8 x tips for an Amazing Citytrip to Leeuwarden

Especially in autumn and winter time it’s a big YES for me to plan some extra citytrips. Sometimes to refuel my energy level, sometimes to discover new places. For sure I love to book a ticket to a sunny far far away gem, but what about our own lovely homeland? Together with a friend I jumped into the car and drove to Leeuwarden! Bye bye hustle and bustle of Amsterdam, hello hello fresh air, calmness and…Fries suikerbrood #dontcountcalories. 

In 2018 Leeuwarden-Fryslân has been chosen as the cultural capital of Europe

What to do in Leeuwarden
Okay, Leeuwarden isn’t that big, but it has such a variety of activities for you. A short selection of my highlights:

Explore the North
Let’s kick-off with the cultural festival Explore the North. In 2018 Leeuwarden-Fryslân will be the cultural capital of Europe, so cool! And that, that means this city has a lot in store – click here to take a look what to expect in 2018. As a sneak peek for this happening, they recently organised Explore the North, whereby the historic city centre is used as a stage for music, literature, visual art and other creative excesses. Liked the concept to plunge into a super creative world. I got my eye on the masterclass of Chassol (The inspiring French all-rounder who makes albums with sounds of self-produced film material), the Noord Nederlands Orkest and the fabulous Friday night show of comic Meindert Talma. Although I have an art academy background, sometimes the artistic experiences were a little too whiny for me. It’s purely a matter of taste. Despite this I’m really looking forward to the cultural capital year 2018, go for it Leeuwarden! www.explore-the-north.nl

Explore the North
Explore the North in November. Photo by xannevera

Street art tour Leeuwarden
Another noteworthy tip is the street art tour. Great way to start your day, especially after a heavy breakfast. In 1,5 hours, you learn more about the interesting city background. I loved the fact the talk was a perfect combi of historical and temporary facts. Guide Henk Leutscher and his team make so much fun of it! Check it out: a Guide to Leeuwarden.

a-guide-to-leeuwarden-street-art-tour-saskia-van-uylenburg-by-klaas-lageweg
Street art Leeuwarden style, love it!

Hemrica House of Flowers Leeuwarden
This flower, fashion and interior shop in one surprised me completely. It wouldn’t be out of place in Amsterdam. Lots of trendy stuff to pamper yourself, be prepared shopaholics!

Leeuwarden: a natural beauty
And if you want to escape the city for a while, please, please, please explore the raw and wonderful natural surroundings of Leeuwarden! Next time, I definitely want to have a pitstop there.

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Where to eat in Leeuwarden

Roast Leeuwarden
Must-try hotspot Roast Leeuwarden. Located in the middle of the city centre, this recently opened cozy lunch, dinner and drink spot is one to remember. Really like the fact they’ve put together a very diverse and continually changing menu for every budget. Their signature dish: chicken. But no worries veggies and vegans, there’s also so much appetizing food for you. I ordered the tender bavette with lots of colours on the side and – for sure – the chocolate overloaded dessert, which were both so yummy. Oh, and they’ve got two really cool tables with table taps, a perfect way to trigger your inner bartender haha! roastleeuwarden.nl

Laura en de chef
Another spot which was highlighted to me was Laura en de chef. This breakfast and lunch hotspot just works with fresh ingredients and is figuratively allergic for E-numbers and other chemical stuff. I ordered a well-filled French toast and a fresh juice, you got me! www.lauraendechef.nl

laura-en-de-chef-leeuwarden
Sit back and enjoy @ Laura en de chef

De Neushoorn
My guide Henk told me about this must-visit…and he was right. It’s kind of a magical and vibrant place where music meets dance meets film. Visit one of the performances or feel free to pop by for a laid-back beer.

