Friday, December 14, 2007

Heavy snow

There's nothing like going to sleep when you know that it has already snowed more than 1/2m.

Zen moment


It's been good remembering my first and only experience in the Alps. But it's not doing any justice to this blog's title...
Time for another location... Baqueira! I know I'm not really changing the "kind" of destination... it just goes to show the snow starvation around here.
Baqueira, Beret and Bonaigua domains are all linked, providing you great ski runs, stunning scenery and an affordable (...) stay.

If I had to point out my favorite runs, I'd mention the Teso Dera Mina lift's surrounding area, in Bonaigua.

The best runs are not pictured in these photos... I leave them for you to imagine :)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Ski bus to Megève

Waiting for the ski bus to Megève's nearest lift. This photo reminds me of a still famous Instinct ad, which read: "waiting for waves is ok... most people spend their lives waiting for nothing".

Megève's trademark backgrounds

Whether it's Mont Blanc or the dense pine tree forests, you're sure to find one of these backgrounds while strolling/skiing/boarding/etc in Megève's slopes.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Living really large in Megève

Do I need to explain why?

Living large in Megève

... I'd have to work my all life to afford the tiniest chalet you can imagine in the French Alps. These modest chalets are located in Megève's upper side... oh, well, at least some of us make it :)

Sunday, November 11, 2007


A couple of photos featuring Haute Savoie's architecture and the breathtaking Mont Blanc... I wouldn't mind staying at the chalet above... as I wouldn't mind lunching with Mont Blanc just in front of my table (instead of having to ask some nice waitress to let me take this photo :)).

Oh no!... back to Megève...

The latest webcam images of Megève (as of today) picture a decent amount of snow... I wish I could go back to the Alps right... now!... (sigh...) I took this photo at the end of a great day, where the lowest ski run meets the village (it's a short 2 minute walk to Megève's center).

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Mr. Mac, the cat

I've just realized that I've never written an exclusive post about the one-and-only Mac. Once, after a 2 hour painful drive with Mac, I swore I'd never take him away from home again... because of the meowing, smell, the number of times I had to stop (you get the picture)... and hence the title and subtitle of this blog.
Mac often sits on my car's rooftop with a revenge look on his face (like in this photo, if only I had framed his face). It's also a nice spot to check out the babes and what's going on his neighborhood :)

And because traveling (what I'd like this blog to be about) couldn't be complete without returning home, I think this second photo defines just that. This is home. I'm sure Mac totally agrees :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Megève #...?

A couple of years ago, I asked my father to bring me a snowboard magazine from France and he ended up buying the official Megève's (glossy) magazine. It is still on my favorite books' shelf, in spite of all the publicity inside, since it contains mesmerizing photos. The kind of photos you remember the exact location of inside the magazine, the kind that pulls you in... The next step should be somewhere in the Alps, it ought to be!

These photos go to show Megève's conifers, although I'm sure there must exist many other domains in the Alps with this type of scenery. But, hey, this is just me trying to reproduce what I once saw on a magazine.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dear Snow-gods,

Will it take much longer to start snowing?
I miss the long wintry nights... a (sort of) cozy couch, a warm blanket... and, of course, Mac over my feet.

I also miss going out and feeling the elements... my nose frozen... the soft touch of snow flakes.
Is it snowing already?
and now?
what about... now?

Friday, October 5, 2007

Megève III

In Megéve's Mont D'Arbois plateau, you can see Mont Blanc, Mont Joly and much more... Well, basically, some of the finest landscapes you could ask for. But also some human element: just before clouds had cleared and after snowing for more than 24 hours, no one's able to curb a childish enthusiasm :)

On a short break for lunch (kinf of...), I sat under a lonely tree and this was what I saw. If I'd have to guess, I'd say this was a salt desert detail.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Megève II

I remember reading on a french newspaper that Megève is often dubbed as the most charming alpine village in the french Alps, whilst Courchevel is regarded as the most exclusive one. I took this photo on my first day at Megève, feeling a bit dislocated in the overall upscale atmosphere.

