7 x Amazing Accommodations in The Black Forest!

The black forest is a huge forest located in the South of Germany, which is well known by many outdoor fanatics. I’ve been coming here for years, because my sister lives in the area. After all these years, it was about time that I wrote something about it. Planning to visit? These are 8 unusual but must visit accommodations in or near the Black Forest.

Black Forest Accommodations
The Black Forest is stunning and yet not known by everyone

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Waterfalls and green at the Black Forest

Bubble Tent at Furtwangen

Sleep underneath the stars and wake up my the morning skies. The bubble tent is equipped with a bed, a small table, 2 chairs and a fridge with free drinks and a separate bathroom with free towels. Mind you, when it’s hot, it can be quite steamy inside the bubble during the day. However, this stay would definitely be a memorable one with a view like this! www.bubble-tent.de

accommodations in the black forest
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Hotel Liberty at Offenburg

If you love pretty boutique hotels, this is a must visit. This former prison that dates back from the 1800’s turned into a beautiful design hotel with 38 rooms. They’ve kept some of the original prison doors and steel windows to add some details. The rooms are incredible! The beds are huge and there is a separate bathtub standing in the room, which makes it such a treat to jump in straight away. Guests can use the swimming pool & spa down the road (5 minute walk) for free. www.hotel-liberty.de

Black forest accommodations
The old prison doors

Bedroom shot
Waking up in a prison, has never felt so good

Schwarzwald Camp

This campsite is located about 45 minutes from Freiburg. Sleep in a Tipi Tent, normal tent, in a tree or in a gondola! The outdoor options are endless here and it’s certainly special! www.schwarzwaldcamp.com

Schwarzwaldcamp Black Forest
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Black Forest Lodge at Feldberg

Recently opened back in December, this huge wooden lodge, offers guest apartments throughout the seasons. During the winter you can ski down the Feldberg and during the sunny season, you can stay here while exploring the beautiful surroundings of the Black Forest. All apartments are equipped with a kitchen, bedroom, a very modern and spacious bathroom, and living area. All guests can use the sauna and relaxing area, and there are many villages nearby for supermarkets or restaurants. The best thing? Your own porch with a view of the Feldberg. www.black-forest-lodge.com

Black Forest Germany
My view from the Black Forest Lodge

Sleep in a Wine Barrel at Titisee

I haven’t stayed at this particular one, but I have stayed in a wine barrel before! It’s a must do if you love to snuggle up to your loved one, because it’s very romantic and cozy. My advise is to book between June and September as it can get quite chilly otherwise.

Wine barrel

Zeitraum at Elzach-Yach

If you’re into sustainability like me, you’re going to love this hotel. This holiday home in the middle of nature with ecological structureBuild from wood and other natural materials, gently support the Feng Shui of the house. The outside jacuzzi and spa, complete your visit. It’s located 30 minutes away from Freiburg city. www.imzeitraum.de

NaturTräume in Schiltach

This is for brave and free from giddiness people! Sleep in a tent that hangs from a zipeline, over the trees of the Black Forest. Would you dare?  www.de/uebernachtung.com

naturtraume black forest

So, where would you stay?

Love,

Elke

 

 

Top 5 » Parks in Amsterdam

Summer is pretty much over…that’s a damn shame, but no reason to stay inside! I want to talk about the parks of Amsterdam for a minute. We have so many, and we almost forget how rare this is. I was talking to a friend from New York recently and she told me, if you live in Brooklyn, you need to travel at least one hour for the nearest park. Did you know Amsterdam has a total of 50 (!) parks? We can’t mention them all but these are some of our favourite parks in Amsterdam.

1. Amstelpark
For tourists coming to Amsterdam, this might be a park they have never heard of. It’s not located in the center and it’s also not near any interesting attractions, so we understand it’s easily overlooked. Time to check it out! Amstelpark is located next to the highway and a business district called The Rai Amsterdam. It has a lot of green but what I love about this park, is that it has so many different features all in one. It has a maze, a mini golf course, a restaurant, a cafe, a small train for kids, a cool playground and many beautiful flowers and statues. No wonder that many events are held here. Festival Trek, Taste of Amsterdam and the Sunday market are some of events you will find here. 