Where to stay in Leeuwarden

Post Plaza
Last but not least, in case you’re thinking about a citytrip to Leeuwarden, definitely book a room at the charming Post Plaza****. They invited me to stay and for sure I said ‘yes’. To be honest, I’ve nothing but praise. Especially the hospitality and extravaganza wakey wakey breakfast with everything a sweet tooth with a bit of a sleepyhead wants …sugarbread. Do I need to say more?

Post Plaza, Leeuwarden
Hotel Post Plaza

Van Der Valk Hotel
We like this hotel because they have the BREEAM-NL certificate. This means that they are putting a lot of focus on being sustainable. For example, the heat from their restaurants is collected and re-used for the meeting rooms and kitchen. They hace also installed bee hotels and a harbour to maintain biodiversity. It’s also a great hotel for families with kids, due to the family rooms and possibilities. Book your room here!

Van der valk hotel Leeuwarden
Van Der Valk Hotel

Explore the Friesland region and Leeuwarden if you get the chance!

Love,

Sharmaine

*Sharmaine is one of our guest bloggers from the Netherlands with a sweet tooth. The sweeter, the better! She no kitchen princess so she’s always in search for the best hotspots in Amsterdam! You can expect an article from her once a month! Check her out on @sharriefromsandmountains!

11 Stunning Castles in Europe You Must Visit!

Castles. They are impressive, and have a historical story to tell. The castle popularity has risen over the years, since the start of social media, which is mainly because of their photogenic look. Time to check them out right? We’ve lined up 11 amazing castles in Europe that are worth your visit.

Neuschwanstein Castle
Probably the most famous castle in Europe, perhaps in the world. It looks like something out of a fairy-tail, and when you look at it, you might think that sleeping beauty is sleeping in one of it’s towers. It’s located near Füssen in southwest Bavaria in Germany, and it’s one of the most photographed castles around. It dates back from the 19th century, so it’s a wonderful historical building that looks amazing during all seasons.

Castle germany
Neuschwanstein Castle

They say living in a castle is objectively romantic, and we’re totally fine with that!

Pena Palace, Portugal
One of the most colourful castles in Europe! Therefore, it’s extremely popular with tourist, so difficult to snap a picture without people on it. @BARNADRIFT was one of the lucky ones who managed. Would love to know his secret! The palace is located on a hill and rises above a Portuguese town named Sintra. On a clear day, you might even spot it from Lisbon.

Pena Palace, Portugal

Craigievar Castle, Scotland
A pink castle, hello! We think this is the cutest castle we have seen so far. And who knew, it’s located in Scotland! It’s at least 400 years old, and the Forbes family generation lived here for 350 years until it was given to the National Trust for Scotland by William Forbes-Sempill. Fellow travel girl @ANANEWYORK made this incredible picture that was shared around the world.

Craigievar Castle, Scotland
Pretty pink Cragievar

Schloss Drachenburg, Germany
Yes, another castle located in Germany. Officially, this is not a real castle, but a private villa that has been build in a palace/castle kind of architecture. But who cares, it looks awesome!

Schloss
Reminds us of Disneyland!

A man’s home is his wife’s castle

Corvin Castle, Romania
This spooky looking castle is located in Hunedoara, Romania. It is one of the largest castles in Europe and figures in a list of the seven wonders of Romania, so they are very proud of it!

Corvin Castle, Romania
The princess and her castle.. by @varwarock

Peles Castle, Romania
Another castle in the land of Romania, but this one has a completely different look & feel. Situated in the green mountains of the Prahova County, this castle was built between 1873 and 1914. It’s now being used for events and tours. If you ever get the chance, have a look inside, because it looks incredible!

Peles Castle Romania

Gripsholm Castle, Sweden
Yes we love pink, so we had to add Gripsholm Castle on the list. Again, this castle looks very different that what you perhaps would expect. It’s surrounded by water, and located about 60km from Stockholm.

Castle
Gripsholm Castle by @mrbaging

Chateau de Chambord
France has many beautiful castles, but this one is by far the most impressive we think.

