[Photography] Refuge du Fond d’Aussois, France

On mid-August we had the chance to explore a bit the French Alps and here you’ll find a couple of pictures we took while visiting the Refuge du Fond d’Aussois. More to follow on a full post soon.

No meio de agosto tivemos a chance de explorar um pouco os Alpes Franceses e aqui você encontrará algumas fotos que tiramos durante a nossa visita ao Refuge du Fond d’Aussois. Post completo em breve.

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[Photography] Refuge des Évettes, France

On mid-August we had the chance to explore a bit the French Alps and here you’ll find a couple of pictures we took while hiking up to the Refuge des Évettes in France. More to follow on a full post soon.

No meio de agosto tivemos a chance de explorar um pouco os Alpes Franceses e aqui você encontrará algumas fotos que tiramos subindo a trilha até o Refúgio dos Évettes. Post completo em breve.

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[Guest post] Vancouver: where the nature gives its special touch

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Many people say that Vancouver is the city which least looks like a Canadian city, however they are the same people who say that Vancouver is the most beautiful city in the country. It is the least Canadian city perhaps due to the large quantity of immigrants who have been living here, especially Asians. Most beautiful probably because its surrounding mountains, parks, beaches, wooded and cleaned streets.

So that in 2011, over 8 million tourists visited Metro Vancouver, and over half of the tourists were Canadians. Over one-third of the travellers have come to Vancouver and its national and provincial parks to practise outdoors activities, such as camping, fishery, kayak, etc.

Most of the tourists have come to Vancouver during Summer and it makes sense, the city is really beautiful in summertime. Days last longer with the sun setting over 9pm. Flowers decorate streets. Music festivals have happened weekly. Many free attractions. Many people occupying parks and beaches. Vancouver is a city where the diversity is common and everybody may express themselves whatever they want, everybody here is welcome.

Vista do centro da cidade a partir do Waterfront Park em North Vancouver.

Downtown seen from Waterfront Park in North Vancouver.

But what most delighted me until now was indeed the nature. Many parks and trails are accessible by Public Transportation from Down-town and most of them are free entrance, which makes sunny weekends much cheaper to enjoy.

Man fishing in a clear river in Capilano River State Park. Accessible by bus from Downtown.

Man fishing in a clear river in Capilano River State Park. Accessible by bus from Downtown.

In the trails we can often meet whole families (including pets) hiking or camping. And even when they meet unknown people while hiking, Canadians are used to greeting whoever comes their way, therefore don’t be scared if you listen to “Hello, how are you doing?” or a simple “Hi!” with a smile from an unknown person. This is the polite Canadian way to be and live.

Upper Joffre Lake, o maior e mais bonito dos lagos em Joffre Lakes Provincial Park, um parque próximo de Pemberton, a pouco mais de 2 horas de carro de Vancouver.

Upper Joffre Lake, the largest and most beautiful lake in Joffre Lakes Provincial Park, a park near Pemberton, about 2 hours by car from Vancouver.

Spending hours hiking a trail is much more than a basic hobby to me, there’s always a new challenge. It’s about testing the body and mind limits. From the body, when the legs can’t stand it anymore. When the blisters on the foot beg you to stop. When the mouth dries and the bottle of water is over. From the mind, to control all the difficulties struggled and body limitations.

Depois de mais de uma hora subindo 1000 metros, a vista é recompensadora no Garibaldi Provincial Park.

After over one hour hiking up 1000 meters, the sight is rewarding at Garibaldi Provincial Park.

According to the legend there’s always a pot of gold in the end of the rainbow. Here in Vancouver in the end of a trail there’s always a beautiful lake with hundreds shapes of green and blue or a stunning sight of a valley, a city, of the mountains. And in the end, all the pains is forgotten and all the effort is rewarded.

Garibaldi Lake e suas dezenas de tons de verde e azul.

Garibaldi Lake and its dozens shapes of green and blue.

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[Photography] Lyon and its wall art

One of the greatest attractions of Lyon is its wall art. All over the city you can find out walls like those in the gallery above. These are just a couple of wall I have stumble across since I moved in here and I keep looking for more.

Uma das principais atrações de Lyon é sua “arte na parede”. Espalhadas pela cidade inteira você pode encontrar pinturas em paredes como essas na galeria abaixo. Essas são apenas algumas que eu “esbarrei” desde que me mudei pra cá e continua na busca de outras.

