Wörthersee – Austria

It’s been few months since I decided it’s time for me to leave “the ship life” and stay on land again. So far, I must say, I’m extremely happy with my decision and I’m enjoying summer as much as I can. Since I came back home I fell in love with SUP-ing (stand up paddling), so I’m still trying to stay as close to the water as possible.

My friend and I decided to visit a neighboring country for few days, Austria. Since I love adventures so much, we decided to go camping by the lake. It’s been a long time since the last time I slept in a tent and I really missed it, so I was super excited about it. We found a camp right next to Wörthersee Lake. Honestly, to me it was somehow new to actually be on vacation, to have all this free time, no schedule, no rush, I forgot how that is.

We used our first day there to explore Klagenfurt a little bit and to set up our camp spot. Towards the evening we went to the beach to relax and swim in the lake. And this night we were told there will be a party in the sky – one of the biggest meteor showers. So we grabbed few beers (and some rum), sat on a beach and watched the sky. Well, the sky show didn’t really reach our expectations, but there were still quite a lot of shooting stars, more than I’ve ever seen in one night. Wish upon a star they say… I had a chance to wish a lot of things that night.

In the morning we didn’t bother with an alarm clock. We woke up when we felt like. After late breakfast, we went for a short hike to a nearby hill. Luckily we had some random map of the area with us, but somehow we still managed to miss some path and made it all the way to the other side of the hill. Our plan was to hike for about two hours, it turned out to be four hours. But it didn’t matter, it was a nice walk through beautiful nature. After we had pasta for lunch, again, we finally put my SUP board in the water and paddled around for a while. We had to prepare for our big day…

So… the third day. Well, this is the highlight of the whole trip – we paddled on my SUP all the way to the other side of the lake and back again. Locals said we’re crazy and we won’t be able to do it. Watch us… Just watch us… Haha! Our plan was to rent another board, but the rent center opened too late, so we just shared one board. That turned out to actually be a better option in the end – yes, we were heavier, our board was much lower in the water, we were slower, but we had an option to switch positions, so each person had a chance to rest. We started our trip 8:15 in the morning. During the day we made quite a few stops along the coast, took time for a drink, for a snack, even for a pre-cooked pasta at lunchtime. Luckily we were very well prepared for a whole day trip. The other side of the lake was much harder to paddle. There were more boats, so the waves got bigger and from all sides and I still have no idea how the hell we managed to stand on board after all that. It was crazy and absolutely hilarious. I wish I could see us from some other perspective, I think I’d die laughing (well, my eyes were full of tears of laughter anyway). 🙂 Anyway, we had a bit longer stop at Velden, the town on the other side of the lake. After we got some energy back and got a cold beer at a nearby store, we were able to start our journey back. This was the hardest part of the whole trip – the waves were still high and now even the wind was our enemy, blowing towards us. Most of our way back I was just laughing. Maybe I was going a bit extra crazy because I was already tired, or maybe it was actually funny. My fight with a bee probably made it even funnier, since I was just saying that if I’ll ever fall in the water, it’s going to be because of these stupid bees flying around my head. It wasn’t even 5 minutes later when I flipped the board over and we fell in the water. When I looked around me my friend was still under water, but hey, he saved the beer can! Priorities… 😀

Despite nobody believing we’ll be able to cross the lake and come back to the starting point in one day, we did it. The whole lake is 18km long, so that made 36km of paddling. I think I paddled around 16km and my friend around 20km. We were tired, but we felt proud that we did it. I mean come on, it’s my first season SUP-ing and my friend actually stood on a SUP for the third time in his life… 😀

We were absolutely exhausted at the end of the day. We made it back to our camping spot around 7 pm, tired, hungry… The next day we had to pack up and we were still too tired to do anything special. We made a short stop in a nice canyon in Slovenia, but only to sit down in a shade for a bit and have a beer. We just needed to get home and get some sleep. Well, this was definitely one of the best adventures this summer. I think I’m getting used to this life on land quite well and I hope it will continue like this. 😀

My travels on Harmony of the Seas 2016/2017

Seems like I’m really going from one adventure to another, that’s why last few years I couldn’t keep up with blogging as much as I’d want to. I remember the day when I was on my first ship and we docked in Copenhagen. We saw a massive ship in the distance, it was Oasis of the Seas, the biggest cruise ship in the world at the time. I said I’d love to work on a ship that size one day and my friends looked at me like I’m completely crazy: “Why the hell would you want that!? It must be too many people and too much work to do!”

