belgium

Episode 3/589 : Tienen – Ancient Roman City

In episode 3 of my challenge I visited the city of Tienen, in the province of Flemish Brabant.

The city center is only a 10 minute walk from the train station, which makes it very easy to visit by public transport. First of all, I went to the tourist information center. The people there were so very nice and friendly. Unfortunatly the museum dedicated to the sugar of Tienen was closed (until 2018 if I am not mistaken). But there was another museum : Het Toreke. This museum is all about the presence of Romans in Tienen. The museum has two parts, life and death. I was really impressed with what I saw here (also because I am a big fan of everything that is related to the Roman Empire.

At the tourist office they gave me a free map of the city with a nice itinerary. I walked around for some hours and I saw some beautiful architecture. What impressed me the most was the Paterskerk. It’s a former church, that was part of the beguinage in Tienen. The church burned down in the seventies and they made a very nice park in and around the ruins of the church. The perfect place for a nice walk or for a photoshoot.

If you want to see more about my trip to Tienen, you can watch my video in the link below! And don’t forget to give me a thumbs up or/and to subscribe to my YouTube channel

belgium

Episode 2/589 ABC : Bruges, The Venice of the North

Episode 2 of my ‘Belgian Challenge’ and the second municipality I visited was Bruges.

Bruges is the capital city and the largest city of the Belgian province West Flanders. It’s one of the most touristic places in Belgium. It’s the place to be for a romantic daytrip full of history and art. Bruges has the titel of UNESCO World Heritage City.

When you arrive at the station it’s only a short walk direction beguinage, from where you can easily discover the historical center. I won’t explain the whole history of all the places I vistited, you can find it on the website of Visit Bruges. From the beguinage, we walked direction ‘Grote Markt’, the heart of the city.

Before we arrived there we made a boat tour on the canals. In my opinion it is the best way to see the city. The tour takes approximately 30 minutes and it costs 8 euros per person. The captain wil be your guide and they are all fluent in English, French and Dutch. There are different places to start the boat tours, so if there are to many people in the queue, just walk a little further and maybe you will have more luck.

On the way to the ‘Grote Markt’ you will see lots and lots of chocolate shops! A day in Bruges is not complete without tasting and buying chocolate. We did at the end of the day, to be sure it the chocolate wasn’t melted by the time we got home.

Bruges has also a beer wall. You can find more then 1250 different kind of beers in this wall. There is also a bar, where you can taste some of them.

Belgium is not only famous for chocolate and beer, but also for fries. We learned a lot about the Beglian fries and traditions in the Frietmuseum.

After more walking around, having a good look at the belfry and its surroundings we visited the Basilica of the Holy Blood. One of the most beautiful churches I have seen in Belgium. It contains the relic of the Holy Blood, blood from Jesus.

We ended the day with a visit to the Groeningemuseum. This museum displays paintings from famous Belgian artists such as Jan Van Eyck and Memling, also known as the Flemish Primitives. There are also works from Margritte and Spilliaert. The museum is not that big, which was perfect for me. I like beautiful paintings, but I can’t stay in a museum for hours.

After a last drink with view on the belfry and after we bought our chocolates, we returned direction home.

Interesting Links:

Friet Museum

Basilica of the Holy Blood

Tourist Information Bruges

belgium

Episode 1/589 ABC :Woluwe-Saint-Pierre : Architecture, Tram museum and the Park

Maybe you already know it, maybe not, but I accepted a challenge. I would like to visit all 589 Belgian municipalities: A Belgian Challenge (ABC).

Episode 1: Woluwe- Saint-Pierre / Sint-Pieters-Woluwe

Woluwe-Saint-Pierre is one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels Capital Region of Belgium. It’s mostly a residential area. But it is also famous for its park and the avenue de Tervuren, where you can find a lot of embassies.

I started my visit with a walk around a residential area. I found an itinerary on the internet, it would guide me through the neighbourhood and show me the most beautiful buildings in different architectural styles. In the beginning I wasn’t very impressed, but the more I continued walking, the more I enjoyed it. The itinerary ended at the Stoclet Palace. Such a beautiful mansion. It’s built by architect Josef Hoffmann between 1905 and 1911. The mansion is still occupied by the Stoclet family and is not open for visitors (unfortunately).

