THE BALI SWING
PLAYGROUND FOR ADULTS
Before I jumped on a plane to Bali I’d already seen pictures of the Bali Swing on Instagram. However when I asked about it while in Ubud, it turned out that The Bali Swing was not known by everyone. You can use a swing in Bali on various spots, yet my aim was to swing above the gorge as seen on pictures, not just somewhere in the middle of the rice fields. And so I jumped into a taxi that took me to The Bali Swing, located just about a 30 minute drive from Ubud. Upon arrival I found out that it had only been opened a few months earlier, so it wasn’t a coincidence that not everyone yet knew about it.
MUST DO IN GERMANY
Looking for a something fun to do in the German Hunsrück region? Then definitely consider the Geierlay suspension bridge. This suspension bridge in Germany is located in the Hunsrück just a three-hour drive from the Dutch-German border. I visited the bridge three times in recent years, the last time I even was completely alone. Below you will first find my original report and photos from August 2016, followed by updates and tips that I added following my second and most recent visit in May 2019. Enjoy reading!
10 TIPS FOR FIRST TIMERS
TRAVELING IN NEW-ZEALAND
For nature that is. Most of us come to New Zealand because of the amazing landscapes and I will never forget what was written in the guestbook of the hostel I stayed in Auckland after arrival in my first trip. It said ‘please go to the South Island as soon as you can!’. Of course, we had unfortunately booked a return trip from AKL meaning we had to return up north and leave the South Island behind at some point, which made me ache to go back. The second time I went to New Zealand, I flew out of Christchurch, so your trip definitely ends with a bang of truly stunning nature.
Did you know we have no less than 21 national parks in The Netherlands? Our country is filled with them and each of them has its own unique features. Over the next couple of months I’ll visit 5 of them and will show you the beauty and variety of Dutch nature. I hope it’ll inspire you to explore our country beyond the well known places and have some truly amazing micro adventures. My first trip took me to Oosterschelde National Park in Zeeland, which is located in the southwest of The Netherlands. About Oosterschelde National Park Oosterschelde National Park is the largest and wettest national park in the Netherlands. The park was established in May 2002 and is best known for the Oosterscheldekering, a large construction which makes it possible to close the Oosterschelde (a large water inlet) when the waterlevel is rising. Most of the landscape is formed by wind and water, so you will find different landscapes during the day because of the ever changing tide. During the tide, 800 billion liters of water flows in and out of the Oosterschelde, providing a fantastic nature experience for its vsitors. There are plenty of adventures you can experience in Oosterschelde National Park. I made a combination of three activities: I’m going to pick seaweed during a so-called seaweed walk, take a hike on the dikes of Zierikzee and look for porpoises, a small whale species. And all that in just one day! Arrival at Neeltje Jans As I live in the opposite region of The Netherlands, I’m leaving home at about 07.00 am to make sure I’m in Zeeland at the right time. Then there is a message from Ellen who organizes the seaweed walk: the excursion starts an hour and a half later due to rain. Since I’m already on my way and will arrive at the original time, I first decide to take a short walk at Delta Park Neeltje Jans, a work island that is part of the Oosterscheldekering. I park my car at the visitor center, which is located in the Ir. J. W. Topshuis, from where the Oosterscheldekering is operated. Unfortunately, the visitor center appears to be closed due to the corona virus, but there is an overview map with walking routes at the parking lot. As it’s by now pouring down with rain, I decide to sit in the car and wait out the heaviest bit of it, after which I put on my hiking boots and hit the trail. A short walk on Neeltje Jans I’ve got about an hour and would like to make a short hike on Neeltje Jans. There are no less than five different walks you can do here: – the ‘Parelpad’ (pearl path), a 1.5 km experience path – the orange route, 3.5 km to the bird viewing area – the green route, a 1.5 km long walk for the disabled / wheelchairs – the yellow route, a 2.8 km long walk along a viewing screen and natural slufter – the blue route, a 3.7 km long walk to the North Sea beach The Parelpad starts from the point where I stand and I decide to take that walk and maybe change to another trail along the way. However, there is already so much to see on the Parelpad that I cannot even manage to take a different route in terms of time. I look at information panels about the Oosterschelde and the birds that live here, scan the horizon with my binoculars and suddenly it is time to head to the starting point of the seaweed walk. Just put your head under water ‘If you really want to experience the Oosterschelde, then just put your head under water!’ This is how Ellen starts with the seaweed excursion, an initiative of WildWier. WildWier is run by Ellen and Guido, who stand with their feet in the water every week to pick seaweeds. Sometimes with guests, but also for restaurants, for example. More information can be found here. We start the excursion with a short introduction to seaweed. Ellen explains that there is a lot of seaweed in the Oosterschelde and that you can eat everything without any problems. The seaweed here is of excellent quality. However, you must know you are not allowed to pick weeds in the Oosterschelde, but WildWier has a permit for this. This is to prevent over-picking and to prevent the Oosterschelde from being picked empty. I also learn about the different types of seaweed. For example, on the high tide line we see bladderwrack and clubweed and underwater we find the sea lettuce and the wakame among other things. We can pick all seaweeds we want and eat them straight away. At first we stay close to the place where the cars are parked, but after we have tasted and harvested our own seaweeds here, we go to some shallow pools to harvest other species of seaweed. Tasting the seaweed As mentioned, you can eat all the seaweeds in the Oosterschelde National Park without any problems. Of course it gives a somewhat salty taste because of the salty water, but to be honest, it tastes really delicious even with a grain of sand here and there. A fellow harvester finds a crab in an oyster and a bunch of young boys who are also on the tour go out on an oyster hunt. Everything is allowed during this excursion, it is playing outside at its best. We end the excursion with making our own seaweed sushi that we eat during an ode to the sea. It tastes delicious and with a full bowl of seaweed for home I say goodbye to Ellen and my fellow harvesters. Onwards to Zierikzee My plan was to have lunch at ‘Proef Zeeland’, but because the excursion started later than planned, I decide to drive from Neeltje Jans directly to Zierikzee for the second part of my day: a hike in search of porpoises. Upon arrival in Zierikzee it turns out to be super busy, the summer season is in full swing here and the tourists are everywhere. I manage to get a parking space but decide not to spend much time on my lunch. I walk into the city center, have a quick sandwich and then go to the starting point of my walk. Porpoises in National Park Oosterschelde When I discussed with the organization what I would like to do in National Park Oosterschelde, the main thing was that I would like to see porpoises in Zeeland. The porpoise is a small whale that grows to a maximum length of 1.80 meters and therefore looks a lot like a dolphin. You can observe them in different places, but at the pier of Zierikzee at the end of the harbor is one of the best places. I’m advised to walk the hiking route ‘Levensstijd’ by the Dutch nature association. This walking route combines a visit to the pier with the Levensrijd and Rengerskerke nature reserves, a resting area for birds. The route is connected by a numbered network and therefore easy to follow. Note that the link is in Dutch! I walk along the Havenkanaal (harbor channel) and quickly leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind. The sun has now started to shine and burns all over my skin, so it’s high time to apply some sunscreen. After about two kilometers I arrive at lookout point Kiekuut, a bird watching spot. I view through my binoculars and see a number of spoonbills. I can stay here for an hour without any problems, but decide to continue my mission in search of the porpoise. After another kilometer I arrive at the pier. Here is ‘Studio Bruinvis’, an information pole with a sonar hydrophone that picks up the sound of porpoises at the buoy a little further in the water. If there are porpoises swimming near the buoy, you can hear this at the push of a button and you know whether you need to be alert. I press the button but don’t hear anything. And again. And again. But I don’t hear any porpoise noises. I decide to sit on a bench and bring out the binoculars again. In the distance I see the immense Zeeland Bridge and ships sail everywhere. And then I wait … There is a couple sitting behind me and I ask them if they ever see porpoises. “Sure enough, almost every day, between 5 and 6 is a great time.” I look at my watch, it is half past four. I decide to wait another half hour because there is also a long journey home awaiting me. I peer over the water with the binoculars, but I’m not lucky. Just when I decide to come back another time, I see movement in the water in the distance. I quickly grab my binoculars again and sure enough, I see a fin through the viewer. And another one. They are lightning fast and immediately disappear under water. I grab my camera, but I can’t get a picture, they are too far away and disappear too quick. Then I’ll just enjoy them through the binoculars! The group of porpoises makes one more jump and then they disappear. I keep looking for another fifteen minutes but don’t pick them up anymore. Too bad, but it was great to see whales from land and that in our my own country! I stroll further along the dike, I am not even halfway through my original walk just yet. Then I decide to walk on the dike in the wind and below me I see a beautiful boardwalk, which is part of the harbor porpoise walking route. Without a doubt I will leave my planned walk and walk back to my car on the boardwalk. On the way I see more spoonbills and a lot of other birds unknown to me. At the beginning of the evening I eventually get back to the car. To be fair, it was a long but exciting day. I started with a completely new experience of picking and eating the seaweed and ended with seeing porpoises. I couldn’t have asked for more! Conclusion en disclaimer During my ride back home, I decide that I definitely want to come back here again. Not only to spot porpoises, but also to go kayaking, take more walks and view the Oosterscheldekering extensively. Too much for a day, but perfect for a long weekend. Hopefully I have inspired you to visit the Oosterschelde National Park in The Netherlands. If you want to know more, check out the website of the park . I experienced this micro adventure in collaboration with Dutch National Parks. All opinions expressed are of course only my own.
