Vergina: The historic hotspot of Greece

Vergina, a small town in northern Greece, will surprise you with historic treasures.

The town became more famous after the important archeologic discovery’s of Mr Andronikos in 1977. He found the skull of Phillip II with a damaged right eye which indicated that he was hit with an arrow. You’ll learn a lot more when you get a guided tour in one of the many archeologic museums Vergina has to offer.

How To Get There!
If you want to stay for a more than a week, plan your stay in Thessaloniki. Vergina has a lot to offer but after a couple days, you’ll be done with all the history and museums. Then it’s nice to get some city-life and enjoy a cocktail or two. It’s easy to get to Vergina from Thessaloniki with a rental car. It takes about an hour and a half. 

Tip: take a detour en route and spot the lovely lunch places with an amazing view of the Techniti Rimi Lake.

Vergina

Get Historical
Make sure not to miss the Museum of Royal Tombs of Aigai. Here you’ll find the grave of Phillip II and Alexander IV of Macedon. The guide told us a lot of complicated stories about their death, marriages and traditions. For example, one of the wives of Phillip II was buried in a chamber next to him in the tomb. Where she came from, it was a tradition to follow the husband into the grave. And so she gave up her life.

Vergina Greece

You can park the rental car next to this museum. The museum is open on Monday from 12:00 to 20:00 and on Tuesday till Sunday from 08:00 to 20:00. A normal ticket is €12. Unfortunately, I was not allowed to take pictures in the museum.

Get Local
If you want to stay the night in this small historic town, I recommend hotel Esperides. The owner (Mr Mantsios) is a lovely host and most of all: an amazing chef! Usually, he doesn’t serve dinner at the hotel, but if you smile friendly and ask nicely you might have a chance. At least don’t miss his homemade olive breadsticks and plum jam during breakfast. This hotel also includes a small spa with sauna and steam bath.

Come to Vergina if you love history, great weather and a wonderful Greek atmosphere. (the food is a huge bonus ;-))

Love,

Larissa

*Larissa is our brand new guest editor! She lives in The Netherlands and has accomplished a lot for her age. She works as an editor in Chief at BLVD

The Wanderlust of.. Travel Couple Sebatical!

This next travel couple first caught our eye a couple of months ago when they appeared on our Instagram timeline. Besides their incredible good looks (yes, they both work as models), they took some time off to chase the adventure of a lifetime. Their amazing content and positive spirit, is something we love to share with you, so we asked them for an interview. This is the Wanderlust of.. Travel Couple SebBatical!

Tell our readers who you are and what do you guys do?
Hi Guys, we’re Sebastien and Marloes, together for 5 years, and currently on a sabbatical year around the world. We have been traveling for 11 months now and are already down to the last one. Furthermore, we are insane coffee lovers! Having coffee together somewhere beautiful is the best moment every day. Luckily, we’re in Australia now; coffee heaven. Oh, and we are incredibly fond of the ocean! We’re both kite-surfers, so that’s no big surprise. During this trip, we came to realise that the ocean makes us feel at home and we like to stay close to it. We are big road trip fanatics!!Our favorite way to explore the world would be by campervan.  We’re both very sporty and just love being outdoors.

Sebatical

We’re not typical backpackers; although we travel on a budget, we do like some comfort every now and then.

Where have you been so far, and what has been your favorite destination on this trip?
We started our trip in South East Asia where we traveled for two months. Just before our departure to Asia we were really exhausted. The final weeks felt like madness, filled with work obligations and last minute travel preps. We had been looking forward to our departure for as long as we had been planning the trip (2,5 years), but we just couldn’t get into the travel mode, not when we arrived in Kuala Lumpur and later on the Krabi coast of Thailand. We totally lost our balance there. While we were in need of some peace and quietness we went into tourist mode and rushed our way through the first couple of weeks. Funny how that happens to more people! We spend 6 weeks in Indonesia, visited Lombok and Bali, and finally calmed down a bit. Our favorite spot were definitely the Nusa Islands, next to Bali. Most travellers only spend a day or two here, but we stayed on Nusa Penida for three weeks! People say it is the Bali of 20 years ago. To us it was perfect: little tourists, away from the crowd, unpaved roads, untamed nature, super friendly and welcoming locals, Balinese culture to the max.


The Devils Tears, Bali

Sebatical

After two months in Asia we flew to our second destination: Cape Town – South Africa. Our happy place! We had been longing to go back there ever since we got there for the first time five years ago. Number 1 on our bucket list ever since: living in Cape Town for a while. That’s why we stayed for five months, and combined it with modeling jobs. We fell in love with the place all over again; the people, the nature, the climate, table mountain, the surfer lifestyle, the great kitesurfing wind, the ocean.. the food and wine!! After those months we made a huge life changing decision: we were going to extend our sabbatical year. Marloes quit her job in the Netherlands, meaning that we would both go freelance.

NZ Sebatical

From Capetown we flew to Melbourne, which was the last flight that we pre-booked in our ‘around the world ticket’. We arrived in Australia totally unprepared for the next couple of months, which led to some bumps on the road but also great adventure: the ultimate feeling of freedom. We flew to the South Island of New Zealand a few days later where we did a road trip for two months. Such an amazing country with beautiful nature. Untouched, pure, and very photogenic surroundings. Not much later we flew back to Melbourne, caught a flight to Cairns a week later and picked up our campervan. Now, we’ve been driving down the east coast for a month already. We want to stay longer at every place we pass by, and are already making plans to return to Australia in the future.

Marloes, you recently quit your job completely to continue traveling with Sebastien. What advice do you have for people that aren’t sure about taking the leap and doing the same?
Well, I still have to get used to the ‘recently completely quit your job to continue traveling’, part;) In my opinion, most people make it seem easier then it actually is. It’s nice to meet travelers who made the same choice, because although everybody has different backgrounds, they all have an interesting story to tell. I found out that the difficulty of it depends mostly on your mindset. To give you an example: I’m one of those who can make it very hard on myself. I have a tendency to overthink and see bumps on the road. It led me through lots of bumps and in the end to a state in which I just wasn’t afraid to fail anymore. This made me feel much more at ease. I changed my mindset and started looking for opportunities instead of failures. 

