Yekaterinburg and Krasnoyarsk

In the evening of the 17th of August we boarded the train for our very first long distance ride on the transsiberian railway: 28 hours from Moscow to Yekaterinburg! To say we were pleasantly surprised is an understatement…the train was modern, clean and just way better than expected. (Although a fellow Russian passenger warned us that this was the most luxurious train he had ever been on.. ;))


After a good night sleep (hooray!) and a day full of reading/sleeping/playing games we arrived in Yekaterinburg around 8 pm. Unfortunately our hotel was overbooked, so we had to settle for a hostel with a very, very dirty shower…grr. But anyway: the next morning the sun was shining, it was 30 degrees celsius and we were looking foward to spending our day discovering Yekaterinburg! :)



(Apparently playing a game of cards (10 phase, not poker) in a pub is forbidden, so we had to move to a closed vip room:D)

We came to Yekaterinburg to learn a bit more about the Romanovs and Russia’s fascinating history, so we booked a little tour for our second day. We had the most amazing guide, a historian called Konstantin, who told us everything we wanted to know and more! We first made a stop at the Europ-Asia border (where newlyweds come for goodluck, hence next to the official monument there is a wall of Champagne as well ;)), then went to the two burial sites of the last tsar and his family and servants (the Romanovs) and finished by visiting the newly opened Yeltsin museum (highly recommended!). A very very interesting day!




That evening it was time for our next (even longer) train ride to Krasnoyarsk. 32 hours of eating, sleeping, reading, playing games and of course enjoying the Siberian landscape :)



After a much needed freshening up in our hotel in Krasoyarsk (a grey concrete building which looks like an African Safari lodge on the inside ;)) we headed to Stolby National Park for a 5 hour hike. Felt great to be outdoors after 32 hours on the train!


In a few hours we take anothe train (only 17 hours :)) to Irkutsk near lake Baikal. Very much looking foward to spending a few days near the water!

P.s. Sorry for the long post.. :D

Amazing Moscow

On Friday we took a high speed train from St Petersburg and a short 4 hours later we arrived at Leningratski trainstation in Moscow. 

5 minutes later we were already in awe by Moscows underground metro: beautiful, clean, efficient and did I say beautiful? We’ve seen a lot more stations over the last few days and one is even more spectacular than the other (I constantly feel like I’ve entered the Ministry of Magic…just to give my fellow HP fans an idea of what it looks like ;))


Other highlights of our days in Moscow: the impressive Kremlin and Red Square (make sure you see them by night as well!), our dinner date at artsy Red October (old factory turned into a creative space with galleries, cafes and little shops), the ballet (Romeo and Juliet this time :)) and playing jeu de boule in Gorky park (we spent an entire day there…great escape from the city!).








Warsaw, Riga and St. Petersburg

On the 6th of August, after months of planning, booking and dreaming, it was time for our three month trip to Russia, Mongolia, China and Indonesia! 

First stop: a two day stay with friends in Warsaw. It was so great to see them again (they left Dubai two years ago), catch up, meet their sweet little girl and in the meantime visit the beautiful city of Warsaw.  Perfect start of our trip! (Accidentally deleted my photos of Warsaw…these are phonepics and one photo that somehow survived ;))


After a short 1,5 hour flight, we arrived in Riga on Monday for a 6 hour stopover. Just enough time to have lunch and do a little exploring :). Luckily the centre of Riga is pretty compact, so we managed to see quite a lot in just a few hours (and take a lot of photos ;)).


At 7 pm it was time for our next flight to St. Petersburg! First thing we did when we arrived in Mother Russia? Order a big mac…oops ;) Anyway: after we got ripped off by our taxi driver we arrived in our tiny appartment and fell asleep right away. 

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were all about exploring big, beautiful, hip St. Petersburg. Highlights: the Hermitage (of course), the Church of the Savior on Spilled blood, the cute little coffeeshops (Candies!), the ballet (Swanlake!) and just the overall ‘imperial’ look and feel of the city. We absolutely loved our time in St. Petersburg and would recommend it to anyone!




3 days in Barcelona

About a month ago we surprised one of our friends (who turned 30) with a trip to Barcelona. Best. Idea. Ever. (especially when summer in Holland/Belgium is letting you down) :)

I didn’t want to bring my heavy DLSR camera (because you know, hand luggage), so instead I opted for one of those old fashioned disposable cameras. I had to wait three weeks to see the results, but it was totally worth it! So here we go: three amigas, three days, one disposable camera:

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A weekend on Texel

Last weekend we stayed with my parents in law (and their dog! :)) on he Island Texel, just off the coast of the Netherlands. I’d been there once as a kid and it was great to be back! Unfortunately the weather wasn’t as great as we’d hoped (Summer, where are you!?), but no complaints: Texel is is beautiful, even during cloudy windy days! Especially when you have a puppy to play with… :)

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3 days in Luxembourg

Another long weekend another trip! This time we wanted to do some hiking and since Luxembourg is just 2,5 hours away we decided it was worth a try. (And we were right…obviously ;))

On day one we drove to Vianden: a beautiful castle surrounded by green hills and a lovely little city. The castle itself was beautiful (and we are quite the critics ever since we visited a few gorgeous castles in Great Britain) and we spent a good couple of hours up there..after which we walked up one of the hills and went down with a cable car to the village, where we spent the rest of the day walking around.

Day two was all about Luxembourg city. I guess what I loved most about the city is just how green it is and how many beautiful viewpoints there are because of the different levels..We spent most of our time in Barrio Alto (lower part of Luxembourg) and in the afternoon Frank had arranged an amazing lunch at bistro Podenco (go there! Best tapas outside of Spain!).

On day three we did a 12km hike in Mullerthal, about 45 from Luxembourg City. This part of the country is referred to as Little Switzerland and when you see the photos below, you’ll know why!

2,5 days in the Champagne Region

This past weekend, we (and everyone else in Belgium) had four days off due to a national holiday. And we could not be luckier: after weeks of grey skies and cold temperatures, we got treated to four days of blue skies and spring! :D I(t is in fact still hot and sunny at the moment…could this please last until September…pretty please?!)

Anyway, we had a trip planned to the Champagne region in France, which is just a three hour drive from Antwerp. We started out in Reims and spent two days exploring the region and the ‘Route Touristique de Champagne’. I actually found a pretty nice day drive on www.reisroutes.be (you receive a link to a pdf with a more detailed description). We also visited two champagne houses, Moët et Chandon and Canard Duchêne, and we really enjoyed both tours and tastings!

Reims turned out be a beautiful city a lovely spot to start and finish the day. Well recommended!

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(Sorry collage maker wasn’t working, so lots of full size photos!)