Amazonia facts
Amazonia: Did you know…?

The Amazon Rainforest is a very particular part of our planet, often presented as the lung of Earth, as 20% of our oxygen is produced by its trees. But there are other facts that you should know about it!

The largest rainforest on Earth…

Amazonia facts

Amazonia is the world’s biggest rainforest; larger than the next two largest rainforests combined (the Congo Basin and Indonesia). It is composed by over 390 billion trees of 16 000 different species! Nine countries of South America have a part of their territory covered by this rainforest.


… and the greatest river

Amazon facts

The Amazon is the greatest river in the world by so many measures: the volume of the water it carries to the sea (approximately 20% of all the freshwater discharged into the ocean comes from here; more than the next seven largest independent rivers combined), 40% of South America is irrigated by water from Amazon. Finally, the Amazon is one of the wider and longest rivers in the world, approximately 6 5000 Km long.


A divine name

Amazonia facts

In 1540, Francisco de Orellana – a Spanish explorer, and conquistador – completed the first known navigation of the entire length of the Amazon River, which initially was named “Rio de Orellana”. During this trip, whilst crossing the Tapuya territory (on the West part of today’s Brazil), the boat was attacked by the Indians. As customary in this tribe, the women of the tribe fought alongside the men. Orellana, impressed by the courage of these women, named them Amazonas, a derivation of the mythological Amazons, from Greek legends.


The Amazon river changed its direction

Amazon fact A few thousands of years ago, the Amazon River flowed west-ward instead of east-ward, as it does today. The rise of the Andes caused it to flow into the Atlantic Ocean.

A rich wildlife

Between 2010 and 2013, 441 new florae and animals species were discovered in Amazonia. It’s hard to imagine the diversity of the wildlife there. For instance, more than 2,5 million species of insects live there. Among the famous species, we could mention the Jaguar, the Piranha, the Anaconda, but also the Poison Dart Frog. This little frog (not even 5 cm long) produce a very deadly venom. Each frog contains enough poison to kill 10 humans!


A treasure for the humanity

Amazonia facts

25% of pharmaceutical products are made from ingredients from the Amazon rainforest. However, less than 1% of trees and plants have been tested by scientists. Preserving these trees could allow us to find ingredients to cure some deceases.


The home of untouched tribes

More than 50 untouched tribes have been counted in Amazonia, mainly in Brazil. However, some parts of the rainforest remain unexplored. Protecting this forest means also protecting these people. We wrote an article about untouched tribes around the World, check it here!


A giant in danger

Amazon facts

Around 17% of the Amazon rainforest has been lost in the last 50 years, mostly due to forest conversion for cattle ranching. Deforestation in this region is particularly rampant near more populated areas, roads and rivers, but even remote areas have been encroached upon when valuable mahogany, gold and oil are discovered. Different elements allowed to reduce this danger in the last 10 years (pressure of NGO, new protected areas, recognition of indigenous territory, improved law enforcement). However, the situation is still critical, and a surface equivalent to 7 football fields is deforested every minute.

The destruction of the Amazonia is not unsalvageable; we can all still act to save it. The NGOs WWF and Adventure Life give, for instance, some tips to help protect the Amazon with small daily actions.


credit photo: 1, 2, 4: Niel Palmer; 3: Painting from Albert Eckhout, 5,6,8: wikimedia
moroccan hospitality
Moroccan Hospitality :)

 Moroccan Hospitality

A moment lived in Morocco by Maxime, a traveler from France.

A few months ago, my girlfriend and I travelled for the first time to Essaouira, Morocco. After a few days spent there enjoying the beach and visiting the city, we decided to rent a motorbike to go around. The sun was shining, the road was deserted, we drove through the argan trees plantation, we stopped on the way to look at the landscape, the camels, and the goats. A perfect holiday day! A couple of hours later, we saw on the side of the road a wooden road sign saying “beach, 12 km”, and indicating a dirt road.

Excited by the adventure, we turned and followed the road.

Heading for a new adventure!

The way was bumpy, dusty and full of stones, driving the motorbike was more and more demanding, but the landscapes were amazing. Small villages, rivers, we had the impression to discover a part of Morocco unknown to most tourists.