Marloes

I also changed my situation by taking a sabbatical year from work. Although my mind told me that I was far from ready for such a big adventure, I went anyway. That’s when things started coming my way. The successes I experienced during this year were a big motivator to keep going. They gave me courage to quit my job completely. And really guys, new doors will open when you take the leap. Don’t look back, commit to your choice. It probably sounds very cliché but it’s so true: what you believe, you attract. So believe in the road, embrace the uncertainty and trust on the magic of new beginnings. Things will come your way for sure. Oh, and in case you think that I got this all under control now, I have not. Still learning 😉

We need good vibes and natural beauty around us, something we’ve learnt during this year of traveling.

Sebatical couple

Have you guys always been so adventurous or did you start seeking more adventure when you two got together?
That’s a good one! Marloes; I’ve always had the dream to travel the world, but started working full time instead and never dared to really do it. Sebastien did the opposite, he had been traveling and working as a kitesurf instructor ever since he finished his studies. He even planned to emigrate to Australia before we started dating. After being apart for a few months, he changed his mind and decided to stay in the Netherlands for a little longer. We learnt a lot from each other since then: Sebastien learnt to commit and I learnt to let go. The adventure lust has always been there, we just implemented it differently. When combining it, the outcome is pretty amazing though:) Because besides the big worldtrip adventure that we started planning years ago, we like to put little adventures in every day. We don’t mind driving all the way to the coast for a quick sunset kitesurf session, or to wake up early on a busy day to have coffee together. We make sure to always have something to look forward to! Weekends are for road trips and small getaways, sunny days are for the beach and those moments in between are for coffee and adventure planning.

Start putting money aside, you can fill in all the details later

Something all of us are curious about, how do you guys fund your travels?
We get that question a lot! Well, we definitely don’t travel for free. We’ve been doing a lot of collaborations lately, we take photos and edit videos in return for a complimentary stay or tour. A great way to fund some extras. But regarding our world trip, we saved up money like normal human beings;) We had been planning this trip for 2,5 years before departure. One day we decided to take this dream to the next level and made a plan. We opened a saving account and started putting money aside monthly. The amount was based on how much we could miss and how much we would need for a whole year of traveling. We found tons of information on the web that made those calculations a lot easier. That information let to a to do list that was spread over the next 2,5 years. The list included monthly goals, like narrowing down the bucket list and brainstorming about our jobs and appartement. We also set a date: august 2017. We didn’t really get into details until months before departure. In the meantime we watched our savings grow and bought our around the world ticket. That was just amazing. The account was ‘holy’ to us, so we couldn’t mess with our world trip money even though it would mean that we had to watch our expenses. The best advice we can give to people who would like to do the same: just start!! 

Jumping

Traveling with a partner can be the best thing ever, but we can imagine that there are some off days? How do you cope with that?
It really is the best thing ever!! Looking back at this year, we’ve grown so much!! Individually and as a couple. Off course there are tons of struggles, but those moments are 100 percent worth it because you will come out so much better. When you both are lucky enough to find yourself while traveling, you will find each other after that. And as a bonus, you get to create some incredible memories together, memories that you won’t be able to share with anyone else. Saying all this doesn’t mean that we are perfectly happy all the time. The biggest challenge are indeed those off days, when being exhausted from moving around, feeling sick, dirty or just having an off day for no reason. It takes a lot of energy to like each other all the time, so hating each other is definitely part of the journey;) For us, a lot comes down to communication. No matter where you are in the world or what you’re doing, there is always a way to implement some alone-time in your travel life.


5 years and going strong..

You recently teamed up with Kilroy Travel (that’s how we found you!), are you planning to do more collaborations like that?
We absolutely love to work with Kilroy as they are travel enthusiasts themselves and know what they are talking about. We chose to book our around-the-world-ticket with Kilroy as it perfectly fitted our needs: providing the comfort of planning ahead, leaving enough flexibility for spontaneous adventures. With just a phone call away, they helped us out with some very stressful situations that we got ourselves into. As for the collaboration, we took over their Instagram twice now. We showed their followers what a road trip through New Zealand and Australia can be like. We got lots of interaction and exposure out of it. Last week they arranged a 5 day Fraser Island tour for us. We took pictures, shot a little video and had such a good time. We are doing more collabs lately and are planning to do more in the future. The ultimate dream of course would be to make a living out of photo- and videography. To be able to work from anywhere in the world, with just a laptop, camera and – kitesurf gear. Goals!!

We can tell you are pretty good with a camera and drone equipment, what’s the story there?
Sebastien; photography always had my interest. Once you are hooked you start seeing beautiful shots everywhere. Having a feeling for both sides of the camera helped me a lot during modeling jobs. A few months before departing on our trip, I jumped. I quit my job, sold my old gear and bought some new including a drone. Having a drone with you while traveling really is a big plus! There is a lot to consider though, as you need to check the local rules and regulations everywhere you go. You need full control of the drone, in every situation, so practice is a must! I hope to turn this passion for photo and videography into a paid hobby one day.

And finally, where are you two heading next and what is the plan? (if you have one)
Haha, we are happy to tell you that we have a plan indeed. At least for the next couple of months. We’re flying back home to the Netherlands halfway July, to see our friends and family again and to get our work going as well. Save up, and head back to Cape Town during winter for another modeling season. We would love to start a little business together, so we will be getting more into that while being on the road. After Cape Town.. not sure yet. We stil have a bucket list full of travel adventures and destinations. So, when everything turns out the way we believe it will, we definitely won’t get bored. As we said before, believe in the road.

Follow Marloes and Sebastien on Instagram @Seb_Batical or visit their YouTube Channel.

