A Quick Guide To Marrakech

The heat embraces me. I feel the sun burning on my skin and a small sweat drop sneaks away between my shoulder blades. The smell of fresh herbs, oils and food are seducing me to keep on walking towards the centre of the square. I stop, look around, and try to take it all in. Millions of colours, voices and people are surrounding me and stealing my attention. I’m standing in the heart of Marrakech, the structured chaos of Djemaa el Fna.

Marrakech

Marrakech can be overwhelming, breathtaking and confusing. It’s a city with many different faces and possibilities. I’m going to take you on a small (camel) ride to help you choose and plan your travels. These are my must-see tips for a short trip to Marrakech:

Shopping in the souks
I know, not the most original advice, but there’s no way you can miss out on this. The most famous souk of Marrakech is Djemaa el Fna and for a good reason, it’s huge! I got lost a million times even though I was only there for a few days. Not that it’s a bad thing. I found a really nice bag made of an old carpet and got some delicious Moroccan food while finding my way out.Djemaa el Fna is the biggest Souk but also the most touristic. For a more traditional experience I would recommend Marché el Mellah. But be warned if you’re an animal lover, you’re going to see a lot of animals (especially chickens)., and unfortunately, they’re not there for the cosiness.

The blues of Marrakech

Tip » Whilst Marrakech isn’t as conservative as many Arab countries, it is still a Muslim country and you should respect the culture. Leave your mini skirt and tank tops at home or just wear it in the Riad/hotel. Keep it cool on the streets in floaty clothing, it saves you a lot of sunscreen as well.

Jumping back in history at the ruins of El Badi Palace
There is not much left of El Badi Palace but the peace and space it gives you is unique in the centre of Marrakech. The palace took twenty-five year to build and was an excessive display of the best craftsmanship of the Saadian period. You can still see some of the expensive materials they used. Next to the beauty of the ruins, it’s a good place to catch your breath in the middle of the overly crowded city.

Tip » Don’t have enough time to travel to the Sahara? Dry your tears because I got a solution. Within a 20-minute car ride and with a spark of imagination it will feel like you’re in the Sahara while being just outside the city centre of Marrakech. Oke, you’re going to need a lot of imagination and a camel as well. But, when it’s all there you will feel like a true nomad. Note: a camel ride is a lot of fun and great holiday activity but please be aware that you book your trip at certified tour operations. We don’t want the camels to suffer for someone else’s enjoyment.

kameel

Looking for that perfect Instagram spot? Bahia Palace is it.

Feeling like a princess at the Bahia Palace
Looking for that perfect Instagram spot? Think of mosaic floors, enchanting lighting and fairy-tale gardens. Bahia Palace is probably one of the most charming places in Marrakech. I do hope you’re more of a morning person then I am. You’ll have to get up early if you don’t want hundred of tourists taking photos of your own selfie.

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Tip » Getting hungry? Le Jardin in the centre of Marrakech is your solution. They serve amazing food, it’s stunningly decorated and, the best part, there are tiny tortoises just walking around. Too cute to be true.

Hippie side of live in Essaouira
If you’re looking for some fresh (sea) air, Essaouira is one of the nearby beaches. It only takes 3 hours by bus, which will cost you about 8 euros. Don’t expect a luxurious, seaside resort. They call it the hippy city of Morocco and that reflects in the low-key way of living in this city. Surfing all day and listening to live reggae music all night is the normal routine.

small-street Marrakech

Tip » You can make some great horse riding trips in Essaouria if you rather wouldn’t jump in the sea. Enjoy the sea, dunes and weather while getting your adrenaline pumped up by the speed of the horse.  Book your trip at Equi Evasion, they treat the horses very well. Howdy ho, cowboy!

riding horses at Essaouira

Marrakech was everything I imagined and nothing like it at the same time. Start your trip open minded. Savour the smell of spices, follow the colours and dive into little alleys and see where it takes you. A lot of Marrakech’s true beauty is hidden behind walls and crowded streets.

And before you go… don’t forget to practice your bargain skills! Prices are more then doubled and shop owners are ready for a tough negotiation.

Love,

Eva

*Eva is one of our guest bloggers from Amsterdam. She’s a city girl who only leaves her heals at home when wearing a backpack. Living by the urge to be where she’s not, to explore, experience, fall and get up. You can follow her on Instagram.

 

City trip to Dublin

When you think of a new city trip destination, Dublin may not come to your mind. Which is a shame, because the city is amazing and very cosy. The capital of Ireland has an interesting and grim history, but the Irish people are very welcoming and lovely. The city is not that big, but there are lots of nice things to do in and around the city.

Walk and cycle through the city
First of all, since the city is not that big, everywhere you go is walkable. But if you want to cycle like Dutch people do best, then take a Dublin city bike to cross around the city. A ticket for three days is only 5 euros, so it’s very affordable. But mind you, the Irish drive on the left side of the road just like in Great-Britain!

the-river-liffey, Dublin
The river Liffey, Dublin

Look everywhere for nice places to eat
Dublin is an ideal place if you want have a bite or drink. At every corner you can find a nice place to sit and eat nice food for affordable prices. Brasserie Sisty6 is a really nice place if you want to taste one of the best truffle pasta’s in town for only 10 euros. I would also recommend the 100% Irish burger there. But you can find literally anything to eat in the city, just walk around and go to a place that speaks to you.

Food in Dublin

Visit a (free) museum
A really nice thing about Dublin is that many of their museums are for free. The Museum of Decorative Arts and History, the National Gallery and the National Museum of Modern Art are freely accessible and very interesting. When the weather is not that great you should definitely visit one of these three museum for some culture. Also check out the library of the Trinity college, stunning!

Library, Dublin
The library of the Trinity college

Even if you don’t like beer, this place is worth visiting!

Visit the Guinness Storehouse
The Guinness Storehouse is a very touristic place but definitely a must-visit in the city. You might not be familiar with the dark brown beer, but it is quite famous in Ireland and abroad. If you want to know how the process of making Guinness beer goes, this is the place where you can learn everything about it. The history behind the beer is also explained in various ways and the whole tour in the Storehouse is interactive with a cinema, iPads, television screens and more. You can join a tasting where you can drink a tiny beer and at the end of the tour you can drink a big pint of Guinness with a panorama view over the entire city. Even if you don’t like beer, this place is worth visiting!