With the poor condition of the road, driving started to be more complicated, and, after an hour, I didn’t manage to avoid to ride on a stone that almost made us fall down. I managed to avoid to fall, but my foot was injured.

Finally, after another 30 minutes riding, thirsty, dirty and with a foot bleeding, we arrive at the end of the road. We were now facing the Atlantic Ocean. The sun was high in the sky, downhill the beach was deserted and the big waves of the ocean were breaking noisily. Kind of picture perfect postcard.

In front of us, a very steep road going downhill to the beach, where a few houses were near some fishermen boats. Impossible to go down with the two of us on the motorbike.

We had to make a choice. Should we go back to the main road and find a place to eat before going back to Essaouira, or should we continue downhill and hope that one of the houses on the beach was a café. We decided to push our luck and start to go downhill. Being that I was the only one that could drive, I drove the bike downhill, trying not to fall, and my girlfriend walked down.

After some cold sweats, we managed to reach the beach and the houses. By chance one of them had the word café written on it. We came in. The house was quite basic, two tables, four seats facing the beach, and a barbecue in a corner. In another corner, a cat with her kittens seemed to be the only occupants. We were disappointed, we would now have to ride back and wouldn’t be able to eat or drink anything for a few more hours.

Tired by the drive, we decided to stay a bit to relax before going back. After a bit, while we were playing with the kittens, a man appeared.

The encounter that changed the day

His name was Hussain, and we started to talk. When we asked him if it was possible to eat something, he told us the café was closed today. It was a bank holiday; the fishermen didn’t go fishing and there’s nothing to cook… We then asked Hussain if by any chance a hidden restaurant was nearby, or an easier way to reach the main road.

He explained that his café was the only here and that there was no other option to reach the next big village than to go back to the main road, and then very spontaneously he said: “ but if you want, you could come to my house for lunch”.

Surprised by this gesture, we accepted and Hussain called his wife to let her know about our arrival. He offered us mint tea before we went back to his house.

Altogether, we took the direction of Hussain’s house, located in a village at 20 min by walk from the beach.

A dozen of houses, very close together, made the village. Some donkeys and dogs were going around the houses, and some kids were playing on the street.

Our arrival was not discreet: the dogs barking and the kids screaming drew the attention of the rest of the village and we saw more and more people taking a look outside of their houses.

We arrived at Hussain’s house and he introduced his wife and his 3 kids.

The house was quite simple and welcoming. Hussain offered us to sit in the living room, on of the 3 benches disposed in U. On the wall, some paintings done by the kids. The same kind of drawing that all the kids around the world do. A house, the sun, some flowers and some smiling persons :)

To be completely honest, while we were delighted by the perspective of finally eat something, we had a bit of apprehension. Is the food going to be too spicy for us, are we going to eat things that we normally don’t like? Our host kindly offered us to share his lunch and we really didn’t want to be rude.

Thrilling lunch

Before eating, our host brought a bowl and poured some water to allow us to wash our hands. The lunch started with some bread and olives, in the kitchen, his wife was finishing to prepare the main course.

She then came into the living room, bringing in her hands an old tajine pot. We were bit a stressed. Worried about being nice with our host, but afraid about the spicy or unusual food.

The moment of truth arrived: Hussain took off the hat of the tajine pot. Inside, there was some tagine mutton and… french fries! We were quite surprised! By having a lunch with a Moroccan family in the small village, far from any touristic area, I really didn’t expect to have french fries for lunch.

We asked Hussain if his wife cooked that for us. A bit surprised by our question, he explained that the kids and him love that, so his wife cooked some from time to time. Sit together, we ate our french fries. Laughing with my girlfriend about the cliché idea that we had.

For the dessert we shared some juicy pomegranate. We talked a bit, played with kids, then it was time for us to leave this small village and go back to Essaouira.

I heard a lot of stories about my traveling friends sharing lunch with local people, praising the taste of some exotic meals. I didn’t eat anything unusual, but I learned that some things are universal, as kids drawing or the french fries!

