maandag 16 september 2013

Day trip: Amsterdam

A day trip to Amsterdam

Yesterday I went on a day trip to Amsterdam accompanied by my mom and sister. Whenever we go somewhere they idea usually came from me, because I love days in between the hectic lifestyle that we have to just get away and do something different than our normal every day habits. Plus, I've been wanting to go to the Anne Frank house for a while now, but that doesn't happen until the end of this post, so do read on!

Since it was a sunday and the three of us had to be up early the next morning, we decided to not make our little trip too long and decided before we left that we would only visit two things and just take enough time to see everything there possible. Our first stop was the Rijksmuseum, home to numerous paintings, furniture, musical instruments and even weapons. Artist ranging from Vermeer to Van Gogh were present and the museum itself is quite large as well, so we didn't get to stop and take in everything carefully, but we saw most of it and had a great time. And that's the most important thing, right?

There even was a rather large library inside of the museum. We weren't allowed to touch any of the books or walk around in it, but I can only imagine what knowledge lies hidden away in the dusty pages of the thousands of books that were safely stocked away on those shelfs.

We stayed for a good three hours, then went outside in the garden and met a nice lady from California who was there with her two kids to visit a few different cities around Europe. She told us how lucky we were that we got to go to a different country in just a matter of hours and hearing how she rarely ever even goes outside of California, I couldn't agree more.

Then came the highlight of my week and so far of my month. We visited the Anne Frank house! I have always been fascinated about World War II and loved learning about it in school. It still baffles me how things like this can even happen and that mass murder has occurred multiple times in history. 

The line was quite long and for a moment it only seemed to get longer and longer, without us getting any closer to the entrance, but maybe that's just because it was so cold outside. I think we queued up for about 30 minutes (not the slowest waiting line I've been in) and then got to go inside. It was very crowded, but it didn't really bother me that much, since I wanted to take enough time to really grasp everything that was there to see.

There were photos of Anne Frank, her father Otto Frank and the six other Jews who were in hiding for so long. While walking around the house you came across little film fragments of people talking about Anne and the war that went on for five years. How she was such a joyful girl and no one had any idea that she had been having these deep thoughts about life. She never thought she would die during the war, but she couldn't picture a life after it either. Locked away in those rooms for so long, unable to make any noise after it got dark or run water or play music. But she wrote her heart out and I think we can only appreciate how this little girl took it upon her to write about everything that had been going on, so that maybe in the future people could realise how wrong they had been and now they do.

The rooms where the eight people had been in hiding remain empty on request of Otto Frank, but the pictures Anne put up on her wall were still there. I bought five postcards at the gift shop to hang up on my wall, in honour of Anne and the many Jews who's lives were taken away and their families and ancestors that to this day still have to live with the horrors that took place.

Speak to you soon, 

dinsdag 13 augustus 2013

Outside is the right side⎪Camping

Camping out in the garden

It seems my photo is a bit out of focus, but I honestly didn't even have enough place to look trough my lens.

I have been gone for a while. I guess I was figuring out what on earth I was actually doing. Holidays always leave me in sort of a daze, being happy and sad at the same time can be so confusing. I decided that I still wanted to do this for myself, though. For that maybe one day when I'm old and bored, I can come back to this place and read about how I used to spend my time off and what I hoped to become.

I spent last year studying, trying to figure out if I made the right choice and studying some more. I felt unsure of the choices that I made and even now I'm hesitant about what my future may bring for me. Since I didn't pass all of my exams, I have to retake two of them this summer. They're in two weeks and I started studying yesterday. It felt like a big adjustment after weeks of trying to not think about school at all. I wasn't in the right mindset for it and it left me feeling very tired, which is when I decided to set up my tent in our garden and create a place to be alone with my thoughts and become myself again.

This tent is actually meant for four people, so given the fact that I was by myself in there, I had enough place to sleep in different positions without having to feel too claustrophobic. I have always been font of camping, even though I have never actually done it out in the woods. Most of the time I stay in our own back garden. Close to home, but it still seems so far away when you're in there and the zipper's up. I made hot cocoa and watched Submarine and I felt so at ease with myself that when I woke up this morning I was happy to start studying again. It kinda made me feel like I was going somewhere.

I once made this photo set of screenshots that I took whilst watching the movie. It looks so peaceful out there.

