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Ticking all our boxes in Levi, Lapland – part 2

Here we are again in Levi, Lapland! Ready for the second part? Although, I still don’t have any words that can describe our first three days, the next four days will make it even harder. Before I start off, if you missed part 1, you can click here.

Dutch people on a fatbike

Tuesday was our “free” day. First we had the idea to go cross-country skiing, but since not everyone was jumping up in the air with that news, we decided that doing a fatbike trial would be quite exciting as well (and oh it was!!). I looked for a trail. Eventually, the one I chose would take us to South-Point and was 9,9 km. We thought to go to South Point, have lunch and then go back. Everyone agreed, so after we rent the electric fatbikes we were ready to go.

Less than 10 minutes later, the fun started. Following the path/trail was quite easy, because there weren’t many other choices as you can see on the pictures below, however, no one had really told us (or we hadn’t asked anyone) about the difficulty of the trail. Of course the trail was slippery (it’s still snow). Because although, the tires had a better profile than a normal cycle, we were still skidding – especially when we were doing down. After some more minutes when the trail became more difficult because of the hills (they were quite steep), we were using our rear brake less in order to ensure not to fall. Well, that didn’t always workout (especially for my sister). The first times we laughed our asses off. Gladly, the snow gives you a soft landing!

It was getting more difficult and more difficult. Fortunately, the scenery was so breathtaking that it was all good. However, around a kilometer of five, Dianne her chain fell off and some pieces were even broken. Because of that, her gears didn’t work anymore. We had some stress since we were in the middle of nowhere on a hill. Fingers crossed we could go further and we could! My dad and brother put her chain back on. It would only get harder for Dianne to cycle since the hills weren’t getting any lower.

Although we thought we could make the 9,9 kilometers easily, well, we were very wrong. It took us around an hour to arrive at the five kilometer point (of cours, with a delay of 15 minutes). We were exhausting, had to focus and concentrate. My mom and sis fell the most, they were so done. It was quite funny to see them struggling and, although we kept motivating each other to continue, it was like the kilometers weren’t getting any less.

After two hours we finally arrived at South Point. Since there was only one way which meant that we had to go back the same way, we had already decided that we would ask at South Point if we could leave the bikes there. Unfortunately, we couldn’t but the woman from the shop told us that we could ride back to Levi along the road so that we wouldn’t have to go through the hills to arrive back in Levi. At that point, we were getting so extremely cold (it was -24) + it was getting dark as well (13:30). We decided not to take lunch and ride back to Levi. This was a 20 minute ride.

Falling, cold and fun; the fatbike adventure in three words.

We had never been in such trans before. Just looking forward, just going on and don’t stop until we were back in Levi. You cannot imagine how happy we were to arrive back at the apartment. A warm shower was everything we wanted!

Sledging with the Northern lights in Levi

You will not believe it, but after we warmed up and had dinner, us (the kids) went outside to finish the day with some sledging. Again, we were lucky – oh so lucky. This time it was intense and much. Still, this is all within 10 minutes. The Northern lights changes every second. Sledging was never so fun. Another fun fact: We really had to use our snow goggles with sledging, it was so cold that if we didn’t wear them, we couldn’t see anything while going down.

We thought we had experienced cold in Levi…

Another snowmobile tour. It was, again, an amazing activity, especially because our speed wasn’t locked this time and we could go as fat as we wanted. I loved it! The fastest I went and could see was 70 kilometer an hour when we crossed the lake. Although, today was the coldest day of all week (-30 degrees) and everything felt and was frozen, it was amazing. The view, as well. We saw the sunrise and sunset just within two hours, couldn’t be better.

When handwarmers are lifesavers

Thursday, we did something I had mixed feelings for. We had the husky tour and although, I know that the animals are treated right and the caregivers give so much love and have so much passion for their work, the last time we did this, I got so cold that I let some tears. So this time, I couldn’t be more prepared; three layers for my legs, seven layers for my upper body and feet and handwarmers to keep them warm.

You share the mobile with one other person and when you are with 2 people you have six dogs in front of you (I was alone so had five dogs). One person stands for 50 minutes and the other one is sitting. After 50 minutes you change. The one that is standing has the job to use the breaks when needed. The dogs are so enthusiastic, they just want to go, so using the breaks was a MUST. 🙂

After we came back, we got some berry juice and a cookie again. Of course, there were puppies. We same some whom were just six weeks old. Sooooo cute, were the only two words we heard the first 5 minutes ha-ha.

It was lovely! And also good to hear that they were very transparent about how the dogs are treated and how much they work and trained. Although, doing this is in their blood, it still feels good and of course, it is important to know that it is all well.

