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somewhere to eat: Le Marais, Hyeres, France

Last weekend I went to the South of France for a worktrip. Hyeres is surrounded by beaches and water so what’s best to do? Have lunch at the beach of course! We enjoyed lunch at Le Mairas, close to the airport (Toulon-Hyeres). This sophisticated beach restaurant is beachy with a bold, colourful touch and design furniture. The garland of different lamp shades is fun and gives a warm ambiance at night.

We started with the Fritto Misto, a plate of fried seafood and vegetables with lemon marmelade. Very tasty and a nice starter to share with the whole table. Then I took the Tagliata de thon mi-cuit au sésame, tuna a la plancha with sesame seeds and balsamico on a bed of rocket. The tuna tasted fantastic, it was a bit sashimi style but a really nice combination with the balsamico and sesame seeds.

The wine was good, the staff was polite and the views were great, right in front of the sea with hills and islands behind. The only thing I can think of that was not good was the cappuchino, in France they can’t seem to do good coffee. But, that said, if you are looking for a nice  place to lunch and relax this is your spot in Hyeres!

2 days later we enjoyed the closing picnic of the Hyeres Design Festival Neuf at le Marais. There was a dj and a nice buffet with good food. The atmosphere was wonderful, barefoot, enjoying the evening sun.

www.lemaraisplage.fr / open every day from 11 p.m. – 2 a.m. / reservations call: 09 54 12 72 09

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The Amsterdam Files: 5 x lunch in the Jordaan district.

There are many many places to have lunch in Amsterdam. Somethimes it’s hard to find the right spots, the places where you go and want to come back. So part of the Amsterdam Files I will tell you where to go for food, shops, museums etc. This time: 5 x lunch in the Jordaan district. Or breakfast, whatever you like.

1. Vinnies Deli. It’s one of my favourites. Located in one of the nicest streets in Amsterdam, the Haarlemmerstraat, you’ll find Vinnies Deli. They have a great organic menu with good vegetarian options as well as meat. Also healthy stuff like quinoa and eggplant with pommegranade. All the furniture in this cool spot is also for sale. What’s not to love? Just a 5 min walk from central station; Haarlemmerstraat 46 hs / vinnieshomepage.com

2. SLA. Salad lovers go to SLA, which means, salad. It’s as simple as that. You can make your own salad by chosing all the ingredients yourself. Or, you can choose one of their seasonal salads or soupes on the menu. It’s supertasty, honest and healthy. Their interior makes me very happy. And oh, the organic tea selection is also very goood! Westerstraat 34 / ilovesla.com

3. Two for Joy. Well, if you are a coffee lover this is your spot. They roast their own beans, so it doesn’t get any fresher then this. I love the smell when they are roasting! But also for salads and sandwiches this is a nice place. Try the homemade granola with fresh fruit for breakfast. Haarlemmerdijk 182 / twoforjoy.nl

4. Greenwoods. With a bit of a hippy atmosphere this cosy place makes you feel at home immediately. They serve great breakfasts and have a wide tea selection which you can also order by pot. The homemade pies are out of this world! Try their lemon meringue pie. Close to central station; Singel 103 / greenwoods.eu

5. Café Thijssen. One of the nicest brown cafés in the Jordaan. Sit at the reading table and eat a typical Amsterdams ‘broodje ossenworst’, which is raw beef sausage served with onions and mustard. It’s located on a nice corner and the atmosphere is always relaxed here. Brouwersgracht 107 / cafethijssen.nl

Credits: 1/2/9 somewheresomethingblog 3/4/5 Teska Overbeeke 6/ Skyler Chen 7/ Marta Greber 8/ Falling of Bicycles / 10/ unknown 11/ Charming Travel Choices

This is one of my favourite pictures of my travels in 2010 to South America; my friends posing like serious footballers in front of a wall painting. It’s taken in Rio de Janeiro and it’s all about the previous world cup in South Africa. Now, Google maps gives us a peek a Brazil’s painted streets; every 4 years they show their love of football by painting their streets. A very happy and colourful look! Check it out here.

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somewhere to sleep: TOC Hostels Sevilla, Spain

  Terrace Toc Hostels Sevilla So, we went to sunny Sevilla. We stayed the night in TOC Hostels, a brand new hostel in the middle of the old city centre right next to the Alcazar and the big cathedral. A+ for location so far, this is so easy to find! A couple of years ago we stayed in a hotel in the middle of Macarena and searched for nearly an hour…including Sahara temperatures! All those streets look-a-like, it’s a true maze over there!

