Part 1 gave you the travel, surf and stay essentials at the Azores. I hope part 2 will inspire the rest of the family or your better half to join the trip!
What to do on the Azores when there are no waves?
I do not know, where to start! The Azores is so beautiful. Most of the interesting places to visit were just a short drive away from the surf beaches. Every day, between tides and surf, we went on exciting adventures.
The stunning Caldeira das Sete Cidades, a twin lake – Lagoa Verde (green) and Lagoa Azul (blue), in a volcano crater, on the western part of Sao Miguel
Lagoa de Santiago, not far away from Lagoa Verde and Azul
Lagoa do Fogo, a short 12 km drive up a mountain from St. Barbara beach
Thermal waters on our way to Lagoa do Fogo
Caldeiras da Lagoa das Furnas, hot springs and geysirs on the east side of the island
The idyllic tea factory Porto Formoso, on the north shore. This one of the only two tea plantations in Europe for industrial purposes.
We drove a long the north coast and south coast, stopped in small villages and dived into the clear blue waters! It was like driving in a fairytale, beautiful flowers and scenery wherever we went!
When we leave a place, we always ask ourselves. Do we want to come back?
The answer for Azores is a big yes! We will return when the twin boys a bigger and can try on some surfing and join us on beautiful hikes!
I can highly recommend it!
Have a nice trip! Remember – traveling sideways is more fun!
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The surf prognosis for July is not the best (see table below from the Stormrider Surf Guide). Still, we took the chance. At the time we visited the Azores, we were beginner surfers. (And I am still a beginner surfer ;). We hoped there would be enough swell for practicing our beginner turns.
We stayed one week in July. It was all about the tide! We followed it closely, and made sure that we were on the beach at the right times. We were on the water, once or twice a day, five out of seven days.
We stayed in Ponta Delgada. Every day, we drove the 20 minutes drive to St. Barbara beach, close to Ribeira Grande, on the north shore every day.
This is the Atlantic ocean and you need 3/2 wetsuit. The air temperature is like a good Norwegian summer, 20-25 degrees celcius!
How to get to the Azores?
The Azores consists of nine islands. It is a part of Portugal, but it is located 1500 kilometers (900miles) west of Lisbon. The time difference is GMT-1. Sao Miguel is the largest island, and the only island we visited.
We flew to Lisbon and continued with TAP Portugal to Ponta Delgada. The flight from Lisbon to the Azores is 2.5 hours. If you book early, you can get very good prices.
We rented gear from Azores Surf Center, located on St. Barbara beach. We had made reservations in advance via their website and e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). The surf center has a good variation of surf boards. The staff was friendly and helpful.
Ricardo, a local surf hero with a lifelong passion for surfing, was also one of the instructors on my daily classes. I took classes, one hour every day. We learned the basic techniques and practiced in the small waves. Good teachers and a personal follow-up to each and every one. One the last day, we went out to the larger breaks. It was tough and I was a bit scared. Unfortunately, it ended with a board hitting my face. I could practically watch a blue lump growing underneath my eye. I had a blue eye for weeks!
Where to stay?
We decided to in Ponta Delgada. Since the stay was a week, we booked a hotel room. Ponta Delgada has a great variety of hotels at any price range. We stayed at Sao Miguel Park Hotel, a 4* hotel just north of the city center. A good location, with walking distance to restaurants and a short drive to the highway R1-1A (EN1-1A), EN7-2A leading to St. Barbara beach.
You will also find many possibilities on AirBnB, both in Ponta Delgada and on the north shore closer to St. Barbara beach.
Where to eat?
I really loved the Azores, apart from one thing. The food. We like good and healthy food, and I am sorry to say that we really struggled to find good restaurants. We did find one, Colegio27, and ended up eating there the last three days. It was not cheep, but hungry and healthy surfers were desperate.
I googled Azores and food, and found that we were not alone in our opinion. I read that the best Azorean cooking you find in private homes. The Azoreans do not have a strong «eating out» culture and geographical isolation has influenced their kitchen.
Still, drinking and eating out is cheap, which is good for your budget.
If any readers of this blog post have good restaurant suggestions, please share them in the comment field below.
We visited so many adventurous places on the Azores. Check out the Part 2!
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In step 1, I wrote about Mindmapping, a tool which is ideal for structuring ideas. My rule is to always make notes once electronically, not on paper.
