Most colourful places in the world

We’ve selected our top 7 most colorful places in the world so you can travel and bring some color to your life!

1. Chefchaouen, Morocco’s bluest village  
Blue Monday has never looked so good. We are totally mesmerized by this beautiful Moroccan village called Chefhaouen. Chefchaouen (or Chaouen) is situated in the Rif Mountains, just inland from Tangier and TetouanFounded in 1471, the town now has about 200 hotels & apartments because of the increasing number of tourists. Did you know? That the countryside Chefchaouen region is one of the main producers of cannabis in Morocco. Hashish is subsequently sold all over town, but is mostly the domain of native Chaouenis.

chefchaouen
We can’t get over these beautiful colors

2.  The Favelas, Rio De Janeiro
Notorious for their crime wars and poverty, this part of Rio is looking rather colourful since a couple of years thanks to 2 Dutch artists.
They employ local youth to paint the buildings and houses for a few reasons; Give them something they can be proud of and take them of the streets.
We love this and that’s why it’s our number 2. Check their website for more info and other projects.

colorful favela
The Favela have never looked so colorful (Source: Favelapainting.com)

3. Isla Mujeres, Mexico
This small Caribbean island is one of the most colorful places on earth because of  all the shops and houses there. It’s only 7km in length and it’s perfect for lazy beach days. Did you know? That Isla Mejeres literally means “women island”

colorful houses
Wouldn’t you just want to live in a house like this one?! (Source: Fotolia/AP)

4. Havana, Cuba
Yes, you knew this one was going to be in the list right? Havana is becoming more popular now that the USA renewed their bond with Cuba. If you want to experience Havana in all it’s original beauty, you must hurry up. We’ve heard that the first MC Donald’s have been spotted..

Havana, Cuba
Still authentic..

5. Vernazza, Italy
It used to be only accessible by sea or steep walking routes, but now the milk train provides easy accessVernazza is one of 5 villages along the Cinque Terre coast of Italy and the train runs into each of the five towns. The blue sea and the green trees certainly help but this village owns its own colourful reputation. Did you know? That there is a trail that connects all 5 towns together? So bring your walking shoes!

Vernazza, Italy
All the colors match in Vernazza.

6. Rainbow Mountain
Only visit when it’s sunny they say, because you might be disappointed with the pallet of colours as you arrive. But rainbow mountain still remains something special and should not be excluded from this list. Have you been?

Rainbow mountain

7. The Netherlands (during Tulip season)
During April, May, something beautiful is happening in the Netherlands: Tulip Season! People from all over the world come to look at a variety of tulips in all sorts of sizes and colors. We can’t wait for this year, and we hope to take some drone shots!

Tulip field Netherlands

Love,

Elke

Cycling towards the other side of the world

In December of 2018 Mick van Zadelhoff and Bob Rekelhof, decided they wanted to do something that’s bigger than themselves. Inspired by movies like ‘Into the Wild’, they wanted to cycle from The Netherlands to India and go on a journey in which they would connect with their inner selves and other people from all around the world. This is their story.

It sounded as a great idea: cycling from the Netherlands to India. We would show everyone that it’s possible to do the impossible. So, without training and without a plan we bought some bicycles and started our journey. That’s why we came up with the idea of cycling to the spiritual land called India. We bought a bike, some warm clothes and a backpack. Within just two weeks we would be cycling towards the other side of the world.


Mick and Bob leaving on an adventure

Sleeping in a tent during the winter
We started off cycling around 60 to 80 kilometers per day. A lot, in our opinion, but Germany turned out so big that it took two weeks to pass through the country. Sleeping in hostels, hotels or Airbnbs would be too expensive. That’s why we tried to sleep in tents as much as we could. The first night in Germany we pitched the tent. We had good hopes with our tent and sleeping bag, but got disappointed very quickly. It was mid-winter and extremely cold. Our 25 euro sleeping bags just couldn’t handle that. We tried everything to stay warm at night: eating a late night snack, sleeping with clothes on and exercising before bed. Nothing helped. The weather only got worse and we still had to cycle over the Alps…

tent
The image how we imagined sleeping in a tent. The reality was a little different..

After the first week we had in mind that we would at least be used to sleeping in a tent with temperatures below zero. That was not the case. We slept terrible and our bodies became weaker. We wanted it to be this journey of connection, but it was hard to connect with people feeling this way. We needed a warm place and a good night rest. We decided to try Couchsurfing. This way we can connect with someone and have a warm couch/bed. This way we met a mother of two children, who took us out to have some drinks with friends. It was truly an amazing time we spent there. She just invited us to her night out and then into her house, where we eventually had breakfast with her and her two children. We used Couchsurfing some more times, which was always a great way to connect with people. There was only one downside: you constantly fall in some social event where you usually have some drinks and sleep late at night. We still use the platform, but not every day. Sometimes you need some goodnights rest.

cycling road

A reality check
After two weeks we finally approached the Alps. Our last stop before climbing the steep mountains would be an Airbnb not so far from Kempten. Our plan was to sleep well and approach the mountains with fresh energy. But then… my bike broke. One part of the gear had broken off. That was the last thing we’ve expected to happen.Thank god for those tie-wraps we brought! Problem solved? Nope, when we headed towards our Airbnb, another situation occurred. I got myself a flat tire. That, we couldn’t fix at night.

