Zanzibar Stone town

The old town of Zanzibar is Stone town. Here is dynamic, colorful, spicy-scented. Everyone looks busy and the city is alive. Someone steals a souvenir and starts running on the street trying to sell it fast.

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Stone town is the most developed part of Zanzibar, Tanzania. There are high buildings and small port on the Indian ocean. We are here with a tour guide, his name is Hasan, and this is an excellent choice! He speaks very good English and he can explain everything about the city. The island Zanzibar is very attractive and we are asking about the past. Hasan answers all our questions related to the history of Zanzibar and Tanzania.

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I strongly recommend you to contact Hasan HERE  via facebook if you want to discover Stone town or the whole Zanzibar island. He is a very nice young person.

We are passing the Old Fort where the culture of Zanzibar is represented during their festivals. More about the culture of Zanzibar can be found in another post here .

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The Old Fort is next to House of Wonders. A curious fact is that the first elevator in Zanzibar was in this old building . It is the largest and tallest building in Zanzibar. The architecture of Palace of Wonders is ancient, compound and curious.

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The second elevator was built in Palace of Sultan, one of the most historical places on the African island. So much history here! The Palace is enormous and keeps the spirit of the past. Said bin Sultan was the first Sultan in Zanzibar. On the second floor we can see how princess Sayyida Salme has lived. There is one book – “The princess of Zanzibar” which is dedicated to this princess. She married to a German and had really tough life because of her choice. Her parents didn’t want to see her anymore so she left the country.

The exhibits include some of her writings, clothes and daily life accessories.

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In the Palace of Sultan, we see a hall which is still functional for local elections.

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Here from our tour guide we learn so much about the African history. Before Tanzania,there were Tanganyika and Zanzibar. They merged into Tanzania – “tan” like Tanganyika; “zan” like Zanzibar; “nia” means together. People’s life here has changed after the merged and some are happy, other don’t feel sure about their future.

I am walking in the palace of Sultan and so many pictures are changing. I am hearing about the political situation now and I see how was life here in the Palace. The Sultan had one main wife – Sultana, and more other women which rooms are not in the Palace. There are nice portraits as gifts. In the past sometimes this was the only chance to represent yourself to the Sultan. No Facebook, remember?

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Going out of the Palace of Sultan, we are learning more facts about Tanzania. The citizens in the whole Tanzania are 49 million and on the island Zanzibar – 1.5 million.

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Narrow dirty streets are showing us where is the Market of Stone town. On the market everything can be found – meat, cheese, milk, so many spices! of course because Zanzibar is the spice island. There are small souvenir shops and homemade things can be found.

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It is dirty and so arty!

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The smell around the market is disgusting because they don’t have refrigerators and the food is a bit spoiled. Locals are used to that but it is really hard to see a meat with so many flies on it to be for selling. While we are walking, we hear some nice dancing music from local poor hut. Small children are running with no shoes on the dirty dusty streets.

They look happy 🙂

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We are hungry, so we need to try one of the local food places. There are many and you can sit to eat almost on every corner. The food quality is suspicious at first for us and they serve you the food with hands. You can see their fingers have parts of your food. And that’s how we start eating… The food is delicious! and we taste some local specialties with rice and vegеtables.

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Our walk continuous with Freddie Mercury’s house but there was nothing special about it, because nowadays they rebuilt it like hotel. So if you are not a guest of the hotel, you cannot even enter the house.

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We have pleasant moments picking souvenirs from small and bigger shops. We found some really nice stores for clothes and jewels.

Our day is ending, we are on one of the highest points in Stone town, drinking cocktail Crazy monkey and waiting for the sunset.

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I am so grateful! I know I am blessed!

African kisses to all of you and can’t wait to share what else I’ve discover on the island Zanzibar.

 

Zanzibar Culture & Festivals

Festivals

Eid-al-Fitr is the festival at the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. Also known as Eid or Sikukuu (days of celebration, festival or holiday), this festival is a time of gift giving and giving alms. The fasting of Ramadan is meant to remind people what is the meaning of life. Because the Islamic calendar is different from that of Christians, the dates for Ramadan and Eid change every year by about 11 days, so check a local Islamic calendar if you’re looking to visit Zanzibar during Eid.

