Thursday, December 29, 2011

Monarch butterfly


This butterfly (Monarch), by the way, catches my eye each time I am on a trip. The first time I consciously saw one was last year in the Whitefish Dunes State Park (Wisconsin) - first picture above. Then again this year while walking around the park in San Sebastian de La Gomera.

Aren't they wonderful creatures? They don't live for a long time but while they do, they show off all their beauty and grace.

We could learn from them...

Qi Gong ... or how to close 2011 in a good way

This week I am attending a "New Year's Eve" 4 days Qi Gong course with my usual teacher. It is wonderful. Really. It helps me to ... close 2011 in a good way and to be ready for 2012.
Do you know what I find extraordinary about Qi Gong? That it enables me to "feel" with my body what my mind already knows.
I know, I know, I know. You all think that I am going crazy. I am not. Don't worry. But since I do Qi Gong I realised how much more there is to thinking.

Thinking is good and you know that I do a lot of it.

But it's not EVERY THING.

There is this thing called "body" that I / we tend to forget. And Qi Gong reminds me of it. Every time. To be good to my body. To give him enough time. To give him enough sleep. To simply take care of him. To give him enough space.

I am not saying anything about all the stuff I want to have in 2012. NOT AT ALL. I've learnt my lesson in 2011. I am keeping quiet this time. I will give my thoughts enough time. And I will give my body enough space.

I am confident that it will be wonderful.

HAPPY NEW YEAR everybody. Live a life in which you recognize yourself! And try to live your dreams!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

BUON NATALE / HAPPY CHRISTMAS

I hope that you will have good time with your family (or friends, depending) and that you will eat a lot of yummy stuff and receive a lot of gifts :-))))

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Getting older ... and wiser?

Do you know how one recognizes that one is getting older (and I prefer to think: wiser)? When you are sitting in the movie theater with a bunch of your (younger) girlfriends and they are getting TOTALLY EXCITED over Zac Efron acting on screen :-) I tell you. Totally excited!! For me it was doubly mortifying because at first I didn't recognize him and had to ask who he was and then (after a whispered "Zac Efron, of course! Don't you know him???") my only thought was: he looks like a baby. Well. A handsome baby. But a baby nevertheless. The latter thought was kept for myself, of course, after the earlier whispered reproval. SMILE.

Do you wanna know the best about it? If getting older means prefering Daniel Craig (amongst many others) over Zac Efron, well, then I LOVE GETTING OLDER (I do anyway, by the way, these were just some thoughts...).

PS: The movie I am talking about is "New Year's Eve"...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mobile coverage

Some of you might not know. But during my stay in La Gomera I didn't have mobile coverage. No mobile phone for two and a half weeks. Do you imagine? I found it very relaxing...
Since I am back to my usual life, something strange happened. I didn't receive any SMS. People could phone me but NO SMS. I thought it was strange but did not question it (I am still in my "take it easy Gomera mood" SMILE). Then yesterday I received a lot of SMS just at once. Some of them dated last Sunday or Saturday even. Don't you think that this is funny? It's like my mobile phone tells me: I liked it while staying in La Gomera. No work. Just relax. I wanted to have a couple of more such days...
A friend of mine suggested that maybe my phone was telling me ... to go back???

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Being back

I have been back now for what? Three days? Honestly, I must admit that my body might be back but my soul isn't. At all. Usually, I have this kind of feeling when my trip is long (like last year after 6 weeks in Michigan and Illinois). Never I had this kind of feeling after being away for only 2 1/2 weeks. La Gomera is a magical place. In the first couple of days on La Gomera, when meeting people who had been on the island for a couple of months, all of them told me the same: it takes you a couple of days to get it but then the magic of La Gomera will ... envelop you.

Well, there were right!

The people on Finca Argayall kept repeating that this was because of the (very) old stones - volcano stones in fact. They, apparently, have a lot of energy... I collected as much energy as possible ... in order to survive the forthcoming winter. Fortunately, the temperatures are rather mild for the season - I wouldn't have survived the first couple of days otherwise.

