Funlovingliving er Norges 5. beste reiseblogg!!!

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Magasinet Reiselyst har kåret Norges beste reiseblogg og jeg kom på en fantastisk 5. plass! Silje, som står bak bloggen “Den afrikanske farmen” vant velfortjent med sine flotte bilder og skildringer fra sitt liv i Namibia. De andre bloggene på topp fem listen er “Bobleliv” som skriver om reising med fokus på dykking. Birgit og Anders er to spreke folk som er på en to år lang sykkeltur i Europa og Amerika. Nina og Mads reiser jorden rundt og er for øyeblikket i vakre Argentina. Jeg er utrolig takknemlig og veldig stolt for å bli nevnt i dette eksklusive selskap!

Stor takk for oppmerksomheten til Magasinet Reiselyst med redaktør Torild Moland i spissen, sammen med blogger, fotograf og journalist Johnny Haglund, samt markedssjef i Solia AS, Cecilie Gilhuus Jørve!

Til dere som har fulgt med oss på bryllupsreisen så langt, tusen takk! Til nye lesere, velkommen ombord! Vi er bare halvveis (på denne turen), så følg med videre!

Norges beste reiseblogger

Siri Kyler Honey

Funlovingliving has been voted Norway’s fifth best travel blog by the Norwegian travel magazine Reiselyst. I am very thankful and honored to have made it to top five! To those of you who have been joining us on our honeymoon so far, thank you! To new readers, welcome onboard! We are only halfway (on this adventure), so keep following!

Boquete Flower & Coffee (+ free vodka) Festival

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With a stop and a night in Santa Catalina on the coast, we continued on to Boquete in the highlands. Boquete’s claim to fame is its stunning nature, exquisite coffee and outdoor activities, as well it’s numerous North American and European retirees. The climate is cooler than most other parts of Panama, making it a rather exotic destination for Panamanians. They come to Boquete to sport their winter apparel and buy gloves and fancy toques. However, Norwegians and Canadians would agree that Boquete’s climate does not qualify as glove weather!

We sort of rushed to Boquete to make it in time for the annual Flower and Coffee festival in town. We rolled in on Saturday afternoon and went straight to the festival area, where we mingled among flowers and drank some coffee.

Siri pink jacket

Siri Kyler pina drink

Siri Kyler Todd view tower

As we got deeper into the festival area, we saw a big structure ahead. It was quite obviously a Latin American portable club blasting the tunes. Out of curiosity (and the fact that it was free), we peeked in. What was inside was a massive, daytime dance party! Some drink producer was promoting their new invention and was quite literally throwing the drinks at us! For free! Yay! At 7pm the party was over, we had drank our share of pre-mixed cranberry vodka vodka and were invited to continue the party with a group of our new friends from David. With 80 free cans in tow, we found the closest agreeable spot to hang out. Somebody rounded up glasses and Kyler went and got two bags of ice, and the party continued. We tried our best to keep up, but around 9pm, we were obviously no match for the Panamanians! After some meat on a stick, we called it a good day and returned to Casa Honey.

party time

Siri Ellie at the party

Group shot

The Panamanian Pollera

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In spite of the name, it does not have anything to do with pollo – chicken. The pollera is the traditional Panamanian dress. It is a spectacle of colors, fabric, beads and ruffles. The look of the pollera depends on the geographic origin of it’s wearer – much like the Norwegian bunad.

While lounging on – and around – Playa Venao, we heard about a festival that was to take place in Las Tablas, about an hour or so away, on Saturday. Nobody seemed to know exactly what the festival was about, but mentioned that it would involve dresses. We debated back and forth whether it was worth the drive. In the end we figured we had already spent sufficient amount of time on the beach (for now) and decided it would be great with some cultural input.

After packing up Honey; taking down the pop-top, rolling in the awning, driving off the leveling wooden block and moving stuff from the front seats to the back, we got on our way. The kids in the back (Ellie and Todd) fell asleep a little past Pedasi. Still wondering if the drive would be worth it, we trucked on. As we rolled into Las Tablas an hour and twenty minutes later, we were pretty quickly, pretty certain az the drive was worth it. The town was absolutely packed with colorful and happy people! We found great parking close to the action, right next to the paddy wagon. From there it did not take long to find the festivities. An enormous parade, involving more people than there were spectators, soon began. Each town had put together a group consisting of girls and women, boys and men to dance with them, a band to play music to dance to and occasionaly a rather spectacular float, for the parade. The girls were wearing the pollera and intricate, fancy head pieces. The original head pieces used to be made of fish scales and pearls. The newer ones are more commonly made from plastic beads and fabric due to the lower price and lesser labor involved. The boys and the men were wearing pants and different types of fitted shirts. Some of them had an excess amount of colorful buttons on them. They ran all along the front and some also had them all along the back. The typical head wear for the men was a certain type of straw hat. The hats were small on top, sort of like a quarter gallon hat, as oppsed to a ten gallon cowboy hat. The brims could be bent up as the hat bearer pleased. Some wore them with only the front folded up, some folded up the front and the back, and some wore it as is.