Take a bus tour through the Irish nature
Ireland has a beautiful landscape that is worth discovering. Escape the busy city and go on a bus tour to either County Wicklow or the Cliffs of Moher. I’ve experienced the tour to County Wicklow and I loved it. You’ll go on a tour through the beautiful nature and you’ll visit the Guinness lake in the Wicklow Mountains National park. This lake is just as black as the Guinness beer, hence the name. You will also go to the graveyard in Glencree and you can take many Instagram worthy pictures and the famous PS I Love You bridge.

guinness-lake, Dublin
Guiness Lake, Dublin

The Cliffs of Moher tour is really cool because you will visit the cliffs at the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a breath-taking view. You will also visit the Medieval city Galway where Ed Sheeran filmed his whole videoclip for the song “Galway Girl.” There are many other tours to choose from, but these two are really amazing. The weather might not be great every day in Ireland, so make sure you pick the right day with (semi)-good weather.

Enough reason to visit Dublin and it’s surroundings!

Love,

Merel

*Merel is one of our guest editors from Utrecht who describes herself as a daydreaming student who has wanderlust ever since she travelled to Jamaica for three months. She can’t wait to travel the whole wide world after she finishes her bachelor. Check her out on Instagram

The Best of Brabant

We’re going for a ride. No fast cars, touring buses or cute Volkswagen vans (I desperately want one though). This time we’re doing it the Dutch way, by bicycle. A ride that will take you from the industrial hotspots to picturesque villages. From Mondriaan to Dutch Design. All in the art heart of Brabant. So hop on the bike with me and I’ll show you the must-visit places of this pop-up cycle route, temporarily on from 2 until 24 September.

Did you know Brabant is the most hospitable province of the Netherlands?

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Did you know Brabant is the most hospitable province of the Netherlands? It is well-known for it’s friendly, warm hearthed people who know the best way to enjoy the good things life has to offer. Brabant is also easily accessible by bus or train from Amsterdam, Antwerp, Brussels or Cologne because of its central location. Enough reasons to experience the famous Brabant hospitality yourself.

Hotspot 1: Werkwarenhuis
In the creative center of ‘s-Hertogenbosch you’ll find the mini-society, Werkwarenhuis. This initiative from Social able shows you design is much more than creating beautiful (and mostly extremely expansive) products. Design has the power to spread a message, connect people, pull them out of their comfort zone and motivate them. Werkwarenhuis is an inspiring, workplace were people who don’t participate that easily will find themselves connected. And that, that’s the true power of design: a strong social value that can’t be expressed in money.

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The best part it, you can buy the products that they create and the location is gorgeous as well. At least, if you like pink as much as I do. Cause literally everything is pink at the Werkwarenhuis, everything. So, hello cute Instagram photo’s!

Hotspot 2: Heusden
After a 40 minute bicycle ride from ‘s-Hertogenbosch you will arrive at Heusden, a romantic surprise you didn’t expect. Imagine small houses, mills, wooden bridges and narrow streets. If feels like we stepped back in time, in the best way. You won’t see any neon signs or commercial chains: the village breathes authenticity. With its many studios and galleries, the charming fortified city Heusden is a great destination for lovers of art and culture. You will find many traditional crafts, like a couturier, hatter and perfume maker. A perfect gift for your travel partner if you want to add a little spark to the romance. Tip » Brabant even provides you with your very own tour guide! He follows you every step and you don’t even have to be social with him. O btw, I’m talking about an app guide, not about one from flesh and blood. The ‘Routes in Brabant‘ app gives you the ideal guidance during the most beautiful cycling routes they have put together for you. It doesn’t only inform you about cultural history facts and landscape features, also restaurants and cozy cafes are included.

Heusden, Brabant
Heusden

Hotspot 3: Oisterwijk
The nickname of Oisterwijk, (yes, the letter i is no typo), Pearl In The Green, is well deserved. The village is surrounded by green and forest. The Burgundian lifestyle is well represented by the many nice restaurants, sunny terraces and luxurious shops. This creates a perfect getaway with a spark of flamboyance. Enjoy the forest, laid back with a glass of wine or go shopping. Everything is possible.

Oisterwijk Brabant
Sundaymorning@ekwc

Hungry for some more design? You can’t miss out on Sundaymorning@ekwc, an international workplace where artists, designers and architects whom explore the technical and artistic possibilities of ceramics. Taste a freshly roasted cup of coffee from Rozema&VanSchijndel while enjoying the beautiful, ceramic art projects that decorate the industrial building.

Coffee in Brabant
Coffee at Rozema&VanSchijndel

It’s time to put my bike back in the barn, but you can still enjoy the pop-up route till the 24th of September. It’s also possible to split the route in multiply days, so enjoy everything at your own pace. If you are looking for a place to stay the night I would recommend Huizebergen.nl. A monumental Villa from 1916, hidden in a beautiful park with ancient trees.  Scared for the rain or simply not in the mood for cycling? Everything on the route is easy accessible by car and public transport.

Get inspired by nature, design and charming cities while enjoying the Brabant hospitality. And for now, as they say in Brabant, allé tot in den drooij!

Love,

Eva

Do you want to take the same route as Eva, check the website!

Eva is one of our guest bloggers from Amsterdam. She’s a city girl who only leaves her heals at home when wearing a backpack. Living by the urge to be where she’s not, to explore, experience, fall and get up. You can follow her on Instagram.

More of The Netherlands? What about a getaway/glamping holiday on Terschelling

Terschelling glamping

Olympus OM-D launch Event in Berlin

Last week I was invited to Berlin by Olympus together with 30 different European Photographers, Influencers and Instagrammers to put the new Olympus OM-D camera to the test. I was the only press representing the Netherlands so I was exited and couldn’t wait to see what the new camera had in store.