Dinner with -6

My dad came with a new fun activity that we hadn’t done the last time; dinner at the restaurant of the ice hotel. We had visited the ice hotel the last time though. It was interesting to see and hear how they set it up and all, but we never really wished to sleep there. I still don’t. However, dinner at the restaurant was an option, a new experience, so we agreed. There was a set menu from which we could choice from and of courseee reindeer meat was on it.

We can tell! Eating with your gloves on makes it quite difficult to eat with knive and fork. We laughed a lot. I guess we had to, because eating for 1,5 hour in -6 is not really something for human beings I think. I was so cold! The food was delicious, although, the reindeer meat wasn’t very popular. I had a white fish, risotto and as dessert an almond cake. Delicioussss.

Visiting Comet before we head home

So, this was the last activity on our list. There was no luck of Northern lights anymore, so we enjoyed this one to the fullest, before we would head home for Christmas. I’m flyinggg home for Christmas, was what I said. But we couldn’t go home before I had seen Comet, my favourite reindeer. Since my childhood, I am (we are all actually) such a fan of the films Santa Claus with Tim Allen. Comet has a special role in the second film. You don’t know it? Watch the film!

We went by bus to a reindeer farm and saw two wild ones on the way. Did you know that there are living more reindeers in Finland than people? Insane right! And did you know that reindeers are like gold for the Sámi’s (the original inhabitants of Lapland)? A Sámi would probably never tell you how many reindeers he has. It is like asking how much money he owns. Another thing, most of the reindeers life in the wild. However, since they still belong to Sámi do they all have a barcode on their antlers so that the Sámi knows if it is his reindeer. Fun right! 🙂

Our Levi, Lapland adventure is hereby finished. We closed our book. It is good. We ticked all our boxes from the list. This was it and it couldn’t have been any better. I must say: “Yes, it isn’t cheap, but if you can save the money, I tell you, it is all worth it! Go to Lapland people. This is another world, those places feel like you are living another life.

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Ticking all our boxes in Levi, Lapland – part 1

This Lapland trip was one we will never forget. One everyone deserves to experience (you only must love/enjoy the cold). This trip was one of a kind. Although, we had already visited Levi before, this time the +1’s joined us. We had so much fun and experienced crazy things. Read on to get to know all.

A powerbank delay

Since we booked the trip with Buro ScanBrit, we didn’t have any influence on the time of the flights. Our departure was at 5:30 which meant that we were picked up at 2:30 in the morning. But, as the regular readers know, we don’t do morning moods.

A little COVID-19 update. You can enter Finland with two vaccins. In shops and cafes we had to wear masks, and all restaurants asked for the Corona Check + ID.

We only had some delay because of my little sis and two other people. It was because you aren’t allowed to have your powerbank in your suitcase anymore. They didn’t know. Before we were boarding a woman spoke through the intercom telling us that if people still had their powerbank in their suitcase they should tell them so they still had time to take the suitcase out.

All people boarded and my sister and I were waiting for her suitcase. They came with my suitcase instead and for as the two others, they got the suitcases of their parents. The staff had to return with the three suitcases to the airplane and search for the correct ones. You can probably imagine, they weren’t very happy… Another thing, my sister had the same suitcase as the girlfriend of my brother (she lent it to her), only my sister put a bow on hers. Thank god, she did. Because therefore, they could find her suitcase much quicker. After all, the powerbanks were taken out of the suitcases and we were ready to go!! Three hours in the plane, just sleeping and sleeping.

Settling down in Levi, Lapland

Levi, Lapland is located above the Arctic Circle. Therefore, there is mainly only “sun” during the winter months between 11:00 and 13:00. The rest of the day it is either dim or dark plus it has one hour of difference with the Netherlands. After we arrived and were taken by the bus from the airport of Kittilä to Levi which took 20 minutes, we settled in the apartment and relaxed for some time. My mom brought all sort of Christmas decorations and after we had done some groceries, we all helped decorating the apartment. The guys also searched for a Christmas tree, only they were so expensive (around 200 euro’s) that they obviously thought “never mind”. Never the less, the apartment was very much in a Christmas vibe.

Testing the Finnish slopes

The next day, it was the birthday of my brother. He became 28 years old. We went for skiing, with the five of us. Dianne (the girlfriend of my brother) is still learning to snowboard and since my dad cannot ski anymore because of his hip, he went with her to the easy slope.

Levi has the largest ski resort in Finland. Compared to Austria or Italy it is nothing, but I must say, these slopes were amazing! Because there was almost no one, the slopes were as new and they were either blue or red. Lots of techniques training! I told my mom before we went on vacation that it was really my dream so ski with the sunset and well, there he was. The first box on my Lapland list was ticked and this was just the beginning. 🙂

After around 3 hours, when we had gone around the mountain, we couldn’t handle the cold anymore so we met my father and Dianne for a hot chocolade and pizza at the restaurant of the Panorama Hotel. When we got warm again, we skied for another 20 minutes and decided we were done for the day. We were going out for dinner, for my brother’s birthday after all, so we all needed to change and make ourselves ready. We had dinner at our favourite restaurant, El Colorado, where I had the best vegetarian burger in my lifeeee.