Well… less than two years later, November 2016, I joined what is at the moment the biggest cruise ship in the world (which is just a tiny bit bigger than Oasis of the Seas), Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas. I can’t describe how excited I was when I heard the news that I’m joining this massive ship. Another dream came true… =D I joined the ship in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. When I was reaching the terminal I could see the massive thing that looked like a building. I was so excited.

Again I joined as a photographer. Well, Staff Photographer to be more specific and in a bit more than a month I finally got my promotion to Senior Photographer. By the end of the contract I signed up for a Private Studio Photographer position, so I started my training, which kind of gave me a position of a studio assistant.

Ok, so, the ship is absolutely amazing, but I think I’ll write another post about the ship… =) Before I joined I was a little worried how will I cope with so many people, such a big team, and so many guests. I mean, the ship holds around 6500 guests and about 2500 crew members. Only in photo team, it was I think 27 of us, so that worried me the most because these were the people I will really see every day and we all kind of had to get along. I was surprised, but this was the best team I ever had. People I met and worked with this contract were the best people (well, there is always one or two exceptions, but ok, nobody forces you to hang out with them…). =D We worked as a team, we went out together and we had fun and enjoyed the parties together.

Honestly, this contract I wasn’t actually that excited about the locations we visited. I mean… I was… But we were doing the same itinerary all the time, so you get used to it. And I kind of didn’t really want to spend much money for too much crazy stuff and too much sightseeing. I still saw a lot, had probably too much fun, tried new stuff, seen new places, but somehow this contract I lost a little bit of that passion for going out and taking a bunch of photos. I still tried to go out every time when we were in port, I skipped only a few days… This time when I went out I usually just tried to relax, enjoy, be in good company and forget about work and worries. Honestly, one of my favorite things was to go out in the Bahamas and just lie on a beach for an hour our two (usually I didn’t have more time).

 

Bahamas

So let me say something about the places I visited during this contract. High up on my wish list were definitely the Bahamas and I was lucky enough to visit Nassau. Sadly we didn’t have much time there, so I only went around the town usually and to the nearest beach. But I liked it there, I just wish I would have more time to actually explore the area. One thing I didn’t do and remains on my bucket list is the Atlantis resort water park with one of the most extreme waterslides in the world. I did visit the resort and the aquarium, just not the water park. But it’s ok, I fell in love with the resort itself. Seriously, I was dreaming about seeing this place for soooo long and when I actually got there I couldn’t stop smiling. Like a happy kid! Some girls want to go to Disneyworld, I just wanted to go to Atlantis. All this ocean theme is more my thing… =) Décor and the details there are absolutely stunning and I loved the aquarium and everything. I don’t really like cheesy and too much girly stuff, but I felt a bit like a little mermaid there. =D

St. Thomas

Another stop was St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Because our ship was so massive we docked at a different port than most cruise ships, but there are plenty of shuttle buses and taxis available, so no problem. Few times I again went to the nearest beach, which was about 20min walk away. Few times I took a shuttle to the other port, where it was some good places to do shopping. Once I actually saw my previous ship, Fred Olsen Balmoral, docked there, but sadly I couldn’t reach any of my friends that were still on it. Oh well, it was cute to see my previous home. =) And once we took a cable car on top of a hill where we got a beautiful view down on the island, bays, ships, and the ocean. It was great! Oh, and once we went to Magens Bay, apparently one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Honestly, I thought it was really nice, but I’ve seen better. Well actually it’s quite busy, so that doesn’t make it as beautiful, but if you keep walking a bit further down the beach, away from all the bars, it gets much emptier and so much more enjoyable.

