Hiking in Saeftinghe, Zeeland

The sunken land of Saeftinghe is a nature reserve situated on the border of Belgium and The Netherlands. It is the place where the river the Scheldt meets the sea the Western Scheldt. That is why the water in Saeftinghe is brackish. It is the biggest brackish husky in Europe. Due to the constant change of the tide, Saeftinghe is an ever changing nature reserve.

You can visit Saeftinghe on your own or your can book a guided tour at the visitor centre located in Emmadorp. Which have started up their tours again as of the 17th of May 2021.

The hiking routes which you can visit on your own also start from the visitor centre in Emmadorp, where you can also park your car for free.

There are two walking routes, “het ruige laarzen pad” and the “plankierpad”. On “het ruige laarzen pad” you will need rain boots. On the “plankierpad” they aren’t required, but I would wear them anyways, since it is really muddy. They are both short trails, 1 and 2 km long, but you can combine them for a longer hike. If you want to hike longer then just this short hike, you can also walk along the Dyke or along the backroads.

Plankierspad
I have hiked both, but this time I am concentrating on the Plankierspad.
Starting at the parking lot at the visitor centre in Emmadorp, located at Emmaweg 4, Nieuw-Namen. The trail is about 2 kilometers long. You will walk over footbridges and through the mud.

First you cross the dyke, where you will find a map of Saeftinghe. Because of the elevation of the Dyke it is a good viewing point, where you can oversee the nature reserve. On the right side you will see the cooling towers of Doel and the port of Antwerp in the distance. In front of you, you will see the Western Scheldt, where you can see the boats pass by on their way to the port of Antwerp.

From there you hike down to the gate to enter Saeftinghe. Immediately when entering you will find a sign indicating both trails.

At the sign you will go right, where you enter the trail. It is an easy to follow trail as there is only one to follow. There are little wooden signs along the way with assignments for the kids. You can get a booklet with the assignments for the kids in the visitor centre. If you pay attention, you might spot some birds that live in Saefthinge.


How to get to Saeftinghe?

You can park your car at the visitor centre in Emmadorp.
Emmaweg 4, Nieuw-Namen
There is a big parking lot in front of the visitor centre. You just have to cross the dyke to enter Saeftinghe.

Let me know in the comments if you have visited Saeftinghe.

A hike in Waterdunen, Zeeland

In Zeeuws-Vlaanderen a new nature reserve has been created the past couple of years. As a resident of this beautiful area, I of course wanted to discover this beautiful area. Waterdunen is situated on the south of the beautiful fishers town of Breskens. It is situated in between the sea and land. It is also a Delta work, a different one from the ones we have all known for years.

An everchaning nature reserve
In Waterdunen the tide of the sea influences the area. Water flows in and out every single day. Which creates an everchanging nature reserve. The perfect spot for coastal birds to live and breed.


Bird spotting
Since it is such an amazing spots for birds to live, Waterdunen is the perfect location to go bird spotting. Along the hiking routes you will find shelters to observe and watch the birds from a safe distance, without disturbing them. In the shelters you will also find information on the birds that live in the area.

Hiking
In Waterdunen multiple trails have been mapped out for visitors. They vary in distance from 4,5 kilometers up until 9 kilometers.

We hiked the orange bird route, which is according to the sign 5,5 kilometers. My Garmin said it was 6,5 kilometers. Most of the route takes you over paved walkways, which makes the route accessible for everyone. The last part of the route will take you along the panorama road along the lighthouse of Breskens.

The orange route takes you along multiple bird houses, so you can take a moment to just relax and watch the birds from a distance.

How to get here?
There is a parking lot situated at the Walendijk, Groede. During the summer months you have to pay to park here. Don’t worry about space, because it is a huge parking lot. You only need to worry about space is on hot summer days, when everyone wants to visit the beach.

A night at the Forest, Belgium

I am always looking for unique places to stay close to home. I have been following The Forest for a while now on Instagram and this winter I could snatch up a last minute night at this beautiful cabin.

A private domain

The cabin is situated on a private domain, which is completely fenced off. You arrive along a beautiful tree lane from which you can already spot the cabin. The cabin is next to a small pond, where a kingfisher has taken up his residence. While we were staying at the cabin, we watched him fly his rounds along the pond from the bed in the morning. A beautiful sight.

