Travel Photography Blog  

My family and I are just back home again after a fantastic vacation in Japan. The timing was just right for the cherry blossom season and Japan was more beautiful than ever. The japanese people call this period "Sakura" and they are just crazy about taking photos of the cherry blossom. They even have forecasts when the cherry start to bloom all over the country. You can have a look and follow the progress on the link below:

Cherry Blossom Forecast 2018 

This year's cherry blossom was quite early due to a warm and early spring in the Tokyo area. Luckily we managed to visit most of the spots when it was full bloom both in Tokyo and Kyoto. It's just an amazing sight and a great experience which I really recommend if you are planning a trip to Japan. Even though the season has finished in most parts of Japan right now, there is still chances in the north of the main island and Hokkaido.  

This was my second visit to Japan after experienced the country all white during a winter some years ago. To my disappointment that time, I didn't see any locals wandering around in their beautiful dresses and kimonos. That was not a problem this time because the japanese people were all out taking photos of the cherry blossom in their kimonos as well and if you are really luck you will even see a geisha! 

It will be major update of my Japan gallery (linked below) shortly but until then enjoy the japanese sakura!

Chureito Pagoda with Fuji and cherry trees in the background, Kawaguchiko

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/50th, f/4,5 @ 47 mm)

Cherry blossom in Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden, Tokyo

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 250, 1/320th, f/14 @ 300 mm)

One of the best massive cherry blossom spots is Ueno Park, Tokyo

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/320th, f/6,3 @ 165 mm)

Tokyo Sky Tree in the background of pink cherry blossom tree, Tokyo

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/200th, f/8 @ 60 mm)

A japanese woman in its beautiful kimono along Philospher's Path, Kyoto

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/200th, f/5 @ 180 mm)

White cherry blossom in Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden, Tokyo

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/125th, f/14 @ 70 mm)

A lonely cherry flower along Philospher's Path, Kyoto

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 1000, 1/250th, f/5,6 @ 300 mm)

Philospher's Path, Kyoto

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/100th, f/6,3 @ 50 mm)

Cherry blossom in Ueno Park, Tokyo

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 200, 1/320th, f/5,6 @ 300 mm)

Japanese women with their beautiful kimonos along Philospher's Path, Kyoto

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/160th, f/5,6 @ 82 mm)

Himeji Castle, Himeji

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/400th, f/9 @ 70 mm)

Flowers on closeup along Philospher's Path, Kyoto

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/250th, f/5,6 @ 250 mm)

Himeji Castle, Himeji

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/400th, f/10 @ 70 mm)

Illuminated cherry trees along Meguro River, Tokyo 

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 30 sec, f/5 @ 24 mm)

Lanterns and cherry trees along Meguro River, Tokyo 

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 800, 1/50, f/4 @ 55 mm)

Mount Fuji framed by some cherry trees branches, Kawaguchiko

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/200th, f/7,1 @ 73 mm)

Read post »

The southernmost stop during our road trip in Eastern Europe and the Balkan Peninsula was Montenegro. Only two nights spent in country, one among the resorts in the popular and well known Budva and the other one in the capital of Podgorica. Limited time for photography and new experiences for sure but still we managed to do everything we wanted even with an infant in the back seat. 

First of all, the scenery of Montenegro is stunning with high mountain ridges and deep cutting fjords with excellent photo opportunities in every needle eye turn but be prepared for time consuming driving on roads in poor condition. The overall impression of the country is unfortunately pulled down by the tourist influenced atmosphere at places like Budva and Kotor with souvenir traders everywhere. Apart from this there is of course a lot of beautiful spots not to be missed and well worth a photo.

The serpentine Crnojevic River, Lake Skadar National Park

This beautiful horse bend view of the Crnojevic river in the Lake Skadar National Park might be one of the most beautiful places I have photographed lately. I was lucky enough that everything was just right that morning when we finally arrived at this spot after hesitant driving on serpentine roads. I must confess I didn’t have a clue about this place until I came across another travel blogger that had visited this place. As time were limited on this trip I will certainly make a longer stop at the Lake Skadar National Park if I ever will come to Montenegro again.