St. Maarten

Ok then let’s move on to St. Maarten, one of my favorite islands in the Caribbean. This island is just pure awesomeness. I like the town, it’s cute, it’s not too small, not too big, there is a great beach right there in town and it has some cool shops as well. But definitely, the best thing in the whole island is my favorite fun beach ever, Maho Beach, the one with the airport right by the beach. I’ve been there before, you can check my old video to see how it looks like and why it’s so awesome. This contract I’ve been there twice and the second time was right on my birthday. Honestly, I don’t think I could pick a better spot out of the whole itinerary to be there for my birthday. I loved it! First of all, the whole airport experience is so much fun, just to see the planes landing, to be just a few meters under them and on top of all to stand behind the planes when they take off. Those jet blasts are sometimes really crazy and they blow everything away – one of my friend’s phone got blown away for example… He was holding the selfie stick, but apparently, the phone got jealous or something, so it got blown away in a jet blast. Kind of funny, but also sad, since we couldn’t find a phone after that… But on my birthday the planes were not the only cool thing there. We loved the big waves! At first, they didn’t seem that crazy, but then we were in the water and suddenly quite a big wave was coming towards us – my friend and I thought we can beat the nature and stand strong… Ha, we couldn’t be more wrong. When I opened my eyes I was sitting on a beach. =D Throwing ourselves in the waves and being covered with sand was probably the best thing I ever did on my birthday. =D

Haiti

Let me mention Labadee in Haiti… Well, Labadee is basically a large area that’s privately owned by Royal Caribbean, so only RCCL and its sister companies ships can visit this port. The whole place is all about beach time, sunbathing, relaxing and having fun. There is a long zip-line you can try, kayaks, slides, jet skis and a bunch of other activities and tours you can do. Well for us photographers that meant not really having much time, since we had to shoot at the gangway, or on a beach… I would probably like Labadee as a guest, but I absolutely hated standing in the sun for hours – and I love the sun, but what’s too much is too much. Oh well… At least few times we managed to have some fun kayaking and visiting Belly Beach for some local lunch. =)

Jamaica

Then we had Jamaica… Yes, I know, I’m horrible, I actually didn’t go out in Jamaica at all. Every time I only went out to the nearest bar for some Wi-Fi, plus they had a swimming pool… Once my friend and I decided we’ll go and explore the world outside the terminal, and since we couldn’t get more people to go out with us, it was just two of us and so all the taxi rides would be too expensive. So basically we walked around few blocks and were offered weed, a ride or braids on every single step. I hated that, so we got a bit grumpy and decided to just go back to the port. I’m sure Jamaica is amazing when you go out to some beach or waterfalls or so, but seriously, I didn’t want to spend a fortune or I didn’t get enough people to split the fare. Actually, I don’t regret it that much, but oh well, what’s done is done.

Cozumel, Mexico

One of the everybody’s favorite ports is Cozumel, Mexico. This place is always fun because it’s cheap and it’s so many things you can do. Once we had a crew party on a beach, then another time I went to get a new tattoo (yes, I love it and it’s awesome and I would do it again!). =) It was also a great place to go shopping because out of all ports this one was the cheapest. Food, clothes, everything! Well, probably the best time I ever had in Cozumel was when some of us rented two Jeeps and we made a bit of a road trip around the island. It was freaking awesome, like in movies or music videos, so much fun! You know, girls in bikinis, boys driving, drinking beer, off-road driving through some bushes, ocean view… Well, one of the guys knew about some private beach, so we kind of snuck through the fence and enjoyed our own private place, had fun in the water, took funny photos… Well, then the owner of the place came and told us we need to leave, but who cares, since we were about to leave anyway! Haha! Seriously, so much fun! Then another time we rented scooters and drove around, again went to a beach, enjoyed few drinks (personally I fell in love with Kraken – Rum and coke, it makes me feel like a pirate), went in the water… I’m sure these will always be one of my favorite memories. =D

Well from Cozumel you can actually take a ferry and go to the mainland to a town named Playa del Carmen. I went there once because I needed some clothes and I was told this was the best place for shopping. Honestly, I wasn’t that impressed. I mean, there is a lot of shops, but I didn’t really find anything much different than at home and the prices seemed quite similar, even though everybody was saying it’s cheap. But it’s a really cute city, I liked walking through it and I loved the spirit of the town, the colors and the people. Worth visiting for vacation I’d say. Once I took a tour from there and I went to see the pyramids. Well, I wanted to see Chichen Itza, but I realized I wouldn’t have much time there, so I’ll leave that for some other time. Instead, I went to see Coba Pyramids and it was absolutely awesome because I wanted to climb an ancient pyramid since I was a kid. And I did it, I climbed up a Mayan pyramid! How cool is that?! I loved it! I can’t describe the feeling when I reached the top and realized I’m standing on such a magnificent and so old architecture! On days like that, I honestly can’t believe how blessed I am to be able to see and experience such amazing moments! Besides this awesome spot, my tour included another thing I always wanted to do – swimming in cenote cave. We visited a nearby place, where you take spiral stairs down in the ground. When we reached the bottom there was a wooden platform and stairs that take you in the water. Absolutely amazing and magical! Yes, it’s a cave, no natural light, just some artificial lights so you at least see where you are. But yeah, the whole cave is basically a lake. There is water all around and we were able to swim, jump in and I even took my snorkeling gear and decided to explore the world under the water. Well, it’s very dark, so you can’t see that much, but there is enough light to make everything a bit visible and creepy at the same time. Magnificent!