My brother got the best birthday present ever

My brother’s dinner party only got a little interrupted by the Northern lights. I must give a little background information here. So, six years ago when we were in Levi, we didn’t see the Northern lights. Well, a tiny bit, but we didn’t find it enough to tell people we really saw it. Back then and now, as well, we had several apps telling us the probabilities of the Northern lights (Aurora) with the time etc. You then receive a push notification when the probability is high enough to see it in your region (IF the sky is clear). Before dinner the probability was around 10%, however, during dinner it increased to 28% and it was expected to have a probability of 45% 30 minutes later. You can imagine, I freaked out!

There was a British family next to us and it got on their nerves, too. Several times you saw them leaving the restaurant to check if they could see the Northern lights already. Eventually, they left + their plates as well, because they were still filled with food. Not by any surprise, we left before dessert… Hurried home, changed into termo pants and ski suits. We walked for around 25 minutes from the village away, just straight on and randomly went into a path, hoping it would lead us to an open place We found it! Not much later, my brother got the best birthday present everrr and one of my biggest dreams became true. I will let you enjoy the pictures first, before I talk further.

Yes, what you see is real. Can you believe it? Because I still cannot. I left quite some tears, thanking my parents for such a blessing life with highs and lows but most of all much love. After several photoshoots, some Jägermeister for the adrenaline, cuddles and laugher, we went back to apartment.

I got a lot of questions in my DM on Instagram about the quality of the pictures. All pictures of the Northern lights were taken with the Iphone 13 and aren’t edited. Only one person of the group had the Iphone 13, the rest had Iphone 12. We could clearly see big differences of quality between the two phones, and therefore, only Iphone 13 was used.

I slept so bad that night. I just couldn’t believe that we saw it. At breakfast, Dianne told me that she had the exact same moment as I had: I woke up at night, still confused and not being able to believe it really happened. So, I took my phone and looked at the pictures we took, just to make sure it really was real. Just surreal + another box ticked from my Lapland list.

Yes, what you see is real. Can you believe it? Because I still cannot.

The day after

Monday morning was relaxed. Although, we were just in Lapland for three days, it felt like we had already been there for like a week. It was a weird feeling, but a good one, since we were having so much fun and still had so much to do. During the afternoon we took a long walk around and over the lake. We thought that it would be around 45minutes, but eventually, we walked more than 2hours. Powernapping afterwards was a hit! The scenery was beautiful and so worth it though.

The last activity of the day (+ the last part of the first blog) was an evening snow scooter trip. The last time we were in Levi, I didn’t have a driver’s license yet, so I wasn’t allowed to take a ride on the snow scooter. Oh, I was so excited! + as you can see on the pictures below, I am wearing a red/black suit. This is the ski suit we got from Lapland Safari’s, the company which has a partnership with Buro ScanBrit. Lapland Safari’s has all the equipment you need, boots/gloves/socks etc. However, I wouldn’t only depend on their clothing since only wearing some layers isn’t enough (most times). So, we wore our own ski suit, termo, sweater, etc. and over that we did the suit of Lapland Safari’s. And no, I wasn’t cooking from the inside. It was -23 degrees. 🙂

During our ride we got a little disappointed. We are race monsters and wanted to go fast, however, since there were little children with the tour guide we couldn’t go faster than 40 kilometer per hour. Eventually, we thought we were being clever and left lots of space between the person in front of us to be able to make some speed. However, we all had the same problem. We couldn’t go faster than 46/48 kilometer per hour. We assumed they probably locked it. A pity!

After one hour, we arrived in the middle of nowhere. There was a very cute tiny cottage with a campfire. The two tour guides told us that the chance for the Northern lights was quite low. So, we all went inside, got some berry juice (something typical which you will get at every activity – sometimes super tasty, sometimes far too sweet) and a grilled sausage (I skipped – veggie life).

After everyone ate their sausages, we had some free time before we would go back, so I went already outside with one tour guide and some other people and again, we were all freaking out and the adrenaline rose up. The Northern lights!! The Northern lights!!

We saw the Northern lights for the second time in a row. Hell yeah!

I guess you have read enough for now, so this was it. A little teaser for the next blog of ticking all our boxes in Levi, Lapland – part 2. We hired Fat bikes which was hilarious and went for another snow scooter activity and reached 70 kilometer an hour (happy race monster). See you there!