That was the part we were really scared off

Because of the whole situation, we could not get to our Airbnb. Unfortunately Kempten was too packed with snow to pitch a tent. We decided to sleep in a parking garage. With sunglasses on and earbuds in, we laid to rest on the top-floor of the parking garage staircase. Not that comfortable and, also, not that warm. After some breakfast we still had to get ready for our trip over the Alps. That was the part we were really scared off. Climbing 1.000 meter high mountains with a bike in cold weather didn’t sounded that great. But we had to. Because of all the problems we already encountered, we just wanted it to be over with. We began cycling..

cycling to India

Cycling over the Alps
It’s a miracle! The sun was shining, the roads were not so steep and the sight was beautiful. The first day in the Alps seemed really easy. We sat down at a coffee place and relaxed. We only had to bike another 30 kilometers and we would arrive in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where a fresh Airbnb was waiting for us. In a state of ecstasy we drove towards the little Tiroler town. We drove up the mountain, when Mick suddenly stopped. “We missed a turn at the last exit”, he said. We drove back another 5km to find the correct exit. Because of the snow, we had to walk through it. We walked for around 30/45 minutes and then things started to take a turn. The bicycle lane suddenly stopped. The rest of the road was hidden underneath a 1,5 meter thick layer of snow. We really felt miserable. We had to walk back all the way, bike up again the same route and take the motor way for another 40 kilometers.

There were so many moments where we just wanted to stop

Night had fallen. The temperature had dropped to 15 degrees below zeroo but we were still cycling through the Alps. The day that seemed so easy to start with, had become another day of hell. We were cycling uphill for another 10 to 20 km, which turned into a freezing cold experience when we had to cycle downhill. My beard had even frozen. It was filled with little chunks of ice. However, we had to continue cycling. There were so many moments where we just wanted to stop. It was not healthy going through so much misery. But you can’t stop. There is nothing there, except for mountains and trees. You are forced to continue. Then, at one point, this survival instinct kicks in. It starts to feel like a matter of life or death. We decided to just turn up the tempo and start cycling as fast as we could. Within forty minutes we finished the last 15 kilometers. We arrived in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where we finally had a bed, a shower and a warm cup of coffee.

Cycling through the snow

It made you realize how strong you are as a person

It makes you a stronger person
Some of you might be reading this and think: “Why would you do this to yourself? I would never put myself through so much misery”. We understand. To be honest, if we knew what this journey would bring, I would’ve probably not even started. After all, I’m happy with every moment, every emotion and every thought this trip have brought me so far. It made me realize how strong I am as a person. Most of the situations we’ve been through sounded as something impossible, not humanly possible to do. Now I found out that I am able to do this. First I worried about school, about a career, about my friends, about my looks. Now, that has all vanished, because… if you can ride 115 km through the Alps during mid-winter, then what else can possibly break you?

Mick

Mick and Bob are currently cycling though Italy, follow their journey on YouTube!

The Philippines » The Palawan Guide

Palawan, Last week I told you about my first week in the Philippines, where I traveled to Cebu, Bantayan Island and Bohol. 
I started off glampacking but the life of a backpacker is not always so luxurious. I spoiled myself in Cebu and Bohol and stayed at some of the best resorts and hotels. Well, in Palawan you go back in time a little bit. I was anxious to see it because I had been daydreaming about Palawan for ages.

palawan_map

Getting there
I flew from Cebu City to Puerto Princessa, the capital of Palawan. This is a town with a cute name but be warned; it’s not a place to chill in my opinion. The center is full of cars and tricycles and you need to get out of the center to find a place to chill. I stayed in a wonderful boutique hotel called Balay Tuko Garden. They have a swimming pool and a nice garden for about 40 euro’s per night during high season. 
Most people travel straight up to El Nido but I wanted to see some places in between. You have a few options: Sebang (the underground river), Port Barton and TayTay.

At the time, it was raining and I was told that most tours around the area got canceled as well as the underground river tour I wanted to do.
If you do want to go, you should book this in advance at Puerto Princessa instead of booking it at the spot. No idea why, but that’s the way it works.
It’s 1500 peso’s and it includes transportation, lunch and entrance fees.  The Underground River is one of the longest navigable underground rivers in the world, with a total length of 8.2 Kilometers and you’ll go in a boat with about 5-6 people which will take you into a cave. Yes, it’s a tourist attraction but if you pass it on your way to El Nido, you might as well right?

