We landed in Auckland a less sunny, quite cold and windy sunday afternoon. Our first impression of New Zealand at the airport was not too good. As we tried to pass the immigration counter we found the women less friendly and in a bad mood! We were a little worried this was going to be our impression further on… Luckily we met a young man picking us up from the car rental company who was the total opposite – very friendly and helpful. We were relieved!!! Phew! And – for those of you who wonder -” Kia ora whakamīharo ..” means ” Thank you wonderful…” in Maori language. 🙂
Whitsunday Island outside the east coast of Australia
When we were about to land in Sydney we were surprised to see so many one or two floored houses in a spacious area around the city as Sydney is the biggest and oldest city in Australia with 5 million people. By the way – Kwe’ kelu’sit is Aboriginal language and means – Greetings beautiful…
The view of Gold Coast from Tamborine Mountain
Once we landed we picked up our rental car and headed towards Gold Coast and Tamborine Mountain in Queensland with around half a million inhabitants to meet Ole’s relatives. Thank you soooooo much Kaylene, Jim, Lucinda and Damon for inviting us home and making us feel so welcomed. We had a really nice lunch together before walking in the rainforest nearby their house. The colors inside the rainforest were just amazing. 🙂
We arrived Bali in Indonesia some days before New Year’s Eve and had planned to meet some friends and family from Norway. Together with Bertha, Lina and Maryann we explored Sanur town, restaurants and beaches. A biiiig thank you to Maryann who showed us how to get around in Sanur. 🙂 On New Year’s Eve we went out to eat and dance at the local bar “Casablanca”, We all had a great time listening and dancing to some nice reggae music all night. Our time in Sanur can be summed up like this – Morning walks with Maryann, breakfast by the pool, swimming, reading books, experiencing heavy rainfalls, getting leg-massage, doing schoolwork with Luna Noor, walking by the sea, talking to friendly Indonesians, taking pictures of the nature and flowers, playing cards, shopping souvenirs and eating late dinners. We even experienced our very first earthquake one morning in bed. That was a bit scary… However it was not too big so we only noticed the beds were shaking a bit. Lucky us!
Thanks to all of you for making Christmas 2016 full of everlasting memories!
Our family spent Christmas three different places in December 2016. Ole Martin went to his hometown in Norway, Narvik, to spend some days with his father Reidar and the rest of his family and friends. Ib Margido spent it with friends in Trondheim in Norway, and Emeric Philip, Luna Noor and Siv Johanne spent it with Siv’s father Ingar and Jenifer and their family and friends in Dumaguete in the Philippines. As I am the one staying in Dumaguete in the Philippines with Emeric and Luna – and took a lot of pictures (“as usual” – I hear Luna Noor says…) I will attempt to summarize the main happenings as best I can.
Dumaguete is situated in the Negros Island in the Philippines where there lives about 150 000 inhabitants. The official languages is Cebuano, Ilongo, Filipino and English. The currency is Pilippine Peso and the temperature varies from 24 to 32 degrees celsius all year round with one wet (June to November) and one dry season (December to May).
During our stay in Dumaguete we experienced the colorful and diverse flora, the green and lush mountainsides, the helpful, smily and relaxed people, an interesting geothermal power plant in the mountains of Valencia, the busy town center, a very joyful Christmas spirit, early morning walks with my dad and his dogs in the neighbourhood, Christmas parties, local food, a local fish market, swimming, a beautiful hotel resort, Philippine fishing, happy karaoke nights, a confused Santa Claus on Christmas eve, and a magical church on our way to Cebu :-). Hera (my little sister) and Luna Noor were having a great time together playing, singing and swimming in the pool. Frances (Jenifers son) and Emeric also spent some nice moments together. 🙂
Jenifer, dad, Hera and Frances
Early morning walk with the dogs, Rushka and Mali
Visiting the Geothermal power plant in Valencia (using hot water steam from vulcano heat many thousand meters into the earth soil to generate electricity)
Arriving Bangkok in a period of national mourning (already lasted for over a month) over loosing their king Bhumibol Adulyadej, made a huge impression on us. He is the longest-reigning king in the world with over 70 year at the throne. The prime minister has now declared a one year mourning for state employees and it seems like the whole country is going to follow this long-lasting mourning period. For many people he was seen as a demigod or as a close family member because of his wise and caring way of reigning the country. He administered with his daughter over 4 000 environmental, rural and self-sustainable projects throughout the country to help it grow and develop for the benefit of Thailand and it’s people. On several occasions at the cinema we were kindly asked to stand up in order to remember and honor the late king for a minute watching a video with highlights of his deeds and life. I have to admit that I got tears in my eyes while I stood there understanding what a great and unifying king he must have been…
