Featured image 14 – Cause I’m a gypsy

This is Antonio.┬áHe’s the head of a Spanish gypsy family leading a semi-nomadic life. We met him one Christmas in the Nature Reserve of Cazorla, deep in the Andalucian olive groves. Him and his family move from place to place depending on where there is work to be found. In Antonio’s case, this means that they move around Spain according to the crops that are ripe for harvesting.

Christmas time is olive time. We happened to be spending our Christmas in the same little village as Antonio and his huge gypsy family. When they found out it was only the three of us (my husband, our son and I) they found it very sad that we were going to spend Christmas ‘on our own’, so they invited us over for a true gypsy party. It lasted into the early hours of Boxing Day, there was music, there was dancing, there was flamenco singing, there were prawns, crabs and Spanish ham on the table, and there was that rough and ready atmosphere that I love about the gypsies. When you’re with them, you forget that there’s a tomorrow coming. Their ability to live right here, right now is a wonderfully contagious one!

 

 

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Featured image 13 – Go Wild in Laos

KUANG SI Waterfalls is located roughly thirty kilometers south of Luang Prabang in Laos. And yes – it is a place where dreams come true!

Grown men and women throw themselves off the slanting tree trunks, and most let out a small jungle roar before they hit the water. It’s fun! And I would even say addictive, judging by the amount of times people repeated their jumps.

You’d think a place like this would be full of tourists. However, although there were quite a few people by the waterfalls, they were spread out. And there are no groups, only independent travelers searching for serene beauty and a hefty adrenalin rush.

It took us about 45 minutes by tuk tuk to reach the Kuang Si waterfalls. The road there is winding, but also absolutely gorgeous. We passed through some interesting little villages, some belonging to the traditional Hmong people. And our driver waited patiently for us outside the nature park where you’ll find the water fall. There’s a small entrance fee to pay – something like 20.000 kip if I remember correctly. (It’s amazing how fast I forget the conversion rates, but I believe it’s something like fifty pence.)

We paid our driver $20 for the day, and he agreed to stopping several times along the way so that we could get out and explore and photograph the villages. All in all, I would say that the trip to the Kuang Si waterfalls was the highlight of our stay in Luang Prabang.

Fancy seeing another side of Laos? Check out the ever present monks!