As we were with 6 people we got a bunk room that fitted all of us, where you enter the room with your fingerprint. Normally you don’t think much of bunk bed rooms, they are just there to crash. But not here! The room had such a nice design with all  kinds of nifty things. Every bed had a little light and a plug (who wants to miss his phone?) in reach, sheets and pillows are provided so you don’t have to bring your own stuff. Then, each room has its own bathroom so you don’t have to run half naked through the hallway. Nice hot showers, not 1, but 2 toilets and a big sink with room for everybody.

TOC Hostels Sevilla is a nice place to stay, it’s central, you’ve get value for money and it has nice design touches. The people behind the reception where very friendly and helpful. There’s a 24 hours reception and free wifi is provided. The rooms are very clean, complete and comfortable. At the back alley of the hotel you’ll find a really nice terrace where you can relax, have a drink and enjoy some sunshine. The only thing I didn’t like was the airco in the room, it was too cold in my opinion and I couldn’t find out where to regulate it. And the elevator was not working, but as we were on the first floor this was not a big deal. If you are looking for a hostel with a luxury feel I would definitely recommend this place. I’ve slept like a bird, the mattress was very comfortable and I must say this is the most fancy hostel I’ve ever slept! When you are planning a romantic trip for 2: the hostel has also cosy private suites.

And oh…yes they have a nice website too: http://tochostels.com/sevilla
Bunk beds from €18 and private rooms from €70 a night. | Calle Miguel Mañara, 18-22, 41004 Sevilla
Soon to be in Barcelona & Madrid. | Pictures are from the  TOC Hostels website.
TOC Hostels Terrace

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Bucket List: Wandering the coloured streets of San Francisco, USA


I’m not sure why but San Francisco has always seem very appealing to me. Then I saw these pictures, made by Anne Solange Tardy, she makes SF look like candy! All the pastel colors, the stunning buildings and amazig views… Please take me there! Anne-Solange Tardy has a great blog, have a look at Cachemire & Soie. If you’re french is good, read the whole article, she has some good travel tips for SF!

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Gear up! What to pack when climbing Mt Kinabalu

So, you’re planning to go to Borneo? There are tons of things to do but one thing you definitely should not miss is climbing Mount Kinabalu. I would recommend to book this 2-day hike at the source if you don’t want to pay too much: Sutera Harbour. They have an office in Kota Kinabalu where you can book directly. You can not do this climb without a guide, so if you want to reduce costs; team up with some fellow travellers to spit the guide fees. You can find all the costs at the website of Sutera. When we arrived in Kota Kinabalu we went directly to the office to check when we could make the climb as there are only 146 permits available per day. We planned the rest of our Borneo adventure around this.
Gear Up
What should you pack?
In 2 days you will go up and down the mountain. You will start at an altitude of 1,866 meters and climb all the way to Low’s Peak at 4,095.2 meters. When you start it will be likely hot and humid and the more you go up it will get colder. So make sure you wear layers and breathable clothes!

  • For this trip you don’t want too heavy cargo so take a waterproof daypack with you that’s about 30-40 L. Don’t pack unnecessary things as the climb is already a challenge! If your daypack is not waterproof make sure you have a raincover.
  • Lightweight hiking shoes with good grip. If you don’t have them, go for the local Adidas Kampung. You will see many locals and guides walk on these all rubber shoes. They are comfortable, have good grip and are super cheap. We bought a pair for around 3 euro for a jungle trip.
  • Good hiking socks are always a good idea. You want to avoid those nasty blisters!
  • When you’re lucky you won’t see any rain but hey, you never know. Take a lightweight rainjacket with you, you will use it anyway as a normal jacket when you are walking to the top in the middle of the night (because it’s cold!)
  • A head torch is unmissable. You will walk the last part to the top in the middle of the night to arrive before sunset so you’re gonna need it!
  • Take a half litre water bottle with you. You can fill up at every shelter along the way.
  • Bring a small first aid kit. It’s smart to have headache pills, antiseptic cream, band aids, safety pins, blister plasters and altitude sickness pills. This way you’re always prepared and won’t have to rely on others.
  • A compact travel towel is also a good idea so you can freshen up when you arrive at Laban Rata where you will sleep. Make sure it’s from microfibre, this will dry quick.
  • Due to the heights it’s likely that you will feel the sun burning on your head. This fordable cap is good to bring. And of course bring sunblock and insect repellent.
  • And last but not least: bring your camera! The view you have on top will take your breath away. I guess you can’t capture that magical moment on camera but you can at least make some nice pics to show at home!