Our experience of Bangkok is that it is full of culture (museums, monuments and art), cosy night markets, riverside hotels and restaurants, river cruises and taxis, good food, interesting activities, modern buildings, skyscrapers, and technology. People are busy but friendly and try to help whenever you ask. The low prices make it easy to enjoy the diversity of the many possible activities and cultural sites and art of the city. We visited Wat Pho, The Grand Palace, Wat Arun, Khaosan road (backpacker’s road), Asiatique The Riverfront (night market), as well as travelling by water taxis, Tuk Tuks and SkyTrain to visit the city center Siam where we went bowling, shopping and watching movies. Both Luna Noor and Emeric ended up buying their very own ukulele… I hope we will have much fun and pleasure listening to them in the future when they probably will be able to entertain themselves and us with nice music! 🙂
We also spent our last days touring with our oldest son, Ib Margido in Bangkok, as he went back to Norway after half a year touring the world with us. He decided it was time for him to continue where he left off before the worldwide family tour started back in Trondheim. We miss you already and wish you all the best in your future life journeys! Love you soooo much! We will be checking up on you from time to time… 🙂
This sign was put up in front of the immigration entrance in the airport 🙂 Good to know…
After a tiny stop in Europe (two weeks in Subotica in Serbia) we headed for Asia again. Our plane arrived Bangkok in Thailand one early november morning after some 10 – 11 hours flight from Europe. Luckily Ole was at the airport to pick us up and we went for some relaxing days in Pattaya at the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand (about 100 km south-east of Bangkok and a 1.5 hours drive by car). Our stay consisted of lazy days in the sun and shade, late breakfasts and dinners eating yummy food, going to the beach or the rooftop pool area to swim, read books and play with Luna, visits to the rainforest to try zip-lining from scary heights (oh my!) and a watching animals at a zoo not far from the coastline. Pattaya is well-known as a tourist magnet, late nights, beautiful beaches and playful people. We even ended up watching a Jet-ski world cup competition there. The city consists of only 100 000 inhabitants but if you count the bigger area around the city there is over 1 million people living there. We stayed in Jomtien a little outside the city center and that was a good choice as the beaches there had white sand and extended over many kilometers… After chasing many attractions and famous sights in many countries on our worldwide trip, this place was a nice and relaxed experience for our family. We got some rest and are gathered strength to our next stop on this journey – which we had planned to be Bangkok!!! I think gathering strength before going there was a wise thing to do…
On our visit to “Flight of the Gibbons” nearby Pattaya
Flying (zip-lining) through the rainforest in Thailand
Unique and beautiful building in the center of Subotica
Our next adventure on our trip around the world is Subotica in Serbia. From sunny and warm weather in Vietnam we reached Oslo in Norway /Europe one winter afternoon. Fortunately my sister Lara and Luna’s friend Tina with her mother Wenche came to meet us at the airport. We had 2 hours together, eating, chatting and laughing. What a joy! Thank you soooo much for planning your time to meet us, all of you!
As part of our worldwide family tour I had to finnish my jaw surgeries that had I started almost two years ago in NorDent’s clinic in Subotica in Serbia. To make a long story short, I had an accident resulting in loss of 7 adult teeth at the age of 11. For many years I have lived problem free with two bridges in my mouth. Sadly two years ago I got an inflammation in one of the roots which was used as support for one of the two bridges. I had no other choice but to fix it as soon as possible. And luckily I was able to manage it with advanced surgeries in NorDent’s clinic. It has been a long and emotional journey but the result is worth the time, effort and pain… 🙂
To make the trip somewhat exciting to Luna Noor, we called this “the ladies trip” so that she and I could get some time alone exploring this city in the northern Serbia which is known for its unique architecture, relaxed atmosphere and good food. Unfortunately I had to spend from 3 to 6 hours inside NorDent’s clinic every second or third day for two weeks but Luna Noor was very patient and waited for me while she was doing schoolwork (math and reading). One of NorDent’s employees, Sandra, was also a great support and made Luna Noor feel welcomed and taken care of. After walking in and out the clinic’s doors for almost two weeks we felt that we came to know both the dentist, assistants, surgeon, dental technician and administrative personnel… Thank you so much for making me able to smile again – with teeth in my mouth! 🙂
Even if much time was spent inside the dentist’s room we were still able to enjoy days and nights by walking in the city, watching “Trolls” in the cinema – in Serbian language!! :-), sight-seeing, visit the hairdresser, eating good food (pizza, soups and salads… Yummy!), celebrating Luna’s 9th birthday, bowling and shopping.