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Festival TREK at Amstelpark

2. Sloterpark
If you don’t live in Amsterdam West, there is little chance that you have been here. It’s the park next to my house and I only realized it was so amazing a few years ago when I moved to the area. The park is around 6km long if you walk all around the lake. Sloterpark features a man-made beach and several water sports can be practiced here.  There is a lot of development going on right now which means the council is really doing their best in make this area as attractive as possible. Hotel Buiten, a community restaurant with activities, will be finished in a few months and Paviljoen Van Eesterenmuseum is opening this fall, as well as a small coffee house across the Meer & Vaart theater. Sloterplas also has many natural swimming spots that are surrounded by trees, many bunnies sand many runners use this park for a “rondje Sloterplas”. 

Amsterdam, Sloterplas top 5 parks in Amsterdam
Natural swimming area’s at Sloterplas

3. Vondelpark
It’s the most popular park in Amsterdam and everybody knows about it. Yes, it’s busy and full of tourists that try to cycle around on a rented bicycle, but that doesn’t make it any less charming. The park dates back from 1865 and is lovely if you go to the right spots. Vondelpark has many great restaurants such as De Vondeltuin, Het Blauwe Theehuis and Park 3 where you can enjoy in and outside seating. During summer you can listen to free concerts and performances at the Open Air Theater. Since a couple of months ago, the council decided to prohibited BBQ’s from the park and with good reason. The grass was being destroyed plus a lot of people didn’t clean up after themselves. With the ban, it’s a lot more relaxed. Something you probably didn’t know: After the war in 1947, the council decided to build a bunker underneath the Vondelpark bridge what was then rebuild into a club named Line 3 in 1968 where even Pink Floyd performed! It is now called The Vondelbunker and is mainly used for expositions and cultural purposes.

Vondelpark, top 5 parks in Amsterdam

4. Westerpark
This park gained immens popularity over the years and that’s thanks to the many great food and drinks spots around the park. Westerpark is not a park with lot’s of trees but has a large open field, a shallow water spot for children to play in and enough space for markets and events. The Westergas area that is located next to the park is home to many creative businesses and agencies. From the park, you can also hire boats such as Boat4Rent at a good price. Every 1st Sunday of the month you will find the Sunday Market here, where you can buy food, drinks and local goods. If you are around, check out Mossel & Gin and the secret city farm and hideout Buurtboerderij Ons Genoegen

Westerunie best terraces in Amsterdam West
Westergas terras, next to Westerpark

5. Frankendaelpark
Located in Amterdam East, this park is a habitat for many types of plants, animals and insects. You could say that’s it’s the most ecological park of Amsterdam. It’s not large but Frankendaelpark has lot’s of small trails with quiet area’s where you can sit down. There are 2 amazing restaurants located in this park. De Kas and Merkelbach, which are known for their organic produce. Back in the 1600’s, the park used to be part of a wealthy estate and you can still see the old land house Frankendael (built in 1659), that is now used as a cultural complex.

For the full list of all the parks in Amsterdam visit this website.

Nature in Amsterdam? Check it here!

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Escape the city » 5 x nature in and around Amsterdam

Amsterdam is lovely but she can be a bit busy and hectic sometimes. Time to clear your head? These 5 nature spots in and around Amsterdam are just what you need!

Tuinen van West

Situated in Amsterdam New West, this area is easily overlooked by many people. Little do they know it’s a great place to walk and relax. You can find fields of open gras but you can also find the “Volkstuinen” here. These are little garden-houses people can buy and relax at when they want to escape the city and don’t own a garden. You may have heard of the escape room? Yep, also located around here plus you can also find one of my all time favorite secret spots in the Tuinen van West named Cantina (header photo)www.tuinenvanwest.info

tuinen-van-west

Sloterplas

If you don’t live in Amsterdam West, there is little chance that you have been here. It’s the park next to my house and I only realized it was so amazing a few years ago when I moved to the area. The park is around 6km long if you walk all around the lake. Sloterpark features a man-made beach and several water sports can be practiced here.  There is a lot of development going on right now which means the council is really doing their best in make this area as attractive as possible. Hotel Buiten, a community restaurant with activities, will be finished in a few months and Paviljoen Van Eesterenmuseum is opening this fall, as well as a small coffee house across the Meer & Vaart theater. Sloterplas also has many natural swimming spots that are surrounded by trees, many bunnies sand many runners use this park for a “rondje Sloterplas”.

