Maastricht

Maastricht is one of the most charming cities in the Netherlands and it can be easily explored in a weekend. In this blogpost you can read exactly why you need to visit Maastricht.

Magical Maastricht

Maastricht is the perfect place for a weekend away and it almost feels like going abroad. Wandering the tangled streets, exploring the historic caves, and eating and drinking out at one of the many restaurants and cafe’s. For architecture and food lovers Maastricht definitely the place to be.

Crossing the Maas river

Maastricht is known for shopping, my daughter’s favourite thing to do. The walk along the Maas river to the shopping streets is absolutely beautiful. You’ll also find a few cafes on the riverside with a gorgeous view over the city.

Maastricht still has the original city walls and gate from the old days. One of the magical parts about this city is wandering along the historic streets and be amazed with all the ancient architecture along the way. At this moment the city gate is under construction which means we need to visit Maastricht again. Jasmine would definitely not mind going back to shopping paradise.

History everywhere in Maastricht

Another must visit are the caves and caverns of Maastricht. The Maastricht Underground is a collection of caves which originates back to the 13th century.

The caves were originally dug to mine marl. Over time the caves formed a network so vast that it was used for other purposes.

During World War II, the caves were used to store many valuables such as paintings that could be used against the Germans. Also military equipment was stored there such as 30 tanks. Over 6000 citizens took shelter in the caves during World War II.

Dominikanen Bookstore

Another spot you cannot miss when visiting Maastricht is the Dominikanen Bookstore. A must for booklovers. This bookstore is located in a Catholic church. Instead of praying at the altar, you can drink a cappuccino and start reading your freshly bought books.  

The breakfast club

Our hotel was located just off the Vrijthof square. This square is best known for the annual Andre Rieu concerts and is beautifully set up. The hotel was completely designed in vintage style and on a walking distance to explore the whole city. And yes, we had the famous Vlaai pastries for breakfast.

Goodbye Maastricht, you were a fairytale in real life

Beekse Bergen

As we are still stuck in the Netherlands, we decided to make the best out of it and explore the worlds within the Dutch borders

For this weekend we decided to spend a couple of days in Tilburg. We booked ourselves a nice hotel room with a bath tub which we don’t have at home so whenever we go somewhere we always check the bathroom options. It’s the little things in life that makes the trip more magical.

Pink bath soap that smells like donuts, what else could a girl wish for.

After a luxury breakfast and a morning swim in the pool we went back on the road to go on safari.

Almost like the real thing

Safari Park Beekse Bergen that is because we can still not travel abroad.

What to wear on an African Safari…

Under the Dutch sunshine walking passed all these amazing area’s with different wildlife is as good as it gets.

The car wash crew

Even though we had a great experience, we have not been released of the itch of going to Africa. So as soon as we can explore the world again we’re booking our tickets to the real deal.

Goodbye fake Africa for now

Giethoorn

Due to the Covid outbreak we have not been able to follow our mission to travel the world together. Time for a change. This team is now on a quest to find the most beautiful places to visit within the Dutch borders.

Our first stop is the idyllic town of Giethoorn. The village without roads straight out of a fairytale book.

Aye, Aye Captain

Giethoorn is a village in the county of Overijssel. It’s about an hour and a half drive from Amsterdam, and besides for being known as picture perfect, this town has no roads or any sort of modern transportation at all, only canals. And 176 bridges. Which only adds to its picturesque charm.

By boat is the best way to explore Giethoorn

Most of the houses and cottages have thatched roofs so it feels a little as if you have stepped back in time.

Find your flow and row, row, row.

After a walk along the canal admiring the pretty homes, the best way to explore Giethoorn is by renting a boat or canoe. I would advise to book in advance online so you are sure there’s one for you available.

Making friends along the way.

During the Covid period only Dutch residents can visit the village, so you can imagine how peaceful it is. Giethoorn can be overly crowded with visiting tourists, follow the waterways out of town and find yourself rowing into a calm lake where all sorts of animals keep you company on your trip.

Nature’s best.

Leave the roads and take the trails, adventure is closer than you think.

Veluwe

Dutch people voted the Veluwe as the finest area of scenic beauty in the country. It is where forests, sand drifts, steppes and heathlands form a stunning natural landscape.