OneNote is the ideal tool for your daily notes, minutes or To-Do lists. The notes can be saved online. You can access them from your computer or your phone, and can easily be shared with your friends and colleagues.
My best and basic advices!
I cannot share my OneNotes from work, because of confidentiality. So, I made some dummy notes for this blog post! I guess many of you already have OneNote already on your computer or you find it on App store.
1. Easy access. Create a shortcut on your desktop.
2. You can make separate notebooks, to separate and structure your notes! Just click on the +
3. Within each notebook, you make different sections. Just click on the + (illustration below)
4. I always have one To-Do section. This is a list I update continuously via my computer or my iPhone
4. I have a standard template for my minutes or more informal notes. Within each section, I add a page for each of the meeting minutes. This is a great advantage! If I rush into a meeting and need find my notes from my previous meetings, I do not have to search in the Explorer for word documents. Or even worse, a book with my handwritten scribbles. I have all in one place. (And of course, if it is a formal meeting, I use agreed on word templates)
5. Use the App! If someone ask you to follow up a task. It can easily be forgotten. Normally, you have your phone available, wherever you are. Make a quick update of your To-Do list and you have it all in one place!
I use the basic features. Below you find a nice overview from a Quick Start Guide I found on Microsoft support.
OneNote has many more possiblities, which I have never tried.
OneNote can read your handwritten page title and convert it to text automatically
OneNote can do your calculus
OneNote can record your meetings
OneNote has many fancy colored templates
Become a OneNoter! You will work more efficient and be more flexible!
I was counting down the days till our Easter holiday, looking forward to some days of relaxing. To my surprise, my Easter stress-down meditation came from an unexpected love and hate source.
A love and hate relationship!
They say we Norwegians are born with skis on our feet. I was no exception. My family is a true cross-country family! We are three sisters and we competed from an early age. I did my first cross country competition as a two year old!
I loved it and I hated it. I loved it when I entered competitions. I loved my childhood cross country idols. I had posters Vegard Ulvang and Bjørn Dæhlie, not Tom Cruise and Rob Lowe, on my walls.
I hated it, when I dreamed about being allowed to go alpine skiing at Skillevollen or do jazz ballett at Tip Toe studio.
I left cross-country competitions at the age of 16. My new passion was telemark skiing.
Four years later, I lost my heart, forever, to snowboarding. I fell in love with the freedom, the passion, the playfulness and the social aspects of the sport!
Today, I am 40 years old. I am twin mother and there is little time alone time. This Easter holiday, I clicked on my cross country skis once again. Time for some quality alone time.
I have had daily trips on my older sister’s 20 year old Fischer skis. 🙂 I have remembered my father’s waxing skills. Concrete grip uphills and full speed down hills! And I have really enjoyed it!
Love gliding through the beautiful scenery, a perfect meditation
Love having music in my ears, blocking the world out
Hate it, when I can’t stick to my technique or have the wrong waxing and I slide backwards
Love the rush of blood through my veins, recharging my batteries
Hate the taste of blood in my mouth, when my heart is pumping real hard
Love it, when I have good grip going uphill
Hate it, when I am super scared going fast downhill
Love the feeling, when I am back at the cabin!
Have a great Easter eve! Get out, release some energy and feel that heart pump!
I grew up on a farm and I have always loved outside work. Now living in the city, outside work means gardening. But these days, it is not a priority! No «super efficiency at the work place» advice this week!
It is Easter, let’s step-up the garden in no time!
Professional gardeners will probably raise their eyebrows. This is NOT gardening, they might claim. I do agree! This is what you do, when you want to minimize garden work and prioritize other things.
Living in the city, we are very lucky to have a small garden. We use it daily. It is perfect for play time, BBQs, relaxing or having friends over.
My 4 advices!
Keep the flowers in the pots! We have a rose grid. Instead of having roses, I have hung up eight tin pots. I change from summer flowers, to heather flowers during winter time, to spring flowers during Easter. I was IKEA yesterday, and the had narciss flowers for only 9 NOK (€1). The «work» today, changing pots and watering, took me 5 minutes.
2) Grass and stones! Our garden is all grass surrounded by stone, no flower beds. For me flower beds = trouble and work! The grass only need some chalk and eco-friendly chicken manure a few times from April to September. It is an initial investment, but it is worth it.
