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.

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Cute furry creatures in the Alps eh?

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.

Hubby sweetly calls me a marmot.  For one, I like warm and sunny weather.  Perhaps for him I’m cuter and nicer than usual in summertime, no?

But above it all, my husband actually envies me for being able to sleep so easy and quick (only except on my exceptional night owl moments).  Regardless of where I would sleep at, I can always find a way to snooze comfortably.  Sometimes, I can sleep pretty long too.

Winter is “bed” weather – that’s how I’d call it.  If I have a choice, I’d rather stay warm inside and sleep my days off all throughout the winter.  Just like the marmots.

Would it come as a surprise then that I hibernated here for quite a long while, as the passing days were getting colder here?  I’d blame the winter season.

A marmotje as I am and as spring is getting near, I’m now gradually waking up from deep slumber; so is my yearning to blog – it’s back again!

Actually, a lot of things happened for us this year.  Mostly good things, yet even more, big changes for us – the move from Switzerland to Belgium, getting myself integrated into my new ‘Belgian’ way of life, striving to learn another language that’s called Flemish (or Dutch), getting ourselves back in the work-life grind, spending a lot of time with family and friends, turning our plans of settling in as a family here in Belgium into a reality…

We find it interesting how these events are conveniently falling into place.  And if you ask me, I’m also feeling cozier at home in Belgium now.  It seems to be that we’re meant to stay here for a long time.

So, yeah, 2015 actually marks the year for me to truly discover Belgium.  I’m no longer visiting; I’m finally living here! Yet of course, we wouldn’t skip a chance to explore other places outside my newfound home, too.

Perpie in Pinas 2015

#PerpieinPinas 2015 snapshots

A photo posted by Perpie (@coffeechatwithperpie) on

Mahal and I visited Sablayan province in Mindoro island, my father’s hometown.  Days before we left, we stayed at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.

At this trip, I was able to capture images of a rustic, rural life juxtaposed with scenes of an ever-bustling, skyscrapers-filled city in the Philippines. Every place has its own charm, and as always, it’s another closer peek through the Filipino culture and traditions I grew up with.

ALSO READ HERE: Photo Diary – Perpie in Pinas 2015

More of Belgium: the Belgian Seacoast and the Ardennes

Outside the cities, there are actually two main vacation points in Belgium.  There’s the 70-kilometer long stretch of sandy Belgian coastline.  The other is the region of extensive forests, rough terrain, rolling hills and ridges at the Ardennes mountain range.

ALSO READ HERE: In Photos – Easter Holiday at Oostduinkerke-Koksijde

We visited Oostduinkerke-Koksijde last April and July and enjoyed the beach, the sand dunes and the views – sailboats, seagulls and all.  Luckily I was able to witness horseback shrimp fishing in a grey early morning, thanks to the dedicated people of Oostduinkerke who have kept it alive.  In 2013, UNESCO declared this 500-year old tradition as intangible cultural heritage.

Over the summer, I had my first taste of the Ardennes, having spent quality time with family in a cozy Wallonian-styled chalet in the middle of the forest in Ondenval. Then this time with friends in November, we got back not only to the Ardennes per se, but particularly also Durbuy.

Dutch Up at The Netherlands

My trip to Amsterdam around four years ago wasn’t been enough for me, so revisiting the city again (plus other nearby places) was a chance to dig deeper and see what The Netherlands truly has.

ALSO READ HERE: Our Labor Holiday in Holland

Becoming Dutchies for a weekend! Harhar #weekenders @Amsterdam #northsea #thenetherlands #travel #wanderlust

A photo posted by Perpie (@coffeechatwithperpie) on

It was a perfect spring season when we visited The Netherlands – their colorful tulips are standing ever proud and growing abundantly all around!  

We first visited Castricum that is known for its tranquility, space and beautiful nature, as it is also part of the North Holland Dune Reserves.

The next day, we revisited Amsterdam. I have longed for visiting Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh museum, but it was so hectic on that day that we called it off, and instead we spent our time wandering around small streets and along the canals.

In our last day, we went to see a windmill museum and Volendam.  These two are very popular tourist destinations as these really speak all about the Dutch.  Even more an up-close and personal experience is donning on the traditional Dutch costumes!  I didn’t spare my reluctant husband from doing it; though he still gave in, just for me to have fun over it.  Aaawww moment, of course.

Summer Holiday 2015: Germany, Slovakia and Austria

Our feet must have been missing something after we left Switzerland that the mountain goats in us are calling the Alps back. We then decided to explore Austria for our holiday.

But before reaching our summer destination, we stayed in Frankfurt for a couple of days, since hubby still had some work to do over there.

Then off we stopped by at Linz, which got known as Hitler’s “home town.” He wanted this city to become the main cultural center of the Third Reich. Linz is also an interesting touchpoint to see the Blue Danube, also known as the Donau river, which is the longest river in the European Union region.

austria2015

We stayed a couple of days in Vienna, the stunning capital of Austria. I personally enjoyed walking around the Viennese streets, as we discovered impressive landmarks, richly divine Austrian coffee, interesting artsies, non-stop potatoes, sausages and schnitzels, and some surprising finds.

austria2015

We also crossed from Austria to Slovakia and spent the day going around the old town of Bratislava.

Then we went on to happily stuck ourselves for few more days in the Austrian Alps, staying along the lakeside in Weissensee and later waking up in Bad Hofgastein.  We crossed over the Grossglochner High Alpine Road and hiked our way down from the Alpine mountain.

We finished off our Austrian trip with a 2-night stay in Salzburg.

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So…What’s up for On the Go in 2016?

I will still try my very best to blog more about my travels in a more timely manner, and catch up on other travel stories that have been queued up on my list for a long time.

Our travel plan is a bit more definite for this year and that includes: visiting a few more places in Belgium, weekend stays in the beach coast and in the port city of The Netherlands, a city tour in Hungary, summer holiday in France with quick stopover in Luxembourg, and possibly (crossing my fingers), a vacation in the Philippines once more.

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