Easter in Saigon🇻🇳

This easter we go back to visit Vietnam. First time here was in 2013, when we lived in Koh Lanta, Thailand. That time we were only staying for a few days in Ho Chi Minh city on a visa run. This time we wanted to explore a bit more of the county and are spending 4 nights in HCMC before heading down the Phu Quoc, close to the border of Cambodia. We are traveling with two of the Norwegian families we met in Koh Lanta. 6 adults and 7 kids/teenagers. Since we travel in a big group we rented a huge villa in District 2 with 5 bedrooms. Lots of space to roam around, and with a kitchen, so the kids could choose to stay home for dinner if they wanted.

The first full day in Saigon we visited the American war museum in the city center. Strong impressions for both kids and adults. War is a horrible ting, no matter what.

Outdoor display of some of the war material form the American war.

Coffee break at the museum.

The kitchen in our villa in District 2. Nice to be a bit outside the city and still close enough to explore, whenever we wanted.

Bos had his birtday on March 26, and the celebration took place in one of the local restaurants nearby our house. No meny, no English, wonderful barbecue to the price of 310 000 Vietnamese Dong, 14 USD for 9 people.

Tuesday was a full sightseeing day with cruising the Mekong river, and visiting the Cu Chi tunnels from the war.

We also visited a chocolate factory, got the taste local honey and sweets made from coconut. Full on tourist for a day.

Coca beans at the chocolate factory. Tastes very nice.

Chocolate in the making.

Honey bees.

Model made to visualize how the tunnels were built.

Some of the crypts you can go into. The kids were a bit more adventurous than the grownup on this point.

Paddle trip on one of the side rivers of the Mekong. Nice and calm trip through the jungle. The horse and carriage ride after the paddling war not nice at all. The horses was in a very sad state, and we all felt very bad afterwards.

Posing on the big boat.

Care for a sip of snake wine? Neither did any of us…

Our last night in Saigon, we met up with our local friend Oanh, who we stayed with the first time we went to Saigon. She has also visited us in Oslo. Being a great chef who has her own cooking classes for tourists in Saigon, she had a private cooking class just for us in our villa. So good to see her again. The link to her cooking class.

Some of our other activities in Saigon.

Bin Thang market.

We Escape. Some of us tried one of the escape rooms in Saigon. Great fun, even if we didn’t solve the mystery.

If you need any travel inspiration, check out Go Wonder on Facebook!

And then off to Phu Quoc!

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What’s hot in Tokyo? 🇯🇵

On our journey both the weather and the toilet seats. Heated toilet seats are one of the best invention ever! 

It’s been over 30C while we have visited Tokyo this time. If you are on a beach in Hawaii thats just fine, but in a big city without anywhere to swim, it’s a bit on the warm side. Add concrete and heeps of people to that equation.. Let’s just say we have showered a lot these days. On the bright side Reiseselbekk is again all onboard, as we picked up Silje from her language school after 3 weeks apart. One last selfie before you go 

The parents were thrilled, the student could have stayed a few more weeks. We stayed in a small but cool apartment close to Shinjuku and a few minutes from the metro. The metro system is fairly easy to figure out so that has been our main means of transportation while in Tokyo. Met another Norwegian on the metro. 😱

Lovely to have a quiet neighbourhood to come home to after sweating around in the hot and busy city. Japanese museum in our hood Anime shop

Since Silje has been in Tokyo for 3 weeks, we had our own guide to take us around the city. Maybe that’s why we ended up visiting a cat cafe and anime shops. Seems like cat ears are mandatory in all consept cafes in Tokyo. The place to be if you are a 🐱 

In addition the grownups got to go out for a few dinners down the street. A lovely japanese barbecue restaurant among others. Sunday we did the rookie mistake of traveling to Harajuku, together with what seemed like the rest the inhabitants of Tokyo and surrounding areas. We did have a really nice lunch in Harajuku though. The last day we got to get a look at the city from above from The World Trade Center Observatory. Shinkansen coming in to the station The city is huge! It was not so clear sky that we could see Mont Fuji today, but we got the impression of the size of this monster city.

Since we are traveling with only carry on back packs shoping is out of the question. The shopping opportunities are endless. Now we are waiting for the plane to Lombok, 🇮🇩 for a week at Gili Trawangan. Haneda airport is one of the more charming one. Edo theme all over.

Next stop Hawaii 🇺🇸 

From Vancouver, Canada to Honolulu, Hawaii is an easy 5,3 hour flight. Easing in to yet another time zone. By now we have a 12 hour time difference from Oslo. We chose to stay two nights at O’ahu the island where we landed from Canada. Instead of staying near the airport and busy Waikiki beach, we booked an AirBnb room on the North shore in a small town called Waialua. Our beautiful beach in Waialua

Our hosts are lovely and the house is one block from the beach. The one whole day we spent on O’ahu we drove around almost the entire island. Stopping at small public beach parks and visiting the more touristy Waikiki beach.spotted this ray of the boat pier in Waikiki At sunset o’clock we drove out to the west coast to enjoy the beautiful Hawaian sunset. From O’ahu we flew to Maiu on July 9. Where we moved into another Airbnb in Lahaina. This place was something else. It’s a bird and tortoise sanctuary where they keep all kinds of birds, tortoises and lots of cats and dogs. The host and her staff were very nice and friendly and we had a great time with them. The house was right by a small beach and walking distance from Lahaina center. ​We got a lot of advice on where to eat and what to see on the island. We relaxed on the beach watching the sunset. As the sun went down a sea turtle came up on the beach right next to us. We spent one day driving the road to Hana. Witch is a narrow road with over 600 turns and 56 small bridges. 