 
Visit Berlin like an insider
After a bumpy plane ride, I was driven to the Catalonia Hotel in Mitte, a vibrant area in Berlin. The hotel almost looked like an old school building and has an industrial look will graffiti on some of the walls. Olympus clearly wanted us to experience something different. I’ve been to Berlin a few times and somehow you always seem to visit the same places and do the same things. Not on this trip. It started from the moment we got on the boat towards a place only the insiders know called Jackie O. It’s a hidden spot directly at Rummels-burger Bucht and it’s everything Berlin stands for. Thanks to the clever yet “secret”marketing, Jackie O remains to be an insider tip far from any touristic  or mainstream location. It has it’s own pier where boats can dock and the hammocks will be waiting for you underneath a ceiling of white balloons hanging from the trees. When we arrived there was a DJ playing, and lunch was being prepared. Oh, and let’s not forget about the colorful food truck with the coffee I so needed that day. The area is used for private events, parties or just to relax. We got a good chance to test our new camera’s with all the cool objects that were around.

Berlin
Berlin Calling

Jackie O, Berlin
Relaxing at Jackie O

Jackie O, Berlin
The secret oasis of Jackie O

After an inspiring afternoon at Jackie O, it was time to fresh up and go for dinner at yet another special place. Dinner at Freischwimmer. It’s a restaurant located next to the Spree river. The ambiance here is great and the food is tasty and fresh. They play minimal house/techno music (me like!) and you can sit in or outside. There is one thing though..if you hate spiders you’re not going to like it here. They are everywhere! On the ceiling, next to the windows and I even saw a few crawling over the tables. One positive thing; no mosquito bites! (still made me stand in the middle of the restaurant like a cry baby)

The Olympus Perspective Playground
After dinner we made our way to the highlight of the evening. The Olympus Perspective Playground. If you love photography and art, this is the place to visit if you’re in Berlin this month. It’s basically an innovative playground where you are handed over an Olympus camera to play with. Large and innovating art pieces that move or shift are ready to be captured. It’s not the first time Olympus has organized a photography playground. Back in 2013, the first Playground was also held in Berlin and was very successful. This year they host a new concept with new fascinating artist, such as Thilo Frank, Xaver Hirsch and many more. The location this year is at the Kraftwerk in Berlin Mitte and has 3 floors full of artwork. The Perspective Playground is open until the 24th of September. Get your free tickets here!

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The Olympus Perspective Playground

To end the weekend we visited the Tempelhofer Feld that used to be an airport that closed in 2008. A little history lesson; this airport was once the largest airport in the world and was also used by the Nazi’s until the 2nd world war ended. Underneath the airport the Nazi’s build massive tunnels where they secretly build bomber planes that were then pushed onto the runway. After the war, Berlin was divided into separate areas where West Berlin was cut of the rest and people literally lived on an island. At one point all the roads were blocked and no food supplies could come in. The only way people got their food was by planes dropping food at Tempelhofer Airport. Every 30 seconds a place landed or took off during this time. This is also when the “Candy Bomber” became famous for dropping candy out of his plane for the children that would stand by the fences of the airport. There is so much history at this place, it’s almost unreal. The government wanted to build new apartments after the airport closed, but the people of Berlin held a referendum and voted against it which means the park will stay as it is, at least until 2025. People go here for a picknick, BBQ, skating, walking their dogs or work in the community urban garden. A must visit in Berlin!

Tempelhofer Feld, Berlin
I always wanted to walk down an airport runway

Movement at the Tempelhofer Feld, Berlin
Capturing movement with the new ART setting (Dramatic Tone 1)

Picknick at Tempelhofer Feld, Berlin
Picnic at the Tempelhofer Feld

After that it was time to head home but wow, what a cool experience. I know you are all curious about the new camera but I will post a total review next month! The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark 3 is available to buy in about 1 weeks time and will cost €649,-.

Love,

Elke

All the images in this article were shot with the new Olympus OM-D

Want to know how to take travel photo’s like a boss? Check our tips!

The Wanderlust Barcelona Guide!

Barcelona is one of those cities that you keep coming back to. As much as we both love exploring new places, this Spanish delight keeps pulling us back every 2 years or so. It might has something to do with the fact that Barcelona has a wonderful beach combined with a vibrant nightlife that includes one of the best cuisines in Europe. We booked a weekend away with TravelBird and checked out the newest and best spots so you can relax and enjoy your citytrip. Here’s our Wanderlust Barcelona Guide!

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Why Choose TravelBird?
There are tons of travel agencies out there so we can imagine that it’s hard to pick an agency that really suit your needs. So why book with TravelBird? And why go with an travel agency at all? First of all, we noticed that the website of TraveBird is super easy to navigate on and looks fresh and modern. Secondly, once you’ve booked your trip, you will receive an inlog so you can quickly check all of your documents onto one page. You can find your boarding pass, hotel info, possible transfers and contact details. TIP: download the TraveBird App so you have everything on hand PLUS you can keep an eye on the latest travel deals! 

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Hotel Retrome

But the one thing we really liked is the diversity of destinations and type of accommodations they put on offer. Our hotel was a retro style boutique hotel named Retrome in the lovely area Eixample, close to pretty much everything including the beach. Even though we arrived during high season, the area we stayed in was peaceful yet full of local cafe’s and restaurants. The reception knew our names which made it feel very personal. Something you don’t see everyday. But let’s be real, they already had us when they offered us a free glass of cava ;-). The whole trip was just so well organized. All we did was book and go. And that’s pretty much all you want to do when you’re enjoying a weekend away right?

wanderlust Barcelona Guide

WHERE TO EAT & DRINK
It’s one of the first things that comes to mind when you arrive. Food. Food. And more food. Barcelona is a city with many “hotspots” and these are our favorite ones!