Sandra, Siv, Igor and Luna Noor at NorDent in Subotica
Hoi An is one of the loveliest, charming places you can imagine. This small town with its 100 000 inhabitants is situated along the coastline in the middle of Vietnam. The name Hoi An means peaceful gathering. Even if there are lots of tourists visiting Hoi An from all over the world it still manages somehow to remain charming and relaxed. The small, narrow walking streets, the river and riverboats, the cyclos (bicycle tuk-tuk), the lanterns and the smiling and lovely people all make you feel relaxed and peaceful. Our two week’s stay consisted of swimming, easy riding (bicycles), late breakfasts by the river, exploring the city center and its surrounding areas, visiting different restaurants eating good food, getting tailored clothing, reading books, good conversations, getting to know some locals, and visiting My Son Sanctuary, Da Nang and Hué by motorbikes. We absolutely adored this wonderful place on earth – a place we would definitely visit again… On our trip in Hoi An we were lucky enough to run into friendly Catherine, Lucy and Paul (from Ireland) who we met earlier in Halong Bay and Régine and Philippe (from France). Thanks for some lovely time spent together! Hope to see you again soon!
Evening outside our hotel – Ylang Garden…
In town – the river flowed over its banks in rainy season
Hanoi seemed like a very energetic city with friendly and hardworking people. They all seemed to know how to be a salesman but , in our opinion, few knew how to follow the traffic rules!!! We had to be very careful walking in the streets (as the pavements were chock full of parked motorbikes we were nearly unable to use them for walking). The motorbikes and electrical bikes were all over the streets – on the left side, on the right side, in the middle of, in addition to being on the inside of us and on the outside of us… 🙂 Still we managed somehow to maneuver us safely across the old town which was teeming with life. We all loved our stay in Hanoi from day one and had some really nice eating experiences there as Hanoi people seem to be very good at cocking… Yummy! We also did some sightseeing in the old town of Hanoi which was interesting. Lastly we had a marvellous trip to Halong Bay at the northeast coast of Vietnam meeting some very friendly and loving people from Ireland, Germany, Singapore, the Philippines and Canada that we hope to stay in touch with for a long time. The natural gem Halong Bay with its thousands of isles, limestone pillars, pearl farms, emerald water and the Dau Go Cave gave us the goosebumps because of its stunning beauty. Other great things we experienced on this trip was kayak paddling during sunset, to practice Tai Chi during sunrise and how to make Vietnamese spring rolls (superyummy :-)) before we ate them. Luna Noor had her best experience ever on this “worldwide family tour” getting to know Susan from Canada who was very patient talking English with her for hours… She got over her fear of talking English after those precious hours. Thank you sooo much, Susan! I think you have made a friend for life in Luna Noor… 🙂
Buddhist monks walk the streets to collect the morning alms from the local people
Luang Prabang was just as spiritual as we expected…The population of the city is around 56000. The monks can be seen walking quietly all over town. The temples and monasteries are beautiful and numerous (more than 30). We walked up several hundred steps to see the well-known Mount Phousi in the town center. When you arrive at the top the view is amazing. The Laos people think that if you set a bird free at the top of this mountain you will enjoy happiness and good luck in the future. Other attractions we visited were the Royal Palace (years ago Luang Prabang was the capital of Laos), Wat Sen (temple), Dexter (a cafe/reataurant in town with tasty food) and Utopia (relaxed and friendly bar/restaurant for backpackers). Outside the city we got to see the Kuang Si Waterfalls wich was stunningly beautiful. On our way out we saw some weird-looking animals who looked like a mix between cows and pigs, the body looking like a cow with shorter feet, sometimes with a curly tail and fair skin. 🙂 Back in town we also enjoyed the night market and the national day in Luang Prabang. Alongside calm salesmen and women the children were playing and having fun. Lights and music made the whole experience even more relaxing. In Laos near all men are, once in their lives, living as a monk for a year or longer (some remain monks all their life) to get a good upbringing and attitude. That is something all people could benefit from in my opion… One morning we got up at 6 o’clock to witness the monks walk the streets to collect their morning alms. It was a nice and quiet happening where around 20 monks (outside one temple) walked slowly past the local people giving them food… It was all over in minutes – and we went happily back to our beds to sleep some more hours. 🙂 We finally experienced several trips by boat on the Mekong river alongside Luang Prabang wich we all enjoyed very much. The people we met were very friendly and grandparents seemed to have a close relationship with their grandchildren as moreover being the ones to look after them. We certainly enjoyed our stay and would have nooooo problem revisiting this peaceful place on earth…
Our pictorial hotel garden and lakeview alongside the Mekong river in Luang Prabang