All Posts By

Jessica Wintz

Asia

Chaotically Cool: Street Photography In Kathmandu

Chaotically Cool: Street Photography In Kathmandu

Nepal’s capital is often merely seen as a jumping-off point, overshadowed by the call of the Himalayan mountains. Yet, Kathmandu is one of a kind to say the least. It is chaotic, fascinating, exhausting and mesmerizing. Its character shines through in ancient architecture, temples and Buddhist stupas which made for its World Heritage Site status, its overwhelming display of sights, smells and sounds and its crowded, narrow streets taking you back to the real Asia.

The earthquake in 2015 has shaken the city, but it didn’t change its heart. Life happens on the streets, so all you need to do is be at the right place at the right time (with a bit of luck & a good eye) and snap away. But where?

Chaotically Cool: Street Photography In Kathmandu Chaotically Cool: Street Photography In Kathmandu

Thamel

Thamel is a maze of small streets, lined with restaurants, hotels, shops and tour agencies. Although it’s a busy area filled with tourists, the – still bustling – narrow alleys are what you are looking for. The car free streets (you won’t find these anywhere else in the traffic-jammed city) give you enough time to pause and walk around the winding streets. Although some of the light is blocked by the high buildings and narrow streets, rays of light coming through can make for a unique sight. Start at Ason Tole morning market at 6:00AM to catch the busiest time and work your way through the streets.

Chaotically Cool: Street Photography In Kathmandu Chaotically Cool: Street Photography In Kathmandu Chaotically Cool: Street Photography In Kathmandu Chaotically Cool: Street Photography In Kathmandu

Durbar Square & Surrounding

Durbar Square is the old Kathmandu, and although some parts of the square (and area) were damaged during the 2015 earthquake, it is still one of the biggest attractions. The temples, palaces and shrines bustle with pilgrims, flower sellers, orange-clas Sadhus and tourists. Spend some time walking around the square and then head towards the surrounding streets to get a more local feeling.

Chaotically Cool: Street Photography In Kathmandu Chaotically Cool: Street Photography In Kathmandu Chaotically Cool: Street Photography In Kathmandu Chaotically Cool: Street Photography In Kathmandu

Boudhanath Temple Area

This area is the center of Buddhism in Nepal and an important place of pilgrimage and prayer for Buddhists from all over the world. The main draw being one of the biggest Buddhist stupas in the world. The stupa is full of activity during the entire day, especially during sunrise (without the tourist crowds) and surrounded by monasteries making the entire area filled with monks of all ages. An urban street feel with a Buddhist touch. Kathmandu’s ‘Little Tibet’.

Chaotically Cool: Street Photography In Kathmandu Chaotically Cool: Street Photography In Kathmandu Chaotically Cool: Street Photography In Kathmandu

Pashupatinath Temple

What Boudhanath is to Buddhists, Pashupatinath is for Hindus. A Hindu temple, surrounded by smaller temples and ashrams on the banks of the Bagmati River, offering grounds to walk around for hours. An eclectic mix of sellers, musicians, monkeys, flowers, dresses, sadhus (it will cost you 20 rupees if you want a photo) all surrounding the Hindu cremation gaths is what earned this place the name ‘Little Varanasi’

Despite Kathmandu’s reputation of being overcrowded and chaotic, it is chaotically cool. Use the constant dust filled air to your advantage, by adding highlights and different moods to your pictures. Creating a unique grace beyond the grime you won’t find anywhere else in the world, but here.

Chaotically Cool: Street Photography In Kathmandu Chaotically Cool: Street Photography In Kathmandu Chaotically Cool: Street Photography In Kathmandu Chaotically Cool: Street Photography In Kathmandu

Images by Pie Aerts

Europe

Mallorca, Where Life Slows Down

Mallorca, Where Life Slows Down

Against misconceptions: where the music is quiet, the food authentic and the views are dreamy…

To many this balearic island might be known as a yearly Walhalla for partygoers and all-inclusive lovers. And while in certain parts, Mallorca seems to be entirely in the hands of ‘Ballermann’ frequenters, there is a different side to it. A side where life slows down: the music is quiet, the food is authentic and the views are dreamy. Party nights are traded for morning swims and village strolls; the laid-back vibe covering certain parts of the island is what we are looking for. We visited and gathered our favorite spots for a weekend getaway against Mallorca’s misconceptions.

