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.

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?

A day hike in Nisramont, Belgium

The Belgium Ardennes had been on my list to visit for ages. And even though it is close by (about a 2/3 hour drive) for some reason we have never made it out there. So I thought it was time to finally explore this beautiful region of Belgium. So I invited one of my friends to go on a day hike.

We headed out early in the morning, around 4 am, because we wanted to make it in time for the sunrise. Unfortunately it took us longer then we expected to reach our final destination, so we missed out on the sunrise.

Our final destination was Nisramont. There the river the Ourthe passes through the forest and it is the start of a 13 km hiking trail.

We parked our car at the big parking lot near the little restaurant which is situated at the head of the trail. After a quick coffee we headed out onto the trail.

You can enter the trail by walking past the restaurant on the left side, where you will find the sign of the start of the trail. You will follow the red markers along the trail. The trail is marker really well, so a map isn’t quite nescessary. We hiked about 5 hours, but we did make lots of stops to shoot. Especially the first couple of kilometers.

Our never ending Wanderlust Nisramont-8882Along the trail there are a couple of look outs, which will give you an incredible overview over the river the Ourthe and the surrounding forest. Beside the lookouts there are several places where you can sit and enjoy the river. Which is incredible especially on summer days.

If you hike this trail in the fall make sure to bring a hiking stick, because this trail can become really slippery. There are two steep climbs at the end of the trail, which will be quite challenging in wet conditions.

We did the hike during the heat of summer, so when we ended our hike we took a dive into the river. Which was incredible. There are a lot of spots at the river where you can enjoy a relaxing afternoon at the river. You can also rent kayaks and stand up paddle boards at the restaurant to explore the river from the water.

For me the best moment of this hike was jumping in the lake after finishing our hike, because it had become 36 degrees by the time we finished the trail.

I can’t wait to come back to the Ardennes in the fall and explore more of this beautiful region.

Have you visited the Ardennes in Belgium before? What is your go to hike?

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Beach sunrise Breskens

Growing up in Zeeland means growing up besides water. We are surrounded by it, which also means being surrounded by beaches. Mostly during summer we tend to avoid the beaches, but this summer we are turning things upside down. So instead of going to the beach during the day time we go to the beach for the sunrise.

Our neverending Wanderlust Breskens-6845I have never been a morning person, but ever since I got up for my first sunrise I have been hooked. There is nothing better then to watch the sunrise and to see the world coming back to life. It is one of those things that will always be magical.


So the first of July we took Milow to one of the beaches close to our home, Breskens. There are big parking lots everywhere along the dunes, which you only have to pay for between 11am and 6pm. So you shouldn’t have any trouble parking your car.

Our neverending Wanderlust Breskens-6814

Breskens is home to a beautiful lighthouse. Which is open for visitors. The lighthouse was build in 1866-1867. And thus has been here for over a 100 years! It is the oldest still excisting cast iron lighthouse and it is still operating.

It is one of my favorite spots along the coast here in Zeeland.

Our neverending Wanderlust Breskens-6855

Which is your favorite coastal spot?

Our neverending Wanderlust Breskens-6754

Puy de Dome, France

Two years ago, in 2016, we went on a 4 week roadtrip through France. Which took us to many incredible places and hikes.

One of the places we decided to make camp at was the Auverge. The Auvergne is a beautiful part of France, and luckily it isn´t yet overflown with tourist. Which for us was a big plus. If you love nature, the Auvergne is definitely the place to be. The Auvergne is known for it´s volcanoes.  One of them is the Puy de Dome, which is the most famous volcano of the region.

The Puy de Dome is a very popular destination for paragliders, but it is also a beautiful place to hike.

Our never ending wanderlust Puy de Dome-0369There is a big car park at the foot of the Puy de Dome, from where you can either take the train up to the top or you can hike, ofcourse we decided to do the hike.
Our never ending wanderlust Puy de Dome-0260
The first part of the trail will take you through a forest until you get to the start of the trail going up the Puy de Dome. From there it is a long trail going up and up and up, until you reach the summit at 1415 meters. There are benches along the trail everywhere, so you can enjoy the view of the surrounding volcanoes.

Our never ending wanderlust Puy de Dome-0300
Our never ending wanderlust Puy de Dome-0335
Our never ending wanderlust Puy de Dome-0323
When you get to the summit you will find a restaurant, where you can have a bite to eat. There are also benches where you can eat your own sandwiches.


When you want to head down, you just follow the train for the first few meters. After a couple of hundred metres you will find the entrance to the trail down. There are stairs to take you back down to the car park and this part of the trail will take you through an incredible landscape. I was waiting for the hobbits to pass me on this part of the trail.