Gezocht: huurder

Even nog wat reclame voor onszelf maken.

Wanneer we er binnenkort op uit trekken, zoeken we nog één of meerdere lieftallige huurders voor ons bemeubeld appartement. Een gezellig appartement van ongeveer 95m² gelegen in het Leuvense (op wandelafstand van het station). Periode: zes maanden vanaf najaar 2017 t.e.m. voorjaar 2018.

Inclusief: Slaapkamer met ruim bed, 2e grote kamer met dressing en deur naar de tuin. Ruime living met keuken. Gang met crosstrainer, kelderruimte (met wasmachine), ruim park voor de deur en parkeermogelijkheden.

En we kunnen het niet blijven herhalen: Inclusief Domino’s Gold Card (25% korting)!

Voor foto’s en meer informatie: laat gerust iets weten via de reacties of stuur een mail (envelopje bovenaan). Het zou fantastisch zijn, moesten we via deze weg een oplossing kunnen vinden.

Sharing is caring. Alvast bedankt! Etentje voor degene die ons een huurder vindt of degene die onze huurder wil worden.

Once in a lifetime.

Nog een kleine zes maanden en dan is het zover. Al jaren spreken/dromen we over de ‘wereldreis’ die we willen maken. Een wereldreis die eigenlijk geen wereldreis is omdat er maar twee werelddelen op het programma staan: Australië en Azië. Als het een beetje meezit dan doen we in deze volgorde volgende landen aan: Singapore, Australië, Indonesië, Maleisië, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodja en we hopen af te sluiten in Taiwan.

Route

We verlaten onze comfort zone van het gepland reizen en vertrekken met een idee en een route, de rest wordt ter plaatse uitgezocht. Compleet omgekeerd met hoe het er nu aan toe gaat.

Auf Wiedersehen Goodbye vergezelt ons op onze trip. Vanaf nu in het Nederlands (toegegeven, dat is toch net dat ietsje gemakkelijker en ons doelpubliek is nogal Nederlandstalig) en met mezelf als extra – poging tot – schrijver. Regelmatige updates houden je op de hoogte van onze wilde avonturen! Berichten worden traditiegetrouw opgefleurd met foto’s via Instagram.

PS: we zijn ook nog op zoek naar iemand die ons appartement 6 à 7 maanden wil huren. Bemeubeld, op een goede – rustige locatie – vlakbij het station van Leuven en inclusief een Domino’s Gold Card (Goedkope Pizza’s!). Spread the word!

4 things to do in Glacier NP, USA

In July 2016 we made an epic roadtrip arriving in Jackson Hole (near Grand Teton) driving all the way op to Jasper in the Canadian Rockies.

One park we saw too little of was Glacier NP: we just had too little time. Which is a real pity, because the park stole our heart away.

We splurged and stayed at the Glacier Park Lodge: a unique hotel in its own. It looks like an oversized wooden cabin and is located east of the national park. We had a real nice stay here, although the rooms were a bit old.

But let’s get down to business: our top 4 things to do in Glacier NP, USA. 

  1. Going-to-the-Sun-Road: you’ve probably seen this one in your guidebook. And rightfully so. It certainly was the most breath-taking road we drove in the USA. Vertiginous drop-offs on one side, waterfalls right next to you on your other side. The glacial water melts, creating beautiful little waterfalls right where you’re driving. This also means wildlife comes to drink here (or lick the asphalt) so two perks for the price of one.
  2. Two Medicine Lake: It seems tourist haven’t yet discovered Two Medicine Valley. Or rather: they have forgotten about it. Once a popular entrance point to the park, now a quiet colourful lake. We hiked from Two Medicine Lake up to Upper Two Medicine Lake: a beautiful and peaceful hike. But remember: you’re in bear country so don’t make it too peaceful and make enough noise.
  3. Lake McDonald: This huge lake can be accessed on some stops on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, yet not many seem to have discovered this. Which means we had the lake almost to ourselves. It’s ideal for a picnic or paddling in the water.
  4. Wildlife spotting: It’s often said Two Medicine Valley is the way to go if you want to see the wildlife. We didn’t see any on our hike, but we did come across a grizzly bear on our hike to Sunpoint. Make sure you know what to do when you encounter a bear during your hike. We were lucky the bear didn’t see us (or just wasn’t interested) and it started walking away. FYI: Sunpoint is a touristy area, so don’t think you can only encounter wildlife during remote hikes.

What did we miss?

