Our son Leon was born on an ‘indian summer’ night in October 2015. As we were not able to find him a day care until February, we were obliged to take up holidays to close the gap (maternity leave is 3 months in Belgium). So we decided to do what we like best: travel! So at just three months we took the little fella on his first trips abroad. Starting with a road trip to the snowy Alps to enjoy the best of winter and continuing on to Thailand to escape the worst of that same winter. We spent quite some time searching the internet for tips and tricks but didn’t come across a lot of useful info. So without wanting to turn our website into a “baby blog”, here’s some of our ‘lessons learned’ for people out there who might be contemplating the same thing. Continue reading
Author Archives: Caroline Messiaen
Back in the land of the Kiwi’s: The North
Nearly seven years ago I visited New Zealand for the first time. In a bit less than a month I travelled all around the country on both North and South Islands. A month may seem like a long time but it is not nearly long enough to see the whole of New Zealand (NZ). To everyone planning to go there, I would suggest to foresee at least 1,5 month: three weeks for the North and four weeks for the South Island. If not you will probably end up like me rushing through the country and constantly making mental notes “I have to come back here to do this and there to do that”. The reason why I chose to come back to NZ on this trip was precisely that: filling in the gaps, doing those things I didn’t get to do last time. With only 3 weeks and a pretty long list we would need to be quick and flexible.
Patagonia had the very ungrateful task of welcoming us after we had been completely awe struck by Antarctica. But Patagonia is definitely up for such a challenge. This huge region with plains that stretch out far beyond the horizon, awesome mountain peaks and winds that can knock a grown man down is the stuff of legends. From Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to Che Guevara on his motorcycle it has attracted adventurers, eccentrics and outcasts for centuries. These days it is tourist central during the summer months with crowds of tour groups that fly in and out to check out glaciers and mountains. But no worries the place is huge and even in the most visited regions one can still find some quite places to take it all in. Continue reading
Summer in the city: Buenos Aires & Uruguay
We are not ‘city people’, give us mountains, oceans, deserts, bush, savannah, etc. and we are happy. After a couple of days in most cities we get restless and start looking for the exit. There are only a very limited number of cities we really love but we just got to add one to the list. Even though we only spent 3 days there we really got charmed by Buenos Aires (BA). The big avenues and boulevards lined with trees and beautiful buildings , cafés everywhere, little markets, the covered shopping galleries…You would be forgiven if you thought you were in Paris. They even have their own version of the famous Paris cemeteries . But Buenos Aires is much more than just a copy of Paris. Actually due to the large immigration (especially Spanish and Italian) in the 19th century, it is a very nice cocktail of all kind of European influences spiced up with some truly local elements.
Testing the water in Southern Brazil
The local summer is not the best period to travel in Southern Brazil climate wise. There is often a lot of rain we were told. We had been very lucky to have 4 days of beautiful weather while we were in Rio. Last year it had been raining all night on New Year’s Eve and there have even been years where a great part of the fireworks could not be seen because they exploded above the clouds. While we drove down the coast from Rio, the beaches were packed with Brazilian holidaymakers and also our first afternoon in the town of Paraty had been very hot and sunny. In the evening however we saw the first thunder clouds appear.
Checking out the cats in Masai Mara
So finally I’m back in Africa and I must admit the thought of going to Africa was both exhilarating and intimidating. But at first sight Nairobi did not seem as bad as all the stories would like me to believe. That being said we didn’t really linger around much but instead decided to kick off this trip with the one thing most travellers do here in East Africa: go on ‘safari’.
“Too bad we have seen so few animals so far”… our safari guide said to me at lunch time on our 1st full safari day. We had seen that morning: a herd of elephants, several giraffes, hundreds of buffalo, thousands of migrating wildebeests (aka gnoes) and zebras, a cheetah with a fresh ‘kill’ and a pride of over 10 lionesses and cubs also with a kill. I don’t know what they are used to there in Masai Mara but we were duly impressed. Continue reading