PhotoBackpackers

Tati’s Top 10 Experiences

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Like Guto talked about in our last post, we don’t carry in our memory just the places we visited, but mostly the experiences we had. That’s what we usually remember and talk about whenever we are among friends or when someone asks about the trip. And that’s why we’re doing this list, so we can tell a little bit more about all of this for those of you who couldn’t sit down and share a beer with us yet, hehe.

And man, what a tough list to write! Considering that, combined, we chose 20 experiences to share here, there’s still so much that was left out! Becoming friends with the Shawarma guy in Wadi Musa, floating in the Dead Sea, choosing random meals in Malaysia street fairs, walking in the clouds in Mount Huangshan, eating a homemade pasta made by an Italian girl, do rafting in the Ganges river and taking a cooking class with a Tibet refugee in India, spending Christmas in a crazy way in Cambodia, watching a beautiful sunset inside a thermal pool in New Zealand and many (seriously, MANY) other incredible experiences were cut… But that’s ok, take some time in your busy schedule to call us and we’ll tell you all about it, ok? 😀

For now, here are my top 10 experiences chosen to share with you a little bit of what this trip was really about. Take a sit and enjoy. 😉

 

CIRCUS SHOW DURING SUNSET IN PARIS

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I would like you to try to picture this beautiful combination of factors we found in Paris: the Great Arch de la Défense, a circus festival, a beautiful sunset, the most touching and well executed street performance I have ever seen. And the cherry on top of the cake: all of this accompanied by the gorgeous (and very characteristic) Parisian accordion.

We were on the road for less than 15 days, and it was exactly during this amazing moment that it hit me: all of this was true. I was there, making a dream come true, receiving a beautiful gift from Paris and about to experience many other great things. I wasn’t “on vacation”, my trip wasn’t about to end in a couple of days. All of this was just the beginning. I have to admit that it hit me so hard that I couldn’t take it and cried during almost the entire show. But let’s be honest here… who wouldn’t?

I keep carrying the sound from that accordion in my heart, making the beautiful memories I have from this moment even more complete.

 

BALOON FLIGHT IN CAPPADOCIA

If you’ve heard about Cappadocia before, it is possible that it was about the beautiful show that goes on there every single day during sunrise. Rows of air balloons fly above the curious rock formations of the region, so that a big amount of tourist from all over the world can become amazed by the beautiful views.

This ride would be great just for the opportunity to see from a different angle this terrain that is so different from everything we’re used to (we think it looks a little bit like the moon surface, but we haven’t been there yet to confirm the similarity, hehe), but this amount of air ballon with the sun rising from the horizon are quite a show. This was one of the most expensive things we did, but it was worth every penny. The picture with the beautiful landscape, the other hundreds of balloons and the sun rising in the background is unforgettable!

 

SPENDING A DAY WITH ELEPHANTS IN THAILAND

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During a nice day, while I was researching about cool things to do around the world, I stumbled upon the beautiful possibility of spending a hole day with an elephant in Thailand. This experience became almost an obsession and it was one of the first things I decided I would have to do. That’s why when we took the picture of our planning process, I chose to put on my lap the exact book that made me discover this, because the search for this experience had a big influence on our itinerary.

I’m always afraid of having high expectations, because they are rarely fulfilled, right? But I’ll tell you something… elephants know how to impress! What an INCREDIBLE animal! The day I spend with my friend Chang Pa was really amazing. Being able to sit directly on his neck (and finding out with my bare feet that his skin is very soft!), spending the day with him following trails and crossing river, feeding him, bathing him in mud and then washing him on the river (with water splash through the trunk and everything!) was even more impressive than what I could imagine.

I left the place really greatful, and certain that I’ll remember this day for the rest of my life. <3 Obs: Guys, for those who get the opportunity to experience this, please research a lot before choosing the place, ok? Some places harm the elephants so they learn tricks (like painting, for example) or hurt their spines by putting heavy chairs on their backs (with a lot of tourist at the same time on them), among other things. Look for places known for taking care of these adorable animals, like recovery and preservation centers. This way everyone can enjoy this amazing experience without encouraging this harmful kind of tourism. 🙂

 

THE FIRST BREAKFAST IN BALI

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Almost every traveler heard at least once that Bali is a great place. Beautiful culture, welcoming people, many natural beauties and a bunch of other pretty cool stuff. So imagine how it feels like to get to a place like this after spending a month in India!!!