A forest getaway
Since the cabin is situated on a private domain, it feels like you are in the middle of the forest. On the other side of the main road you can hike in the Troostembergbos. Which makes this cabin the ideal getaway for forest lovers like me.

The cabin
The cabin is equipped for two people. Keep in mind though that there isn’t a shower in the cabin, only a bath tub.

You do have the possibility of using their barbecue or grill on an open fire in the fire pits that are provided at the cabin.

One of the things I loved the most about this cabin is the canoe that is available for your use the entire stay. Even though it was freezing when we stayed there, I took the canoe out for a little tour of the pond.

Afterwards I could warm up next to the cozy fire place, which heats up the cabin in winter. The owners will start the fire place before your arrival, so the cabin is nice and toasty when you get there.

Oeschinensee Switzerland

The Oeschinensee is located in Kandersteg, Switzerland at an altitude of 1.578 meters. The lake is surrounded by the Bluemlisalp, whith the peaks of the Oeschinenhorn, Frundenhorn and the Doldenhorn. These peaks of more than 3.000 meters make for an impressive sight.

The water of the lake has this amazing shade of blue, due to the constant supply of melting water.

There is a lift that leads pretty much right up to the lake, which makes it a popular location. But the Oeschinnensee is also known to be the most beautiful mountain lake of Switzerland.

Hiking around Oeschinensee

Most people will just hike up to the lake, but it is a beautiful area to go for a longer hike. We hiked up to the Oberbargli hut, which is a small hut, where you can get some refreshments, but nothing to eat. Which we actually had counted on.

The hut is located at 1.973 meters. On your way up you will pass the waterfalls that supply the water for the lake.

This hike gives you amazing views over the lake. When you get to the hut, you can either continue to the next hut, the Bluemlisalphutte, where you can also spend the night, or you can hike back from here. You have two options, hike back the same way you came in, or head left along the ridge.

Which is what we did. It will take you up along the trail higher up, which gives you some incredible views over the Oeschinensee.

It is quite a narrow trail and parts of it has rocks on it, where you have to scramble across. But the views are definitely worth it. Half way through you will come to a bench overlooking the lake, from there you have some amazing views.

The total loop was 11 km, but we also hiked back down to Kandersteg. We did take the gondola up to the lake though.

How to get there?

The Oeschinnensee is located in Kandersteg Switzerland.
There is a parking lot at the bottom of the gondola.

Where to stay?

In Kandersteg you will find numerous hotels.
If you are looking for a cheaper option, there is also a campsite at the foot of the gondola. Which is where we stayed. Campsite Rendez-Vous, is a family owned campsite, where you will find all the conveniences you need.

My favorite spots in Zeeland

This year I was invited to share 8 of my favorite spots in Zeeland for the upcoming months. Starting in November until June. I thought I would share the spots I share on my instagram page in a blog post. So you will be able to find all my 8 favorite spots in one click.

I will be adding to this blog post for the next 7 months.
So make sure to keep on checking this blog post.


1. Nieuwvliet-Bad

Zeeland is more then just beaches. This spot is located in the dunes in Nieuwvliet and is called ‘De Verdronken Zwarte Polder’. This area will either be flooded or dry depending on the tide of the sea. You will find wooden walking paths here to get easy acces to the beach, so you can keep your feet dry.

There are a lot of birds in this area, as well as some sheep. I even spotted a kingfisher here! It kept circling around me and coming back.

You can hike here on the east side, the hike starts at the Zeedijk, you can follow the red markers which is about a 3k hike.

How to get here?
You can park your car at the Dwarsdijk, Nieuwvliet and cross the dunes from the parking lot where you can pick up the hiking route. The parking lot is located right next door to Roompot Beach Resort.
In the winter months parking is free, but during summer you will have to pay to park here.

2. Lighthouse Breskens

In Breskens you will find a beautiful cast iron lighthouse. It has been there since 1868. It is the oldest still existing cast iron lighthouse in the Netherlands. It is one of the most iconic buildings in West Zeeuws-Vlaanderen.