The serpentine Crnojevic River, Lake Skadar National Park

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/125th, f/7.1)

Old town of Kotor

An old town surrounded by city walls in the inlet of one of the fjords in the country. Excellent photo opportunities almost everywhere you go inside the walls but the best one is probably from the path that leads to St John Fortress which overlooks the city from above. It’s from this path the following shot is taken, in my case in full daylight but still quite nice with some cumulus building up above the mountainous surroundings.

Overview of Kotor from the St John Fortress hiking trail

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/160th, f/9)

The Ostrog Monastery

An hour drive to the north of the capital of Podgorica, you can find the very interesting Ostrog Monastery. What makes it so special is that it is built inside the mountain highly elevated to be safe guarded from intruders. From a distance and in sunlight the white colored monastery looks almost surrealistic against the mountain and it's just as impressive when standing close by. You are able to shoot this sight from several locations which generate in completely different views and perspectives.

The Ostrog Monastery

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/250th, f/11)

Sveti Stefan, Budva

This five star property well known for its visits by celebrities is located a short drive outside Budva. During the early morning hours when the guests are still sleeping or about to have breakfast is the perfect time for a perfectly enlightened view of a silent and peaceful Sveti Stefan. You may either take a shot from the beach with the sunchairs and umbrellas perfectly aligned for the sunbathing guest or from the main road above where you can get a great overview shot of the strangely located resort.

Sveti Stefan, Budva

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/400th, f/8)

The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, Podgorica

The attractions and sights in the now appointed capital of Podgorica are not that many or in fact none apart from this beautiful church called The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, Podgorica. Located in a rather rough and worn part of the city, it really stands out in its white colored facade during the late afternoon sun.

The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, Podgorica

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/250th, f/11)

Read post »

The Kingdom of Swaziland totally landlocked by South Africa and Mocambique is one of the smallest countries within Africa and a given stop when on road trip in this region. Driving from Johannesburg, the best way to cross the border was via the Oshoek Border Post at least if you are planning to visit the capital of Mbabane.

Mbabane is the biggest city in the country and houses both the classic markets as well as modern looking shopping centres. The city doesn't offer any special sightings but when exploring by foot we found at least some spots worth taking some shots, among them some Swazi street art as seen below. Apart from the commerce at the market and the busy scene at the taxi station, there is not that much more to see. Anyhow it still deserves a stop when passing by and for us it was a perfect timing for a lunch before continuing south in the country.  

Street art in Mbabane with truly Swazi inspiration

After leaving Mbabane behind it was time to make the short drive to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. This is one of several parks within the Big Game Parks and the oldest protected area of the country. At Mlilwane, we were advised to stay in the Beehive Village which is a typical Swazi accomondation in the shape of a hive. Be sure to book well in advance though as they seemed to be very popular way to stay the night within the park. I have never slept or even seen something like this before so it was a nice and exciting experience, especially to hear the wildlife just outside during the night.

Entrance to the Mliliwane Wildlife Sanctuary

The Beehive Village

Inside the Beehive with comfortable beds and even electricity

The afternoon was about to turn to early evening and it was time for a sunset safari arranged by the camp. The Mlilwane park offers a diverse habitat and quite extensive numbers of species, most of them non predators so you were even able to hike or ride a bike through the beautiful landscape on your own. We went by a safari jeep though and sighted several different kind of hoofed animals just after leaving the village. The game drive continued through the hilly landscape and up for a sunset view from the highest point and like all game drives with an ice cold local beer.

The 4x4 safari jeep

The beautiful sunset view from the top of the mountain at Mlilwane

Local beer to enjoy in the sunset

Back at the camp, it was time for dinner which was served at the main building in connection of a small lake. Not that easy to get a view since when it's get dark in Africa, it's really dark! But the sound of the awakening wildlife could not be missed, a powerful flashlight would be great to spot some of the action. The walk back to beehive in the dark was quite interesting as well as of now the impalas and gazelles had dared to enter the camp area in shelter of the darkness.

Next morning and breakfast at the same place as the dinner last night, this time with a great view of the birdlife around the lake.  The camera was as always ready and I managed to get some great shots of an hunting heron and some other smaller birds flying around. Since the camp area was located in the middle of the park we had the chance to go on our own game drive while checking out from the facitlity and leaving the park. We could ceratinly have stayed one or two more nights at this place to try some more of the acitivities offered, it's not everywhere you can go game driving on a bike!