These are the most important things if you ask me but you can check more packing tips here and other important tips here. Enjoy the climb, it’s an amazing experience!

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Bucket List: Exploring the blue city Chefchaouen, Morocco

On top of my bucket list is Moroccos blue city: Chefchaouen. This breathtaking city lies in the heart of the Rif Mountains in the northern part of Morocco. I would love to explore the medina where you can find 1000 shades of blue. This blue washed tradition started around 1930 by the Jewish residents, and nowadays this tradition is still kept alive by its inhabitants.

Picture credits: Amy Lee Scott / Sandra Jordan / Sergio Formoso / Tony Burns / Steffan Jensen
Click on the pictures to see the full version.

 

Small Stuff 1. Small canvas pouch by Suki Cheema
2. Via Limoni, leather lemon coin purse by Kate Spade
3. Cotton Pochette by Tove Johansson
4. Mini Me leather coin purse by Keecie
5. Leather coin purse by BlackbirdAndTheOwl
6. Palm print make up bag at Topshop
7. Kate Sheridan Simian Pouch at Anthropologie
8. Polka Dot Oxford Pouch by Herschel Supply
9. Pendleton Horse Zip-Pouch at Urban Outfitters
Don’t you just love a good little pouch for your small bits and pieces?
Which one is your favorite? I’ll go for the lemon coin purse!

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Life is better at the beach

LIFE IS BETTER AT THE BEACH

So, Tripadvisor made a list with the top 25 Best Beaches in the World.
I was looking at these amazing beaches and I noticed I’ve only been to one of these beaches on the list: number 13, Lopes Mendes Beach, Ilha Grande, Brazil. Number 1 of this list, a beach on the Island Fernando de Noronha in Brazil is definitely on my bucket list because it’s one of the best diving destinations worldwide.

Here’s my own top 5 of favourite beaches I’ve been:

1. Cueira Beach, Boipeba, Brazil
Boipeba island is a dream destination. In low season there where only a handfull of tourists.
The beach is only accessible by hike. But it’s totally worth the walk, you’ll find a long white sand beach with lots of palmtrees and there’s a little hut where you can eat lobster fresh from the sea.

2. Praia Castelejo, Vila do Bispo, Portugal
My favorite European beach. Lots of big waves makes this beach the perfect surf spot. Though I’m not a good surfer, I like to watch (and give it a try once in a while) and this beach has a nice vibe. Even in high season it’s never packed full of people.

3. South Beach, Perhentian Besar, Malaysia
We went here to dive and the house reef of this beach was where I saw my first sea turtle!
It’s a very relaxed beach with local bars and restaurants and diving schools.

4. Praia do Forte, Bahia, Brazil
Endless white sand beach, you feel like you’re at a deserted island but it’s only a 40 minute drive from Salvador the Bahia. There’s a sea turtle saving program taking place here, with a research centre a little further on (in the small town).

5. Manganari Beach, Ios, Greece
Ios is busy in summer season (I recommend going in may) and one side of the island will be pretty packed. Rent a car and drive all the way to the other side of the island to find Manganari beach. If you’re lucky, the only company you will be having are goats. The water here is crystal clear!

What’s your favorite beach you’ve been?

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A Perfect Day in Tavira, Portugal

001 09.15 A.M. Early morning, what a nice and sunny day! We walk from our apartment through town to have breakfast at A Laranja do João next to the Mercado Municipal (Avenida Dom Manuel 16). A sandwich, orange juice, a bica (Portugese espresso) and maybe a pastel de nata (lush Portugese pastry). Explore the market place to buy vegetables, fruits and some superfresh shrimps to have later for lunch. On our way back we take a small de-tour though the old city, with it’s wonderful cobblestone streets, the typical Portugese houses and the many churches Tavira counts.

11.30 A.M. So, time to head to the beach. Don’t forget sunscreen and a parasol because it’s going to be hot! We take the boat to Ilha de Tavira and spend a long afternoon relaxing, swimming, playing some tennis and of course eat the delicious shrimps we bought at the market.

