Paper lanterns which I love, are very common in Asian countries such as China, Japan, Korea, Sri Lanka. You can see them in light festivals which has been a tradition in China for 2000 years. I understand not everyone is planning a trip to China. So luckily a little bit of China is brought to lovely Antwerp. Chinese artisans installed illuminated lanterns in the Zoo of Antwerp. Lotus flowers, dragons, lucky animals and even the terracotta army was present.
This magic is happening until the 14th of January so have a look soon. There are tree time slots 18.00, 19.00 and 20.00. Tickets are sold online for 15 euro. When it’s cold outside you better have some wonton soup beforehand. Where? In Chinatown just nearby.
Warsaw the capital of Poland is a dynamic city with a troubled history. Vanished and destroyed by the Germans in wartime, the old city was rebuild based on 18th century paintings from Italian painter Bernardo Belloto (1722-1780). Before visiting this city I had zero expectations. So here are some of my discoveries I did not expect to find or see before coming to Warsaw.
Being in Brussels for a couple of time I was very charmed about the roughness and hidden gems like precarious street art. Here I found nice street art which is pretty serious too. In fact, traditional street art played an influential part in the advertising history of Poland during the communist era. Nowadays you can find nice art in Praga district. Warsaw even hosts a street art festival every summer Street Art Doping and they have some street art guided tours which are sometimes in English.
I’ve spotted many Polish on a bike commuting from home to work or to public transport. Some having their own other using public bikes. These public bike stations are everywhere in the city, the prices are low and the concept is simple.You rent a bike with your downloaded app called Veturilo. The instructions are very clear when taking and returning a bike from a station. For the first hour you just pay 1zt which is like 25 cents. Nice and cheap but I warn ya cycling can be a little awkward and challenging. I mean they have separate cycling paths but can end suddenly end in the middle of somewhere which means, like me, u will be on drive ways between buses, cars and trams honking and speeding besides you.
3. Milk bars “bar mleczny.”
Milk bars or “bar mleczny.” Means dining on a budget. These eating places origins from the post war era. A communist concept to provide cheap meals to the mass and workers which still exists. Here you order in Polish and find local cuisine. Aside from being cheap, milk bars gives a idea and insight of the daily life of Poles under Communism. One of the few leftovers of Poland’s communist era. You can find one nearby the old town.
4. Vegetarian food
I have been to places where vegetarian options were hard to find. Somehow I had this feeling about Warsaw too. I was totally misjudged! Also Insiders told me that unlike 10 years ago, today vegan an vegetarian restaurants are easy to find. According to the veggie search website www.happycow.net there are 81 vegan eateries in Warsaw. In The Hague we have only 3. For sure I have to discover more places but I found this potato place, Groole, very tasty and nice. They serve stuffed potatoes with a lot of vegetarian and vegan options like hummus, beetroot pesto, spinach, baked beans, olives. Smacznego
5. Czekolada (chocolate)
Good quality chocolate from Poland? Yes for sure!
For instance, E.Wedel chocolate shop and salon (Ul. Szpitalna 8) in Warsaw's city center. This place from 1878 has a main shop and three tea rooms where visitors can test its three hot chocolate flavors (bitter, natural and light). The hot chocolate is so delicious almost hardly to believe it’s Polish.
Another one is Karmello located in Chmielna 11 street. An upscale chocolatier which you also can find in Krakow. You will for sure impress your friends or family taking a box of this kind home.
So this is my shortlist of suprises in Warsaw.
If you have anything to add for me to discover the next time while visiting Warsaw, let me know.
#Hiddengem, The monumental cellars of this historical building in #Anderlecht. The academy for art and craft which houses here where showing work of their students. The academy kept the character of this monument. Tracks, old equipment, cellars, ruined walls and the others spaces together with the art gives it an phenomenal atmosphere.
During open days the acadamy is open for public. If you get lost follow the yellow line on the floor and grab a coffee in the hip garden.
Academie Beeldende Kunsten Anderlecht
Well hello there! Here I am. Back to my Planet Dynamite. My shoulder, arm and wrist pain made me avoid using my computer for a while and going to far away destinations (with exception of Japan in December last year). Pretty bad I know. However this period gave me the opportunity to look closer to myself and closer travel wise. This local market, that nearby restaurant and not far away cities. Like Brussels. By public transportation around 3 hours away from my place. A city somewhat rough and diverse. Not overwhelmed by tourists like Venice or Amsterdam and just a nice place to discover new things over and over again. The last time I went I found this cool local café which I would like to share with you. Why?
Where? Sint-Gillisvoorplein 11, 1060 Sint-Gillis.
Friterie de la Barriere:
Parklaan, 1060 Sint-Gillis, België
If you are considering to travel to a diverse place this year, no mass tourism, somewhere off the beaten track with lots of nature and cheap! Go visit Montenegro! It was part of our Dubrovnik – Bosnia trip last year. It is an upcoming destination so be quick before it gets over flooded by tourists.
How to get there:
For the first time this year, direct flights are operating between Amsterdam and Tivat by TUI.
When: from May to September
Price: from 199-, euros one way
US travelers see: www.vayama.com
Alternatively flying to Dubrovnik and take a bus or taxi to Montenegro anywhere you want.
Airlines: Transavia, Easyjet
When: from April till oktober with Transavia
From May till oktober with Easyjet
Price: from € 33-, till 299-, (in juni)
Link: www.easyjet.com and www.transavia.nl
NOTE: paying with creditcard only possible while booking with Easyjet. Transavia offers also IDEAL and Paypal
We travelled via Dubrovnik to Herceg Novi.