Don’t get me wrong, India is also a very cool place that was reeeeally worth to get to know, but we have to be honest and admit that is a tough place to go. REALLY tough. Your comfort zone tells you “SEE YA!” as soon as you touch your feet there! So, although we had a transforming experience, when we reached Bali we were exhausted.

But then magic started to happen. We left the airport and we weren’t crowded by a million of drivers fighting for our attention. Our taxi driver was a sweet gentlemen that, amazingly, didn’t honk once during the ride. When we got to the B&B, we were really well received by all the family of the owners, including the women. The place was really clean, organized, and all decorated with plumerias, their typical flower. And, as we dropped our bags, we were offered a delicious breakfast in front of their very peaceful garden. When we took a deep breath and absorbed this new environment, it was like receiving a huge hug from the universe! Hehe.

 

CHINESE CHOIR IN THE TEMPLE OF HEAVEN

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You’re in China. A very crazy country by our standards, with a really rich and deliciously different culture. Then you go take a walk in one of the biggest and more beautiful parks of the capital, Beijing, and BAM! You find a magnificent and really talented choir, with over 50 people, with a beautiful sunset on the background.

First reaction? Stand there, really close to them and admire all that. Second reaction? Take pictures and record a little bit of that sound. Third reaction? Well… I don’t want to add fire to the story that I’m a cry baby, but it was really hard to hold back the tears. Hehe. Being in the “Temple of Heaven” and seeing all this was really a heavenly gift. Some unexpected moments seem to take you by the arms and shake you to say “PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU’RE EXPERIENCIIIIINGGGG!!!”. To me, this was one of these moments.

 

SWIMMING WITH SEA TURTLES IN HAWAII

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Hawaii is simply amazing. We really enjoyed the 10 days we spent over there, but there was one thing bothering us. Wherever we went, someone would come to us and say “So, have you seen the sea turtles yet? They are sooooo awesome, and they’re everywhere, how come you haven’t seen them yet?!?”. Seriously, every day we heard someone saying this! And they always mentioned a beach that we had visited already (but hadn’t seen any turtles there). To be fair, we had seen the amazing whales being happy in the ocean (and even waving with their flippers!), but c’mon, all this talk about the turtles provoked us.

So on one of our last days, when we were almost losing hope, we went to one of the beaches people talked about. To our surprise, we saw one right there on the sand! She was resting and moved to the water right after, slow as turtle (sorry, couldn’t help myself, hehe). But the best part was that the ocean was full of them!

There was a lady there from a NPO that protects the sea turtles and she explained that they choose some places to lay their eggs, and this was the beach chosen this time. And she said that we could go into the ocean and swim with them, just try to avoid getting too close. And there we went, extremely happy, to swim with the sea turtles! And they are so gorgeous, guys! And they became very curious about us too (maybe we look funny in our snorkels?). We tried to swim away a little bit, but they kept coming closer and staring at us, hehe. Nature is so, so beautiful!

 

ADVENTURE COMBO IN THAILAND

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Ok, everyone already knows that we reeeeally liked Thailand. Good food, nice people, elephants (♥), amazing beaches… (sigh).
What was I talking about? Hehe.

Oh, right! Thailand is great, and we knew it even before going. But we became absolutely sure on the day we went on one of the most complete tours of our lives in Koh Phi Phi! The day starts like this: you get on one of those typical boats and they take you to the middle of the ocean. 1st stop: snorkeling. Like Guto already talked about, Thailand’s underwater world looks like something from Disney movies. There’s so much natural beauty that there’s no way you won’t be impressed. Then, back to the boat.

2nd stop: a cliff. A cliff? Yeeees! If you’re a little crazy and always dreamt about jumping from a cliff into the ocean like I always did, here is the big moment! I’ll tell you that when I noticed that I was 10 meters above the ground I almost didn’t jump. But I swallowed my fear quickly and jumped… And it was amazing! Teenage dream coming true: check!