Puerto Rico

And then the last port we visited, but when I was on board sadly only twice and I was able to get out only once – Puerto Rico! Oh my, I know why everybody loves this place – it’s awesome! The city is absolutely fantastic, full of colors, charm, history and besides it has some really cool fortresses! I went to see San Felipe del Morro, which stands at the edge of a bay, guarding the city. It’s definitely worth a visit! This is another place I’d love to return one day and explore it more on my own because sadly, my time there was very limited.

 

Honestly, this contract I was quite tired, especially last few months. I can’t complain about the schedule or the team or the ship, all of it was amazing, but I think what made me so exhausted was a number of people we were dealing with every single day. I always loved going out and exploring ports, but this time I needed to rest more than previous contracts. Well, I admit, there were some cool parties that I simply didn’t want to miss, so of course, I had to go to the party and then in the morning, we had to work… Oh, the suffering… But hey, it was fun, so it was worth it and we have funny stories to tell now. =D Well, actually if all you do is work and sleep you go crazy, so every now and then you really need to go and enjoy the party, have fun, try not to drink too much… Actually, as crew members we were not allowed to drink too much – we’re supposed to be “able to drive a car”. Well… we all know how that goes and sometimes you have that one drink too much, maybe two… But yeah, you can get fired for being over the limit, so better be careful.

Anyway, yes, this contract was super fun, I loved it, but I just wish I wouldn’t be that tired… But as I said, still worth it, since I met so many amazing people, plus I can say I worked on world’s largest cruise ship. =D Yaaay!

When I was leaving the ship I was happy, but as usually, sad as well. It was my second home, my second family and it was awesome… =D

Now I hope you’ll enjoy the photos… =)

Energija Team – Strunjan 2014

Here it is, first official video I made for a local bike club Energija Team. They had some preparations for new biking season. Most of the team members went to Slovenian coast on Tuesday, 18. February, and they already made some footage with their GoPro cameras, but most of it was made after my arrival. I arrived there on Friday evening and I was filming for about two days. It was a bit working weekend for me, but I must say I really enjoyed it and it was fun to work with these guys. It actually doesn’t feel like work when everything is so much fun. =)

I think it was the funniest thing when guys realized I was not kidding we were going to make a “human text” for the video and photo. And they were quite confused how to create the letters, even though I had a sketch for every letter. You can see some of the confusion at the end of the video. =)

Energija! text with human letters
Energija! text with human letters

Video is not as awesome as it could be, but considering the time and equipment, I think we did a good job. I’m always critical, but I know there is sooo much to improve, so let’s hope all future videos will be an obvious progress. We learn from mistakes so… =)

Anyway, video and my human “Energija!” text photo were also published on Mtb.si, but you can also see the video in this blog post or directly on YouTube.

Best feelings (days 24-25)

Day 24 – Saturday, 13.10.2012
It was another a bit lazy morning and we all slept a bit longer (well, for me it was until 8:30…). =) Then I put my white Nike shoes in a washer because they were dirty and I realized that they are not getting out much whiter… Damn you white shoes, you never get all cleaned! =/
Well after my talk with white Nikes, Damir and I went to Eleclerc on the opposite part of the city, because we had to buy some groceries. On our way there we stopped at few skate/surf shops to check it out a bit and Damir needed new shoes anyway. He bought himself a bmx bike last evening and now he needed some shoes, because he only had flip-flops and some rock shoes that are really not appropriate for and sports… =) So we had like a shopping spree… Haha! =D
At the evening I decided to bake something, because we had a lot of apples that needed to be eaten soon or they would “die”. So I made something with polenta, raisins, soy milk and apples of course. I realized I didn’t buy cinnamon so it didn’t turn out as tasty as it could be, but it was still eatable, or maybe even good. =) And it was weird because we kind of forget about this food when it was in the oven and I was already panicking that it’s probably burned, because I wanted to bake it for 10 minutes and it was already 30! And when we opened the oven we realized that it’s still far from baked, so we left it in there for another 15 and it was just right. Funny oven… =)