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Ramadhan is a holy month in which drinking, smoking, and eating in public are prohibited. Dress codes should be strictly adhered to. Some restaurants are closed during this month and outside of town it can be difficult to get any food at all during daytime hours. Eid is a nice time to see all the little girls in their new dresses and the boys in their new sneakers/trainers. The girls put kohl around the eyes regardless of age, and the boys run around firing cap guns. There is a general feeling of celebration as people go from house to house visiting friends and relatives.

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Zanzibar Music Festival

Every July this festival runs for one week and features artists and shows from around the world. Most of the performances are held at the Old Fort but there are other venues in town such as at Bwawani Plaza. Taarab music and Ngoma dances are the big sell-outs during this festival but you can also catch performances from Arabia, Asia, and possibly Europe. Keep in mind that you’ll have to do quite a bit of asking around to find out where the shows are.

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Mwaka Kogwa

A four-day-long celebration, Mwaka Kogwa is best observed in Makunduchi, a village in the south part of Zanzibar. The origins of this holiday are Zoroastrian (a Persian religion older than Islam). It is a celebration of the New Year and some of the events include huge bonfires and mock fights. These fights are between men who defend themselves with banana stems. While the men are fighting, the women stroll through the fields singing songs about life and love. They are dressed in their best clothes and are taunted by the men after the fight is over.

The festivities vary from village to village but Makunduchi is where the biggest events take place. All are welcome for the festival because it is a local belief that anyone without a guest for this holiday is unhappy. The holiday is held every year around the third week of July, but check with a local tour operator to get the official dates. The dates are based on the Shirazi calendar and with the Persian New Year called Nairuz.

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Passport & Visa for Tanzania. How I became a millionaire in a day.

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your departure date. This is a standard requirement not only for Africa. Check your expiration date in advance.

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You need visa for your trip to Tanzania but it can be issued on arrival. It is possible to have it in advance from the only one Embassy of Tanzania in Europe – in Germany. So it can be a nice chance to plan a trip to Germany. I read somewhere you can send your documents and wait for your visa to be sent back by the Embassy of Tanzania in Germany. I don’t know more details here because I didn’t choose this option.

So we took our visas on arrival in Tanzania. The procedure is crazy. Action plan:

  • First you need to fill a form on the airport.
  • Then you go on the queue for finger prints and a photo of you.
  • Next step is on a visa-paying desk – 50 USD (It’s good to have exact amount).
  • And then you wait for your passport.

But the last step is very hard. Unpleasant moment. You are on the “queue” with at least 100 people (I put quotation marks because there isn’t any queue – it’s a mass of pressing people). One fat lady with bitter face comes in front of the “audience” and screams 5 names of the 5 passports in her hands. This is the procedure. You wait and wait and you hope your passport and visa to be among the next 5. The people which passports are ready have to get their documents pushing the “queue” because they can be at the back of the mass of people. But once you reach the lady from the Tanzanian administration you are ready to leave this chaos.

Our flights were Sofia (Bulgaria) – Doha (Qatar); Doha – Dar es Salam (Tanzania); Dar es Salam – island Zanzibar.

Let me share with you a nice photo from Doha’s airport.

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We had a delay and we arrived almost 2 hours late in Tanzania, Dar es Salam airport. It was so much struggling time to get our visas on time, to take our luggage and to transfer from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1 for the last flight. We were running, screaming, fighting with the administration and sweating. Nerve test.

I was trying to organize our documents on time and kindly asked the lady who gives the visas to get our very soon. I explained to her we need to take the last transfer flight from Tanzania to Zanzibar. The second time I requested our passports she told me – “Don’t worry, you’ll have them tomorrow.”

Fortunately our guys found the boss of the airport administration, they wrote on a paper our names and we got our visas in the very last moment. Then we were very fast and we managed to get the flight. It was a happy chance that while running for the transfer to the island Zanzibar we bumped into the pilot of our flight. He saw us running desperately and crazy and said – “Don’t worry, I’ll wait for you”. And then I breathed. The chance was on our side!