This afternoon I will sort through all the pictures I have taken and start working on a photo album. This will do me good...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Adiòs Gomera

Can't believe how quickly time went by. Tomorrow I have to get up at 5am, take the ferry and then another ferry and then the bus... you know. Just like when I arrived! La Gomera is a special place and if you ever want to come here, don't hesitate!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Blank

My mind is totally blank. Believe me or not but these vacations on La Gomera did me good. Very good even. Since arriving here at the Finca I realised that my thoughts, which usually are never leaving me (you know!!), did just that. They left. What is left is a wonderful feeling of ... emptiness. Wonderful. I hadn't aimed to get there but now that I am, I am really enjoying the feeling. I talk to people all the time (met some nice Germans) but most of the time I am just sitting there, staring out to the sea and ... think nothing. I don't even dream here (I did a lot of dreaming while staying in Casa Heidi but apparently the vibes on the Finca are different). I wanted to attend some meditation courses but in the end I don't need any (and also those courses which were offered were not my gusto - too much hippie dancing in my opinion SMILE). It's great. What a wonderful way to enjoy summer time while in Northern Europe (I was told) it snowed...
Tomorrow is my last day (Wednesday will be travelling only - a very long travel but I don't wanna think about it) and I will take some last pictures of the Finca and will enjoy ... doing nothing and, most importantly, thinking nothing :-)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

last couple of days...

The last couple of my days here on La Gomera are going to be about ... not doing much. I left Casa Heidi this morning (being sad about leaving) and was driven to Finca Argayall. This Finca is a retreat where all the meals are included as well as yoga and meditation courses. It's located in a bay just near the harbor of Valle Gran Rey. What is particular though about this place that you can't come here easily. The only road that brings you here is a kind of a road but it's actually made more of rocks than anything else. In addition, it goes along the canyon wall and there is always the danger of falling rocks.

My words tell the story already. I am not gonna leave the place much. I am glad not to. Because it's peaceful and wonderful. You'll see the pictures. I am staying in a small hut in the middle of the garden. The hut is called "pyramid" because it actually looks like one. It's like a dream come true, believe me. There are small windows in the top of the pyramid and I will sleep looking at the stars!!

I plan on ... looking out to the sea, thinking nothing, reading and doing some meditation courses (maybe about the latter - have not decided yet...). Of course, I will take pictures of the wonderful garden!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Good things happen

My photo camera is working again!!! I am soooo glad. It makes no longer strange sounds and I took up taking pictures again...
Not much to tell today. It's "la calima", meaning hot weather coming from the desert... Hot winds, and hotter temperatures... Definitively summer feeling... I spent the day at the beach first and then on the patio...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Amazing

It's 10 pm and everybody in Casa Heidi is either asleep or out to the usual bar (older German couple - they are going out every night to the same bar!!!). Therefore, I have the place all to myself. What is amazing though, is that I can hear the sea! Wonderful. I am sitting here, writing these words and listening to the hoosh of the waves... Amazing. And Casa Heidi is rather far away from the beach (it takes me at least 10 minutes by foot to get there, depending on how hot it is...). Can you imagine how quiet this island is in order for me to hear the waves?

Another amazing thing just happened. I haven't told you yet that the first residents of the island had a whistling (pfeifen) comunication. It's called el Silbo and it was brought to La Gomera from the people of Northern Africa (first settlers). They used to communicate this way because they needed to hear each other without actually seeing each other - that's why they choose whistling sounds. Cool, don't you think? Yesterday in the Archeological Museum in San Seb I heard the sound of this ancient language. I was told that apparently now the younger people want to cultivate this whistling language. I just heard some whistling sounds a couple of minutes ago and Karin, who came down this minute because she forgot something in the kitchen, confirmed it to me. I heard el Silbo! I think that this is totally cool!!!

Help!

My photo camera makes really strange sounds! Help!! Each time when I turn the power on it sounds like a small machine of whatever kind... I am worried. Really worried. Fortunately, today was (again) a day of dolce far niente and I didn't need my camera. I hope that one day of rest will make the noise go away. Please. Please. Please. Make the noise go away. There are not many subjects that I want to shoot but on Saturday I am leaving Casa Heidi to go to Finca Argayall and I want to take pictures of their wonderful gardens.
Maybe my camera just needed some time off?? Let's hope that it's the case...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Palm Trees

Never, until now, I had realized how different palm tree bark (Rinde) looks. I took some picutres and was totally fascinated by the textures and the colours. Decide by yourself. Do you like them as much as I do?