Directions: Turn left then turn right. Repeat 617 times for 52 miles and 3 hours. 

It’s a beautiful drive through the rainforest with lots of waterfalls and lookouts over the ocean.It’s not an autostrada.

We stopped at a botanical garden called Garden of Eden and had lunch in the small village of Hana. Going back the same way, Bos tok a dipp in on of the waterfalls close to the road. The last evening we went on a champagne and chocolate sunset cruise with a 50 foot sailboat. This turned out to be a just chocolate cruise, since they had trouble with their liquor license. Any way it was a wonderful time on the ocean with or without the champagne. Time to say goodbye to Hawaii for now and pack our carry ons and head towards Tokyo. On Saturday we will meet our 14 year old again.  Bliss! 

🇨🇦Canadian Rockies

The second we landed in Calgary, we picked up our rental car and headed towards the Rocky Mountains. The first stop was a small town between Calgary and Banff called Canmore. It’s a very nice little community right at the foot of the Rockies and had great view of the mountains around. Before we left Norway we had booked a canoe trip for the first whole day. Picturing canoeing in great canadian nature and cristal clear water. Not so much.. We felt totally tourist trapped as we were paddelig away in a man made regulated dam with muddy river banks. We could see nature better from the highway. But we were talking to nice people in the group and the guide told us a lot about the area. After that somewhat disappointing canoeing we drove into Banff and had a lovely afternoon by the Bow river falls and discovering the city. One of the advantages of traveling without kids is the long meals and the higher pase of the travel. We have had lots of delicious meals on the trip. Early the second day we drove into the back country to look for animals. The result were scarce (two crows and what we think was a Labrador) but the nature was wonderful. The weather was great the whole time we stayed in the mountains. Time to leave Canmore to go to Calgary to join our Rocky Mountaineer group. Two nights in Calgary, walking around in the city. We arrived at July 1st, Canada day and the celebration of Canadas 150 years. People dressed in red all over the city and a lot of music and parties. July 3. we were picked up by the Rocky Mountaineer team and driven to one of the Highlights of the RM tour, a helicopter ride over the mountains. We had to split up in two groups and both of us got to ride in the front of the helicopter with the pilot. Souring over the mountains was both a rush and a great experience. AE has never ridden in a helicopter before so she was very excited. Highly recommended! From the helicopter we went to Banff for a ride with the gondola up Sulphur mountain, for a spectacular view of Banff and Bow river. Our destination for the day was Lake Louise, said to be one of the most photographed places on the world. And we could see why. Turquoise lake nestled between glazier covered mountains. Lake view room at the Fairmount hotel right at the lake was beautiful. We spent almost a full day at Lake Louise, before we were picked up again to go to Yaho national park and back to Banff where the real journey with the train started.Emerald Lake Kicking Horse river

First day on the train went from Banff, to Kamloops along the back county. The train has glass roof so we had great view of the mountain tops. It’s hard to describe the experience, in slow motion through valleys along turquoise rivers looking for wildlife as we went along. Two bear warnings during the day. Bos saw a black bear. AE was as usual confused about left and right and missed it. Bear? Where? 

Day two from Kamloops to Vancouver was throug completely different landscape, very dry and sunny and beautiful colours. We saw lots of Ospreys and eagles, longhorn sheeps and deers. Osprey nest Longhorn sheep 

The crew in our wagon told us lots about the area we were passing and they made sure to keep our stomach skin tight at all times. We also met some very nice people onboard the train, some of which we will meet again in Oslo this summer. In conclusion it was a journey to remember. If you ever have the chance to travel with the Rocky Mountaineer you should really take it. The end of our trip was in Vancouver. We only had half a day to explore the city, witch we did by bicycle. Three hours riding on some of the many bike tracks they have in Vancouver. Stanley park was so quiet and nice. The signs could have been a bit clearer, as we did get lost a couple of times, but other than that, we had a great day in sunny Vancouver. Now we have just landed in Honolulu. Stay tuned! 

First stop Reykjavik🇮🇸

Left a sunny Oslo on June 27th with only our carry on luggage for another round the world trip. This time without our kid. First stop was a 48 hour stopover in overcast Reykjavik. We have really outdone ourselves in exploring the city of Reykjavik in this short amount of time. You can pick up the pace with only two adults and no need for breaks during the day. We did alot of walking, over 30 000 steps according to Bos fitbit. The weather is like usually in Iceland, shifting between sun, rain, and overcast. ☀️🌨☁️The AirBnb room we rented was only a short 10 minute walk from the city centre, so no need for taxi. The first day we explored the city by foot and we also had a ride on the “hop on hop off bus”. There are so many chic cafes and restaurants in the city we ended up visiting 14 of them during our stay. The first evening the plan was to eat at Grillmarkadurin. We had made the reservation months ahead after recommendations from our sister in law. And what an amazing meal. The tasting menu is highly recommended! The second day we went to a geothermal swimming pool close to where we lived and found yet another cute cafe right next to the pool. After the very nice swim the next stop were the national museum of Iceland, where we learned a bit more about the history of the country. Lunch time! Lunch at the fish restaurant by the old harbour before we walked up to the Hallgrim church. Compared to the churches in Norway this one is very minimalistic inside. Reykjavik is such a cute city and the cafes are adorable! And now off to Canada🇨🇦🇨🇦