Due to lack of time we didn’t get to see Iceberg Lake in Many Glacier Valley. It took us some time to decide wether we’d go to Two Medicine Lake or Iceberg Lake. We choose Two Medicine Lake because of the peace and quiet. We hiked all the way up to Upper Two Medicine Lake, but you can also take a boat (enquire for tickets during high season) cutting your time in half. That way you can have more time in the park (but you get to ‘feel’ it less).

If you’re planning on going to Iceberg Lake do allow enough time (about 5-6 hours).

We also skipped the neighbouring Waterton Lakes (Canada). Apparently the Carthew-Alderson Trail is really worth visiting in Waterton.

 

AFCC Upper Two Medicine

Upper Two Medicine Lake

AFEEEEE Going to the Sun Road

Going-to-the-Sun-Road

One day in Nikko

Nikko is a World Heritage Site near Tokyo. You can easily access Nikko by train from Tokyo. We decided to stay overnight in this charming little village in the evenly charming Nikko Turtle Inn.

Even though there are lots of sacred (and silent) places in Tokyo we were immediately drawn to the atmosphere in Nikko. While Japan’s capital is bubbling, alive and filled with salarymen this small town was a lot less sparkling albeit filled with tourists.

You won’t find a lively night scene in Nikko: most restaurants close early and only two grocery stores are open late. A welcome pause from hectic Tokyo.

We first visitied the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Nikko including Tosho-gu and Rinno-ji. Rinno-ji temple was under construction while we visited and we must say that we were rather impressed by how these national monuments are being reconstructed. First they build some kind of warehouse around the temple. After building this factory-style warehouse restoration can start. Needless to say renovation works can last quite a while: Rinno-ji temple reconstruction will finish in 2020.


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Rinno-ji temple – reconstruction will finish in 2020


After visiting the restoration site we headed to Tosho-gu. It was extremely crowded at this site. It soon became clear some sort of event was taking place. People were lining up on the steps of Tosho-gu. We did as the locals did and lined up next to them. After a twenty minute wait a ceremony took place and we were happy to spot sumo wrestlers climbing the stairs in their traditional garnements.


Sumo

Sumo wrestlers in Nikko, near Tosho-gu


Tournament season ended before we arrived in Japan, so we didn’t see an actual match. We did see a traditional ceremony: the wrestlers were honoured by LOTS of men in suits.

After the ceremony we entered the temple. Truly beautiful, beautiful detail on the buildings and gates.


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Tosho-gu World Heritage Site


The sites are open to 4.30 PM (during high season). At noon the crowds were deafening. From 3.30 PM onwards the site was almost empty and so quiet it became eerie. Sun was setting, we seemed to be the only tourists in this ancient complex. If you’re visiting the complex: please stay ’till closing time to experience some sort of quiet you just can’t grasp when the tour buses are still parked nearby.

We watched the sun set over Shinkyo bridge.


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Shinkyo bridge in Nikko, Japan


Before leaving Nikko we hiked to the Kanman-ga-Fuchi Abyss. Despite the grandeur of the Nikko temples this will be the one thing I’ll always remember. On one side: the abyss. On the other side: one row of beautifully dressed buddha statues. On the road: two identically dressed Japanese youngster recording a dance video. Too mesmerized: we didn’t take any pictures of them nor did we film them. But whoa! What a sight. The scenery, the dance moves: perfect. Don’t fear though: even without dancers the scenery is astounding.


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Kanman-ga-Fuchi Abyss in Nikko, Japan


5 days in Tokyo

5 Days in Tokyo

In October we spent five days in Tokyo. I already told you about how I fell in love with Japan on the first day; now let me tell you the rest of our love story.

Let me introduce my Tokyo top tourist activities

Tsujiki Fish Market

I have a dual relationship with Tsujiki Fish Market. According to our Lonely Planet guide, Tripadvisor and other tourist reviews this place is a must-see. True. They also suggest visiting the tuna auction. That one appeared to be a big mistake.

The first time we went to Tsujiki Fish Market we got up at 2 A.M. (yes, at two o’clock in the MORNING). We hauled a cab and arrived at the site at approximately 3.30 A.M. With great ambition we walked toward the Fish Information Centre where you need to apply for the auction. Sadly, a guard told us the auction was sold out: ‘Sold out, come back tomorrow, 3 P.M.’

Sooo… the next day we got up at 1 A.M., grabbed a cab and arrived at about 2 A.M. Great news: we were the fourth and fifth to join the queue. After waiting for about another 3 and a half hours we got to see the tuna auction at 5.45 A.M.

