Ukraine

Odesa or Odessa depend if you want to speak it out in Ukrainian language or in Russian is a city at the Black Sea, it has an important port and is one of the nicest cities in Ukraine.
I stayed in Odesa (I will write it the Ukrainian way) close to Arcadia Beach.  Continue reading

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Luxembourg

CLERVEAUX
On the way back of my European road trip (2010) that brought me and 2 of my friends to countries like Liechtenstein, Austria,Slovenia and Hungary I made a stop in Luxembourg before entering Belgium.
In the north of Luxembourg in Clerveaux. It was a very calm morning, no people in the streets and a good moment to just wander around town. In Clerveaux you can visit the abbey and church and the Clerveaux Castle.  Continue reading

Milestii Mici

Moldova is known for its wines and I decided to do a winetour, not that I’m a big wine drinker but I was curious enough to taste Moldovan wine.
One of the wineries you can take a tour to is “Milestii Mici” but it’s not just a winery, they have the largest wine collection in the world and are in the guinness book of records for that matter, something of which at Milestii Mici they are really proud of.  Continue reading

Yogjakarta Java Indonesia

My trip to Indonesia brought me to Yogyakarta on the Island of Java.
I stayed in the centre of Jogya as it is called by the locals, on Malioborostreet.
It’s a long street and it’s the mainstreet with lot of little shops were souvenirs and t-shirts are sold at cheap prices. There is also the Malioboro mall where you have several eating places and a supermarket.
The Temples that was the main reason why I came to Jogya, to see the largest Buddhist Temple on earth “Borobudur” and “Prambanan” the largest Hindu Temple in Indonesia and Unesco World Heritage site. I also visited a smaller temple, the Candi Mendut temple which was again a Buddist temple but the big Banyan tree standing next to it was more impressive.

Other news from when I was in Java :

Mount Raung volcano has been spewing ash in the air and several airports on the Java Island aswell as neighbouring Island Bali were closed. The Yogyakarta airport stayed open and I was lucky I got out of there at time cause my next destination would be Singapore and I didn’t want to miss out on Singapore.

Borobudur Temple entrance

Borobudur Temple entrance

nice carvings on the first level

nice carvings on the first level

going to the next level

going to the next level

view over the rainforest from Borobudur temple

view over the rainforest from Borobudur temple

Borobudur Buddha

Borobudur Buddha

the stuppa

the stupa

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more budda's

more buddha’s

view on Merapi Volcano

view on Merapi Volcano

Buddist Candi Temple

Buddhist Candi Mendut Temple

Banyan tree next to Candi Mendut temple

Banyan tree next to Candi Mendut temple

Hindu temple of Prambanan

Hindu temple of Prambanan

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To Chill in the Antilles – Curacao

My first trip to the Caribbean was to a place where they speak my language Dutch, the Netherlands Antilles Curacao. The Antilles are the Islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao the biggest Island to which I went. I stayed in Willemstad the capital of Curacao, it consists of 2 parts Punda and Otrabanda. In Punda I had my hotel with a private beach. Most hotels have private beach aswell as a swimmingpool, some hotels have several pools like the Breezes resort for example, which I found to be a good all inclusive hotel.
Otrabanda is the other area of Willemstad known for its famous colored houses at the waterside. To go from Punda to Otrabanda you cross the bridge at the St Anna Bay or you can take a little boat at no charge that brings you to the other side.
It’s a typical Caribic destination, people who like to relax on the beach or do watersports like snorkeling,jetski will definitely like this place. The waters are clear blue and clean you can see the little fishes swimming around you.
In the dolphin academy Seaquarium close to Willemstad,you can swim with Dolphins and off course I had to try this. I had a great time with these funny animals. You get a little briefing, you put on flippers and you can go in the water with them and make your first eye contact, rub its back and belly and swim with them. With the instructor telling you what to do to so you yourself can make the Dolphins do some cool tricks while in the water with them. This really was the highlight of my vacation in Curacao, to experience the interaction with the Dolphins.
There are not only Dolphins in the Dolphin Academy, I also had some encounters with other animals like the Sea Lion. I saw sea turtles, some sharks and all kinds off other exotic fish. At the hotel there were some Iguana’s.
I visited an ostrich farm where I had the chance to ride an ostrich I didn’t know what to expect, but again it was a great experience, this bird can run so fast its crazy. While I was sitting on the back of this big bird, to other man from the park had to run together with the bird next to me to slow the animal down at the end of the run, cause this bird would keep on running otherwise. I remember they told me that ostriches are not the smartest animals, in fact they are stupid, for example in the wild when they are chased by another animal they start running away, and they run and run for hours and then they stop and they actually forgot why they were running. I like animals stupid or smart doesn’t matter, it was something not everybody dares to do cause it is at your own risk, so I had to sign a paper that I wanted to get on that animal and try the ostrich race 🙂
The rest of my days in Curacao I spend relaxing at the beach, having a Blue Curacao drink at the poolbar and had a great time jumping up and down the waves with a jetski.
I can recommend Curacao for anybody who wants to have a relaxing chilling vacation and some animal fun under the Caribbean sun.

