Antwerp, Belgium

Now and then I have to visit one of my best friends from Ireland now relocated to Antwerp, Belgium. Antwerp is a beautifully preserved historial city with lovely pubs and restaurants. This city calls out for retail therapy.

Antwerp: The city with the most beautiful train station.

From Holland it’s only a train trip away. For only 50 euro’s you can have a lovely weekend getaway abroad and feeling like you have been exploring a different country.

Getting around town

The easiest way to explore the city is by bike. These bikes are available everywhere in the city and if you drop them off within 30 minutes to another bike station, it’s free of charge,

Even when it’s raining it’s a beautiful city

In Berchem you can probably find the most beautiful streets in the world. Just look around and explore and take a break at one of the charming coffeebars you can find on every corner. Just take it slow and absorb the beauty.

Christmas in Antwerp

Christmas would be the best time visit Antwerp. Never has the city looked more magical as around Christmas time. The shots of Jenever you can get anywhere help you experience the magical flow and most definitely gets your Christmas spirit on.

Ferris wheel: The perfect way to get to know the city

And once you finished your retail therapy session, don’t forget to bring home the best pastries and chocolates in the world. The best thing about travelling by train is that there are no limits on the amount of bags you can bring on board, Use it wisely.

Ireland

It’s time to introduce you to the wonderful world of our home away from home: Ireland. Once upon a time we used to live in Ireland, this is how the story begins…

Exactly one year ago I felt the strong desire to visit Ireland for St. Patricks day but this time not Dublin as we are too familiar with the dirty old town. Dublin has been our home for years and by now I know every street and every corner. So this time me and my Irish sidekick Laura went on a roadtrip: Dublin – Blarney – Killarney – Ennistimon.

Blarney castle

Driving on the left is not a problem for me. Driving in general is. But we survived and received only one parking ticket afterwards. I prefer postcards.

Magic everywhere

At Dublin airport we picked up our rental car and drove to our first stop: Rock of Cashel. This castle on the hill makes you believe to have reincarnated into a Game of Thrones episode.

Blarney castle

We stayed the night in Blarney next to the famous castle. The next morning we visited the castle and gardens and kissed the Blarney stone. From this day on we have the ability to convince anyone or anything.

Kissing the Blarney stone. When Jasmine received this picture she was wondering whether I lost my head…

After visiting the caste and gardens we had been on the road most of the day exploring the Ring of Kerry. Such an amazing experience driving on these little roads leading us to medieval ruins, soaring mountains, waterfalls and rugged cliffs.
Ireland, you are a beauty

Ring of Kerry

This year we celebrated St. Patrick’s day in Killarney. Unfortunately the dresscode in Killarney is slightly different than Dublin which means we were overdressed. On top of it the rugby final England v Ireland was playing on the same day. Nothing can stop us to join a party so we became loyal and true rugby fans. Just for a day.

The award for outfit of the year goes to….

The next day we conquered snow, wind and all forces of nature to see the Cliffs of Moher. After we went off to our spa retreat to regain our strength. It’s a hard knock life for us.

Cliffs of Moher

This roadtrip definitely qualifies as legendary! With hours of driving on unpaved roads even our navigator had never heard of. In fact he stopped talking once we left Dublin. Ending up celebrating St Patrick’s day in Killarney seriously overdressed (Yes, in Dublin we dress up for the occasion). Kissing the Blarney stone surrounded by Americans with Irish roots. And climbing the Cliffs of Moher where we were almost blown away to a far away land due to the extreme weather conditions. It was all grand!

Venice, Italy

Every year for Mother’s day me, my mum, sister and Jasmine go on a trip together. Last year our annual female family weekend took place in Venice. Our decision to go to Venice was merely based on the fact that Valencia and Sevilla were way too expensive during the school holidays.

Venice

We booked our flights with Transavia directly to Venice. Our quest to find the perfect hotel took just a bit longer as Venice is extremely expensive especially when you want a swimming pool. Swimming pools are high on Jasmine’s wishlist. In the end we found a perfect hotel on a walking distance from the airport: Hotel Venice resort.

Note to all travellers: Walking during the night on a barely paved road in Italy is pretty dangerous. Italians drive like maniacs.

Mum behind the camera.

From the hotel there is a regular bus service into town. We found a lovely restaurant across the street from our hotel where the best food in Venice was served. Not one of those overly crowded tourist spots but a proper Italian restaurant with an excellent authentic menu.

Boat buses to get you around

To visit all the sightseeing spots in Venice (And Venice has a lot of them) we bought daily tickets for the boat buses that gets you around Venice for a small fee and is fun to do at the same time.

When in Venice

After careful consideration we decided to go on a gondola ride through the Venetian canals. We just couldn’t leave Venice without it. Gondola rides are one of those things you only do once in your life and never again. In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take.

The princess in her gondola

Venice stirs something in me. These are the streets where poems were written, where stories were born, where people have loved. Just look up and dream away. And that’s exactly what we did while eating a gelato.

That’s amore

The day after we took a busboat into Lido beach where we celebrated a lovely Italian day in the sun. Il dolce far niente (the sweetness of doing nothing).

Lido beach

Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolates in one go. This was Venice, the magical beauty of a city. Half fairytale and half tourist trap but definitely worth your time.

Sal, Cabo Verde

Last month we were lacking vitamine D and decided to take a trip to the sun. Cape Verde caught our attention. Sunshine all year, only 2 hours time difference (which means no jetlag, thank god) and highly affordable.

After checking airline fares, hotels and trips online we were surprised to find out that a package deal with TUI was the cheapest option. Adventurers as we are, we obviously could’t stay a week chilling on a sunbed…

Horse riding on the beach

The passion me and Jasmine share together is horse riding. Every trip we go on at some point needs to have horses involved, no exception in Cape Verde. With Santa Marilha horse riding excursions we experienced a lovely two hour trail through the salt mines, dunes and beaches.

Galloping on the beach is my definition of what freedom feels like.

Hotel Dunas de Sal

We stayed at Dunas de Sal, one of the few hotels on the island without an all inclusive concept. I personally believe that all inclusive concepts are nightmares to travellers that want to explore the world and experience new adventures.

Coconut island dreams

If you are dreaming of a perfect white sand and clear blue water beach surrounded by palmtrees, look no further. These beaches are right here to be found in Sal. Most hotels have sunbeds available on the beachside for their guests for free. Bring a book and have a relaxing day. We tried to go snorkelling once but the sea was so wild it took our set into a tsunami wave just as we tried to take our first dive. Challenging I would say. A paradise for kite surfers.

Luckily we found our favourite beach bar right after: No stress di Roberto. The cocktails are fabulous. Imagine yourself sitting in Africa drinking your favourite Italian cocktail: Aperol Spritz while your daughter is the trying the nutella crepes. Heaven on earth.

Beach life to the fullest

The pier with the local fish market, the colourful houses of Santa Maria and the turtle walk are worth the stroll along the seaside. Enjoy the tropical vibes and NO STRESS. No stress is the local island slogan, follow their example.

Hello world!

Hello world!

Let me first introduce myself before taking you on an adventure around the world:

My name is Alianne, 34 years old and the proud (single) mother of the second blonde mentioned in Two Blondes and a travel blog.

Besides being a fashion addict, foodlover, fulltime mum and booknerd, we have this parttime gig on the side which is travelling the world.

Often people are wondering how I can travel the world as a single mother. The idea of this travel blog started by wanting to change your mindset and give away the tips and trics to see the world on a budget. Life is not meant to stay in one place.

And so the adventure begins….