Warthog with two small suckling piglets during our own game drive

Now we had about three hours of driving in front of us before reaching our next stop and the safari lodge in the Kwazulu Natal region in South Africa. This gave us a great opportunity to see and experience the beautiful landscape along the route while driving southbound to the Golela Border Post. As you can see on the photo below the road network was in good condition and made us no worries. Beware of speeding though since the police had radar controls at several places to my very own experience.

To summarize, 24 hours pass by quite fast but in the same time you are able to do quite a lot anyway if planned ahead. I can really recommend a visit to Swaziland even if it's short. We managed to experience both the capital, a great game drive with an memorable stay in a beehive all without rushing. Just click the link below if you want to see more photos from our stop in Swaziland!  

A typical Swazi road sign on our way south to the border

Read post »

Bosnia and Herzegovina geographically located in the heart of the former Yugoslavian country was hit hard by the Bosnian war back in early 1990's and the country that probably suffered the most. There is still a lot of visible marks and scars in the country and its people that reminds of the horrible events during the dissolution of Yugoslavia. 

The country itself may not be the first one you are thinking about when going for vacation but when on road tripp in the Balkan area this was a chance not to miss. The roads especially at the countryside and at the smaller border controls are in poor condition and not developed to the degree that you are used to compared to other European countries or even its neighbouring countries. Anyhow this makes it more genuine and interesting in my opinion, just make sure to understand that driving here takes time. The scenery is very beautiful with wide diversity in the landscape with interesting spots to photograph almost everywhere. Many of the other places you have to visit and experience are of course related to the war. 

A stay in this multi ethnic capital is of course a must do when visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sarajevo has played a major role in many historical events and everywhere you will be reminded of the impact that the war had on this city. You will see damaged buildings with bullet holes almost every where and many cemeteries in the middle of the city. It's of course interesting to learn more about the war but in the same time frightening to imgaine how it was just some years ago. Don’t miss the interesting photo exhibition at Gallery 11/07/95 of the Srebrenica massacre.

The old bazaar called Bascarsija is the heart of Sarajevo and its architecture reminds of a middle eastern city. Here you will find small shops just like a souk with all kind of merchandise. There is also a famous fountain called Sebilj Brunnen in the town square which often is seen on photos from Sarajevo.

Everything is within easy reach at least in downtown but the surroundings are mountainous and many interesting places are located highly elevated with stunning views with some exhausting walking getting there. The walk up to the White Fortress is well worth the effort with stunning views of Sarajevo from the top. To finish your stay in Sarajevo go by sunset and bring some take away food, why not some local bureks.

The Srebrenica Memorial Genocide
The memorial is located in the eastern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a three hours drive from Sarajevo. The memorial is officially known as the Srebrenica–Potočari Memorial and is set up honour the victims of the massacre in 1995. The cemetery is a peaceful place and very well organized with grave stones for every single victim even though all of them are not yet identified. It's a truly awful sight but still beautifully arranged in an impressive lines and patterns.

The town of Mostar in the western part of the country is within easy reach for a day trip from Dubrovnik, Croatia. I would recommend a full day here with a night stop to see the newly rebuilt Stari Most at blue hour though. The brigde connected the two sides of the Neretva river and the people of Mostar but it was destroyed during the war. The one standing there today is a replica of the original.

The town of Mostar is of course an experience in itself and attracts a lot of visitors per year. The heart of the city is small and the stone combed streets makes it very genuine to explore even though with a small touristic touch. 

There is several great spots to photograph the Stari Most bridge. My favourite is the view from below where it looks like you are standing in the middle of the Neretva river, in fact I almost did. It requires some climbing and jumping on rocks to get there. Anyhow, the other spots are as seen from the photo the left side riverfront, from the top of the mosque in background and from a bridge located behind from where this photo was taken.

Kravica Waterfalls
This beautiful and scenic spot of the bosnian landscape is a popular place to visit even by the locals. During the hot summer months you can even take a swim in the emerald green water. It wasn’t that easy to find though, despite some research beforehand with Google Earth and some hints from other visitors while searching the net. It's located quite close to the Croatian border and could be included in the full day tour from Dubrovnik or when visiting Mostar.

Blagaj Tekija
Located just a short drive outside Mostar, you will find a Dervish monastery built at the base of a cliff on the Buna River. This small monastery was built around 1520 and is considered as a national monument. It's an interesting and photogenic location of the monastery against the mountain and the emerald colored river which also includes a small waterfall.  