We will remember for long the hospitality of this family and this moment shared :)

credit photo: Maxime
Year South Africa
South Africa – a journey of a young mind and spirit

South Africa – a journey of a young mind and spirit

A moment lived in South Africa by Life…One Big Aventure, a traveler from Australia

Travel bug

Never was there a greener or more naïve traveler. I was your typical ‘babe in the woods’, and yet I had left the woods, or Australian bush, and had just touched down in Cape Town, South Africa.
My father was a long-serving Rotarian, and over the years, we had hosted a veritable mini-United Nations of exchange students from Denmark, Finland, Germany, Canada, USA and New Zealand. This bag of human liquorice all-sorts inspired me to apply for Rotary Exchange when I ‘came of age’.
I had my heart set on France as I had been studying French at school for the previous five and a half years, and it was with this goal in mind that I entered the interview room.
To say the interview experience was a disaster, would be the understatement of the century. I trembled, I froze, I mumbled, I blubbered! I was usually a pretty self-assured kind of kid, but on this day, the stars aligned to create a tsunami of emotions that saw me cower in the bathrooms in between each interview. And there were four interviews I had to survive! Thankfully one Rotarian knew me as the happy-go-lucky kid, careering around the paddock at Pony Club, and I believe it was his vote that got me over the line.
Anyway, in due course, I was informed that I had been selected as a Rotary Exchange Student to the Republic of South Africa. Not France, but still that is brilliant, fantastic, unreal, but hang on…where the bloody hell is South Africa? Yes, I know my ignorance was inexcusable, but I was a 17-year-old bush kid studying for my final Higher School Certificate that did not include any geography subjects. I quickly did some research, got excited all over again and did my best to concentrate on my studies.
Exams over, pennies saved, bags packed and I was winging my way to South Africa.

Landed in South Africa

Totally jet lagged and disoriented, I stepped off the plane at Cape Town and into the warmest, most welcoming embrace of half the membership of the Goodwood Rotary Club. Hellos and introductions over and bags collected, I walked across the carpark with my first host mother. I could not believe it when she stopped next to the largest, shiniest Mercedes-Benz car I had ever seen. Without thinking, I blurted out in a voice of wonder, “is this your car?” before scrambling to recover my manners. What was I thinking? That she had hot-wired it on the way to the airport?
That day was the start of the most wonderful, eye-opening and mind-expanding year of my life. Every day was a day to meet someone new, and to learn about a different culture.
I was enrolled at Fairmont High School at Durbanville, a northern suburb of Cape Town. While it didn’t thrill me to be back at school after just completing 13 years of the stuff, I adopted the approach of ‘all care, no responsibility’. The saving grace was that I was enrolled in the entire school e.g. Year 7 Afrikaans, Year 8 Home Economics, Year 9 History etc. A lasting memory was when one day in a Home Economics class full of 14-year-olds, a girl mentioned in passing that it was the first time in her life that she had done the washing up!

New language, new food!

I reveled in the new language and enjoyed showing off my growing vocabulary at the dinner table each night. There is a saying that Afrikaans is not a language, it’s a throat disease! I gave it all the brain power and tonsil gymnastics I could.
The world of food, another world away from traditional Aussie meat-and-three-vegies, opened up before me. Being permanently hungry, I inhaled boerewors, mealie pap, Yogi Sip, vetkoek, guava fruit leather, buttermilk rusks and Top Deck chocolate. All delicacies not readily available in rural NSW.
Then there was the alcohol! While people in Australia commonly invite you over for a cuppa, in South Africa the invite is for a glass of wine, a whiskey, witblits etc. I think I was permanently tipsy for the first three months!

Over the years, South Africa has received a bad wrap for its politics and human rights issues. While that may be justified, it is wrong to tar the whole country with the same brush. I could not fault the warmth and welcome I received.
In some ways, I blame the South African media, and by default, the all-powerful, controlling government of the day. It was only on my return to Australia that I learned about Nelson Mandela incarcerated on Robben Island, just offshore from Cape Town. I felt very guilty that I was not more politically aware. I was a standard 17 years old, full of happiness and energy, and oblivious to the larger issues playing out in the World.
May every person have one carefree year like this in their life!