» Lulu’s,  It’s a tiny cafe in El Born where you can eat healthy. There are a few tables outside and they serve Iced Matcha Latte’s!
» Nomads coffee, we passed this hipster coffee house by chance and grabbed a coffee to go. They take it serious, so expect a real tasty cup! nomadcoffee.es
» Brunch & Cake, Hotspot number one at the moment. They serve well known dishes in a very special way. Go for the Blue Acai Bowl, Green Bagel and try one of their juices! if you need to wait for a seat (chances are, you will) grab a lovely coffee at De La Crem right across the street. cupcakesbarcelona.com
» The Green Spot, brand new in Barcelona and already one of the best veggie spots in town. It doesn’t matter whether you are a vegetarian or not, the pretty dishes will make your mouth water. Prices are a bit higher than usual. encompaniadelobos.com
» Flax & Kale, not new but still hot, you need to check it out if you are around. Get your phones out, because this is Instagram worthy food! 80% of the food they serve is plant based and their slogan is Eat Better, Be Happier, Live Longer. Well, that never hurt anyone, right? teresacarles.com
» Tropico, for the best juices in Barcelona! Inspired by tropical destinations, this hotspot is something you cannot miss out on. tropicobcn.com
» The Surf House, next to the beach you can find this popular joint. The food is healthy, tasty and pretty. The vibe is just like you can imagine from a place like this. Book activities such as paddle surf , beach workouts and surfing of course. Also keep an eye out for their mobile food truck that you will find around Barcelona. surfhousebarcelona.com
» Blai Tonight It’s not big, it might be a bit too popular but we still think you should try it. Blai tonight is located in the Poble Sec area and has been voted as one of the top 10 places to go when it comes to your value for money. Their famous Pinchos only cost €1,50 and if you do it well, you can eat for only 10 euro per person including your drink! Facebook

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From left to right: Lulu’s, The Surf House, Brunch & Cake and Nomad Coffee

COCKTAILS & DANCE
Barcelona offers a great nightlife. As a first time visitor you may run to the Las Ramblas but we would advise you to avoid this tourist trap and visit some other places where the cocktails are also flowing and the atmosphere is great.

» Champagneria, the name might ring a bell, Cava galore! Facebook
» The Mint, They say some of the best Mojito’s are made here..That’s enough right?! Facebook
» Yurbban, this hotel has a cool rooftop with one of the best views in Barcelona. You can only use the pool if you are a guest but you are welcome to enjoy a few drinks during the day or night. yurbban.com
» Jamboree, if you like jazz, this is your club! masimas.com
» Zero KM, combine dinner with drinks and stay until they close. They serve tapas with a twist and the food can be described at high end.
» La Terazza, this club and bar is tucked away in the Olympic village, so you must know that it’s there. This outdoor club hosts parties and plays good music until the early hours. laterrrazza.com
» Elrow, If you feel like a real crazy party with confetti, attributes and costumes, you must visit an El Row party. Originated from Barcelona, this infamous techno club is now making waves all over the world with parties in Amsterdam, Dubai and New York. Some of the best DJ’s play at the club and during the summer months there are several events so keep an eye out on the website. elrow.es

Yurbban Hotel Rooftop, Wanderlust Barcelona Guide
The rooftop of the Yurbban hotel

EXTRA TIPS
» Rent a bicycle we can’t say this enough. Really, it’s the best way to see the city. We got ours for 15 euro per 24 hours bit there are many options throughout the city where you can rent one.
» Visit Bunkers del Carmel aka “Bunkers” for the best viewing point. A friend tipped us about this old bunker build on a hill back in the 30’s. Not everybody knows about this special place and it’s worth seeing the sunrise or sunset if you have the time.
» Talk to the locals, we always do this and this trip was no exception. It brought us to a cool graffiti skate park!

Cycling in Barcelona, Wanderlust Barcelona Guide
Cycling had to be a part of our wanderlust Barcelona guide

Wanderlust Barcelona Guide
Cycling through the Parc de les Tres Xemeneies

I don’t think we need to convince you to go to Barcelona but maybe we have convinced you to go back, yet again. To book our trip and stay in the same retro hotel, check  www.travelbird.nl! For more inspiration and to get a chance to get featured, follow @TravelBird on Instagram!

Love,

Wander-Lust

*We collaborated with TravelBird for this article

More tips about other Spanish destinations? Check our Spain section!

The diversity of Basque Country, Spain

Perhaps Basque Country has never come to mind when thinking of a Spanish holiday but this green part of Spain will pleasantly surprise you.

Basque Country is situated near the border of France and has a landscape that includes mountains, green valleys and coastlines. You can find different scenery all into one region and that’s what makes this place so amazing. It’s a region that is often overlooked in favor of more conventional destinations in Spain. If you decide to visit Basque Country after reading this article (chances are, you will), we have a few tips lined up so you can enjoy everything in just a couple of days.

There are 5 Guggenheim Museums located in Europe. Guess where you can find one of them?

The 3 Cities and their Culture
Basque Country is full of culture. Every year, especially during summer, you can enjoy several exhibitions, activities and events. This year, the capital of Bilbao celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Guggenheim Museum, where you can find high quality exhibitions that are well worth the visit. The famous landmark is covering a wide variety of artists and themes in both contemporary and modern art. The Guggenheim Museum is housed in Bilbao, Surrounded by mountains and sea, from its origins as
an industrial hub, it has evolved into an international reference point for urban design and has set the standard as a model of urban regeneration. Internationally renowned architects showcase the model regeneration of Bilbao. A city that has managed to find a different way to express itself with design firmly at its heart.. Tip » buy the Bilbao Card to get free access to several museums and attractions. With this card you can travel with Bilbao’s public transport.

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The Guggenheim Museum

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Puppy & Torre Iberdrola in Bilbao

San Sebastián, also locally named Donostia, is a beautiful coastal city close to France. It has even won the prestigious title of European Capital of Culture back in 2016. Surrounded by mountains and located next to the sea, it’s a popular place for tourists. Did you know San Sebastián has one of the most beautiful bays in the world with 3 city beaches? Close to San Sebastian, you will find the Cristobal Balenciaga Museoa. This museum is a homage to one of the most influential fashion designers of the 20th century and you can see selected pieces of his collection. This year, the fashion brand exist a staggering 100 years! 

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A perfect viewing point over San Sebastians bay

Once voted the “European Green Capital”, Vitoria-Casteiz is surrounded by stunning nature

The third city we need to mention is Vitoria-Gasteiz, once voted the “Green Capital” of Europe. This city is surrounded by nature and is also the most important centre for logistics in Northern Spain. To do’s here are; taking a stroll through the “Green Belt” which is full of flora and fauna and includes wetlands and lakes. There are also some great Jazz festivals and events happening in Victoria, with the best ones in April and August. Another popular attraction is the old quarter they call the “Medieval Almond” where you can find the Cathedral of Santa Maria and a unique project called “open for work” inspired Ken Follet in his novel “World Without End”. To find out more about these 3 amazing cities, check here.