Chateau de Chambord
Photo courtesy of @rita1889

Mont Saint-Michel, France
It’s an Instagram favourite, the Mont Saint-Michel in France! It’s so popular, because you can photograph this castle in various conditions. When the water around Mont Saint-Michel rises, it looks completely different. Back in prehistoric days, the castle wasn’t covered by water, so overtime erosion reshaped the coastal landscape.

Mont Saint-Michel, France
Photo by @Jack_Anstey

Predjama Castle, Slovenia
This castle reminds us of a scene out of Lord of the Rings. The Predjama Castle is build in between a cave mouth, and has something mysterious about it. It’s in fact the largest cave castle in the world! It’s said to be more than 800 years old, and has a network of secret tunnels. You can also visit the cave itself, which is home to a lot of bats!

Predjama Castle in Slovenia
Lord of the rings?

De Haar Castle, Holland
And because we are Dutch, we felt we needed to highlight one of Holland’s prettiest castles, De Haar, in Maarsen. It’s pretty huge and a very popular wedding location! If you have a drone, you can see the total beauty, as it’s so widely spread over the premises.

Castle De Haar, Holland
Photo courtesy of @Arden_nl.

There you have it, 11 amazing castles you should definitely add on your bucketlist.

Love,

Elke

*Header Photo courtesy of @ANANEWYORK

These are the Top 10 Countries to Live in According to Expats

Expats are everywhere nowadays. Businesses expand abroad more than ever and like to bring in clever, hardworking foreigners who seek adventure and a change of scene. Expat Insider did some extensive research and looked at several topics such as; Quality of Life, easy to settle, personal finance, family life, cost of living etc. We also did some research ourselves by asking around in several Expat groups on Facebook, and these are the combined results!

10. Oman
This country may not come to mind immediately, but according to many expats around the world, it’s a good place to live. Oman is a safe country with a low crime rate, so it’s a particularly good environment to raise young children. Accommodation is usually included within an employment contract, which is also a big plus. Downside; it can be very very hot, so hard to move around.

oman

9. New Zealand
If you scoop around the internet, you see mixed results for New Zealand, and sometimes you don’t even find it in the top ten anymore, but we did a little of research on our own and discovered that many of you actually enjoy working in New Zealand. Yes, it’s expensive, but wages are good, the quality of life is (stunning nature for one!), and friendly people.

Expat Syndrome’ is a condition whereby many expatriates see mostly either the best of their own nationality and the worst of the locals, or see the opposite.

8. Netherlands (Amsterdam)
Everybody speaks English, there is a comfortable way of living and settling in is (fairly) easy. Those were some of the reasons why Amsterdam made it to the top ten. Downside; The Netherlands has one of the highest tax rates of Europe, but on the flipside, The country has also been ranked as one of the places where people are the happiest.


Amsterdam, still popular with expats

7. Costa Rica
It’s sunny, the people are friendly and life is easy according to expats around the world. Costa Rica is popular amongst expats, but they didn’t make it further up the list because they didn’t score very high when it comes to personal finance. If you live there it’s fine, but is it a place to make future plans? Many expats didn’t think so.

Costa Rica
We can see why people like Costa Rica

6. Denmark
No surprise that yet another Scandinavian country tops off a good-place-to-live list. Expats voted Denmark in the top three last year, and after talking to

5. Czech Republic (Prague)
Surprisingly, Prague scored poorly on settling in (such as making new friends, speaking the language), but scored really high on work-living and urban-living. Prague seems to be a great place to make a career, or at least use it as a stepping stone.

Bahrainis are very friendly and welcoming. Everyone speaks English.

Prague
Pretty Prague is doing pretty well

4. Mexico
It’s funny, because we keep hearing more and more people in our direct circle of friends, talking about moving to Mexico. Why? More than half of the people asked, give friendliness of locals highest rating. Cancún is the most popular city to live in, with Playa del Carmen and Tulum close behind. Mexico may not be the safest place, so people tend to be extra careful.