Horseback riding with Santiago Exchange

Last Saturday, I went for the second time horse riding. I booked it through an organisation which is made for students that live in Santiago and want to go to parties, do trips, and/or activities. It is called Santiago Exchange.

The trip started at 15:45, so I took the Uber and ended in the middle of nowhere surrounded by real cowboys. I must say, I liked the horse riding in Colombia more than the one I did that day. Mostly, because I changed of horse and also the second one was not really listening and following my orders. However, the view which it gave me, over Santiago, was amazing. It was the first time that I was seeing the whole city with the mountains included in the back. So beautiful, although it would have been even more without the pollution cloud. But that is the thing which you, unfortunately, get with it, when you live in Santiago.

It was quite nice to go with Santiago Exchange. Although, it is ran by students, everything was structured and alright. Besides, since I was quite lonely, it was nice to see new faces and speak to new people. Not that I made new friends, but it was a lovely day.

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Visit Valparaiso and Viña del Mar – a colourful experience

A weekend getaway from Santiago with my Swedish roommate Julie. We chose to visit Valparaiso and Viña del Mar. We had heard that Valparaiso was beautiful and that the walls would be full of graffiti. Viña del Mar, on the other hand, is great for the beach!

Colourful Valparaiso

We left Santiago on Saturday at around ten in the morning by bus. It took us one and a half hours to arrive in Valparaiso. Valparaiso is a harbour city and lots of neighbourhoods are located on the hills, which are called “Cerro” in Spanish.  The Airbnb we booked was also on a hill and it took us some stairs to get there, but it was great! Cute and clean, and in the middle between all the graffiti. Because that is mostly for what Valparaiso is famous for, its graffiti. However, I would more call it art, because it is not just something, it is extremely beautiful.

Furthermore, I will not have a lot to talk about, besides the fact that Valparaiso is poorer than Santiago, which can be mainly seen on the streets in the centre because of the homeless people and dogs. We liked it more to stay up in the hills and wander around over there.

Because all the sightseeing is on the hills, we walked 15 kilometres on the first day; Uphill, downhill, uphill, downhill. Not to forget to mention the sweat… We had loads of full and because in the end, it is actually only walking around and taking pictures, there was a lot of time to get to know each other and talk about our lives. Since Julia and I live together in one house, we still mainly saw each other in the morning during breakfast and talked a bit about our days. There wasn’t really time for sensational conversations, because I needed to go to work and Julia to school. Therefore, it was even nicer to really get to know her better. She is a beautiful girl with a great personality!

To the beach in Viña del Mar

On Sunday morning, when we finally had our breakfast after searching for 45 minutes for a restaurant that was open, we searched for the bus to go to Vina del Mar. We took the local bus and, although it was very cheap (420 pesos = 0.50 cent), we did not really know where to get off after we had been sitting for around twenty minutes. The bus driver only stopped when the other passengers told him to stop. So, when we arrived somewhere where was “live”, we told him to stop and eventually, we made a good choice because we were there.

It felt as if I have never left the beach in Hoek van Holland. I was so happy and glad that Julia and I decided to go to the beach because after I had come home from Colombia, I did not feel very good and when I am at the beach, as you maybe know, I can always empty my head. Julia also has the connection with the sea and the beach, so after we had been walking around for thirty minutes and had taken some pictures, we decided to sit down on the beach and just look at it and be quiet. The weather was by the way amazing and pretty warm, around twenty-four degrees. Lots of Chilean people were having the same idea as us. They only took their food, drink, and towels with them.

We ended our beach day at a delicious Italian restaurant. I ate a great vegetarian Cannoli and we watched a football match between the two rivals of Chile. Both getaways from Santiago were nice! I cannot decide which one I would love more. To visit Valparaiso and Viña del Mar is for sure a recommendation!

We gave a citytrip to Copenhagen as a present

A citytrip to Copenhagen as a 60th birthday present for our father. We had planned to fly on Tuesday morning at 9:45 on the first of May, yeah you read that well “had planned”. Our flight got canceled at Schiphol while boarding and the only flight which we were able to catch together was the flight from Wednesday evening nine o’clock. Therefore, in the end, we decided to go by car, because otherwise, we would have lost too much time because we were only there until Friday.

Finally in Copenhagen

After 9,5 hours of driving, we finally arrived in Copenhagen. We slept in the Ascot hotel, which is in the middle of the center and therefore it is easy to walk around in the city. We had so much luck with the great weather those days.

On Wednesday morning we had a private bike tour with Baja Bikes. This was the third time we booked the bike tour with Baja Bikes, every time the tour was very interesting and the guides were so nice! This tour was also around three hours, and although it did not feel like that, we saw a lot of different parts of the city. The name of our tour guide was Jesse, he has been living in Copenhagen for already over years and could, therefore, give us some really nice inside information and funny facts. The rest of the day we went for some shopping and walked a bit more around in the city.

