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

What is in my camera bag?

As an amateur photographer I always wonder what is in someone elses camera bag. So I decided to share what is in my camera bag.

Nikon D7200

Last year I traded up my camera from a Nikon D40 to a Nikon D7200. A descission I haven’t regretted yet.

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Lenses

I bought my camera in a kit with a lense, an 18-140mm, which I love when I travel, because it gives me the flexibility of switching between a landscape an a zoom lens in a second. A couple of months after this lens I also bought a 50 mm lens. Which I love for the small size and the lofh, which makes it an ideal lens to carry around.

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Accessories

I also carry around a tripod, a couple of filters and always an extra battery. I got the extra battery as soon as I went out to shoot and the sunset was amazing, but I left my battery in my charger at home. So the day after I went and bought an extra battery.

I also carry two SD cards with me, because you never know.

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What is in your camera bag?

My thoughts on travel

Over the last few years we haven’t gone on any long distance trips. And you know what? That is okay too. You don’t always have to fly halfway across the world to see the most incredible sights. There are so many incredible sights in our own backyard, as long as we are willing to see those places.

The last two years, we have traveled through Europe, mainly because it wouldn’t be a good idea to fly halfway across the world after a one week hospital stay in Sweden in 2015 and a lot of hospital visits for the past two and a half years.

For the last couple of months we have been talking about taking our first long haul flight again. There are some destinations we can’t go due to vaccinations. Some vaccinations can be dangerous in combination with certain medicine, so always make sure to check with your doctor before getting any vacinations.

But after traveling in Europe for the past two years I realised we have everything we could want at a driving distance. There is France and Spain with beaches and mountains. Luxemburg and Germany with forests and all those other beautiful countries.

And in 2016 I completly fell in love with Italy, I mean the food is heaven and they have everything you need. They have beaches, old cities and mountains. It is such a versatile country. I can’t wait to go back there.

 


My other love in Europe is Basque Country. Which isn’t crowded with tourists yet and has so many outdoor options. I hope it won’t get overflown with tourist due to Game of Thrones, which has some film locations there, check out my blog about one of the film locations here Game of Thrones series part 1. If I would move within Europe, I am pretty sure it would be to Basque Country. I mean the food, the people and the area are all just amazing.

 


I am sure we will make long distance trips again in the near future, but we certainly won’t forget what we already have close to home. If you want to travel on a budget it is always a good option to stay closer to home.

Do you always fly halfway across the world or do you combine it with traveling closer to home?

 

The bucketlist

I am sure you have read a million post like this already, but I wanted to write about my bucket list anyway.

Ever since I was little I have had the travel bug and every time we tick something of I will ad a new one to the list. So my list never gets shorter, but only longer.

Today I want to share with you 10 things that are on my bucket list:

1. New Zealand

This country has been on my bucket list for ages, for all the obvious reasons. I mean an outdoor enthusiast like me could never not want to go here.

2. Norway

Technicly I have been to Norway already, but since I won’t count flying out from Oslo, whilst going to Sweden it is still up on the bucketlist. One day I would love to take the Hurtigruten all the way North and travel back south by train.

3. Faroe Islands

a couple of years ago Floortje Dessing went to this island for the tv show ‘het einde van de wereld’ or the end of the world tv series. Ever since the Faroe Islands have been on my bucket list, because these Islands look incredible.

4. Japan

Japan is out of character on my list, but I have never been to Asia and for some reason I feel drawn to visit Japan one day. I would love to see the crazyness of Tokyo one day and emerge myself in history in Osaka. And ofcourse visit and hike mount Fuji.

5. Finland

I would love to visit Lapland during the winter. In Holland we don’t get very much snow and I would love to see a place like Finland covered in snow and watch the aurora.

6. Iceland

Who doesn’t have Iceland on his bucket list? It is one of those must visit places.

7. Washington State

This place has been on my list for a while now, but since one of my friends from Ohio will be moving here, I think I will see a whole lot of beautiful Washington State soon. I actually told her I would visit her there as soon as she moves there and she will have to put up with me every year as soon as she moves, because I will be going there at least one holiday a year. Good thing they love to have us over!

8. Canada

I have already been to Canada, but never to the west coast. Places like Banff, Whistler, Jasper, Vancouver Island all are on my list. I think I need a couple of months there to see all the things I want to see. Maybe I need to consider moving!