Whoever believes that the Mosel valley in Germany is just for old people is totally wrong. In 2015 I already visited the Mosel valley and recently I visited again for enjoying some hiking trails. I hiked some nice circular trails as well as a part of the Moselsteig, a long distance trail in Germany. In this article I tell you everything about hiking in the Mosel valley in Germany, including tips for the most beautiful routes, where to stay and more. Enjoy reading! About the Mosel and the Mosel Valleyl The Mosel (or Moselle) is a 544 kilometer long river in France, Luxembourg and Germany. It originates in the French Vosges and flows into the Rhine near Koblenz. The most beautiful part of the Moselle can be found in the Mosel Valley, roughly between the cities of Trier and Koblenz. The landscape is characterized by rolling hills covered with vineyards, steep slopes and a winding river. Along the way you will find old castles and fortresses, numerous remains from Roman times and beautiful viewpoints. The most famous places on along the Mosel river are Trier, Cochem and Zell. Most villages are connected by a bus route or a railway, which makes walking here possible without going on holiday with your car and / or hiking parts of the famous Moselsteig. The Moselsteig The Moselsteig is one of the longest quality trails in Germany with 365 kilometers in distacne. Each stage is between 11 and 24 kilometers long and combines hiking along the banks of the Moselle with hiking through the vineyards and along high viewpoints. In addition to the Moselsteig, there are various “Seitensprungen” or circular walks that combine the Mosel banks with the hinterland. Which is perfect if you want to stay in a one place and hike from there, rather than to walk from A to B to C. With these Seitensprungen you combine the best places of the Moselle with each other. Because there is public transport in many places, you can determine your route and distances yourself. I did not do the Moselsteig in its entirety, but did run several stages and / or parts of it. The nice thing about combining stages with circular walks is the fact that you not only walk along the river, but also take in the rolling and relatively quiet hinterland. The Moselsteig is not difficult, but it has considerable climbs and descents, sometimes with some climbing and scrambling. Along the way, some Via Ferrata are possible, but if you do not want this, you can skip it, there is always an easier alternative route indicated. Route suggestions for the Moselsteig I hiked stages 13 and 14 from the Moselsteig entirely. Stage 13 leads from Reil to Traben Trarbach and stage 14 goes from Reil to Zell. These are perfect if you want to catch the Moselweinbahn train route. I stayed at Hotel Reiler Hof in Reil and hiked as follows: Day 1. train Reil – Traben Trarbach, hike back to Reil (15 km, 5 hrs) Day 2. train Reil – Bullay, hike 3 km from Bullay to Zell, from Zell back to Reil (12,5 km, 4 hrs) I found this the easiest as you always walk back to your hotel rather than a train station, which makes you hike against the clock for a bit and thus is this more relaxing. Along the way you will come across the “Collis Steilpfad”, a simple Klettersteig (without harness, also to bypass), and the Prinzenkopfturm with beautiful views of the surrounding area. Tip: take these hikes in the fall when the leaves turn color, the Moselle is a lot quieter than in summer and the colorful landscape makes your hike in the Moselle extra special! The Calmont Klettersteig Also very awesome is the Calmont Klettersteig. This simple Via Ferrata is located between Bremm and Ediger Eller. The Calmont is the steepest vineyard in Europe and they have built a nice Via Ferrata. Not a real challenge for the experienced alpinists, but nice to test your alpine skills once if you are unsure whether a real Via Ferrata is your thing. From here you can do the steep climb to the Calmont Gipfelkreuz and walk back along the Moselsteig to Ediger Eller along the high route. You can read my complete blog about the Calmont Klettersteig here. Hiking trail Moselachter During my most recent trip to the Moselle I spent the night in Landal Sonnenberg in Leiwen. From here I made the circular hike Moselachter, or a circular walk in the shape of an 8. I started from my house and first did the ‘left eight’ (the eight is on its side) that mainly took me through the forest and along the viewpoint Moselkino. I also passed the most beautiful viewpoint of the Moselle in 2016 at