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 old shipping containers. 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 lots of trails close by. 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. A 10k route crossing the Veluwezoom National Park and it’s diverse landscape. From rolling hills, to heather fields and back into the forest. In my opinion the Veluwe is one of the most beautiful places in The Netherlands.


This route will lead you along one of the most famous spots of the Veluwe, the Posbank. As well as the nature observation point Herikhuizen, which is a perfect spot if you want to spot some wildlife. We even came across an Icelandic horse, which roam free in this area. But if you get up early you might even see some wild boars or deer.

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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.

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Lac Blanc

Last August we went to France for another camping trip. This time our destination was the Mont Blanc region.

One of the things I had put on the list to see there was Lac Blanc. So we asked at the campsite how to get there and set out early in the morning.

We parked our car at Trechamps. There is a map at the parking lot and the route up has really good signs. So we set out with just the map the campsite owner printed for us. Keep in mind that this is not an easy trail. You will be climbing from 1400 meter elevation to over 2000 meters.

The entire hike to the lake is a climb, you will even encounter a couple of ladders and ledges. Since I am afraid of heights this wasn’t my favorite part of the hike and I was happy to leave the ladders behind me and set foot on a regular mountain trail again.

If you want to avoid the ladders I would recommend taking the lift all the way up to Flegere and hike from there to Lac Blanc instead. Just keep in mind to make sure you are back in time for the last lift down, which was 15.30 when we were there.

Before you reach Lac Blanc you will come across Lac des Cheserys, which for us was our final destination. As the hut at Lac Blanc was closed and it was extremely crowded on the trail as soon as we crossed paths with the trail coming from the lift. So instead of climbing more ladders for about 20 minutes we enjoyed the incredible view of the Mont Blanc from Lac Cheserys.

After resting up and putting our feet in the lake, which you can imagine was heavenly after hiking in 25 degree weather in the heat of summer. We started our descent back to the car. The first part of the trail you will follow the same one back as you went up, but unfortunately the pass going back down to make a circular route was closed off so we had to take the same route back.  Which meant taking the ladders back down. Fortunately there was only an older couple behind us so I could take it easy getting on and off the ladders. There were even hikers so friendly to make sure my hiking stick was securely fastened to my backpack.

After the ladders you will come back to the regular trail where you can enjoy the views of the Mont Blanc one more time before you get back to your car.

It wasn’t an easy hike, but the views of the Mont Blanc made up for it every second of the hike. The total trip took us about 6 hours.

 

Our 5 roadtrips essentials

Roadtrips are by far my favorite way to travel. You can take in all the sights at your own pace. And stop wherever you want to. Or just stay one day longer. We barely ever travel with a set plan. Which makes roadtrips the perfect way for us to travel, because you don´t have to keep to a set schedule. I especially love to combine roadtrips with camping.

So what are our 5 roadtrip essentials?

1. Good music

We absolutely love music and there isn’t a day that goes by that we don´t listen to some of our favorite artist while at home. So what better way to start a roadtrip, then with some of our favorite artists. That is why music is essential to us for a good roadtrip. We will always bring our ipod and a bunch of cd´s.

Especially driving through France, it is a good thing to bring your own music. Unless you want to listen to French radio all day. It might be a good idea though if you want to learn French.

2. Food

Whenever we go on a roadtrip, I make sure to keep some food handy. You never know when you might get stuck in a traffic jam or just want to eat something. So we always bring a lot of food.

3. A map

Even though we all have 4G internet on our cell phones these days and navigation, we always make sure to bring a map on a roadtrip, especially going to remote places you might run out of a signal.

4. Your camera

As a photographer I obviously always bring my camera everywhere, so I will also bring it along on a roadtrip.

5. Comfortable clothes/blankets/pillows

When I will be in a car for a while I always make sure to wear comfortable clothes, like a sweatshirt and leggings. Nothing worse then being stuck in a car for hours and not being comfortable.

We also always bring blankets and pillows. We always start driving in the middle of the night, so I will sleep in the car for a while. So we can switch places driving.

What are your roadtrip essentials?

Castle Eltz and Geierlay

I can’t believe I haven’t posted anything in so long. We have been extremely busy with work, our home and traveling as much as possible.

So last fall has been all about new adventures. These adventures came in the form of day trips. One of the day trips I took was to Castle Eltz. The castle has been famous due to instagram. I am sure you have seen one of the many pictures of Castle Eltz, while scrolling through your feed.

our neverending wanderlust eltz castle-1So on the last Friday of October I took a daytrip to Castle Eltz with one of my friends. For me it was a very long drive, but it was defenitly worth it. We had planned this trip months in advance, but we were lucky that it wasn’t raining.