Las Tablas horns

Las Tablas float

Las Tablas women portraits

Polleras head piece close up

Las Tablas trio

Las Tablas Gangnam Style

Las Tablas polleras women

Las Tablas polleras street scene

Las Tablas polleras girl

Las Tablas polleras woman portrait

Las Tablas parade street scene

The parade snaked its way through all of town and we walked around so that we could take it in from several different view points. We were four out of approximately ten foreigners in town for the occasion and people were very happy to let us in on the celebrations. Todd was asked to dance and swung a woman and her polleras around to much applause. In the heat of the festivities Ellie became in dire straits of a handheld fan and got one for a dollar. I had enough work keeping my (fairly short) dress from flying up and decided it would simply be too much to keep track of. That was until Travel Panama handed them out for free and I could no longer resist. We finished off our cultural travel input with a refreshing glass bottle, real sugar Coca Cola, some meat on a stick, fresh batidos (fruit smoothies) and a dance outside the van, before returning to our camp spot at Playa Venao.

Las Tablas polleras Todd dance

Las Tablas polleras Siri

Funlovingliving at Las Tablas

Real de Catorce

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We left Ronny’s safe haven in Monterrey on Thursday with our noses pointed in the direction of Matehuala. The drive out was spectacular as Monterrey is surrounded by bold mountains and high elevations.

The drive went by without any problems what so ever. The presence of federal police and military is high, and hence the presence of bad guys has been lacking. Let’s keep it that way! To stay safe and cut a bit of driving time we have stayed on toll roads whenever possible and will likely keep doing so.

We arrived in Matehuala, a city in the state of San Luis Potosi in the afternoon on Thursday. After going for a little drive through town we checked in at a hotel/campground. As darkness fell, quite a few cars pulled in, but none in the campground. We therefore have great facitilities to ourselves. Our amigos who work at the hotel are super friendly Mexicans who are keen to talk with us, even though are Spanish is still a bit rusty.

Friday morning we woke up before the sun to catch an early bus to the mountain town of Real de Catorce. Being at an elevation of almost 3000 meter the road there has a 1400 meter elevation gain. In addition it is known to be one of the longest cobble streets in the world. We decided to let Honey rest for the day and dive into the culture by taking the bus.

The bus suddenly stopped and everybody got off as we reached a hole in the mountain side. As it turnes out there is a 2.3 km long tunnel that leads to the former silver mining town. We jumped on the horse carriages that were lined up and payed the 15 pesos (just over $1) it cost. The tunnel was pretty dark and cold, but the stemning (atmosphere) was nice and warm. Plenty of horses were transporting locals and visitors to and from the town. This time of year Real de Catorce receives especially high numbers of visitors, as it is a religious destination for pilgrims wanting to see the image of St. Francis in the town church. Several high budget movies have been filmed in Real. Bandidas (Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz) and The Mexican (Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt) are two of these.

As we exited the tunnel we were greeted by a sight full of market action. People were coming, people were going, people were eating, selling and buying. Several religious items were being traded. Candles, ornaments and necklaces. But among these items there were also t-shirts with Angry Birds on them, Tetris games and string underwear for sale. Food stalls and restaurants with wonderful Mexican food were dotted between the sales booths and made for a lively athmosphere and great entertainment.

Music was being played all over town. Dueling banjos happened regularly. The only way to solve it is to raise the volume. No problem! We got to know a family who come once a year to Real de Catorce. They insisted on us joining them for a street dance. We gave in and gave the Mexican two step our best effort to much enjoyment and applause from the other people around.

After a whirlwind of impressions, smells and sights, we got back on the horse carriage through the tunnel. On the other side we waited a little while for the bus to come. We did not mind as there was plenty to look at!

We have met nothing but sincerety and kindness since we got to Mexico. Today we will be driving further South to San Luis Potosi, then head East on highway 70. Stay tuned for updates!

Another Random Night!

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So, one of the great things about van life is that you get to sleep around. In fact we never quite know where we will end up spending the night. This past Friday night was no exception..

The drive out from Zion National Park was incredible. Landscapes unlike any other. The colors were fiery, even the asphalt was colored red.

As we left the park, the colors changed. The drive was still beautiful, just different.

Notice how the color of the road changes!

We pulled into the town of Kanab in Southern Utah right as it was getting dark. The moon lit the town up beautifully and set a nice frame around our dinner at a local patio.

Our waitress was a lovely girl from the South who had never before met anybody on their honeymoon in Kanab. She thought it was so cute that she gave us free dessert!

“Mmmmmmyyyyessssss”

When asking the locals around us where we should go on a Friday night, they said in unison, “Arizona!” The strict alcohol restrictions in Utah make people travel over the border to party, so we did. Only a couple minutes later, we found the recommended Buckskin Tavern. Behind the bar the lovely Sheila served up cheap beer and gave life advice to her clientelle. Kyler and I shot a couple rounds of pool while taking in the scene.

After we had been there a little while we put the cues down and figured it was time to head back to Kanab where we had planned to park the van outside McDonalds. However, we got chatty with Sheila and she offered us to stay outside the bar. “Nobody’s going to bother you there!” “Well, in that case we’ll have one of those,” we replied as we pointed to the pitchers and moved the van to the side of the bar for the night.

How much? $8 for the big thing!

We met so many nice people and had an absolute blast! Music was played and stories were shared. One story was about a tattoo that didn’t turn out quite as planned.

Life lesson: Always trust your tattoo artist!

We woke up the next morning to a great view (and a bit of a tight helmet.)

Thank you, Buckskin Tavern!