Meet FW and Elle from Lunaguava
I’m happy to introduce FW and Elle from one of my favorite travel blogs, Lunaguava. Their quirky style of writing, fantastic photos and thought provoking essays will keep you coming back from more each time. Both hailing from Europe, they’re currently in Guatemala enjoying the life and sharing their experiences from past and current travels. Interview with FW and Elle Please introduce yourself. A little bit about you and your blog. We are FW and Elle, two ragamuffins hailing from the Atlantic shores of southern Europe. We met in Amsterdam, our home of many years and springboard to many holiday adventures around the globe. Since we both share a childish curiosity for foreign lands, we dedicated most of our free time to planning escapades to distant corners of our extraordinary world. Eventually we decided to try long-term travel, in search of stories and untamed earth, which then led to the creation of Lunaguava – travel website, bottomless pitt of inane rants, photographical journal and ultimately the easiest way we could find to let all our friends know what we’re up to that was not a chain email. What are your travel styles like? Luxury, backpacker, budget, slow/fast, etc. We like to mix things up a bit. On previous holiday travels, we switched between backpacker and relaxed tourist, with the occasional indulgence in luxury (ha, paychecks – the memories…). Since we are currently on a ridiculously slow journey through Central America, our travel style might be defined as “surprisingly hygienic vagrancy”. Share with us some of your favorite travel moments or not so favorite travel moments. Also tell us if there was one moment where you both realized that traveling is what you wanted to do? We both got bitten by the travel bug from a very young age, and have the scars to prove it. As happenstance brought us together, so did the idea of traveling the world help cement our relationship. The closest thing to a defining moment we have is perhaps our first trip to SE Asia, when we visited Cambodia. I t was our first time in a completely alien environment and landscape, away from tethering comforts and potable water. We were curious not only about the country and its people but also about how we would cope as a newly-formed couple. Luckily, we loved it and later continued to explore other areas of the world, gathering memories and dust. Our favorite travel moments are usually aligned with intimacy – those bright sparkles of ramshackle glory when the world opens up and we feel swallowed by the most serene minutiae around us, silent but for our own heartbeats – or chocolate. Our not-so-favorite travel moments usually relate to tempestuous oceans, the ubiquitousness of blood-sucking bugs, the folly of the human condition and the lack of chocolate. You guys have been to some pretty cool places. What are your favorite destinations or countries and what are some places you don’t want to go back to if any? That’s the question we get asked the most, and probably the hardest to answer. We have loved all our journeys throughout the continents, but some we do seem to ramble about more often than others. As it stands at the time of writing, our favorite destinations (meaning countries we really, desperately want to see again) would be Japan and Tanzania. Oh, and Iceland. Did we also mention Mexico is amazing? But we loved Sri Lanka! (…this is usually the point where our friends start pouring more wine into their glasses and rolling their eyes in unison…) You’re currently in Guatemala right now. Tell us some things you love about it and some things you don’t. Guatemala has been full of surprises so far. We initially thought of it as just another potentially stimulating stop on our way south but, as with Mexico, one week turned into a galloping number of months, and we are now thinking of staying in Antigua Guatemala for quite a while. We love the remarkable landscape, shifting from dramatic volcanoes to wondrous lakes to mad capital cities to soft colonial towns to tropical jungle, all only a few hours apart from each other. Perhaps more relevantly, most folk we’ve met, even while lost in the urban maze of Guatemala City, have been heartwarmingly kind and easygoing. The things we don’t like are not exclusive to Guatemala, being found anywhere in our world, but are currently more permanent staples of developing countries: rampant corruption, endemic poverty, increasingly fragile status of indigenous cultures, environmental neglect… We can discern a brighter future though, and hope all Guatemalans will one day be able to reap the benefits of living in such a magnificently diverse nation. What are some things that are on your bucket list while traveling in Central America? Apart from very specific destinations we have been hungrily chasing since lazy childhood days (Serengeti, Angkor Wat, Japan, Macchu Pichu, Venice, Antarctica, etc), we don’t have much of a bucket list. We chose to travel through Central America for practical reasons (we speak Spanish, food is great and cheap, decent public transportation system, etc) and, well, mere curiosity. We wanted to explore its landscapes and untold stories as we