I’m always open to new things when it comes to travel so when I heard about this camping in Germany where you could sleep in a wine barrel, I got pretty exited. It all started when I planned a visit to my sister, who lives in the south of Germany. It takes about 7 hours to drive there as she lives near the black forest, close to Switzerland. So why not make a stopover? Germany is a beautiful country full of hills, cute towns and nature parks. But when I stay somewhere, I want it to be something special, something I haven’t done before. This is when Camping Rissbach caught my eye.
The Camping You love it or you hate it. Campings. I use to camp with my parents since the age of 3 but we did it in Greece which is nothing compare to a Dutch camping where everything is well organized. No, we did it back to basic style so I don’t have a lot to compare with. My boyfriend loves camping so I thought it would be nice to surprise him with something special. The camping I choose was perfectly situated between Amsterdam and my sisters house in Germany. After a 4 hours drive we arrived at Camping Rissbach, situated perfectly next to the Moselle river which flows through France, Luxembourg, and Germany. The camping exist 10 years and is run by a Dutch family. The atmosphere is relax and laid back. Like all campings, you can bring your own caravan, tent or camper. But this camping is extra special because of their luxe glamping options. Sleeping in a Wine Barrel.
Sleeping in a Wine Barrel I booked a XXL Wine Barrel to sleep in and it was so cool! The Wine Barrel has everything you need. A fully functional toilet, washing sink, table, refrigerator, a 2 persons bed and the possibility to make 2 extra beds. I felt like a total gypsy sleeping in here! There are 4 XXL Wine Barrels available and 6 normal size. The normal size barrels don’t have a toilet and only one entrance instead of 2. The Wine Barrels are all stationed alongside the river which is a great way to wake up! You can get freshly baked bread at the campings bakery and have breakfast in front of your accommodation.
There are 4 XXL accommodations available to rent and 6 normal size
Sleep tight..how romantic!
The Area Traben-Trabach is a great area for cycling and walking. I really don’t think hiking is just for “older” people. Raised in a country without hills or mountains, I love hiking! Moselsteig is the area’s most lover hiking trail. At 365 km, it’s voted as the most beautiful long distance route in Germany. I only managed to walk a very short part of it due to lake of time but I did walk up to the old fortress (which was a pretty steep climb!) From here you have a beautiful view of the Moselle river and area. You can book a walking tour via camping Rissbach. Pauze for a coffee and enjoy the view of the many wineries. Yes, Traben-Tribach is full of them! This place is renowned for the steepest wineries in the whole of Europe. There are many wine cellars and wine tastings all year round and I was so lucky to witness such an event during my stay. All the wine farmers around the area showcasing their best wines and I got to taste it? Sleeping in a wine barrel fits quite well don’t you think? If you want something traditional you should eat at Zunft Shüne restaurant. It’s like walking into a museum with hundreds of attributes and different rooms. Walk towards the village past the Moselle river to get there in 15-20 minutes.
Restaurant Zunft Shune
Tasting wine, dinner at Zunft Shune and the view of the Moselle river
Stop at the fortress for a coffee
After a steep walk you are rewarded with this view (with the wineries on the right)
Curious to see what this part of Germany has to offer? Book your stay in a Wine Barrel here!
As a traveler, you always have a few things on your bucketlist that NEED to be done. These could be destinations, but also experiences. Most people would agree if I said that taking a camping roadtrip with an old Volkswagen Van would be one of them. 2 years ago I was so lucky to cross it off my bucketlist! Camptoo, the Airbnb for campers and mobile homes, asked me to take an oldtimer Volkswagen T2 for a little roadtrip.
What is Camptoo?
It’s too easy to compare Camptoo with Airbnb but it’s really the best comparison to make. It Basically works like this; most mobile-home owners only use their ride half the time so it just sits there, in front of their garage. Camptoo makes it possible for those owners, to rent out their camper. Take a look on their website and select the camper you want, for how long and for which date. As a result you get several options and all you need to do is to pick your favorite and send the owner a message. Finally you will see which camper is available and if they’ll accept your request.
After a quick check up, we were handed over the keys and headed on our little adventure.
Once accepted you will receive a confirmation email plus a text message. I picked a beautiful Volkswagen T2. Not really knowing what to expect, me and my family drove down to her house where Nicole explained everything we needed to know about her precious ride. Camptoo makes sure that you are all-risk insured and you pay a deposit to cover yourself for any damages along the way. Just make sure to have your travel insurance sorted. After a quick check up on damages and details, we were handed over the keys and headed on our little adventure.