Day 25 – Sunday, 14.10.2012
Alarm clock at 7:30… Oh why… I push the sleep button and so it starts ringing again in 5 minutes… I push the button again… Another 5 minutes… Then I say to myself: “Oh no, not today! You HAVE to wake up!” So I had some breakfast, got dressed and packed everything I wanted to in my backpack. When all three of us got ready the clock was already 9:25 or something like that. We had to hurry to the bus station! We made it and catch the bus at 9:30.
We were driving out of Caldas da Rainha. Our first trip out of the town on our own! =) The bus drove through the Obidos that looked quite charming town! It has a huge medieval wall all around and some really interesting buildings. We have to stop there some day and check it out. And the bus drove through the Baleal and we got all excited when we saw all those houses and shops with signs like “Surf school”, “Surf shop”, “Surfing camp” and so on… We were like little kids! =D
Where did we go? To Peniche! It’s the time of Rip Curl Pro now and we really wanted to check it out and see how the best man and women surf… =) Well the bus driver told us he will stop us somewhere close to the event area. And so he did. Or at least we thought so… And we didn’t really ask where the event is and there were no special signs to lead us there. Really, no banners or anything that would tell you where to go, no matter if you’re by foot or by car! So we walked along the cost, Gaja and I got those big eyes and smiles on our faces when we passed by some sexy surf guys with bare feet, surfs in their hands and with neoprene suits half dressed… Damn! =D
Ok yeah, so we were walking along the coast and came to some cliffs. The first view at that was so fascinating! And as we walked further the views became even more amazing and my smile got even larger. At some locations it was especially awesome because when I was standing at the edge of the cliff I was able to see, hear, and FEEL the waves when they hit the rocks. It was the best feeling of freedom I’ve ever had! It was really exactly what I wanted to experience, it was PERFECT! It was actually so perfect I can say that was really the most amazing thing and it made the whole day one of the best days in my life. Maybe some people will not understand, but it is how I feel and I can’t help it. And it was really warm and sunny and awesome weather. So I guess all my dreams about living in California one day could really be what I want. I don’t know. But what I do know is that sea side makes me happy. =)
Well after a long walk we asked one guy which way should we go to find Rip Curl Pro and he said we were walking in wrong direction. So we had to turn around and walk back and a bit further, so I guess we walked like 15km today… Or at least I calculated something like that by checking Google maps. =) Though I’d say the walk was totally worth it. And at the end we found the event. The downside is that about 10 minutes after we arrived and sat down on the lovely sandy beach the weather changed. Suddenly it became all grey and cloudy and cold winds started to blow. We found some shelter at one of the promotion tents. We waited there for a while because it wasn’t very pleasant outside. We’ll the rain stopped, but the cold and windy grey weather stayed. Despite the weather some guys were still catching the waves and so we decided to check it out and enjoy it for a while, despite the cold winds. The waves weren’t very high and there was not so much surfing, but we still saw some action and it was really nice. Then we had to go to catch our bus, because in case we would want to stay longer we would have a bus really late and because we weren’t dressed for such cold weather we rather went home. But we decided that we’ll come back on Tuesday or Wednesday when the weather will be a better.
After seeing Peniche I think I’m even more sure I’d love to try to surf and I’d love to have a camper van… =) I’m dreaming about a van with surf on a roof and my trekking bike at the back… You never know, maybe it just might happen. =D

Downhill Buzet 2012

Sicer sem malce pozna z objavo, a pravijo, da bolje pozno kot nikoli. Končno sem našla nekaj časa, da sem uredila fotografije z downhill tekme v Buzetu, ki se je odvijala med 19. in 20. majem. Toliko fotografij zaenkrat, ob priliki pa pride še kakšna. Več si jih lahko ogledate tu: Flickr.
Objavljene so bile tudi na spletni strani kluba Energija Team.
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I’m a bit late with this publishing, but they say it’s better late than never. I finally found some time to edit few photos from downhill race in Buzet, that was going on between 19. and 20. may. So many photos for now, but soon I’ll add few more. You can check more of them here: Flickr
They were also posted on website of the club Energija Team.