Cycling and walking is not that common and can be pretty dangerous. Taking the local bus is the easiest and cheapest way. They run frequent and slightly on time except on Sunday. Then they run every 2 hours. You pay in the back of the buss. Price varies from €1.30 to €2.60 depending on the distance and which bus. For example from Kamenari to Perast = €2.50 Blue line bus one way. Kamenari - Herceg Novi = €2.30
You can pay in euro’s in Montenegro and they also accept Croatian Kuna in some places.
Eat in a traditional “Konoba” and you pay approx.. €10-, for a meal in Herceg Novi. Prices in Kotor are much higher but reasonable.
We went in September / October which is a bit off season but still nice with an average of 25 degrees. In summer think more in a direction of 30 degrees and also expect more tourists (Russians).
Montenegro is ideal for a road trip and an ideal starting point heading to Albania, Macedonia, Croatia and Bosnia by car or bus. Before it get packed by tourists and the prices will rise visit Montenegro and tell my how you liked it.
Easter Island is a tourist attraction because of the big stone heads. It was news to me that archaeologists found bodies beneath those huge heads. Actually archaeologists have been digging for centuries but the Easter Island Statue Project continued the work with the results below.
I think it’s amazing that those bodies were revealed showing well preserved carvings. Those heads have been hiding a secret for ages! Wow are you like me curious what those inscriptions means?
See picture below from the Easter Island Statue Project. More pictures and info go to: Easter Island Statue Project- www.eispo.org
Grabbing lunch from a food truck. Such a normal thing in the USA. The concept of offering different types of street food on wheels has become tremendous popular in America and now taking over in Holland!
Well…hmm taking over, this invasion is limited to festivals and events only since regulations in Holland are very strict and complex for mobile vendors. If finally an entrepreneur is appointed to a public place, it is only open for junk food like hotdogs and fries.
Still step by step the rolling kitchen scene is getting more recognition. For instance the city of Amsterdam started a pilot project where in different areas entrepreneurs are permitted to sell food check: https://www.amsterdam.nl/ondernemen/markt-straathandel/pilot-voedselwagens/ Moreover the list of specific food truck festivals is growing in the bigger cities.
This summer you can find numerous festivals hosting street food and rolling kitchens in Holland. I have listed the upcoming food truck events in Holland below. The festivals are free of entrance and sometimes with live music. Check if there is one nearby you!
City: Eindhoven | TU Terrein Eindhoven| http://www.festival-foodstock.nl | 24, 25, 26 july 2015
The name of this festival itself is already appealing. Food and drink festival representing different kinds of food. However very standard things like tosti, waffles and curros.
City: Amsterdam | NDSM-Werf Amsterdam | www.amsterdamkookt.nl | 31 july till 2 augustus 2015
First edition of this festival where more exclusive food trucks from Holland present their delights on a unique location, an old warf.
City: Middelburg | Walensingel Middelburg | www.culikaravaan.nl/ | 13, 14, 15 Augustus 2015
First foodtruck festival in the province of Zeeland representing just a few foodtrucks.
City: Haarlem | Kenaupark Haarlem| www.proefparkhaarlem | 28, 29, 30 Augustus 2015
30 foodtrucks serving specialties like bitterballen from goase meat or lobster burgers…..
Food Soul Festival
City: Zoetermeer | Marseillepad Zoetermeer |www.foodsoulfestival.nl | 28, 29, 30 augustus 2015
Foodtruck event where 20 food trucks will offer their delicious food in Zoetermeer. Among this list of food truck festivals, Zoetermeer is not a big Dutch city
City: Den Haag | Westbroekpark, Kapelweg | www. festival-trek.nl 10, 11, 12 and 13 september 2015
22.500 visitors came to the edition last year. This organization is touring through Holland hitting several public parks. Check their website for their agenda.
City: Rotterdam | Noordplein Rotterdam | www.rrrollend.nl | 11, 12, 13 septemer 2015
Also Rrrollend is an organization of food truck festivals hitting Rotterdam, Dordrecht, Nijmegen, Leiden, Katwijk, Leeuwarden, Zwolle, Groningen and Den Haag.
In Rotterdam Rrrollend will host a festival with 30 foodtrucks. Live music and entertainment
Hippe Happen Festival
City: Den Bosch | Deltalaan 5247 Rosmalen | www. hippehappenfestival.nl| 25, 26, 27 september 2015
First edition of this food truck festival where they have an extensive program check here: http://hippehappenfestival.nl/programma
For those people who have the same feelings about France like me, I found a place where you can start experiencing France, Strasbourg!
Step into the world of Wall Street. The world of money and power, the New York Stock Exchange and big companies situated in this neighborhood. The area is fascinating to walk around in between the buildings and seeing people moving their way to work. Another thing which is quite fascinating is Fraunces Tavern. A historic building that dates back to 1719 which stands in the middle of the high skyscrapers.
My friends hate me for letting them climb the 365 stairs :-P
Even though I live so nearby Delft I should visit it more often. Delft is lovely, cute, small and just nice to hang around. I mostly bring my friends from abroad here. They hate me for climbing 365 stairs of the new church, but love me for the view from above :-P.
The times I visit little Amsterdam its for dinner or a drink. I like de “Beestenmarkt”, (cattle square in the old days) a square which is surrounded by restaurants where you have indoor and outdoor eating and drinking possibilities. There are many options for the cuisine of your choice. Before choosing your dining or drinking spot, here are 3 things you should know which makes your restaurant choice perhaps easier.