Willemstad

Willemstad

Bridge to cross from Punda to Otrabanda

Bridge to cross from Punda to Otrabanda

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St. Anna Bay

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Swimming with Dolphins

Swimming with Dolphins

me and dolphin 415208816557

Sea Lion encounter

Sea Lion encounter

Sea Turtles at Seaquarium

Sea Turtles at Seaquarium

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Ostrich ride

Ostrich ride

Iguana in the swimmingpool at the hotel

Iguana in the swimmingpool at the hotel

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enjoying myself on a Jetski

enjoying myself on a Jetski

private beach

private beach

chillin at the pool with a bacardi

chillin at the pool with a bacardi

 

 

Amsterdam

I have visited the Netherlands or Holland as it is also called so many times that I lost count. It’s my northern neighbour country. In the north of the country is the capital Amsterdam and at school I learned about  Anna Frank and her diary. The way to picture the story of Anne Frank better is to go to Amsterdam to the place where she lived, the Anne Frank house which nowadays is a museum. I don’t know which one is the most famous the Anna Frank House and museum or the Rijksmuseum. I chose to see the Anna Frank house because of the stories that I learned in History class.
Other than that I walked around in Amsterdam on the dam square, the canals, the many weedshops and bars. This was just a day trip with a tourbus, leaving my country Belgium in the early morning and coming back at night.

holland

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holl

 

 

 

My special relationship with Poland

In my post “going back to the past” I wrote under Germany, that it was a transit country that I had to go through to go to for example Poland. After my home country, Poland is the country that I have been the most, it’s in 2nd place. Why is that ? Well Belgium and Poland are not neighbouring countries but my mom is Polish and my dad is Belgian (from Flanders the Dutch or Flemish speaking part of Belgium).
I have family in Poland and since I was little I went to Poland on vacation with my parents to visit my grandparents, nieces, nephews, uncle’s and aunts. I speak fluent Polish just like my native language which is Dutch.
Poland or Polska however you prefer is my 2nd home country, my name is Pol which ironically is Polska without the “ska” but Pol is also a Flemish name, so I guess it was an easy pick to call me Pol.
About Poland I can tell a lot of stories, mostly I go to the south of Poland to places like Opole (where I have family), Krakow (my Favorite city),Wroclaw.
A part from Gdansk, I can say I have been to the major cities in Poland like Poznan,Warsaw and the ones I mentioned above.
Poland has everything, the Baltic sea, the Tatra Mountains which form a border with Slovakia, ancient Krakow with the Wieliczka Salt Mine and the world-famous Historical non pleasant place the concentration camp of Auschwitz. The last one can be confronting but you should not be afraid to see a historical place no matter what terrible things happened there. Terrible things happened in Cambodia as well and you can visit museums about what took place over there aswell, not to mention the Maya temples in Mexico where humans were killed and sacrificed to honour the Gods.
I always like to go back to Poland and if anyone reading my blog is thinking about going to Europe but don’t know which countries to pick from, than put Poland on your list.