During low tide you can walk along the beach to Breskens. During high tide you can walk along the dykes.

From the lighthouse you can see the skyline of Vlissingen, which is located on across the Westerschelde.

How to get here?
The lighthouse is located at the Panoramaweg, where you can park your car for up to an hour. You can also park your car at the end of the Panoramaweg, where there is a big parking lot. Where parking is free during the winter months.

3. Forest Clinge

In Clinge you will find a beautiful forest. It is a beautiful place to go for a hike and you can even wander into Belgium from here into “Het Stropersbos”, as it is situated on the border.

During fall you will find a lot of toadstools here. As well as squirrels busy collecting their winter harvest.

How to get there?
There is a little parking lot in Clinge at the entrance of the forest. The parking lot is located at the Hoogegeeststraat, Clinge.

Let me know in the comments what your favorite spots are in Zeeland.
Would love to hear them!

4. Zoutelande

There is this song in Dutch about the beach in Zoutelande, but Zoutelande is so much more. I love this corner of Zeeland. The dunes are quite high, which makes for some beautiful view points. You can walk along the walkway in the dunes. Which gives you a beautiful overview of the sea and the backlands.

In the dunes you will find some shelters left from the war. There is even a museum, which you can visit during the summer months. When I was there it was closed though.

How to get there?
There are multiple parking lots in Zoutelande, which are clearly marked.
I parked my car at parking Wulkpad. Which is only a street away from the beach.

5. Castle Westhove

Did you know there are castles in Zeeland?

One of them is kasteel Westhove, situated in the Dunes near Domburg and Oostkapelle. The gardens are free to access and there are beautiful hiking trails.

I hiked the blue route, which is about 3km, but you can add an extra loop by including a visit to the beach. Which is exactly what we did. Having our morning tea on the beach, watching the waves crashing ashore.

How to get there?
There is a parking lot at the Duinvlietweg, Oostkapelle.
During the season this is a payed parking lot.
All routes start from this parking lot.

6. Saeftinghe

The sunken land of Saeftinghe is a nature reserve situated on the border of Belgium and The Netherlands. It is the place where the river the Scheldt meets the sea the Western Scheldt. That is why the water in Saeftinghe is brackish. It is the biggest brackish husky in Europe. Due to the constant change of the tide, Saeftinghe is an ever changing nature reserve.

You can visit Saeftinghe on your own or your can book a guided tour at the visitor centre located in Emmadorp. Which have started up their tours again as of the 17th of May 2021.

The hiking routes which you can visit on your own also start from the visitor centre in Emmadorp, where you can also park your car for free.

On “het ruige laarzen pad” you will need rain boots. On the “plankierpad” they aren’t required, but I would wear them anyways, since it is really muddy. They are both short trails, 1 and 2 km long, but you can combine them.

Read more about hiking in Saefthinghe here.

7. Tulip fields

The Netherlands is known for it’s tulip fields. You will find the famous tulip fields around Lisse, The Netherlands. But did you know that away from the crowds there are also tulip fields situated in Zeeland?

The tulip fields in Zeeland are mostly situated around Hulst and Graauw.
You can make a little road trip out of it.

8. Dishoek & Westkapelle

Zeeland is known for it’s beaches. Which inadvertently links it to lighthouses.

One of the lighthouses is situated on the road and you can actually drive up to the lighthouse at Westkapelle. You can park your car at the foot of the lighthouse and watch the sunset in the sea.


The other lighthouses, there are two of them, you will find in the dunes of Dishoek. An area where you can hike for hours. Or just enjoy the beach.

A day hike at Paleis het Loo, the Netherlands

Our travel plans have changed majorly due to Covid this year. So instead of venturing out to the mountains for a trip we decided to stay a bit closer to home. To be precise we decided to visit the beautiful Veluwe again. In my opinion one of the most beautiful areas of the Netherlands. I have been here multiple times in the past couple of years, since it is an easy weekend getaway.

With a longer stay it was time to explore some new places. One of them was Paleis het Loo. At the moment the national museum at the palace is closed due to maintenance. It is scheduled to reopen in 2021. So instead of visiting the palace we did a day hike around the palaces gardens which measure 650 hectare.