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The streets of Vitoria

849.00 KM. 7 stages. 109 landscapes.
Another popular thing to do, is to take a roadtrip through the beautiful landscape of Basque Country. On this route you will find beaches, quaint little villages, vineyards and forests. We can imagine that it’s hard to choose between the many options, but you can easily find the route that suits your needs. There are also 3 pilgrim trails that will take you to the more offbeat corners of the Basque Country; The St. James’ Way Coastal Route, which takes you around the countryside and ever changing landscapes. The St. James’ Way Inland Route where you will pass coastal landscapes, greenery, farms and even industrialized localities. You can also opt for the Ignatian Way, a trail that covers 675 km. To find more info about all these routes, check this link. Another highlight is San Juan Gaztelugatxe, a small island connected to the mainland by a man-made bridge. 

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San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

Wine & Dine
If you’re a real foodie like us, you’re at the right place. The food and drinks are very affordable and locally produced, so you can really taste the different regions. Because the gastronomy, from the most traditional to the most innovative, is one of the hallmarks of the Basque Country and is deeply rooted in the daily lives of the people, linked to its history, customs and leisure activities. The secret? The excellence and diversity of the raw materials that the sea and land of the Basque Country provide and the expertise of the great Basque cooks.

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There is an unmistakable joie de vivre in Basque Country

Whether you are looking for a lazy beach holiday, a culture trip or an adventurous trail through nature, Basque Country has it all. Maybe it’s time to opt for a different kind of Spain when you book your holiday next time?

Wander-Lust
www.wander-lust.nl

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A little Romance on Sicily

We all know, Italy is for lovers. And so is Sicily. Lovers of people. Lovers of food. Lovers of ocean views and mountain roads. It doesn’t really matter what kind of love, Sicily is the perfect place to enjoy it. And here’s exactly where to do that in the North-Western side of this stunning island.

Dine your way through Trapani
The small city of Trapani isn’t the first spot people think of when they want to book a trip to Sicily. Which leaves Trapani a little bit undiscovered, always a good thing! It’s the type of town where you will get lost the first few times you walk around the city-center and every time you’ll discover something else to marvel about. Maybe an ancient church, the magnificent views from the boardwalk or a cute little cafe in a corner somewhere. Here you will find the most delicious food and drinks in narrow Italian alleys or on grand marble boulevards. Everything for very reasonable prices. And by reasonable I mean you can go for breakfast, lunch and dinner every night without a worry in your wallet. Feeling romantic? A must-go is Osteria I Vitelloni, situated in one of the main streets in the centre of Trapani. Order the tuna in a pistachio crust and let them pick the wine. But, skip the dessert. You’ll need some room for an amazing ice-cream at Panna & Co. If that isn’t love in a cone.. You can thank me later.

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Osteria I Vitelloni

Scooter your way around
Trapani is also a perfect gateway to a ton of other places you must see while you are on this side of the island. A scooter will take you and your loved one(s) everywhere! Go to Marsala for instance, a famous wine town a little drive to the south. Along the way you’ll see the salt pans this area is known for and feel the wind in your hair. A little more inland (after a fun drive) you can find the majestic temple complex of Segesta. A history lesson has never been more exciting as you climb the ruins and check out those magnificent views. Another piece of the past can be found in Erice, a medieval town which you can find hovering on a mountain above Trapani. Get there by scooter, or by cable car! And try not to get lost in all the bumpy, winding streets. Although I didn’t try it, I have been told you can buy the best canolli on the whole island here (why I didn’t try it myself will always be a mystery).

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Whatever you do in Trapani, don’t forget to visits the Egadi Islands. They are only a boat ride away but you’ll feel as if you travelled back years in time. The little villages cannot be any more picturesque and the surrounding waters couldn’t be more azure. If you have the chance to stay a few days on one of these islands, go for it. Opting for a day trip? Don’t fall for the tourist trap, the packed boats. If you are on a ‘everything is possible’ trip, book the catamaran. Little more of a budget? Just take the ferry to one of the islands and rent a bike once you are there. Exploring a tiny tiny island together, oh the romance.

San Vito Lo Capo, just the sound of it makes you want to go
Trapani is the perfect place to stay and to explore this side of Sicily. However, if you are a beachlover, this town’s city beach won’t fulfil your sandy and salty dreams. Luckily there are some options for you to get your toes touching some lovely blue water. When traveling a lot to find that perfect spot isn’t your cup of tea, then head over to San Vito Lo Capo. It’s possible to scooter there for a day trip from Trapani, or if you want to lounge around the beach for a few days you can book a place to stay. It is a bit more touristy, best don’t expect the Robinson Crusoe vibe and book your accommodation in advance (in the high season from June to August). This little coastal village offers a beach that makes you feel as if you are on a tropical island. There are plenty of cute shops and spots to grab a bite, put on your holiday hat and enjoy. Every year in September they host the Cous Cous Fest in San Vito. Do check it out whenever you are in the area at the right time and feed each other some couscous!

Not far from San Vito Lo Capo lies the Riserva Naturale Orientata Dello Zingaro, a nature reserve which holds some beautiful bays with rocky beaches and ridiculously azure water. Bring your goggles for some underwater fun with the fishes! The park is not accessible for cars or any other type of vehicle, be prepared for some hiking. It’s worth it!

Chill in Cefalu
Want to head over to a different side of Sicily to chill? Cefalu is your town! From Trapani you can book a ticket with public transport and it will take little over half a day of travel by bus and train. Cefalu looks like the Italian coastal towns that you see in paintings. It’s got the maximum idyllic factor. There’s lots to do here if you want to, from sailing to an active volcano-island to day trips to other well-know Sicilian places like Taormina. Or you can just stroll through the paved alleys, have an iced-cappuccino every once in a while and stretch your legs on the beach. I have to admit, that latter was how I filled my days in Cefalu.