Love,

Wander-Lust

 

 

How to see Rome in 2 days

This city has been on my European bucketlist forever. Somehow I never got the chance to visit Rome but when I planned my Greek Island hopping tour a few months back, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to fly via Rome. With only 2 days to discover this Italian capital, I needed to plan a little ahead to make the most of it. After all, 2 days may seem too short for a city with so many things to see but it can be done! How?

Here’s my guide on how to make the most of  your visit to Rome in 2 days:

1. Book yourself an Airbnb and stay in an area just outside the centre.
You’ll proberly stay in an authentic italian house with a local host. This way you get real inside tips and information.
I stayed at Mario’s Place which was located at Trastevere. Great walking distance to most must see attractions and next to the tram 8 which takes you to the centre in just a few minutes. Breakfast contains of fresh cakes and pastry’s and is including within the price. (Just make sure you get the directions right as Mario will send you a full and clear description at the time of your booking. I booked a few months ahead so I already forgot about them and ended up calling him a few times as I couldn’t find his front door.)

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My flowery Airbnb accommodation in Rome

2. Bring comfy shoes.
Rome is very accessible on foot and every area is near to eachother.  
But Rome wasn’t build in a day so expect to walk a few extra miles! I didn’t use the tram a lot so I walked an average of 7km(!) a day and in this case you might end up with blisters if you bring those: they-only-look-good-shoes.

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Caught in an exhausted “moment”

3. Pre-Buy your tickets 
Especially for the main attractions like the Colosseum.This way you can skip the que. During summertime it can be craaaazy busy!

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Both impressive: The Colosseum and the 2000 year old Pantheon.

4. Eat where the locals eat.
This is my biggest tip for all destinations. Don’t eat near the tourist attractions as the food will be overpriced and you won’t taste real authentic food. I had my first pizza at Mirrors pizzaria. Pizza’s cost 6 euro’s and were crunchy and delicious! I had a lovely dinner at Baylon Café where they serve homemade pasta with a twist. I was the only “tourist” in the restaurant (i see myself more as a traveller) and I enjoyed watching the beautiful people of Rome eating and drinking wine. Perfect night.


Enjoying the Italian cuisine at Baylon Cafe in Trastevere.

5. Save cash by using the free tab water.
Rome is hot, and in summer it’s boiling. Thank god for the free and very drinkable tap water that you will find throughout the city in little fountains. I filled about 4 bottles a day and I saved money at the same time!
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One of the many life savers in Rome!

6. Keep it real Italian
Go to a little bakery/delicatesse shop like Giselda Forno and taste the fine italian cuisine and even better, take it with you while you wander round. Sit in the shade and enjoy!
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Help, too many to choose from at Giselda Forno!

7. Check the Rome events calendar for special celebrations or nights.
When I was there, I enjoyed a special art cinema night by the river with music and films.
I found this great website here you can easily see what’s on and when.

8. Walk alongside the Tiber river at night
Have a cocktail at one of many cute bars alongside the water. Make deals with the temperamental market sales men and listen to the occasional karaoke.

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One of the many outdoor bars you will find on one side of the riverbanks

9. Visit one of Rome’s many markets.
From vegetables, herbs and fresh fruit to wine, kitchenware and art.
The most famous markets are Piazza Testaccio and Il Traittore. The less crowded but also great are San Teodoro – Circo Massimo and Ponte Milvio.

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Colorful vegetables and pasta’s at the Piazza Testaccio market.

10. Last but not least; if you can, do not visit Rome during summer.
Why not? Well, because it’s just so bloody hot! 
30 degrees is a high temperature if you have to walk around in Rome. It was a sticky experience sometimes and it’s not the dry heat you will find in Greece for example. Lucky for me, I like the heat (perhaps it’s because I have Indonesian blood?). If you must go during this period, then you should be aware of this and dress accordingly.

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They still exist! 
 
I hope you can use these tips for your next visit to Rome!

Ciao Ciao wanderlusties!

Love,

Elke

Panama » the perfect exotic holiday destination

Panama has it all, for me, it’s the perfect exotic holiday destination! It’s small in size but it offers a big variety which is easy to reach; exotic tropical rainforests, beautiful beaches, more than a 1000 islands, best surf spots, an incredible nightlife, breathtaking views, Spanish colonial architecture, jungle, rafting and kayaking. Panama really surprised me and here are my personal tips!

Panama


Panama City

Downtown of Panama
When you enter Panama you will immediately see a very impressive skyline on the right side that is surrounded by tropical rainforest and on the left sight you see the beautiful ocean where people are surfing. In Panama city you will find the business district on one side, with lots of hotels and restaurants with the best shopping opportunities, and on the other side you will find Casco Viejo district, historical center built in the 17th centuryThere’s a lot to discover and activities like jungle trips, a visit to Panama canal are just a few hours away from the city.

Panama still struggles with crime and poverty. In some areas you’re not allowed to enter, which you will know when the police will tell when you try to enter a street.  Panama is definitely tourist friendly, you feel save during the day and night, but people recommend you to take a taxi in the evening.

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The skyline of Panama is so impressive!


Casco Viejo

The Old Town
We stayed in the historic district of Panama City, Casco Viejo – which means old quarter in Spanish, and is only 10 min. away from the business district by taxi. Casco Viejo is small, but you can wander around for days, since this cozy neighborhood has a lot to offer: numerous bars, various restaurants where they service top notch food, great nightlife with some very nice bars where you can order delicious local beers and fresh cocktails, street art, castles, museums etc.

We only had two days to explore Casco Viejo, before heading to the islands, which was too short and therefore we came back again on the end of our trip! You feel at home right away; the locals are very friendly and the area is so incredibly beautiful. Take a walk along the beach where you will have the impressive ocean view, wander through the streets and admire the Spanish architecture with beautiful pastel colored buildings, have a coffee at one of the quality coffee shops, stroll at Plaza de La Independencia Market where I bought this handmade Wayuu Mochila bag, check out the Panama Canal, wander and end your evening with a very nice dinner and have some fresh cocktails at the oceanfront art bar.