I must admit I felt a bit nostalgic, though. Last time I camped out I was in high school and everything seemed so much easier, so effortless, so logic. Thankfully my cat joined me by nightfall and I felt a bit less alone. I still wish I could have been someplace else when I woke up this morning. As if the night had brought me a peace of mind and a different place to restart. To begin again, not to merely go on.

Where do you like to go when you're trying to get away for a bit?

Speak to you soon,

zondag 21 juli 2013

Where did you come from? Where did you go?

How amazing is my title?

Yes, I know I promised you that my next post was going to be one that included my face, but it turns out that my dad still has my memory card from when I had to write my last post in a Starbucks in Barcelona. I asked some of the people on my tumblr a few days before what were some things that they wanted me to answer about travelling and this is the one question I got asked most:

Which countries have you visited in your life and what country has made the biggest impression on you (and why)? 

It turns out that my answer is longer than I thought it would be, so I turned it into a separate post. The other questions that you guys on Tumblr asked me, will be answered in my next blog post (I promise!)

I took these photos at the zoo, but let's all pretend it's Africa in lack of any other photos.

Up until I was about ten or eleven years old, I had never been on a plane before, so naturally the countries that I visited before that first flight, were all neighbouring countries or others that were a bit further away but still manageable to get to by car or bus. We go skiing almost every year and eight out of ten times that I went skiing, we went to a town and ski resort called Avoriaz, which is in France, but very close to Switzerland. So close that you can actually travel to another country and back in just an hour by ski (by ski? Is that a thing? Whatever, I just made it one.)

Other than that we used to travel a lot to either the south of France or Italy and I remember those holidays as one of the best I've ever been on. We did nothing the entire time but walk around the village that we stayed at (we usually had a house to ourselves) and went to the local swimming pool or ate lots of pizza and baguettes. I remember a cat that sat outside a restaurant that we went to quite a lot, because they had amazing pizzas. We named her Tiramisu and gave her our leftovers. 

I think when I was fourteen or fifteen we travelled all the way to South-Africa. This definitely was the one vacation that has made the biggest impression on me and was also the first country that I visited that was in another continent. We spent nearly two weeks travelling around the whole country staying in different places and seeing all sorts of amazing things. We went to two elephant parks, one monkey zoo and one safari park. In the monkey zoo there was one named Claudia Schiffer, because she was very beautiful and very hard to find, she usually shied away from visitors. After about ten minutes into the tour, our guide suddenly got a call from one of the other guides that they had seen Claudia sitting in a tree somewhere, so we rushed over there and found her swinging around. We stood there for a few minutes while our guide gave us some information about her species and all of a sudden I saw everyone backing away from the tree. For me it was too late to realise what was going on, but I suddenly felt something wet dripping all over me. Turns out Claudia Schiffer had to pee. Great! 

Two years after our trip to South-Africa, we went to Africa again to visit Morocco. It was a very beautiful country and we stayed in a lovely home that we had all to ourselves. We even had a cook and a maiden, but no hot water. As much as I loved seeing what was going on outside of the house, I spent most days inside. Partially because it was too hot for me and partially because Moroccan people are mostly sellers and they're not afraid of getting your attention. As someone with social anxiety, this wasn't the best place for me to be at that time.

To sum up all the countries I have visited: The Netherlands, France, Italy, Switzerland, England, Spain, South-Africa and Morocco and I will be visiting Germany soon.

If you enjoyed reading this post, let me know in the comment section! What countries have you visited before? Which country do you think I should visit next?

Speak to you soon,

dinsdag 16 juli 2013

Barcelona 2013⎪Day 4

Barcelona: Day 4

Good day everyone! I have been going trough much trouble trying to get on the internet to write this blogpost, because yesterday afternoon it decided to give up on me and since then I've been pretty busy. I'm at Starbucks right now and the internet isn't too great either, but I'll manage! It's a day late, but it's the last day of my travels anyway, so it isn't too bad.

 We first went to the Miro museum in the morning. He is Barcelona's most famous modern artist and has a really big museum dedicated to him that showcases all of his works. It's a long way to the top, as you can see from the photo and not even all stairs are showing, but it was definitely a beautiful climb. When we got up there, though, it turned out that the museum is closed on mondays. Bummer! 

We asked a lady who worked at a café on top of the hill if there were any other museums in the neighbourhood that we could visit that were open that day and she told us about the Macba museum of modern art. We decided to visit that one instead, but I first had a drink to cool off. It was a lime slushy with lots of ice in it, so it was perfect for a hot day! 

