On the Go in 2015: At Home and A Bit Away Too

“Marmotjes!”

My husband and I just visited their museum somewhere at the mountain top in Grossglochner.   I had already expected that I’d only see these creatures on screen or at their “most preserved” forms.

“Turn around. Look!” hubby was calling me out in a forcibly hush tone, so as not to scare them and run away.

We stopped walking, and I couldn’t believe what I saw.

“For real, I’m finally meeting my furry kinds at last!” I jokingly reacted.

Marmots are large squirrels living in mountainous areas such as the Alps.  These fluffy animals typically live in burrows and often within rock piles, and hibernate there through the winter.  Most marmots are highly social and use loud whistles to communicate with one another. Read more

10 Things to Do in Ghent

A few weeks after we visited the Belgian coast, off we went to visit another city in Belgium that is dubbed as one of the beautiful cities in Europe.  Actually, Lonely Planet even ranked it amongst the top ten cities in the world in 2011.

Interestingly I came to know about Ghent when my brother shared this article listing down these underrated, must-see cities in Europe. From it, he even picked this city to start off our chat.

“So many places (in Europe) to visit, so little time!”  That was all I could ever say to him at that moment.

Yet lo and behold, I found myself in Ghent!

True enough, Ghent is a cosy little city that is fascinatingly complementing its rich historic beauty with young and cosmopolitan vibe.  It is considerably one of the richest and most powerful cities in Europe during the middle ages.  Such rich past can be clearly seen on its canal-side architecture that has been restored and continuously well-taken cared of. Read more

In Photos: Easter Holiday at Oostduinkerke-Koksijde

“Oost-den…something!”

I scribbled out of my head the name I was trying to remember, but the word would start trailing away that I couldn’t say it anymore. Since I now live in another country that speaks a different language with mine, any newcomer like me would get tongue-tied.  So, pardon my Dutch.

As the Easter holiday was drawing near, everyone’s been asking on each other’s plans. I eventually kept my reply rather quick and simple, “We’re heading to the Belgian coast!” Then I’d cross my fingers, hoping they wouldn’t ask me more, as to where exactly we’re going to stay.

The Beachside of Belgium

Fifteen resorts in total in a 70-kilometer long stretch, that’s what the sandy Belgian coastline has in store for its visitors like us. Apparently our stay in Oostduinkerke-Koksijde means that I was just getting a slice of this vast beachside in Belgium. Read more

Lest We Forget in Flanders Fields

War is the least beautiful sight, yet the intricacies of such atrocities and the magnanimous impact that this imparted in the lives of people at that time until today can be overwhelmingly heartrending and at the same time, indescribably compelling.

2014 is the year that marks the first hundred years after the first Great War in Europe began. We came to visit Belgium again at springtime and we put Ypres as a priority on our itinerary. More officially called as Ieper, Ypres is actually the Belgian town where the most intense and sustained battles between German and Allied Forces occurred.

Ypres was a flourishing city in the middle ages because of its important role in the Flemish textile industry and particularly its strong linen and wool trade with England (it was even mentioned in The Canterbury Tales). The magnificent Cloth Hall, built in the thirteenth century, is the obvious symbol of the city’s prosperity, where trade and merchants from all over came here to buy and sell their cloth and other goods. Read more

Traditional European Christmas Market Scenes

Visiting traditional Christmas markets is one of the fascinating things to do in Europe during the Christmas holidays. Compared to the holiday shopping experience back home in the Philippines, here it can be less busy and crazy. Actually expect a bit more of rustic feel, as wooden houses line up beautifully along the streets that are selling unique goodies, which are quite ideal as Christmas gifts. Some even offer fresh and warm, traditional winter delicacies that entice visitors to stay despite the almost freezing temperature outside the streets.

All throughout December last year, my husband and I went out for a few road trips, passing by Christmas street markets on every town in every country we visit, hoping I can discover how unique one Christmas market is over the other. We visited the Christmas markets in Luzerne and Montreux in Switzerland, Bregenz in Austria, Vaduz in Liechtenstein and Brussels in Belgium. Read more