Salento, the place to be for coffee lovers

I spent the first time of my stay in Colombia in the Caribbean region, I loved it,  but there was one thing that was a true disappointment  to me. The coffee tasted awful.

This might not be a valid reason to be disappointed for some people, but I am an official coffee addict and worshiper through and through. So, I almost gave up on the coffee-heaven Image of Colombia I had for so many years, but then… I got to Salento.

Streetlife in Salento

Salento itself is a gorgeous little town. It’s center is easily walked within one hour and the main plaza is always full of life. Be it school kids on their lunch break, backpackers waiting for the trucks to take them to the Cocora Valley  (Post on the Cocora Valley here ) or locals drinking their coffee and chatting for hours.

Right from the main plaza starts the busiest street in town  (which isn’t actually that busy at all… another thing I loved about Salento), there is a lot of shops, restaurants and bars lined up, so if you can’t decide what to do with your day , start off there and you will be entertained for hours.  This street ends at a staircase which leads you up to a Punto de Vista, where you’ll have an amazing view over the famous eje-cafetera region and of course beautiful Salento.

Coffee, coffee , coffee … wherever you look.


I truly loved everything about Salento, the fact that there is almost as many Colombian weekend tourist as gringo backpackers, the friendly people, who actually greeted us from day one and knew our names by day 3, the tours you can go on from there, horse riding to hidden waterfalls, biking, hiking the Cocora Valley, visit traditional Coffee farms and many more, the fact that I stayed in the most beautiful hostel I’ve ever seen, the amazing coffee everywhere and the millions of different shades of green.


La Serrana

The Hostel we stayed in is called “La Serrana” and it is located about 20-25 minutes of walking distance outside of town. It is surrounded by literally NOTHING but green hills full of coffee plantations and in the morning, when the fog is still lingering around the hills, you feel like you are the only person in the world. So peaceful . ❤

Waking up to THIS!

They also have great common rooms, which are always full of guitar playing and storytelling fellow traveler and they serve amazing breakfast and dinner.

I loved everything about La Serrana, even the entrance hall! 😉


Coffee farm highlight

For me, a passionate coffee lover, going to the coffee plantations was a MUST DO. My friends and I decided to go see a traditional, organic one named Sacha Mama.

This little fellow walked all the way to the Coffee farm with us.


It took us about an hour to get there . We started at our hostel and the path  lead  us mostly downhill through the core of the Coffee zone.

Sacha Mama is a special kind of Coffee farm, with a lot of history and run by the same family since ages.


Us, learning ALL ABOUT COFFEE! 😉
This is how coffee beans look like before being plucked and peeled.
Coffee blossoms
Coffee drying corner

The lady  there went on a tour through her families coffee plantation with us, we learned so much about the traditional coffee making process and in the end we were even rewarded with a cup of amazing self-made Colombian Coffee, cookies and cakes.

Before being roasted.
Finally they started looking like coffee beans.
Traditional Coffee grinder

For a trip to the Coffee Farm, you definitely need a whole day, since you are walking quite a bit to get there and even more going back (since it is ALL UPHILL ;P  ) and you should definitely take the chance to talk to the people who run the farm, they will answer all your questions and are really happy to meet people who are truly interested in coffee.

They also sell their organic, self-made coffee at the farm, which is SO MUCH better than the one you get in the stores… obviously! 😉




One day in Battambang


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Ta Dumbang statue in the middle of Battambang, people come here to pray.

Battambang was one of the cutest cities I’ve been to in Cambodia. We arrived late in the afternoon with the Angkor Express Boat , that I already told you about in one of my previous articles. Since we were really tired we just grabbed something to eat, went for a short walk and then right into bed.

The next day we got up very early looking for a Tuktuk driver to show us the best of Battambang, since we just had this one day. A few minutes later we found one and hit the road to the Bamboo Train.

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Let the journey begin 😀


Bamboo Train

The Bamboo Train is one of the most famous attractions in Battambang that is why we had to go there and check it out! With this train you don’t actually get somewhere, it is just for the experience – you drive 15 to 20 minutes in one direction and then the same way back for around $5. It wasn’t very comfortable, very bumpy and the train gets really fast – it was fun though and you get to take some really nice pictures.