Theme park Tivoli in the middle of Copenhagen

The thing we for sure liked the most about the trip was Tivoli. For the people who do not know what Tivoli is, I will explain it.

So, Tivoli is a theme park in the middle of Copenhagen. Yes, in the middle of the city.. and the reason for that is because the theme park was there much earlier than the city itself. Tivoli is the second oldest theme park in the world, established in 1843. However, this is not the only reason why the theme park is so attractive because there is one attraction which is even the oldest attraction in the world. Every new round, there is a “driver” coming with us managing the speed and the curves. Every time, we were amazed and started thinking about how it would be to have a job like this. The opinions will probably differ, but we loved to go into that attraction. Without those men, it would not be possible anymore.

During the evening, after sunset, all the lights in the park went on and everything became kind of romantic. You would not expect it, but the park is still a bit big. They even have China Town!

Conclusion, when you are going to Copenhagen, visit Tivoli. You will train your abs by laughing out loud, just like we did.

Daddy is happy

As you know, was this trip all for daddy. Therefore, I asked him a couple of times; “Do you like it?” “Are you happy?” and then he always answered: “If my kids are happy and enjoying, I am happy too. Oh, I love this man.

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A European road trip crossing three countries

Well, this was a little spontaneous, a little exhausting, a little different, but on the other hand, very much appreciated, exciting and wanted. Let’s hit the road for this European road trip!

So yeah, summer was arriving and I had not planned anything yet. As most of you know, have I been sick from the beginning of this year and therefore, was my mind somewhere else. However, a good Mexican friend, Renato, is living in Spain at the moment and after not being able to see each other for four years, we were eager to try to figure something out and meet. Renato is another friend from EF by the way. To even make it better, some other EF friends were free and wanted to join. Then the question was; what are we going to do?

Hoek van Holland – Rouen

It all started in Rouen, France, where Julie lives. Julie and I had not seen each other for two years by the way. I drove to Rouen myself in around five hours and when I arrived she had made my favourite cinnamon buns, but this time vegan ones. I had never ate them in this way, but well oh well I love them.

When you don’t see your friends very often, it makes it special that when you are together just doing something is already nice, because you are together and being able to spend that time together. The normal daily things are the things that we enjoy doing the most. So, yeah what did we do? We played games, cooked, watched Netflix, relaxed, went to the gym, met her friends, and went for an afternoon sight seeing in Rouen. A typical Normandy city. I really loved the buildings.

Rouen – Versailles – Rouen

Then a few days later was honestly the day we were both most looking forward to. The reunion with Renato after four years. He flew to Paris, but since we did not think that Paris would be a good idea during this time, we decided to still make something of our day and went to Versailles. People ask us many times how that always is; these reunions, and actually don’t we ever think about it like that. It just happens naturally. We were together for nine months, 24/7. Of course, we have changed, we all do and yes, with some people we aren’t so close anymore, but for us, it just always stayed the same, as beautiful as it was at that time.

Now Versailles, a place I never really had on my “bucket list”, but for sure didn’t mind to visit. My parents had already been there and were very enthusiastic about it and so became I. The information didn’t really stayed in the mind, because of the too many impressions, but we had a lovely day together and it was insane to imagine that people lived like that many many years ago.

Yes, masks very necessary in closed places. Even sometimes on the street when we felt it was too crowded, we started to wear masks. Something that was totally different to the regulations from the Netherlands.

The next day, we stayed at Julie’s grandmothers house who has a swimming pool. We played games again, I slept since I still needed to rest several times a day, and we ate lovely. Like all the other days in France, because yeah those baguettes jummiee. I also love it that I was able to experience the French culture from much closer now. We have been going on holiday to France for already many years, but (of course) it is different when you start “living” with French people. A difference in sense of food is, for example, that they have many times dessert after dinner. Whereas, in the Netherlands, we have like a cookie or chocolate around 20:30 when we have our coffee or cup of tea. After dinner I was always too full to have dessert, whereas, in France they say: “Dessert doesn’t go to the stomach. Dessert goes to your heart.” Well, I had to get used to that ha-ha. Oh and I also tried Raclette. For my other fellow cheese lovers overhere, you gotta try that once in your life.

Rouen – Hoek van Holland

After six fantastic days in France it was time to go back home and the best part of it all was that Julie and Renato came with me. We went with two cars and again, within around five hours we arrived. It was only until almost lunch break when I got hungry and started to eat the first part of baguette while driving. Then when we did stop for lunch Julie asked whether I wasn’t hungry and I told her I already ate a big part of my baguette. Her face expression drastically changed. Apparently, it is prohibited in France to eat and drink while driving ha-ha. I had no idea.