20151218_170612
Busy Puerto Princessa


Port Barton
I decided to take a van up to Port Barton. 3 hours from Puerto Princessa. After a very bumpy ride with our friendly driver, we arrived in the cute Port Barton. (yes, this town is cute!) At arrival, you are guided to the tourist office where you pay a small environmental fee of 50 peso’s (1 euro) and you are given a few options on where to stay. A young man (called David) offered us a room and although we were a bit skeptical, he took us to a nice place where we met more travelers (lot’s of hippies!) and we only paid 600 peso’s a night. The place is called Pisces and although the rooms are simple, it’s clean and the owners are extremely helpful and friendly.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
Eating coconuts at White Beach, Port Barton

Port Barton is a place for the traveler that wants to chill, save money and enjoys the simple things in life.
You can go snorkeling, visit the Pamuayan waterfall (1,5 walk and make sure you ask the way) or check out the amazing white beach. (1 hour walk, no restaurant, bring water) We booked a snorkeling tour for 700 peso’s with David and his crew and I can highly recommend this! You depart at 9am and return around 5pm. You eat a freshly prepared lunch on a beautiful beach and visit some snorkeling spots. Check here for more info.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
Chasing waterfalls

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
Fresh fish and veggies at the snorkel tour, Port Barton

Tip » Bring enough cash to El Nido! Do this in Puerto Princessa or even Cebu if you’re there beforehand. There are no ATM’s in Port Barton and El Nido only has one. If it’s empty, you have a problem. If you do get into money troubles, check the western union which is now situated inside the First Consolidated Bank.

Where to eat
Port Barton isn’t that large but has quite a nice variety of nice places to eat.

» Ausan Beachhouse Restaurant  along the beach Eat in a treehouse!
»  
Evergreen  in the village great breakfast and dinner. (my evening meal took a loooong time, but it was delicious)

»  Barton Bistro  I haven’t tried it but I’ve heard great stories!
»  Greenview  beach view and live music on several days in this popular hotel
Warning: Jambalaya Cajun Cafe, (recognizable of a big smiley face on the front) the Lonely Planet describes this as one of the best places to drink coffee but I had a glass of warm milk that they called a latte. It’s also extremely expensive and they are too overconfident.

Where to sleep
» Ausan beachhouse cottages – sleep in a treehouse for about 1200 peso’s
» Pisces – this is where I slept. Good vibes and only 600 peso’s a night. Mind you, it’s very basic, but perfect for the backpacker that wants to save some money. The locals are very nice here.

ausan beachfront cottages
Eat in a treehouse at Ausan Beachhouse cottages. Source


El Nido
After 3 days it was time to move on and travel to El Nido. Another 4 hours in a van. Make sure to book it at least one day in advance and ask to sit in the front if you get car sick. You can describe El Nido as a vibrant little town with a lot of underdevelopment. Like most of the Philippines, the houses and shops are self build and nothing seems to be finished. But thats the charm of El Nido. It’s a fishers town overrun by tourist that come for one thing only; El Nido’s many islands. Once at sea, your mouth will fall open when you see the beautiful rock formations and lagoons.

Which tour to pick?
The most popular thing to do in El Nido is to take a boat tour. You can choose from tours A, B, C and some have tour D (whatever that may be) A & C being the most popular ones and it includes lunch and (most of the time) snorkeling gear. 
There are so many tour operators to choose from that it will make you dizzy. To make your life easier I’ve made a shortlist of the ones I can recommend:
» Kraken Tour not the cheapest but highly recommended. Music, appetizers, lunch, drinks, WiFi, toilet, kayaks, paddle board, snorkel materials are included. Check here for more info
» The Artcafe tours. with Kayak 1900 peso’s. (recommended if you take tour A) no snorkling gear included. Accepts credit card.
» Northern Hope Tours. Professional and recommended by various sites. Book here
All tours are best booked in El Nido. (via the website you may need to pay an extra fee)

El Nido is Palawan’s main attraction

Big Lagoon El Nido, Palawan
Tour A takes you to the picture perfect Big Lagoon

Another popular activity is diving. There are also plenty dive shops to choose from but I chose Adventurous Scuba. Smaller than some of the flashy expensive diveshops but more personal and professional. 3400 peso’s for 3 dives after a bit of deal making. We had a lovely scuba instructor called Bernie who was really nice to talk with. I can definitely recommend him! They are situated in the same street as the Art Cafe, right at the end on the left side.

Massages are also widely available in El Nido. Expect nothing more than a few curtains to divide the guest but hey, this is Asia and you’ll only pay 400 peso’s for one hour. (8 euro’s) like all other places, you can try your luck and try to get a discount. ( I got mine for 300 peso’s!) They are based in El Nido town. Just follow the “massaaaaaaage” voices and you’re good.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Beautiful diving spots

Where to shop
El Nido is not a place to get the best fashion items but there are some nice shops if you walk around. The best shop in town (and maybe even in Palawan)is without doubt Little Corner of Paradise. They sell tops, shirts, bikini’s, summer dresses, jewelry and everything has a beach vibe to it. Run by a French girl, it’s right across from a cute muffin/coffee store that shares the same owner. (Try the banana muffin!) Another good place for shopping is BAZAAR. Just 2 minutes out of the center, you will find this nice place where you will find 3 stores (bags, flip-flops, clothes) food and drinks. You can also have a massage upstairs which I tried and it’s definitely worth the 100 peso’s extra from what you pay in town.
On Sunday’s they throw a small electro party with DJ’s and cocktails. Bazaar feels like a little European community in the middle of El Nido.