Read post »

The world is full of places which just have to be experienced and visited at least once in your life time. In my case the bucket list of those places seems to get longer and longer for every place visited. It really doesn't matter that I most of the time are travelling in my work as airliner pilot or travel with my family during almost all available spare time. I just can't get enough and even though I have experienced quite a lot already, it just seems to feed for new experiences even more. I guess a bucket list could be just as long as you want but to limit and hopefully make it some kind of achievable I decided to carefully select a top 30 list. The future will tell how many of them that will remain as dreams, until then enjoy and get inspired by my bucket list!

1. Deadvlei and the red sand dunes, Namibia 
2. Inca trail to Macchu Picchu, Peru
3. Sunrise at the Pyramids and Sphinx, Egypt
4. See polar bears in Svalbard, Norway
5. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
6. Sunrise at Ayers Rock, Australia
7. Hot air balloon over Bagan, Myanmar
8. Glacier cruise, Greenland
9. Experience Petra and Wadi Rum, Jordan
10. Climbing the Chinese Wall, China

For the full top 30 list click on the link below:

Read post »

In the heart of Africa the impressive and thundering sound of Victoria waterfalls have gathered explorers and tourists for a very long time. It's truly something special about the place located along the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia.

This blog post gives you a three days itinerary suggestion to get as much as possible out of your stay at the falls. Our three days stay were quite busy actually but we managed to get out everything we wanted to do but of course I wouldn't have mind staying another night or two in the area.

Aerial view of Victoria Falls and the Victoria Falls Bridge to neighboring Zambia

Day 1

Arriving by air around noon and fully installed and unpacked at the famous and classic Victoria Falls Hotel just in time for the afternoon tea. The hotel is pricy but it's really worth it if you want to get the real colonial African atmosphere. The afternoon tea together with scones and delicacies tasted very well from the outdoor terrace with distance view of the falls. Unfortunately it rained a lot due to wet season and the water levels in the falls were actually quite low at this period but it's still an impressive experience. I would suggest finding the best season when the water levels are at the best, obviously not in December. The afternoon is about to turn to early evening and it's time to get onboard a boat on Zambezi River for some safari waterways. If photography is your main priority, try to find an operator which is specialized in this area. My advice, the smaller boat the better. Many of the operators had large sea vessels with more focus on barbecue and drinking than finding the best photo opportunities. You will see the African wildlife anyhow either choice of sea vessel. Hippos is starting to get awake as the temperature and sun falls and along the river bank you will get the chance to see all other land living animals such as giraffes, zebras etc.

The porter at the classic Victoria Falls Hotel

Afternoon tea at the terrace at Victoria Falls Hotel

Hippos during the Zambezi river cruise

Crocodile pasta dish and local beer

Day 2 

Neighboring countries apart from Zambia is Botswana which is within reach for a full day safari tour. You will probably be away from the falls the whole day and not be back until sunset but I think you will find it all worth it and not get disappointed. The national park called Chobe offers both traditional safari on land in 4x4 vehicles as well as on the 
River in specially designed boats. The land based safari offers great sights of the herbivorous spices like giraffe, zebra and buffalo. Chobe National Park is also proud to house the greatest population of elephants in Africa, which easily can be seen both from land and water. Predators such as lions and leopards aren't impossible to sight either.

The afternoon was spent on the river which gave a completely different view and photo opportunities than from land. Sailing up close of bathing elephants were truly impressive and not to mention passing close by the hippos. 

If time permits when returning to the Victoria Falls Hotel try get as fast as possible along the private path to the falls before the park closes for the day. Are you lucky you can get some beautiful sunset shots. Finish the evening with a tasty crocodile dish at the terrace at the hotel while listening to the thundering falls in the distance.

Day 3

Watching powerful and impressive waterfalls means getting wet and sometimes it's hard to get the real extent of the falls due to all mist in the air. The answer to that one is a helicopter ride above the falls and that's absolutely a must do if you want great photos from above and get that overall look. We caught a ride in the morning to be able to get back and explore the falls from the park by foot before noon. The park isn't that big and the trail along the cliffs only takes around two hours including photo stops. Prepare to get wet from the mist and bring some kind of water proof kit for your camera. 