We arrived at the end of the afternoon and we were all a little tired. We stayed at home for dinner, talked with my parents, and went to the beach house after. Again, we continued playing Qwixx, our favorite game or maybe I should say, my favorite game of the trip. It was only a little cold and windy… ha-ha.

The next day, we had breakfast at my favourite breakfast place; Pelé Surf Shack and we played Qwixx again. After that, we relaxed in the sun at the beachhouse and spend the afternoon/evening in Rotterdam. I gave them stroopwafels, poffertjes, and we ordered some Dutch beer and a typical “borrelplank”. Lots of fun, again!

The following day was the day I think they most looked forward to, Amsterdam! They both had never been there and to make it an efficient day, we started with a canal boat tour. After that, we went for a walk around the city, had lunch at the Vegan Junk Food bar (gosh, I was surprised by how delicious the food was), and finished our day at the Rijksmuseum. Gladly, Amsterdam wasn’t so busy and didn’t we need to wear our masks. Oh and of course, they ate stroopwafels again. The special ones from Van Wonderen. Loved it so much to see them enjoying themselves.

The other days were relaxing and did we hang out on the beach. I also had to work two mornings, but since the weather was great it was alright for them to stay together at the beachhouse. And yeah, I cannot say enough how much I loved showing them around and let them experience our way of doing things.

Hoek van Holland – Munich

Moving on to the next destination of our European road trip. Monday five in the morning we started driving from Hoek van Holland to Munich with one car, Julie’s. Fully packed. No space left, but it fit and we were on the road. I was sleeping at the back to the rest and Julie and Renato were changing for driver. Eight hours ahead to Munich. Although, while Renato was driving something happened.

Our police experience

Julie woke me up and told me to look ahead. The first thing I saw was a car with a blue siren on it and a text that said: “Folgen” and we Dutch people all know what that means.. ha-ha. So I told them it means ” Follow”. I asked Renato if he thought that he drove too fast but he didn’t think so. Our hearts started to beat faster, especially theirs, after I told them my parents always taught me not to just stop somewhere for “police” since there is also fake police. Gladly, that wasn’t the case and they went to a big parking place with restaurant.

So, me explaining with my good German that I understood that it looked a little weird; a full packed French car with a Mexican driver driving from the Netherlands to Munich with a French and Dutch girl. Yes, kind of suspicious. Still we all had to give our papers and later on Renato had to go with the two police men to their car. Julie and I were trying to stay calm and laugh the stress away, when from one moment to another Renato had to do a drug test. He had red eyes, which for Renato is normal because of the air differences, however, for the police men it was a reason to let him do the test. Everything was alright, obviously, and we could continue. Still, it took some time for our hearts to calm down. Buttt! We could continue our European road trip. 🙂

Number four of the group

Now it’s time to include Carmen. I guess I don’t really have to introduce her though ha-ha. Since I have been to Munich already several times and Carmen doesn’t live in the city centre, I only joined them in either the morning or morning and evening, so that I could rest/sleep the afternoon and recharge my energy. This picture below is from the first night (yes yes, sleepy heads), but wanted to show you the beers they had. Yeah, the big German beers ha-ha, Renato couldn’t stop laughing and talking about how big and heavy they were. Oh and you see Qwixx there on the left, my buddy was joining us for the whole road trip ha-ha.

We stayed in Munich for around three and a half days. I joined them for walks around the city, we visited the BMW museum, and we went to a Beer garden in the Englischer Garten. One day at the end of the afternoon I woke up and they brought Kaiserschmarrn with them for me. The best friends!

Munich – Lyon

The last destination of our European road trip. Our last reunion of the road trip, because we were heading to Matthiays. Another friend who Carmen and I hadn’t seen for four years. Carmen’s friend Sophie went with us from Munich, so that Carmen wouldn’t need to drive home alone those seven/eight hours. The weather in Lyon was very different to the weather in Munich, by the way. Munich was on some days fifteen degrees and when we arrived in Lyon is was forty degrees. For me, all fine, since I love it and it reminds me of a holiday feeling, but others, were having a harder time getting their sweat away.

Although, I was only in Lyon for around two days, I have many pictures. So, this part is even going to be more pictures than text. I do also think that pictures already show a lot, especially since explaining our relationship is indescribable. Last thing, I find Lyon a very underrated city. It is so beautiful from it’s streets to buildings, churches, restaurants and shops. It has everything. So, if you want to go on a city trip, Lyon is definitely worth to visit.

Lyon – Amsterdam

Saturday at four in the afternoon they brought me to the airport of Lyon. After sixteen days on the road, it was time for me to go home. My European road trip had finished. I cannot say enough how grateful I am to have them in my life, to experience all cultures with them and see them enjoying. It makes me utterly happy. In good and in bad times, you are in my heart. And as we always say (me still with tears): See you soon.

