Spoiler Alert: This Is Not Venice!

Can you guess where you’ll find this Venice impersonator?

OK, I’ll give you a hint, since we could all read the waffle (go.fre) on that young lady’s bag: It’s Belgium.

So: any takers yet? … More Spoiler Alert: This Is Not Venice!

Hidden Spain Collection: In a Medieval Mood

It’s been one year already. One year since I packed up and moved away from gloomy Brussels and into sunny Barcelona.

One year that flew by, as I purposefully neglected Spain’s gems and instead fell in love with South Africa, Indonesia, and soon New Zealand.

But as the end of the year draws near, so will my travels. And I guarantee you this much: Spain will shine in the spotlight of the year to come, in colors you’ve never seen it wear before!

I figured gorgeous Besalú with its matching, picture perfect neighboring friends will make for a wonderful start or that journey – and an easy day trip from Barcelona.

Prepare to be taken by surprise by a Spain few people know: … More Hidden Spain Collection: In a Medieval Mood

In The Wild, Where They Belong: Big Five Lucky in South Africa

Part of our amazingly organized 3-day safari in South Africa, the time came when we had to leave our explorers’ den at GomoGomo and head to Mohlabetsi Lodge for the last leg of our real-life nature documentary.

Mohlabetsi was, surprisingly, a substantial change of scenery from Gomo Gomo.

In a chat with the owner of the lodge – a seasoned hospitality veteran who decided to create his own boutique, luxury heaven in nature – he told us about the challenges they’ve had with elephants, which in times of drought are attracted by the green pastures hiding in plain sight, behind the electrified fences of the lodges.

And can you blame them? In the wild there’s a constant fight for survival, and this is their home, we’re merely uninvited guests. … More In The Wild, Where They Belong: Big Five Lucky in South Africa

Sampling Antarctica With a Bunch of Jackasses

Waking up to a spring that left me waiting.

With a magnificent view over Table mountain that also kept me waiting in vain, as the clouds didn’t budge for 3 full days.

It almost felt like Antarctica when I got out to Boulders Beach and was instantly hit by the icy drizzle.
The umbrella wasn’t much of a friend either. I eventually abandoned it in the arms of my partner, soon after a lone penguin caught my eye.

South Africa. Since hitching a ride to Antarctica is an expensive endeavor that I’m working towards – and at a relatively slow crawl, I might add – I settled for the nonetheless amazing encounter with the Jackass Penguins of South Africa.

In The Wild – Where They Belong … More Sampling Antarctica With a Bunch of Jackasses

6 Things I Never Thought I’d Do on Kilimanjaro

I knew it’s going to be tough as sh!t.

I also knew it will be one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. First time ever climbing a mountain, and I had to pick Kili..

And I was aware that the trek will take us through the most beautiful and diverse scenery, like trekking through a nature documentary:

a 6000-meter snow-capped volcano on the equator, and when you finally reach the roof of Africa you might just think you can do anything.
What I didn’t expect though, was that I’d have so much fun, and feel so much pain, and never want to trade it for anything different.

And I also didn’t expect this: … More 6 Things I Never Thought I’d Do on Kilimanjaro

10 Kiwi Gems You Need to Know About

Nature lovers, beware! You’re about to get your mind blown!

One month before my quickie to New Zealand, I put together some highlights I included in my 5-day itinerary, plus some others which didn’t make the final cut – because well… five days only, people!

You probably know about New Zealand’s stunning beaches, the Hobbiton or the Waitomo glowworm caves. But did you know about these hidden gems?

Come on, let’s quiz! How many will you check? … More 10 Kiwi Gems You Need to Know About

How To #SouthAfrica In Style: The Wine Route!

Like most people who enjoy a glass of red for good value, I knew of course that South Africa has a good rap for wines. I did not, however, expect it to be so incredibly exquisite in its offer!

I mean, I see now there’s a solid reason behind the fact that South Africa has the longest wine route in the world. 850km long, to be more precise!

While we merely scratched the surface (see blue dots area above) and the experience left us wanting more, our two wine tasting trips should give you a fairly good idea of the amazing things waiting for you down in South Africa!

.. … More How To #SouthAfrica In Style: The Wine Route!

Readathon-ing towards South Africa: Tales of the Metric System

Like I said before. The rules of choosing books for my readathon are pretty fluid – mainly it’s :

Author is from said country &/or
Action is set in said country
Other than that, the sky is the limit ;). So when I came across Imraan Coovadia’s book in a Goodreads thread I chose it because of the title, really.

Well, of course, I read the details and got an idea what it’s about, and I did see that the book was featured in the nota bene of the WorldLiteratureToday magazine. But I didn’t imagine it will be so skillfully written. … More Readathon-ing towards South Africa: Tales of the Metric System

When Organized Tours Go Well – A South African Safari

As you’ve seen in a previous post, I’m not one advocating for organized tours all that much. And so, for a long while planning our SA getaway, I was actually looking at booking accommodation myself and organize transport on the spot. Eventually, after a few questions thrown on TripAdvisor / Twitter, I decided to go the paved way in.

Of course, it didn’t help that neither I nor my travel partner in crime owns a driver’s license (laugh all you want, I’m just not all that interested. There.)

So I had an extensive back and forth with two local tour companies, narrowed it down to one, and eventually settled on a package which seemed fair. That company that made my happy travels real, was GoSAfari.

Most of you must know how rare it is that you come across a travel agent who is professional & dedicated, looking to provide as much value as possible and helping tailor make the best package without overcharging you for it. For us, that rare bird was Glen @GoSAfari. … More When Organized Tours Go Well – A South African Safari

Prisoners of Geography – Maps that Matter (Part 2)

The Middle of What? East of Where?

The Middle East had few country borders, after the first world war.

The area was subdivided and governed according to ethnicity and religion, but there were no real attempts to create nation states.

Then the Europeans came.

Because they had done such a “great” job in Africa, and they were used to draw lines on maps: again, these were lines that did not exist in reality, and their sudden existence created some of the most artificial borders in the world.
An attempt is unfortunately now made to redraw them in blood..

The so called Middle East is home to the largest continuous sand desert in the world , an area the size of France.

I learned a bit about how Islam has been separated in Sunni and Shia since year 633, which created huge doctrinal disputes that continue to this day.. and hit all the more close to home.

The radicals from IS which murdered people and captured territory, also seized on an area important in the internet age: psychological space

They became generation jackass jihadi….. … More Prisoners of Geography – Maps that Matter (Part 2)