The Wawel Cathedral in Krakow

The Wawel Cathedral in Krakow 1999

The Dragon of Wawel spits fire

The Dragon of Wawel spits fire

Canada

TORONTO ONTARIO

My visit to Toronto and the Niagara Falls.
Toronto is the largest city in Canada. I went up the CN Tower and admired the fabulous view over Toronto, its harbour, skyscrapers etc,…
After that I headed to the city centre to see the new City Hall and the old one who are just next to each other. Continue reading

Going back to the past

What do I mean with going back to the past ? Going back to my childhood and the typical summer vacations or short trips that I did with my parents.

Countries like Germany, France, Spain,Tunisia are a few countries that I have been to with my parents when I was kid and from which I have almost no decent photo material to put online on my blog.
Some short info about the places I did got to see in those countries.

GERMANY

I have been many times to Germany, it’s a transit country, because it’s in the centre of Europe, so you have to cross it if you want to go to Swiss or Austria or to Poland. I have been to all these countries and every time I had to go through Germany and also DDR (East Germany) when going to Poland.
I did see some cities in Germany, so it wasn’t always just driving through the country without making any stop for some sightseeing. Bonn, Cologne,Dresden, Hannover,Frankfurt am Oder are just some places I’ve been.

FRANCE

Close to Belgium, many times did I cross the border, so about France I can say that I have been over the border to Lille, surely I have been to Paris and saw the Eiffel Tower. Disneyland Paris is also of my list, been there twice.
in 1996 and in 2001. It’s my neighbour country and a lot of Belgians go to France on vacation, however in my case it was never like that. I have never stayed longer in the country then 3 or 4 days. short trips but never beachvacations in the South of France and untill this day I am one of the few Belgians not attracted to France at all, maybe one day it will change when I’m old, who knows.

SPAIN

The classic sea & sun beach vacation in Benidorm at the Costa Blanca (1989,1991)
Pine Del Mar – Barcelona (1992)
I visited Barcelona and Mount Montserrat from which I found 1 picture of me (see below)
It was a daytrip from Barcelona to Montserrat Mountain, this mountain has several peaks, there you have a Benedictine abbey Santa Maria de Montserrat with the Virgin of Montserrat sanctuary. As a kid I was more impressed by the mountain itself and the curvy roads going up there then I was about the abbey. It is worth a visit if you are in Barcelona and you have seen everything the city has to offer you might consider doing a daytrip to Montserrat.

Montserrat abbay and mountain

Montserrat abbey and mountain

 

TUNISIA

The first time I visited Africa was in 1991 and Tunisia was to be my first country on the African continent.
It was a flight to Monastir and from there a bus to Port El Kantaoui.
A classic beach holiday but also some culture as I remember visiting some old Roman amphitheatre in El Jem. First time I tried couscous, a Camel ride and even got to feed the camel in an original way from which I have found one picture (see below)

giving some cactus to the Camel - Tunesia

giving some cactus to the Camel – Tunisia

 

 

Czech Republic

Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic and maybe it’s a good thing for Czech as it is also the most beautiful city of the country.
The country’s government invested a lot of money in this city, more than in others to keep its status as one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
The are a lot of nice buildings in the Old Town (Stare Mesto) and in the Lesser Town (Mala Strana), its in those areas of the city you find the most famous buildings and monuments that  Prague has to offer.
The Vysehrad fortress with the Basilica of St Peter and St Paul, The Karluv Bridge (most) with its entrance towers that connects the Stare Mesto with the Mala Strana, the Wenceslas square, The Tyn Cathedral, etc…
I stayed in Prague for about 4 days on my first trip with school in 1999 and 3 days on my second visit in 2007 (pictures are from 2007)

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The Charles Bridge

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The Prague Vysehrad Fortress

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Tyn Cathedral Old Town square

Wenceslas Square with the national museum

Wenceslas Square with the national museum

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