This traveler has a blog: Life…One Big Adventure

credit photo: Life…One Big Adventure
things to do in norway
10 moments you could live in Norway


Norway is one of these countries you won’t believe your eyes! Located along the western part of the Scandinavian peninsula, it was once the home of the vikings. There can be found dramatic sceneries with deep coastal fjords that where formed when the glacial erosive process started 2, 5 million years before present. Part of it is above the Arctic Circle which means the habitants barely see the sun during winter but summer is a never ending day. This country is definitely made for outdoor activities seekers. We went there, we love it and we now share with some things to do in Norway; 10 moments you could live :)

1. Explore the fjords on a boat cruise

Fjord cruise

A trip in Norway is not complete if you don’t go on a cruise across the fjords. It’s a great way to realise how small we are! The fjords are a long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created by glacial erosion. Some drops can be as high as 1000m, in the Sognefjord for example. No need to say the sceneries are gorgeous, waterfalls and little fisherman villages are part of the discovery. You can easily find tours going from Bergen which is the city where most of the excursions start from.

2. Visit Bergen’s famous fish market

Fish market in Bergen

While in Bergen, why not go to the picturesque fish market. It is one of the most visited markets in Norway and for a reason. This place has been since 1200 a meeting point for merchants and fishermen. There you can eat tasty crabs, shells, mussels, smoked fish, fish soup and they are all delicious!

3. Discover the blue lagoons of the Lofoten Islands


Exploring the Lofoten Islands is an unforgettable experience. The scenery is just magic…Blue lagoons with sharp mountain backgrounds, fantastic sandy beaches, it is hard to believe that such place exists on earth. The postcard village of Reine is one of the symbol of Lofoten but there are loads of hidden gems to be found going off the beaten track around Fredvang and Ramberg for example. There you can see the cod fish in the process of drying, hanged on wooden structures. Exploring the area on a bicycle is highly recommended. Many bridges help you to connect from one side to another over the blue lagoons.

4. Go for a midnight hike in the Sjunkhatten

Heggmoen Mountain

Located in the Arctic Circle near the town of Bodø, the Sjunkatten national park is a fantastic place to go hiking. You’ll find waterfalls, lakes and fjords among this tundra like landscape. For the ones up for a physical challenge climbing up Heggmoen mountain will for sure make them sweat! The view from the top is just magnificent and worth the effort. Once there, caution needs to be observe as there is a vertical drop of 890m, just make sure you don’t find yourself down the fjord.

5. Spend a day or 2 in Oslo

National Opera

Oslo is the capital city of Norway and while being there, travellers can enjoy some must do activities as Oslo concentrates many aspects in terms of culture and architecture!  The Norwegian National Opera is the most known for its very modern style. The open-air Museum of Cultural History is the one not to be missed, it allows the visitor to time travel back in the age of bronze to a more recent period. Built as a village, it invites you to understand Norwegians lifestyle through the years as stepping in the different houses. A wooden church dating back to 1200 has been entirely rebuilt and it is gorgeous. The lively neighbourhood of Grünerløkka is ideal for finding nice restaurants or bars and if you fancy going for a gig you could go to Parkteatret concert hall, so check out their program!

6. Take the train between Oslo and Bergen

On the way to Bergen

One of the most beautiful train journeys in the world according to the Lonely Planet. It is hard to believe that this rail found its way trough this inhospitable land. It lasts for about 7 hrs and believe me, you won’t even think of playing with your smartphone during the trip unless to immortalise the sceneries and there is no way you can get bored. Half way through, you could combine it with a boat trip in the Aurlandsfjorden getting of at Myrdal station and hoping on the Flåm railway for 20 km down to the fjord. This is another prowess of engineering. A bus will take you back to another train station after the cruise and will let you continue to Bergen. A day well spent and an unforgettable experience!

Extra tip: You can buy tickets as cheap as 20 euro if you order within 2 or 3 weeks before going. The Flåm Railway, which is one of the leading tourist attractions in Norway, is a bit more expensive considering the duration (one hour, 30 euros) but again it is worth it as a one time experience.

