Tag Archives: travel

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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At 6.30AM I walked through the empty streets of Yerevan on a Sunday morning. There were only a few joggers and the odd cyclist. Everyone else was still asleep. But today I had plans: a group hiking trip to the Dilijan National Park. When I reached the meeting point I was surprised to see a big bus waiting for all of us. We were hiking with 50-ish people! As we drove north we picked up a few people on the highway until the bus was pretty much full. I had the idea that everyone was Armenian. Everyone seemed to understand each other apart from me. After catching a glimpse of lake Sevan we stopped at a huge rest area, with supermarket, petrol station, restaurant and café. It appeared to be the must-do stop on the way north. When we left the bus drove through a small town and up the…

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Taking public transport in Albania takes time. Our bus didn’t leave on time, so we arrived in the late afternoon at the bus station, just outside of the city. However, the ride from Tirana to Berat was pretty smooth. Minutes after arriving a local bus arrived. My friend and I hopped on, hoping it would take us towards Berat’s old town. Although we weren’t 100% sure, all the other tourists followed. We were staying in the Gorica part of town, across the river. It is one half of the Unesco protected part of the city. Our hostel was in one of the typical local houses that Berat is known for. They spread out from the river all the way up the hill and create the most picturesque cityscape. When we saw the river we hit the stop button. It was only a short walk to the hostel. I was eager…

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You often hear travel is all about the journey, not the destination. And the journey certainly counts. Over the years I’ve gathered a lot of good memories and interesting stories on old, crowded buses crawling over bumpy roads, on trains that seemed to have come straight from the past or on foot with my backpack, alone or with fellow travelers. So when I had to cross the Aegean Sea to get from Athens to Rhodes, I decided not to take the plane, but enthusiastically promoted the ferry to my boyfriend. Initially he didn’t really understand why, but was ok with it because I wanted it so much. But after our overnight journey he’d changed his mind. I’d taken an overnight ferry once, sleeping in the trucker’s cabin. There’s something about boats, especially massive ships like the car ferries crossing from Athens’ Piraeus port to the Greek islands. Even as we…

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An unexpected conversation to start my day After freshening up I went down the square winding staircase of the hostel in Vila Franca de Xira. I’d had the 4-bed dorm to myself that night and had slept like a baby. They’d told me there was breakfast in the morning, so I went to check it out. I was completely surprised when I saw a table full of choice; juice, tea, fruits, breads and pastries. The man who brought me my tea soon noticed I wasn’t Portuguese. Then the story began. The man began with a few innocent questions about what I was doing, but soon focused completely on his story. I felt a bit awkward because I was eating while he was standing beside my table talking to me. Hesitantly I took bites from my sandwich, while looking up at him. First came some suggestions of what I definitely had…

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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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I was in New York City and entered the big parking lot of the car rental agency. For the life of me I can’t remember why I thought it was a good idea to rent a car in New York City. I looked around the buzzing parking lot with cars in all shades of green. People were zigzagging through the rows to find the car with their name on the sticker attached to the windshield. I joined the crowd and nervously looked for my name. Luckily I found it quickly. I was staring at an emerald green oldtimer, long, elegant and curvy. I got in and noticed there was no gas pedal. Instead I had pedals like on a go-kart. Even in my dreams I was traveling. I was utterly confused and ‘drove’ my car out of the row of other green cars. In the rows behind me were more…

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Lagos is a cute tourist town in the South West of Portugal. It attracts people from all walks of life, although the historical center has a reputation for parties. Besides this, Lagos is a great place to base yourself if you want to surf the South West. Therefore there are plenty of cheap hostels to choose from and there is a lot of tourist infrastructure. During the pandemic the parties were harder to find, although not non-existent, but there was still plenty to do. It seemed like particularly the Dutch, Germans and British had found their way to Lagos last October. It wasn’t crowded, but coming from the Rota Vicentina trail, I had to readjust to seeing so many tourists. Lagos’ beach life Lagos’ main attraction is certainly the ocean. The water may not be very warm, but there is a great variety of beaches to choose from. If you…

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Everything you need to know for a great walk During my last holiday I discovered Portugal is the perfect country for hiking. I came to hike all the way down the coast from Santiago do Cacém to the most South-Westerly point of Europe, Cape Saint Vincent. The scenery here is incredible. The hiking days are not too long. The signage on the trail is great. The October weather is amazing. And you can easily design your own itinerary combining different trails. Time to make this your next hike! The Rota Vicentina’s website is actually a great resource for planning the trip. It has a description for every stage and you can even download the route in a kmz-file to use in maps.me. It’s great to check that you’re still on the right track and to see how far you’ve still got to go, or if there are any cafés coming…

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I was totally unprepared when I traveled to Portugal. I never intended to go to Portugal this year and when I booked my flights I mainly went to do a long distance walk. So I landed in Lisbon without any expectations and without the pressure to follow a list of must-sees. In the days before my departure I’d quickly tried to look up some attractions, but I mainly spent my days wandering through the city and I loved it! Lisbon sits in an absolutely extraordinary location. Although it’s not located by the ocean, it lies on the river Tagus, which is so wide in Lisbon that it feels like you are by the sea. A massive, high bridge, lookalike of the Golden Gate bridge stretches over the river to connect some of Lisbon’s suburbs on the other bank. The beautiful Praça do Comércio can be found near the river and…

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