Hotel Buiten overlooking the Sloterplas

 

‘T Twiske

This green area is also located in Zaandam, just outside Amsterdam. I knew it was there but never went until last year and I was pleasantly surprised. The area is a staggering 650 hectare of green & waterland. You can also swim in natural water and there are several small man-made beaches. There are many relaxing activities such as playing golf, fishing, hike or enjoy a BBQ. Because it’s so secluded, there are a few dance/techno festivals that love using this space during summer. Parking cost €3,50 for the first 3 hours and you can only pay by card. www.twiske-waterland.nl

t-twiske
The waterlands in ‘T Twiske

Spaarnwoude

In between Amsterdam, Haarlem and Hoofddorp you can find Spaarnwoude. It’s great for mountain biking, walking, cycling and there is a climb wall. It’s a great place for a children’s party or a BBQ with friends if you don’t feel like a busy park in Amsterdam. There are lot’s of things to do during summer for the young and old, so check the agenda! www.spaarnwoude.nl

spaarnwoude
Crowds at Awakenings Festival (source: Awakenings)

De Oeverlanden

We’ve written about this area before but it’s well worth mentioning again. Right across from the famous Amsterdamse Bos, you can find the Oeverlanden. This area has stayed untouched so plants had a good change to grow in their natural habitat. During the summer you can participate in water sports such as flyboarding. Don’t be surprised if you see a herd of Scottish Highlanders grazing around, they maintain the natural balance in an ecologically responsible way. They won’t bother you unless you don’t bother them. No feeding and no padding! We walked for around and enjoyed the beautiful view of the Nieuwe Meer. The best other thing about this park is that you have plenty of secret swim and sunbathing spots. So you can get a tan without getting disturbed. www.oeverlanden.nl

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De Oeverlanden

What’s your favorite spot to escape the city?

Love,

Elke

More secret spots in Amsterdam? Click on the picture: 

5 secret spots in Amsterdam

Photo Report » Finding Magic on the Isle of Skye

In the first week of November, a small remote island on the west coast of Scotland prepares for winter lockdown. Tourists flee and sea mist covers the land in shadows. All that’s left is deserted roads curling through rough landscapes dotted with thousands of sheep. Not the best season to visit Scotland, or so you might think. But on an island where history has been dominated by myths and legends, you might be rewarded if you put your trust in the hands of the Gods. I was ready for the Magic on the Isle of Skye.

For two weeks, I drove around the Isle of Skye in a campervan with my good friend and journalist, Hans Roozekrans. We drove, hiked, and camped all day, every day, experiencing all the magic the small island had to offer.

Magic on the Isle of Skye

Magic on the Isle of Skye

I’d heard many things about Scottish weather, but shiny, calm, and sunny weren’t any of them, especially about the fall season. We got lucky. We opened the door of the campervan each morning and found ourselves deserted under a perfect, blue Scottish sky, looking out at spectacular cliffs of lush green valleys. Each morning was a gift. The landmarks on our map of Skye had names like “The Fairy Pools,” “The Fairy Bridge,” and “The Old Man of Storr.” It was easy to imagine that, on this little island, fairy tales could be real.

Deer

Walking through The Isle of

I’m always on the hunt for the most rugged and remote landscapes to travel and photograph. One of the things I love about photography is that it allows me to get outside so often. My two weeks in Skye were filled with long hikes, sleeping under the stars, and walking for days without seeing another soul.

I love the independence that photography gives me. I love that there’s no right or wrong way. I love being able to walk outside and photograph whatever I want. For me, travel photography is about wandering and observing. There are just as many unique ways to look at things as there are unique things to look at.