So on a beautiful October morning I found myself looking at dead endangered fish and felt kind of sorry (and maybe also a bit guilty). This guilt trip only intensified when the majority of people in our group started taking selfies. With the dead tuna. To this day I still wonder about how many households have framed photographs of family members and dead tuna.

Luckily the sushi breakfast was awesome.


Selfies at tsujiki fish market

Selfies at Tsujiki Fish Market – tuna auction


Sushi Breakfast

Sushi breakfast near Tsujiki Fish Market


Kabuki

Let me be brief about this one: get food and drinks before attending a kabuki performance. Yes, every written guide recommends getting food, every reviewer tells you so… so listen! Don’t be as stupid as we were and grab yourself some food and drinks and bring them into the theatre. All the Japanese do it; only tourists seem to starve themselves to death during a four hour kabuki performance.

We watched kabuki in the Kabuki-za Theatre and rented an English audio guide. This theatre is highly recommended: friendly staff, great performances and a pretty good English translation.

A kabuki play lasts for about three-four hours. You can also opt for just one act, this will keep you entertained for about an hour.


Kabuki-za Theatre

Kabuki-za Theatre


Kabuki Dance featuring Bando Kotji with live music at Japan Society

Nishizaki Sakurako and Bando Kotji in “Yoshino Mountain”. Photo from Tokyo Times


Robot Restaurant

Only tourists here: best guilty pleasure I’ve ever had. We grabbed some food before heading to this joint since their food reviews appeared to be quite horrible. The show however was everything you can expect: weird robots dancing to weird music.

Afterwards you can dive into Shinjuku neighbourhood; nightlife is supposed to be great here. I shouldn’t know though since I was too busy trying to get into some tuna auction.


Robot Restaurant

Robot Restaurant


Meiji-Jingu

This is where I fell in love with Japan: beautiful traditional temple in the heart of one of the world’s biggest cities. We saw several traditional wedding processions and were absolutely in awe.


Traditional wedding at Meiji-Jingu

Traditional wedding at Meiji-Jingu


Senso-ji

Another place of worship and tradition in the big city. We watched a traditional procession of musicians. Or at least we thinks this is what we saw. We only just arrived in Japan and were too pussy to ask. There was also a priest involved if I’m not mistaken. Anyone who can give further detail on what his happening in the pic below: please enlighten me in the comment section of this blog.


Traditional musicians near Senso-ji

Traditional musicians near Senso-ji


Tokyo Sky Tree

The walk towards Tokyo Sky Tree was truly movie-esque. We walked on an empty street, straight to the tower. Before entering the Sky Tree we decided to eat at an icecream parlour. Just a normal activity, made slightly less normal when the personnel started singing a song to us. One song for each icecream ordered. Just a normal day in Japan.


View from Tokyo Sky Tree

View from Tokyo Sky Tree


Shibuya Crossing

Must see. I still wonder why this can work in Japan, but when shopping on Regent Street in London people keep walking into each other. I truly still wonder.


Shibuya Crossing

Shibuya Crossing


Ghibli Museum

I love Studio Ghibli movies and visiting the museum was one of my highlights. Walking into the museum is like walking into a Ghibli movie. The museum has a movie theatre playing different short movies. A must if you’re a Ghibli fan. Book in advance. WAAAAY in advance.


Ghibli Museum

Ghibli Museum


Mt Fuji

I opened with a love/hate relation and I end this list with one. Mt Fuji: so beautiful on all those postcards. The icon of a nation. I guess we made the mistake of joining a tourist tour that just wasn’t quite to our taste.

We arrived at Mt Fuji 5th station and looked at the mountain. Let me tell you a basic fact: the iconic mountain doesn’t always have snow on top. This seems logical, this IS logical, but before arriving I seemed to have forgotten about basic scientific principles. So yes, I truly was disappointed when the mountain was as brown as… well, you get the picture. What annoyed me even more were the busloads of tourists. You couldn’t walk 5 feet without running into someone.

Our tour continued to Mt Fuji 5 lakes. Whoa, things got even more out of hand. You couldn’t walk 3 feet without running into someone.

Don’t get me wrong: the lakes were gorgeous and apparently everyone had found out about this. We ended the day taking a look at the truly beautiful Shiraito Falls.


Red bean cakes - Fuji 5 Lakes

Red bean cakes – Fuji 5 Lakes


Mt Fuji

Mt Fuji – wooden prayer plaques

Why I fell in love with Japan

Why I Love Japan

Let me tell you the story about how I fell in love with Japan… twice.

