Tahiti (French Polynesia), 11.09.2013

The Air Tahiti flight from Raiatea arrived over 1,5h late in Papeete and it was already dark when I showed up at the car rental station. The plan was to drive 1h out of town and find a place for the night. The first car they gave me made it 2km from the airport until I found out it wasn’t driving well and brought it back. The second one, a crappy Peugeot, drove OK but was in pretty bad shape. Continue reading “Tahiti”


Raiatea (French Polynesia), 09.09.2013

The moment I boarded the plane in Fakarava I guessed it would be hard to top the experience there. Back on Tahiti I spent a night in the <sarcasm> romantic, comfortable and well wired Tahiti Airport Motel </sarcasm> across the street from the terminal and the next morning took an early plane to Raiatea, in the Society Islands. Madame Emma picked me up at the airport and we drove 15 mins along the eastern side of the island to her pension. Contrary to Fakarava and the Tuamotu atolls in general, where the maximum elevation is just a couple of meters above sea level, the Society Islands are huge rocks in the water surrounded by a reef. Raiatea rises up to 1.017m at its highest point, and most of the time I was there the mountain tops were covered in clouds, giving the place a mysterious look.

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The Polynesian atoll

Fakarava (French Polynesia), 06.09.2013

As a child I remember to have spent endless hours admiring a globe we had in the living room of my parents’ house. It was lit from the inside to show the areas of the earth covered with sun and those in darkness, depending on how the date and time were set. I always wondered how the other side of this planet would look like, those places in the southern Pacific Ocean the farthest away from Europe. Reading about atolls dispersed in thousands of km of vast ocean, palm fringed beaches and turquoise seas, mystic mountains rising high out of nowhere in the water got my imagination carried away. When some weeks ago I sat in a hotel room contemplating what to do with a few of weeks of sudden time off, a look at Google maps drew my attention to this area again. It was so close, just some hours by plane, like never before and likely not again for a long time. It was outside of Eurasia geographically and therefore wouldn’t fit with the scope of this trip. But hey, it was an opportunity that presented itself to fulfil a dream of a lifetime. One of the learnings of this journey has been also to seize these opportunities whenever they appear within reach to make the best out of each moment. So the geographical dogma went overboard in seconds and the travel planning began!

Continue reading “The Polynesian atoll”

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