At the palace you have two parking lots. I opted for the one further away from the main area, due to the Covid 19 restrictions and the palace being closed. Coming out of the direction of Apeldoorn you just drive past the main entrance and a couple of hundred meters down the road you will pass another small sign indicating that you can enter the gardens. This is Parking lot Bosloo.

The entrance fee to the garden is 2 euros per person. Which you can pay at the entrance of the park at the parking lot. There is a cash and a card option at the machine. There is no parking fee.

One of the first things I noticed while entering the gardens was the differsity of the trees and the plants growing there. There are so many varieties I had never seen in the Netherlands before.


You will also find heather along the trail. Which at the end of July already started to bloom. I loved those purple flowers, unfortunately they only bloom for such a short time.
Besides heather you will also find blue berries along the trail, as well as many other plants.

Ourneverendingwanderlust Paleis het Loo 3We decided to hike the red route, which is a 7 kilometer long trail that will lead you away from the palace. You will find multiple trails in the gardens. Varying in length from 2 kilometers to 14 kilometers, as well as wheelchair accessible routes. So there should be a trail for everyone.

The red route is an easy hike with some rolling hills. It almost feels like you aren’t even in the Netherlands at all. Since the Netherlands are normally really flat. It adds to the feel of being on vacation. Even though you are close to home.

The route is well marked with wooden posts painted with the color of your route. Along bends they also placed multiple posts to make sure you won’t end up on another trail.

Our neverending wanderlust Paleis het Loo-1700

Along the trail you can take a little detour to the wildlife lookout. Where I spotted some wild boars in the middle of the day, as well as a red deer. Which I had never encountered before. It made for a great memory of this trip.

After finishing this trail you can also hike to the palace from this parking lot. Here you will find a map with all the hiking trails in the park.

I definitly want to go back to hike some other trails here.

Have you ever visited Paleis het Loo in the Netherlands?
If yes, did you hike in the gardens?

Our neverending wanderlust Day Hike at Paleis het Loo

 

Quarantaine reads

All of a sudden the world came to a complete stop in March. It is odd to think that things that used to be so normal just a couple of weeks ago are now things of the past. Luckily we were in an intelligent lockdown, which means we could still go outside to hike and exercise close to home.

Since we all spend so much time at home I thought I would write a blogpost about some of my favorite books. I have loved to read ever since I was a child. I am the person that always carries a book around, wherever she goes. Luckily for me my Kindle has made this so much easier. It is my go to when I travel, but sometimes there are books that just need to physically be on my bookshelves.

Today I will share a couple of my favorite books I have read over the past couple of years.

1. Wild by Cheryl Strayed

I have read this book multiple times by now and I notice that I keep going back to it. It is so well written and it just makes you want to put on your hiking boots and hike the PCT by yourself. Truly inspiring for every outdoor enthousiast.

2. The great Alone by Kristin Hannah

This is a great novel about a family moving to small homestead in Alaska. There they face the hardship of living in the wilderness. It makes you appreciate the simple things in life. It is one of those books that is just hard to put down.

3. Becoming by Michelle Obama

Becoming is a truly empowering book about life before, during and after the presidency of Barack Obama. This book is heartfelt and honest. I loved reading this book. It never felt quite like reading an autobiography, but more like a novel.

4. Memoirs of a geisha by Arthur Golden

Last year I read this book for the second time. The first time I read this book was in high school. It stuck with me and I just had to read it a second time. Both times I loved it from start to finish. It gives you an insight in the Japanese geisha culture before World War Two. The book truly mesmerized me.

5. The Great Alone by Tim Voors

When this book was released in the Netherlands I received a copy of this book in Dutch. It has recently been published in English. It is an amazing book. Which I could hardly put down. I also loved the addition of the pictures and Tim his artwork in the book. It is a great book for everyone who loves the outdoors. Tim writes about his experience hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.

6. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

This is a series that had to be on my list of go to reads. I have read the series multiple times and it just never gets old. If you have never read them I would highly recommend doing so.