Sicily Cefalu view point

Even if you are feeling the lazy vibe, you should get of your beach bed once to climb Rocca di Cefalu. This massive rock towers above Cefalu and will give you some breathtaking views and historical facts. It is quite the climb, leave your flip flops at home and put on some more solid footwear. Once you’re on the top, there are loads of spots for that perfect lovey-dovey selfie. Just like in Trapani, San Vito Lo Capo and probably all the Sicilian towns, the food in Cefalu is amazing and the amount of restaurants to try is enormous. You cannot leave without trying at least five different types of pasta (more is better in this case). Many restaurants have hidden terraces overlooking the sea, be there in time for sunset!

Give each other a kiss, and book that ticket to this North-Western part of Sicily!

Love,

Jill

*Jill is one of our guest bloggers living in Amsterdam (@jillgwendolyn) where she works as a content manager for a digital agency. She’s Crazy about traveling and has spend her studies in New Zealand . You can read a new article from Jill in every 3rd week of the month!

10 X Child Friendly Hotspots in Barcelona

The summer is getting closer and it’s the perfect time to go out of your house and sit down in a nice café for a brunch or “merienda”. If you are a parent and want a café where you can easily get in with your stroller and enjoy an amazing coffee and at the same time let your baby have a great time; we have the perfect places for you! It is easy to fall into routines and always go to the same places, doing the same things. Let’s switch things up for the summer! Here are 10 child friendly hotspots in Barcelona curated by The Nannyline.

Parc de la Ciutadella
Passeig de Picasso, 21

Near Arc de Triomf we find the beautiful Parc de la Ciutadella, “the central park of Barcelona”. This 17 hectare big park is filled with fun, exciting things that the kids will love! We find a little café next to a majestic fountain. Right next to the café you can take a 30 min row boat ride in a little lake. The park also has a greenhouse, The Umbracle, filled with tropical plants. Moreover, probably the most exciting for the kids: The Zoo! Parc de la Ciutadella is nevertheless the ground for Zoo of Barcelona. Perfect place for your nanny to bring your kiddo. Test your kids animal knowledge outside the children’s books! In the zoo you will meet hippos, flamingos , monkeys and much more. Parc de la Ciutadella is undoubtedly a park you can spend countless hours in. This is the place for both expats, tourists and locals to hang and enjoy the amazing city of Barcelona.

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CosmoCaixa Barcelona
Carrer d’Isaac Newton, 26

Too hot outside and in need of air conditioning? Explore the wonders of science in CosmoCaixa’s Science Museum! Your nanny and kid will definitely be entertained by this museum placed in northern Barcelona, Sant Gervasi. Boost your kid’s curiosity and creativity and explore the different interactive workshops and activities! They have a recreation of an Amazonian rain-forest (Flooded Forest “Bosc inundat”), a planetarium taking you on a journey through space and time, and a creative space with experiments and games suitable for kids from 7 years and older. They also have workshops like ¡Toca-Toca! and Clik, where you are not only allowed, but supposed to touch, play and interact with different things.

Beach
Build sandcastles, maybe play a little football and take a refreshing dip in the water: the beach is one of the best things of Barcelona. A big city with an accessible beach; can it be any better? You can take your nanny with you to the beach so you can relax for a bit and let the nanny babysit the kids. Here are some suggestions for beaches where you, your child and nanny can go:

  • Sant Miquel and Sant Sebastià
    Near hotel W we find these two beaches. Great for kids because the water is shallow.
  • Nova Mar Bella
    A bit more quiet with space for a picnic and there is a playground nearby.
  • Ocata beach
    A bit outside of Barcelona heading north we find Ocata beach. A big, wide beach with white sand. Perfect if you have the time and ability to go outside the city.

Aquarium
Moll d’Espanya del Port Vell, Website

Barcelona’s aquarium “ L’Aquàrium de Barcelona” will bring you on an fascinating underwater experience. Prepare to meet lots of different little and big sea friends. You have the guided Discover the L’Aquàrium’s secrets tour where they talk about how the aquarium works and how they take care of their fishes. A fun experience with lots of fun, new facts. You and your babysitter can of course also decide your own tour strolling around as you like. Barcelona’s aquarium also offers a clue game, handicraft workshop and a Q&A with the carers while they feed the fishes.

Parc del Laberint d’Horta
Passeig dels Castanyers, 1

Play in the maze of Parc del Laberint d’Horta! Barcelona’s oldest park located in Sant Andreu is the perfect place to spend a weekend or an afternoon. The green garden is filled with small squares, mythological sculptures, flower beds and a waterfall has a truly enchanted feeling to it, great for exploring! Have a picnic, get lost in the maze and discover all the different corners and places of this beautiful park.

Pudding coffee shop
Avinguda Diagonal, 515
Open hours: Mon – Sun 9.30 – 21.30

The wonderful coffee shop Pudding will make anyone fall for it’s charm . Beside the brunches, sweets and good food they offer they also have a special kid’s club. The club can both help you fix an awesome birthday for your child or provide you with a babysitting service. Located at Carrer de Pau Claris near Urquinaona metro station this coffee shop is a must when you are in Barcelona!

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Pudding Coffee Shop

Parc Turó de Can Mates
Carrer de Josep Irla, 50

This park , located in Sant Cugat del Valles is a lovely playground to bring the kids to. Parc Turó de Can Mates has four different zones: a flat green area with some trees and an outdoor gym, one area with long and fun slides, a climbing frame and a big sandbox. The park is easily accessible and has a good parking lot. Ask your nanny to take your kids here for the afternoon and let them explore the different areas of the park. Play in the sand, slide down the slides and climb the climbing frame!

Mossèn Costa i Llobera Gardens
Ctra. de Miramar, 50-58

Open hours: Mon – Sun 10.00 – 19.00
Mossèn Costa i Llobera Gardens is a botanical garden at the foot of Montjuïc. Here can your child explore over 800 different sorts of plants. The garden was actually built as an outdoor classroom for students of Escuela de Jardinería de Barcelona but is now open for the public. Take this opportunity to teach your kids about nature while looking at this rather unusual garden. Make sure to not stick yourself on the cactus spines!