Magic on the Isle of Skye

 

Pie

*Pie Aerts is a professional Instagram photographer from The Netherlands and travels around the world trying to capture those special places. He recently got featured in the amazing photobook Depart where 12 photographers tell their story. Follow him on Instagram or contact him on info@pieaerts.com.  

Colombia: many faces, one country!

My sister inspired me to travel to Colombia. A country with so many faces. For the world mostly known for the Farc (a guerrilla army) and drug trafficking by the cartel of Pablo Escobar (in the eighties responsible for 80{8b669be72a7f340f9ef2d6d852585cd40ddf0e79ccf763f3ea93c1234c3d888b} of the drug traffic to the US). But there is so much more to this country: a stunning countryside, a passion for salsa, amazing beaches and an artistic heart.

Bogato
Let’s start at the beginning. When I landed in Bogota, the capital of Colombia, I was really surprised about the brightness of the city. Everywhere you look you see art, especially street art. A guide (from a free walking tour that you can book here) explained that this form of expression is important in Colombia, by this way local people express how they feel about the government, corruption and freedom. I was moved by the way these paintings show an urge for peace, freedom and happiness. The city is developing into a beautiful cultural capital with a voice, a strong voice, against corruption and suppression.

Colombia Street Art
Streetart

Central Colombia
I met some great people to travel with and we went up to Villa de Leyva, the Zorro town. You literally feel you are in a Zorro movie. Who doesn’t want that? Definitely worth visiting. Tip: Stay at Colombian Highlands, a hotel on top of the hill with a stunning view. From Villa de Leyva I took a night bus to Salento: a long ride of 8 hours. There it was time to see the tallest palm trees in the world. The place was full of locals and no tourist to be seen. But there it was: Salento, a little town surrounded by thin high palm trees. I stayed at a great place on top of the mountain in an eco-farm La Serrana Eco Farm. The food is great and they offer a variation of tours (also a great coffee tour). This area ‘’Eje Cafetero’’ is also known for one of the best coffee productions in the world. The next day we started hiking in Valle de Cocora. Suddenly you are surrounded by impressive palm trees and hummingbirds.

Vila_de_levya
Villa de Leyva aka Zorro Town

North from Salento, you have the second biggest city of Colombia: Medellin. Medellin is the party city of Colombia and believe me: that’s true. A lot of clubs and bars but also the place for good healthy food. It’s a very trendy city but mainly the city of Pablo Escobar. There are a lot of tours, who will tell you everything about the ‘’Medellin cartel’’. My highlight was something totally different: Guatape. An amazing view close to Medellin that I will never forget. I think the picture will speak for itself, just stunning!

“This country is definitely one of my favorites. Viva Colombia”

gautape Colombia
Stunning views over Gautape

North West Colombia
This country kept on amazing me. So many different faces. For example: Cartegena, so different than all other places I had seen in Colombia. A town full of flowers with a big passion for salsa. You can feel the salsa, the passion for dancing everywhere. A good place to relax. A bit touristy but lovely. After Cartegena we went to Santa Marta. I had my favorite Colombian snack here! Grilled bread with warm Guacamole: yum! This town is not really special but a perfect base for a hike to the Lost City. First it was time to visit the most famous National Park of Colombia: Tayrona National Park.

The photo you see on the cover of the Lonely Planet, the photo of Colombia, is a photo of the most famous beach in Colombia: Tayrona beach. You need to see it! When you enter the park you have to walk 2 hours in the heat to get to the beach. There is no car access, only a walking route. There is one restaurant, some camp sites and hammocks. Really cool to stay a night and sleep in a hammock. I chose to skip it, because I wanted to do the Lost City track and I didn’t have enough time. I would definitely recommend it though!

National Parl tyrona Colombia
Part of Tyrona National Park

Tyrona beach Colombia
Panoramic view of Tyrona Beach

On top of the lost city Colombia
On top of the lost city

The Lost City
Sleeping in the open air in the middle of the park underneath the stars. Let the beauty of the world surround you.