Leiwen. Then came by a steep section steeply up a relatively narrow and worn out trail (not for people with a fear of heights) and eventually back to Leiwen via the quiet hills behind the valley. This hike is 15 kilometers long and took me about 5 hours. Hiking tour Mehringer Schweiz Another beautiful Moselsteig Seitenprung is the circular walk Mehringer Schweiz. I did part of this tour in combination with the Moselsteig, the highlight of which was the visit to the Fünfseenblick, a viewing tower with a beautiful view over the Moselle near Mehring and Pölich. You will also walk through the vineyards of the Moselle and visit the Roman villa in Mehring. This walk is 14 km and takes about 5 hours. Hiking in the Mosel Valley: what to know as well Each part of the Moselle has its own hiking map. If you walk the Moselsteig, you can order a walking guide including map material online. Most Seitensprungen are also included here. Before my trip I downloaded the app “Gastlandschaften Rheinland Pfalz”, it contains all routes and you can also use it as navigation during your hikes in the Mosel Valley. However, the routes are also well marked everywhere, so you don’t have to worry about getting lost. Most trails are fine, when a trails is more difficult this is often indicated so that you can opt for a simpler detour where possible. The Moselweinbahn goes from Traben Trarbach to Bullay. The rest of the transport is mostly by bus. On this website you will find more information about the Bus und Bahn around the Moselsteig. Where to stay in the Mosel region I stayed in the Moselle valley twice. The first time at Hotel Reiler Hof in Reil, a cozy and authentic hotel on the river. The second time I rented an apartment at Landal Sonnenberg, a beautifully situated and small-scale Landal park in the southern part of the Moselle near Leiwen. There are also plenty of campsites on the Moselle, mostly on the banks of the river. Conclusion and disclaimer Hopefully you found these articles about hiking along the Moselle useful and I got you excited to visit the Mosel valley in Germany. If you have any questions and / or additional tips, please leave them in the comments. This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase via such a link, we will receive a modest commission for you at no extra cost.
Are there still unknown places in Norway? Places that hardly anyone goes, where there are no blogs about and which you cannot read about in the travel guides? I thought this was not the case until a year ago, when I ended up in a place so incredibly beautiful that you can’t imagine there are hardly any other tourists. Still, that place is there and I found it by accident. I’m talking about Blådålen and the Møsevassbreen in Folgefonna National Park in Norway. A vacation in Åkrafjord If you mention Åkrafjorden, hardly anyone knows this fjord. And neither did I until last year. Although I had traveled twice in Fjord Norway before, there was still an unfamiliar fjord in front of me, which I accidentally stumbled upon during my search for a small cottage in Norway. We were looking for a quiet holiday home on a fjord in Norway and above all: affordable. I spent hours searching, and eventually ended up renting at a small house above the Åkrafjord. After a few days with just rain and a lot of time spent indoors, we decide to go out. Searching for beautiful hikes in the area does not initially give a lot of options. We make an attempt to hike to the Åkrastølen, but the bridge across the river has been washed away by all the rain from the previous days. On various Norwegian hiking apps we research other hiking options and then suddenly I notice the south side of the Folgefonna National Park. On Google Maps I see a road and a line along a lake to a glacier. The next day we decide to go for it, in search of a nice adventure! A drive through Blådålen “The blue valley” or Blådålen is an hour’s drive from our cabin. First we have to leave the fjord, up the mountain pass and there seems to be a small road into the valley. The valley is dominated by the huge water reservoir and the hydroelectric power station, but once past this an amazing portion of beauty opens up in front of us. Not only is the weather beautiful, but all around us are lakes, mountains and green meadows. We are surrounded by herds of sheep and even spot a huge sea eagle with our binoculars. Using our navigation we drive on, there is no longer a cell service but the road should lead to a lake, from where we can hike