naturally came across them. This lead to our current appreciation of slow travel – our route is open, and will shift according to whatever life throws our way. Case in point, our introduction to Guatemala. After hearing positive reviews from friends in Mexico, we decided to make Lake Atitlán our first stop on our way across the Guatemalan highlands. Two months later, we finally left, still mesmerized by its beauty and hoping to return to its shores as soon as we can… Give us 3 reasons why we should visit your hometowns Although we were both born under the southern sun, our lives became connected to northern waterways and rusty bicycles, as we made our life in Amsterdam for the past several years. Hence, we’ll go with Amsterdam as our shared hometown. Top 3 Reasons to visit Amsterdam? 1. It’s one of the most beautiful cities ever built. That pretty much sums it up. 2. From the masterpieces scattered around Museumplein to the apple pies and brown bars of the Jordaan neighborhood or the alternative spaces of NDSM-werf, there is much to see and do – and always surrounded by water and picturesque bridges… 3. Great cheese. Seriously. You guys have a tangents section on your blog which I love. Tell us a little bit more about it. Although our posts usually detail shared travel moments, occasional tips and whatever idiocy we are up to at any given moment, all the writing is done by the furry half of Lunaguava, meaning that scatterbrained guy with a penchant for rambling endlessly about whatever struck his brain between dreaming and quasi-coherent wakefulness, aka me. To me, travel means much more than going from one place to another, so I’ve created our Tangents section: a space for biographical essays, cinematic rants and even short fiction, or any other writing blooming from a need to express or explain more personal notions of wanderlust. You two have traveled together for quite some time now. How do you keep the peace and love on the road? Any couple travel secrets you want to share? Any advice for couples who are thinking about traveling together long term? We’ve been traveling together since 2009 and still appreciate each other’s company. Our main asset has always been a zany sense of humor, which coupled with patience and vast amounts of chocolate has helped our relationship endure through good times and occasional descents into untrammeled despair (often while hungry – might be related). The pitfalls of long-term travel are higher than regular holidaying though, since there is no discernible break to appease more independent urges. Hence, our main advice would be: try to sort out any pending issues before heading out into the great unknown. Life on the road can be stressful, and a foreign land is not the ideal place to discover you have contrasting needs and aspirations. Also, always carry chocolate. Lastly, tell us about your travel plans for 2014. We began 2014 in Guatemala and have no plans to leave in the near future. Due to health issues (frustratingly undiagnosed back in Europe – nothing to do with our actual nomadic lifestyle), we had to stop and smell the iodoform, eventually deciding to make Antigua Guatemala our current home. We’ve been loving our time here, and hope to gather enough strength and resources to one day continue our journey south. For now, we are in love with volcanoes and cobblestone streets – still traveling, but unconcerned by speed. Blog: Lunaguava Twitter Facebook: Google +
Los Ajenos Live Performance in Costa Rica – See how Ticos Like to Party!
It has become a tradition for most of the Costa Ricans to go to the coast during Easter and vacation there and one of the favorite destinations in the country is the province of Guanacaste. It’s the perfect place for the Costa Ricans who live in the city to have a nice vacation on the beach for a few days. We live in Playas del Coco and last Easter I had the opportunity to meet with some friends from high school that were visiting. I have to say that I have really good memories with mostly good friends that I still talk to and hang out whenever we can and it was fun to hangout with them when they all came to Cooc for the weekend. Los Ajenos in Playas del Coco This time we went to a concert together, most of the tourist towns always organize big events by the end of the Easter week and this time was no exception. One of the most popular bands in Costa Rica, Los Ajenos was playing and of course we had to go. I ended up recording a video on the stage, I really want to show our readers how these guys were. They played some iconic Costa Rica songs, their own original songs and above all they delivered a great, full of energy show. So if you are coming to Costa Rica and you hear that Los Ajenos are going to play, you can’t miss them ! I want to thank the staff from “Los Ajenos” to let me record the video. Here is their website if you want to contact them or check out the band. www.losajenos.com I want to show in this video how Costa Ricans have fun and party with their friends. I hope you enjoy it ! Pura Vida I took this video with my GoPro Camara for more info click the picture
Kalaloch Area in Olympic Peninsula – Yes Washington Beaches are Beautiful!