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Main rule for getting visa in Tanzania – save at least 2 hours because the visa administration is primitive and chaotic.

Tip 1 : There isn’t any shuttle between the two terminals on Tanzanian airport, so plan accordingly if you will go by feet – it will take around 40 minutes but it’s possible. The better option is to get a taxi but you better arrange the price in advance before the service. We were in a rush and we didn’t talk about the price, so for less than 2 km we paid 20 bucks.

Tip 2: Spend some time to exchange money on your arrival. They accept dollars and euro but the best offer is to have Tanzanian shillings.

1 Dollar = 2200 Tanzanian shillings.

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So this is my story of how I became a millionaire in a day.

Our crazy travelling time ended with landing on African land in Zanzibar.

Can’t wait to share with you all adventures we took there! So much fun!

Vaccines in Tanzania

There are 3 recommended vaccines for Tanzania, island Zanzibar – hepatitis B, typhus and yellow fever. Hepatitis B and typhus can be spread by poor hygiene and dirty hands. Yellow fever is an infection of a mosquito bite.

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Main rule in Africa – wash your hands before you touch your face and before eating!

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It’s up to you what kind of vaccines you will do before your trip. None of the 3 are a must, so you won’t have any problems when you arrive. This is only for the region of Tanzania (especially island Zanzibar), so if you’ll go in a different part of Africa, you should definitely check for mandatory vaccines. You might not be allowed to entry the region if there are mandatory vaccines and you don’t have vaccine book with your vaccine history. In Bulgaria this book looks like:

If you did some vaccines – take your vaccine book on your trip.

Me and my friends have only vaccine against yellow fever. We didn’t have any side effects. It is not recommended to have a baby 3-6 months after this vaccine.

If you are from Bulgaria and you’ll do your vaccines in Sofia – here is the address of the Metropolitan Regional Inspection in Sofia:

str. “Vranya” № 20, floor 2

It is recommended to get a phone call first and to keep an hour for yourself. Phones of Metropolitan Regional Inspection: 02/ 813 04 13; 02/ 813 04 00.

This is the side of Metropolitan regional Inspection Sofia

This is a very sensitive topic for travelers so I really hope what I’ve shared was useful.

Keeping motivated to go in Africa!

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Malaria and malarone – wanna go in Africa?

Wanna go in Africa?

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First of all, let’s start with some clarification about malaria. You get infected by mosquito bite. Till the middle of 20 century this disease was existing even in Bulgaria but now malaria is a disease of countries and regions with a tropical and subtropical climate. The infection among humans is by blood. The symptoms of malaria are high temperature, fever, sweating. Today is curable.

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So as I said you can get infected of malaria by mosquito bite. If you are protected well by repellent, the chance to be bitten is very small. When you are on the ocean beach there are no mosquitoes at all because of the breeze. Check details about my repellents HERE .

Malarone is a pill against malaria. If you take these pills even a bite from infected mosquito should not infects you. There are different types of pills against malaria but the malarone which we took is one of the best products and with less side effects. On the picture is our malarone.

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You can always check in internet about all side effects. I can list one of the most common: headache, fatigue, disorder and stomach problems. Somewhere in the many side effects of different type medicaments, I have read as a side effect blindness… I mentioned this to convince you in case you’ll take pills against malaria to invest more money. Our malarone is one of the best products. We bought it in Austria. Our repellent are from there also.

Everywhere in internet it’s written “pills against malaria are highly recommended”. But I stopped taking them on the 3rd day because of kidney pain. We were in Africa (Tanzania) during the dry period or the winter and there weren’t so many mosquitoes actually. After I stopped the pills I continue to protect myself only by repellent and everything was ok! Some of my friends took all the pills and they didn’t have side effects. It’s up to. But don’t worry – everything will be ok!

Pole Pole ( in Swahili means take it easy).

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If you want to buy malarone you should know more details. First – you need a prescription. These malarone pills are not found in every European country. I know Greece, England, Germany, Austria have them. This is not the full list with all the countries.