Unfortunately, in our case the Victoria Falls Hotel was fully booked for a third night stay during our period so another solution had to be found. The Victoria Falls are divided between Zimbabwe and Zambia so it wasn't that hard to decide where to go. 
After check out we crossed the border with car over the Victoria Falls Bridge which was a great experience in itself.

On the Zambian side, we checked in at the nearby The Royal Livingstone Hotel which has its own trail for getting to the viewing areas of the falls. Compared to the classic Victoria Falls Hotel, this hotel was more like a resort with a nice garden and pool area. It was some hours past noon so time for the traditional afternoon tea here as well. Don't be afraid if it suddenly appears a herd of zebras grazing the lawn of the gardens. After the tea and some heavy showers it was time to see the falls from this side. The Zambian side offers a completely different perspective of the falls with a view along the ravine compared to more or less standing at cliff side at the Zimbabwean side. After getting back to the resort don't miss the great terrace and bar by the river for a local beer in the sunset as watching the mist from the falls the last time.

A helicopter ride above the Victoria Falls is a must-do!

Impressive aerial view of the falls!

A great aerial view of the town, the bridge and the falls of course!

If you dare, you can take a guided tour to the Devil's Pool by the cliffs...must be really thrilling and not harmless I guess!

The Devil's Pool

This three days itinerary began with a South African Airways flight from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and then back from Livingstone, Zambia to continue a three weeks adventure in South Africa. 

Read post »

The very last days of 2017 is here and it's about time to post this year's Top 10 travel photos. The highlight of this year's travelling is of course my first ever visit to Australia with my wife and at that time 7 months old daughter. This trip alone could easily fill the whole top list with great photos that was generated during three weeks down under. 

Having a child doesn't mean you have to stop travelling which I first thought, for us it only meant that we chose our destinations more careful to suit all our needs. In fact the travel year of 2017 has been one of my very best travelling years so far. Apart from Australia, the destinations included a great road trip in the Eastern Europe covering around ten countries and also three classic sun destinations, Gran Canaria, Nice and Malta.

I hope the travel year of 2018 will be just as good as the one we are leaving behind with new destinations and experiences. Two intercontinental trips are already booked for the coming year and it will most probably be more in the planning phase. Until then enjoy my Top 10 travel photos!
Happy New Year!

Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House,  Australia

Lake Skadar Horseshoe Bend, Montenegro

St Mark's Church in Zagreb, Croatia

Koala in eucalyptus tree at Victoria, Australia

Maltese balconies at Valletta, Malta

Stari Most in Mostar, Bosnia and Hercegovina

Sand dunes at Maspalomas, Gran Canaria

Blue Grotto, Malta

Hvar Island, Croatia

St Kilda Pier in Melbourne, Australia

Read post »

Back in Scandinavia after a four week long stay in Toulouse and the flight training to become an Airbus pilot. The days went by really fast and the few hours left of the day was mostly spent in the room to study. When time and weather allowed I treated myself with some photo opportunities in Toulouse of course. 

The top sights of Toulouse are mainly concentrated to the old city centre and within easy walking distance. The number one on my list is a bit further out from downtown though and it would be unfair not to choose the Aeroscopia Aeronautical Museum and Toulouse Blagnac Airport.

Here it is, my top 5 list of what to photograph during your stay in Toulouse!

1. Aeroscopia Aeronautical Museum/Toulouse Blagnac Airport

If being an aviation enthusiast or not, you just have to visit the Aeroscopia Museum to have a look of all historic aircraft on display there. The highlight is of course the former Air France Concorde, try to be creative and get some rare angles of this beautiful aircraft.

Toulouse Blagnac Airport is also home to Airbus and several assembly lines of its aircraft family. Spend some hours around the airport and you will definitely be able to photograph when Airbus performing test flights. Are you really lucky you will even see the biggest passenger aircraft ever built, the Airbus A380, or the brand new Airbus A350-1000 or even the transporter aircraft which looks like a Beluga.

2. Victor Hugo Marché

The French food is widely recognised world wide and at this centrally located market, you will see all kind of delicacies and odd ingredients this cuisine has to offer. Be there early in the morning to be able to shoot most of the fresh goods before they are sold and  to experience the hectic commerce.