I’ve been spoiled. Living in the golden coast of Costa Rica for the past year means that I’m surrounded by beautiful beaches, the closest one just a couple minutes away. I’m used to warm waters, soft sand and hot weather year round so that the beach is somewhere that you can go any hour of the day, any time of the year. Not so much when I was living in Washington. My family went camping on the Olympic Peninsula every summer when I was young and although I was too young to know the difference, I loved it and thought that those beaches were the most beautiful and exotic ones in the world. It’s not until I got older that I learned there were such things as “white sand” beaches and “turquoise” waters that you can swim in! Kalaloch Beach Area The one area I remember the most are the beaches at Kalaloch. The name is so pretty, coming from a Quinault word k’–E–le–ok which means “a good place to land.” We’d go camping and I would play all day with my brother and friends at the beach and eat some of the best ice cream. I’d have to say that growing up on a beach would probably be the most fun environment for a kid. We stopped camping there when I got older so many years later, I took a trip back there during my junior year of college with some friends. None of them have been there before so I wanted to show them a nice place on the coast that’s not as well known. But first… let’s do a little compare and contrast shall we? Left picture is at Tamarindo, Costa Rica in November wearing what I normally wear: shorts and tank top. Right picture is at Kalaloch beach Washington in March, a tad bit more covered up. Big difference! The Beaches There are several beaches within the entire Kalaloch area: Beach 1, Beach 2, Beach 3, Beach 4, Beach 6 and Ruby beach. Ruby beach is the more popular beach in the area and is just north of Beach 6. We’d normally camp at Beach 1 and walk along the coastline to the others but there are campsites throughout the area. The entire Olympic Peninsula coastline is 65 miles with the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary and three other wildlife refuges, helping to keep the area a haven for many sea creatures. There are many hiking trails, beach and nature in and around the entire Kalaloch area with various overlooks and points of interests. During the summer, you can brave the waters and go in but most visitors prefer not to and rather walk on the beach and go wildlife watching. Even during high season which are the summer months, the beaches are never crowded and always clean. OK so the beaches in Washington are as opposite from the beaches in Costa Rica as you can get but by no means does that equal less beauty. The attraction and allure of these beaches aren’t white sand or clear waters. Instead, they have a quieter beauty that doesn’t go unnoticed by those who have a deeper appreciation for nature beyond the surface. The beaches in Washington are truly beautiful. Who said you need to wear a swimsuit to have fun at the beach? Can you see the three of us? Camping Camping at Kalaloch is the most popular activity during the summer. It’s one of the best memories I have as a kid and it’s a fantastic place to take your family and friends to get a experience the Washington outdoors. There are over 150 sites throughout Kalaloch which are open year round but really, who wants to camp during winter? You need to reserve spots during summer because they go fast! There is also Kalaloch lodge near Beach 2 that takes reservations for rooms. Definitely reserve early, they fill up fast as well. Kalaloch Beach Area Location Driving: Take Highway 101 from I-5 to Olympic Peninsula More Information To get all the details about Kalaloch Beach including riptides, camping, wildlife and more, visit the official site of the National Park Service. If you like this article you can like us on FB by clicking below All photos courtesy of my awesome friend Jonathan Laylo – check out his Tumblr and Flickr feed
Gasworks Park in Seattle – A Modern Park with Old Industrial Structures