Banyalbufar

If there is one thing you need to see here, it is the terraced hillsides. Banyalbufar is situated on a steep hillside, literally falling into the sea and serves as a prime example of man’s ability in creating farmland out of inhospitable environments. Surrounded by the Tramuntana mountain range, Banyalbufar offers magnificent views, winding roads stretching down to the sea, various coves and beaches to choose from as well as the fishing port of Es Port de Canoge. Start early to make use of the cooler temperatures and take the hiking route.

Mallorca, Where Life Slows Down Mallorca, Where Life Slows Down

Valldemossa

Making your way to Valldemossa is a breathtaking experience in itself. While driving through the winding streets of the UNESCO world heritage site Serra de Tramuntana you can take in the blonde stone houses surrounded by green forests of olive, almond and oak trees. Lying in an idyllic and absolutely picturesque valley, Valldemossa has not quite managed to stay away from tourism, but that did not take away its charm.

The narrow, cobbled streets which are sprinkled with cafes, art galleries, shops and restaurants will keep you strolling for hours. In summer, the occasional cruise ship day tours will fill the streets, but during off-season you will only have to share this place with the locals. Pass by the ‘Mirador de Miranda des Lladoner’ to have the best city views and continue to visit the town’s Real Monastery. Standing there, you will be transported to the past. Imagine the entire village gathering on the main plaza, children playing, parents dressed up for sunday service, elders chatting in the cool shade under the trees. Welcome to the Spain of another time.

Mallorca, Where Life Slows Down Mallorca, Where Life Slows Down Mallorca, Where Life Slows Down Mallorca, Where Life Slows Down

Fornalutx

Spotting the red tiled roofs of the stone terraced houses while approaching the village, you quickly understand why Fornalutx is often referred to as the ‘prettiest village in Spain’. High up the Tramuntana mountain range, Fornalutx has traditional rustic charm. The mountains in combination with coastal views bring hikers and bikers all year round. Its surrounding countryside is dotted with citrus and olive groves, bringing an unmistakable Mediterranean vibe.

Mallorca, Where Life Slows Down Mallorca, Where Life Slows Down

Deià

Set between the Tramuntana mountain range and the sea, Deià ranks high among most idyllic villages on the island and is often the prime example for the other side of Mallorca. Impressive views, lush green surroundings, ochre-coloured houses and a laid-back vibe. Factors which not only draw in the relaxation seeking tourist, but has also attracted foreign artists over the years, with Robert Graves being the most known. Choose for pleasure eating and drinking amidst the impressive views or opt for a more active afternoon, hiking in the hills above Deià. Especially the cooler months are just made for heading out on a scenic walk or a half an hour stroll down to Cala Deià.

If you want to enjoy that perfect tranquility a bit longer, there is only one choice to take. Belmond La Residencia; with gardens overlooking the waters of the Mediterranean Sea and a dramatic backdrop of the Tramuntana mountain range, even Princess Diana and Robbie Williams have chosen this spot as their Mallorcan home.

 

Mallorca, Where Life Slows Down

Advice Travel Planning

Linger Longer – It’s Time To Talk Slow Travel

Picture yourself in a small village in the middle of the french provence: buying fresh bread at the bakery in the morning, slurping locally produced wine at the corner restaurant in the night. Spending your days exploring the surrounding chateaus, villages or simply adopting the pace of the villagers. Sounds like this should be your next vacation? Slow Travel. Simplicity.

Slow Travel is about simplicity, in a way. Instead of rushing from one must-see destination to the other, cramping as many tourist attractions as possible into your day and coming home from a vacation more exhausted than before – slow down and take time. In today’s fast paced world, we are easy to lose our sense of time. Life is short, they say. But life is not short, we often just fail to spend our time wisely enough. The Slow Movement first started off in the 80’s, sparked by the opening of a McDonalds in the Piazza di Spagna in Rome, Italy. Slow Food, the local alternative to fast food, was spawned. Slow Cities, Slow Living and naturally Slow Travel followed shortly after.