After my walk around this neighbourhood, I visited the Tram museum or the museum of public transport. It displays trams and busses from different eras in the history of Brussels. The museum was foundend in 1982 and is located in a beautiful old building, the depot of trams, still partly used today. The museum relies on volonteers, they run the museum, maintain the vehicles etc. This is also the reason why it’s not open every day. If you want to visit it, be sure to check their calendar first. I really enjoyed my time there and was impressed to find so many old trams and busses. It was really worth the visit!

I ended the day with a walk in the Park of Woluwe.

Interesting links:

Tram museum

Itinerary / Achitecture

Watch my video!

 

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Italy

Hiking in Cinque Terre

I always wanted to visit Cinque Terre. I saw so many pictures and heard so many stories. One of the ‘must do’s’ is hiking. Cinque Terre is a national park. The park has more than 120 km walking trails for different levels. Some trails are closed, for example the famous Via Dell’Amore (since 2011). You can find all the important information on the official website.

To use the trails you need a Cinque Terre Card (7.50 euro for the trails/ 16 euro trails, unlimited train). At the beginning of each trail you pass a check point were you need to show your card or you can buy one.

♦♦♦♦ Good to Know!

Italian Hiking Route Ratings:  T (Tourist), E (Hiker), EE (Experienced Hiker), EEA (Very Skilled Hiker with Gear)

Monterosso to Vernazza

We started early, because it can be very warm between 12 and 16PM. We arrived at Monterosso by train and started the hike almost immediately (we came back later to visit the village).

This trail is 3.6 km long, it takes approximately 2 hours to walk it and the difficulty level is E.

This trail starts with stairs, stairs and more stairs. It’s a never ending pathway of stairs. It was a real challenge climb them all, and I needed to take a break several times (I wasn’t the only one). The higher you climb, the more stunning the views become. You walk through lemon plantations and you get a wonderful view over Monterosso. The path leads further on at a high altitude, where you can find citrus trees, olive trees and vineyards.

I can’t explain the feeling you get when you first notice the village of Vernazza. The view is just breathtaking (and also the fact that you know you won’t need to climb anymore). Views you only get when you hike, this is your reward!

After taking a lot of pictures, we arrived in the village itself. I must admit it was a bit shocking at first. I got used to the silence and the views over the cliffs, the smell of nature… Vernazza was very crowded. But good to know, once you get of the main road, you are by yourself again.

We took some time to eat a focaccia, visit the castle and fill our bottles with fresh cool water. We also noticed that it took us much longer than two hours to hike from Monterosso to Vernazza (+/- 3 hours).

Vernazza to Corniglia

You get the most beautiful panoramic view over Vernazza at the beginning of this trail, just before and after the check point. The beginning of the trail was very easy to me, compared with the trail from Monterosso to Vernazza. Locals also told us that the trails is shorter and it takes less time.

This trail is 4.13 Km long, it takes 1h45 to walk it (it took us longer) and the difficulty level is E.

So yes, it takes less time to walk although the distance is longer. The big difference with the first trail is that the difficult part is in the middle of the hike and although there are a lot of stairs too, it doesn’t last that long. You walk through olive groves and pass by some houses. There is one place on this trail where they sell drinks. There is a nice terrace with view over Corniglia. Yes, the drinks are over expensive, but still it’s full of people and the view is worth it. I think it’s not easy to resist after all the climbing.

From these houses the path starts going down towards the village Corniglia. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, because the stones on the path down are very slippery.  The path ends at the parking lot of Corniglia.

Remember

  • the best views over the villages are on the hiking trails
  • it will be a challenge, but you will be happy afterwards
  • take enough water with you, you can fill your bottles in every village for free
  • wear comfortable shoes, you don’t want to fall
  • don’t hike when it’s too hot
  • it’s not a race, if they indicate that the trail takes 2h to complete, that doesn’t mean you should complete it in 2h. Take your time to enjoy the views, take pictures, sit down and look… after all, you are only here once!
europe

My Year with a GoPro

One year ago I started recording my travels with a GoPro. I saw a lot of video’s on YouTube and I wanted to give it a try. Although I love photography, moving images are a completely different kind of souvenir.

I made a summary of all the places I have been with my GoPro during the last 12 months.