So we parked our car at the parking at the top, where you have to pay two euros. Yes, even before opening hours. From there you can either take the pendle bus down or hike down. It is only a short hike, about 1 kilometer. So we hiked down where the pendle bus goes down. Half way down you will find a platform with a birds eye view over Castle Eltz.

our neverending wanderlust eltz castle-5164When you get to the castle it is open for visits. It costs 10 euros for an adult to get in. You will also find a restaurant in Castle Eltz.

We decided to not go in, but we wandered around the castle grounds. All the way down to the river. There are numerous hiking trails passing along the castle and you can even hike from here to Castle Pyrmont.

After wandering around for a while we took the foot path through the forest back to the car. From the footh path you will also find some amazing views over the Castle.

After our visit to Castle Eltz we decided we wanted to see one of the other big tourist attractions around here, which is the bridge at Geierlay. It is one of the longest suspencion bridges in Europe. It is 360 meters long and 100 meters high.

Since it is such a big attraction you will find multiple parking lots in the town of Morsdorf. Don’t forget to bring cash though, cause you can’t pay with a card. It is about a half an hour hike to the bridge depending on where you park your car. We did a circular route which took us about an hour.

When we were there it was quite busy, which meant you had to pass people on the bridge. It was also quite windy, so a lot of movement of the bridge. But here the fall colors were just amazing. It was an amazing experience to see and hike the Geierlay suspension bridge.

Have you ever visited Castle Eltz or the Geierlay bridge?

A two day itinerary to England

This November I took a weekend getaway to England. We drove over to England on Saturday and came back Sunday night. This might seem like a short time, but you can do a lot in this time frame. Let me tell you what our two day itinerary looked like for this trip.

We left early in the morning to catch the 8.49 train from Calais to Folkestone. We arrived early in Calais, so they offered us to take a train earlier free of charge. Since we only had two days we took the train half an hour earlier. So we arrived in England at 7.45 in the morning. At the train station in Calais there is a big parking area with restaurants, where you can wait in case you are to early.

When leaving the train station in England you can get straight on the highway. Just remember to drive on the left side and to take in account that the speed limit is in miles instead of kilometers.

We first drove to Hastings, which is about an hour drive from the train station. Here we spend the morning at the beach and the pier.

After Hastings we drove to Beachy Head near Eastborne. Which is about another hour from Hastings. Here we spend the afternoon on the beach and the cliffs and had tea at the restaurant.

After the sunset at Beachy Head we headed back towards Folkestone. Were we stayed at a hotel in the town of Rye. Which is a beautiful typical English village. I didn´t take any shots here though. Since I didn´t want to bring my camera to dinner. If you stay in Rye on Saturday I would recommend to make dinner reservations though, since we got turned down at two restaurants.

Sunday morning we took breakfast early and left for the White Cliffs of Dover, which is approximately an hour drive from Rye. Here we hiked to the lighthouse.

After Dover we headed to Folkestone, for dinner and the sunset, before taking the train back to France at 17.00. Here you can read all about Folkestone.

We took our time at every single stop and didn´t rush anything. Even though we only had two days we saw a lot. It felt like I had been on vacation for an entire week.

This is what our itinerary looked like:
Saturday morning:                          beach and pier Hastings
Saturday afternoon:                        Beachy Head near Eastbourne
Saturday night:                                dinner and hotel stay in Rye
Sunday morning/afternoon:         white cliffs of Dover
Sunday afternoon:                          Folkestone
Sunday night:                                  train home

What was your last weekend getaway?

Folkestone

November is the perfect time for a last weekend getaway. Even though it can get chilly it is the best time to get one more roadtrip in before winter comes around. So this November I headed to England with two friends. I had never been to England before, but it blew me away. The scenery is picture perfect around every corner.

We went to the UK for just two days as it is only a short train ride away from France. So perfect for a short weekend getaway. I will post another blog on our two itinerary soon. But today´s post is all about the charming town of Folkestone.

Folkestone wasn’t on the list of places to visit, but because the train comes in here. We made Folkestone our last stop. And am I happy we did.

When we arrived to Folkestone the sun was already starting to set. We had an incredible view of Folkestone’s beach right from the parking lot. There were a lot of people out and about enjoying a nice Sunday afternoon stroll along the beach. They made for the perfect subject for some beautiful shots of this town.

This town is a fishers town, so you will find a lot of places where you can have fresh fish. Unfortunately for us the stand at the harbour was already closing up, so we had to find another place to eat. If you want to try fish and chips while in England I can recommend the Captain’s Table Cafe. From where you have a beautiful view of the harbor, while you enjoy your delicious fish and chips. During dinner the tide started to roll in. Which was beautiful to watch with the setting sun.

In the harbour you will find a tiny house. Which is one of the six tiny houses Richard Woods put around Folkestone. All of them are identical with the only difference the color. He made them as a symbol of the housing crisis. Since a lot of people buy a second home along the coast, there is a housing problem along the coast.

Unfortunately we didn’t have very long to explore Folkestone, but I loved the harbour. So I will be back, because it is such a beautiful town.

Would you stop here when going to England?