7. The sun does shine by Anthony Ray Hinton

Some books leave you thinking after reading them for a while. This is one of those books. Anthony writes about his conviction to death row, while he couldn’t possibly have committed the crime he was accused of. It tells the story of his battle with the legal system proving his innocence.

8. All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr

I love to read books about World War Two. This one is set in Saint Malo, France. It tells the story of a young girl, who is blind, they flee from Paris to Saint Malo. Where she meets Werner, a German soldier. It is one of those books that you won’t be able to put down.

9. The Time Traveller’s wife by Audrey Niffenegger

This book tells the love story of Clare and Henry, who life decades apart and meet during his time travels. This book keeps you wondering how this will end. It is an unconventional love story, but a must read.

10. Eat, pray, love by Elizabeth Gilbert

I have read this book multiple times. I also read the sequence. The book tells the story of Elizabeth after her divorce. She travels the world to three places, which stand into big contrast to each other, first it is Italy, then India and to end the trip she goes to Bali. The book tells you a story of healing and finding inner peace.

Have you read any of these books? Which books do you like to read?

Would love to hear your book recommendations.

A day hike in Westerschouwen Zeeland

During summer I always stay close to home. One of the places I love to visit then is the forest in Westerschouwen, Zeeland. 

Westerschouwen is the biggest forest in Zeeland and is located right in the dunes of Westerschouwen. So you can easily combine your hike with a beachday. What about hiking early in the morning and ending the day on the beach?

The forest isn’t a natural forest, the area used to be all sand, but in 1920 they planted pine trees and marram grass. When the area became more touristic they expanded the forest with broad leave trees. Nowdays it is a protected forest.

There are multiple ways to explore the forest at Westerschouwen. There are hiking trails, mountainbike trails, bike trails and horse trails. So there is a trail for everyone. There are also paved trails for people in wheelchairs.

The trail
We did the yellow hike, which is 8 km long, and takes you through the forest, by the lakes and the lookout all the way to the beach. The path starts at the Kraaijensteijnweg, Westenschouwen. There is a big parking lot at the end of the street. The path is clearly marked with yellow signs. Just pay attention at the end that you go off the trail onto the paved path back to the excursion barn. Otherwise you will keep hiking in circles.

Since the trail is in the dunes, there are a lot of paths that are just mulled sand. Besides the sand you will also hike up and down the dunes. Which can make it a challenging hike.

My favorite part of this hike are the lakes. Next time I will bring a picknick and have lunch here and hang out and hike back out at the end of the day.

I also loved the lookout, where you can see for miles. Make sure not to walk by it as it looks like a no entry zone, but the lookout is open for everyone.

Our neverending Wanderlust Westerschouwen-9844

You can also combine the hike with a beachday, because from the parking lot it is only a 5 minute walk to the beach.

Oh and when you go early, there is a really big chance you will get to see deer in this forest.

Have you ever been to Westerschouwen?

Our neverending Wanderlust day hike Westerschouwen

What to do in Austria when you are not skiing?

When I lived in the States during High School. Snow was a given during winter. Here in The Netherlands it isn’t, but I love a good snow day. So to see snow this year I headed out to Austria. 

When you say Austria during winter time. Here in The Netherlands the first question you get asked is: “Are you going skiing?” When your answer is no, people start wondering what it is you are going to do there during the winter.

I found out first hand that Austria is so much more during winter than just a ski destination.

My three tips on what to do when you don’t want to go skiing.

1. Winter hiking

In summer you will find numerous hiking trails in Austria. But even in winter you will  find loads of trails. There are snow shoe trails or regular winter hiking trails. Take note which one you will be hiking before you start the hike. On the regular winter hiking trails all you need is a good pair of hiking boots. Which makes it accessible to most people. The trails are well marked and cleaned up daily. Some trails will take you to huts at the top of the ski slopes and on some trails you will barely even see a soul.