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Catedral Metropolitana  & Market at Plaza de La Independencia


Bocas Del Toro

Bocas Town
A propeller plane took us from Panama City to Bocas Del Toro. After one hour you see the Caribbean Sea, the archipelago’s nine islands, surrounded by hundreds of tiny uninhabited islets and the mainland, Bocas Town.

It takes a 10 min.walk to enter Bocas. Bocas is a hotspot amongst travelers all over the world where most lodging and restaurants are. Water taxi’s depart from this mainland to the different islands. During the day you can wander the streets for shopping, drinks and food and in the night Bocas is known for their famous party’s.
Are you looking for a more quit holiday, then you should definitely stay at one of the island like we did. Each island has its own unique vibe and offers travelers diversity.

We skipped the mainland and went directly to Isla Bastimentos by boat, that takes 2 min. We’ve found this tropical romantic Caribbean beach front villa where we relaxed for almost one week. We stayed longer than planned since we really enjoyed the vibe and the surrounded islands with lots of activities.
We swam in crystal clear water, enjoyed beautiful sunsets while drinking delicious cocktails and ate fresh fish which the local fisherman caught. We slept in a very nice cabin where you hear the sounds of lapping waves, parrots and monkeys.
In the night we took a boat to the mainland for dinner and drinks.

Panama - Bocas
Taxi’s will bring you to different breathtaking islands where you can snorkel, surf, tan and relax.

Red Frog Beach
We often took the boat to some other islands. One of them is Red Frog Beach which is 10  min. from the mainland.

We found this very cozy place, Palmer Tent lodge, where we met some very nice people, one of them was the owner. Unfortunately it was fully booked, we really wanted to stay for a few days. This Eco-friendly beach front place offers lots of activities like; surfing, hiking, zip line riding, yoga and most important you can really just relax in a hammock. They have a small but yummy affordable menu.
I really enjoyed surfing, the teacher was so friendly and patient that I got the change the learn it even better.

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Red Frog Beach, chilling and surfing at Palmer Tent lodge

Tips

» Bring Sunscreen SPF30, you can get burned very easily in Panama, my favorite is Lancaster
» Make sure to bring dollars or exchange your money into their local currency balboa
» Book your domestic flights upfront to save money, Air Panama
» Try to combine Panama with another country when planning a few weeks, like Costa Rica
» Book your stay at Bocas upfront, since it’s a very popular destination and fully booked very easily, check here

Costs

» Tickets cost around 800 euro
» Cabins at the beach start from 35 dollar
» We spent around 50 euro a day per person

We didn’t managed to go to the San Blas islands because unfortunately illness struck me for a few days. It’s suppose to be heaven so hopefully we will get the chance to travel there again!

Love,

Sarah

Why you should live abroad at least once in your lifetime

When I just turned seventeen years old, I moved to London. Why? Simply because I wanted to see what it was like. My plan was to live there for one year, and then explore the rest of the world. I ended up staying for 7 years.. I also lived in Los Angeles on and off for about 2 years. It was a great experience. It taught me so many life lessons. I came to London young and pretty naive when I look back at it but living abroad has made me into the women that I am today.

So, do you have any plans to live abroad? And is it for you? If so, these few lessons and tips may prepare you for one of the best decisions of your life. 

1. Stand on your own 2 feet
It’s about letting go of the save harbor and sailing away to a new experience. Yes, it might seem scary but taking that first step and just GO feels great.
You’ll be surprised how quickly you will become that independent person.

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Living abroad made me stand on my own 2 feet and gain my independence.

2. Learn a new language and culture
Ok, I probably picked one of the easiest countries to live in because in The Netherlands we all speak a fair bit of English. 
But I must say, every city speaks it’s own language and with it, it’s own culture. I learned to speak “the London way” and even understood it when people told me they were “Lee Marvin”. (which means Starvin’  in cockney English.) If you learn about different cultures and habits you will also become more open minded, which I think is a good thing. If you don’t know the language at all, take a course. It will make everything 10 times easier.

3. Meet new people (from all over the world)
If you’re going to move to a big city, you’re probably going to meet new friends with different nationalities. I’m still in contact with people from Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Mexico, England, Australia and the States. Some of these contacts have visited me back home and the other way around. This way you broaden your network.


Meet new friends for life.

4. You will get to know yourself (really really well)
There’s no better way of getting to know yourself whilst traveling or living abroad. Learn from your mistakes and get back up. Always listen to your intuition if you’re unsure.

5. Make a plan before you go
So, what will you do when you get there? Don’t go there with empty pockets. Save enough money to last you a few months or even better, find a job or course before you go. 
Depending on which country you may fly to, you may need to arrange a visa and working permits. When I moved over to London, I worked as an Au-Pair. This meant that I needed to look after the kids, clean the house and cook dinner. Is a good starting job when you are young and you want to integrate quickly. For this you need some experience and it’s always a good idea to get some sort of a diploma. 
For more information on how to start to work as an Au-Pair, check this website.

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Make a plan before you decide to leave your mark 

Let it happen and enjoy it

6. Fall in love
Whether it’s with a person or a city, you’re probably going to fall in love. Let it happen and enjoy it. It happened to me twice (I dated an English man for 5 years and a guy in LA for about 2,5 years) and although it didn’t work out, it helped me grow and taught me the life lessons we all need to know. Falling in love with a country, city or small town is a beautiful thing. Because you can always return and you will never forget the experience!

Falling in love abroad
Don’t be afraid to fall in love abroad..

7. You can make a new start
You may have fucked up a few times in your life. Or you may have done really good. It doesn’t matter because when you move to another country, you can start all over again! This is great. New friends, new habits, new food, new adventures. 