3. Basilica of Saint-Sernin

There is several buildings in the old city centre of Toulouse which is well worth a photo. Many of the buildings seems to originate from the same era and are similar in design with its "pink" brick and high towers. The Basilica of Saint-Sernin is my favourite and is also on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

4. Le Pont Neuf

A beautiful old bridge over Garonne River which looks especially good during the golden light or during night. There is several other beautiful buildings along the walking path at the riverfront which can be added to the scene if you got a wide angle lens.

5. Old City Centre

A walk through the old city centre of Toulouse and its small cobbled streets give perfect opportunities for photos almost anywhere. This one is from Rue de Taur with the Église Notre-Dame du Taur and its towers.

Read post »

No update on the blog for a while and there is of course a reason for that. Right now and during the last couple of weeks I have been down in Toulouse in the southern France at the Air bus Training Center. On behalf of my employer Scandinavian Airlines, I am doing a type rating course for the Airbus A320 family aircraft that gradually replace the Boeing 737 fleet in the airline. In this case the training is located on site at the Airbus very own Training Center at the Toulouse Blagnac Airport. A full type rating consists of approximately six weeks of training including theoretical course, sessions in an aircraft procedure trainer and full flight simulator.

Airbus is the biggest employer in Toulouse of course and around 21.000 people are employed at this site. The airliner manufacturer houses facilities and assembly lines all around the airport perimeter. All different aircraft types are assembled here like the A320, A330, A350 and giant A380 double decker.

What to do in Toulouse while having a little of spare time? Of course Airbus has taken the opportunity to make business out of letting people visit the assembly lines and showing the process how to assembly an aircraft. You can join the A380 and/or the A350 tour which give you and insight of the construction process as well as a round tour on the production site within the airport perimeter. Unfortunately you are not allowed to take any photos during the tour and the same restriction apply for the training. It's still very interesting of course and I can truly recommend the tours.

Anyhow the tours begin at the north side of the airport at the Musée Aeroscopia which you must visit in connection with your Airbus tour. Here you will find the history of aviation and the history of Airbus itself with one of the very first prototypes of Airbus first aircraft, the Airbus A300. Inside the huge hangar you will also see several other smaller aircraft but there is also one of the bigger, the old Super Guppy. This aircraft was used to transport the different parts such as wings, fuselages etc. between the different production sites in Europe for the final assembly. This aircraft has now been replaced by the Beluga, named after the whale due its look alike appearance. The highlight of the museum is actually outside where you can see the most beautiful airliner ever created the supersonic Concorde in full Air France livery. There is also an old Caravelle and Airbus newly produced military aircraft, the A400M. 

You can't visit Toulouse without making a visit to Let's Visit Airbus and the Musée Aeroscopia, two combined tours plus a visit to the exhibition takes about five hours.
More of Toulouse is coming up later on the blog, enjoy some the aircraft which can be seen in the exhibition hangar until then!

The first aircraft manufactured by Airbus, the A300, on display in the hangar.

The Airbus Skylink, Super Guppy, together with some other historical aircraft.

The Concorde prototype on display inside the hangar

The tail fin of the prototype Concorde inside the hangar

The Super Guppy on a closeup

The engines of the superonic Concorde

The Airbus Skylink, Super Guppy, together with some other historical aircraft.

Read post »

No other island seems to be so famous for its honeymooners as the small island of Bora Bora. Located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in the archipelago of French Polynesia, it sure is isolated from rest of the world. Flight time of 24 hours from Scandinavia in the best case of connections makes it not the everyday holiday destinations.

Hopefully you just marry once so my wife and I decided to make that special visit to Bora Bora as our honeymoon three years ago. As always I usually want to fly the national carrier of the country, in this case Air Tahiti Nui was the choice. The airline operate a direct flight from Paris Charles de Gaulle all the way to Papeete with just a short enroute stop in Los Angeles. The Polynesian atmosphere and hospitality was greeted already when boarding the beautiful painted Airbus A340-300.

Window view of the four engined Airbus A340 above the Pacific Ocean

To get most out of our visit to French Polynesia, we made a combination stay at two Pearl Beach Resorts on the island of Moorea and Bora Bora. Since the Air Tahiti Nui flight back home depart from the main island of Tahiti we also got one day and night in Papeete to explore.

