• asia,  Bali,  Indonesia

    Beyond the crowded beaches – an account of Bali’s exceptional cultural identity.

    We had planned to go to Mexico this summer. Due to budgetary limitations, however (some necessary renovations needed to be done in our house as well), we decided to wait a few years and invade Sweden instead. However, our renovation plans eventually ruled out July and August as well, and since we are both working in education, we had to look out for an alternative in spring. Annick came up with Bali, an exotic destination and popular honeymoon getaway. I was skeptical at first, because I knew the island only from its overcrowded, garbage-littered beaches and drunk tourists. I thought it would be an unpleasant place stuffed with oversized hotels full of noisy poolside animation. But…

  • asia,  Bali,  Indonesia,  unesco world heritage

    Rice and Subak – Bali’s world heritage

    Rice. Those of you who have ever traveled through Bali, know very well how important this plant and its seeds are in the local cuisine, religion and culture of this island. The cultivation, production, practical utilisation and consumption of rice has been deeply rooted in everyday life in Bali for more than 2000 years. Rice is a popular and even essential ingredient of Balinese cooking. It is used as a side dish with almost every meal, so if you’re (un)lucky, you can have it as breakfast, lunch ànd dinner. Rice is a starch-rich staple food that is the primary food source in many regions of the world, but to the Balinese people it is much more than a source of food and life.…

  • AF,  belgium,  citytrip,  europe,  gent,  themed posts

    Gent – the veggie capital of Europe

    Gent is in many ways an innovative city. One of these ways is that the city has been supporting and promoting the consumption of less meat. Since 2009 the city supports “Donderdag Veggiedag”, meaning the active promotion of eating vegetarian for (at least) one day in a week. This also means that in all school restaurants and office buildings of the city of Gent no meat is served on Thursdays. This is an enormous step in reducing the consumption of meat and thus saving a little bit of our planet. Gent also has an enormous amount of veggie(friendly) and vegan(friendly) restaurants: 130 restaurants serve vegetarian food, 44 are veganfriendly and…

  • AF,  belgium,  citytrip,  europe,  gent,  kidstravel,  themed posts,  where to go: belgium

    Good deed of the day: help a dragon!

    Have you ever helped out a dragon? We have! Today we helped out a very cute, little, red dragon find his glasses. His name is Fosfor, and somehow he lost them. If you download the (free!) Ojoo app on your smartphone, and then install the (free) game ‘Where are Fosfor the Dragon’s glasses’ (‘Draakje Fosfor’ in Dutch), you can help him out as well. And discover the beautiful city centre of Gent in the mean time 😉               You start the game at Veerleplein, near the tourist information centre. The game takes you on a walk of about 1,5h around the city and ends…

  • AF,  england,  europe,  unesco world heritage,  United Kingdom

    Old houses and old stones: the Avebury/Cotswolds combo.

    I admit: I have a fascination for old things. Even when I was young, I wanted to become a paleontologist or an archaeologist (I became a biologist instead, which was another of my childhood dreams). I once volunteered at a dinosaur dig in Russia and that was an unforgettable experience. I never practiced any archaeology, though, but it never ceases to fascinate me. When we are planning our travels, I’m the one always nagging about Viking burial mounds, prehistoric towers, Etruscan graves, Roman graveyards and the like. I know Febe (our 6-year-old daughter) is usually not so enthusiastic about these things, but with the proper approach we always find ways to make such visits…

  • AF,  belgium,  europe,  kidstravel,  where to go: belgium

    Searching for dragons in one of the most underestimated museums of Brussels.

    Capitals. Aren’t they intriguing? A capital is supposed to be the political and administrative centre of a country, but is it also the cultural centre? Is a capital representative for its country in terms of its artistic, architectural and culinary identity (presuming here that these three aspects are the focus of attention for many travelers)? Probably not, and in some cases capitals aren’t even the principal or most well-known city in a country. Just think about Ankara (Turkey, overshadowed by Istanbul), Rabat (Morocco, left in the shade by Marrakech) and even Madrid (Spain, much less visited than e.g. Barcelona). Nevertheless, I am positive that some capitals are pretty decent as a starting point for the cultural…

  • AF,  england,  europe

    A quick guide to Oxford

    When returning from our trip to Wales, we made a stop in Oxford. A good friend of Annick recently moved there to study for a PhD. We went completely unprepared, because Sandra and her friend Peter would show us around. We just knew it was a prestigious university city. It turned out to be a very pleasant surprise: it is a truly stunning city! Let me take you on a quick guide to Oxford… The prestigious colleges Oxford has no less than 38 colleges and 6 private halls. They are responsible for the tutorials and classes for their subjects and are of great importance to the whole student system. You…

  • europe,  SZ,  Wales

    A short trip into Wales.

    Dragons, King Arthur, medieval castles, prehistoric tombs, a rugged coastline and an unintelligible language: for me, Wales always had this certain mythical feel to it. Since I visited the Pembrokeshire coast with my parents maybe 20 years ago or so, I just knew I had to come back one day. Even though Pembrokeshire was stunning, it simply isn’t representative for the rest of the country. Seriously, Wales has so many different faces to it that I think there isn’t any region in this country that can be seen as “representative”, or “typical”. For example, when standing in front of the Pierhead Building in Cardiff, who would ever suspect there is a 2000 km² wide massif of 1000m-high rugged mountains only 250km to the…

  • AF,  england,  europe,  unesco world heritage

    Why Bath deserves your attention

    When I was 14, I went to Bath for a language course. I remember the city to be pretty… and since we headed out to Wales last fall, I thought I’d revisit it. Because, after all, the things that mostly caught my eye back then were the pretty English teacher and Dr. Martens boots in all sorts of colours 😉 As a family, we were pretty amazed by what a day in Bath could give us. Here’s why this city deserves your attention: 1. Charlotte Street Car Park Bath is a compact city, as you can see on the map above. Most of the highlights are within walking distance. When…

  • AF,  citytrip,  europe,  france,  paris,  unesco world heritage

    Paris is always a good idea

    A famous quote by Audrey Hepburn… and one that is very true: Paris is always a good idea. Annick has visited the city in winter, summer and early fall. Maarten and Túrin once joined her, but the other occasions were with work or when she was younger. Having spent a couple of weeks there in total, she knows the city pretty well. Here’s her guide to Paris! To get an idea of the geography, open our public Paris map. You’ll see 4 layers: Paris in a day, in 3 days, in 5 days and tips for shopping and food. You might have to put some layers on to see it…