8. You will appreciate your home country
Homesickness. If you are a frequent traveler, you may have experienced this feeling before. Yes, I have called my mum up a few times, crying my eyes out because I didn’t like my job, didn’t have a lot of friends in the beginning or felt lonely. But I never gave up. At the end, you know you can always return. Nowadays we have so many channels that help us to get in touch with the home front that it is almost impossible to miss home! Living abroad makes you appreciate where you came from. Maybe you shouldn’t complain about the rain so much (sunshine everyday of the year can also get a bit boring believe it or not!) or you may appreciate your mothers home cooked dinners a lot more.

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When I stayed in sunny LA, I loved it when it rained now and then.

So whether you want to move to England, Miami or Australia. Prepare yourself for the best ride of your life and always stay true to yourself.
You’ll be fine!

Love,

Elke

Brides-Les-Bains » Wellness and Ski

Wellness combined with an active lifestyle. That’s how I can describe Brides-Les-Bains, a town in the middle of the French Alps. I was invited to explore the area so you can make the decision whether this town is the best option for you.

While Méribel is more high end and can be quite expensive, Brides-Les-Bains is more affordable

Brides-Les-Bains is the first town you will find when you visit the Three Valleys ski domain and consists of several towns; Courchevel, Val Thorens, Méribel, Les Menuires, Saint-Martin-de Belleville, La Tania, Orelle and Brides-Les-Bains. While Méribel is more high end and can be quite expensive, Brides-Les-Bains is more affordable and also very suitable for families and couples. The town’s name was named after the many thermal baths in the area, hence the name “Les Bains”. Back in the day, the town was mainly used by people that wanted to get their bodies back into shape but the Olympic Games back in 1992, gave Brides-Les-Bains a big boost and people from all over the world started to show interest in both wellness and skiing.

Brides Les Bains, France
Stunning views in the Valley

How to get there
Always a good way to start an article because if you can’t find it..;-) Brides-Les-Bains is about a 2 hour drive from Genève airport, which is only a 1 hour flight from Amsterdam. I prefer flying to a skiing destination because it saves you so much time! (I remember the days when I sat in the car for 13 hours, feeling pretty exhausted and having no energy left to go skiing the next morning). Flights cost around 180 euro’s return and if you book early, you might get a better deal!

Accommodation
Staying in Brides-Les-Bains is for those who are clever enough to spend less money but still enjoy the same slopes and activities as the people that like to stay closer to the mountain top. The “Olympe” cable car will take you right on top of the mountain and makes 2 stops which takes around 20 minutes in total. If you want to stay in Brides-Les-Bains, you have many options but one of the nicest hotels in town is the Mercure Grand Hotel Les Thermes. Why? Well, it has a spa for one (including a sauna and steam room!) and offers spa treatments such as facials and massages. There is a large restaurant that offers typical French food with a healthy twist, and the rooms are spacious and clean. Oh, and the bed sleeps magnificent! (I know because I slept like a baby) A double room will cost around 150 euro’s but if you book well in advance you..well, you catch my drift.

Relaxing the the spa


Lunch on the piste is healthy and nutritious! 

To Do’s
Ok, there will be skiing involved, (I promise you), but hear me out. Brides-Les-Bains actually has a lot more to offer than meets the eye. I tried a couple of different activities and I really loved them all. Whether it’s winter, or summertime, the area is a healthy destination 365 days a year. Let’s take a look:

» Skiing & Snowboarding. During the winter you can discover about 600 km of slopes. Insane! It’s suitable for beginners or pro’s and you can even take the chairlift to ski in Val Thorens.
» Après Ski. La Folie Douce is the place to be if you’re looking for a great party on the pistes. With a panoramic view of the mountains, you can have a lavish lunch here (expect high end prices), and enjoy a show of dance, singing and fireworks. People end up dancing on the tables and champagne is flowing in the VIP. Don’t forget that you still need to make it down in one piece! 😉

Brides Les Bains

» Biathlon. You know the winter Olympics, where they cross-country ski in between the trees and then take out a big gun and manage to shoot at a tiny bullseye? Well, I did just that, minus the 20km cross country skiing. Laying down on the snow, I hit all the targets, but standing up was soooo difficult. Imagine doing that after an intensive ski course. I really gained respect for this sport, that was originally used as a military exercise!
» Snowshoeing. Yep, this is an activity that might seem a bit dull at first, but it’s basically hiking through the snow and enjoying some of the best views in the valley! I personally love that kind of stuff because we walked through the trees and discovered an igloo, animal tracks and a restaurant where they served freshly made gluhwein!

Biathlon shooting

Gluhwein
The perfect stop after some snowshoeing

»Paragliding, for the daredevils, this is a wonderful activity. For me? Not so much.
» Helicopter Rides. There is a tiny airport at Méribel that is mainly used for hobbyist that own their own (small) planes but you can also book helicopter rides, with magnificent views over the valley.

Heli ride in maribel
Trying to look cool next to the Helicopter


Snowshoeing. Photo by Chris Konig

During the summer you can go hiking or mountain biking and most travelers come here to combine their active lifestyle with a chance to completely relax in the thermal baths.

Wellness
This topic needs a separate section because Brides-Les-Bains is really known for its spa life. Most decent hotels will have one and if they don’t you MUST visit the thermal baths just around the corner. It’s used all year round and the town is especially welcoming to those trying to lose a few pounds. Thermal baths are known for helping people with their weight loss because of the warm and cold water which helps circulate the blood. Weight loss treatments are actually covered by the French health insurance and doctors send overweight people to the spa’s in Brides-Les-Bains to get them back into a healthy shape. Most hotels within the area also offer low fat meals such as the Mercure Grand Hotel Les Thermes.

To find out more about Brides-Les-Bains, visit their website
For more info about the French Alpes check here.
 