Bora Bora was the reason why going to French Polynesia and after a four nights acclimatization on Moorea to the easy going Tahitian living it was time to catch the domestic flight to Bora Bora. The domestic airline called Air Tahiti operates ATR aircraft around the Tahitian islands, which covers an area as big as Europe. The flight was around 1,5 hours and the airport was located in the edge of the lagoon with boat as the only transportation option to your resort. 

The national flower Tiare which you were greeted already when boarding the Air Tahiti Nui aircraft in Paris/Charles de Gaulle

The overwater bungalows at the Pearl Beach Resort at Bora Bora

Enjoying the national dish, Poisson Cru, in the overwater bungalow

From the first impression when arriving to Bora Bora was a feeling of paradise. That feeling got even better when opening the door to our overwater bungalow with crystal clear water underneath and beautiful views of the lagoon and Mount Otemanu. This would be our home for the coming five nights and we didn't leave the bungalow more than neccessary. Vacation mode was on and the days went by doing not that much else than sunbathing and snorkeling. The Tahitian sun was extremely warm so it was great to stay close to the water even though the swims didn't cool you down that much. Lunch was either eaten at the greater complex by the beach or as we mostly did ordered it to the bungalow. The dishes was of course mainly from the sea and don't miss to taste the national dish called Poisson Cru.

My wife enjoying the sun from the terrace of our overwater bungalow

Paradise beach

Great view of Mount Otemanu when waking up

Paradise beach with palms and fine grained white sand

What to do more on this paradise island apart from sunbathing and snorkeling? My wife and I want to explore and get most out of all our trips and this time was no exception even though we were a little more relaxed than usual. There is especially two activities you can't miss when being at Bora Bora in my opinion.

To really experience the true beauty of this paradise a helicopter ride is a must-do. I can't say anything else than I really recommend you to do the same. It might be a little prizy but it's worth every polynesian franc. The lagoon looks almost surrealistic from above and among the most beautiful view I have ever seen. I didn't know there was so many shades of blue and turquoise. The flight is about 15 min and we were lucky to have a helicopter pad at our resort. From there the routing took us around the edges of the lagoon to get up close to all other overwater bungalow resorts and then a close fly-by of the top of Mount Otemanu. In our case we also passed by the airport on our way back to the resort and managed to see an Air Tahiti ATR aircraft taking off. The flight was short but the same goes with the island so no problem to see it all. It was a truly amazing experience to see everything from above, more photos from the flight can be seen in the French Polynesia gallery.

This captain has probably one of the most beautiful offices out there

The 15 minutes helicopter flight offered spectacular views of Bora Bora and the lagoon

The shades of blue and turquoise are just amazing

The overwater bungalows as seen from above

Another great activity to recommend is to swim with sharks. There is several operators doing the cruises onto the reef where you find the blacktip shark. If everything seems alright with the sharks according to the instructors, you are free to jump right in and take a swim with a great number of those blacktips. During our snorkeling we also had some rays which actually were even more indiscreet. A truly memorable experience and I can assure the pulse was a little faster than usually when entering the water. The blacktip sharks shall be harmless to people and fortunately even to us that day. 

The transportation to/from the reef also included some great views of the lagoon, Mount Otemanu and the other resorts which passed by quite close. Finally the cruise ended up with a visit to a small rescue center for sea turtles and other endangered species in the area. 

My wife swimming with blacktip sharks

A lot of black tip sharks around you

As you can see from the photos from the air, the water in the lagoon is crystal clear and most of the bottoms on the shallow parts around the resorts are missing corals. By our Pearl Beach Resort there was actually several corals planted which you could explore up close. A lot of different species of colorful fishes had found their new homes here but most of the time you just had to jump into the shallow water to see some fish below or around your bungalow. From time to time even rays came swimming below the bungalows. Since I had brought my underwater house to the camera, I found it very interesting to be shooting half under/over surface shots when snorkeling around and had no problems spending several hours in the warm water.

I guess Bora Bora is not the destination of choice if you are cost conscious. It might be a pricy airline ticket just getting there and certainly a long journey from almost anywhere in the world. Anyhow, if you have the possibility I don't think you will regret spending the honeymoon or holiday for that matter at Bora Bora.

This is paradise!

Air Tahiti Nui Airbus A340-300 direct service to Paris Charles de Gaulle via Los Angeles

Read post »