7. Stroll among Bergen’s street art

Bergen street art

Bergen is a place where it rains a lot! But fortunately it has a warm heart with its colourful art. It is really a special place. The Bryggen area (The Dock) is an interesting tangle of wooden houses with a great story that comes with it. The cable car is also a great way to check to city from the top and many paths that go straight into wilderness can be found.

8. Meet the local lifestyle in a countryside house

Norwegian country house

When travelling, we like making new friends right? Spending time with locals can in most cases lead to things you’d never experience in other circumstances. In Norway, it is not rare that families own a countryside house. If you are lucky enough you might end up in one of them spending the afternoon cooking, laughing, taking a nap…and of course get a better understanding of the Norwegian culture.

9. Dare trying some smoked whale

Smoked whale

Norway is one of the three countries in the world that still allow whale hunt, I agree to say, it is not right but after doing some research, it appears that the type of whale they hunt is not on the list of endangered species and there is a quota catch. That being said, if you get the chance to try some smoked whale, don’t hesitate. It is hard to describe as it really tastes like nothing else but again, being curious in experiencing new things is a good thing ;)

10. Find the Arctic surf spot

Kvalvika Beach

This is for the surfers searching for new spots that are less known on the planet! In the Lofoten Islands great waves are everywhere, you just need to find a way to get there. We picked Kvalvika Beach, a super remote beach. This place is the best setting for adventurous surfers. If you don’t surf, that’s alright, you could just take a swim in the Arctic circle waters.


And you, have you been to this fantastic country? Feel free to share with some great moments we could live Norway.

Reflection pictures
Reflections around the World

Mirrors, water, lights… Sometimes these elements offer some amazing reflection effects, opening doors on a poetic World. It takes a lot of patience, and a bit of luck for the photographs to capture these temporary moments, but the result is worthy. Enjoy some reflection pictures taken around the World.

Glacier National Park, Canada

New York City, USA

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

London, United Kingdom

Barri Gòtic, Barcelona, Spain

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

Windmills, Netherlands

Sunndal, Norway

Devil’s Bridge, Saxony, Germany

Istanbul, Turkey

Taj Mahal, India

Mount Fuji, Japan

Quite impressing, no? Any places in the World that you would like to see captured through a reflection game?

Turkey Ephesus
Turkish Delights…Sun, Surf, Sand…and History

Turkish Delights…Sun, Surf, Sand…and History

A moment lived in Turkey by Life…One Big Aventure, a traveler from Australia

My promise…

I cannot tell a lie. I broke a promise.

The promise was that this holiday would be just that – a holiday. No ruins, no museums, no cultural sites or sights. But, a visit Turkey? How could I possibly resist their siren call?

2003 was a busy year living and working in England, as well as absorbing the abundant history and culture of Europe. What we really needed was a ‘fly and flop’ holiday, and a package tour to the resort town of Marmaris on the Turkish coast was just what the doctor ordered, and the kids demanded.

We weren’t quite sure what to expect before we arrived, which I guess, is the best way to approach a new destination. What really knocked our socks off was the ‘Englification’ of a Turkish town. Wherever we walked we were assailed by touts promising us ‘real’ Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding dinners in a GENUINE English pub, or LIVE English Premier League soccer. These cultural meccas were frequently populated with a vast assortment of baked and sunburnt, over-weight Englishmen, swigging from pints (or cans) of English bitter.

At first glance, this made our previous holidays full of ruins and museums look pretty damn attractive! But, undeterred, we were determined to enjoy ourselves and try to discover a little of the real Turkey.

…and my efforts to keep it

Catching a dolmus (minibus) from our hotel to the beach to join the beautiful people, the kids were more than ready to frolic in the Mediterranean. Imagine our surprise as we spread our towels on the sand, to be pounced on by an officious attendant and duly informed that, we must move because the beach was reserved for chairs! Yes, we could stay if we were prepared to pay 4 000 000 lira for each chair. Disgusted, we gathered up our towels, all the while muttering under our breath how this would never happen in Australia, what was the world coming to, etc., etc.

As the sun-kissed week wore on, I became increasingly guilty that I wasn’t doing enough or making the most of my time in Turkey. The kids couldn’t have cared less as they returned water-logged and prune-like after yet another full-day in the hotel pool and on the neighboring water slide.