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Baby Deli
Avinguda Pau Casals, 6
Open hours: Monday – Saturday 10:15-14:30 and 16:30-19:45
Baby Deli is a combined store and café. With a sophisticated interior design Baby Deli welcomes us with a warm feeling. This is the perfect place for the whole family. They sell baby food, amazing coffee, toys and clothes. While parents can enjoy a cup of coffee and maybe some snacks, the kids are free to play with a variety of books and toys. It is located close to Francesc Macià and has a nice park just one minute walking distance away. Definitely a new favorite place for the summer!

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Family Room Café
Carrer Joan Gamper, 13
Open hours: Tuesday, Wednesday 09:00-21:00, Thursday, Friday 09:00-00:00, Saturday 10:00-00:00 Sunday 12:00-20:00
Vergós 55. Open hours: Tuesday – Friday 08:30-21:00, Saturday 09:30-21:00
Family Room Café is based on the idea of being “a place for families”. They offers healthy food and a cozy atmosphere on two locations; one in Les Corts and one in Sarrià. The café is spacious and light with nordic inspired interior design. The dried flowers in vases on the wooden tables gives the café a fresh, organic feeling. They have a playground for the kids in both cafés. In Les Corts they have cute wooden houses, toys, a little kitchen and a wooden horse. The Sarría café just opened about two weeks ago and offers a whole floor just for the kids! This is a place where you want to sit down for a couple of hours, eat brunch, drink coffee, relax while the kids have a whole room full of things they can enjoy. A must-see during the summer!

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Family Room Café, Les Corts

Love,

The Nannyline

*The Nannyline is an international agency with highly educated, experienced and enthusiastic nannies based in Barcelona. Find out more at www.nanny-line.com

8x tips for a weekend citytrip to The Hague

I love springtime! For me it’s the best time for a citytrip. Last weekend I played the tourist in the royal, majestic The Hague. Let’s zoom in on some great trendy and even some vintage hotspots I figured out for you. Here’s the wanderlust citytrip to The Hague. 

Where To Eat
Food, food, food. I can think about it the whole day long if you give me the chance. Because I really see the daily ‘food moments’ as something important, I don’t take pleasure with every standard looking food spot just around the corner. It’s a discovery tour to find the gems! Below you’ll find a couple of (coffee) spots which caught my attention. pistachecafe.nl

Pistache Café
Located behind the royal palace ‘Noordeinde’, this healthy oriented hotspot is definitely one for your food bucket list. Why? The Pistachers only work with fresh ingredients and are figuratively allergic for E-numbers and other chemical stuff. Most of the foodies tried the bread with avocado, looked finger lickin’ good! I ordered the sweet potato pancakes – what a surprise – which were also yummy, but a bit too little if you’re hungry after a city walk ;)

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Pistache Café, one of the hotspots I’ve tried during my citytrip in The Hague

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Blij
Drop by and enjoy a good cup of coffee, fresh juice, breakfast, lunch or dinner. I’ve tried the Eggs Florentine which was really delicious. Tip: order the hollandaise sauce on the side. Especially, I would like to point out the genuine hospitality of the staff, thumps up for them.
Little V – This Vietnamese hotspot is tha bomb! They’re famous for their homemade ice teas, worth to try. If you’ve ever been to Vietnam you definitely will taste the real Vietnamese buns, pho’s and spring rolls in the beating city heart of The Hague. Also the laid back ambiance is great. And for the dessert lovers? The chocolate mousse with a Vietnamese touch is the one you definitely have to order! *Update, we are told that Blij is sold to new entrepreneurs and is called restaurant KADE from now on.

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Vietnamese food lovers, this is your spot to drop by in The Hague

The Hague Bookstore
Located in the city center, this is the vintage spot for your shot of caffeine, cakes – the cake of dates is heavenly – and books. They have a kind of a garden where you can escape the hustle and bustle of The Hague. Sit back and relax! Website.

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The Hague Bookstore, the place during your citytrip in The Hague for a relaxation moment

Lola  
A bike and coffee shop in one, love the concept! It’s a heaven on earth for cycling enthusiasts, no doubt about that. Expect an easy-going atmosphere – even in the weekend -, superb coffee and cakes ánd friendly staff who like to make a chitchat. lolabikesandcoffee.nl

LISTed
You definitely will fall in love with this fashion meets coffee concept store. They have in my opinion the coolest Scandinavian clothing brands, original accessories and…coffee! Girls, take your time, the boyfriend will enjoy their coffee with a book in the chill chesterfield. Win – win! Facebook

Where To Stay
The best way to explore The Hague is to stay a night in one of the mostly classical designed hotels or Airbnb’s. I tried the budget proof The Student Hotel, located nearby the train station The Hague HS. It’s a place where students can live for a couple of months and design-savvy travelers can stay for a few nights. My opinion? It’s a modern, simple and very clean hotel (room) with all the facilities you need. No foolishness, only functional design. I really loved the helpfulness of the receptionists, credits for them. Besides I prefer the smaller boutique hotels instead of the – with all the respect – more ‘room factories’ like The Student Hotel, I absolutely recommend The Student Hotel when your budget isn’t sky high. You can book your room here. Book your stay here.

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The Student Hotel, my stay during my citytrip to The Hague

Oh and by the way: In 10-15 minutes you’re in Scheveningen by tram, the place to be when it’s a blue sky, sunny day. There are a lot of beach resto’s where you can have a pit stop for nibbles, drinks and more. Locals told me the less touristic spots are located around the ‘Zwarte Pad’ (Black Path).

Keep the above tips in mind and go for your The Hague citytrip as soon as possible. The welcoming inhabitants are waiting for you!

Love,

Sharmaine

Check Sharmaine’s midweek citytrip to Maastricht and get all the tips! Follow Sharmaine on Instagram.

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12 x Tips for a Midweekend Citytrip to Maastricht

We Dutchies are globe-trotters with a capital ‘G’ and an exclamation mark. Our travel-around-the-world-craving seems to become bigger and bigger, year after year. But besides all the international magic, did you know our own Dutchieland has just as much to offer as the most distant destinations? A nice side note: you save yourself a pricey ticket and killer jetlag (here’s how to avoid one). Let’s go back to our roots! Last midweek I traveled to Maastricht and it’s surroundings. Wander-Lust received the invite by the VVV Zuid-Limburg and Marketing Maastricht to experience how interesting and beautiful it is to go on a discovery trip in your own country. I can tell you, it was livin’ the good life.

