Distortion Festival – Vesterbro

Day II of the 20th edition of Copenhagen’s Distortion Festival, as seen from my hood, Vesterbro.

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Distortion Vesterbro Allan Kortbaek

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My Seychelles in pictures – probably the most beautiful African country I have visited

 

The Seychelles are a truly spectacular group of islands off the coast of Africa. Life here is placid and free of the stress and fusiness of Western civillasation yet it’s also a nation with one of the highest GDP per capita in Africa.

A country that defies the stereotypes and often lives in the shadow of other wrongfully hyped destinations such as The Maldives, The Seychelles were a natural travel choice after my trip to Hawaii. Here is a video from my journey to The Seychelles, plus a few pictures from paradise. I explored the islands of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue, each of which brim with their own distinct personality and panache.

Scroll to the bottom for  flight links.

 

Anse Severe – La Digue Island

La Digue is my favourite of the islands in The Seychelles. This small island paradise contains very few cars and most people use bikes to get from A to B. With almost no theft here, it’s not even neccessary to lock one’s bike. Anse Severe, on the Northeastern shore  of La Digue, not so far from the endearing Takamaka Cafe, is probably the best of all the many snorkelling spots on La Digue.

Recommendations for where to eat on La Digue:

Fish Trap Restaurant & Bar – La Passe

This establishment is located by the beach (in fact some of its tables are in the sand, hence its charm). Meals are plentiful and well-cooked but prepare to pay handsomely for them. The service is highly commendable and the bar area is quite cosy.

Cafe Takamaka

This family- run shack serves some of the best octopus i’ve eaten anywhere in the world, at a decent price and with all the crudeness, love and quirky touches you’d expect.

There are also cheap sandwiches and several other hot meals on offer. Beachside seating and a passing Aldabra tortoise on the side of the road added even more charm to this quaint place.

Gala Takeaway

This quaint takeaway serves up a riveting selection of dishes at great prices. We had the tuna salad and an avocado salad, both of which tasted great! The ladies in the kitchen know their stuff.

Ice cream scoops for a cool 15 rupees.

Where to stay on La Digue:

La Diguoise

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Anse Gaulettes – La Digue Island

Venture north from Anse Severe and experience the rocky, untamed wilderness of this part of the island. Look out for wild Giant Aldabra Tortoises that wander the narrow roads (please don’t sit on them).

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Anse Source D’Argent – La Digue Island

Anse Source D’Argent is the sort of place you’d shoot a Bacardi commercial – and many have been made here. This slice of paradise offers one of the Seychelles’ best and most picturesque beaches.

Wade around the rocks at the southern fringe of the beach around midday and you’ll end up on  Anse Pierrot which you will probably have all for yourself. Be sure to wander back up through the shallows before the tide comes in the afternoon or you’ll end up having to swim.

Anse Source D’Argent is part of L’Union Estate so you’ll have to pay a small fee to enter the area. Stop by the Giant Aldabra Tortoise enclosure where you’ll see some of these magnificent reptiles in action, quite literally.

If you’re thirsty, there’s a small beach bar at the start of the beach that serves a refreshing selection of fruit drinks and cocktails.

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Grand Anse, La Digue Island

At some times of the year, Grand Anse is a great surfing spot as the waves hit the beach with verve. When I was here, however, the waves broke right by the beach and faded into the steep bank almost immediately. This didn’t stop the local body boarders from riding their luck at dusk though.

If you’re feeling adventurous, clamber over the rocks and make your way to Petite Anse, a more exposed beach that you can also access by following the rocky trail between the two beaches.

Getting to Grand Anse is only possible by bike and the path winds up and down the hillside so pedal carefully lest your chain fall off (speaking from experience 😉 .) You’ll also find a decent restaurant at Grand Anse.

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Beau Vallon, Mahe Island

Mahe is the biggest of the islands of The Seychelles and Beau Vallon is to its capital what Copacabana is to Rio – a lively, riveting stretch of sand that everyone seems to love. Beau Vallon was the first beach I set foot on as I did away with my jet lag with an all-day snooze. Head to the hills to watch the sun dip over Silhoutte island in the distance at the end of each day.

Where to stay in Beau Vallon:

Villa Roscia

My girlfriend and I arrived at Mahe airport in the morning, where Paulo was on hand to pick us up. He’s attentive, flexible, amicable and goes the extra mile to ensure his guests are informed and have what they need at all times.

The property itself is modern, clean and even a tad edgy, with a small swimming pool at the bottom of the garden. A lot of attention has been paid to the details – USB and European power sockets being but a couple of observations of note.

Paulo’s wife and kids live on the ground floor and are very friendly ,making it an unparralled homestay with all the modcons you’d usually have to fork out a small fortune for at large hotels and resorts.

Do yourself a favour and sample the breakfast platter – fruits, bread, fresh crossaints, tea / coffee, yoghurt and lots more. There’s also tea / coffee on the balcony from 5 pm on, where you can watch the sun drop serenely over the ocean horizon.

Villa Roscia is located a stone’s throw away from the less touristy end of the endearing Beau Vallon beach. Jetty transfers (ferry to Praslin) also available at a fair fee. Highly recommended.

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Anse Major Nature Trail, Mahe Island

There are hikes galore on many of the islands in The Seychelles and The Anse Major Nature Trail is one of Mahe Island’s most endearing.

Catch the bus from Beau Vallon police station to the small settlement of Danzilles and walk up to the end of the road from there. Watch out for Batman Studios on your left as you enter the trail (a tourist trap that lures bypassers in for a sight at their caged bats). The trail is easy to walk and is graced with lush vegetation on all sides as well as jaw-dropping vistas of Silhoutte island in the distance.

The tranquil Anse Major beach awaits you at the end of the trail. Grab a water taxi back to Beau Vallon for the full Anse Major Nature Trail experience.