06.30 P.M. It gets dark quite early, so we enjoy a beautiful sunset. We’re getting hungry so time to go home, take a shower to wash all the sand off. Aftersun cream is a good idea. Then we walk into town beside the riverbank, have a wine somewhere on the Praça da Republica

08.15 P.M. Dinner time! We head to Lagoas Bica (Rua Almirante Candido dos Reis 24), sit in the area where our favourite waiter, Helder, serves us. On our menu is Linguade con Laranja, sole fish in orange sauce. With some nice Vinho Verde (Young Portugese wine) on the side. We end this dinner with a bica and Amarguinha, a typical Portugese almond spirit.

10.30 P.M. We walk from Bica to the Praça da Republica, where there are performances in summer time. The whole town is on the square, with friends and family, to enjoy some music. The night comes to an end with a good cocktail at Tavira Lounge (Rua Goncalo Velho 16-18), where there’s a relaxed atmosphere, as always. Ah, this was such a good day! Luckily our next Tavira trip is planned for may this year! (:

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Think Flamingo Pink

Flamingo Pink Look at this stunning group of flamingo’s at the Bolivian Altiplano. There are so many different shades of pink, cocal and peachy colors. The scenes there are magnificent, you should definately put this one on your bucket list! Picture by Pedro Szekely.

This happy spring color comes in all these lush items: Kate Spade Iphone 5 case // Stella McCartney Sunnies // Becksöndergaard Granny Purse // Keds Taylor Swift’s Champion Bow Stripe sneakers // Diana mini Coral Fusion camera // Sport + Store Water Bottle // Becksöndergaard Flamingo tote bag //

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5 places around the world to celebrate carnival

Mario Tama - Salvador Carnaval Carnival in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. Picture by Mario Tama

Fancy a party? Dress yourself up and drown yourself into the happy crowds to celebrate carnival. Originally carnival is a religious thing, a Christian festival celebrated in many countries around the world. Usually it’s celebrated 40 days before easter. Here are 5 of the best options where you should go for a good street party.

Salvador de Bahia, Brazil
Of course Rio de Janeiro is known for its most famous and biggest carnival. But I suggest you should go to the city of Samba: Salvador. Enjoy the vibe and energy of the numerous samba bands, like the famous band Olodum. Salvador is such a happy place and you will notice the rich african influenced culture. You can party non stop for a week here during carnaval. Thousands of people throng the streets from early dawn and dance their way through the city till late evenings.
February 27 to March 5 2014 http://salvadorcarnival.info

New Orleans, USA
Join in the beads fun in New Orleans where carnaval is know as Mardi Gras. Since 1830 Mardi Gras is been celebrated in New Orleans, with lots of parades and balls. The most important day of this carnival is known as Fat Tuesday, when there is a big street parade. Mardi Gras had quite a cheeky side as women will flash their boobs to get lots of beads trown at them. Sounds like an adult only party..!
February 15 to March 5 2014 www.mardigras.com             

Maastricht, The Netherlands
I have to put Maastricht on the list, my hometown. Every year I go back to celebrate carnival here. You’ll see the most outrageous outfits here, people dance around the streets and on sunday and monday there are big parades. The ‘hoempapa’ music is quite strange if you’re not used to it, but luckily Maastricht has a couple of samba bands who play around town. The best of them is Segura. And of course….there is beer, lots of beer (so at one point you think this ‘hoempapa’ music is the best you ever heard!)
March 2 to March 5 2014 http://vvvmaastricht.nl/events/carnival    

Goa, India
The Portugese brought the carnival festivities to Goa in the 18th century and nowadays it’s one of the biggest festivals here. Goa is the only place in India where they celebrate carnival. It’s all about color, music and food. There are huge parades with big floats, dancers and bands.  A King of Chaos is elected, called King “Momo”. He presides over the three-day festivities.
March 1 to March 4 2014 www.festivalsofindia.in/Goa

Cadiz, Spain
In the fun filled streets of Cadiz they know what a good fancy dress party means and you can celebrate here for 10 days if you want! Carnival here has also a rich history and started in the 17th century. It’s said to be the 3th largest carnival after Rio de Janeiro and Trinidad. Music is the most important ingrediënt for the Cadiz carnival, you hear flamenco, samba, african music…everything is possible! As in every place they have special traditions and events during the carnival, for example where most carnivals choose a king, here in Cadiz they crown a carnival queen.
February 27 to march 9 2014 www.andalucia.com/festival/carnival/cadiz-guide

Wich once-in-a-lifetime streetparty is on your bucket list?