3) Multi-annual flower leeks! Three winters ago, I planted 30 flower leeks in one part of the garden. They still return every year. A bit all over the place, but who cares! 1 hour three years ago, 0 minutes this year.
4) Vinegar kills weed! My biggest enemy in the garden is weed, especially dandelions. They pop up everywhere! I use an old and eco-friendly remedy. The trick is to pour some vinegar one the roots and they will die off.
Okay, enough gardening! We are packing the car! Time to head for the mountains!
PS – And sometimes, we pimp our garden, properly, surfers’ style! 🙂
I use Deloitte’s Business Chemistry test, which focus on four main personal traits.
The driver – who likes logic, systems and laser focus on goals! Maybe Angela Merkel is a typical driver!
The pioneer – who likes variety, possibilities and generating ideas! Richard Branson is the ultimate pioneer!
The integrator – who likes personal connection and seeing how pieces fit together! Bill Clinton is a true integrator!
The guardian – who likes concrete details and stability, trusting what is tried and true! Queen Victoria was a true guardian, setting out to do her job right!
My business personality
My strongest characteristics are 44 % Pioneer and 42 % Driver. My colleagues and friends are probably not surprised ;).
The Pioneer in me like generate ideas, be spontaneous, network and step into the unknown. Sometimes I make decisions too fast and I do have to change my mind from time to time. Still, I will rather test out new ideas and make some mistakes, instead of not making any decisions at all.
The Driver in me is direct and tough minded, competitive and skeptical. I do not like waiting and talk-talk-talk meetings. 🙂
How do I use it in my daily work life?
When I meet other pioneers, the room explodes of energy. We fly to the moon and back, or maybe we get stuck out in outer space. Hey! Can a Guardian join the meeting, in order to ground our big ideas, please?
When I meet other drivers, we agree quickly. No small talk in this meeting. Hey! Can a Integrator join the meeting. Help us to listen more, share more stories and establish a stronger connection!
When I meet guardians, I must be on time and bring facts to the table. I try to shut up and control my energy. I do want not scare them off!
When I meet integrators, I must breath slower, relax, sit back, listen and engage in each others stories. These days, I am really practicing to develop my integrator skills. I do this by being conscious about how I listen, use my body language and engage in finding consensus.
And remember, we are all a mix of these personalities! My reflections above are a bit black and white. The most important is to be conscious about other peoples business characteristics, respect them and communicate more efficiently.
Do you find it difficult to delegate? The truth is, delegating is super important if you want to get work done, as a team! Many of us feel uncomfortable to delegate, but you have to do it. It works better if you take some precautions!
Since I came back from my maternity leave in January, my work load has been seriously building up. I cannot stay at the office all day and night. I also want to be with my boys, Alexander, work-out, write this blog and a lot more! Delegating is one of my most important tools to keep my head above water!
The only way to survive is to delegate as much as possible.
Feel comfortable about delegating! I used to dislike delegating! I felt that I was bothering others. In addition, I was afraid that they did not have the same standards as myself. A super silly thought! But Hey! – As long as you delegate within the boundaries of roles, competence and responsibilities, this is how you work as a team, empower others and get things done!
Delegate as early as possible. Many people tend to hold on to a task or an e-mail too long. The longer you cling on to the task, the more difficult it gets to delegate it. And I know, delegation means that you have you to make an upfront effort. You must find the right person, the right team, have initial talks and follow up.
Make sure everybody has clear responsibilities. I work in projects with normally three to more than ten people. I try to make sure that everybody has a role description. This makes it easier to delegate.
We are all responsible! Make everybody understand that they have a responsibility for the result!
Make sure they understand you! I am busy and I tend to not explain the tasks properly. Many people do not dare to tell me that they do not understand. The risk is that I must completely change their deliverable. I have learned to explain very clear. I ask my colleagues to tell me how they understand my work.
Be available! Make sure that you are available face2face, mobile or Skype etc.
Set a deadline! When you delegate a task, normally you have not delegated the responsibility. Give the person a deadline, which give you enough time to do quality assurance and finalize the task.
Give credit or take the blame! If you get good feedback on your work, make sure everybody knows who did most of it. And if you screw up, take the blame. You delegated the work, but not the responsibility. This is one of my leadership style principles! Did you read my blog post?
Good luck! I am lucky to be surrounded with many talented and great people! By giving them responsibility and tasks and communicate clearly, we all get a meaningful day at work and at home!