I was worried about the cold, would the rain drip inside? What if the van breaks down?!
The first thing I noticed is that driving a car like this get’s a lot of attention. A lot. People waving, throwing up peace signs or giving you a thumbs up out of respect. Pretty cool. We decided to drive to The Ardennes, an area with hills and greenery and lot’s of adventurous roads. From Limburg we had about 2 more hours to go and we found this amazing camping online called Les Cabanes De Rensiwez. Here you can camp but also rent the most amazing lodges such as treehouses, Norwegian style cabins and hobbit-like-houses. Our campervan included a little kitchen with a stove so we could prepare dinner and make some tea. No camping adventure is complete without a little thunder storm and boy did we have one on the first night! It rained and rumbled for about 3 hours but it just made the whole experience even more special and cozy. TIP: Bring your own pillows for comfort and a (extra) warm sleeping bag as it get’s very cold at night even during summer. Many camper owners have blankets available but they can be too thin for your liking.
Yep, this is soo me!
A breakfast basket brought to our camper
The next we drove down to a special place called the Jan Foppen Forest. This is a small forest on top of a hill where you can do crazy survival stuff like abseiling, climbing, paragliding, horse riding and much more. Definitely check out this spot if you’re heading to the Ardennes.
Our VolkswagenT2 at the Foppen Forest
On our last and final day we really got to drive through small towns where we stopped if we saw something nice such as a little Sunday market or a beautiful viewing point. The Van had to be brought back to its owner in the early afternoon so we decided to sleep at a camping in Limburg, near the Belgian border. This camping was very modern and even had a swimming pool, restaurant and beautiful forest nearby to walk in.
We stopped at La Roche, a town visited by many cyclist
A dream come true. honestly. Ok, I didn’t have a lot of sleep like I would have in a 5 star hotel but that’s not what camping is about. Camping and especially, camping in an oldtimer, is about the magic of it. The adventure without knowing where you will sleep the next day and to follow your own path. I felt like a true nomad and besides that, the whole thing was so well organized from beginning to the end.
If you’re not Dutch and you are visiting our country on the 26th/27th of April, you’re in for a treat.. Kingsday 2019 (previously called Queensday) is a true happening in the Netherlands. First of all, we celebrate the Kings birthday and everybody gets a day off work. Secondly, there are a large number of flea markets. It’s all happening throughout the country but the city of Amsterdam is probably the biggest when it comes to selling “stuff” on the streets and organizing cool parties.
Kingsday in Amsterdam last year
Afterwork Kingsnight Edition at Bar Lely When? 26th of April from 6pm till 3am Bar Lely serves traditional Dutch Frikandelen and oysters. The in house Bar Lely DJ will play some disco-funky tunes until late..
Friendzone Kingsnight When? 26th of April from 10pm -4am Line-Up: Abstract / Lee Millah / Sergio Obergh / Jereno Joël / Alain Kuipers / Godzenzonen. Tickets are €16,- at the door.
Kingsnight at Le Patron When? 26th of April 6pm – 1am This year they host a Dutch night with many Dutch sing along numbers. The Line up? Quincy Schellevis, Danilo Kuiters, Robert Leroy Danny Plezier. Entree is free and the beers are cold!
P. King (restaurant) Kingsnight and Kinsgday When? 26th of April 7pm – 1am / 27th of April 12pm – 8pm Probably the best Kingsnight & Kingsday street party in Amsterdam if you ask us. For the last 10 years, this is the place to be on the corner of the Vijzelstraat & Herengracht. Deep house and techno makes this a yearly dancing event which attracts a large crowd. Be early or have a bad dancing spot. They also do a free party on Kingsday. for more info check: Facebook This is an outdoor event.
Oranjestad Kingsnight When?26th of April 10pm – 5am With 3 area’s this party is going to be a bang! DJ’s like Geza, Heartbreak, DIO and Yung Internet will perform. Ticketscost €20,- and are still available!
P.King on Kingsday
Best free parties on Kingsday 2019: » Westerstraat for beer, music and games. Outdoor » Vijzelstraat, in front of cafe P.King or Le Patron as mentioned above. Outdoor » Noordermarkt, Rewind & het Partyfeest, outdoor » 9 Straatjes, always a party! We love this neighbourhood during Kingsday. » King of the Jungle: de Tulp x Super Social, at Heineken Marieplein. In and outdoor » Koningsdag FISSA at Waterkant, Hip-Hop tunes overlooking the waterfront in the middle is Amsterdam. In & Outdoor » NDSM Vrijhaven, for a party called These GuysIndoor & Outdoor » Pllek in North Amsterdam for escaping the mass, live bands and cocktails. InfoInside and Outdoor » Koning Nieges – Baskèts / Jajem at Meneer Nieges. Enjoy a BBQ, cool drinks and lot’s of DJ’s. Info » Kingsday Westerpark and in particular at Mossel & Gin where the gin is flowing and the music is free. Outside » Anywhere alongside the canals of Amsterdam!
