it to be completely wasted. So we were really pissed off when we actually sat in the tourist bomber heading for Swedish Lapland. With us on the plane: only Germans, perfectly equipped from top to bottom with professional functional clothing, because it is definitely minus twelve degrees. And Asians, loads of Asians. Those who take photos in the dark with their smartphone with flash. Immediately after landing, still on the airplane stairs on the way down. I like. The romantic illusion of having landed in a lonely winter wonderland has suddenly burst. Wikipedia tells us that the people in Kiruna in Swedish Lapland actually live primarily from tourism and that the whole city is built on an iron ore mine that is in danger of collapsing and will therefore have to be completely relocated in the next few decades. It will be fun for everyone. What exactly the tourists are doing here, however, only becomes semi-clear to us. We hear about the famous Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi , which is only 20km away … but come here especially for that? Really now? We can’t really make friends with Kiruna on our first evening, but we don’t have to, we’re just passing through. Swedish Lapland: About clinking waterfalls and lonely houses in the forest The next morning, at breakfast in what is probably the worst hotel in all of Kiruna, we discover one thing that we find very nice: polar bread . Tastes very tasty and is therefore chosen on the spot as the main food for the next 8 days. We pick up our rental car, we are sad that it doesn’t have such funny giant headlights on the front like apparently all other cars in Swedish Lapland and first drive it to buy tons of polar bread and Ost (a kind of cream cheese in tubes) in the supermarket. There are almost 200km ahead of us through the freezing cold north of Sweden on the way to Norway. The E10, which will later become a winding panoramic road in Lofoten, leads straight through the snow-covered landscape of Swedish Lapland. It leads us past trees and bushes, of which only the tips can be seen due to the meter-high snow, past small wooden houses buried under the roof in snow, past completely frozen rivers, from which the water is only dark in a few places flashes out. Again and again the white wasteland of trees and bushes is interrupted by huge snow-covered areas without any undergrowth – we can only guess that there must be huge lakes underneath. We stop at a completely frozen waterfall and have a spontaneous photo session at the roadside at about -18 ° C – the falling ice-blue water on the dark stones just looks too crazy. By the way, behind all the ice you could hear a loud rustling and clinking, In search of the reindeer Out of sheer amazement at frozen waterfalls and snow-covered houses, we also missed our first reindeer right away – it was actually quite chilled by the roadside. But because we thought that we would surely see hundreds of reindeer lying around the roadside, chilling (after all, we’re in Swedish Lapland, aren’t we), we didn’t stop for the time being. Unfortunately, that was a stupid decision. I don’t know what reindeer do all day and where they like to be, at least after that we haven’t seen a single reindeer. No longer on our way through northern Sweden, not on the Norwegian mainland, not in Lofoten. In the first days I kept my eyes open and carefully scanned every gray-looking rock, But at some point the certainty came: it won’t work here anymore. I would be lying if I said that the hope of a new reindeer sighting in Lapland did not contribute to our decision to leave Lofoten a day earlier than planned. Christian often just rolls his eyes, but unfortunately, when it comes to looking at animals, I can’t be stopped. You have to stop in the middle of the streets for reindeer, geese and foxes or sometimes to the I am unfortunately not to be stopped. You have to stop in the middle of the streets for reindeer, geese and foxes or even to the I am unfortunately not to be stopped. You have to stop in the middle of the streets for reindeer, geese and foxes or even to theFlamingos being flown to the Caribbean . I can’t do anything. And what can I say: It was worth it! On the way back to Kiruna a reindeer had made itself comfortable at the roadside and willingly let me take a picture (don’t worry, it wasn’t the same place as the week before. So I assume it was a different reindeer was and he was fine). Reindeer photos in Sweden: Check! With the dog sled through the night Since we traveled back to Kiruna a day earlier than planned, we still had a little time on site and decided to do a bit of touristic stuff: go dog sledding! In view of the prices of around 110 € per person, we gritted our teeth a lot, but booked it under Once in a lifetime and that’s it. Our guide picks us up in Kiruna at the agreed meeting point and drives us out into the wasteland of Swedish Lapland. When we arrive at the property with the dogs, we are greeted by loud barks and excited yelps. Funnily enough, the dogs are hard to hold and practically throw themselves into their harness. We are the only guests that evening and so we get a very private dog sled ride. The dogs pull our sledge through the powdered sugar landscape of Lapland at a very good pace and the barking from the beginning soon gives way to a steady panting. Our guide tells us that at the moment, at around -15 ° C, it is actually way too warm for the dogs and he is right: It doesn’t take long for individual dogs to cool down a little sideways in the snow during the race throw or snout a load of it. Our goal is a small tipi in the forest, there we take a break That was the cute part. The only half as cute part of a dog sledding tour (and the ugly truth) is that running around stimulates the dogs’ digestion. Nuff said. Wrap the scarf around your nose as tightly as you can. You will most likely not hit anything (well, that might also depend a little on the speed), but just the smell … manager manager. Call me naive, but I wasn’t aware of that before. Therefore, my 5 ULTIMATE tips for the PERFECT dog sledding tour are (if I had written my own article about the tour, that would have been my clickbaiting headline): Sit back on the slide as far back as possible Pull the scarf under the eyes. Wrap double. More scarf = less odor penetration Don’t look Not breathing You have to really like dogs You can imagine: Nobody paid us for the dog sledding tour, otherwise I wouldn’t write about flying shit here. Nevertheless I can recommend the tours of Huskytours in Kiruna , nobody can do anything for the digestion of the dogs. And digestion is always there, on every dog sledding tour. By the way, we didn’t see the northern lights on our evening sled tour, unfortunately the sky was too cloudy for that. In contrast to this article, you can find much nicer impressions of a dog sledding tour in daylight and lots of useful information about Swedish Lapland at Paradisefound.de. But as I said: Providing information was not my aim this time either. For once, I wanted to tell a little story and show a few pictures of an impressive landscape that for most of us in our latitudes is barely tangible with the mere imagination. The eternal white, the sun that never really comes out north of the Arctic Circle between December and January and makes the day linger in a blue haze, the months of shivering cold.