It is important to plan in advance buying the pills. You need to be careful about the milligrams. Check in the prescription you’ll get. The malarone should be taken one pill per day. It’s recommended to start 1-2 days in advance before your arrival in Africa and to continue 3-4 days after returning home. The pills are very strong and you should not take them before eating. By the way the food is so perfect, so delicious in Zanzibar!

Below one of my favorite squids with vegetables, lime and passion fruit dressing.

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This is it. A lot of new information and at first it might be scary. I felt the same. But as soon as you get aware of and take care of yourself, everything will be fine and your exotic holiday will be an incredible experience!

Can’t wait to share with you my experience with vaccines for travelling in Central Africa, Tanzania, Zanzibar.

Stay cool and keep exploring the world!

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Let’s start preparation for Zanzibar

For every exotic trip a “pre-study” about the location, development, climate and disease is required. This is an easy step that always provides comfortable travelling because you are informed and you can enjoy the place without being unpleasantly surprised.

For our trip to Central Africa – Tanzania, island Zanzibar, we start preparing in advance. We booked our tickets a lot earlier – 6 months before and the hotel about 3 months before the trip. 2 months were enough to read about our new destination in details and now I am very happy to share with you what you should know before considering a great trip to Zanzibar (which I strongly recommend).

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Seasons

Here in Tanzania and on the island Zanzibar, there is winter and summer.

The winter is April, June, July, August, September. The summer is October, November, December, January, February, March.

Here there are two periods: dry and wet.

The dry period is characterized with 33°C average temperature, low humidity, no frequent rainfalls – this period is during the winter months.

The wet period is characterized with 35°C average temperature, high humidity and daily rainfalls during the lunch hours. Locals say that during the wet period some days they go to sleep on the beach.  Because of the high humidity sometimes they feel like they cannot breathe. It’s good to have it in mind that during the summer there are many more mosquitoes compared with winter months. Our trip was during the winter because of that.

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Indian Ocean: Ebbs and flows

There are ebbs and flows on every 6 hours and the water moves with at least 50 meters which is a lot! The tides in Life can be represented by the ocean movements. The body of the Indian ocean rises and falls in its own rhythm. It is so beautiful and so dynamic.

The local super market can be reached walking on the beach, so when you want to go shopping you should wait for the ebb 🙂

Below one picture when the water is going back to the ocean heart.

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Water

The tap water is not good for drinking on the Island Zanzibar, Tanzania ( not sure how is in the whole Tanzania). The tap water is good for teeth washing, you can wash your face and your body; good for dishwashing and other house activities.

Repellents

As I said already, during the winter there aren’t so many mosquitoes but still in the night hours you can see some. During the summer local say there are plenty of them. It is a must to have repellents. Our repellents were bought in Austria and were a little bit more expensive but there are some repellents which cost 5 EUR. In Africa you can also find in their shops some sprays against mosquitoes. Always when you are in the heart of the island Zanzibar or during the night it is a must to be protected by repellents. We didn’t have any problems while being there, no bites by mosquitoes at all. I can say our repellents were very effective. Here are how they look like:

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But in general I think no matter what repellent you’ll use, it will work good for you. Just don’t miss to buy one. After some researches we were advised when buying repellent to check for “deet” – a substance contained in the repellent.

In my next article I will share with you my experience with vaccines and pills against malaria.

Let’s keep motivated to travel in Africa!

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Tanzania baby!

This is just the first from many other articles.

I’ve been blessed to travel to Tanzania, Africa. I can’t wait to share with you my stories, tips and my adventures there.

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I am so inspired now! Happiness is travelling!

Don’t spend money for stupid things, don’t buy expensive clothes, jewels. Start planning your next destination and feel the life.

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The life is everywhere! The life is meeting new people, the life is love, the life is learning new languages, exploring the world! There is so much energy and so magnificent places you can feel!

Be brave to be happy!

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I really hope with my coming African articles to tease your travel vibes! I will provide you with so many tips how to rock Africa on a budget!

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Stay with me!

 

How to pack smart!

Hi dears!

I will share with you my secrets how to pack smart. It is summer time now and everybody thinks about vacations so I hope you will find my article useful.