A little corner of paradise, El Nido, Palawan
Beachvibes at Little Corner of Paradise, El Nido

FOOD / DRINK
Someone has to say it so I guess it will be me; the food in El Nido isn’t great. It’s OK if you eat meat but as a vegetarian you’ve got a bit of a problem.
There are a few places that serve good food and these were exactly the places I would eat day after day.
» Art Cafe – great curries, fish and breakfast
» BAZAAR asian kitchen – just opened! Amazing Japanese dishes
» Deli Nido Café – the best Frappuchino in town hands down
» Bagel V & V – the girls who work there are a bit moody but the homemade bagels are nice enough to go there

El Nido Coffee, Palawan
Small but great coffee

SLEEP
There are many accommodations to choose from but don’t expect anything top of the range. Even if you pay a bit more, you will get a basic room. You can always opt for the expensive El Nido Resorts but you just don’t want to to that (unless you want to eat nothing else but plain rice for the rest of your holiday)

» Sei Nazioni Cottages – Cute cottages in the middle of town with en-suite options and air-con. book here.
» The Resort Bayview Hotel – Nice view. Book here
» Anywhere along Marimegmeg Beach – I’ve seen some nice cottages there you should check out.

cottages in El Nido, Palawan
Sei Nazioni Cottages, El Nido town

NIGHTLIFE
Thank god it’s not like Koh PhiPhi in Thailand were the beach turns into a place full of drunk horny teenagers. Well, El Nido does it a bit different. After dinner people go to the beachbars and the Pukka Bar is everyones favorite. They play cool reggae music with a pretty sick live band that gets the crowd dancing until about 3am. Other beachbars are more chilled and close a bit earlier (around midnight)
Bazaar throws a party on Sundays and it nice for drinks, ping pong and the occasional darts.
La Place is a lively beachbar situated alongside Corong Corong beach and they host a few parties a week. With a small pool in the middle and the DJ booth high up, they come closest to a real club in El Nido. Expect deep/techhouse music.

.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The Kala Bar is part of the Bazaar

Around El Nido
Rent a scooter for a day or 2 and explore! (500 peso’s) A few places you can visit:
» Duli beach – If you get there before 1pm, you might be the only person on the beach. There is one resort called Duli Beach resort (named after the Sea Turtles that lay their eggs here) and it’s run by a Dutch couple. Rooms are around 1000 peso’s a night and you’ll wake up on an amazing long stretched beach.
Tip »You might be asked for a fee before entering the bumpy road up to the beach. Just say you have paid already as they totally make this fee up.

» Nacpan Beach – You will hear tricycle drivers shouting: “Nacpan Beach?” around town as this is the most touristic beach around El Nido, Palawan. It’s part of Twin beach and you can eat tasty mussels here. Same applies for the fee they will ask you to pay.
» Marimegmeg Beach – Just a 10 to 15 min trycile ride from El Nido town you will find this beach with one of the best views you’ll ever see. There are a few beach restaurants and resorts where you can eat. Expect slow service though.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Swing at the Duli Beach Resort (the beach is empty!)

Nacpan Beach, Palawan
Nice food at Nacpan Beach, Palawan

El Nido, Palawan
Walk on Marimegmeg Beach and watch the sunset

Palawan’s beauty is truly breathtaking but be prepared to go back in time a little bit. Less tourist (positive), less tasty food than you’re might used to in Asia, beautiful nature, but not a lot of beautiful architecture. Beaches enough though! Drop me a line in the comments if you need any other tips!

Next week I will finally post about my amazing island camping tour from El Nido to Coron!
Check my travel video of the Philippines here! (And subscribe to our YOUTUBE Channel if you want to see more)

Love,

Elke

Why visiting Istanbul during wintertime is a good idea

I have visited a lot of cities in my life but there was always one on top of my city-bucket-list; Istanbul. Why? It’s the perfect mix between Asia and Europe and has so much to offer, even in winter!

Yes, Istanbul is in fact separated by the Bosporus into European and Asian portions. One of my best friends even told me it’s his favorite city in Europe. Time to check it out. Instead of visiting Istanbul during spring or summer, I booked my ticket for the end of February, hoping the weather would be good so far out on the east side of Europe. But one day before I was about to fly, the news reported that Istanbul was coping with the worst snowstorms in 15 years! Bad luck, but ey, that’s traveling and I got to see snow in Istanbul! (That’s me trying to stay positive) Lucky enough it stopped snowing on the day of my departure so I could fly.