9. Scotland

Even though the United Kingdom is practicly around the corner I have never been there and one place that is high up on my list is Scotland. We were planning on going there this year, but then all of a sudden we sold our house after it had been listed for 6 months and we had only 6 weeks to find a rental property. This is crazy when it is just the two of you, but it is even more crazy when you add a dog in the mix. So we had to cancel our Scotland trip. Hoping to make it out there in the next year or two though, because I would love to hike part of the West Highland way and see the isle of Skye with my own eyes.

10. The Picos, Spain

And last but not least, the Picos in Spain. We were actually going there this year, but we really didnt plan our roadtrip and we loved the Basque coast so much that we stayed there longer then we planned. I am sure I will be able to tick this one of my list very soon.

Since 2017 is slowly drawing to a close. I will post a 2018 bucketlist, with different activities, so you can keep me accountable!

What does your bucketlist look like?

 

A day in Donostia/San Sebastian

San Sebastian, which is named Donostia in Basque, is absolutely one of my favorite cities. It has the most relaxing atmosphere, where it almost feels like you are not even in a city at all.

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So today I want to share with you three things I absolutely loved to do in Donostia:

1. Pinxtos

Eat Pinxtos in the old town.
In the old town, Parte Viejo, the streets are bustling with life. You will find Pinxtos bars at every corner, where you can get the best food you can imagine. I seriously could have stayed here all day and eat all day long.

In the old town you will also find some amazing architecture, like the Basilica of St Mary de Chorus. You will also find the Plaza de la constition in the old town. At the plaza the numbers of the balconies will take you back in time to where this plaza was used as a bull ring.

2. Mount Igeldo

After you have eaten your way through the old town, I would suggest you put on your walking shoes and walk along the beach of Concha bay to mount Igeldo. The Concha bay is incredible, I can tell you that. At mount Igeldo you can take the funicular railway up to the top, where you have amazing views of the city Donostia.

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There is also a restaurant and a little amusement park at the top.

We hiked around here during our visits and we just took in the amazing views of the city, which were just incredible.

After you come back down, I can’t imagine ever getting tired of those views though. You can visit the Peine del Viento, the sculpture at the end of Concha bay, which is a beautiful piece of art. We absolutely loved it.

3. Enjoy one of the beaches or go shopping
Last but not least I would suggest to relax at one of the beaches Donostia has to offer or go shopping, but keep in mind that the stores are closed until four in the afteroon!

We decided to do both and first we had some drinks at one of the terraces along the bay, enjoying the beach view.

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Tell me what was your favorite place in Donostia or San Sebastian?

I know one thing for sure and that is that we will be back, because I fell head over heels in love with this amazing city, if you ever get the chance to visit, you have to!

Camping on a budget in Europe

We absolutely love to go camping, but during summer prices for a camping pitch go up to around 40-50 euros per night. So here are some tips on how we get the most nights out of our budget.

1. Go camping during off season
One thing we do to stretch our budget as much as possible is travel during the off season. Prices are always way better and the tourist attractions are way less crowded too. This year we had a enormous parking lot at Rocamadour, France, all to ourselves in May. Especially if you travel down south the weather will be good too, in Italy and Spain temperatures most likely will be somewhere in the lower 20 degree Celsius.

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2. Use a camping card, like ACSI
We get an ACSI card every single year and we use it to go camping in the off season, sometimes you do have to pay full price though on holidays, but prices will mostly drop back down right after. With ACSI you will be pay 11/13/15/17/19 euros per night for two people, electricity, a dog, and hot showers, depending on the campsite you picked. They have campsites in all different categories, from big campsites to smaller campsites.

In Holland we also use ‘Het Groene Boekje’ which you will need if you want to go camping at smaller nature campsites.

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3. Bring a stove and cook your own dinner
This really is an easy one, just bring a stove, a pan and a kettle and you can cook your own meals and brew your own coffee. While you are at it, I would recommend going to the local markets and pick up some fresh and local produce.

Especially when we take Milow, we really don’t want to go through the hastle of going somewhere to eat. He likes other dogs a bit too much sometimes, unfortunately.

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4. Drink tapwater if possible
In a lot of European countries it is really safe to drink tapwater, so I would suggest bringing a couple of reusable water bottles and fill those up every day.

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5. Go hiking!
Hiking is always free, and you will see so much of the enviroment if you go hiking. It is our favorite activity to do when we go camping! We always find campsite where there are trails close by, and they get extra points if they have trails starting from the campsite.

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What are your favorite tips for camping on a budget?