Best Kingsday 2019 paid parties: » Oranjebloesem at Olympish Stadion, is sold out but check ticketswap for last minute tickets. In and Outsidel » Loveland van Oranje (Techno) at Meerpark for 25 euro InfoOutdoor » Cartel Kingsday 2019: Indoor, Outdoor, Day & Night with 18hours of non-stop music. Tickets and Info. In and Outdoor
Best Flea markets on Kingsday 2019:
»Vondelpark (large and best flea market for children) » Jordaan (flea market along the canals for all) »Beethovenstraat (flea market for all in South Amsterdam) » Apollolaan is a huge street where you can walk for hours » IJhallen flea market at the NDSM (for children) Inside » Erasmus Park,with live music and food, from 10am » Westerpark, on the grass and anywhere else
Kingsday After Parties
» Audio Ubscura & Adriatique, Temp Amsterdam from 10pm, tickets. » The Breakfast Club at Bret from 7am till 6pm on the 27th of April. Tickets are €17,-
Nowadays, there is so much written about the negative environmental impact of traveling that it almost seems impossible to buy a plane ticket without experiencing any form of guilt. Yet -being a traveler by heart- I’ll be the last person on this (still) beautiful planet to discourage you to jump on that plane towards your next new adventure. In fact, I’m telling you exactly what you do want to hear. Go explore the planet, travel the globe and visit the places of your dreams, but we’ll have to make some changes. Cause while we’re all focusing on that perfect world on our Instagram feed, the real world is slowly drowning in our love for her beauty.
Sustainable travel One of those changes is putting sustainability on your holiday checklist. It’s the new IT-word that everybody talks about, but what exactly does it mean? I’ll teach you: Sustainability / Noun / [suh-stey-nuh-bil-i-tee] – the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance. Well, that’s what the dictionary says. To me, sustainable travel is being mindful to the economic, environmental, and cultural impact of travel. So it doesn’t necessarily mean we all have to stop traveling around the globe. By not traveling we will actually create far more severe complications. Many countries depend on tourism as a main source of income. Closing the borders will delay the spread of knowledge, economic opportunities and of course… shutting down the money flow.
It’s about making some smarter decisions that will allow earth to slowly recover to their original ecosystem. So let’s put the money where the mouth is: hereby I provide you with an easy to use guidebook to decrease your own ecological footprint.
Traveling Choose your way of travel consciously. There are thousands of articles on how to travel cheap and comfortable, but (please) put sustainability on your check-list as well. Paradise might be closer than you think. We go on 15 hours flights to discover the world while we haven’t even discovered our own country. Find a balance between traveling far and staying closer to home. There’s nothing wrong with being a tourist in your own country. In fact, I promise you it will be more fun than you think. Calculate the Carbon Footprint of your Flight. Living in the Netherlands, I can understand that it’s sometimes unavoidable to travel further away. Although I love our small, flat, cow-country, it would be pretty difficult to climb mountains here… not to mention getting a tan. But if you can’t stop the urge to fly, you ca compensate by paying for your CO2. Calculate how much you use via this website or book a flightthat immediately compensates your CO2 emissions. Also make sure you book your flights with an airline that recycles waste from food, beverages and paper.
At your destination Support the community you’re visiting by purchasing products from local suppliers. It’s better for the environment, supports the economy and it’s a great way to meet locals. Combine sightseeing with a workout: rent a bike or walk instead of hiring a car. The advantages are that you can stop whenever you want to take photo’s of the beautiful surroundings (or just a selfie cause the light is great). But moreover, you’ll work on your own health and the health of the globe. Go for an Eco accommodation. You can choose your hotel that gives you the chance to offset your carbon footprint when you make a booking. By choosing an Eco Resort, you also contribute to the local community. Organisations like Better Places make this possible. By the way, did you know trees can be planted with your donated money for example? Mi casa es tu casa. Treat your hotel room like it’s your own house: turn the lights and air conditioning off while leave your room. Eat vegetarian or vegan foods. Yes this is extremely sustainable. The production of meat and dairy causes more pollution than factories, flights and all traffic combined together. Eating vegetarian is also cheaper most of the time so it’s a win win situation!