We live in a busy every day life and the vacations are the time we chill and relax. But before reaching the desired destination it is hard to handle with your stuffs.

So let’s start packing!

Clothing:

Depending on the case bring proper clothes. Think about the place you will be in a couple of days. For example if you go on the seaside your swimwear is a must plus some shorts, t-shirts, tops and 1-2 dresses for all the shinny girls/ 1-2 more official shirts. That’s it, don’t make it complicated. For mountain lovers warmer clothes and more pair of socks. And of course any special equipment you may have.

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Shoes:

It’s summer time now – flip flops, sandals, sneakers, beach shoes/ mountain shoes. If your vacation is not very very extraordinary – this is more or less enough. One advise for the girls – if you don’t feel comfy on your high shoes, leave them at home. You all are sexy enough and with some suntan you will be so hot!

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Medicines:

It is always much easier if you have some basic medicines with you. Especially if you travel abroad this can save you money. Basic medicines for the throat, the ears, to regulate your temperature, for fever. Some vitamins is a plus.

Put your bathroom stuffs in a small case. May be in the hotel they will have everything you need – check with them. In this case your brushing teeth is enough. If not, these nice stuffs on the picture below should be in your suitcase.

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Girls magics – your favorite perfume, your shinny jewels and your smile!

For the airplane:

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For everybody’s summer vacation – bring your sunscreen and your glasses.

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I know your phone is your life – don’t forget the charger!

Last but not least – your passport, ID card and all required documents. Your money.

If you travel with your car – all documents for the car.

And you are almost ready for the adventures! Yes, I said almost, because one notebook in your suitcase will help you write your memories.

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Pack smart and enjoy the summer vacations. I am ready with my luggage and soon I will be far away from my home. Can’t wait to share with you my new destination. For now I will keep it as a surprise.

I give you my summer energy!

 

 

Health and Sport Festival, Sofia, South Park

Health and Sport festival in Sofia, South park before 3 days has past – one of the most meaningful festivals I have recently enjoyed in Sofia, South Park.

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I got the idea to start calendar activity on my blog and to schedule all upcoming cool events in Sofia. What do you think?

I like the idea to be surrounded with healthy drinks and food, to have organized open-door classes. You can dance Bulgarian traditional dances and Latino dances, there were zumba, yoga, tabata, fat burning and many more activities. IMG_20170701_182258.jpg

The Health and Sport Festival was during the past weekend and South Park was so alive. Actually I love South park. Every time I am here I find myself so chilling! , people are relaxed and there are kids playing and dogs scrambling.

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So the festival was just what I needed for my Saturday, it combined the 3 things I love – Healthy way of life, variety of sport activities and It was held in South Park, Sofia!

Let me show you my tour.  What I met for the first time – Mother Nature Bio Product. These cosmetic products are 100 % Bio and you can even eat them! and they are even delicious! So cool!

What I also like a lot and taste it!

The festival is over but as I promised soon I will implement event calendar and you’ll never miss cool event in Sofia!

The summer mood is on and South Park is amazing place to spread your vibes and energy!

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What The Moraines simbolize? Vitosha mountain, Sofia

The Mountain massif Moraines in the heart of the symbol of Sofia – Vitosha mountain is magnificent place to be! It is very reachable – 30-45 minutes by car.

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The Stone river – one of the next wonders of the world?

The Moraines of Vitosha are a symbol of great old times. Thracians!

The vitality of the megalithic composition of The Moraines is monstrously complicated. All stone rivers (The moraines) are connected in a mega-complex covering the eastern and western parts of Vitosha Mountain. Exactly where the Solstice is happening!

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The Sun Solstice is two times a year, summer solstice and winter solstice. Then the sun reaches its highest or lowest point in the sky at noon, marked by the longest and the shortest day. Some theories say this long/ short day can be entertain by its entirety exactly on the Moraines. The place is good to catch up the first and the last sun light.

Nowadays the stone river of Vitosha is a good improvised “beach” in the summer days. People are laying on the enormous rocks. The place is good for sunbathing.

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May be Thracians did it the same way. They strongly believed in the power of Sun.

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Go to feel their energy on the rocks!