Love,
 
Elke

According to Google, these Destinations will be hot in 2018

Good old Google. They know everything about us, well almost. They monitor our behaviour, and know exactly what we clicked on, for how long and where they loose us. Whatever you may think of it, our behaviour can also predict the way we are traveling and will travel in the near future. Every year Google releases a Year In Search data report and when it comes to travel related searches, you can see which destinations are growing popularity.

While this year, destinations like Morocco, Iceland, and Bali took the lead, we have some new contenders for 2018!

1. Taiwan
Why the hell not actually! Taiwan hasn’t really come to mind immediately but thinking about it, this destination is totally stunning. The small island on the South East coast of China has national parks, cute teahouses and skyscrapers. Perfect for a couple of days exploring. Will this be the new Hong Kong for 2018?

2. Barcelona
Still one of the best cities in the world (we always go back there once a year!). There is a beach, the food is seriously addictive and it’s always warm. Even though there was a terrorist attack, it doesn’t stop people from going here. Next year, it will be populair once again.


One of Europe’s most popular city

3. Hawaï
More and more people are looking for paradise and Europeans are looking into Hawaï like crazy. We don’t blame them. Tropical forests, wonderful people and stunning beaches and reason enough to book your ticket.

4. Las Vegas
Vegas Baby! Maybe it’s hard to believe but people are actually looking to explore a little outside Las Vegas too. Did you know that there are some of the most amazing canyon’s out there? You can combine a few days of craziness with a couple of days roadtrippin’ and hiking.


Dreaming of Hawaii? Photo by @travelinhershoes

5. Hong Kong
People go here for the nightlife, food and impressive culture. Sarah is visiting Hong Kong this January and I have been there a few years back. 

6. Oman
We’ve seen Morocco, we’ve seen Dubai. People are ready for another beauty and next year it might be Oman.

7. Maldives
For all the couples out there, this is heaven. The economy is growing again (at least in some countries), and people want to treat themselves. The Maldives is the perfect place to do that.

8. South Korea
In early 2018, the Winter Olympics will be held here. Tourism will pick up and it’s no wonder that Google has tracked these numbers. But besides that, South Korea is diverse and the airport is close to town. The food is super innovative and goes from high end to briljant street food.


The food in South Korea is something special

9. Myrtle Beach
Sat whaat? This is a coastal town in South Carolina and popular with families. Why? Along its beachfront boardwalk are arcades, souvenir stands and restaurants and an amusement park by the sea that includes the larges ferris wheel of the country. This search was extremely popular for the States.

10. Hamburg
We’ve heard it many times last year; Hamburg is the new Berlin. With the new Elbphilharmonie building, this harbour city made a comeback and is here to stay in 2018.


Industrial and cool, hamburg will gain popularity in 2018

Destinations we think are going to be hot in 2018?
Well, a little bit different than what Google says but here’s what we think:

1. Mexico
This is because we’ve seen soooo many influencers going there the past year. They have planted the seed and have inspired many around the world to go here.

2. Malta
This tiny little island is located at the end of Italy’s boot and is perfect for a quick getaway. Mind you, Malta doesn’t have a lot of beaches but it certainly has a lot of culture to make up for it. To read more about Malta, check out this quick guide.

3. The Nusa’s
Our guest editor said it; she cheated on Bali with the Nusa’s and we think you are going to do the same. Get away from the tourist overload on Bali and check out these pretty islands. For pictures and tips check her article.


Cheating on Bali with the Nusa’s?

4. Georgia
We haven’t been but heard so many great stories about this hidden gem. It’s the kind of destination where you say; “wow, I didn’t realize it was this beautiful!” Mark our words.

5. Hawaï
Yes, we agree with this one! Like Google, we think this destination will be explored more than previous years.

So where are you heading in 2018?

Love,

Elke

Travel Without Having a Care in the World

Is it possible? Traveling without having a care in the world? I mean, there is so much you need to think of when you’re on the go. We do know, you can make things a little easier if you plan a little bit ahead. Here are some useful tips:

  • Get the right (travel) insurance
    We’ve added this one above all the other tips because once you have this sorted, you know you are covered. You’ll be surprised how many people forget to get the right insurance.
  • Create a realistic travel plan
    Even if you don’t like planning, it really helps if you have some sort of travel plan set up in your head. This way you get set your limits.
  • Bring a credit card and extra debit card
    A credit card is great for discounts and rewards on flights and hotels. With every purchase, you earn points and these can run up quite fast! An extra debit card is just a plan B, for if you lose the first one.

  • Be flexibel
    Things will not always go the way you have planned it. You boat might be canceled due to stormy weather or your favorite hostel/hotel might fully booked. It will happen. Having a flexible approach will help you get through it.

Traveling without having a care in the world
Just sit down and..relax

  • Pack light and smart
    Save you the backache. Seriously, ladies leave your heals at home if you are planning to travel around. Just buy them on the spot.

  • Be openminded
    If you are traveling to different countries, you’re going to see different cultures, taste different food, meet new people and see things you have never seen before. This can be overwhelming sometimes, so an open mind helps to take it all in.
  • Be smart with your spendings
    Never go traveling with an empty bank account. Keep an eye out on the latest travel deals like flights and hotels. Do you want to know the best money saving tips while you travel? Check this article.
  • Leave something behind
    Leave your next of kin (parents, friend) a document with important information such as your first accommodation details.

But most important is, to just go with the flow and always trust your instinct. If you do this, everything will be just fine.

Happy travels,

Wander-Lust

*This article was written in collaboration with HEMA. For more Insurance with HEMA check here. We choose our collaborations honest and carefully. We always aim to give our readers the best possible tips, experiences and reviews. 

11 x Wanderlust Christmas Gift Ideas 2017

We always love writing these kind of articles because it get’s me right into the Christmas spirit! Whether you’re looking for a gift for him or her, these Wanderlust Christmas gifts are all you need if you’re a frequent traveler, or not. 