Istanbul birds

Getting Around & Good To Know
Arriving in Istanbul it was a little confusing because I wasn’t aware that you need a tourist visa so… that’s my first tip! A tourist visa will cost you 25 euro’s and you can buy this online
here. Always check with your local whether is safe enough to travel due to political issues in the country. Traveling to Istanbul is declared save again since of July 2018. You can also buy the visa on arrival like I did, but then you need to wait in line and it can take a long time getting through customs so my advice is to buy it beforehand. 

During the winter period, it’s less crowded, cheaper but still beautiful

Getting to my hotel was pretty easy. There are big comfy busses going into town and cost 14 Lira, which is about 5 euro’s. They leave every half hour and take you into the city centre in about 1 hour. For more info, check hereThe nearest busstop from my hotel was Taksim Square. This is a famous square which collides with the endless Istiklal street where you can go shopping or visit a nice Starbucks. You can take the Tünel, this is a cute small tram which runs straight through the shopping street.

Tram Istanbul
The Tünel in Istiklal Street

Where to Stay
I booked my hotel via Booking.com and because of the low season, I got a very good rate: 120 euro’s for 3 nights! 
The rate included breakfast and the manager was very friendly and even gave his own Travel Card for me to use. (this is a card you can use for public transport) My only warning, if you are staying near a Mosque (and chances are you will), you will hear the people sing though the loudspeakers, also known as ezan, around 5 times a day. If you are not a morning person, double check your location.

Luxury: Raffles Istanbul (nice view, spa, swimming pool, great service)
Mid Range: Bankerhan Hotel or Sub Karakoy (trendy area!)
Budget: Empress Zoe Hotel (Lush garden, great breakfast. Rooms go from €40,-)

I stayed near the Galata tower and picked this area because it’s authentic and you can really taste the Turkish culture here. The tower itself is worth a visit if you want to check out the nice view and take some good pictures. It will cost you 20 lire to get in and there is a restaurant on the top.

Tip: Go in the morning if you want to skip the queues. From the hotel I could walk right across the street to catch the tram which takes you over the bridge and into the westside of Istanbul. Taking the tram over the Bosporus is only a short ride which takes no longer than 10 min from the Galata area.

istanbul

paint Istanbul
Istanbul is full of spices and colors

On this side there are a few big tourist attractions that are just too good to skip:

» The blue Mosque (make sure you bring a scarf to cover your hair. Same thing applies for the Hagia Sofia)
» Hagia Sofia
» The Grand Bazaar (Great for Turkish shopping like handbags, Scarf, Lamps
» The Spice Market (Get ready for some crazy scents and flavors!)

Istanbul
Inside the blue Mosque

20150221_132400_resized
I loved the Spice Market the most because of all the colours and different tea’s.

Walking through the grand Bazaar Istanbul

Where to Eat & Drink
After a day of walking around, you should definitely take a coffee break or try traditional Salep. My new Turkish addiction. This is a hot milky drink topped off with cinnamon. You can pretty much get it in every Turkish Café. For the best Meze you should try Ciya and At night Istanbul really comes to live. Restaurants stay open late, and it’s rooftop galore with many restaurants and bars that you wouldn’t expect to be hidden away all the way up there.

Here a few of my rooftop favorites:

» 5Kat is a traditional restaurant/bar that has been there forever. You can eat in or outside on the roof terrace. The entrance looks a bit shabby but once you go up, you are rewarded with a wonderful view of the Bosporus. www.5kat.com

» 360 is a great place. For food, drinks and even dancing. Killing view. Reservations are required and leave your sneakers at home. http://www.360istanbul.com/

» Vogue is upscale and also serves sushi for those that are in for a lavish night out. The music isn’t for dancing but for catching up and drinking cocktails. www.voguerestaurant.com

Vogue Istanbul
Vogue Istanbul

» LTERA is a rooftoop restaurant which opens up in the summer. Looking over the river, it has a beautiful view and the food is tasty! http://www.literarestaurant.com/

» Mikla is posh but well worth it if you love to get dressed up one evening and go for that amazing wine & dine experience. It was once voted in the top 50 best restaurants in the world. This a-claimed restaurant also has a rooftop but during the winter it may be closed. www.miklarestaurant.com

Also check out Limonlu Bahçe Beyoglu, this hipster garden is great for amazing coffee, drinks and western style dishes.

drinks Istanbul
Source  Drinks at Limonlu

A little further along side the Bosporus river you have amazing chique clubs like the Supperclub and Reina. I didn’t manage to go there because of the chilly nights but I will be back to try those out!

107635_IMG-20150220-WA0024
Fishermen trying to get their catch of the day

The Asian District
Most tourists only visit the European part of the city but you should definitely take the time for the Asian part! 
There is the lively Kadikoy where you have markets on different days of the week. Small shops and nice lunch spots make this a super fun day trip. To get there, you take the boat across the bosporus which takes about 30 min. When you are departing Istanbul from Sabiha Cökçen airport, you can also take the bus from there which makes it a shorter ride and you can combine this with a visit to this vibrant part of the city.

