Tag Archives: sightseeing

Food and places I’ll never forget My Lonely Planet of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan had been sitting on my shelf for a few years. During the pandemic I’d traveled, but only within Europe, staying close to home. Although Europe has so many amazing places to explore, I wanted something different. Something that would feel truly foreign. A place I didn’t know anything about. When I bought the Lonely Planet, I’d thought I may visit Georgia, or Azerbaijan. I have no idea why, but I ended up planning a visit to Armenia. It was the best decision! My trip wasn’t without glitches. My airline decided to cancel the flight and put me on a flight the next day. A minor detail they forgot to tell me about! Luckily I tried checking in online, got confused and found out about the canceled flight on the phone. The lady sitting next to me…

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How I ended up spending a long weekend in Coimbra The pandemic grew into the second wave in Europe while I was traveling in Portugal. In early November there was a long weekend due to a public holiday and the Portuguese government put some measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID. Therefore the local population wasn’t allowed to leave their respective municipalities for the long weekend. Shortly after it was announced, they decided to exempt tourists from this rule, but it just felt wrong to travel. And this is how I ended up spending some extra time in Coimbra. And look at this beauty! It certainly isn’t a bad place to be ‘stuck’. With around 106.000 inhabitants, Coimbra is still pretty small, but it is rich in monuments and beauty and has plenty of entertainment, restaurants and shops. For the budget traveler there are many hostels to choose…

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Santarém is a small city on the Tagus river about an hour’s drive North of Lisbon. The town has been around for hundreds of years, but has sadly lost its former glory. It lies on a hill in the middle of a plain with the river running through. It’s surrounded by agriculture and lots of vineyards. The Portuguese royals used to reside in Santarém and the city had a very prosperous period throughout the Middle Ages. Therefore the place is rich in monuments and worth a visit. I arrived in Santarém after 3 days of walking on the Caminho Português from Lisbon. Before I even visited my hostel I sat down in a café to enjoy a tea with cake. After all, I had just finished my 33 km walk with the road uphill and I wanted to reward myself for my good efforts. I was well aware that I…

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I loved my time in the cute apartment I’d rented in Portimao, but unfortunately the weather was poor. That’s how I ended up spending a couple of hours admiring sand castles. One day I was about to go for a hike when I realized the weather was not going to change. I was actually already outside and then changed my direction. A hike I was only semi-interested in, potentially in the pouring rain, did not seem that attractive. So I quickly checked the bus time table and turned around. I thought an indoor activity was a bit more appropriate today, but obviously I hadn’t done my research. I had seen some advertisements for an exhibition with sand sculptures and pretty much assumed it would be indoors. How else would they be able to keep the structures in good shape right?! Well… I should have done the research. Optimistically I hopped…

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A visit to Belrath palace On the Southern edge of Düsseldorf lies a pastel pink gem of a palace. It was built in the 18th century by Charles Theodor and his wife Elizabeth Auguste of Sulzbach. The owners used it once and then never saw it again. Well.. they got a better deal, inheriting power and property in Bavaria. But the palace was used by other people and has been taken care of really well throughout the decades. Since the early 1900s it’s been a museum and you can still take a guided tour. A tour takes about 1 hour and the guide will first explain some of its history on the grounds in front, before you enter the building. We all did our corona virus sign-ins and then we put some gigantic slippers over our shoes and started touring the rooms. Since I’ve seen my share of palaces I…

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If you don’t drive a motorbike your options are a bit limited in the Thai town of Pai. There is so much to see, but there is so little to see in town. I’d already walked up to the big Buddha and checked out the pool at Fluid and I just needed to see some of that stunning scenery everyone always talks about. After checking out all the available day trips I decided to go to Lod cave. It didn’t matter which operator I chose, since they all offered exactly the same thing. So I booked one that picked me up from the hostel. I was getting a bit nervous since the van was late. She did say pick up at the hostel right? She didn’t speak English that well. Did I misunderstand? But, a little late, the van showed up. It was full by the time we drove out…

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The Shwedagon pagoda is perhaps the main attraction of Yangon. Even the Burmese themselves make pilgrimages to this gigantic pagoda. It is one of the most important ones in the country. I decided to combine a visit to the pagoda with some of the surrounding attractions. In front of the pagoda is the people’s park. I really didn’t know what it was and thought I’d just find a park, like the Central park of Yangon. However, they change a small fee to enter. At first the place was very much like any other park. There was a fountain, although there was no water in it, and there were lots of trees, plants and grassy fields. A bit further on, the park turned out to be a mix of an amusement park and a waterpark. There were also some small eateries and vendors of snacks. Me and my friend sat down…

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The hostel I stayed at in Yangon was a really good place to get to know other travellers. The first night I met Douglas, who was also interested in riding the circular train, so after breakfast we walked to the train station. We almost walked past it, but I noticed a poster inside a building that looked like a train map. We had a look inside and a man was sitting in a cubicle, behind green bars. He made a circular motion with his hand and we nodded yes. It was easy enough to get the tickets. On the platform they were working, improving the drains it seemed. I got super excited when the train arrived. We climbed in and found a seat. The train had some fans on the ceiling, but most of them didn’t work. We really crawled through the city, stopping often to let people on and off.…

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For some cities I just don’t know what to write. I don’t know how to explain why I loved this place and why I think everyone should go there. A place can be so beautiful and yet when people ask me why I recommend going there, I can only say “it’s just so stunning”. It’s a good thing we’ve got cameras, because Cienfuegos in Cuba is one of these places. It’s not a huge city, and you don’t need a whole lot of time to explore it, but there is a reason all those cruise ships dock here for an afternoon. I arrived in Cienfuegos by shared taxi. I shared it with my travel buddy and two girls we’d met in Playa Larga on a dive and snorkel trip. They had booked accommodation in Punta Gorda and we had no clue where we were going to stay. So we got off…

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After two days of driving we had finally arrived in the beautiful town of Banff. Unfortunately it was only to spend the night, but I knew I would be back anyway. We were in the Rockies and these natural wonders were waiting to be explored by us. The weather hadn’t improved from the last two days, but in the distance it sort of looked promising. Unfortunately our first few stops around Banff were still a bit cloudy. Even though we didn’t see the surrounding mountains, lake Minnewanka and Two Jack lake were beautiful. The red chairs had a view of the lake with lots of clouds in the background. We actually had to put our raincoats on top to keep our jeans dry, but it was still a moment worthy of a photo. You can see the snowy mountains in the background through the clouds. It is hard to imagine that…

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