Megève might not be as exclusive as Courchevel... however, this is the local bus terminal...

Saturday, September 29, 2007


October's around the corner. The slightest temperature drop makes me daydream about snowy days. I check the charts and realize that it's too early. Around here, the lows are not deep enough, cold fronts are weak... the air just got a bit crispier and that's about it. However, in the Alps and even in the Pyrenees, snow has already fallen. Is it a sign that global warming is reversing? I wish... Last year was one of the warmest of all time, particularly in the Haute Savoie region (northern french alps). Megève had been having the worst winter to date, with a record low of snow base. Luckily, in my second day there and after one morning of pouring rain, the temperature plummeted and good things started to happen :)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Corsica, again...

Bonifacio looks like a good spot to moor our 60 feet yacht :)

From time to time, a wealthy dog may also feel blue. Bonifacio docks.

A couple of dead sea urchins over a beach towel in Rocapina.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Corsica - from Porto Vecchio to Porto

Porto Vecchio, on the southeastern coast of Corsica, is an italian-looking village. Ah, if only we had the time to indulge in the dolce fare niente... Charming and classy, in spite of the typical hustle and bustle of August.

Sartène attracts many tourists with its little shops of local products (honey, liquors, cheese, etc), narrow streets and esplanades crammed in between. Two cats obliviously cleaning them selfs, just before nap time.

On our way back to Porto, in the west coast of Corsica, on one of the many twists and turns that make Corsican roads world famous. The mountain on the right is 1100m high and a couple of kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


"La Corse", France... There is so much to be said about this wonderful island. Corsica has it all: the omnipresent beautiful Mediterranean, beaches, mountains, forests, picturesque villages like Sartène and cosmopolitan ones like Bonifacio.
This is a simple slideshow. Corsica... in 9 frames.

Note: this is my first attempt posting an animated gif (through Google Docs)

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Inner Cuba

In Cuba there is a serious transportation problem, becoming more patent in the countryside. We rented a car, which was somewhat difficult due to the offer/demand ratio (we ended up renting a small battered one with no trunk lock for a small discount... given the circumstances it was a sweet deal, all we had to do was park the car with the rear a few inches from a wall... peace of cake!).

Although feeling good as luck had struck us, our mood would soon change: we were all set to find out the real difficulties cubans endure. A little after leaving Havana, we started seeing a lot of people next to some men in yellow jackets. They would wave down passing cars and assign one or more of the waiting persons according to the destination of the stopped car. We were never waved down since rent-a-cars have distinctive license plates and maybe those men have orders not to "bother" tourists. We went through some mixed feelings: we could had stopped if we "really" wanted to help... but we'd like to stick with our selfish plan without any delays or detours. We didn't stop. Not until this woman with her son by the side, visibly tired, hungry and walking on the berm of an isolated dirt road, locked her eyes with ours.

For the fortunate ones, distances are made easier by bicycle, horse chariot or even by car. The majority of cubans though are in for long waiting times or lengthy walks on a daily basis.

Returning to Havana from Viñales via one of Cuba's main freeways is a difficult task, especially at night and under a thunderstorm. There are people walking, bicycling, etc, in both ways. The secret, although not full-proof, is driving on the leftmost lane. A little after pulling over to take this photo, the freeway becomes a one-lane road without any warning sign. Luckily, the gravel slowed us down. We never drove at night again.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Kefalonia, Ionian Islands, Greece

A friend of mine says the photo above suits his idea of the Mediterranean.
I particularly like the fact that it looks as if this woman arrived at the beach solo on the dinghy. I believe she is contemplating the settings... this empty beach is a rare finding along Kefalonia's coast. The rolling hills protecting the small bay submerge smoothly into the Ionian Sea, providing the perfect shelter for tiny-baby-fish to learn the way their fins and gills work :).