20150222_153325_resized[1]
Fresh fish at Kadiköy, the Asian part of Istanbul

Be sure to visit Istanbul when it’s a little warmer but even so, it was magical and my friend was right. It’s great!

Love,

Elke

NENI Amsterdam, the highly anticipated newcomer

Over the past year the Citroën garage next to the Olympic Stadium has been completely renovated, with the purpose of bringing back this iconic building at the Stadionplein in its full glory. Now it’s home to a brand new restaurant by the name of NENI.

It’s a Family Affaire
NENI are the initials of Nuriel, Elior, Nadiv & Ilan, the four sons of Haya Molcho, known for her delicious cookbooks. NENI has restaurants in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and Vienna and with success! The family has Israeli, Romanian and Spanish roots, and you’ll find these flavours back at the restaurant.

NENI

The motto of NENI: Life is beautiful. Be part of it

More than a restaurant
At NENI you are able to score the best humus, roasted octopus in miso harissa, and their famous NENI Shakshuka. But there is more. There will be a NENI Deli where you can get healthy bites, salads, juices and sandwiches. Next to that, you can have drinks upstairs at Lemonman, a yellow themed room with a vibrant bar that is also available for hire.

Neni Amsterdam

NENi
Dessert 3.0 in the making at the opening night

The bread at NENI is freshly baked in their own bakery

The Verdict
The food is colourful, tasty and fairly priced. The restaurants look and feel is warm, stylish and feels easy going. Yes, the olympic stadium has a new player that we’ll welcome with open arms and empty belly’s.

NENI Amsterdam
Stadionplein 8, Amsterdam
Website / Instagram

Love,

Elke

 

Koh Adang Island » The Peaceful Getaway

Koh Adang is the bigger island located right across from the more popular Koh Lipe. We stayed there for 2 nights and here’s everything you need to know.

Koh Adang is located on the southern side of the Andaman sea, near Malaysia. The only way to get there is by longtail boat, which is an adventure to start with. Islands that are a little harder to reach, must be good right! It often means that tourism hasn’t taken over, and you can find some peace and quiet. This is the main reason why we decided to come to Koh Adang for a few days.

Koh Adang Island
Private beach on Koh Adang

The beach is so amazing with palmtrees and rocks that really makes you feel you are on a private tropical island

getting to Koh Adang Island
Getting to Koh Adang

Adang Island Resort
The only resort on the island is the Adang Island Resort and it’s so nice! It offers guest garden or beach villa’s with nice bathrooms made out of bricks and stone, which gives it a natural feel. All rooms have air-conditioning (trust me, you’ll need it) and patio where you can sit outside. There is one main pool that is overlooking the beach, which you only need to share with your guests. We arrived there on Christmas Eve and the resort was fully booked, but funny enough, it doesn’t feel busy or crowded at all. The beach is so amazing with palmtrees and rocks that really makes you feel you are on a private tropical island.

palmtrees on Koh Adang


Our Deluxe Garden Villa

At the resort you can have breakfast, lunch and dinner and varies from traditional Thai to western style dishes. (try the Spring Rolls, Pad Thai and Papaya Salad omg). Prices are very reasonable and what you would expect of Thailand. On Koh Lipe, prices tend to be more expensive. If you have a coconut addiction like I have, you’ll be pleased to hear that they serve fresh ones at the Adang Island Resort.

food at Adang Island Resort

Pool Adang Island Resort
Chilling by the pool

Things to do
Even though you are on a secluded island, there are a few things you can do besides hanging by the poolside. You can book some of the activities at the resort.

  • Kayaking
  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkling (free gear available at the Adang Resort)
  • Walk to the viewing point (1 hour walk)
  • Walk to the waterfall (30 min walk)
  • Day trip to other small islands or Koh Lipe

Waterfall Koh Adang Island

Kayaking Adang Island Resort
Free kayaking is available at the resort


CocoNuts!

Verdict: Koh Adang is well worth a visit if you are planning to visit Koh Lipe. 2 nights is perfect to get you started. For bookings at the Adang Island Resort, visit www.adangresorts.com. Once you’ve made your reservation, you will get a full explanation on how to get there. (there is a pick-up spot and free shuttle from Koh Lipe that runs until 8pm)

Curious about Koh Lipe? Check our Thailand section below!

 

 

This town in Turkey is full of Disney-like abandoned Castles

One build for rich foreign buyers, Burj Al Babas now looks like a ghost town with over 500 abandoned castles  Take a look and be amazed. 

Sources say that the project costed over $200 million, but because Turkey experiences an economic downturn, the project’s developers have filed for bankruptcy, and buyers have backed out of their purchases. Some of the French Chateau looking houses even have some of the inside building works finished such as the floor heating.