3. Ecuador
Surprise surprise, this country made a huuuuge comeback. We did hear that Equador was doing well a few years back, but dropped back in the list. Four out of five expats say that there is a good financial balance and that the way of living is good. (I’m sure the good weather also helps)


Pink walls in Ecuador

My favorite place to work and live would be on the Moon, coz humans are the worst living parasites. -Unknown Expat

2. Taiwan
Coming in at number 2 is Taiwan! Most expats asked, rated this country as having good healthcare, job security and quality of life.

Taiwan City
Taiwan from Elephant Mountain

1. Bahrain (Manama)
It’s a clear winner! In case you don’t have a clue; Bahrain is located just above Quatar and part of the Arabian Gulf. It’s capital, Manama, scores really good on urban work life. The city shows generally good results in both the Job & Career and the Work-Life Balance subcategories of Expat Insider. It’s also a popular place to live for expat families.

So there you have it, the Expat top 10! What’s your favorite place to work and live, and why?

Love,

Wander-Lust

 

Flevoland » Relax & Unwind in The Netherlands

Get lost in 56 km of untouched nature, stand face tot face with wild animals during a safari or survival on a deserted island. I’m not talking about Kenya, South-America or Sri Lanka. Adventure awaits and it may be closer to home than you think. Actually, for Dutchies not even a two-hour car ride. You can find it in the Oostvaardersplassen in Flevoland, the youngest province of the Netherlands. 

Flevoland nature

Nature
The polder was created in the center of the country, where the Zuiderzee used to be. Officially established in 1986 and already an attractive residential and recreational area with a growing number of inhabitants. Let me take you on a virtual tour through the largest artificial island in the world. Not only humans enjoy the wide marshlands and pristine grasslands of the Oostvaardersplassen. It’s also a paradise for birds, Konik horses and deer. You can spot these wild animals and many others during a safari or together with the local forest ranger. There are also special cycling and hiking routes set around the area. More of an water person then an animal lover? With over 90.000 hectares of water, Flevoland is heaven on earth for sailors, fishermen and watersport enthusiasts. After all, Flevoland used the be the Zuiderzee so it’s not a big surprise. The remaining water consists of the IJsselmeer, the Markermeer and the Randmeren. You will find modern marinas and various possibilities of all kinds of water sports to explore the wild (and not so wild) waters of Flevoland. For example, rent a Catamaran at Sail Today for physical action or take a trip on a Rib Boat to enjoy the water at the speed of light (of at least, it feels that way).

Nature in Flevoland

Flevoland Harbor

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Tip » Do you prefer a spot on the front row and are you not afraid of heights? Experience the Oostvaardersplassen, LandArt and BataviaHarbor from a small air plane. Book your flight here.

Flevoland from above
Flevoland from above

Culture
Do you like art and architecture? Flevoland has many exhibitions, festivals and special buildings. You don’t even have to go to a museum to check out the artworks. Seven of the eight Lands Arts Works that the Netherlands have to offer are hidden in Flevoland. In place you didn’t expect, in the middle of the landscape. They created a car and bike route along the different Land Arts Works, a great way to discover Flevoland.

Art in Flevoland

Tip » Getting hungry? Enjoy freshly caught fish at Restaurant de Kaap in Urk, a traditional and characteristic fishing village in the northwest of Flevoland. The village used to be an island and still has its own dialect and way of living. When you’re there, don’t forget to check out the small monumental houses, cozy squares and beautiful harbor.

Where to Sleep
Go back to basics in a tipi on the desert island De Kluut or spend your night underneath the starts on Camping Raft in the midst of the beautiful, rugged nature of the Stille Ken in Zeewolde.
My favorite place to sleep is at Netl, the wildest garden, in the north of Flevoland. Beaches, natural playgrounds, bamboo jungle, 18 hole pitch & putt golf course and cozy beach pavilion; the perfect place break and balance your daily routines. Sleep at the campsite or in one of the unique accommodations, for example the sea container or Pipowagen.