San Sebastian de la Gomera





At 7 am I was awakened by a strange noise. Ah yes, of course. My alarm clock. I had forgotten its sound :-) I was exited to get up, though, because I wanted to visit the capital of La Gomera: San Sebastián. At 8 am sharp the bus left and there I went for an exiting tour around the island (San Sebastian is almost at the other side from where I am staying - Valle del Rey).

San Sebastian is known to the History fans as the departure place of Cristoforo Colombo towards America. I have even visited the fountain whose water blessed Colombos' ship. You envy me, right? SMILE No seriously, San Seb is a cute little town where some of the old houses were restored as well as the churches. I walked (during noon heat) to the lighthouse and remembered all those that I visited during my last US trip! San Seb has two main plazas where people are gathering under huge trees. I could have stayed for hours but unfortunately my bus back left already at 14.30... (see pictures above)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

News?

Not much to talk about today.
After my yesterday's hiking tour, I decided to fit in a "dolce vita" day. Therefore, after the usual breakfast out on the patio, looking at the sea, I accompanied Karin (she owns Casa Heidi where I am staying) and Petra, a girl from Bonn that was a guest in Casa Heidi for the last week, to the ferry. Karin needed to do some medical checking in Tenerife and Petra is continuing her vacation there.

I walked back from the harbor and in impulse checked out the availability of the hairdresser in town. My hair looked terrible! She had time and did a terrific job in blow-drying my hair!! Apparently, the Spanish clientele must have the same kind of hair as I do because she handled everything perfectly well... (I already have another appointment at her salon).
Then I went for a walk on the beach, had grilled tuna for lunch, looking at the sea (getting used to that!!), and later on went to the German bakery for coffee and dessert. I already told you that the German bakery is the only place in town where I speak English. But NOT today. Today, I met Gabriella, an Italian lady that has lived in La Gomera half of her live. Aaaaaahhhh, it was wonderful, after a week talking almost always Hochdeutsch, to switch to Italian.
After a nice coffee and a much nicer dessert (they do wonderful desserts there!!), I spent the rest of the afternoon on the patio, working on my sun tan.

I have a wonderful live :-)

PS: Tomorrow I will set my alarm bell for 7 am in order to catch the 8 o'clock bus to San Sebastian (the capital of La Gomera). I want to do some architectural sightseeing and some shopping as well...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Impressions on La Gomera

Let me tell you something about La Gomera. Something that seemed very strange to me the first day, on my arrival.

There are not many Spanish speaking people here. Good, there are some natives, of course, but the majority is ... of German language (mostly German, but Swiss and Austrian people as well). It's like being in "Germantown". No kidding. The first day I was like: where the hell am I?? But with the countryside looking totally different from where I usually live, I not only didn't care much longer but I felt on vacation anyway.

In the meantime I got used to all these German speaking persons around me and as I don't speak Spanish it is rather useful in the shops when the persons speak a language that I know.  SMILE. Funny thing though is that the only place where the personnel doesn't speak German is... the German bakery. Don't you think that this is hilarious??? I tried with Italian but apparently we Italians understand them, the Spanish, but they don't understand us (or maybe they don't even try???). So I spoke English in the German bakery hahahahahah

Anyway. The countryside is soooo wonderful that I don't care if people around me speak German or Chinese or whatever!!!

PS: Tomorrow I am going on a hiking tour!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Garden Tour












On La Gomera the backyards look like florist shops or a nursery (Gärtnerei). Totally amazing :-)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Whale watching

4 hours in a small boat out on the big sea. Another amazing day yesterday :-) We saw some small whales (6 m long) and my heart started beating. I had never seen some in the wild. The others were disappointed because they wanted to see much more of them but for me it was a first and therefore I was quite happy to have seen some at least... I tried to take some pictures but finally decided against them. Why? Not only because I would have needed a better camera but also because I wanted to watch with my eyes and my heart and to imprint these sensations in my soul. Pictures will never show / catch what I felt yesterday. Never. I have got one picture for you though. At some point, the cloud above me looked ... like a whale. Do you see it?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Parque National de Garajonay

