visiting Bled, Slovenia

Bled is a super popular tourist town on a tiny, lovely lake.

I had arrived at the hostel in Ljubljana at 10pm. Next morning by 9am I had joined a group headed for Bled.

It’s an adventure tourism mecca: rafting, canyoning, cycling, rock climbing, mountain climbing. I watched scuba divers climb into the lake first thing in the morning.

We had 2 cars and one motor bike. Fellow travellers from the U.K., California, Belgium, France and Singapore. One reason why I like hostels so much better than hotels.

I paid for my ride in beer. Standard hostel currency.

We circumambulated the lake. Visited the “castle“. Then drove off to hike Vintgar Gorge.

An excellent day was punctuated by this sunset.

Don’t forget your camera.

At dinner we met two guys from Zurich. One hoped to climb Triglav 2864m. With guide that costs about 200€. It’s tough to get an alpine hut booking during high season so he came in October.

I asked for a traditional Bled meal. Mostly meat.

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T-bone steak at Rick’s Casablanca

Rick’s Café Casablanca …

My table.

Opened March 1, 2004, the place was designed to recreate the bar made famous by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in the movie classic Casablanca.

Set in an old courtyard-style mansion built against the walls of the Old Medina of Casablanca, the restaurant – piano bar is filled with architectural and decorative details reminiscent of the film …

As Time Goes By is a common request to the in-house pianist.

I splurged on a steak, the best meal I’ve had in two months on the road.

Casablanca the 1942 movie was filmed entirely in Hollywood. They never came to Morocco.

Marrakesh’s crazy night market

Definitely the city highlight for me.

Jemaa el-Fnaa is a square and market place in Marrakesh‘s medina quarter (old city). …

During the day it is predominantly occupied by orange juice stalls, water sellers with traditional leather water-bags and brass cups, youths with chained Barbary apes and snake charmers despite the protected status of these species under Moroccan law. …

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

My best experience in the city was here. At night. It was packed at 9pm on the Holy Day.

April 2011 there was a terrorist bombing her killing 17 people. Now there are cameras and a significant but discrete police presence. Still, you stay alert for scams and pickpockets.

traveling to the Lofoten Islands above the Arctic Circle

A couple of weeks have passed since I left Norway. I’m now in hot Morocco.

But what sticks most in my mind are the Lofoten Islands. I’d highly recommend you add this unique destination to your travel bucket list.

Here were my first impressions.

Finally made it to this unique, fascinating destination.

Å (the town) is located towards the southern end of the Lofoten archipelago.

I arrived there first, starting at the beginning. Later I learned Å is actually the LAST letter of the Norwegian alphabet.

arriving via ferry from Bodo

Raining and late, I decided to get a hostel room (in the museum) rather than tent.

Needing to eat, I ended up with a gourmet salmon dinner at the only restaurant open late Sunday night.

Next morning I wandered about enjoying the quirky, end of the road fishing village.

Why do people live on the Lofoten Islands?

Stockfish (mostly cod) and now tourism. Massive annual harvests here were historically dried on racks for export to nations including Portugal and Italy.

Stockfish is a staple of Nigerian cuisine too. And they like the fish heads in Nigerian cooking.

Like many other places in traditional Norway, sod roofs are popular here.

Until the late 19th century, it was the most common roof on rural log houses in Norway and large parts of the rest of Scandinavia. …

… it helps to compress the logs and make the walls more draught-proof.

In winter the total load may well increase to 400 or 500 kg per m² because of snow.

Sod is also a reasonably efficient insulator in a cold climate. The birch bark underneath ensures that the roof will be waterproof.

Oslo – San Francisco Bread Bowl restaurant

When one torrential Norwegian rain storm arrived, I ducked into the nearest interesting restaurant to take shelter.

It was called San Francisco Bread Bowl and served me the best I’d ever had. I ordered some kind of seafood. Delicious.

The little one is called a Baby on Board. They gave me a Chili baby for free.

You can order an assortment of babies, if you like.

Cook & Indi’s World Buffet

Glasgow is more expensive than Canada. Tourists have to watch their pence.

Like the last time I visited, I ate one big meal a day at a lunch buffet.

This time Cook & Indi’s was my favourite. All you can eat for US$11.50.

Most of the best food is Indian. But they do have sushi, pizza, pasta, burgers. This keeps kids happy.