I tried to resist, but I was continually tempted by the touts as we strolled the promenade. Not by their generous offers of roast beef and soccer of course, but by the lure of cruising around the local bays and islands, and day tours to Ephesus. I ‘kicked tyres’ and compared prices, but was staying strong until we came across Outback Travel and Tours! Yes, the Outback in Turkey!

This mystery was too enticing not to explore, and we soon met the proprietor, a long-term resident of Parramatta (a suburb of Sydney)! He embraced us as long lost family and did all manner of deals and discounts to ensure our stay was a memorable one. Yes, I admit I was probably suckered in, but importantly, he gave us the best recommendations of where we could enjoy authentic local Turkish food. At last, we felt like we were experiencing a new culture.


Unsurprisingly, I succumbed to the honey-tongue of our new best friend, the Turk-Oz travel agent, and we were soon on a bus heading to Ephesus. Ephesus was established in the 10th century BC and has been destroyed, by both war and earthquake, and re-built a number of times since then. Serious and sustained archaeological excavation of the town started in 1895, after a few false starts in the 1860s did not lead to substantial discoveries.

The façade of the Celsus Library has been carefully reconstructed from its original pieces. It was built around 125AD in memory of Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, an Ancient Greek who served as governor of Roman Asia (105–107AD). Celsus paid for the construction of the library with his own personal wealth and is buried in a sarcophagus beneath it. The library once held nearly 12 000 scrolls and faces due east so that the reading rooms could make best use of the morning light. (Source: Wikipedia)

The Grand Theatre, with an estimated 25 000 seating capacity, is believed to have been the largest in the ancient world. It was used initially for drama performances, but during Roman times, gladiatorial combats were held on its stage. It is also believed to be one of the key sites that the Apostle Paul used, to spread the gospel.

While they possibly wouldn’t admit it, I think the rest of the family enjoyed Ephesus as much as I did. And soon afterward, a long hot day of history was drowned in the hotel pool.

Yes, I broke my promise, but it was for their own good, and I only had their education and enrichment in mind.

Does that sound believable??

This traveler has a blog: Life…One Big Adventure

credit photo: Life…One Big Adventure


Waterslide Australia, National Park Australia
The secret water slide in the middle of nowhere

The secret water slide in the middle of nowhere

A moment lived in Australia by Becca, a traveler from Germany

Hello, my name is Becca and I am traveling for quite a while now, but sometimes we get stuck in one place.
This time it was a tiny place on the east coast of Australia. After a while I made friends while working on local farms and we spend some time together, exploring the surroundings and doing fun things like rock climbing and more.

The story I would like to tell you is when we went on an adventure in one of the near by national parks. The owner was an old man, that lived there for a long time. My friends heard about it from their family, because back in the days it was a well known place for it’s famous natural water slide. But because of injuries it got closed for mostly all visitors. We were able to get a special permit and walked up the mountain to explore this great area again.

Everything was over grown by plants and we didn’t know exactly where to go. It looked like an old path that we followed and we found this great place, a natural water slide. The water was clear and we were able to fill our water bottles up at the top of the waterfall as well.
It was fun to slide down to rocks and the cold water was refreshing. Somebody hit a little board behind a bush for others to use. It made the way down even more fun.
After a while, we decided to go leave and started our way back.

But we got lost and needed an hour longer trying to find the walking track. It was scary!
Our phones didn’t work, the GPS was playing up and we hurt ourselves by walking through bushes and thorns. We tried to find the path by walking into one direction, further up the mountain.
What we didn’t know was that we walked parallel to the exciting path the whole time.
Finally, we made our way back and were released to be back in civilization.

We definitely understand the owners fear of people getting hurt or lost. His policy is calling the police an hour after the time you tell him you would come back from the walk. Since we went up there, he opened it up again for visitors, as log as they follow his rules of reporting to him, when they go and when they exacted to be back.

Next time we go for an adventure, we are going to take duck tape and mark the way to find back home easier!

This traveller has a blog : Kanguru Adventure

credit photo: Becca