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One of the accommodations in Netl

Verdict
Flevoland is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the beauty of nature close to home. A 50-minute car ride from Amsterdam brings me to a whole other world, far away from the buzz from the city. Summer dress and flipflop weather is not guaranteed unfortunately, but the landscape and tranquility brings a valid holiday vibe (even when it rains). And beside that, just imagine how romantic it would be to sleep underneath the stars in the middle of a lake…

Love,

Eva

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!

Stay in a traveling Hotel at special locations

Are you looking for an unique and unusual special place to stay?
Camping in the middle of the city without having to bring your own tent, able to use the building as your own living environment but also sharing spaces with other guest, that is what Emmy Polkamp created. She designed traveling hotel to house guests during festivals or other cultural events: To Many Places, a nomadic Pop-Up Hotel.

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‘Why stay in one city with your while you can re-use empty buildings and give them a new purpose instead of having them empty’

The Concept:
The guests get the opportunity to stay in designer tents which are located on special locations. The traveling hotel already gave a special place to sleep in an old feed mill to the visitors of the festival Boulevard and was the hotel also being found in an old coffee-roasting factory. This year a select group of DDW-visitors can sleep in this traveling hotel. This time it’s not in an old factory, but in an authentic chapel, located in the Center of Eindhoven. YES PLEASE!

It’s a simple but well thought-through concept that brings the visitors of the DDW together into an intimate and social atmosphere. This unique experience definitely fits the concept of the Dutch Design Week. The tents offer single- or double rooms with its matching facilities. Back to basic, but with the needed additions to create a nice and relaxed setting. The luxury breakfast in the mornings makes sure you have enough energy to start your new day!

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About Emmy:
She graduated in the year of 2015 from Design Academy Eindhoven with the concept for her nomadic hotel named To Many Places.

‘I am thinking of a world in which we all work together.
Each from his own strength,were we work with what is already there and invent new solutions around it.’

Timing:
Between the 22th and 30th of October you can sleep on this unique location with the stunning view over Eindhoven.

Find ‘To Many Places’ on Airbnb or email Emmy directly via emmypolkamp@gmail.com to secure a spot!

Love,

Sarah

Blooming Beach is open!

A few months ago I had a great experience at Blooming hotel in Bergen, Netherlands. The hotel is situated near the village of Bergen and owns eleven hectares of dunes. I slept there twice and both experiences were very good so I was happy to discover that they have opened a beach club recently! I’m a total beach girl so when I received an invite for the opening, I couldn’t wait to put my toes in the sand and discover it!

Blooming Hotel
You can expect all sorts of guest here. From a business trip to romantic days or a girls weekend away, you will find it here. They offer 128 spacious rooms with most of them overlooking the garden or nearby forest. All rooms have free wifi (yes, it’s important) and the beds feature a CocoMat mattress, giving you the feeling of nature. This is exactly what Blooming is about. Feeling one with nature, refreshed and energized enough to explore the surroundings.
Hotel restaurant “Vigor” is also very good and they use ingredients such as truffel potatoes and vegetables from their own organic garden! You can enjoy a large breakfast buffet in the morning to get you going. There is a small swimming pool and sauna which guest can use free of charge. 