I've decided against renting a car and to book some guided hiking tours instead (easier to handle and cheaper as well).
Today, we visited the Parque National de Garajonay (Lorbeerwald / laurel forest). I had heard a lot of good things about this place and had seen many very nice pictures (in the Internet and in my guidebook). Well, I wasn't disappointed - it was WONDERFUL. It felt like a magic world, like a world with no noise, only trees that have a dress made of moss (see pictures below). Magical. Really.
The only inconvenient point was (and I stress on only) that it was bloody cold. Oh my! We left Valle del Rey with the usual very nice 20°C and half an hour later we got off the bus and it was like ... winter time! Cold and windy and cold and windy. I was glad for my warm clothes and my jacket that protected me against the wind! Apparently, even during summer time this place is always rather cold and humid (it's due to Passat winds but please don't ask for details SMILE I am no good at such details!) The woods were impressive though, let me tell you. On the northern side it got very windy and you could literally feel the humidity in the air (let's NOT talk about what my hair looked like!!). The air was so humid that you could actually feel drops of humidity on your skin and on your clothes. Here some of the many pictures I have taken:







Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Nature




PS: Saturday I am going on a garden tour - you'll see better pictures of flowers then!

Hilarious

Today was all about getting to know the place. I woke up after 10 hours sleep ... to the sound of rain. Great, I thought. Not what I wanted, really! But the first thing I saw when looking out of my window was a ... rainbow and I thought that this might be a good omen.

I was right. It rained during my breakfast and soon thereafter the sun came out and we were going to have a wonderful day. Apparently, this kind of weather is tipical for the season.

The morning was spent walking around, taking pictures and organising some tours I wanted to do (hiking tours and a whale watching tour). At some time I arrived at the other end of the bay where one of the nicest beach is. Playa del Inglés. Totally nice. The black sand was very unusual and the waves were great. I was wandering around, taking picutres when I saw a group of people that were sunbathing. My thought at this moment: they look like they aren't wearing any bathing suit. I almost immediatley forgot my thought and kept looking for nice motifs for my pictures. I approached the group, not thinking anything, when finally it hit me. THEY WEREN'T WEARING ANY BATHING SUITS. They (mostly men, a couple of women) eyed me up in a strange way (I WAS taking pictures but not of them, of course, but they couldn't tell!!).  Oh my, oh my, oh my, I took me a minute to decide that I had taken enough pictures and that it was time to leave. The laugh came afterwards, believe me!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

La Gomera - arrival

What a day!!! What a trip! Never-ending. I woke up at six. Took the train to the Airport (had to change at the main station), waited almost two hours at the airport, then took a 4 hours flight to Teneriffe. Arrival in time. Then waited for the luggage, then run to catch a taxi, then taxi drive to the south of the island where the ferries are leaving for the smaller islands (the taxi driver broke ALL the traffic rules to help me catch the 2 o'clock ferry - otherwise I would have had to wait until 8 o'clock - I left a generous tip!!). Then took the ferry to La Gomera - San Sebastian. Got off. Took another, smaller ferry to La Gomera - Valle del Rey. Then took a taxi to Casa Heidi where I am staying the first part of my stay here in La Gomera.

Karin, the Swiss lady which runs the place, explained the basics of her "home", then I left immediately to find some food. I was starving (the food served in the plane was not abundant). I took some pictures and while enjoying the view I realised that I was soooo tired that I couldn't possibly eat in a restaurant (too tired to even look for one). I decided to buy something at the next supermarket, went back "home" and decided to enjoyed the sunset from our patio.
I am soo tired I could sleep right away but I don't want to go to sleep yet. We are one hour behind and it's not 9 pm yet. Too early for bed :-)

Do you wanna know what my first impressions are? Simple. The island looks like a big canyon in the middle of the sea. Totally amazing.
The weather is warm (24 °C - I left this morning and it was 1 °C!!!).
I see a lot of banana trees and apparently the mangos and other tropical fruits are kind of growing in the backyard. TOTALLY amazing to me :-)

One thing, though, needs getting used to. The Germans and Swiss which spend their holidays here (tons of them). I didn't hear a lot of Spanish on my first day ... but hey, this might change...

Well, now I am off to bed. Even my fingers are too tired...

First impressions of La Gomera