  • ziplining in Chiang Mai
  • bathing elephants in Elephants World
  • hiking in Cinque Terre
  • a gondola ride in Venice
  • road tripping in Turkey
  • island hopping in Greece
  • eating waffles in Brussel
  • a boat tour in Bruges
  • climbing the leaning tower of Pisa
  • enjoying Antwerp
  • city tripping in Lisbon
  • discovering Sao Miguel
  • Whale watching in the Azores
  • exploring the castles of Sintra
  • romance in Romeo & Juliette’s Verona
  • walking around in the gardens of Potsdam, Berlin

I can’t complain! 😀

Enjoy my video and if you like it, don’t hesitate to subscribe to my YouTube channel

Italy

3 Days at Lake Garda, Italy – Itinerary

I decided to go road tripping in the north of Italy for one week.  Leaving Belgium and driving through Luxembourg, France, Switzerland and Italy, was a long but beautiful drive.

We rented a small apartment with view over the lake. Waking up with the sun on your balcony… it felt like heaven on earth.

We stayed for 3 days before moving further to Cinque Terre.

Good to know: we did everything by car, our starting point was Limone sul Garda.

Day 1: 

We started the day in the car, 1h50 min driving to Sirmione. When I planned this trip, I didn’t realize that it took that long to go from one place to another. Don’t make the same mistake 😉

Sirmione

Sirmione must be the most popular village around the lake. When you look for information about Lake Garda, Sirmione is always mentioned. I was very happy we left early. We arrived around 11:00 and we could easily find a parking spot at 2 km from the castle (the ‘real’ entrance of the village). First thing we visited was the castle. I have seen more beautiful ones around the lake, but the view over Sirmione makes it a must see.

From the castle we strolled around in the small streets of the village and had a huge ice cream! Just be sure you are prepared, you won’t be walking around here all alone. Sirmione is full of tourists!

When you walk towards the end of the village, you can visit Catullus Caves, which aren’t really caves, but the ruins of a Roman villa. If you want to escape most tourists, this is the place to go. You can buy a ticket at the castle or at the entrance of the Villa. The ruins are impressive and the view over the lake is even more wonderful.

Desenzano del Garda

Our second stop for that day was Desenzano del Garda, just next to Sirmione. It felt completely different than Sirmione. It’s bigger than Sirmione and it has a promenade at the lake.

First thing we did: visit the castle. My opinion: don’t. We kept walking around, looking for something beautiful to see, but there wasn’t. The only thing that is interesting is the view from the tower (if you like a view behind windows that are dirty).

The city itself was beautiful. I especially liked the old harbor. It’s a small little harbor with a lot of restaurants around it, where you can drink a good Italian prosecco and eat a nice meal.

Day 2

Malcesine

We started our second day at Malcesine, where we took the cable car to Monte Baldo. Monte Baldo is 1700 meters high. The cable car has two stations on the way up. The first one is San Michele at about 570 meters. Than you take a 360 degrees turning cabin to Monte Baldo.

This is a popular tourist attraction, so if you are not prepared to wait for hours before taking the cable car… be there early! We arrived around 9:30 AM and waited for 30 min before we could take a cabin (this was Mai, beginning of the high season).

Count several hours for this visit. When you arrive at Monte Baldo station, go left. There is a relatively easy hike toward a panoramic viewpoint. Enjoy the views over the lake and have a drink on one of the terraces!

Back down we visited the village Malcesine. Wandering around in the little streets, sitting by the lake side… life is good. We also visited the castle, which I found more interesting than the one at Sirmione. The castle has a small natural history museum, which is very interactive and even fun with kids.

Arco

In the afternoon we drove towards Arco, to visit the castle in the hills. I must say I was a little disappointed when I found out we couldn’t reach the castle by car. (Yes, I was already tired after a lot of walking that day). We parked our car in the village and started to climb. It was a real challenge, a real steep walk.

Once you are at the entrance (which is not the highest point, you still need to climb during the visit), you see why you did climb all the way up. The views are just breathtaking. The castle made me think about an abandoned fortress, an ideal movie location.

Riva del Garda

Last stop for that day was Rive del Garda. It was my least favorite place of the day. Maybe because in the late afternoon there is no more sun. Blue skies, but the sun was blocked by the mountains surrounding the village. We walked around for a little bit and had a nice meal while enjoying the view over the lake.