Just as you explore the world, explore which of these guidelines work for you. They are all small steps, but small steps in de good direction. Combine them with your own ideas on how to decrease your ecological footprint and be mindful of your journey. Cause in the end we all want the same thing: make a contribution to a better world.
*Eva is one of our guest bloggers from Amsterdam. She’s a city girl who only leaves her heals at home when wearing a backpack. Living by the urge to be where she’s not, to explore, experience, fall and get up. You can follow her onInstagram.
Oh hello sunshine, nature, palmtrees and fresh coconuts! Are you planning (like most people we know) to visit the island of the gods, Bali? Here are some tips if you’re heading there for the first time.
Before you leave home
Visa and passport: in addition to a valid passport (which must be valid for at least 6 months) you also need a visa. You will receive this visa free of charge on arrival at the following international airports; Jakarta, Bali, Medan and Surabaya. You can stay in Bali for up to 30 days. Please note: arrival and departure days are counted and this free visa can not be extended. So if you want to stay longer than 30 days (and believe us, this happens), then you must arrange the visa before departure and make sure you have a return ticket, because that is mandatory.
Money: the currency on Bali is the Rupiah. Since banks are not everywhere and the exchange rate can fluctuate heavily, it is useful to exchange your money at the airport. Make sure you have enough money with you when traveling to a remote area.
Vaccinations: against Hepatitis A and DTP are recommended when you go to Indonesia on vacation. Fortunately, you do not have to take malaria pills in many areas; Bali and East and West Java are mostly malaria free. Check the map of malaria areas. And then you still have those annoying mosquitos. You do not hear them, but you do feel them! So it is handy to bring an anti-mosquito that contains DEET.
Kids Bali is a great place for those traveling with kids. Find out what you can do and what kids activitiesthere are with young children.
Suitcase or Backpack? Do you travel around for a long time and do you travel from place to place? Then we advise you to bring a backpack. There is often heavy-handed handling of your stuff and we have already experienced a few cases that go wrong. The disadvantage is of course that you can take less, but on the other hand you often take too much clothing, which is not necessary on Bali. Will it be a beach holiday and will you stay in a resort? Then a backpack is not necessary and a suitcase is very nice.
Packing tips In Bali you enjoy a tropical climate and the humidity can be high in some places. Some handy packing tips: 1. Pack as many light and cotton clothing as possible. 2. Bring along a long skirt and Sarong for when you visit one of the many temples. 3. Bring that hat! The sun is lovely, but nobody wants a sunstroke. 4. A one-suit is useful if you want to surf, it keeps your belly from getting scraped on the board. 5. If you are planning to go to Bali from December, then a thin rain jacket is useful.
Ready to surf?
Go check out » Dreamland Beach – the name says it all » Ubud – Rice Terraces, Healthy hotspots like Sari Organic and the Ubud Hanging Gardens resort (must see) » Canggu –Crate Café, Canggu-Desa Seni Yoga, The Chillhouse » Uluwatu – Rock Bar & Single Fin » Tanah Lot (just to take that one beautiful picture) » Nusa Lembongan, 30 min by boat – top for surfing
Better to avoid » Water from the tap. Buy your water in bottles and check if the cap is unopened. Drinking water safely? Then this thing is a godsend. Be careful with salads and peel the fruit well. Otherwise you might be more in the toilet than on the beach. » Petting dogs, especially when Although they look cute, their have been reports of rabies and Sarah got bitten last year and needed several injections. » Kuta. If you do not like mass tourism, avoid busy Kuta. Prices are higher, the food is not very tasty and the beach is a bit disappointing, mostly covered in plastic. However, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but we know that there are better places on Bali than Kuta.
Make a good deal whilst shopping for goodies
In Bali it’s normal to.. » Have your own ‘driver‘. This is a tip that you can certainly save money if you want to see the whole island. Learn a few words Balinese and make a clear arrangement with your taxi driver. If you do it right, he will drive you around for a fixed price. Use your good old intuition, but pay attention that he does not take you to all kinds of shops or tourist places where they might receive commission from. » Make some deals. It is a game between tourist and salesman, especially in the market you can play with the price. » Give tips. The friendly people in Bali are not very broad. Do they wear your suitcase or are you well helped? Give a nice tip. » Rent a scooter and explore the island. Make sure you always wear a helmet!
After traveling to Cebu, Bantayan Island and Bohol we flew to Palawan. I was anxious to see it because I had been daydreaming about Palawan for ages.
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?
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.
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.
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 villagegreat 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.