Snorkeling in these waters is a real bliss. Repeatedly, I took consecutive deep breaths... descended... and schools of fish surrounded me, almost rubbing me. But only until a certain depth, after which they kept an eye on, waiting for my return. When snorkeling, one of the things that scares me the most is the same that draws me the most: it's the varying intensity of the BLUE. First and foremost, it mesmerizes me. After a while, I start to think about sharks, seeing shapes materialize out of the blue... literally :). In this particular beach, nonetheless, it took more than that and the usual feeling of cold before I decided to say farewell to my fins&gills new friends and come out of the water.

After a few minutes soaking in the sun, I realized I'd better jump into this wonderful sea once again, as this was one of the last days in Kefalonia...

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Contrast #1

Food rationing in Cuba. Every year since 1962, cuban families are given a Libreta de Abastecimiento, a booklet stating the portions of food that each family can buy at the local bodega at subsidized prices. Those portions vary according to the number of persons in each family and their ages. The government states that the amount of food each cuban is allowed to buy through this system comprises a third of the daily needs. The other two thirds are hard to get with an average monthly salary under $17 USD, as the prices soar outside the food rationing system. Careful meal planning is thus required, giving little space for futile needs to stem. You can see it in their eyes.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Florence, Italy

The man between the waist-high bars, the florentine sculptor (now sculptured) and goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini, as seen many couples writing their names on a lock and putting it on those same bars. It doesn't seem reasonable to think that Florence authorities would remove locks from time to time so that more couples crossing Ponte Vecchio could put their own lock. It thus seems passionate to think that true love really endures.

Friday, June 22, 2007

"8 de la manãna, Havana, Cuba"

The taxi driver barely payed attention to the traffic. Anyone on the sidewalk could wave him down and asked him if he would go some place for some pesos. It was up to him deciding whether the small (or big) detour, since there were other people on board with different destinations, would compensate for the pesos he had been offered. No hurries. Moreover, nobody on board seemed to bother.

What could be an uninteresting shortest path from A to B turned out as an apparently random sequence of streets, with different persons hopping in and out. A man holding a mango (possibly is lunch), a couple noticeably in love... All of us (sometimes a total of 7 persons) fitted inside the typical 50's american car.

Once in downtown Havana, the cigar / rum / paladares (family run restaurants) / accommodation (and other "commodities"...) vendors are by the dozen. If you reject some or all offers, you get an unresented smile and a warm "hasta luego" in return.

In one of the busiest streets in Havana, this woman gently asked if we would go to the groceries store and buy powder milk for her baby. At first, we were kind of apprehensive: where exactly is the store? just there, she said.

For obvious reasons, it was difficult to deny such request... even though we figured a big-iron-muscled-cuban boyfriend was waiting for such pure souls in some alley... but sometimes a "western" mind plays tricks on you. We were/are so embarrassedly wrong... At the store counter, though, one other woman immediately joined us. Well, powder milk for two babies then... no problem. They told the man behind the counter what they wanted and he swiftly took care of the order. He looked busy... As soon as we started realizing that maybe they had (a lot) more babies, they said an embarrassed thank you and a quick goodbye, and walked out the door with their hands full of bags filled with powder milk packages.

The bill was steep. But a far cry from cubans' needs. It seemed more than fair.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Island hopping...

Finding deserted beaches in Greece is rather difficult if you don't have a boat. Really difficult. We already knew it would be even more so if we'd go to Lefkada's Porto Katsiki, often dubbed as one of the best Mediterranean beaches. It provides you a stunning scenery with its huge surrounding limestone cliffs. The sea has one of the most particular shades of blue I've seen, although the visibility underwater is terrible. If you could just ignore the crowds and the noise, it would be close to perfect. In this photo I hardly managed to frame two persons... that's how crowded it is.

Under scorching heat, we drove in search of beaches more to our liking, dodging the hordes of italian cars and motorcycles. When the italian license plates became more scarce, we drove a little longer... and found this beach... empty!