After we got our break from climbing all those stairs, we took the metro to the Macba museum. We first got a bit lost, because people kept sending us in opposite directions, but it certainly was worth all the effort that we had already been trough. It was such a great museum and somehow I felt at home walking trough all the different art installations. The colour scheme throughout the museum was so beautiful with all its browns, whites and blacks. 

On the picture above you can see one of my favourite art installations in the museum. It was a room filled with these asian looking little guys that were all smiling at you in the same sort of haunting way. I'm sure that if you came across them on the street and you saw them smiling at you like this, you would just think they were friendly and happy to see you, but the dark grey and brown colours gave that smile a completely different meaning. The curtain in the back was painted, but looked so real! 

The last shown photo was taken on the top floor of the museum. There normally would have been three different floors for us to visit, but they were working on the bottom one, unfortunately. I would have loved to be able to wander around there a bit longer! If you ever get to visit Barcelona, I would wholeheartedly recommend you to visit this museum, as it was one of my favourites yet. 

On our way back to the metro station we found a very cute cupcake shop with a lovely woman who kept it open all by herself. They also had delicious milkshakes! I wish I had the recipe, so that I could make them back at home myself. I had trouble deciding which cupcake I wanted, because they all looked so colourful and great. 

In the end I decided on taking the citron cupcake. It had a sort of marshmallow like topping that was a bit caramelised on the side and it tasted as great as it looked. It also had citron stuffing on the inside. I wish I could go grab another one to enjoy on our flight home, but that's quite impossible. 

The cupcakes had really tickled our appetite and we were longing for something larger to eat, because it was already 5pm and I hadn't had anything to eat or drink yet besides the cupcake, the slushy and my small breakfast. As you may remember from my last post, we were planning on having dinner at the seaside the day before, but we got in some trouble, because my dad's wallet got stolen on the metro. Instead of enjoying a nice meal, we ended up having to go to the police to make sure my dad got a new identity card for our flight back home. 

We sat down at a restaurant overlooking the ocean, but the beach was so crowded that I couldn't take a nice picture. I would have loved to go there for dinner instead with a nice sea breeze, but this was nice as well. I had a virgin cocktail with lots of different fruit juices and it was very, very nice.

Now I'm off to the airport after running around the whole morning trying to get a good internet connection. We normally would have a bit more time to go grab some lunch, but we don't know whether or not my dad losing his wallet is going to get us in any more trouble at the airport, so we're leaving in time to be sure. I can't wait to be back home and sleeeeep! I hope you've been enjoying my travelling adventures to Barcelona and sorry that you had to wait for this one a bit longer!

Speak to you soon,

zondag 14 juli 2013

Barcelona 2013⎪Day 3

Barcelona: Day 3

Today wasn't too much of an interesting day. We just wandered about and visited a small museum and some other places. Actually, we mostly just sat around and enjoyed a refreshing drink. It seems like every day it's getting hotter and hotter and being from Belgium, I'm experiencing quite some trouble trying to adjust to the heat.

Firstly we went to visit the cathedral of Barcelona. We arrived there around noon and they just finished their first mass of the day, so there were a lot of people going in and out of the church. In, to exit the church after attending the mass and out, to visit the church after the mass ended. There was a lot of people traffic and I found it to be quite hard to take a picture, so I took this one on our way back to our apartment later on the day. Unfortunately it turned out we weren't allowed to go inside, because we were wearing too short shorts and dresses and neither my sister, my mom or I felt like waiting around for my brother and dad to be able to visit the church, so we just sat on the stairs for a while instead.

This is the view we had from the stairs. Underneath those two parasols that you can see were people playing music. It was very uplifting folk music and there was a big circle of people dancing with their arms waving in the air. It was quite entertaining to see. After this we went on our way to visit a small museum that wasn't too far away, so that we didn't have to walk for too long in the sun. 

When we arrived at the museum about the history of Barcelona, it turned out that it was free after 3pm. It was only about 1pm and there wasn't much to do in the neighbourhood, so we went ahead and payed for our visit instead. It didn't cost too much anyway and inside the museum it was much cooler. Thank you Barcelona for having air-conditioning basically everywhere!

These are ruins from the mansion that was built underneath the museum thousands of years ago.