Find out more about these walls here.

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Les calanques de Marseilles, Cassis and La Ciotat: one of France’s natural wonders

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In the last days of May we went on a road trip down to the south of France. It was the beginning of summer and we wanted to enjoy it.

Marseilles

The beautiful old port of Marseilles.

The beautiful old port of Marseilles.

The second biggest city in France and the capital of Pétanque and Pastis, Marseilles is a beautiful city located a bit more than 300 km south of Lyon. It was historically the most important trade center in the region and functioned as the main trade port of the French Empire. Nowadays it seems to have a bad reputation (that’s what I heard from French people) regarding safety. We spent the day going around there and frankly I saw nothing bad. I guess like in all cities, you just have to be street aware and no need to paranoia. We visited the old port, the MuCEM (an impressive Museum that’s worth checking. Free entrance.), Marseilles’ Cathedral and went up to the beautiful Basilica Notre-Dame of the Garde.

Les calanques

The first open view of calanque de sugiton and its short beach.

The first open view of calanque de sugiton and its short beach.

After a good night sleep we went exploring the beautiful calanques along Marseilles’s coast. Starting in Marseilles its range extends 20 km in length going through Cassis until La Ciotat.

Map of the Calanques between Marseilles and La Ciotat.

Map of the Calanques between Marseilles and La Ciotat.

We started with the calanque de Sugiton that can be reached from Luminy University Campus. It’s a fairly easy hike and it won’t take you more than 1 hour to reach the small beach between the mountains. Parts of the way is paved so you’ll find lots of families hiking with their kids.

Going back to the trail you will find another path heading to the calanque de Morgiou. Hiking along the path you’ll find signs for a belvedere in the top of the mountain. We stopped there to take a look and it’s impressive.

After this belvedere you can go back on the trail and go all the way down to find a little beach. It’s a long walk and as we were a bit tired and still had to go all the way back to where our car was parked (near the University), we decided to skip that. However I think it’s totally worth it if you got time.

We took the road again heading to the calanque de Sormiou. You will reach a parking lot where you can start your hike. It’s a long paved way down to a beach and we decided to stop in a place where we had an amazing view and enjoyed the sunset, rather than go all the way down.

A beautiful view of the calanque de Sormiou.

A beautiful view of the calanque de Sormiou.

La ciotat, Cassis and Route des Crêtes

We had the small village of Ceyreste as our base, as we were staying at the Camping de Ceyreste. Village is pretty small and we were very glad that the only restaurant opened by the time we went back to spend the night was a pizzeria (yes, I love pizza :P).

Some mushroom, ham and cheese. It was delicious!

Some mushroom, ham and cheese. It was delicious!

Next day we took to visit the small cities of La Ciotat and Cassis. They’re both nice cities by the sea. Where we chilled out and relaxed after a busy day going all over the calanques. The best thing about those cities is the road between them. The route des crêtes has some scenic views and passes through the beautiful Parc Naturel Régional des Ballons des Vosges.

Once in Cassis, we skipped the touristy restaurants in front of the old port and walked around some narrow streets away from the port to find the Le Bonapart restaurant, where we had some fresh fish. Delicious meal and least expensive than the touristy restaurants. 

Once in the south of France do as the southern people and have some pastis (an anise-flavored liqueur and apéritif from France, typically containing 40–45% ABV (alcohol by volume)).

Once in the south of France do as the southern people and have some pastis (an anise-flavored liqueur and apéritif from France, typically containing 40–45% ABV (alcohol by volume)).

After lunch we enjoyed the afternoon by The beach of the Cassis’ bay

That’s it. Time to take the road again and go back home.

On our way back to Lyon.

On our way back to Lyon.

Hope it was useful in case you’re planning on spending some time on the south of France.

Click in this picture for more pictures of this area :D

Click in this picture for more pictures of this area 😀

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[Photography] Lyon, France – 07/2014

A couple of pictures we took during the week that we made a special about Lyon on our instagram.

Algumas fotos que tiramos durante a semana que fizemos um special sobre Lyon no nosso instagram. Para fotos com descrição em Português, acesse o instagram da RBBV.

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Preparing our trip to the Amazon rainforest and a bit of Manaus

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Last March, Jessica and I, flew to Manaus and made it our base to explore the Amazon rainforest. It wasn’t an easy decision though, as the forest is huge and can be explored for several different starting points.
Just so you know, its territory is part of nine countries. The majority of the forest is contained within Brazil, with 60% of the rainforest, followed by Peru with 13%, Colombia with 10%, and with minor amounts in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. Thus not very easy to decide where to start, however as our base would be definitely in Brazil, our options were basically Manaus, Santarém, Belém or Porto Velho.