I first fell in love with this Asian nation when I was about thirteen years old. As a teenager I was quite the movie buff. I had only one goal: watch the entire 250 IMDB top rated movies (spoiler alert: I failed). So on a seemingly ordinary day I rented Spirited Away and fell head over heels in love. Only years later I would discover that director Miyazaki had been inspired by Taiwan. I loved the story, the characters, the magic and the stunning visual landscapes I had never encountered before.


Spirited Away movie still

Still from Spirited Away


After watching a sh*tload of other Ghibli films I made a promise to myself: One day I would travel to Japan and live my own Ghibli movie.

The second time I fell in love with Japan was October 2015. After waiting for about fourteen years I finally made it to my dream destination. I would lie if I told you I immediately fell in love with the country. Narita airport was like any other airport, maybe even a bit outdated. I still don’t know what I expected of my first touchdown on Japanese soil but is was just… normal.

I did fall in love on my first day there though. I remember being grouchy and giving my boyfriend a really hard time after landing in Tokyo. After the twelve hour flight I only wanted to shower, shower and probably shower some more. This is one of my worst character traits: I always want/need to shower. Since our hotel room wasn’t yet ready we waited in a nearby restaurant (which disappointingly only served ‘western’ food). My mood grew darker and darker until our room was ready and my beloved bathroom awaited.

And then it happened: still not feeling 100% happy we went on to explore Tokyo. Our first stop: Meiji-Jingu. At Tokyo’s largest shinto shrine I forgot all my worries, all my first world problems, all my nagging and fell in love. Fell in love with this acient place in the midst of a modern metropolis.


Meiji Jingu Shinto Shrine

Wooden prayer plaques at Meiji Jingu


Traditional wedding Meiji Jingu

Traditional wedding at Meiji Jingu


During the next weeks I will highlight all the different places we went and why they were so great. I believe many people have a certain image of Japan that doesn’t necessarily reflect the true nature of the country. Japan isn’t only about big cities and weird KitKat. It has stunning mountain ranges, beautiful temples and hot water springs other countries can only dream about.

Up next: All things Tokyo.


Shibuya crossing

Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo


Top places to find street art in London

One of my favourite things to do (and see) in London is its street art. London has amazing street artists and a great artistic vibe. If you’re looking for a great experience and you want to go off the beaten track, make sure to include street art in your London schedule.

We took two great street art tours in London:

  • London Alternative Tour: We took the walking tour (in English) and had a great guide. The tour lasted about two hours and took us to all the highlights.
  • London Street Art Tour: We also opted for the English walking tour. This tour ended after about four hours (including a lunch break). The pace was a bit slower, we saw all the same highlights as in the London Alternative Tour and some other streets we hadn’t visited yet.

Both tours are a great option, depending on how much time you have to spare.

Not into tours? All tours booked up? Want to explore on your own?

Although we had so much fun during our tours, we saw the most amazing things when we went to explore to city on our own. Are you planning a visit to London? Visit Shoreditch / Hackney Wick to make the most of your visit. Make sure these streets are on your list:

  • Brick Lane
  • Redchurch Street
  • Hackney Road
  • Fashion Street
  • Rivington Street

Want to get to know some of the most famous street artists you can spot in London? Here are some of my favs:

  • ROA: Belgium’s first, graffiti artist from Ghent. Can be spotted in Hanbury Street, Chance street,…
  • Mobstr: Always funny or thoughtful. Can be spotted in Hanbury Street, Tabernacle street,…
  • Ben Wilson: Genius who turns chewing gum into little pieces of art. Can be spotted on Millenium Bridge and throughout London.
  • C215: France’s answer to Bansky. Can be spotted in Brick Lane, Blackall Street,…
  • CityZen Kane: 3D pieces which can be spotted in Brick Lane, Redchurch Street,…
  • Eine: His iconic font can be found in Middlesex Street, Old Street,…
  • Jimmy C: Make sure to spot his iconic pieces in Whitby Street.
  • Obey: Nowadays known as a clothing designer but also a great street artist. Can be spotted in Batemans Row.
  • Borondo: True art. Can be found alongside Regent’s Canal.
  • Phlegm: So pretty. Can be found in Rivington Street.
  • Pure Evil: Can be found throughout London and has his own gallery in Leonard Street.
  • Space Invaders: 80s back, in Brick Lane, City Road,…
  • Stik: KISS, Whitecross Street, Redchurch Street,…
  • and lots more

If you want to spot a Banksy, you can track his work on Google Maps. It tells you in which condition his street art is. Some of his work is preserved behind plexi glass, such as two pieces in a beer garden in Rivington Street. Always a save shot.

Interested in free (street) art galleries?