The building project started back in 2014 and the houses are were planning to sell from $400,000 each. It’s located in between the mountains in West Turkey.

Even though the economy in Turkey doesn’t look very promising, the Burj Al Babas’ architect remains hopeful that the development will open by October 2019. To see how the castles would look like when finished, check here. For the latest images (sorry, we are not allowed to publish them) check here.

Love,

Wander-Lust

Club Med Cefalù on Sicily re-opened and it’s amazing!

If you would have asked me a few years ago, I would never have gone for an all inclusive resort. I love adventure, the unknown, and “All Inclusive” was only something families would book. Well, after experiencing Club Med Palmiye 2 years ago as a babymoon (I was 23 weeks pregnant at the time), I completely changed my opinion. You can imagine my joy, when I was invited to experience the newly opened 5* Club Med Cafelù resort in Sicily.

The perfect location
Club Med Cefalù is one of Club Med’s oldest resorts, that they have completely transformed and constructed. Now, fresh and vibrant, the resort re-opened their doors in June 2018. Your luxury experience starts as soon as you fly into Sicily. The impressive mountains and stunning coastlines will take your breath away. From the airport, it’s around 1,5 drive to Cefalù bay, where the Club Med resort is located. You are welcomed Club Med style, with an introduction, refreshment and positive vibes by the staff. They will treat you like royalty over the course of your stay.

Club Med Cafalù

They will treat you like royalty over the course of your stay.

Club Med Cafalù

Club Med Cefalù

Relax or Explore
People tend to go to a Club Med resort because they want to relax and not think about their busy life back home. But apart from the resort, Sicily offers a wide range of activities. For example; we hired a Fiat 500 and drove up the mountain to one of the oldest wineries, that used to be a hiding place to one of the most legendary mafia bosses of the island. You can also take a day trip to Palermo, Sicily’s capital, which is full of history and culture.

For a more local experience, you should really visit the town of Cefalù or Castelbuono. Eat at one of the traditional restaurants, or try locals treats such as Panettone. 

Palermo Sicily

Palermo
A courtyard in Palermo

Food & Drink
One of the things you gotta love about an All Inclusive concept is the food & drink. And Club Med Cefalù knows how to wow it’s guests with their food choices. There are three restaurants and 4 bars to choose from; La Rocca, the main buffet restaurant, Palazzo Gourmet Lounge for local Sicilian flavours, the seafood restaurant located next to the water. If you want to have a lay in, just use the breakfast room service (tried & tested). Club Med wouldn’t be Club Med if they didn’t have something going on at the pool bar. Learn the Club Med dance, participate in a music quiz, or taste the new cocktails on offer.

breakfast Club Med
Breakfast at La Rocca

Room Service Club Med
Breakfast delivered to your room? No problemo!

Things To Do
The resort is quite big and widely spread out, so there are buggy’s to take you around the premises. (I admit calling for one a few times when I was running late for dinner). Club Med Cafalù offers a Spa by Carita to pamper yourself with a massage of facial. All products used are from the Carita brand which is high class. For the active individuals there is a tennis court, a gym with daily classes (free to join), a sup and kayaking area and snorkling. I opted for some supping which never fails to disappoint. This water area is located in between the rocks and overlooks the pretty town of Cefalù.

Club Med Cafalù
Supping and Kayaking

Supping at Club Med Cafalù

The Rooms
There are different rooms available; but all accommodations have a natural look & feel to them. I stayed in sea view deluxe villetta with a huge bath in the middle of my bathroom, a rain shower, a super large bed and an outside patio. 

Bathroom Club Med Cafelù

Rates start at just €1000,- per person which includes your flight, accommodation and food & drink (as much as you want) for 4 nights! The resort opens back in April, so get booking!

Club Med Cefalù
Website / Instagram

Love,

Elke

This video will make you want to visit Canada right now!

Canada is ranked high on our bucketlist but when we saw this time-lapse video by fellow wanderer Sebastien Ross, we want to pack our bags and fly to Canada immediately!

This video was shot over a 1,000 mile roadtrip going all the way from Tofino in western Canada across to Dinosaur Provincial Park to the city of Calgary.
Sebastian traveled through Canada’s Westcoast in his dirtbag van trying to capture a tiny bit of the natural wonders under the best light possible. It wasn’t an easy task as he explains; “Most of those images have required a lots of driving hours, hiking, waiting and wilderness camping”.

Time for a Canadian roadtrip? Apply online for an eTA canada to visit Canada.

Love,

Wander-Lust

Skiing in Kvitfjell, Norway

Skiing in Kvitfjell, Norway

I have been on the slopes since I was nine years old, and I’ve seen many snowy mountains in Austria, Switzerland, the French Alpes, Germany and even inItaly. But I had never been skiing in Norway before. Why not I wondered. Norway is only a short flight from Amsterdam and has many ski and snowboard options. I flew to Kvitfjell to find out.