When you go to a park, you usually see a playground, trees, a picnic area, grassy knolls, maybe a lake and some walking paths but you would never see a gas plant (yes, you read that right, a gas plant). But if you’re in Seattle, you will. Gasworks Park in Seattle is actually a public park on the site where the former Seattle Gas Light company plant was located and believe it or not, it’s actually pretty nice! They turned that area into a beautiful park and kept the previous plant structures to give it that a very quirky characteristic. Gasworks Park First operating as a gas plant from 1906 to 1956, Gasworks became an official park in 1975. It was designed by a local Seattle architect, Richard Haag who later on won the American Society of Landscape Architects Presidents Award of Design Excellence which is highly deserved. You got to be creative to turn a gas plant into a park! Gasworks uses a good number of the old structures as a children’s play area, graffiti canvases and ruins on display. Entrance of the park This park used to be one of my favorite getaway places during college when I needed to refresh my mind after hours of studying. It was only a little over a mile away from my apartment at UW so sometimes I’d run there or take my books and walk there to study. During the winter, it’s not that nice but during spring and summer, Gasworks Park is a popular spot for students and tourists to come and enjoy a beautiful view. Frequent visitors just take in the sight of old gas plants like normal but it is an interesting sight to see for the first time. You can sit on the grassy hills and have a picnic, fly kites, walk your dog, throw a frisbee or just sunbathe. It’s fun to watch all the kayakers, sailboaters and rowers exercise their skill on Lake Union. In the summer, you’ll probably see weddings going on here and there as it’s a popular place for couples to say “I do.” I went to a wedding here a few years ago and it was lovely. My favorite part of the park is right at the highest point where there is a sundial. That spot hosted many peace concerts back in the day and it’s also the best spot to see fireworks for July 4th, if you get there early enough! It’s popular with kite flyers and I’ve even seen people sledding down the hill without snow. You might see students doing Capoeira (form of Brazilian martial arts plus dance), playing with their helicopter drones or couples taking their engagement pictures. View from the top Is it clean? To be honest, the concept sounds like a terrible combination. An old gas plant converted to a park? Not exactly your top choice for prime park real estate. The Washington State Department of Ecology and US EPA cleaned up the park using several different processes to remove all the contaminants and particles. As of today, there aren’t any known areas with surface soil contamination so it’s completely safe but if you take a look at the lake, the water looks kind of dirty. As you walk around, you’ll notice that many of the structures are covered in graffiti art. How the artists got up to the top, I have no idea. The view is pretty spectacular so whoever chose this piece of land had the right idea. You have a full on view of Lake Union, I-5 freeway, downtown, Queen Anne and the Space Needle. Other view from the top An Important Landmark in Seattle Gasworks Park was just a park with funky old structures to me back in college but after doing some research, the historical and cultural importance of this site is fairly substantial. It is probably one of the most unique and interesting landmarks in Seattle and was finally registered on the National Register of Historic Places just last year. The combination of the old industrial age and natural beauty was most creative and highly innovative by the architect and park designer. Instead of the ugly brown towers ruining a piece of land that serves as a stunning base for Seattle landscape, they actually became impressive structures, standing out and blending in at the same time with the terrain. By doing so, it also increased the awareness and knowledge of the old industrial past in the United States. When the gas plant was created, environmental safety was not in the highest regard, but it is today and the state has done a fine job cleaning it up. The old structures represent an era of the US almost long forgotten, but it also emphasizes the country’s technological development in the past 50 years. Although these towers have not been in operation for many years now, they haven’t completely lost all of the soundness and stability they used to represent. Preserved in fairly good condition, they can be easily seen from any place on Lake Union. If you get a chance to visit Gasworks Park, definitely do so. Learn about this impressive piece of historical land that represents a Seattle in the old days and a modern Seattle in the current day. Best time to go? Summer for sure. You can see what the locals like to do on a nice sunny day. It’s one of my favorite spots in Seattle! If you like this article you can like us on FB by clicking below Location Additional Visiting Information Free parking lot No entrance fee Small snack stand with facilities No hunting or fishing allowed