Day 3

On day 3 we needed to leave Lake Garda in the early afternoon, to continue our road trip towards Cinque Terre.

Il Vittoriale degli Italiani

This is a estate where you can vistit the residence of Gabriele d’Annunzio (a writer), but there is also an amphitheater, a mausoleum, beautiful gardens and a army ship in the middle of the gardens.

I didn’t know the estate was that big. We walked around for 3 hours! I must say, I have never seen such a special garden in my life. It made me think about the Guel Park in Barcelona.

Watch my video!

 

europe, Italy

See the Tower of Pisa

So happy to tell you guys that I’ve seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa! It was one of the things on my bucket list (number 89).

One week ago I was on a road trip in Italy. One of our stops was Pisa. It was completely what I’ve expected. A small, very beautiful city. We arrived in the evening, were able to park our car in the ancient city (special permission is needed) and checked in in our B&B.

Couldn’t wait to see the tower. And guess what… it’s really leaning! Took one of those famous pictures where you touch the tower or try to push it back. Yes, I know its a cliché, but you haven’t been in Pisa if you don’t have a picture like this 😉

We had a nice meal (pizza of course) not far from tower. There is a street full of restaurants, you won’t be hungry here, the only thing you need to do is choose.

We booked our tickets to visit the tower in advance. I must say, it’s not cheap. 18 Euros per person, just to go up is a lot of money. But hey, you are only here once! Only 40 people can enter the tower at the same time, so buying your tickets via the internet is recommended.

Climbing the 279 stairs was a bit of a challenge because you really feel that the tower is leaning. At one side it’s easy to go up, on the other side you clearly feel it’s much steeper. The stairs are a little slippery, so don’t run up (in case you would be able to). The view from the top is beautiful. You have a view over the whole city and more important, over the cathedral. Our visit took about 40 minutes.

I am so happy I had the chance to see it! Just one thing, be prepared, you won’t be the only tourist or traveler in Pisa. There are really lots and lots of tourists here!

Watch my video!

europe, portugal

Top 10 Things to See in Sao Miguel, Azores

Sao Miguel is part of the Azores, a group of islands in the middle of the Atlantic. The Island covers around 760 km², and although the island is small, there are so many things to see. During the week I spent on the island, we visited many places. Here is my top 10 of things you should see!

10. Farol do Arnel

Farol do Arnel is the islands oldest lighthouse, situated in the north-east. The lighthouse itself isn’t very spectacular, but the surroundings are. To reach the lighthouse, you need to walk down a 35° steep road (please don’t try this with your car).

9. Tea Plantations

In the Azores you will find the only tea plantations in Europe. On Sao Miguel there are two factories : Cha Porto Formoso and Cha Gorreana. You can reach them by car. If you are an active tourist, and you like to hike, both factories are on a hiking trail. Walk the fields, visit the factories and enjoy a cup of European tea!

8. Hike Rota do Agua

The Azores are famous for the beautiful nature. This attracts a lot of hikers. The hiking trails are almost everywhere. One of my favorite hikes was the Rota do Agua – Janela do Inferno. It’s an easy circular route, 7.3 km long. On this trail you will see several tunnels and aqueducts that provide Lagoa from water.

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7. Furnas

Furnas is one of the most touristic places on the island. You can enjoy the caldeiras, swim in natural hot springs, visit a botanical garden, walk around the lake, eat typical food made in the warm temperatures of the caldeiras etc. Enough activities to be busy for a whole day!

6. Miradouro da Boca do Inferno

The postcard view of the Azores. From this viewpoint you have a look over the Lagoa das Sete Cidades. Follow the signs to Lagoa do Canario. You can park your car at the entrance, or take the entrance and drive for 5 more minutes. Once you are parked, paradise is only some minutes walking away.

5. Terra Nostra Gardens

This botanical garden is located in Furnas. It’s huge and well maintained. You can find plants and trees from all over the world. If you want to be sure you’ve seen everything, I would recommend to follow the trail. For those who like to swim, this is a good place!