Read more about the Anse Major Nature Trail here.

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Visit Seychelles Mahe Island Anse Major Nature trail

Anse Major, Mahe Island

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Anse Lazio, Praslin Island

Praslin Island is the second-largest of the islands of The Seychelles. Life here is more quiet and sedate than it is in Mahe and its smaller size means that everything is much closer and easier to get to.

Anse Lazio is probably the most beautiful beach i’ve ever set foot on. This spectacular gem of a beach is best reached by car (or taxi) and is located on the north of Praslin. Crystalline waters, smooth (rounded) boulders and silky white sands give it a distinct look and feel.

Beneath these placid waters you will find all manner of colourful fish and marine life- tame  as they are in these parts. The left and right-hand sides Anse Lazio are best for snorkeling but watch out for sharks in the deeper waters.

I came within 12 feet of a Grey reef shark and though the odds of a shark attack are very low, being rounded by a 2-3 metre giant of the sea was a hair-raising if not unforgetable experience. Stay out of the water if you have even the slightest of cuts and treat the marine life with respect.

Where to eat on Praslin:

Pirogue Restaurant & Bar, Cote D’or

As the most centrally located restaurant in the small town, Pirogue pulls a crowd and serves up some decent dishes. It’s a great place – lunch offers are pretty decent, for dinner – prepare to wait for a table (or book in advance)

Where to stay on Praslin:

Villa Bedier, Cote D’or

Villa Beddier has all the amenties and mod cons you’ll need for a stay in C’ot D’or, Praslin. Book via their own webpage for the best prices but expect to pay in cash at the end of your stay. Look out for the complementary jetty drop-off at the end of your stay.

The rooms are well furnished and very spacious – spanning a long balcony, Master bedroom, toilet, kitchen and living room.

Located by the beach and in the heart of the little village, guests are endowed with several supermarkets, restaurants, ATMs and souvenir shops in close range.

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Vallée de Mai, Praslin Island

If you’re looking for the garden of Eden – this is it. A giant palm forest that takes you back to the days when Africa was known as the massive continent of Gondwana, the place feels like a cross between Jurassic Park (minus the dinasaurs) and The Amazon.

The giant Coco De Mer palms are endemic to The Seychelles and bear a striking resemblance to both male and female genitalia.

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Cote D’or Beach – Praslin Island

Cote   D’or Beach is an uderstated stretch of beach along the shore of the adjacent town, which is home to several cafes, restaurants and accomodation options.

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Find a flight to The Seychelles with momondo & follow me on Instagram for more travel inspiration and tips

My Hawaii in pictures – a visit to an otherworldly place

Hawai – land of Earth, air, water and fire. Of all the places I have visited, it stands out as one of the most spectacular. In many ways, I find it hard to believe that Hawaii is part of The United States – it seems so genuine and humble by comparison to the mainland. Here’s a video of one of my best trips yet, and a bunch of photos to boot.

 

Kailua Kona

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Hilo

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Kalapana

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Kīlauea

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Waipio Valley / Hawi

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Hapuna Beach

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Mauna Kea

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North Shore (Banzai Pipeline, Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach)

Banzai Pipeline

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Waimea Bay

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Sunset Beach

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Honolulu

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Gracias Cuba

In April 2017, I visited Cuba, a nation frozen in time, which (before that idiot Trump ascended the throne) was marketed as ” a place you have to see before it all changes.”

Cuba may be changing but I have no doubt that its soul will always remain true to its roots, for better or for worse.

And while Cuba is a photographer’s dream, make no mistake about it – this is a country in which travelling can be a veritable challenge, due to, amongst other things, two separate currencies for tourists and locals.

Here is what this beautiful nation had to offer us:

 

 

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Visiting Barcelona: Part Six: This is not a photo opportunity – the pitfalls of excessive mainstream tourism in the Catalan capital

Barcelona is a fantastic city with plenty to offer every type of tourist, from palm-fringed beaches, to world-clas cuisine and a rich cultural heritage.It is little surprise, therefore, that the Catalan capital is as popular as it is. Last year alone, 9 million people stayed in the city’s hotels and a futrther 9 million

However, some would argue that there are too many tourists in Barcelona, so much so, that there have been recent protests against the rising tide.

I peronally love Barcelona and I understand that tourism drives a big part of the local economy. However, I can certainly comprehend the voices of locals who are tired of unsustainble, mainstream tourism, which is rife throughout the city. Here are some of my images of excessive tourism and its pitfalls in Barcelona.

To quote Banksy, “This is not a photo opportunity”

Visiting Barcelona: Part Two: No Tenim Por (We Are Not Afraid!) – surviving a terror attack

Visiting Barcelona: Part Three:  La Sagrada Famila- the quintessential never-ending work

Visiting Barcelona: Part Five: Throwback Time

 

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Visiting Barcelona: Part Four: Bcn in street art – Mobile photography from the Catalan capital

Barcelona’s street art, for me, is some of the best in Europe. The city’s Raval, Gòtic and Gràcia districts all contain plenty of powerful, sometimes obtrusive street art that reflects the tensions and strugges of the region.

Here are some of my photos of the Barcelona’s street art.

For more Barcelona posts, check out:

Visiting Barcelona: Part One: Architecture

Visiting Barcelona: Part Two: No Tenim Por (We Are Not Afraid!) – surviving a terror attack

Visiting Barcelona: Part Three:  La Sagrada Famila- the quintessential never-ending work

Visiting Barcleona: Part Five: Throwback Time

Visiting Barcelona: Part Six: This is not a photo opportunity: The pitfalls of excessive mainstream tourism in the Catalan capital

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Camera : Iphone 3

Locations: Parque Guell, Caixa Forum, Barri Raval, Barcelona