A couple of years ago I heard about this amazing boat trip from Porto Velho to Manaus. It’s basically the only options locals have when they need to make this trip, as roads are shitty and flights expensive. It would be amazing, however the trip can take up to 5 days, and you can’t know for sure when the boats are leaving, so you might have to stick around in Porto Velho longer than you expected waiting for a boat to leave. The thing is that Jessica only had 3 weeks in Brazil, and we wanted to see a bit of everywhere. We decided to spend 7 days in Amazon, so the idea to take the boat was left behind, as we wanted to do several activities. I’ll definitely be back to Amazon to make this trip, probably stopping in Manaus, taking another boat heading to Santarém, and then another one to Belém. This must be an amazing trip, being in touch with locals for a long time, getting to know more about them and I look forward to having time to do it.

Having dinner with our "host family"

I also want to go back to Amazon to spend more time with its people. Such amazing and humble people. This picture was taken during dinner with a family who hosted us for one night. We learnt how they cultivate cassava and other things about their life.

But let’s get back to our trip. Knowing that we didn’t have too much time to spend there, the best idea was to find a travel agency that offers tours around the Amazon rainforest. We got excited with the idea of visiting Manaus, a “big” city in the middle of the rainforest, so we decided to take Manaus as our base.
We heard about many things you could do by yourself to explore the area, but again, as we didn’t have too much time, we decided to look for a travel agency that would show us around. If you find yourself looking for a travel agencies offering tours based in Manaus, you’ll find out that most of them offer similar packages. The activities are basically the same, but what can change your experience might be how far and in which direction you’re heading from Manaus.

Spotting caimans at night is one of the highlights of the tour.

Spotting caimans at night is one of the highlights of the tour.

We had been talking with different a travel agencies and in the end we chose Iguana Tour, by that time they had a pretty good deal with GOL Backpackers and we got two nights for free because we booked the “survival packaged“.

They would take us up to their lodge in the Juma reserve, by the Juma river. Here’s what I mentioned that can make your experience different. Firstly, the Juma reserve is located south of Manaus, some 70km away in a straight line. When exploring Amazon south of Manaus, you’ll have a better experience exploring the aquatic life, specially if going during the rainy season. As this regions is mostly flooded by the rivers around, it’s difficult to spot Jaguars for instance. So if that’s the kind of experience you want to have, you should go up north, and you’ll have more chance to spot such type of animal life.

Distance between Manaus and Juma Lake

Distance between Manaus and Juma Lake

Secondly, Juma isn’t that far away from Manaus. Ok, it’s difficult to get there. You’ll have to take two different boats, drive more than 40 minutes in some shitty roads, but once you arrive there, you will be able to see the lights from Manaus at night. It’s still a very peaceful place, no cellphone sign or internet connection, however there are already too much noise, light and people for the animals and isn’t that easy to spot them anymore. We were able to see caimans, grey and pink dolphins, monkeys, several different types of birds and a sloth. Even though for us it was a lot (although only caimans and dolphins were close from us) our guide told us that it wasn’t even close to as much as we could have seen in more isolated places, or even there, but some decades ago.

Selfie with our guide and part of the group with whom we explored Amazon.

The guide and I were the only Brazilians among a group with an Australian, Portuguese, French and Germans.

Finally, you should also bare in mind that these companies that won’t take you too far from Manaus, and are least expensive than others, will have more people going. Even though we were the only ones that had booked the “survival package”, we did most of the activities with other people who had bought different packages that include one or more of the activities that were included in our package. We enjoyed having different people around and had fun with them. But some activities requires you to be quiet, so you have more chances to find animals, and you can imagine that the bigger the group, the louder it is. So we felt that sometimes we could have used more silence to spot more animals.

The only activity we did alone. We took our time paddling through small rivers and lakes and only by being very quiet, we were able to spot monkeys, beautiful birds, grey and pink dauphins.

The only activity we did alone. We took our time paddling through small rivers and lakes and only by being very quiet, we were able to spot monkeys, beautiful birds, grey and pink dolphins.