Eat in a treehouse at Ausan Beachhouse cottages. Source
Nearby Port Barton
It’s a long drive from Port Barton to El Nido, so if you have time break up the long trip with a stop at the gorgeous white sand Lumambong Beach halfway between the two.
»Lumambong Beach – This undiscovered gem is closer down by San Vicente, has a sparkling white sand beach and is completely undeveloped so you’ll have the whole beach to yourself. We’re excited to check out the Binga Beach Resort opening there soon with big glamping cabins right by the beach. It’s currently under construction and they are planning to open in April/May 2019.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
. 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.
Swing at the Duli Beach Resort (the beach is empty!)
Nice food at Nacpan Beach, 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!
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Newcastle is one of those forgotten cities in Europe that should get a little more deserved attention. It’s certainly not full of Geordie Shore stereo types as you might expect. Actually, the people are far more friendlier and open than you will find in London. This city has a lot of history and you can find many old industrial buildings around Newcastle that make it look really cool.
Book a Mini Cruise with DFDS The perception that cruises are just for old couples is long gone but that a cruise can be booked for just a weekend wasn’t something I knew much about. Last weekend I went on a 4-day mini cruise with DFDS. This Danish ship company has been around for 150 years and I booked a route that has been traveled for over 21 years now. Route IJmuiden to Newcastle and back. It takes about 15 hours to get across to England so the ship is equipped with shops, bars, restaurants, a cinema and even a casino area! The ships fits around 1400 passengers on board and you can book different accommodations from standard to deluxe suits. You don’t have to look far for food because there are about 4 different restaurants on board and a few cafe’s! Try the breakfast buffet at the Little Italy restaurant where you can get pancakes, fresh fruit and more. Tip » turn off your roaming as the data cost at sea are extremely high!
Dinner at one of the many restaurants, titanic moment and my cozy room
There is even a Wildlife Info Center on the ship and there is a guide available during the whale spotting season which runs from March to the end of September. There are several options when it comes to sleeping. You can book a standard room which fits 4 people or you can book a deluxe suite on the 10th deck which gives you a nice double bed and all rooms have a sea view. Such a Titanic moment! Bring some seasick pills just in case you can’t handle the rocking of the boat. On arrival you don’t have to wait for your suitcases or long lines for the passport control as you do at airports. That’s a bonus!
WHAT TO SEE & DO Once you’ve arrived in Newcastle, you will notice the old buildings and friendly faces. People grab thier breakfast and chat to each other, the vibe here is good. The ship arrives in the morning so you have a full day to explore! » Ouseburn Valley is an old industrial area which is now full of arts and craftsmen. Many old buildings remain which makes it a cool area to walk around in. It’s really up and coming. Pay a visit to the Organic Urban Garden and cuddle with the cows, pigs or bunnies. » Check out the Baltic Museum for contemporary art and see works from the likes of Damien Hirst. All museums in Newcastle are free of charge. » Walk over the many bridges of Newcastle, The Tyne bridge is the most famous one and was designed by the same company that build the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Although the Tyne bridge was actually finished 5 years earlier. The Millennium bridge is the newest one and won several designer prices for it being so energy efficiënt. When we bridge opens, it tilts and takes around 4 min. The bridge is only open for bicycles and pedestrians. » Go for a bicycle tour, we booked ours at The Cycle Hub which I can really recommend! (the place is also nice for grabbing a coffee.
There are so many monumental buildings in Newcastle, it sometimes reminded me of New York!
The view from the King Edward VII bridge, looking at the Tyne Bridge
WHERE TO EAT/DRINK » Let’s start with some good coffee and check out Laneway & Co for specialty coffee espresso. » Visit The Botanist for cocktails and very innovating food with a garden theme. Your starters are served in a flower pot and your mains in a small garden shovel. Crazy. It used to be a shopping center that never really did it for the crowd but The Botanist, now 2 years old, is always full of people and offers live music during the weekend. The interior is somewhat special with a large treehouse that also functions as a bar. Worth paying a visit! www.thebotanist.uk.com » Grab some tea and cake at Violets, a cute little cafe on Quayside. www.instagram.com/violetscafe » Go to The Tyneside Cafe when it rains, grab a movie and some all day breakfast and lunch in this cinema cafe.Website » The Herb Garden is a great place with an awesome decor on the ceiling plus great for healthy options. Their homemade pizzas with a crunchy thin crust are famous. www.theherbgardenuk.com
The botanist, The Herb Garden and poached eggs at Tyneside Cafe
WHERE TO SHOP Newcastle is also known for shopping. There are several shopping malls that have a lot on offer like Topshop and other big names. » Grainger Market is a inside market hall which dates back to 1835. People come here for food, small lunches, clothes, dairy and meat. You can find the smallest Marks & Spencers here. When you get the chance, look for the Pet Lamb patisserie for cakes and tarts. » On Sundays there is a market alongside the Tyne river, starting at the Tyne bridge right over to the millennium bridge where you can find local treats, handcrafted goods and clothes. Watch out for the old man at the end of the market as he sells everything with a sweet little lie and it’s hilarious to watch!