Do you delegate? Or does it make you feel uncomfortable?
Do you know someone who need to delegate more, please share my blog post!
Iceland was a great journey. We experienced beautiful arctic country, from remote places to famous tourist attractions. In addition, I learned a lot about driving, monster trucks, working out and blog life!
The differential..what? Well, just press the buttons!
Driving on two meters of snow requires knowledge about handling the truck, the gas pedal, the differential locks 😉 and deflating/inflating tires. Fortunately, the bloggers kicked ass behind the wheel. We did not get stuck that many times! A real piece of team work in the Blogger truck!
We left the group!
On the last day, we escaped the rest of the group. It was wet, windy and foggy. The caravan of trucks was heading up into a foggy volcano. Sorry guys! We need to release some energy and headed for the hotel gym. It is not everyday, I get to work-out with PT Treningsfrue. And Espen, well.. he had his own thing going on 😉
Long drives, primitive cabins, late nights and early mornings can be challenging. This was not the case for the happy trio on wheels. We are all strong characters, who like to talk and be social! But we had such a great time. I am so blessed that I was given the opportunity to learn to know Camilla and Espen.
This is what I learned from the two professional bloggers:
No free lunch! Professional bloggers work hard. I do not think many people realize how much work it takes to publish everyday! Respect!
Sharing and caring! In many industries, there can be jealousy, competition and little willingness co-operate. I love the quote from super coach Gry Sinding – Relax, there is enough success for everyone! The three of us are bloggers in different fields, size and language. We discussed blog posts, angles and linked to each other on the blogs and in our social medias. Working together as a team creates a better result! Help someone today, tomorrow it might be you who need a helping hand.
Photos, photos, photos! This rookie blogger went the trip with a flat battery. I did not even know how handle my new camera. Mr honest Espen said to me: – You are not very good at taking pictures, are you...? – Help! No, I find it difficult and frustrating!It is all about the light, said Camilla! I even watched a You Tube tutorial for my Fujifilm X-T10 one morning at 5am to learn more. And I did learn more. I followed the good advices. I got more confident with my camera. On the last day, I was taking photos like a crazy. And yes, it is perfectly okay to take photos of yourself.
Social media! It is not only about the blog. Snap chat and Instagram were updated the most frequently. On the flight back I finalized my own social media strategy. Espen was a good discussion partner. Camilla and I made our first instant Facebook video in the blue lagoon. 1400 have seen our impulsive video from the Blue lagoon! You find it on my personal Facebook page.
Give of yourself! My goal is to write a personal leadership blog. I share my personal thoughts on leadership, travel and social debates. Through discussions with Camilla and Espen, I realized that I can share more of my personal life on the blog. How to make quick and healthy meals for a busy family? How to find time to stay fit? And finally, a thing I never thought I would do – share a bikini photo on my blog. But what a h***! I have a 40 years old body, which recently gave birth to twins. People might frown their eyebrows on some of the photos, but when you are on Iceland, jumping into lagunes is a part of the pack!
Thanks for following our trip! I hope you have seen the teasers produced by Rolf Ørjan Høgseth from Virus. They can be seen here on Facebook!
I hope to experience more trips like this. I could drive anywhere, race polar bears to the North pole or to experience Bedouin nights is Arabia!
Have a great Friday! Soon weekend!
I looking forward to the Norwegian championships in halfpipe. This stiff body is not participating, but I look forward to meet snowboard friends and bring my dear twin boys to the event!
Congratulations! It is March 8, the International Women’s Day (IWD). An annual celebration for more than 100 years! A day to celebrate women’s economic, political, and social achievements, but most important a day to raise our VOICES!
My role model and inspiration!
My mother in law, Turid Loewe, is a great woman (and a wonderful grand mother ;)) with a strong engagement. For the last 40 years, especially during the 70s and 80s, she has been on the barricades fighting for women’s rights. Thanks to her generation, we have one year parental leave, increased focused on violence against women, the abortion law, gender quotas in the board room and much more. Yeah for women like my dear mother in law! We have a lot to thank them for!
The fight is not over!
Look around in your life, at home, at work, in your country! The fight for women’s rights is also a fight for human rights. There are many important paroles this International Women’s Day. Here are some of the paroles from the March 8 Committee in Oslo:
Feminism is boarderless! Protect fleeing women!
Strengthen the equality law!
The right to decide your own pregnancy!