The Olympic Town
Kvitfjell was build for the Lillehammer Olympics in 1994. After that, an investor bought the place and he made sure it continued it’s main purpose as a ski resort. But Kvitfjell is not just famous for the winter Olympics, the town is turned upside down for the World Cup ski competition. Every year people from all over the world come to Kvitfjell at the beginning of March, to watch the brave athletes ski down the famous black piste at 130 km per hour. It’s broadcasted around the world. 


Winter Wonderland

I was about to experience the actual black piste with a crazy steep decline of 64% at some parts. But first it was time to explore the rest of the ski area. Kvitfjell decided to expand last year so I was exited to see the newly opened westside of the mountain. With 1039 meter above sea level, you will reach the highest part of the mountain. In total there are 34km of ski slopes that vary from easy to advanced. It’s a great ski area for families with children from three years old as there are many nice green and blue slopes to learn the basics. I must warn you though, what they call blue at Kvitfjell, kinda means red in other countries!


A traditional Norwegian farm in the middle of the piste

The hotel
It’s a small town so there are only 2 hotels. The biggest and best hotel is Gudbrandsgaard Hotel. Prices starting from NOK 1190 up to to NOK 2190 per double room per night/2 persons, and includes a buffet breakfast. The hotel holds up to 79 guests and has a spa that includes a large swimming pool and a gym. After an intensive day of skiing, your body can use a warm jacuzzi, let me tell you! The hotel has a charming and traditional Norwegian interior and four floors. The rooms are quite spacious and look out on the piste or forest. It had snowed so much when I arrived, that the snow fell into the room as I opened my window!

There are several food options in the hotel. There is an exclusive wine cellar where you will find some exclusive wines plus you can book the place for a special dinner. The hotel’s main restaurant is called Prepperiet and includes a cozy fireplace. The food, again, was amazing. Best pumpkin soon and ravioli I’ve ever had. And trust me, I’ve eaten a lot of soups in my life. The breakfast and lunch buffet area is located on the first floor and is simple, yet inviting. The breakfast is for champions and the veggies during lunchtime are crispy. Happy Elke. 

I can honestly say, it’s the best food i’ve had around a skiresort!

Gastronomy
One thing I MUST mention is the food in Kvitvjell. If you’ve been skiing before, you know that lunch on the slopes is usually greasy and fat. Fries, pasta, cakes and sausages are some of the dishes you will find at most ski resorts. In Kvitfjell it’s different. ients and I can honestly say, it’s the best food i’ve had around a skiresort! You have a few options; 

  • Fôr
    This restaurant is just 200 meters from the hotel and serves modern style Norwegian food. It’s run by a few cool dudes (if I may call them that, because they looked like die hard snowboarders). I was lucky to enjoy a five course dinner and although ordered vegetarian food, I didn’t end up with a simple pasta on my plate. From soup to the mushroom risotto, it was all beautifully set up and sooo tasty.

Dinner at Fôr, Kvitfjell
Dinner at Fôr

  • Tyrihanstunet
    This charming and traditional Norwegian place, is right on the piste and a great stopover to have a nutritious lunch. I ate the shrimp sandwich and it was huge! If you are a coffee addict, this is also the place because they serve the best coffee on the piste. 
  • Plaza Café
    Situated next to the skishop is the Plaza Café. Come here for quality burgers, spaghetti, salads and drinks. 
  • Koia
    For gluhwein, gourmet sausages and beer you come to this 300 (!) year old loghouse. 

Lunch at Kvitfjell
Lunch at Tyrihanstunet

Old log house in Kvitfjell
The 300 year old Koia house is perfect for a après ski

Ski Conditions (and my experience on the World Cup slope!)
Because of the heavy snow throughout the night, fresh powder was everywhere and made the ski conditions top notch! It was like sliding through soft clouds and even though the sun didn’t shine, it was such a great run to experience. There are a few options to go off piste but I recommend these to the more advanced skiërs. I had to try the infamous world cup piste of course, and although I was a little nervous, I managed to get down without falling. What a confident boost! The World Cup piste is 3,5 km in length, black and very popular with the skiers that I’d like to call; speedy conzales.

Stunning paths in Kvitfjell
Go a little off piste and find stunning paths like these!

Verdict:
I loved it! But skiing in Norway is a little different from what you might be used to in Austria for example. Après Ski is something they’ve definitely heard of, but it’s not the main objective here. People really come to Kvitfjell to enjoy the scenery, have a lovely family break or come over to improve their skills. People from Denmark, Sweden and Norway are amongst the biggest group of tourist that visit Kvitfjell but people from The Netherlands and Germany are also showing interest. In my opinion it’s the ideal place for families and couples because it’s perfect to combine with a weekend in Oslo, as it’s only a 3 hour train ride from the capital!

So if you’re looking for something a little different from what you are used to, enjoy a relaxed atmosfeer and great gastronomy, Kvitfjell is your town!

Love,

Elke

For more info about Kvitfjell and it’s surroundings, visit their website.