Sunday market alongside the Tyne
Cakes, Cakes and more Cakes at the Pet Lamb Patisserie inside Grainger Market
I think we probably slept at one of the trendiest hotels in Newcastle
MOTEL ONE I think we probably slept at one of the trendiest hotels in Newcastle and I really loved the look of it. The building has a historic feel to it with the bricks featured in the entrance. Although Motel One is a hotel group widely spread all over the world, this hotel felt cozy and boutique like. Rooms go for as little ad £59 which isn’t much for British standards. The breakfast buffet is good and the rooms are very comfortable. Book your stay here.
My tip on where to stay: Motel One
My verdict is that Newcastle is a city that’s perfect for a weekend with friends or your partner. You can go crazy if you like but if you’re a foodie and explorer like me, Newcastle won’t disappoint! Book your own minicruise at www.dfdsseaways.nl(select your language) and visit this vibrant city!
As the year comes to an end, it’s time for one of those lists that reminds us, that we are blessed to do this thing we call our job. We travelled far and wide, met new people along the way, and left with a suitcase full of new memories. Here are our best travel moments of 2018.
ISAN, Thailand International press trip, February 2018 This is by far Elke’s most memorable press trip of 2018. Because we were the first ever international media that had been sent to this region, it was even more special. Elke travelled side-by-side with people from Vienna, UK, Dubai, Romania, Germany and more. The trip took us across the North East region of Thailand, a less explored area, which means less to none tourists, a lot of culture, local food, and stunning nature. We visited several national parks, which included a canyon (San Phan Bok) that consist of thousands of holes, some filled with rainwater. To read the whole story check https://www.wander-lust.nl/off-the-beaten-track-isan-northeast-thailand/.
Our first trip as Wander-Lust Agency, Zarautz Wander-Lust Agency, September 2018 This summer, we launched our Wander-Lust Agency. Here we connect influencers to brands at a beautiful location. For our first trip, we took influencers @bentheliem and @elisebak. 2 lovely girls with a great style, which we connected to Loreal Biolage, Protest Women, Eastpak and Havaianas. We stayed at Zarautz Surfing Village and slept in deluxe tipi tents. During the day we surfed, explored the area and practised yoga. San Sebastian was only a short train ride away, so great for pincho’s, good coffee and shopping! Are you a brand or influencer that wants to collaborate? Send us an email: info@wander-Lust.nl.
Cruising across the French rivers, without a permit Testing Nicols Boats on the Saône river, July 2018 It was something we had never heard of before, but when Elke got the chance to cruise over the French rivers, and there was no sailing permit needed, she said yes immediately. “Nicols invite me to try it for one week. Cruising from Dole, all the way up to Port Sur Saône by boat. Or may I say yacht. It was huge! The boat they provided for us, was the Estivale Sixto. It had 3 bedrooms, 2 toilets, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen and a living area. Oh, and I forgot to mention the large sundeck big enough for 8 people. Instead of 8 people, me, my hubby and our child Caiden opted for the challenge”. Good news if you want to try this in Holland, Nicols is offering a Dutch route this year! More on that soon..Read the full experience here: https://www.wander-lust.nl/cruising-the-rivers-of-france-with-nicols-without-a-license/
A must try!
Coachella Festival Palm Springs, CA, April 2018 The festival of festivals. Coachella is everything you would expect it to be and more. It was Sarah’s 2nd time at Coachella, and it didn’t disappoint. With performances from Beyoncé (including Destiny’s Child!!), Dr Dré, Eminem, and many more, it was a week to remember. Will you go next year?