So if you’re using Manaus as your base and ask as many questions as you can to the company you’re planning on booking your tour, so you don’t get higher expectations and later get frustrated with what they will really show you.

We had an amazing time, were very impressed by everything we say and I wouldn’t change a bit if I had to do it again.

Here you have the list of activities of the “survival package” that I’ll be writing about in the following posts:
Take a boat crossing the meeting of the waters (junction of the Negro river and Solimões river), paddling, watching dolphins/birds/monkeys/tarantulas (very hard to find), fishing piranhas, spotting caimans, jungle trekking, visit a local family to learn about their life and how they cultivate cassava, sleeping (in hammocks) in the local family house, overnight (sleeping in hammocks too) in the forest and trekking in the forest to learn about the rubber process and see how they did to extract rubber years ago. We also had spear fishing in our package, but due to weather conditions we couldn’t do it.

Manaus

We spent two days there and honestly, there isn’t much to do and see. Our hostel was located right beside the main square, where you will find the amazing Amazon Theatre. It’s an impressive building that shows how rich the city was back in the time when people made fortunes with the rubber boom.

Beautiful Amazon Theatre

Beautiful Amazon Theatre

This square is really nice at night, where people gather around to have a drink or eat. There were even a Cinema Festival when we were there, with some movies being shown in big screens outdoors.

Manaus' main square by night.

Manaus’ main square by night.

We also heard about a market near the port, which seemed to be nice, but we couldn’t visited as it was raining a lot during the free time we had.

Palace of Justice in the back of the Amazon Theatre

Palace of Justice behind the Amazon Theatre

Eating

We found two good places to eat around there. First of them is Skina dos sucos, where we had amazing juices from fruits that even I, being a Brazilian, had never heard of. Some of them were really good, and some were a bit strange, but I guess it depends on one’s taste. Jessica liked some that I didn’t and vice-versa. You should definitely stop by and try some. They also have good Açai, some sandwiches and pastries.

The other place I found in a website I love and you should really use them if you’re looking for good places to eat in Brazil. The restaurant is called Peixaria Gabinete Jokka Loureiro. We had an amazing fish there, with a great view of the Negro River. The meal was so good and we were so hungry that we forgot to take pictures. But you can see pictures on the link I shared. We had exactly the same thing that they did.

Well, I hope I could help a bit in case your planning your trip to the Amazon rainforest or Manaus.

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[Photography] Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque

Last weekend we visited the Sénanque Abbey near Gordes, France. Here are some pictures we’ve taken and we’ll have a full post soon.

Fim de semana passado nós visitamos a Abadia de Senanque próxima a Gordes, França. Aqui estão algumas fotos que tiramos e em breve teremos um post completo.

Enquanto o post completo não sai, vale a pena conferir o ótimo blod do Destino Provence que tem diversos posts sobre a região, inclusive um sobre Gordes, Sénanque e Roussilon.

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Pérouges : one of the most beautiful villages of France

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You might have read our first post where we wrote that what excited us most about travelling is meeting people. However, there are other things that we’re passionate about when it comes about travelling, and one of these things is nature. We love being outdoors and last weekend we had the chance to visit the medieval village of Pérouges, one of the most beautiful villages of France.

Medieval building connect to the church in Perouges' main entrance.

Medieval building connect to the church in Perouges’ main entrance.

Pérouges is located only 30 km northeast of Lyon, where we’re currently living, so we decided to have a look.

Old bulding in Pérouges

The village is small and very charming, and if you are around Lyon, you should definitely consider spending some time there.

Church in Pérouges

Yes, this place is awesome with all these beautiful old buildings, but our objective was to explore a hiking trail around it. There are 4 trails, starting on a 2.3 km long, taking approximately 40 minutes, and the longest one with 9.3 km, taking about 2h30m to finish it.

The trails around Pérouges

We decided to take the longest one, as we arrived early in the morning and had a lot of time to spend there. Needless to say that the trail is amazing and we loved it.
It was pretty easy and I guess even people who aren’t used to hike can do it. It’s more like a long walk rather than hiking. We loved the landscapes and get closer to nature.

IMG_2201-16-1

In the end of the trail we went back to the main square to grab some food and try the local beer, which was great.

Local beer made out of corn

Some saucisson and ham.

So whether you take the shortest or the longest one, you should definitely spend some time exploring this trails when in Pérouges.

Corn is Pérouges' main production

You can find more pictures of Pérouges and other regions of France in our Facebook and Pinterest albums.

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