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The countryside of Santiago – away from five million people

Although the trip to Salar de Uyuni was quite the getaway, the countryside of Santiago was quiet enough as well. Sometimes you just need to go away. You need away to recharge your battery, to find back your perspective on life. You need to get away in order to come back and see what you have. Well, the countryside of Santiago helped me a lot!

Cajón del Maipo with Belén

So, Cajón del Maipo. The countryside of Santiago. Translated as the “Box between the mountains” and a beautiful getaway place from Santiago. After I arrived home from Bogota at around three in the night, I would meet Belén at her house around twelve in the afternoon. After I unpacked and packed my bag for four days, I took the Uber to Belén. We would go first take the metro and then the bus before her dad picked us up at a town and we would then further go to the village they live in called; El Ingenio. In total, it is around one and a half hour to arrive.

Belén her parents have their holiday house in El Ingenio for already many many years. They were the first ones in the village. The house is literally amazing and feels as if you are in Austria because of the style (all wooden). Besides that, the view which they have is so wonderful.

I am now wondering if I have ever introduced Belén to you? Because I actually do not think that I did.. “oh-oh impolite Isa”. So, Belén and I know each other from England. Since I am here in Chile, we have met a few times and we really get along. No expectations or anything, just all very relaxing. So, yeah that was this long weekend too. We slept, ate, read, talked and relaxed a lot. We played Catan with the neighbours (Daniel and his girlfriend Claudia) and went to a place called Embalse El Yeso (I will tell you later about that).

A funny thing to know is that their neighbours are like family. They share lunch and dinner together very spontaneous and just come by without telling like it is the most normal thing to do. I like that, so relax and no worries at all.

Rayuela con Terremoto

We also played a game called Rayuela and drunk Terremoto with it. Terremoto means earthquake in English and it is a mix of alcohol (sort of white wine), pineapple ice cream and a very sweet/sugar full sirup. Nope, I did not like it, but I liked the game Rayuela and according to the locals I was quite good for the first time playing it. You throw an iron oval “thing” from 7 metres, as close as possible to the white line in the middle. You have two changes and play with a partner against two others. Easy as it is; the couple with their “iron oval things” as closest to the white line in the middle, win points. The ones who have as first ten points win! Belén and I ended up in the finals but lost, because they were very good with lots of experience (just old men actually, oopsie… haha)

Another thing I told you what we did was eating. During the afternoon, they eat big, but for me, that is like big. Besides that, I stopped eating meat but every lunch there was meat. I liked it and thought why not, I just try it another time and see how my body reacts, was a bad idea people, a bad idea…

Embalse El Yeso

On Saturday morning the weather allowed us to go to Embalse El Yeso. We woke up at eight and left around 9:30. The last week it had snowed, therefore the top of the mountains were white. They called me “the lucky woman”.

The road was quite bumpy because of the stones and in the end, it was even closed. We needed to walk the last bit. Welcome to the real countryside of Santiago. No problem for me, I was happy about stretching my legs again after a while haha.

Clear water

We arrived at the Laguna made pictures, played a bit in the snow and Daniel who has lots of knowledge about all this place explained to me about the water system.

All the water that comes from the Andes mountains goes into a big tube to Santiago. There is only like that one important thing. If you would try the water over there, it is insanely clean. In Santiago, as I also experience it really is not! By the way, I do not drink water from the tap in Santiago. A few times per week I walk on the street as a clumsy person. Too many water bottles to carry in my hand and let one drop once in a while.

Another thing about water. Belén told me that I should wash my hair while I am there. So, I did and really, the first eight hours I could not stop talking about the fact that my hair was so extremely soft and shiny. Now my hair was just naturally perfect. All thanks to the water!

A day trip to Cinque Terre

We started the day trip to Cinque Terre with a bus ride for around two hours, ended up at La Spezia. From there we took the train to Manarola. The weather was amazing with a high temperature so we were lucky, especially because they said it had been pouring rain the day before. To give you some extra information, Cinque Terre means 5 villages in English (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore). We only visited four of them and left Corniglia behind.

Vernazza

We also did a hike. So instead of taking the train you can also hike. You hike from Manarola to Vernazza. The hike was around 4,4 km and we finished it in one hour and fifteen minutes. Since it was so warm, the sweat was definitely around and also since we were off-road we had to pay good attention to where we walked. When we wanted to enjoy the view, we stopped and just looked at the beautiful landscape. When we arrived in Vernazza, we all really craved for an ice-cream. It was the best we ever had. I don’t know if it because we had such a heavy hike or just because it was the best ha-ha.

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Climbing the Pucon vulcano right before Christmas

This was my last trip of my time in Chile. I was climbing the Pucon vulcano. It was the last place I wanted to see before I would leave Chile, because I don’t think I will ever come back to this country again.

