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El Sardinero

El Sardinero Beach, Santander, Spain

El Sardinero is the beach of Santander, Cantabria´s capital city. In July and August the beach is packed with locals and visitors from the Spanish interior cities. In the summertime house owners earn the same by renting out their places for two months as in all the rest of the year. From September to June the place is quiet and relaxed and catches even waves when bigger winter swells hit the coast. In the back of the picture you can see the coast of Langre, a known surf spot.

Somewhere between Porto and Santander

Somewhere between Porto and Santander

While living in Porto and Santander the Montebelo Crew got to know this highway quite well. The 600 km journey goes through the wild north of Portugal, the beautiful hills of Asturias and the rural areas of Cantabria. Traffic is not a topic on this route and the you can choose between the northern route and making a break on empty beaches or cross through the interior and enjoy lunch breaks with rich local food.

Bamboo forest

Bamboo forest at Fushimi Inari-Taisha, Kyoto, Japan

Only a short ride from the city centre of Kyoto, you will find the Fushimi Inari Taisha. The shrine sits at the base of a mountain also named Inari which is 233 metres above sea level. It includes trails up the mountain to many smaller shrines which span four kilometers and takes approximately two hours to walk up. On your way you pass hundreds of fox red toris, which are donated by Japanese businesses. If you leave the path, you will find yourself in the middle of this super green bamboo forest.

Valley of the Assassins

Alamut Castle, Valley of the Assassins, Iran

Teheran is a busy, big, polluted, crazy but wonderful city. And sometimes you need to get out of it to breathe. And this is a very good thing since the landscapes of Iran are just wonderful. The valley of the Assassins is an about 2 hour drive (5 hours with average traffic) away from Teheran. It used to be a region run by the Nizari sect, a religious and mysterious order that would carry out espionage and assassinations of key enemy figures. Over the course of 300 years successfully killed two caliphs, and many viziers, sultans and Crusader leaders. That’s why the name of Assassins. The Alamut castle, one among many fortresses, stands high about the beautiful valleys that become green, yellow and red during autumn time while the snow remains on the huge mountain range in the back all year long. Roads to the valley are a sight of its own and while you cruise through sceneries from the moon, you will encounter people that seem to be stuck in time for at least 50 years.

Barceloneta beach

Barceloneta beach, Barcelona, Spain

One of the nicest things about Barcelona is the mediterranean sea just next to the city center. A few minutes from the old town you find yourself on the sandy beach of the Barceloneta. The promenade is full of people running, bicycling or skateboarding. 20 minutes walking north you reach the beaches of Bogatell and Mar Bella with less crowds and nice chiringuitos (beach restaurants) serving seafood and rice plates. In winter the beach catches some surprising and surfable waves but most of the time the water is calm and invites to a refreshing swim.

Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon

Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon is in the south of Rio de Janeiro. It is connected to the Atlantic Ocean, allowing sea water to enter by a canal along the edge of a park. Also, it makes an ideal destination for a bike tour.

République rooftops

République rooftops, Paris, France

Paris is becoming a great city again and the Republique neighborhood is the perfect example for it. From the Republique square to the canal Saint Martin, from Strasbourg Saint Denis to Chateau d’Eau, there is about everything a person can look for. The neighborhood is reinventing itself without losing the charm of its bohemian lifestyle. Restaurants with excellent and accessible food from everywhere in the world are opening or being rescued from gentrification, the local fruit and vegetable markets are booming and something new is to be discovered almost every day. The summer of 2015 was sunny and the best place to enjoy was either the Canal Saint Martin, Canal de la Vilette and if you have the necessary local knowledge, a Parisian rooftop! Paris is great again and nothing will change that.

Sea of clouds

Sea of clouds, Barcelona, Spain

This picture was taken when passing by Barcelona on the way back from Portugal to Austria. Showing the typical sudden weather change along the coast the picture also marked the transition between seasons: While it still was warm in Porto when leaving, winter had already arrived in Vienna.

Fresh and salt water meeting

Fresh and salt water meeting at the Douro river mouth, Porto, Portugal

From its source in Spain the Douro river is flowing almost 900 kilometers until it finally meets the Atlantic ocean at Foz do Douro, next to Porto. Sitting next to the lighthouse with red and white stripes, right where the river meets the ocean, the water seems to stand still on certain moments of the tide. It looks heavy and like oil, not moving in any direction but only up and down, creating very beautiful and hypnotic but at the same time disquieting patterns.

Grandma’s house

Grandma’s house, Braga, Portugal

Braga is a small city in the interior north of Portugal. It’s a roman city called Bracara Augusta with more than 2000 years. It’s considered on of the most Portuguese religious cities and you can understand why if you go for a walk in the city center. You can visit a lot of churches and baroque architecture is everywhere. This photo was taken in Braga at grandma’s sunny balcony with her orchid plantation and christmas lights, which stay the rest of the year just to add some fun. I guess Braga it is like a warm grandma’s house where everyone is always invited to stay and have lunch.

Floating Village

Ko Panyi, Phang Nga, Thailand

Ko Panyi is also known as the Floating Muslim village, located in the Phang Nga Bay – Thailand. The pier and its surrounding restaurants are usually packet with people making a lunch stop between their visits to the national park of the Phang Nga Bay national park, but once you walk through the small alleys of the village, you quickly have a look into normal life of the villagers. Alleys are built on sticks, school is surrounded by water and has a floating basketball court and an impressive mosque facing a cliff of limestone gives the villages its name. During low tide there is mainly mud, but with high tide the locals catch some fresh crabs just in front of their house with green nets. While they dry their clothes on it of course.

Pico do Arieiro view

Pico do Arieiro, Madeira, Portugal

The picture was taken on a beautiful late summer hike from Madeira’s highest peak Pico Ruivo (1.861m) to the third highest, Pico do Ariero (1.818m). The path offers incredible views of the island and the ocean. Shortly after the photo was taken the weather changed within minutes, limiting the amazing field of view to only a couple of meters. The atmosphere was amazing, changing suddenly from comfortable, sunny and warm to a ghostly, silent and timeless mood.