For me no amazing night underneath the stars, but time for some real exercise: a hike to Ciudad Perdida  the “Lost City” in Spanish. The Lost City is an archaeological site and a unique place to see. There are still people living there without electricity, far away from the world we live in. Some people say it’s more beautiful than the Machu Picchu. This area is still untouched and not really touristy. The way to get there is though, really though. It was one of the hardest tracks I had ever done. I already heard that this track was hard work: 3 days of hiking, through the mountains, in the heat. The track is not the problem, but the heat! You might feel as if your body isn’t going to make it, so bring plenty of water. This was a journey I will never forget. I felt like I was in a movie, in a jungle full of magic. I don’t really have words to describe it. It was just magical. How the light shines through the jungle, the stairs partly covered by nature, the little waterfalls, the old rituals and ruins of the city, the lost city.

Hike to the palmtrees Colombia
Made it to the top! 

This country is definitely one of my favorites. Viva Colombia!

Love,

Jolien

*Jolien is one of our guest bloggers living in the Netherlands. She has traveled all over the world and seen countries like India, China, Sri Lanka, Australië and Colombia. You can read about her adventures and tips every 2nd Monday of the month!

Why you should visit Switzerland this summer

In my previous blogpost about summer in Switzerland, I visited the city of Bern and its surroundings. It was time to continue my roadtrip through this stunning country. It was time to find my inner Heidi and walk through the hills. We decided to continue our way up to Emmental and Lucerne.

Emmental

This region is made up out of small 42 villages situated between the green (or snowy) hills of Switzerland. Emmental got it’s name from the Emme river that flows through the area but Emmental is most famous for the cheese with all the holes in it. I started my tour through Emmental after a meeting with the pr manager of Emmental Tourism. She took me on a hike through the hills and although it rained a little when I arrived but that didn’t stop us from walking to a great viewing point. Fun Fact! In Emmental it’s very common to see a small house right next to a larger house. This is when the children take over the farm and the parents move into a smaller house right next door!

Wanderweg sign Switzerland
Wanderweg. I didn’t make this up 

Where did I sleep?

My accommodation was pretty cool. I stayed in a bed & breakfast in an old farmhouse owned by a dairy farmer and his wife, Evelyn & Ernst. I love B&B’s because it’s so much more personal than a large hotel for example. My room was large and on the top floor. The whole floor was pretty much mine to use which also featured a nice bathroom, TV room and children’s bedroom. We were asked to join dinner downstairs and because I am a vegetarian, they especially prepared some wonderful salads. Book your stay at the farm here.

Bed & Breakfast Emmental
The Bed & Breakfast I stayed at in the mitst of nature

Cow in Emmental Switzerland
Cuddling the cows

Hiking

If you visit Switzerland, be prepared to walk a few miles. Not because you have to but because you want to. There are so many beautiful viewing points and hills to climb, that you should definitely leave your heels at home. So the next day, when the natural alarm clock woke me up (read: Cow’s moo-ing), I was ready for a hike. The weather was beautiful and I walked from the farm through the forest and all the way up to where I can imagine Heidi running around in between te flowers. (I couldn’t help myself of doing the same, check the after movie!) Passing by little piglets, running (happy) cows and stunning views, we walked all the way up to a hotel/restaurant called Moosegg where we had an amazing lunch. At Moosegg you enjoy a stunning panoramic view of the Emmental and Langnau hills plus on a clear day you can see the Swiss Alps in the background. The restaurant’s chef took the time to explain that they’ve just finished a new renovation of the hotel, which has 22 rooms. Chef Daniel is a highly acclaimed chef which earned the restaurant it’s 16 awarded Gault Millau points.

Hotel Moosegg
Moosegg hotel/restaurant on the hills of Emmental

Restaurant Moosegg Switzerland
Danke Restaurant Moosegg!

Restaurant Moosegg Switzerland
Lunch with a view..