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I really enjoyed those views


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Getting the train off the tracks

Since the way there and back is the same, they have to get the train off the tracks to let the other trains pass. After an hour and a half we were finished and went to the next stop on our list.


Wat Banan Temple

This is a really small but beautiful temple a little outside of Battambang and it is definitely worth going there. You have to go up a very steep staircase but once you are on the top you get a really nice view.

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It’s a long way up there, but definitely worth the effort.
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Nice temple at the end of the staircase.

Killing Caves and Phnom Sampeau Temple

Our Tuktuk driver told us a lot about Cambodias history and the victims of the Khmer Rouge who came to death at those killing caves. It is unbelievable what happened at this place not that long ago.

From the Killing Caves it is a nice walk up to Phnom Sampeau, which is also a really beautiful temple around Battambang, it is more modern than Wat Banan though.

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Phnom Sampeau temple
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Be aware of those cheky little monkeys up there ;P



Last stop Battambang Bat Caves

After walking down from Phnom Sampeau our last stop were the Bat Caves, this was just amazing – at 6 p.m. millions – and I really mean millions – of bats come bursting out of this hole in the mountain and fly towards the countryside, where they spend the night.

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Bats looking for food


Bats come bursting out of the mountain



After that our Tuktuk driver brought us back to our hotel and his friend drove us to Phnom Penh the next morning, which he arranged for us! What a lovely day 🙂


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DIY: Build your own euro pallet dresser

Hey everybody,

since Kerstin and I are more than just passionate traveler, we decided to show you some of the other things we love to spend our time with. We will write about those in our occasional RANDOM FRIDAY posts! 🙂  We hope you like them.

Today we will show you how to build your own euro pallet dresser.

What do you need?

  • 2 x strips of wood which are 120cm long just like your euro pallet
  • 6 x screws not longer than 3cm
  • 4 x legs for your dresser (I got them at IKEA for around 12€)
  • 6 x pieces of wood 38x97x2cm for the fronts of the drawers
  • 12 x pieces of wood 38x56x1cm for the sides of the drawers
  • 6 x pieces of wood 36x56x1cm for the backs of the drawers
  • 24 x iron nails around 4cm long for the drawers
  • Lots of small iron nails to fix the bottom of the drawers
  • 6 x pieces of wood (you can use the back of an old closet or dresser) 39x36x0,5cm for the bottom of the drawers
  • 6 x handles for the drawers and 6 screws to fix them (they usually include screws) – if not you need 6 screws that fit for your handles
  • 6 x screws at least 14 cm long (they can be 20 cm too, that doesn’t matter)
  • 6 x screws at least 20 cm long

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And the most important thing you will need are two euro pallets, you should get some really old ones to give your dresser a neat vintage look. (The two pieces in on the right bottom , you will get out of your pallets – I will explain that to you later in step number 3)


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Step 1

First step – cut your pallets right after the middle blocks – you will need the two parts in the fronts later so put them aside.


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Step 2

Try to tear apart the other two pieces with a pinch bar – but be careful, they are screwed together really tight! The most important things are the blocks, try not to destroy them J if the other pieces break – don’t worry, you can use any wood you want too! If they don’t break, you can use them for the drawers – so you don’t need to get extra wood for the drawers listed at the first step!


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Step 3


Those are the top boards of picture step 1 (I marked them with an arrow) you will need three pieces with length 47cm. If those boards broke in step number three you can use some other wood which has to be 47×14,5×2 cm!

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Step 4


  1. Those are the two wooden strips (from the „what you need“ picture) – they go into the holes of the pallet with the 3cm screws
  2. Screw the loose blocks and the boards you cut in step number 3 on one of the pallet pieces you put aside (with the screws 14cm long – don’t place the screws in the middle of the blocks!)
  3. Screw the other pallet piece on – with the 20cm screws – place the screws in the middle of the block, they are going to stay visible!
  4. Fix the legs


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Step 5

This is the easiest way to build drawers

  1. Nail the back onto the sides
  2. Nail the front onto the sides (leave 1cm on each side of the front)
  3. Nail the bottom onto the sides and the back
  4. Fix the handles


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Put the drawers into the dresser-congrats 🙂 you’re finished.


