Kotor, Montenegro

(and Herceg Novi on the way, with its lovely compact old town, just the right place for a short break)

The Bay of Kotor makes your jaw drop when you ride/drive in… And this is only the beginning. You have to check out the old town (as well as nearby small towns!), where you can find old Italian villas, cats, churches, winding little roads, cats, countless restaurant and pubs, cats, cats… And the Ladder of Kotor, the trekking trail leading above the town… Each bend of the Ladder is a beautiful view of the city and the bay, each step is a new goat jumping around. The wind is blowing, the clouds are running across the sky… Nest to the tiny church up the hill lays a donkey, waiting for you to take photos… Against the fortress wall stands a ladder and next to it it says you aren’t allowed to climb…

Krka

Zadar

Late October in Poland. The Autumn cool is here already, announcing the time for me to leave… And why Zadar? It’s simple – the cheapest airplane ticket that brings me to a destination that is still relatively warm. And on top of that – I had long promised myself to complete the Balkan tour (that had begun with my trip to Serbia…

It felt nice to walk the slippery stone streets among bars, shops and other spots providing tourists with all that a lazy vacation requires. It felt nice, too, sitting on Sea Organs, listening to sound compositions created by nature and captured and amplified by man made structure. And it was still nice watching all those churches, squares, parks…

But it is time to move elsewhere… But where? And by what means? Or maybe I should reconsider the idea of cycling across the Balkans? And yes, a bicycle…

Camiguin - a typical nipa hut

“I’m not a child molester but…”

“…just look at those fine young girls, slim, tiny, beautiful! But what happens when they grow up? The become fat, round, al the charm is gone, fat cows! This is all because of the way the Filipinos eat! They munch all day, every meal heavier that the other. Look at them, this is supposed to be a poor country but they can always afford a big fat chunk of pork! You see, in Thailand a poor girl will eat a little pad thai and she will be full. But here? I’m telling you, you need to take them before they’re ripe” – says Joe, turning his head around in search of colourfully dressed high school students and waving at the skinny ones. He is quite slim himself – one detail that makes him different from the typical white guy living in the Philippines: wrinkled American pensioner with that special kind of suntan and…

One of the three famous islands in Gulf of Thailand (two others are Koh Samui and Koh Phangan), in theory it is the one that is the least damaged by tourism. At least this is what I was hoping for when boarding the ferry to Chumphon (a small but very comfortable ferry with air conditioning; the return trip will not be so comfortable anymore – I get on board of what could be described as chickenboat – 150 people stuffed on narrow mattresses, toilet with no water, windows that won’t shut…).When I get there I discover that Koh Tao is full of Europeans who came here to admire underwater views (the island is famous for its transparent waters and rich sea fauna) and taste the evening alcohol.However, if you leave the partying whiteys and hotels invading the land more and more out of the frame, you can still be amazed by the island. Numerous beaches of all kinds (sandy, stony),…

This is southern Thailand already. I chose a place with literally nothing special to see (except for one temple – Wat Thammikaram, visited often by locals as well as by monkeys). Just sea and beaches (I recommend the beach within air force unit – clean, orderly, reasonable infrastructure and friendly soldiers offering a ride).

To już południe Tajlandii. Celowo wybrałem miejsce, w którym właściwie nic nie ma (no, może poza jedną świątynią – Wat Thammikaram, odwiedzaną chętnie przez miejscowych ale także przez małpy). Tylko morze i plaże (polecam plażę na terenie bazy wojskowej – czysto, schludnie, rozsądna infrastruktura i żołnierze, którzy chętnie podwiozą).

Tourist visa tends to expire rather quickly, and when it finally does you can extend it in SH. But when your new one month visa expires, too – you have to go to Hong Kong. Depending on current regulations (and those tend to change quite often) you can extend it for a shorter or longer period.

Again, perfect timing for my arrival. The city is “celebrating” the 15th anniversary of handover to Mainland China. The Mainland put some funky decorations here and there but not too big and not too many in order not to irritate the already unhappy locals who definitely do not like the way Beijing manages things.

Evening firework show gathers a crowd smaller than that participating in the annual march against everything and everyone. July the 1st of each year is the ultimate opportunity for expressing their opinion about local policies, Biejing policies, violating human rights in China, lack of…