Lucerne | Vitznau

From Emmental you can drive in several directions but we decided to drive towards Lutzern. (Lucerne) We avoided the highway again and drove through the cutest villages and green hills. The weather was sunny and this makes Switzerland even better. When you arrive in Vitznau you will drive pass Lake Lucerne which is surrounded by mountains and is really impressive to see. Apon arrival, we parked our car and took the Rigi rails up Mount Rigi. This is a steep rail that runs through the area and pretty much the only way to get up the mountain. 

The Rigi Railways are the highest standard gauge railway in Europe.

Rigi Railways, Switzerland
Rigi Railways

Mount Rigi is popular with people, old and young, get up early for a fresh hike.

Around Rigi

After 5 stops we arrived at our accommodation, Hotel Rigi Kaltbad. Rooms are simple but the views are stunning. From green hills to snowy mountains within a few hours! Hotel Rigi Kaltbad has a spa which hotel guest can use and I couldn’t pass on this option of course! Enjoy an in and outside area with a view of the snowy mountains. This area is a lot more expensive than Emmental so don’t be shocked when you order lunch or dinner around here. (a cup of tea will cost you around €4,50) We took the Rigi Train all the way up the top and as stupid as I was, I didn’t bring any hiking boots. God, I really needed them because there was still a lot of snow at the top of the mountain. Tip: Have lunch place in the middle of Rigi Mount called Chalet Schild. Just opened, they serve homemade salads, soup, Swiss specialties and freshly baked pastries.

Travel blogger or not, when you stand here at 1700 meters above sea level, you’re gonna have yourself a cry-moment or two.

Hotel Rigi Kaltbad, Switzerland
Just chillin’ (OMG this view!)

Lunch at Chalet Schild, Mount Rigi, Switzerland
Lunch at Chalet Schild

From there the snow disappeared underneath our feet and we could walk on a straight path overlooking the lake of Lucerne. I had a moment of extreme gratitude and joy when I saw the view from here. It was so beautiful that I almost cried. This is the world’s true beauty. Everybody that comes here, is here to enjoy the nature of Switzerland and nothing more. 

Cry-moment #1
Cry-moment #1

Cry-moment #2
Cry-moment #2

After our 2 hour hike, we got back to the hotel to pick up our stuff and take the Rigi Train back down the mountain. We still had a few hours to kill so we decided to take a boat tour over the lake. Boat tickets are available from the ticket desks at the boat docks along the lake. You get a discount or even free travel if you own a rail pass. A ticket will cost you around €20,- and takes you from Vitznau to Lucerne and back. Our car was parked back in Vitznau so we needed to go back but otherwise it’s nice to spend a few hours in high end city Lucerne.

Boat trip over Lake Lucerne
The boat trip is well worth it

The last few days in Switzerland really took my breath away and just imagine it in a few months when everything is even greener! I can highly recommend to grab your car or train and visit Switzerland this summer!

Check our video about Switzerland!

Love,

Elke

Top 5 » Amazing Drone Photo’s

Drones are the shit right now. Amazing video’s and photographs are a result of the flying devices that have broaden our horizons when it comes to photography and film. We’re thinking about buying one and bringing it along our travels, what do you think?
Until then, we’ve selected 5 images made by a drone that really takes our breath away.

1. “Lost Island, Tahaa, French Polynesia”
This is our favorite drone picture by far. Nothing beats a deserted island with palmtrees right?

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Photo by Dronestagram

2. Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, Iceland
The waterfall with the difficult name is something we can look at forever. Shot with the DJI Phantom using a GoPro Hero 3 black.

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Photo by Don Pablo

3 . Snorkeling with sharks in the French Polynesia
Another beautiful shot made at the French Polynesia. Guess we need to book a ticket!

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Photo by Mike Gandouin

4.The cathedral of Maringa in Brazil
If you could fly, it probably looks and feels something like this. Ricardo Matiello wasn’t sure what his drone would photograph above the clouds of Brazil.
He was happy to discover a blue sky with incredible views.

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Photo Ricardo Matiello

5. A Male Elephant in Chobe National Park , Botswana
American Photographer Paul Souders used his DJI Phantom Vision 2+drone for this amazing shot, using a small remote in order to get close.


Amazing animal Drone shot
Photo by Paul Souders

Love,

Wander-Lust