Greece Perdika, August 2018 As you guys know, we are big fans of Greece. It’s so stunning, the weather is perfect, the food is yummie and the people are warm and welcoming. Therefore we visit Greece at least every two years to recharge our batteries. Last summer, Elke visited Perdika for the 32nd time (yes, not a lie) to be at her best friend’s Big Fat Greek wedding. Do you want to know more about this part of Greece? Check https://www.wander-lust.nl/greece-explore-the-ionian-islands/
Wine Tasting with Campo Viejo North Spain, San Sebastian, September 2018 Campo Viejo is a Spanish wine brand that specializes in red wine that comes from the La Rioja region. If you live in The Netherlands, you may have seen their bottles in the Albert Heijn supermarket. Sarah and I are both winelovers, so you we said yes immediately. La Rioja is region located in North Spain and is renowned for it’s local wine industry. The climate is very different than that from Southern Spain, so therefore the wines also taste different. You can fly to Bilbao with KLM and it’s only a 2 hour flight. From there you’ll need to continue by car or bus, as it’s in the middle of the mountains. It was a great trip with lovely people and so much fun!
Club Med Cefalu Sicily, October 2018 We experienced the newly opened Club Med Cefalu in Sicily for 6 whole days! The all-inclusive members club is giving their guests the opportunity to relax in this 4 star coastal resort. Several pools, a gym, tennis court and three different restaurants. This place was heaven. Yes, it’s for the traveler that has a little more money to spend, but every dime is worth it. Sometimes you need to treat yourself a little bit, and Club Med is making sure you are treated just fine! (ok, maybe a lot more than fine). Elke also had the chance to explore Sicily which was awesome.
How about that for some of our best travel moments of 2018! And we are not finished yet.. Elke is flying to Malaysia and Koh Lipe this month, so stay tuned on Instagram.
What’s happening in the world of travel this coming year? A lot, if we believe Booking.com. They are predicting 8 travel trends for 2019 and we’ve lined them up for you.
1. Travel to learn For travelers, making meaningful trips is becoming increasingly important. More than half (56%) of travelers say that traveling has taught them new skills and insights. 68% of respondents want to participate in a cultural exchange and learn new skills, 54% indicate that they want to volunteer and 53% opt for international work placements. We can totally relate and traveled to Bolivia 2 years ago to report about women rights. It was incredible, tough and we learned so much.
2. As easy as possible In 2019, convenience will become the standard when it comes to technological innovations in the field of travel. The innovations that, according to travelers, will strike the most, are those who offer practical solutions for traveling with artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and speech recognition. Think of opening your hotel room with your smartphone or a robotic concierge who speaks the language of the guests. Crazy? Well, 57% of travelers are interested in solutions such as an app for real-time baggage tracking or one app that has everything for planning and booking their trip. In addition, 31% are interested in the idea of a ‘virtual travel agency’ in their living room, with for example virtual assistants with speech recognition who answer travel questions.
In 2019, a lot is going to happen in the travel world
3. Discover the unknown When it comes to traveling, we continue to push our boundaries and that includes space tourism. The travel industry and other companies will invest in tests with space travel on earth to make space travel possible. They meet the growing demand of consumers who want to take the big leap. 40% of travelers confirm that they think the prospect of space travel is fantastic, and would also consider this experience themselves (38%). Until space travel becomes reality, 60% of travelers opt for adventure below sea level.
4. The more personal, the better The generic travel guides are history and make way for shorter but personally relevant content. One third of travelers (34%) want “something” or someone to take the difficult work off their hands and provide them with travel recommendations: 41% would like companies in the travel industry to use technologies such as AI to provide travel suggestions based on on previous travel experiences. The personal is becoming increasingly important; individual recommendations are increasingly giving direction to each journey.
5. Awareness Travel In 2019, the social, political and environmental problems of a possible travel destination will be examined before travelers actually book: 48% of travelers think that social problems in a travel destination are taken into account when deciding on a visit. In addition, travelers are increasingly looking for new and authentic adventures, and want to be sure that they can travel safely – regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation. Platforms such as Destination Pride provide destinations with a score that allows travelers to see how LGBT + are friendly. 19% of travelers plan to visit a Pride festival in 2019, of which almost a third (30%) is between 18 and 34 years old.
6. Fight the plastic problem Millennials and Gen Z search for sustainability in their destination; looking for opportunities to use less plastic and to work more sustainably. More than a third (37%) is prepared to clean up plastic and other waste on a beach or other tourist attraction.
Surfer Julia van Rooij is fighting the plastic soup
Investing in sustainable start-ups is becoming increasingly important in 2019, because travelers who want to travel responsibly increasingly ask more critical questions about the sustainability of their destination and accommodations. This will lead to a number of new start-ups in the travel industry.
7. On the hunt for new experiences Two-thirds of travelers (60%) value experiences more than equipment. That is why ‘Doing’ when traveling becomes just as important as ‘going’, and perhaps even more important. There is no less pressure on life, and therefore experiences can help to strive for a less stressful existence. In 2019, two-fifths of travelers (42%) plan to visit a destination where they can feel carefree again.