And where you can spot the Dutch ‘Big Five’: foxes, badgers, deer and wild boar as well as Highland cattle, beavers and hundreds of other mammals, birds, reptiles and insects.

And this is the place we call home when we are not travelling the world.

Okay, we’re off camping! Back to nature. Off the grid. If you need to contact us, send a pigeon.

The Veluwe region has more to offer than just a stunning nature scape. It is home to a number of medieval towns such as Harderwijk, Elburg and Hattum. These towns have been around longer than cities such as Amsterdam or Rotterdam.

Our hometown Harderwijk

There are numerous friendly spots to find in the cities to have a drink or dinner. The fact is that we have more pubs, restaurants, hotels, festivals and camping sites than shops or office buildings.

Our top3 favourite places to eat or have a drink:

  1. Walhalla. (Beach bar)
  2. Holy Moly. (Cocktails and Mexican food)
  3. De Boterlap (featured below)
Food and drinks, so many places to go and try.

From there you can go on long bike rides, hiking trips or horse riding trails to explore the stunning woods and get lost to find some peace and serenity before returning home.

Never lose your inner child.

As we obviously lead a full and busy life, it is important to stress out sometimes. We found the perfect way to do so. When our stress levels are high, we go camping in the woods. A couple of days back to nature, no phone, computer or other electronic devices and being totally off the grid works miracles for your mindset.

Away is a place where it’s not about the money you spend. It’s about the moments you share.

Our favourite camping site is next to the restaurant Boshuis Drie and practically for free. You pay a small amount to set up your tent and in return you can use the restrooms. Every night the ranger sets a campfire where you can roast your marshmallows. The ultimate camping experience.

The urban legend about Solse gat says that the lost Abbey and monks reappears at nightfall. 
So these Ghostbusters went back to their tent before nightfall

A fun experience is renting a donkey to go hiking and explore the countryside. You can do so at the Koperen ezel in Epe. Bart was such good company and carried our bags all the way during the hike. Such a gentleman.

Me and Bart on a picnic

Encouraging a child to play outside in all weather builds resillience, creativity and problem solving skills. So go out and become an adventurer!

Ameland

Our favourite weekend getaway in Holland is a little island all the way up north: Ameland.

An ocean breeze puts a mind at ease. True story. When you arrive on Ameland you can pick up your bikes at the terminal to discover the island. The best way to explore the island is by bike. So only pack what you can carry.


Note to self: if you want to bring your riding equipment, you just have space left for your swimsuit

Travel advise: Only pack what you can carry.

Nature is a true beauty on Ameland. Don’t forgot to go on a boattrip to meet the most relaxing lads I have ever seen. Book a tour on www.robbenboot.nl

Scouting for seals

The essential joy of riding a horse is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit and freedom. There is no better feeling than galloping on the beach. With The Blinkert stables you can book a riding tour to explore the island’s beauty.

The best feeling in the world.

Just get on your bike and enjoy the typical Dutch landscape and do not forget to stop at one of the many beachbars. There are lovely and authentic restaurants in the city centre of Nes. Seafood is a must.

If you never go, you will never know.

Life is like riding a bicycle, in order to stay balanced you need to keep on moving. Weekend trips in nature are a temporarely taste of freedom from all the fuss and frustration in our lives. That is why we crave the open road so badly, it is a chance to let go.

Goodbye Ameland, back to reality.

Tulipfields in Holland

Spring is in the air and it makes me feel like writing something about the typical Dutch tulip fields and where to find them.

Typical Dutch scenery

Besides the main tourist attraction Keukenhof gardens there are many real life flower fields throughout Holland you can visit for free.

Noordoostpolder

Only a short trip by bike away you find to most beautiful flower fields between the cities Harderwijk and Dronten. Go hiking or use your bike to explore the glorious fields without trying to avoid buses of tourists.

Check https://tulpenrouteflevoland.nl/ to get directions to the flowerfields.

Creating your own flower arrangements

Get creative and bring your own flower bouquet home at www.hannekespluktuin.nl Spending a day in nature which is especially fun to do together with your children.

Picking your own tulips

In the end of the day your feet should be dirty, your hair messy and your eyes sparkling. This is what a perfect weekend in April looks like.

Time to go home