Last I stained the wood with ebony wood stain, applied wood finish and let it dry over night! 🙂


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Almost done
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Stained the wood and applied the finish- this has to dry over night.







Posted by Kerstin

Valle de Cocora , Salento Colombia

Salento is a typical paisa village located about 20 kilometers away from Armenia in Colombia, it is located in the famous eje cafetero ( the Colombian Coffee region). Besides of being a truly beautiful place itself, Salento is the perfect starting point for a hike trough the Valle de Cocora, which , for me, is a definite MUST SEE in Colombia.

Surreal landscapes in the Cocora valley.

The Cocora Valley is famous for it’s huge wax palm trees, which are actually a national symbol of Colombia and to be honest… one of the most spectacular things I’ve seen so far.

When staying in Salento, it is pretty easy to get to the Valley, you simply wait at the main plaza, where there will be a couple of old pick up trucks lining up at several times of the day. (Leaving hours start from 6.10 in the morning)  I’ll recommend you to start in the early morning hours, since there is always a high risk of rain in the mountains of the valley during the afternoon.


The cars will stop right in front of the entrance of the valley and you’ll have two options to start from there.
You can take the short way (the one on the left) , which will lead you straight to the wax palm fields. This way doesn’t take more than 90 minutes to walk and you’ll have a great view on the wax palm trees without much effort. But, obviously you’ll miss out on all the other highlights of the walk.

The view from the top of the mountain is breathtaking.
Crossing rivers on wobbly brides is one of many adventures.
The weather changes really fast up there, so be prepared for any kind of weather.


So anybody who is in decent physical shape… DO TAKE THE LONG WAY! 🙂

The long way will take you about 5-6 hours, you’ll cross wild rivers on dangerous looking rope bridges, you’ll climb steep hillsides, you’ll walk through ankle deep mud paths and you’ll also come across a hummingbird sanctuary. It will be an experience you’ll never forget, I’ll promise you that.


Another important thing is to ALWAYS be prepared for changes in weather!  When me and my friends went on the hike, we were lucky enough to be close to a lodge, which is located halfway of the way on top of the mountain, when it started to rain heavily. I don’t want to imagine how our walk would have turned out otherwise, because we definitely didn’t bring appropriate gear.

So… pack the rain jackets and make sure you wear proper footwear! 😉


The lodge I mentioned is called Finca la montana and it’s the best place to rest a little while drinking the famous hot chocolate with cheese


You get your hot chocolate with a piece of cheese on the side.

When you finished all of the walk, you’ll end up exactly where you started. Unless you get there really late, there will also be trucks to take you back to Salento.


Welcome to the jungle (Koh Kong Cambodia)

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Riding the long tail boat through the mangrove forest of Koh Kong

Koh Kong was our last destination in Cambodia, since it’s located right on the border to Thailand. They offer lots and lots of tours and activities there like island tours, kayaking, fishing, hiking and so on.

We decided to do the Cardamom Mountains Trekking for one day which was around $20 per person plus a little tip for the guides. This tour included pick up from our home stay, drinks and lunch (we got some fried noodles with shrimp and fresh fruit).

The Tuk Tuk driver picked us up at 8:30 in the morning and brought us to the boat, it was just my friend and me and those two really nice guides. It took us around one hour and a half up the river until we got off the boat and directly into the jungle with which I fell in love with immediately.

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One of the guides walking in front of us clearing the way with his machete


After a while we stopped to take some pictures, I have no clue what time it was by now, I was so amazed by all of those gorgeous views that I didn’t check my watch even once. The hike itself wasn’t very exhausting or hard, it was pretty hot though which made it a little challenging but one oft he guides always reminded me to drink something 🙂 and once my water was finished I got a new one within a second.


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Short stop to take pictures at this amazing viewing point


After this short break we went deeper and deeper into the jungle.

Around noon they took us to a really nice place where we had lunch, got to take a swim and explored the jungle and the amazing waterfalls by our-selves.

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This is where we had lunch. We didn’t see any other people during our trek at all.
Our guide , showing us around.

After lunch break we hiked back to the boat and arrived at the city around 4.30 p.m.

What an amazing day 🙂  so if you’re planing on a short stop in Koh Kong traveling from or to Thailand you should definitely consider staying the night and trekking the jungle!