It must have been sometime in the 90s when I saw a report on television about an airport on a tiny island in the Caribbean where planes land only a few meters above the heads of the bathers. Of course, as a teenager, I didn’t remember the name of the island or the beach, but it must have been burned into my subconscious somewhere: I have to go there. There is no other way I can explain it to myself that I actually started googling at the end of 2015 and in mid-2016 I was on a plane to St. Maarten that was supposed to take us straight to this adventure to Maho Beach. The story is similar to that of the flamingos in Aruba – what must, must! Maho Beach – St. Maarten – Saint Martin – Wtf …? Most holidaymakers end up on St. Maarten by chance because the route of their cruise ship takes them there. But how is that actually called right now … St. Maarten – Sint Maarten – Saint Martin – St. Martin … or what? Yes. Both Sint Maarten and Saint Martin (each also known by the abbreviation St.) are correct names for the really small Caribbean island that used to be part of the Dutch Antilles. The different naming results from the fact that it is on St. Maarten / St. Martin gives a Dutch and a French part. Since the capital Philipsburg is a free trade zone, it is a popular port of call for cruise ships and thousands of cruise guests are “tipped” onto the island almost every day. The main attraction of St. Maarten is without a doubt Maho Beach, And we wouldn’t be us if we were too this nonsenseuhhh … not have already done this adventure . In contrast to the day tourists, we took a total of 4 days for St. Maarten and were able to explore the island quite well. Now there are the full load of pictures, at the end of the article there are a few practical tips about Maho Beach. Rush hour on Maho Beach Yes, there is such a thing. There is air traffic all day at Maho Beach, but the large planes from overseas and the USA usually arrive between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The flight schedule looks different every day of the week, so it’s best to inform you in advance which aircraft will land when on ‘your’ day. We used this overview of arrivals and departures , because the machines taking off can also be interesting if you want to head towards the fence. What it’s all about? The machines usually start with the butt towards the beach and are very close to the fence due to the limited space. The planes have to give a lot of material to take off, because the runway is very short and abruptly bounded by hills, which is why the planes have to come up very quickly. In reality this means that it is damn hot, warm and windy in the jet of such a turbine. The fence surfing at Maho Beach is quite popular , although highly visible warning signs are attached everywhere. Fortunately, there have been no major accidents to date, but we were able to experience firsthand that the situation can quickly get out of control. Somehow we positioned ourselves incorrectly when launching a larger Insel Air machine. We thought that we were pretty much on the edge and not in the middle of the jet of the turbines and suddenly a full gun went off. EVERYTHING has flown around our ears including ourselves! For about 5-10 seconds I wasn’t sure if this would survive because I was just stuck in the middle of a goddamn sandstorm. The final losses to report were: a contact lens and a hair tie. Buuhuu. So don’t make nonsense! I’m pretty sure we were on the edge of the spectacle and don’t want to know how the people who were in the middle of it were doing. But it’s also a fact: Maho Beach is fun. We couldn’t get enough of it and were there for at least 2 hours every day. On the beach itself it looks rather bad for reasons lying around (although this is quite possible on the edge if the background noise doesn’t bother you). You can also sit comfortably in the two bars on Maho Beach every now and then. The Sunset Beach Bar is good for planespotting, the prices for food and drinks are also okay (not cheap, but okay). Here you will also find the famous surfboard , on which the arrival times of the machines are dailyto be written out. Cheaper drinks are available in the bar on the other side of the beach, but from there the view of the arriving planes is a little worse. PS: Happy Hour starts at 4 p.m. in the Sunset Beach Bar. Bottom up! Practical tips for Maho Beach: arrival and parking In general, getting to Maho Beach is very straightforward. St. Maarten is so small that the beach is basically just a stone’s throw away, no matter where you are from. Arrival from the airport Maho Beach is located directly on the runway of Princess Juliana Airport (SXM), so you could theoretically walk to the beach in about 20 minutes (the road meanders and makes a few detours). Alternatively, you can take a taxi and be in max. 5 minutes to the beach. It’s stupid with luggage, of course, but if you can put it somewhere or have a stopover of several hours in St. Maarten, take the opportunity. Arrival from the port of Philipsburg Most holidaymakers arrive here by cruise ship. In Philipsburg you can either rent a car and jet off on your own or take a taxi to Maho Beach. The taxi prices on St. Maarten are regulated and are posted. A taxi ride to Maho Beach costs $ 20 , shared taxis are cheaper. You can find all information at Taxi St. Maarten. A drive from Philipsburg to Maho Beach takes about 30 minutes. Note that on St. Maarten in and around Philipsburg and Simpson Bay there is usually a traffic jam in the afternoon and you will need longer on the way back to the port. Drive off in time! If you want to rent a car and explore the island, we recommend booking in advance . St. Maarten is very small and the number of rental cars is limited. Spontaneously on site you will either not get a car or only completely overpriced. We always book with cheaper rental cars * Parking at Maho Beach This is also simple: There is a parking lot directly at Maho Beach with normal prices (we think we remember about $ 5). If you are a guest in the Sunset Beach Bar, the parking costs will be charged. Alternatively, you can look for a free parking space a few meters further on the fence around the runway, but there is rarely anything free there.