3rd stop: Maya Bay. Talking about teenage dreams, who has seen “The beach”? In the movie, Leo DiCaprio goes through some troubles to find a secret paradise beach. And Maya Bay is that beach! It’s not that secret anymore, but it’s still paradisiac. Because it’s a bay located on an inhabited island, the only access is by boat, which increases the charm of the place. We reached the beach by sunset, which allowed us to enjoy all that view with less tourist fighting for a place under the sun. Awesome! But hold on, it’s not over yet!

4th stop: Glowing Plankton. For biologist, it’s not that big of a deal. But for us, simple traveleres, get into the ocean by night and get to swim with water plants that glow in the dark when we move around them was an amazing experience. I felt like I was swimming in a starry sky (if that makes any sense). So beautiful!!

When I got down from the boat in Koh Phi Phi I was exhausted. But extremely happy. And you know how much that cost us? Like 18 dollars. So, is Thailand simply amazing or what?

 

OUR BREAKFASTS IN MCLEOD GANJ

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Mcleod Ganj is a small town in India that now is the refuge of Tibetans exiled from China (even Dalai Lama lives there). And it’s a delicious place. First because it’s actually a small and very charming village, with Tibetans prayers flags everywhere. But also because it’s a calm place, right at the beginning of the Himalayas, which means you get amazing views of the mountains wherever you may be.

Visiting this city would already be great anyway, but we got there right after spending a week locked in our room with the worst food poisoning we had on the trip. During this week, besides our illness, we completely lost our appetite (specially for Indian food). So you can say that we got there quite famished, hehe.

Our hotel in Mcleod was a very simple place. The room was dark, the bed was very hard, the hot water lasted 2 minutes… But the place where they served breakfast was an open patio with an UNBELIEVABLE view of the mountains. And the menu was wonderful… Bread, cheese, coffee, cake. Seems simple, right? But after spending almost one month in India we learned the value of a spicy-free breakfast (only possible because of the Tibetans).

This became our favorite moment of the day. Sitting down, having a delicious breakfast and admiring that amazing view. We ended up staying there longer than we planned every single day. But, come on, would any of you rush out of this place?

 

ALL ALONE IN THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA

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I don’t know if this is geographically true but I always felt that China was the furthest place we would go. I never imagined that I would visit China this early in life, and the image I had of the country was just of a place very different and very, very far from Brazil. And, in a heartbeat, there we were: in the Great Wall of China. We had spent some great days in Beijing already, but that’s where it hit me: “Man… I’m really far away from home!”. But this still wasn’t the best moment of the day.

The wall is a very long structure, practically continuum (interrupted in some places because of landslides), which means that it’s advisable to turn around in some point, so you can leave through the same place you entered. We spent the afternoon walking and finally reached a very high place of the wall, where almost everyone stops to see the view and then chooses to come back. But we had the impression that there was an exit faaaar aheeeead and decided to go on.

After a few hours of a lot of physical effort (some parts are really steep and it was slippery because of the snow), the amazing part of the day happened. The sun was setting and we were alone in the Great Wall of China. ALONE, people! We sat on one of the steps and stayed there for a while, admiring this beautiful image in an absolute silence. Just the wind and the comforting sun of the end of the day to keep us company. The exit we had seen was actually a lot further than we imagined, but we didn’t even remembered we were tired afterwards. Just remembered that one moment when we had the main tourist attraction of the most populated country in the world to ourselves. 🙂

 

THE LAST SUNSET IN SANTIAGO

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277 days on the road. When we sat on that wall of the San Cristóbal Hill, in Santiago, that’s all I could think about. 277 days feeling like children, discovering new words, colors, flavors, behaviors. 277 days that had amazing experiences and great difficulties, but with such a positive balance that it’s even hard to describe. 277 days that changed me forever.

We got there at the end of the afternoon and watch the sun set behind the mountains, drinking a lemon tea whose flavor I still remember. We talked about all we had been through, remembered some special moments, the people we met and imagined what was waiting for us here in Brazil. The days in Chile were emotionally intense, but this last sunset was like feeling everything all at once. We cried a lot, lol. But it was beautiful. I felt like stopping time and staying in this moment forever. However, day 278 came, and with it the comfort and joy of our homes, families and friends.

But we’ll always remember the sunset that ended our amazing journey around the world. <3

So, what do you think ?