Blooming Hotel Entrance
The funky entrace at Blooming Hotel

Blooming Hotel room
Sleeping like a baby on CocoMat

Near Blooming hotel
Grab one of their bicycles and enjoy the stunning Dutch landscape

Blooming Beach
6km from the hotel you will find Bergen aan Zee, the towns beach. It’s about a 30 min bicycle ride and you can use the bikes from the hotel. Blooming never sits still and they are always looking to add a little extra something to their impressive portfolio. So they’ve opened a beach club called Blooming Beach! Now, don’t mistake this beach club with the loud beach bars in Bloemendaal. No, this place is perfect for that sunny afternoon with a glass of wine in your hand. Put your toes in the sand or jump in the hot tub (yes, they have one!) while you smell the sea and the delicious food from the restaurant. Like the hotel restaurant, the vegetables also come from their organic garden and are served on your sandwich during lunch and for dinner you can enjoy the vegetables with different kind of summer dishes. Blooming beach has opted for the shared dining experience which makes this a beach club great for friends, couples and families. I was at the opening and although it was full of people at the time, I felt totally relaxed. I definitely will be back with my girlfriends this summer  and enjoy a coffee, wine, lunch and yes, the hot tub!

“Relax and enjoy the blooming experience this summer”

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Where Wander-Lust will be this summer

food at blooming beach
Healthy bites at the Blooming Beach Opening

Blooming hotel
Duinweg 5, Bergen

+31 (0)72 5820520
Website

Blooming Beach
Parkweg 37, Bergen aan Zee
bloom@weareblooming.com

Love,

Elke

These are the best places for After Work Drinks in Amsterdam

‘Wanna grab a drink after work?’ You’re colleague asks you. ‘Sure, love it, let’s go? Where?’ Eh…
No more stress on where to go after work peeps. The list is here. These are the best places for after work drinks in Amsterdam!

Amsterdam West
Let’s start with the best side 😉 Just kidding but the Westside seriously has some of the best after work spots at the moment. Our favorites are by far:

Schermopname (69)

– Kevin Bacon
Named after the badass Hollywood actor this hotel bar near The (food)Hallen serves great cocktails and offers outside seating. www.hotelnothotel.com/kevin-bacon
– Staal (across from the world fashion center)
Recently opened under a new name and owner, this place is perfect for everybody that works in or around the World Fashion Center in Amsterdam. During the day you can drink coffee, eat lunch but at night you can enjoy a dinner with good tunes with a DJ on Fridays. Good news: they will open their terras soon! www.staal.bar
– Mossel & Gin
It’s not new but it’s still great for Gin & Tonics with a good bite. Situated next to the Westerpark, you can enjoy hip hop tunes and their large garden during spring and summer. www.mosselengin.nl
– Floor 17
Part of the Ramada Apollo Hotel, you can enjoy the awesome views of Amsterdam whilst sipping on a cocktail. Their rooftop bar is great during spring and summer!
www.floor17.nl

best after work drinks Amsterdam

Central Amsterdam
This is the party center and this can be a bit touristy sometimes so we’ve picked a few where you will find a lot of locals too!

Schermopname (70)

– De Bierfabriek
It’s called the beer factory and not without reason! They brew their own beer and serve some great food too! Great in and outside. www.bierfabriek.com
– Art Deli

When art and drinks come together! Read our review here. www.art-deli.com
– Mr. Porter at the W Hotel

Great for impressing your colleagues from work! The best view of central Amsterdam and a rooftop swimming pool. Yeah we like it.
Read our review here.
– De Waterkant
They came and concurred last year and this summer they will be back just as hard! Overlooking the Amsterdam canals, this is the place to be if you like a laid back
atmosphere, beers and wine. www.waterkantamsterdam.nl
– Vesper Bar
Don’t go here for beers but check out the cocktails. In 2012 they were voted the best cocktail bar in Amsterdam! They have a capacity for about 40 people so don’t bring the whole office! It’s great for catching up while sipping on your favorite cocktail.
 www.vesperbar.nl

After work drinks in Amsterdam

Amsterdam South
We have 2 different kinds of south in our hometown. The high end (the sometimes snobby) side and the hip & trendy side! We prefer the hip & trendy and therefore we’ve selected these after works drinks:

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-SNCKBR
Loving this place! Just opened, this spot is a healthy snackbar with cocktails to die for! Open until 3am, it’s perrrrfect for dinner and after work drinks.
Read our review here.
– Vondelpark 3
It’s officially south but I would call it more central because it’s in the famous Vondelpark. Last summer they re-opened after a renovating break and changed their name. The food and drinks are great but the view is even better. The ultimate people watching spot! www.vondelpark3.nl
– De Vondeltuin (Vondelgarden)

You will find all sorts of people here. Single parents, couples with children, friends and colleagues. They all come here when the sun is out. www.devondeltuin.nl

After work drinks Amsterdam South
Vondelpark3, De Vondeltuin and SNCKBR

Amsterdam East
The Eastside is booming and new joints are opening by the month. What’s good? Well, these:

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– Volkshotel
This hotel has 3 area’s you can choose from; The workplace (for coffee, meetings and laptops), the rooftop called Canvas and Doka (in the basement) for late night drinks. This means you can spend all day here!
www.volkshotel.nl
– Bar Bukowski
If you’re an expat, this is where you will find the locals. A no nonsense place to drink coffee, eat lunch or dinner and have drinks. It’s not central but it’s great and you can hire the place if you ever want to throw an office party. www.barbukowski.nl
– De Vergulde Eenhoorn
You need to know where to find this place but once you have, you won’t leave for a couple of ours, especially when the sun shines. They are planning a beer fest this summer so grab your co-workers and enjoy their massive outside terras! www.verguldeneenhoorn.nl
– Hanneke’s Boom
I used to live in a boat just around the corner and moved just before this cool summer joint opened. I say summer joint because it’s best during these months. Near the central station (walking distance) but overlooking the water and so so good for after work drinks. www.hannekesboom.nl

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Bukowski, Hanneke’s Boom and Cocktail at Vesper

Amsterdam North
You may think this part of Amsterdam is too industrial for after work drinks but you’re so so wrong. People come from all parts of the city to visit these cool after work spots!

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– Pllek
Last year is was difficult to find a place to sit and we expect this year to be no different. They are always expanding so don’t let that fact hold you back! Put your toes in the sand and experience the holiday feeling you normally get on the beach. www.pllek.nl
– Cafe Ceuvel
It’s one of the most sustainable urban places in Europe and a great place to meet up with friends after work. There is a divers musical program and healthy organic food options. Go in spring and summer for the best experience. www.deceuvel.nl
– Sir Adam in the A’DAM Toren
Get ready for the coolest place to be this summer. After a long wait, the old shell tower (next to the Eye Amsterdam) will open and with it some cool brands, businesses and the Sir Adam hotel will move here including a beer garden and cocktail bar. Keep you posted on this one! www.adamtoren.nl

Amsterdam Toren
The Amsterdam Toren will be the hottest ticket in town this summer

Plenty places to choose from I would say!

Cheers!

Elke

More Amsterdam? Check here for our Amsterdam Guide!

Amsterdam Guide

Top 5 » Countries to live in (if you ever think about moving)

If you’re planning to leave your hometown and find your luck somewhere else then you should check this list.
What countries are best to live in if you want to live abroad? 

1. Australia
This country has it all. Beaches, Rain forest, Cities and even a Desert. Besides that, the temperature is always good and the Aussi life is easy to adapt to. 4 out of 5 expats say that it’s easy to become acquaint to the Aussi life. No health issues, good food (a lot of choice!) and a buzzing nightlife is what makes this country so popular to live in. Besides that, Australia is one of the safest countries to live in because of their water tight immigration rules. 
The only downside is, that it’s very difficult to get a permanent visa. In order to get one, you need a company by your side, an Australian husband or next of kin family. But who are we to stop you? You can always visit Australia on a working holiday visa or as a student. Check here for more tips and stories about Australia.
www.australia.gov.au

Australia is one of the best countries

2. Ecuador
This country has been on top of the list for the last 2 years (according to Forbes) and we understand why.
Low cost of living combined with strong real estate values, makes this place very attractive to live. Ecuador has lovely scenery, secluded beaches and lovely temperatures. The food is amazing and even at a high class restaurant you won’t pay more than 50 euro’s for 2 people. (drinks included!)
www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/ecuador