4. Lagoa Do Congro

It’s not the most beautiful lake. So why is it on the 4th place of my ‘places you should see’?! It’s the whole experience. This lake is not touristic at all. When we arrived there we were the only people around. Enjoying the sounds of nature while hiking down for about 1 km, and all you see are trees, flowers etc. You only see the lake once it’s just in front of you, which is surprising. A must see location!

3.  Miradouro da Ponta do Sossego and Miradouro da Ponta da Madrugada

These two viewpoints took my breath away! They are situated on the north-east part of the island, very close to each other. The views are so beautiful and they both have a garden (one bigger than the other), the perfect place for a pick nick!

2. Whale Watching

Whale watching is a must when you are on the Azores. The islands are located on the migration route of the whales, but you can see whales the whole year around. There are some observation points on the island from where they communicate with the zodiacs at sea. That way they know where the dolphins or whales are.

1. Lagoa do Fogo

My number one (although it wasn’t easy to choose) is the Lagoa do Fogo. For me it was a mysterious place. Driving towards the lake is already an amazing experience. The views over the island are gorgeous. At one point you can see both sides of the island. Once you see the lake, you realize how big it is. You should be lucky because it can be foggy up there.

Hope this helped you planning your trip to Sao Miguel. Any other suggestions on things to see on Sao Miguel?

portugal

Things To Do On Sao Miguel,The Azores: A 7 Days Itinerary

Sao Miguel in the Azores is the biggest island, also known as the green island. There is so much to see, so planning a route, searching for information etc took me a lot of time. A good reason to share my itinerary with the world.

We were on the island from Monday till Monday (8 days/ 7 nights). Most tourists don’t stay that long. But if you really want to enjoy everything the island has to offer, one week is exactly the time you will need.

  • This itinerary assumes you have a car. In my opinion the easiest way to visit the island
  • You can follow this itinerary in a random order, depending on the weather conditions, you may need to change it.
  • We visited the island in April. I don’t know how it is during high season

Day 1

We started our stay on Sao Miguel in Ponta Delgada. It’s a nice place to walk around in the little streets and have a first impression on the architecture of the island.

We arrived around 4 PM and walked around during 2 hours. This is enough to enjoy the city.

Day 2

We used the second day to explore the west side of the island. If possible, choose a sunny, clear day.

First stop:  Lagoa das Empadadas. Early in the morning it was still foggy. When we arrived at the Lagoa we didn’t see a lot, but it had this mysterious feeling. We went to the Lagoa Rasa, which is a bit higher, but due to the fog, we saw nothing. Because of this, we decided not to go any higher to the Miradoudo do Pico Paul.

Second stop: Lagoa do Canario + Miradouro da Boca do Inferno. The views from the Miradouro da Boca do Inferno are stunning. It’s also the most famous picture from the Azores. It’s a place you can’t miss. We were lucky, because when we arrived there, the fog started to disappear. Yep, a lesson learned, in the Azores the weather changes all the time.

Third stop: Lagoa das Sete Cidades, better know as the twin lakes, a blue one and a green one. We already saw the lakes from the previous miradouro. To have a better view on it, you should stop at the Miradouro da Vista do Rei.

When you are there, don’t forget to walk around in the Monte Palace hotel. It’s a huge abandoned 5 star hotel. It’s kind of spooky to walk around there and the view from the rooftop is even more beautiful then the one from the Miradouro da Vista do Rei.

We ended the day in Mosteiros. It’s a small village with a beautiful black beach. Follow the signs to the natural pools. You can have a walk on the lava rocks and enjoy the view over the rocks in the sea!

TIPS

  • start the day early, so you have enough time to enjoy every place
  • you can drive until the Miradouro da Boca do Inferno, in case you don’t feel like walking. Follow the signs to Lagoa do Canario
  • if you like a beautiful sunset, Mosteiros is the place to be
  • costs: everything we did on day 2 was completely free

Day 3

We started our day at the Miradouro da Tromba do Elefante. If you use google maps to drive around, make sure you mention ‘miradouro’ and not only ‘tromba do elefante’ like we did. It leads you to the top of the rock, which is not accessible (or not anymore).

We made a stop at Ribeira Granda, to see the famous bridge. Also visit the church, you have a beautiful view over the area.

On our way to Porto Formoso, we made another stop at the Miradouro de Santa Iria. Another viewpoint with amazing views over the cliffs. It made me think of Ireland.