Carry-On Suitcase by Thule
We have gone through a bunch of suitcases in our lives but it wasn’t until we got this suitcase at a travel related press, when we realized we just found the best carry-on suitcase ever. It’s stylish and perfect for a business trip or weekend break. Why do we love it so much? Well, it has different compartments so you can easily pack your shoes or dirty laundry. The divided compartment can be removed or you can change it in height, which is super easy and a real plus for us. It’s also light, compact and has a piggyback strap where you can easily hang an extra bag onto. It’s not cheap but believe us, it’s worth the €259,-. Find out where you can buy yours at www.thule.com

thule carry on
It may look like nothing special but think again!

The New Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III
It’s not a secret that we stick by Olympus for the best travel content. If you are a beginning photographer that wants to take things a little more serious, this camera is going to be the Christmas present you really want to get in your stockings. Why is the new Olympus OM-D so great? These are some of the features:

  • UHD 4K video capture (3820 x 2160 resolution)
  • 16MP image sensor (same as previous OMD), but with updated processor TruePic VIII, the same processor used in E-M1 Mark II
  • Improved image stabilisation (which was already spot on)
  • New Cluster AF points selection
  • Simplified menu and shortcuts
  • Viewfinder, and tilted screen for perfect photo’s from above
  • As easy to use as a smartphone

Enough reason to tell Santa you’ve been good this year! The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III is available for €799,-.

OLYMPUS OM_D E-10 Mark III
Loving the new Olympus OM-D!

Kindred Spirits Socks
Wanna stay warm this winter and bring a bit of color in your life? These winter socks from Kindred Spirits are your musthave. Pick your favorite because the socks have various colored traditional patterns. One size fits all and every pair is handmade! Never get cold feet again. Get them for €19,95,- at www.thekindreds.com

kindred-spirits-socks

Anywhere Travel Guide
This is a funny gift for anyone that is a traveler. Perfect for that friend who is going away for a couple of months and seeking new adventure. With these card, they get assignments and set new travel goals. The Anywhere Travel Guide is a unique mix of concrete actions and whimsical prompts—from ”Ask the next person you meet where his/her favorite street is. Go there” to ”Write down what you like about this city on a small piece of paper. Leave it where someone else will find it later”—Anywhere encourages users to see things differently while discovering both new and familiar places. It’s also not too expensive, for €12,- it’s yours.

DIY Soap Scrub or Cream
Dry skin and winter go hand in hand, unfortunately. Thank god for scrubs and body cream’s! At DIY Soap you can create your own scrub with coffee, salt, or sugar. Add some almond or coconut oil and top it with the most amazing scents like lavender, roses or cinnamon. No time to pass by the store in Amsterdam? You can buy several hand-created scrubs and creams online. Another nice fact: all the ingredients are organic and natural! To learn more about DIY Soap, check this article. Order a product at the webshop until the 31st of December and receive a 10{8b669be72a7f340f9ef2d6d852585cd40ddf0e79ccf763f3ea93c1234c3d888b} discount if you use code: DIYCHRISTMASwww.diysoap.nl

DIY Soap

Atelier Des Femmes
If you are on Instagram, you must have seen the insta-famous velvet bandeau pass by. Ateliers des Femmes has become extremely on demand these last couple of months and we love it too! Well, new Christmas colors have arrived and 2 new item designs for the holidays; The French Beret and Le Manchons to complete your look. Shop it here or pass by the store in Amsterdam.

Wanderlust Christmas Gifts 2017
The musthaves for this season!

Noise Canceling Headphones by AGK
There are a few annoying things you can experience on planes but one of them is screaming kids or a snoring person near your seat. The AKG noise-cancelling headphones are the solution. Or you can use it for the gym, or not. Whatever, they are great and plus a great gift for your (boy)friend! www.akg.com

Vondels Christmas Decorations
Pimping your Christmas Tree 3.0? With the decorations from Vondels, your Christmas Tree is one of a kind. Vondels is actually an Amsterdam-based Christmas brand and it was founded in 2015 and now sells to more than 20 countries worldwide! Donuts, candy, pineapples, coffee cups, birds and many more sparkling options are available. A perfect gift for the holidays if you ask us! www.vondels.com

vondels
How cute are these!

Book tip: Thuisblijven is duurder by Jelmer de Boer
This book isn’t out yet but we already know it’s going to be briljant. Jelmer de Boer is a guy that doesn’t take life or himself too serious and he thinks you shouldn’t either! He wrote a book about eating cake and having a sixpack once, but this book is all about travel. In this book he’s going to tell you exactly how to score the cheapest flights. He flew to Bali for free, to Hawaï for 409 euro and the list goes on. Learn the secret and pre-order the book here for when it comes out on the 31st of January!

Luxury Sheets by JOARZ
Eco-friendly, honest, luxurious and yet very affordable, that’s what JOARZ stands for. New on the market but already taking it by storm. What makes JOARZ extra special? While most luxury cotton is created with a thread density of 200 per inch: a softer and finer cotton product than “normal” cotton, their products are made of eco-friendly cotton with a wire density of 300 per inch! The difference between standard cotton and JOARZ cotton is very tangible: more ‘crisp’ and softer like sleeping in a luxury hotel bed. www.joarz.com

Joarz sheets

Personalized Sweater by Believe the Hype
It’s one of the coolest jumpers to wear right now. Even Doutzen Kroes has been spotted wearing one! We’ve had 2 Wander-Lust jumpers made and we’ll be snuggling in front of the fireplace with these :-) Also check out their Christmas sweaters, now online! Shop

Believe the hype
Merry Fu*king Christmas y’all

Love,

Wander-Lust

The Antwerp City Guide by Wander-Lust

If you live in the Netherlands, Antwerp is the perfect place to escape to for a city break, especially during the wintertime! We’ve been there many times and checked out some of the best spots for you to enjoy food, drinks and more. Here’s our Antwerp City Guide!