It was really dark inside and I wasn't allowed to use flash, but I took these pictures and thought they looked alright and clear enough to use! That's my brother and sister that you can see there. Or at least their backs. When I get back home I'll write a "get to know me" post, so that you can find out more about what I do in everyday life and also get to see my face. Dun dun duuun, so exciting! 

When our trip around the museum ended we were all really hungry. My mom and dad wanted to go get Japanese food, but neither my siblings or I felt like sitting at a restaurant for two hours or waiting for your food to get prepared that you didn't really feel too much like eating anyway. So, when my parents went out to get sushi, we went to Starbucks and had some sandwiches, muffins and a smoothie.

 It being so hot all the time and not being able to sleep as long as you want in the morning, really makes you get sleepy easily. We figured we could visit another museum when we met up after we both had our lunch, but it turned out that because it was sunday, it had closed early. None of us could think of anything else interesting to do that was in the neighbourhood, so we went back to our apartment instead and relaxed a bit at the pool. I read some chapters in The Hobbit, because I want to finish it before I go back home. 

It's about 8pm now and we're preparing ourselves to go out and have dinner at the seaside. I was thinking about waiting to put up this blogpost until after we got back and include some more pictures of the ocean, but then I thought it probably would get late and I wouldn't want to keep myself awake for too long to avoid being tired in the morning. I promise I will include them in tomorrow's post! 

Speak to you soon,

zaterdag 13 juli 2013

Barcelona 2013⎪Day 2

Barcelona: Day 2

I slept in late today and took my time getting ready and eating breakfast. I always feel like vacation should be about relaxing and getting the extra rest you need, but my mom tends to be very tense and wants to make sure we get everywhere in time, even though there's no possible way we could ever be late, because we don't really have to be anywhere. It's about 30° C out here every day and I got a bit sunburnt during lunch that we had at the harbour, but luckily we have a pool to cool off in when it's way too hot to be walking around in the sun. 

First, we went to a large covered market that was called "St. Josep La Boqueria" as you can see above. They had loads of different foods and drinks and everything was super fresh! I had a strawberry smoothie and also got some candies. Some of the stalls had live crab and stuff and I felt a bit sad seeing them trying to move around whilst lying on their backs. I thought it would be pretty smelly, considering it was so hot outside and their were fish and meet everywhere, but you hardly could smell anything bad at all. It was pretty crowded over there, though.

After this we walked to the Paleu Güell, which is a mansion designed by the Catalan architect Antonia Gaudi for Eusebi Güell. It's now world heritage and open to visitors. There's no furniture anymore, but nevertheless it was a very cool building to be walking around in. Especially the rooftop was great and you had a beautiful view on the neighbourhood! 

They had a lot of these little towers on the roof that you could see from the street. One of them sort of looked like an ice cream cone with multiple coloured ice cream on top! It looked really cute, but unfortunately I don't have a picture of it that looks any good. It was pretty hard to photograph, since there were a lot of people in the way. 

Above you can see one of the rooftops that I had a view on from on top of the Palau Güell. You weren't supposed to get so close to the edge of the roof, but I couldn't resist taking a picture! It looked so great with the graffiti wall and I really wish I had this back at home.

And these are the dungeons where they used to bring in and keep their wine. I can imagine it would now be a great place to throw some underground parties with classy people and drinks flowing, but I assume no one would be allowed to use this space for any kind of festivity at all. If there were ever to be a party, I hope I get invited, though! 

Then we went to the harbour to grab some lunch and visit the aquarium. I remembered from last time I went to Barcelona, a few years ago and just for a day, that this was one of my favourite places in the city. If I lived here, I would probably go to the harbour almost every day!

Whilst my parents sat outside, me and my siblings visited the aquarium. It was not as big as I remembered it to be, but that must be because I was much younger when I last went and thus also a lot smaller. It was still very nice, though! There were loads of sea animals and they even had big sharks and octopuses. My mom gave me some money to buy oreos, but I got her a little present from the gift shop instead. She really liked it and I felt happy. 

I must say the octopus was my favourite, because somehow I felt he looked super posh and he kept waving his tentacles around as if he wanted to sign something. Plus he had a really nice purple-ish colour that looked super lovely and I don't even like the colour purple. He's got some class, that octopus!

And that's it for today! I hope you enjoyed reading another day of my Barcelona adventures! By the way, did you know yet that you can follow me with blogspot? It will show you everytime I write a new post! Also, leave me a message anytime you like if you want me to have a snoop around on your blog!

Speak to you soon,