We arrived at Porto Formoso, the starting point of our first hike ( Cha Porto Formoso PRC 26 SMI). The trail takes you to the tea plantations of the Fabrica Porto Formoso. It’s not the easiest hike we did on the island, but it was definitely worth it. And for those who don’t feel like hiking, the ‘fabrica’ is accessible by car.

Our last stop for the day was at Furnas, where we also spend the night. We visited the ‘caldeiras’, located in the middle of the village.

TIPS

  • At the ‘fabrica cha Porto Formoso’ you have the possibility to visit the factory and you receive a tea for free. They also have a terrace with beautiful views over the plantations (you pay one euro for the tea if you want to drink it on the terrace)
  • If you are looking for a great place to eat, I would recommend Restaurante Caldeiras e Vulcoes in Furnas
  • Costs: everything we did on day 3 was completely free (except for the 1 euro we paid for the tea on the terrace).

Day 4

Furnas is a great place to base yourself in if you want to visit the east side of the island.

In the morning we wanted to hike the ‘Faial da Terra –  Salto do Prego PRC9SMI’. But it was raining so much, we decided not to. If you have the opportunity to hike this trail, take it, because it must be beautiful and as far as I know, there is no other access to the waterfall (yes, we searched for it).

The rain and the fog also prevented us to go to the second planned stop which was the Miradouro do Pico Bartolomeu. It didn’t make any sense to drive up there, because it was already difficult to see something from a lower point.

We were a bit afraid the weather would stay like this the whole day. But when we arrived at Miradouro da Ponta da Madrugada, the weather started to change. This Miradouro is in my top 3 of most beautiful viewpoints on Sao Miguel. The view is stunning and the small garden around it is also worth a visit. Take a look around and don’t be the average tourist, that looks around for 2 minutes, takes a picture and continues.

Speaking about my top 3 of most beautiful viewpoint, Miradoudo da Ponta do Sossego is also on it. This viewpoint is surrounded by a beautiful garden. If you are lucky, you have the whole place just for yourself.

A bit further north, we found the oldest lighthouse on the island, Farol do Arnel. The road down to the lighthouse is 35° steep, so don’t be a hero and go there on foot. The lighthouse itself didn’t really impress me, but the views are again (sorry, I am repeating myself) stunning! We even discovered a waterfall. The walk back up was a challenge, but I was happy I took the risk 😉

Our last stop of the day was at Parque Natural da Ribarida dos Caldeiroes. It’s a small park with two waterfalls (not sure if they are natural), a nice place to go for a walk next to the river. There is a nice place to eat a sandwich.

  • You can visit the lighthouse on wednesday
  • costs: everything we did on day 4 was (again) completely free

Day 5

We spent the fifth day at Furnas. We started the day with a swim in the natural hot springs Poca da Dona Beija. They have 4 pools with hot water (about 39°C). If it’s not too crowdy (which it wasn’t in the morning) you can enjoy the water in the middle of nature. They have showers, changing rooms and the possibility to hire a locker.

Just next to it is the Parque Terra Nostra, a beautiful botanical garden. You have the possibility to swim in the natural hot springs. When we were there we followed the trail that goes around the whole park. I would recommend doing the same, this way you are sure to see the whole park. It’s a must see when you are on Sao Miguel.

In the afternoon we headed direction Lagoa das Furnas to hike the trail (PRC6SMI). The trail normally starts in Furnas and takes about 3h. We decided to skip the part from town to the lake, and just walk around the lake. The walk is easy and the views on the lake are beautiful. During the walk you will see the Caldeiras da Lagoa in which locals prepare dishes in the high temperatures of the caldeiras.