8. Small is good More than half of the travelers worldwide (53%) say they plan to make more weekend trips in 2019. These small trips are characterised by the fact that more activities are planned in shorter times. ‘Less is more’ is the motto, and consumers swear by custom on these trips. Think of weekend trips, city trips or road trips.
Take a city trip to Budapest!
Pepijn Rijvers, Chief Marketing Officer at Booking.com says: “In 2019 a lot is going to happen in the travel world. Technological innovation continues, the world is increasingly connected and consumer demand for the best travel experiences is constantly growing.
It’s time for a baby shower because the Marriot Hotel family is welcoming a new member. Her name is Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon; a hotel created by business travelers, for business travelers. Consisting of 19 floors, 249 guestrooms and a 360° hypnotizing view. With her passionate personality, modern style and bubbly attitude she’s not only a valued addition to the Marriott chain but also to the city of l’amour & la moda; Paris
Courtyard meets Gare de Lyon No more green, grey and white: courtyard is completely restyled. The design of the hotel is spacious and professional. No frills or overly decorated rooms. What I personally appreciate is that they manage to give the hotel a creative twist, but still very functional, by using a lots of yellow. By using Mondrian like lines as a symbol for train tracks throughout the building, the hotel integrates the surrounding, where the famous station Gare de Lyon is based. Not only the interior of the hotel is brand new. This old office building is completely renewed to match the restyling. Also on the outside you can find train track inspired details, like the lighted lines which form a rail design over the length of the building.
It’s not only the beautiful Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon which will rejoice you looking out of the window. The hotel offers 46 rooms with Eiffel Tower view and 51 rooms where you can see the Sacré Coeur.
Everything that you need and nothing more By leaving out unnecessary luxury but only providing the standard necessities for a comfortable night sleep, Courtyard manage to offer quality for a lower price point. Simple and smart perfectly describes the room. The rooms have a modern design; clean and cozy at the same time which, for me, is the perfect combination. Because the strong focus on business travelers the rooms are also very suitable for catching up a few hours of work in between meetings (what I also should have done but the bed was too cozy so I took a power nap instead).
The lobby of Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon
In my opinion the room only had 2 downsides. ● They don’t offer room service, which is not possible for the current price point but still something you should take into account. ● The bathroom is really small. Very nicely designed, but small. This could also just be my room. And, alright, I’m 1,80m so it’s pretty easy to find something small but it took away some of the comfort 😉
International Food with a twist Francaise. The menu is a combination of authentic, seasonal local specialties mixed with international dishes. The whole hotel staff is very passionate about the qualities of the kitchen which was a great thing to see. They don’t just focus on providing the guests with a meal, they aim to provide an experience. The chefs work with a lot of local produce, offer vegetarian options and even grow their own herbs on the roof. This is not only beneficial for the seasoning but also a far more sustainable way to cook which I strongly promote. Craving some good-old comfort food? No worries, you can still find the hamburg & fries on the menu.
Tip: had un croissant or plateau de fromages too many? The gym in the hotel is open 24-hours.
Re-discovering Paris Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon is not directly in the touristic centre of Paris but just wait with ordering your Uber right away. This area, the geographic centre of Paris, is an upcoming neighbourhood and currently attracting many millennials. Big-hitting must-see sights such a Bastille and Notre Dame de Paris are within walking distance. In addition, the area is also a transport hub so if you do want to visit the other side of the city there are many travel possibilities.
Colourful Rue Cremieux
Tip: Enjoy Paris from the water during a cruise or increase your instagram likes by taking a photo of the colorful photography hotspot Rue Cremieux. Tip: Still got some energy left at the end of the day and want to jump into the nightlife? Wandering up towards Bastille you’ll find many bars but if you’re up for a new experiences, try LeCallbar. You’ll get your favorite drink served by a staff member only in underwear. Don’t ask me why.
The most important question after visiting an hotel is: would I visit the Courtyard again? For me, it is a definite yes. The main reasons are the comfort of the rooms and functional but creative design of the hotel. It’s the perfect place for a business trip or even sightseeing weekend. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to wake up standing eye to eye with the Eiffel Tower?
Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon 209-211 Rue de Bercy, Paris Website
*Eva is one of our guest bloggers from Amsterdam. She’s a city girl who only leaves her heels at home when wearing a backpack. Living by the urge to be where she’s not, to explore, experience, fall and get up. You can follow her on Instagram.