If you’re more into relaxing and beaches another tip is the Koh Kong Island Tour which I really enjoyed too, I’ve never seen such a beautiful and quiet beach before! Koh Kong Island is just a really tiny island where you can spend the night in some cute little huts, if you want to.

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The beach looked like a postcard ❤


Crystal clear water and white beaches.


Posted by Kerstin

Angkor Express Boat Tour

„Tonle Sap Lake“

Going from Siem Reap to Battambang by “speed“ boat was one of the most impressive things to me while I was traveling Cambodia.
I have to say that I’m not a very patient person, I’m that kind of girl who keeps asking “when are we there“, “how far is it“ and so on because I just can’t stand sitting somewhere doing absolutely nothing. Since we just had 3 weeks to travel around Cambodia anyway, I did not think of it as a good idea to waste that much time on a boat trip, but it turned out that it was definitely worth every second.


„cruising down the river“

We left Siem Reap at around 7 a.m. the ticket cost around $20 per person and it was supposed to take us 6 hours (it actually took us around 9 hours because the water level was very low). Another possibility to get to Battambang is by bus, which takes 5 hours I think.
If you’re looking for a comfortable way to travel and high safety standards you’re definitely wrong on this boat – you get to sit on hard wooden benches and the engine is really loud in the back of the boat, but that didn’t bother me at all.
We were crossing the Lake for about one hour and a half then we went down the river, where we passed lots of small fishing villages. After a short stop at a floating village, where you can buy some cold drinks and coconuts, we kept going further south.


Yum, I just loved those coconuts
„fishing net close to a small fishing village“

The landscapes and birds we got to see were just amazing. I was also very impressed by the people living there, everyone was smiling in a very warm way, all of those cute little kids were playing in the mud and in the water, laughing and waving at the people on the boat. It was just really nice and relaxing to watch!



„floating village – people are going everywhere just by boat (even kids by themselves) – there were swimming schools, supermarkets and even churches“


Aren’t they just gorgeous?

Finally we arrived in Battambang, this did not seem like 9 hours to me at, time went by so fast. I think I should have used sun blocker instead of LSF20 though 😉

All in all this was a really great way to travel and I would definitely recommend it to everybody looking for good pictures and a great adventure.


Posted by Kerstin

Walking the Polsterlucke Tour in Upperaustria

Walking through a winterwonderland

Those of you who’ve seen my Instagram profile know, that I am originally from a part of Austria called Upperaustria. So , even though, I am a city girl through and through by now and I couldn’t imagine missing out on all those great things Vienna has to offer, all those imposing buildings and the possibilities one has when living in the capitol of Austria, I simply can’t deny my roots.
Sometimes, I long for mountains, for wild rivers, for woods that seem to be endless and especially in winter, I long for walks on snow-covered paths. So this is why, I am escaping the city on a regular basis. Even if it’s just for a few days, but one thing for sure, I’m always returning to Vienna more relaxed and my batteries fully charged again.


One of my favorite places in Austria to refuel my energy is Hinterstoder in Upperaustria. A lot of people go there on vacation, but mainly because of the skiing region and the awesome aprés ski lodges. But there is so much more to Hinterstoder than skiing and partying. For me, the best thing there, is to do the Polsterlucke tour.  Walking it takes about 2 hours and you will come across a beautiful pond (Schiederweiher), there is a great change you’ll see some wild deer and there is a cute little lodge along the way. Walking , you will have an incredible view on the Gr. Priel and the Spitzmauer.  For Photo addicts like me, it’s almost impossible to get along, because you will stop about every few seconds to take another picture.

The most romantic and comfortable way to do the tour is definitely in a sleigh.


During the winter month, you can even take a ride in a sleigh, which is a pretty romantic thing to do when you’r out and about with your loved one.
Another thing I love about spending the day there is, that you’ll come across a cute little lodge named Polsterstüberl, where they have the best traditional Austrian food and during the winter month they serve you steaming hot punch.

For those of you, who long for more physical exertion, it is also a great place for cross country skiing, or you can start the climb up to the Great Priel Mountain.

Going to the Polsterlucke is gorgeous all year round and definitely one of my favorite things to do in Austria.

Schiederweiher in autumn
Colors galore

More information about the tour – Here!

Posted by Lisa