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“More people living in other countries than ever, says UN study”

3. Denmark
Crazy but it has zero crime rates, murder, no corruption, and stability in economic growth, quality life, etc. All these things made it as one of the best, happiest and safest countries to live in the world. Nearly 18 weeks of paid leave is given to mothers and 79 percent of women are working which is comparatively higher than other countries. People in this country are more concerned about their environment and they follow excellent health care system. Let’s move to Denmark!
www.denmark.dk

Volunteer Work in Denmark
Source: www.oneworld365.org

4. Sweden
Another Scandinavian country. This time it’s Sweden.  They just introduced a 6 hour working day so if that doesn’t already makes a person happy, you should read on. They give you 16 months of to spent that time with your newborn baby, so it is the best place for women where they get safety and they can see their child grown up. Besides this, you can breath fresh air and visit amazing beautiful places.
www.sweden.se

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5. The Netherlands
Now, I know what you’re thinking but no, we didn’t just add our homeland onto this list for no reason. Our education and healthcare is top notch and the Dutch enjoy the ultimate freedom of speech. You can bring your lovely dog pretty much everywhere and everybody speaks English. If you ever decide to move over to The Netherlands, drop us a line for some inside tips! 🙂
www.government.nl

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Love,

Elke

 For more Top 5 treasures check:

Terschelling » going Back to Basic

2 weeks ago I played the tourist in my own country. I took the boat and went to Terschelling.
Terschelling is an island just North of the Netherlands. From Amsterdam it takes about 3,5 hours to get there (1,5 hours by car and 2 hours by boat, depending on which ferry you take.)

Most visitors rent bicycles and leave their car on mainland. The island is about 30km long and contains of at least 80{8b669be72a7f340f9ef2d6d852585cd40ddf0e79ccf763f3ea93c1234c3d888b} of nature reserve so why bring your car right?
Terschelling is the largest and just one of 5 islands in the Netherlands where visitors love to go to spend some time at the beach and sand dunes.

I’d been to Terschelling once before, when I was about 12 years old, on a schooltrip. Last weekend was a new experience for me though. I went back to basic and stayed at a sheepfarm called “de Zeekraal“.
There was no electricity and… no wifi, which means that it was back to basic and I must say, I really liked it!

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Outside breakfast with super fresh eggs was one of the highlights! 

This sheepfarm is perfect for families and people that want to escape the busy city life (and that was exactly the reason why I went there.) At de Zeekraal you sleep in large tents (45 square meters) that accommodates about 5-6 people . There are 2 bunkbeds, one double bed and one traditional “beddenstee” which was my favourite!
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Handmade bunkbeds and a traditional “beddenstee”

The toilet is somewhat special (a flat wooden seat) but flushes like a normal toilet, so that’s better then I expected! For a warm shower, you must walk about 2 min to the entrance of the farm where you can pick one of three showers. Just keep pressing the button in order for water to keep on running! Across the showers you can chop your own wood used for the heater which you can also use for cooking.
The nearest supermarket was only a 10-minute bike ride away and the ice elements the friendly owners give you, keep your groceries cold.

The tents heat up quickly and keeps it that way for a long while which makes it a perfectDon’t expect to have the longest lay in as the nature sounds will wake you up as all sorts of animals like sheep and birds start to make noise in the early hours.

tent-huisje
Source: De Zeekraal

How much does it cost?
The tent I stayed in was about 300 euro’s at sleeps 6 persons for the whole weekend.
Beware that prices may go up in July, August & Sept
Terschelling isn’t cheap but if you do your own grocery shopping you should be fine with about 15-20 euro’s per day.

For more info check:
De Zeekraal
Oosterend 17 Terschelling
tel: 0562-449278
http://www.dezeekraal.nl/

Love,

Elke