Midweekend Citytrip to Maastricht in a nutshell
Would you like to experience life like the Maastricht citizens do? Drop by on a Sunday afternoon till Thursday and you’ll get that slow living, enjoyable feeling! No hustle and bustle, just everything at ease. The authentic atmosphere of Maastricht made me feel like I was on a laid back mini vacation abroad – and that wasn’t just because of the lovely spring sunshine, cold beer with Italian nibbles and a hospitable community. There is so much to explore, let’s zoom in on a few highlights and to do’s I’ve tried & tested.

Where to Stay
In my opinion the best district to stay is without doubt the hip and lively district ‘Wyck’. Extra plus: it’s near the train station, which is super convenient. Let me give you three really cool hotel tips for your citytrip in Maastricht:
» The Dutch: My first choice in Maastricht. The colorful, trendy design with international allure would certainly not be missed in Amsterdam, London or Barcelona. I’m in love with their breakfast bag, which they hang on your door in the early morning, so cute. Food allergy, vegan or other wishes? No problem for the genuinely friendly staff! www.hotelthedutch.com

Midweekend Citytrip to Maastricht The Dutch

Midweekend Citytrip to Maastricht The Dutch
The Dutch, one of my stays during my midweekend citytrip in Maastricht

» Kaboom Hotel, are you smart, worldly-wise and a tad of a rebel? Did you hear yourself saying three times ‘yes’ than you definitely have to stay here. Rewarded as the best hotel concept in 2015 according to Entree Magazine, good job! Oh and they’re nice for your wallet: budget-friendly without feeling cheap. Book your stay here.
» Townhouse Hotel. They want to give you the feelin’ like home-away-from-home experience: rent a goldfish for one night – how funny is that! – and enjoy their homemade soup or a little alcoholic drink in one of the comfortable, retro sofas. If you prefer a pure and ‘down to earth’ hotel, this is your match! Book here!

Townhouse Hotel
The Townhouse Hotel

Where to Eat
Oh Yes, we have arrived (figuratively  speaking) at my favorite chapter: Food! During my citytrip in Maastricht I spotted many pretty new hotspots.
» Jack White’s, I’ve started my food fest at Jack White’s creative fish & chips, a fairly new resto. Normally fish & chips is made of a white fish, mostly codfish. The heroes of Jack White’s have given it an original twist. They can do the same delicious, fried trick with fresh salmon, mackerel and even sea bass. Give it a try with a Goose Islands beer during your citytrip! Facebook
» Mr. Smith, Say hi to this new kid in town. A stylish cocktailbar of two hipsters. This cocktailicious hotspot is one you need to know, otherwise you will spontaneously go along. Press the bell and a small-scale, hidden cocktail heaven will open in front of you. Go for their fresh GT’s or ask the staff for a tasty advice. In advance #sorrynotsorry for your hangover. mrsmithmaastricht
» De Poshoorn, on Sunday evening I went to the well-known De Poshoorn. In the past a brown, tiny unobtrusive pub, nowadays a vibrant beer café with a fresh, contemporary atmosphere. Sixteen beers on tap and hundred on bottle. Go local and try the ‘Mestreechs Zoervleis’, a local food specialty. In spite of the fact the Maastrichtians see this dish as something unique, for this girl from above the rivers it’s a look-alike of the meaty hachee, so delicious! www.poshoorn.nl
» De Tapijn, is a very cool 4-year catering project in a former barrack. Relaxed location near the park, welcoming staff, a huge terrace and yummy food. I love the fact they know the origin of the fresh, local ingredients. This alone makes the food even better. Lunch, dinner or a Friday drink with friends, this hotspot in Maastricht has it all! www.tapijn.nl

Midweekend Citytrip to Maastricht
Jack White’s, one of the hotspots I’ve tried during my citytrip in Maastricht

Midweekend Citytrip to Maastricht
Never mind the beer! ;-)

What To Do
Boy o boy where to start, there’s so much to do during a (mid)weekend Maastricht and other parts of South Limburg! Here are my favorite highlights:
Let’s start with the city walk through the urban part of Maastricht. Honestly, the excitement of the guide is essential for making or failing it, but luckily I had an amazing time with Lianne Schuuring, credits for her. She showed all the interesting ins and outs of Maastricht from the history till today. Bucketlist proof!

Midweekend Citytrip to Maastricht
Sightseeing Maastricht, a must do during your citytrip!

Midweekend citytrip to Maastricht

If you’d rather ride a bike than walk, rent a mountainbike and work on your condition in this hilly area. There’re so many bike routes. I cycled to the newly opened ENCI-quarry, a wonderful spot for a swim in summertime. Just a guess, I think you’ve never thought about a kickbike tour in the caves of Zonnebergust. In the Maastricht underground nothing is too crazy. Although I do not have much with visiting caves, the whole new experience ánd power chick Niké Hermans made it really enjoyable. See the Southern part of South Limburg from a fascinating, different angle. Are you claustrophobic? Let shake hands…but I can tell you this wasn’t too claustrophobic for me, so don’t worry.

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Entering the cave

A herbal walk in Maastricht or other parts in South Limburg, have you ever done it? Come one, once has to be the very first time. Definitely book it via the enthusiastic master herborist Anne van der Linden. She’s is a running encyclopedia, she really knows everything about herbs and their special function: tea of nettle for blood purification, the juice from the dandelion for drying out annoying pimples and so on, and so on.
If you’re very interested in the history of historical buildings go to Abdij Rolduc in Kerkrade and book a tour. To be honest, it wasn’t my favorite, but I can imagine you don’t want to miss it during your midweekend in Maastricht and surroundings. Afterwards you can have some food in the Brasserie or have a quick look in the microbrewery, a hidden gem!

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Maastricht

An information overload summarized in a city guide for you, you’re welcome ;)
I’ll definitely go back to the south if I need a mini-break!

Love,

Sharmaine

Read more of Sharmaine’s foodie tips here!