How to get there
Well, you have 2 options and they are both as easy. You can take the train or you can go by car. Both options take around the same time (2 hours) but we prefer the train because you can chill, look out of the window and you will arrive at one of the most beautiful and impressive trains stations in Europe. A  return train ticket from Amsterdam to Antwerp will cost around 30 -40 euro. If you go by car, you might arrive earlier but if you are unlucky, you will get caught in slow traffic and your trip might take up to 3 hours plus you will have to pay for parking.

“This Antwerp City Guide is for wanderers who love food, shops and exploring”

Antwerp City Guide

Where To Eat?
The most important question of course! Well, in Antwerp you won’t be short of food choices. Especially lunch! There are so many hotspots around that we can’t mention them all, but these are our favorites!
» Tinsel, some say that you can get the best breakfast in town here. Tinsel is located near the water where you will find tons of other restaurants. www.tinsel.be
» Native Bio Bistro, This hidden pearl is by far our favorite lunch spot in Antwerp. This bistro serves fresh, original, and good quality food. It’s organic, locally produced with sustainable ingredients, this is Native! Vegan and organic food lovers will love this place! During the summer they open a very nice terrace. www.native.bio
» Bubble Waffle, located in the Mercado foodcourt, this tasty waffle stand awesome! Go here if you feel like something sweet. www.bubblewaffle.be
» Divers, a smoothie-bowl bar for your healthy cravings. Great for some Instagram worthy pics, if that’s what your after. They are located in the Volkstraat 9.
»De Broers van Julienne, when we need to grab a quick and healthy bite, we go here. In a side street of the Kammenstraat – with lots of boutiques – you will find this small cute little restaurant. You can take away the best quiches, soups,  salads and other warm healthy dishes. Besides that, they sell oil, wine, coffee, juices and other delicatessen. They  also offer catering and cook workshops.
» Raw Salad Company, unfortunately they’ve closed their doors in Antwerp but they promised to be back soon with a new location. The name gives it away. Raw salads galore. The salads are extremely tasty and fill you up enough to get on with your day. They also sell juices, wraps, cakes and other healthy snacks. We will keep you updated if they open a shop.
» Umami
, fine dining Japanese style. They restyled not long ago and you can eat amazing Dim Sum here. www.umami-antwerp.be

» Il Famosi, this is by far the best Italian restaurant in Antwerp. Go here for a romantic dinner and if you want more than just pizza.

food-antwerp
From left till right: Raw, Umamian and Il Famosi

Antwerp City Guide where-to-eat-in-antwerp
Bubble Waffle from Mecado (source) and Divers (photo’s by David Plas)

Where To Drink Coffee?
» Mirlo’s, the coffee is great and the location is cute. They also serve breakfast and lunch and it’s all homemade. www.mirlos.be
» Buchbar, surrounded by literature and stories, this coffee bar is different than others. Owned by actress Kim Hertogs, you can feel the passion for books, women empowerment and people. Find more info about this special spot on their website.
» Butchers Coffee, located in a former butcher, this trendy coffee bar takes the coffee business serious and are planning to create their own coffee blend. If the sun is out, you can sit outside on the benches. You can find it on the Kasteelstraat 57.
» Caffenation, self blended coffee and probably the oldest one in Belgium as they started more than 13 years ago. Besides the coffee it’s also a shop and a great place to hang out. www.caffenation.be
» Texas Coffee, for pink latte’s and coffee served in an ice-cream cone! 

Antwerp City Guide -mirlos
Coffee and brunch at Mirlo’s

texas-coffee-antwerp
Pink latte at Texas Coffee

Antwerp City Guide. The Buchbar
The Buchbar

Where to Shop & Stroll?
You have many options in Antwerp when it comes to shopping. No matter what type of person you are, there will be a shopping district that will suit your needs. We have selected 3 area’s that we love.
» Kammenstraat & Kloosterstraat, these 2 streets in South Antwerp offer vintage, exclusive boutiques, living and alternative shops. While most shops are closed on Sunday, the kloosterstraat is one of the only streets open from around 12pm.
» Het Eilandje, this is especially great during summer because you can find a lot of outside patio’s here. Worth mentioning is the MAS Museum where they have many exhibitions on display. The museum is set next to the little harbor and owns a large rooftop which has free entrance.
» De Volkstraat, go here for boutiques, concept stores, perfume and coffee.

» The Meir, this is Antwerp’s highstreet. Although it’s not our favorite place to shop, we need to mention it because here you will find all the shops you need. From Zara, Mango, Levi’s, it’s all here. The street is beautiful but always busy. Watch your purse and don’t stay too long!

MAS Antwerp
The MAS Museum at “Het Eilandje”. Source

Where To Sleep?
Somehow we always end up in the same hotels. Never change a winning team! These are our 3 favorite places to stay.

» Hotel Franq, is a new kid on the block and super cool! Just recently opened in October, the building used to be a bank and you can still find the big safe intact which is now being converted into a gym. When you enter the impressive foyer, you almost forget you set foot in a hotel. The rooms are stylish and have a large bathroom with rain showers. When it’s nice weather, you can sit outside in the garden overlooking an old victorian house. www.hotelfranq.com

hotel-franq
Hotel Franq

» Hotel Les Nuits, we love boutique hotels and this hotel is one of the cutest ones out there! All 21 rooms are designed a bit different but have the same style and feature impressive en-suites. They have recently changed their reception area and removed their suites rooms which is a shame because I really loved those but this way the hotel is more compact and fits better together. Breakfast is great and the location is great! Book a room here!

Antwerp City Guide. Elke in Hotel Les Nuits
Breakfast in bed at Hotel Les Nuits

» Banks, another great hotel at a very central location. It’s modern and a great place to meet people downstairs. Oh, and they also have a rooftop terrace so this is a great option during the summer. Then again, you will be out exploring Antwerp..;-) Book your stay here.

So are you planning your next tip to Antwerp yet? 😉 

Love,

Wander-Lust

More City Guides? ↓

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