Tag Archives: travel

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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Looking for travel options during this pandemic has turned out to be a challenge. You always have to check the restrictions of your country of choice, your home country and your travel insurance. I booked my flight to Portugal only 3 weeks before departure, but two days before I flew out some areas were declared risk area by the German government. So I took out a second travel insurance that does cover medical bills in these “risk” areas and decided to go anyway. And it was the best decision I could have made. At the moment the situation is Europe is a bit tricky for travelling, with lots of restrictions and lockdowns. It’s not impossible to travel, but you need to make sure you know all the consequences. When things loosen up again, I will gladly pack my bags and continue to explore Europe. Why is this so great? You…

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What a surprising city on the Rhein Many times I’ve passed Düsseldorf on my way to Berlin, but I’ve never taken the time to stop. So when the train tickets were on special I thought this would be the perfect destination for a 3 day weekend. Added bonus, it’s near the Dutch border so my mum could come over for a day and I got to catch up with a friend that lives in the area. I figured 2 days in the city would be enough, so reserved one day to do a day trip. When I started looking for hikes to do in that area, I was very surprised with the amount of hikes I found. In my head this whole border area was full of industry and buildings. But on my first day I ended up hiking in the Wuppertal and had an amazing day. That evening I…

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Plovdiv in Bulgaria surprised me a lot. I’d never really heard of the city and when I started researching I found out it has got so much to offer. There are Roman ruins, beautiful old traditional houses, view points and… street art! Plovdiv is a very trendy city with some cool neighbourhoods to explore. Throughout the city you can find works of art, from tiny pieces to massive murals. Just keep your eyes open as you explore it. A lot of pieces were made during the Street Art Fest. It’s become popular and many private owners have asked artists to paint their walls. Because of this you’ll see many impressive, big pieces throughout the city. One particularly trendy area is the Kapana. It used to be the center of crafts and after some renovations it is now a home to artists and youth. It’s nice to wander through the little…

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