It all started Friday evening. I took the night bus from Santiago Terminal to Pucón, a small city in the south of Chile. The bus departure was 22:05, but as you can probably already guess, it took a little bit longer for the bus to arrive. I had never been in that neighborhood or either at the terminal before and get shocked by the immense amount of people. I had forgotten about the fact that it was almost Christmas and people would go away for Christmas to visit their families. It only looked like they were all moving out of their movies. All the stuff they will them, it was insane.

The reason why I wanted to go to Pucón was only one actually; climbing the Vulcan Villarrica. Jesse and the others already climbed it, however during winter, still they told me to be prepared, because it was the worst thing they had ever done in life. I would lie if I would say that I wasn’t scared.

The day, finally climbing the Pucon vulcano

On Sunday was the day. At 6:30 I had to be at the agency and would we pick up our clothes and change ourselves. It really wasn’t the most fashionable outfit, but that made it sort of funny. It belonged to the experience.

Jesse and the others already told me that you are able to choose whether you want to take the chairlift, that saves up an hour of walking or not, in the beginning. They advised me to do it, of course you have to pay for it, but I didn’t know how heavy the other hours were going to be, so I rather took the chairlift. The tour guides called us clever, because of our group (total 15 people), only four people took the chairlift.

From the moment we got out of the chairlift, we had to walk in the snow. Climbing the Pucon vulcano really started now. We walked in a line to make sure that it was save. It was all quite steep, but the tempo of the guide was very slow. So slow that my heart rate did not go up and I sometimes even got a little bored, to be honest. However, the view was amazing and breathtaking. Once we arrived at the top, we had lunch which was sometimes a bit difficult to eat. We always had to wear our gas masks because of the smoke from the Vulcan.

I loved to go down. Climbing the Pucon vulcano was still amazing, but going down was the best moment of the day. We slegde all the way down, because it would have been to dangerous, also for the muscles. I felt like a child and got so excited, and sometimes went a bit faster than I should. You should have seen my happy face!

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A road trip from Edinburgh to St. Andrews

Although we started our trip in the Ijmuiden, which is in the North of the Netherlands, where we took the boot to New Castle, we were already all very excited. Especially, my father and brother because we would end this trip in St. Andrews, heaven for golfers as they call it. The boat was comfortable and we were ready for our road trip from Edinburgh to St. Andrews.

First Edinburgh

Before we were heading off to heaven, we first went to Edinburgh for 2 days. We slept at Hilton Carlton, which is located in the city centre. Therefore, we did not have to use the car because we could walk everything.

Edinburgh is a city which none of us had ever been yet. The days were very cold, we were walking from Nero to Starbucks to Patisserie Valerie (the restaurant where they have my favourite cinnamon roll). However, we also walked around in the city and it was beautiful but different than I expected. Honestly, the buildings were all very grey and sober which gave me a kind of sad impression.

Because whiskey is the most famous product in Scotland, we went to the whiskey museum. This was such an amazing experience. It was like we were in an attraction because we were sitting in a little car made for two persons, which took us around and then there was a man on a screen talking to us, explaining all the history about whiskey. Even though you may come to Edinburgh with little kids, this museum is the greatest!

The road trip from Edinburgh to heaven for golfers.

After those two days in Edinburgh, the men got impatient and were totally really to go to St. Andrews. It was not the first time for them because once in a while they go there with some friends for a long weekend. So, yes, when we were there. Of course, they needed to play golf. Besides that, we were sleeping in the Hazelbank Hotel and our room had the best view I had ever had. The rooms were perfect and the staff was so nice and generious.

The reason why St. Andrews is such heaven for golfers is because this is where it all started. St. Andrews has all the history of golf and besides that,  there is another special fact. There are a lot of golf courses, where The Old Course is the most famous one, which is also the most expensive and difficult one. Those golf courses are all blended together and lay just beside the coastline. A lot of jokes got made that they had to pay attention not to change of golf course.

The girls into the Highlands

Because the men were most of the time playing golf, we, as the female side of the family needed to plan something else because waiting for them was not the thing we wanted to do those days. Going into the Highlands had always been something which my mom and I wanted to do. Because St. Andrews is not that far from the Highlands, which is an extemely big area, we hired a private driver who drove us all around. We were away for the whole day and although we were mainly looking through the windows, the views were amazing. We even went to Loch Ness, the mysterious lake where people many years ago thought to see a special animal in the water.

By the way, besides playing golf and buying golf stuff in all the golf shops, St. Andrews is also a “little” famous for their University. So, if you ever want to study abroad and are a fan of golf, you know where to go because this place is a bit of heaven. Plus a road trip from Edinburgh to St.Andrews is for sure a good idea then!