Slow Travel encourages you to explore each destination thoroughly. It is not about the mode of transportation, but about the mindset. About taking in your surroundings at a relaxed pace, without a plan or a timeframe. Confirmed arrival times make space for flexible travel dates, for the unexpected. For waking up without a plan, without the usual ‘must-sees’. Instead, it encourages us to look deeper. To give ourselves utterly to the unknown, learn & appreciate the rhythms of local life. Isn’t that exactly what travel was all about in the first place? This way of travel emphasizes connection – connection to food, places, languages, ideas, culture and people. It can bring more meaningful experiences while not only decreasing your stress level, but also giving something back to the local communities, respecting the environment and being aware of our carbon footprints. Ultimately, it allows us to establish a deeper connection to this new place.

Understanding that planning less can let you experience more, is a first and easy step.  Simply start in your hometown. Jump on the train to the next village that you have never visited. Enter that bar at the corner of your street you’ve walked by a thousand times, but never went in. Take a couple of days off in your own city, explore and linger longer.

 


Will you take part in Slow Travel if given the opportunity?
For you ladies who have – what did you learn from your time?
And for those who haven’t – where do you dream of spending your time traveling slow?
Caribbean Guides Instagrammer's Guides Photography

The Most ‘Instagrammable’ Spots in Tulum

Papaya Playa Tulum

The most ‘Instagrammable’ spots in Tulum and where to find them…because let’s be honest, that’s all we ever wanted to know.

Lazing on a day bed, silent winds passing by, mojito on hand and a sense of natural bliss. Somewhere away from the hustle and bustle, but never straying too far from the sea. The definition of a day well spent in Tulum, Mexico.

Tulum is a laid-back coastal town, but at the same time is spoilt for choice with fancy restaurants and beach bars showcasing shabby-chic throws. Wait lists included. What Ibiza is to Europeans (you may substitute Ibiza for Mykonos), they say Tulum is to the New Yorker ‘in-crowd’. Whatever the term ‘in-crowd’ even means.

But let’s get started on what you came for: Tulum’s most ‘Instagrammable’ spots and where to find them. At this point I would really like to chip in on the discussion that Instagram and the act of taking photographs for mentioned social media app, influences or more commonly said ruins the way we travel and experience our surroundings. As you might have
guessed, I do not agree. But I will keep this to myself for another post coming up soon!

Playa Paraiso
I have never been a supporter of the concept to ‘save the best for last’. So let’s start off with a place called ‘Playa Paraìso’, which translates into: Paradise Beach. Do I need to say more?

Playa Paraiso Tulum

Carretera Boca Paila Mz. 3 Lote 2, Tulum Ruinas, Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Papaya Playa Project
Known as the communal playground for the creative community, this hotel and beach club has little wooden huts and ‘casitas’ dotted along the beach and nestled in the jungle. Those casitas are also the place where you will find yourself snapping away.
Papaya Playa TulumPapaya Playa Tulum
Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila Km 4.5, Tulum, Quintana Roo, 77780 Mexico

Cenote Nicte-Ha
Although well known for its Cenotes, Cenote Nicte-Ha is the hidden gem of the surrounding. This locally known cenote is serene and less visited than the popular Cenote Dos Ojos. Get that perfect shot without waiting in line.
Cenote Nicte-Ha Tulum
From highway 307 leading to Cenote Dos Ojos, walk along the dirt road for about 15-20 minutes. You will find the entrance to Cenote Nicte-Ha to your right.

Coco Tulum
Man made, but no less beautiful is this beach/tree/shell shower at the beach club of the resort Coco Tulum. Besides that, there are plenty of swings to make your dreamy Instagram shot possible.
Coco Tulum
Carretera Tulum Boca Paila Km 7, Tulum, Quintana Roo, 77780 Mexico

And after all shots have been taken, don’t forget to take a moment for yourself, listen to the wind, feel the sun on your face….and peacefully watch your Instagram likes climb up.

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