There are trails in all ranges from fairly easy to hikes with a lot of elevation gains. I did several hikes while in Austria, ranging in difficulty:
– wintertrail in Fieberbrunn. I started the trail at the church in Fieberbrunn and hiked up to the hut at Stroebuden, hiking through forests and breathtaking mountain views, but with quite a bit of elevation gain;
– trail starting from Leogang to Knappenstube in the Schwarzleo Tal, which is closed during winter, but it is a fairly easy hike taking you along the river and through the forest;
Asitz Hoch Station. You can take the lift up from Leogang, which is free for one day if you are staying in the area. There is a hiking trail on top of the mountain with the most incredible 360 degree view of the mountains around Leogang. You will hike here from about 1.700 meters up to 2.000 meters. The only downside is that you will hike along the ski slopes and there is no hiking trail back to the Mittel Station, which means the only way down is by lift if you aren’t skiing;
The Achensee, on the last day I visited the Achensee, where there is a trail leading along the banks of the lake. It is a beautiful place and an easy hike.

2. Sleigh rides

If you do want to slide of a mountain, skiing or snowboarding isn’t the only option. In most places they have sleigh tracks. You just pick up a sleigh at the bottom of the lift and carry it up with you to the top to ride it back down to the valley again on special tracks just for this. It is an activity for the entire family.

3. Relax
One thing they know how to do in Austria after a day in the outdoors is how to relax. In most hotels you will find saunas that you can use, but there are also public ones in some towns. What is a better way to end a day of hiking while relaxing in the sauna?

Have you ever been to the Alps during winter? If yes did you do any activities that weren’t ski related?

Our neverendng wanderlust Austria wintergetaway

Buitenplaats Beekhuizen, a weekend getaway in The Netherlands

Those days between Christmas and New Year’s are always the kind of days that seem to go by without a thought. So this year I decided to change things up and book a weekend getaway with Valerie. A special one for that matter. I decided to head back to the Veluwe, one of the most beautiful parts of The Netherlands.

The Pod at Buitenplaats Beekhuizen

I booked a pod nestled in the middle of the national park of Veluwezoom. A pod is a little wooden cabin. At Buitenplaats Beekhuizen you will find the pods and tents surrounded by the forests. I booked a stay from Friday until Monday. Upon my arrival it was already clear that this isn’t to long to stay here. There are countless hiking trails around and activities. You will have a hard time deciding what to do first.

The pods are small, but they are equipped with all the conveniences you will need. You won’t have a fully equipped kitchen though. You do however have a water heater, a coffee maker, a microwave and a fridge. If you do want to make homemade meals you can also book a cooking pod, but their is also a restaurant on side. As was as a breakfast service. The pods also have their own bathrooms. And my pod could even house up as many as four people.

Restaurant Woodz

The first thing you will come across when you enter the site is restaurant Woodz. The restaurant is small, but cosy. The inside area is made out of an old shipping container. Outside you will find fire pits and sheepskin blankets to keep you warm, even during the winter months.  And the food is amazing. There are even a couple of options if you are a vegetarian.

Buitenplaats Beekhuizen-4828

Hiking
Buitenplaats Beekhuizen is situated in the middle of National Park Veluwezoom. Which comes with the bonus of trails starting in your backyard. There are hiking trails starting right outside your doorstep, one of which is the Herikhuizen route. Which we hiked the first day while we were there.

Herikhuizen trail
The Herikhuizen hiking trail is a a 10k hike crossing the Veluwezoom National Park and it’s diverse landscape. From rolling hills, to heather fields and back into the forest.

The Herikhuizen trail will taking you right along the famous Herikhuizen heather fields, which only bloom in August. As well as the most famous spot to watch the heather fields in the Netherlands, the Posbank.

While on this hike you might also run into some Icelandic horses. You can ad a little extra to this hike by getting of the trail for just a little bit to visit the nature observation point Herikhuizen. Where you might spot some wild boars, or maybe even deer.


Hike Carolinahoeve
The second day we decided to hike the trail to the Carolinahoeve, a pancake restaurant, which is only accessible by foot. If you are lucky you will even come across some of the Scottish highlanders whom roam freely in this area. This is a 5k trail starting from the parking lot “Lappendeken” It is an easy trail, but even though The Netherlands is mostly flat, don’t be fooled by it, because here you will find some rolling hills.


It was the perfect weekend getaway in between Christmas and New Year’s. If you would like to book one of the pods, go over to the website of Buitenplaats Beekhuizen by clicking this link.