  • visit Poca da Dona Beija in the morning, when it’s less crowdy
  • Costs:
    • Poca da Dona Beija 4 euro entrance
    • Parque Terra Nostra 6 euro entrance
    • Lagoa das Furnas 0.50 euro entrance for the Caldeiras and a parking fee

Day 6

We started day  6 at Lagoa do Congro. If you are looking for a quiet place, in the middle of nature and you don’t want to be disturbed by a lot of other tourists, this is where you should go. Just follow the signs, park your car and start the hike down to the Lagoa. The lake isn’t visible from a viewpoint, so if you want to see it, you will need to walk. It’s about 1 km on a very nice path, between the trees. Before you realize it, the lagoa is just in front of you. It’s not the biggest on the island, nor the most beautiful, but it’s so peaceful. We had the place just for us for about 30 minutes (when another family arrived)

From the Lagoa do Congro we went direction Vila Franca do Campo to visit the ‘Our Lady of Peace Chapel‘.  It’s a beautiful chapel with amazing views over Vila Franco do Campo and the small island in front of it. I must admit, it wasn’t the easiest place to find. GPS/Google maps couldn’t find the exact location and it’s not indicated in the streets of the village.

Next on the list was the Lagoa do Fogo or Lake of Fire. The road to this lake is without a doubt Sao Miguels most scenic drive. At a certain point it’s possible to see both sides of the island.20170422_121750

The views from the miradouro over this lake are breathtaking. You have the possibility to walk down to the shores of the lake. Just sit down, enjoy the view and relax!

I won’t write a lot about our next stop: Caldeira Velha. If you feel like taking a bath with 20 other people, you should go there. It was small and too crowded.

We ended the day at the Tabaco da Maia Museum, where we were more than welcome. It’s a former plantation, where they produced their own brand of cigarettes. Worth a visit if you are around.

  • Visit the Lagoa do Congro as early as possible, you will see, it’s worth it
  • If you want to enjoy the natural hot springs, I would recommend the ones in Furnas instead of Caldeira Velha
  • The Tabaco da Maia Musuem is closed at 4PM

Day 7

Bucket list check day!!! We booked a trip with Futurismo for whale and dolphin watching in the morning. The Azores are famous for whale watching, since the islands are located on the migration route. Our tour included a 3h tour on the sea (where else) on a zodiac. We saw a blue whale!!

In the afternoon we hiked the Rota da Agua –  Janela do Inferno trail.  The trail is a little longer than 7 km and pretty easy to walk. The trail has several tunnels and aqueducts that were used to supply the former Alcohol Factory.

  • costs: 55 euro for the whale watching tour, book the tour in advance
Geen categorie

The Regent Chaam Beach Resort

We ended our 2 weeks trip in Thailand in The Regent Chaam Beach Resort. We stayed 2 nights.

Location

This hotel is located between Cha-am and Hua Hin. Just next to the beach and the Gulf of Thailand. If you leave the hotel and go left, you will arrive in a little village. There are some restaurants and bars, a 7/11 (supermarket) and a lot of spa’s where you can enjoy a massage. Personally I think Hua Hin is a little bit too far, you can’t get there on your own. To go there you can either take a taxi (negotiate the price and the hour you want to go back) or you can take the hotel shuttle bus (this is not free, and there are fixed hours).  Ask more information about the night market in Hua Hin at the front desk.

Rooms

There are different kind of rooms in this hotel. We stayed in a Superior Room in the Main Wing. The rooms are spacious and well decorated. Big beds and a choice between different pillows. Every room has a private terrace with sea or garden view. There is a fridge in every room but it’s empty. The hotel states that customers prefer to buy their own drinks.

Breakfast

Breakfast was very good here. There was a lot of choice. Different kind of fresh juices, fruits, typical Thai food but also European. They serve coffee or tea at the table. You can sit inside or outside on the terrace with pool view.

Leisure

The hotel is surrounded by a beautiful garden and you can see the beach and the sea from the swimming pools. There are two swimming pools, both at another side of the hotel. There is enough space around the pools for everyone, towels are available.

The hotel has an own massage center. I didn’t try it because the massages in the village were much cheaper.

There is a fitness center, where we just took a look. It seemed good, but didn’t try it out.

The map of the hotel shows two restaurants. There was only one open, the other one was under construction. We had breakfast and dinner in this restaurant. We enjoyed the food and the people were very nice. They even came with insect repellent because they didn’t want me to be ‘eaten’ by mosquitoes. There is also a bar close to the lobby where you can have a nice coffee with cake.

As I mentioned before, the fridge in the room is empty. The hotel has it’s own supermarket. Prices are high, if you go to the little village next to the hotel, you can buy food/drinks there.

At the supermarket there is also a possibility to rent bikes (30 bath/h). It’s not possible to go very far, except if you want to ride on a kind of highway.