Kindergarten for everybody – also refugee children!
Stop the porn culture!
Enforce the sex purchase law!
Stop violence against women!
Equal pay and full-time jobs!
Equality in the workplace!
Which parole makes your heart beat and is your most important?
I started this International Women’s Day on the radio. At 6.30 am, I attended the national morning news at NRK radio (NRK news from 06.33). I have decided to speak up for the parole that has been and is affecting my life these days! Equality in the workplace!
Being a full-time working leader in the private sector and a twin mother is a tough combination. Daily I struggle to make priorities. Some days I see my dear boys too little, other days I leave work early. I strive to have a work-life balance over a period of time, not every day.
9 of 10 top executives in the private sector are men! My CEO here at Deloitte Norway Aase Aa. Lundgaard says it perfectly – The public sector has enough women! The private sector is missing out on crucial competence and half of the talents!
A research report from Institute for Social Research in Oslo states that women have a tendency to change their career path from the private to the public sector after having children. The gender inequality is increasing and the bidirectional workforce flow between the sectors is reduced.
Equal pay for equal work! Norway is ranked #2 in the World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap report 2015. A good result you might think? Think twice! Women earned the same in 2015 as men did in 2006!
Increase the men’s parental leave quota! The mens quota of the parental leave has recently between reduced from 14 to ten weeks. The result is that women are longer away from work, increasing the threshold to go back and the gender equality at home is reduced.
Remove the cash-for-care subsidy! The subsidy (6000 NOK (€670) pr month) creates an extra threshold for women to go back to work. This is especially important for immigrant women, reducing the possibility for need integration.
Subsidy help in the house! My experience is that it is the housework which kills us.
Make it possibility to get kindergarten spots all around the year! We are a victim of this. We had to hire a private nanny. A costly solution, and not all families can afford this!
Increase the parental leave for multiple parents! We have twins and we got five weeks extra (compared to parents having one child). It is a joke! All children deserves a pair of hands the first time. (Read my blog post about being a twin mother with newborns (Norwegian only)
Bottom line! It must be possible for mothers to pursue a career. This requires change, both at home, at work, in politics, in the laws and in the society’s expectations and actions!
Here’s to strong women!
May we know them.
May we be them.
May we raise them!
Happy women’s day, sisters! <3
Please, feel free to share my blog post in your social media! It would make me really happy!
For the last days, we have been «living» in a red monster truck. The first day we drove into the wild arctic countryside. More than 100 kilometers on paved road. The road ended. We deflated the truck tires, and kept on going with two meters of snow under our wheels! We drove 40 kilometers off track. It felt like a «hydrofoil», but on snow. Hmm.. correction, some times flying over the snow and sometimes stuck spinning. Fortunately, help was always near. Palmi was pulling us out with his super monster truck.
The trip was long. After nine hours of driving, we ended up at Landmannalaugar hut, close to the volcano Hekla, at 3am. This place is very popular for tourists during summer, but during winter hardly any tourists get here.
Next morning (or I mean the same morning) after only three hours sleep, it was time to continue the drive. But Camilla and I was challenged to take a bath. At first we refused. I believed it was a man made jacuzzi! Then we realized how special this was. We gladly jumped into the warm lagune and cooled off in the snow. A once in a life-time experience.
D(r)iving into the river!
On day 2 it was my time to drive with Espen as co-driver. The trip started with an exiting river crossing, before we drove over the snow white hills for some hours. My heart was beating pretty fast when the snow got deep or we were driving up or down steep hillsides! Now and then we had to stop and adjust the pressure in the huge tires.
Back on the tourist track!
Going down we had the most spectacular view! The weather can change quickly, so we were super lucky! We made a stop at Gullfoss. A famous waterfall shaped as a wide curved three-step «staircase» before it plunges down the valley. An obligatory selfie moment!
After Gullfoss, we made the short drive to check out the Great geysir. We waited and waited! Bang! 70 meters of hot water was hurled 50 meters up into the air. Check out the video I made, but being very easily frightened the camera is shaking…
After more than 24 hours on the road, with pumping adrenalin, a lot of talking and laughing and very little sleep, I passed out at the cabin at Minniborgir. I look forward to more of Iceland!
I heart Iceland!
PS1: A million thanks to Espen Hilton for sharing his great photos. The rookie blogger came to Iceland with a flat camera battery. #lessonlearned