towards the glacier. Arrival at Møsevattnet After a long climb with hairpin bends over a very narrow road we arrive at the Møsevattnet, a turquoise lake surrounded by rocks and in the distance: a glacier. It turns out to be the Møsevassbreen, one of the glaciers of the Folgefonna National Park. There is an information panel at the parking lot showing that there is some kind of hiking trail towards the glacier. We grab our backpacks, put on our hiking boots and set off for the glacier, off to seek some adventure! Heading to Møsevassbreen Is there a trail? No there is no real trail. There are occasionally cairns who indicate the route, but otherwise it is mainly a lot of jumping and climbing over boulders. Sometimes it is flat, sometimes it is steep and hands are involved. After an hour we look up, the glacier mouth seems to be just as far away. We descend again to the lake, then we rise again. Finally we arrive at a ridge and the marking ends there. Below us there is an abyss, we cannot continue here unless we climb up. From here, the trail only ascends further away from the glacier. But … that doesn’t matter. In the meantime we have come quite close to the glacier (without meeting anyone on the way) and we sit and enjoy the stunning views. The sun sometimes breaks through and illuminates the bright blue ice in a special way. A piece of ice calves off the glacier, which then thunders into the water of the Møsevattnet with a loud bang. So we sit here for over an hour to enjoy a cup of tea and a stroopwafel. There we are, in at the end of the world, just an hour and a half away from the main road. Enjoying all the beauty within sight. In the end we decide to slowly start making our way back. Every now and then I glance over my shoulder. What a wonderful surprise during a rainy holiday! Also check the video that I made of this trip: Conclusie en disclaimer Before I started writing this blog I tried to do some research on Blådålen and Møsevassbreen but I found almost no information online about this valley. Shame? No, certainly not, because although I hope that more people will enjoy this beautiful place in Norway in the future, I also hope that mass tourism will not discover it. Do I contribute to this in a certain way by writing this? Perhaps. But I also really enjoy sharing a newly discovered place with you. The eternal dilemma of the travel writer …
Let me start by saying that both treks are tough and should not be underestimated. If you have no experience in trekking, you will have to carry lots of stamina and willpower in order to make it to either basecamp. It’s not easy but not impossible either. Which of the two is the most difficult is hard to say and really depends on various factors. If we look at altitude, Everest Base Camp Trek is definitely the most challenging reaching 5.364 meters above sea level. If you decide to trek via Gokyo, which I strongly recommend so you won’t have to hike the same route twice, you will have to cross Cho-La Pass which is even higher and reaches as high as 5.420 meters. Annapurna Base Camp is located at 4.130 meters above sea level, meaning you need less time to acclimatize.
Iregularly have discussions with friends about whether you have to travel far away (= outside of Europe for me) every year. Not only because of the flying embarrassment that seems to be on the rise, but also because there are plenty of nice walks in Europe. You don’t always have to go far to see beautiful landscapes. Need inspiration? Then read on in this article with the beste places to hike in Europe, from north to south. All trails have been made by myself so I only advise you from my own experience, as you are used to from me. Enjoy reading and hiking!
The good thing about hiking in New Zealand is that it can be done from anywhere as there are numerous of trails all over the country, whether it’s close to the city or far away from civilization. In addition to my old post, I will also add more information about the best multi-day hikes in New Zealand as well as shorter hikes that can be done by anyone. Enjoy this list with the best hikes in New Zealand!
When planning to hike a long(ish) track, it’s wise to figure out as much as you can about the trail. What the distance is, how to get to the start and end and what the current trail situation is. Many of these things can be found online nowadays and by doing some research beforehand you can avoid unpleasant surprises along the way. Such as not carrying enough drinking water or having to make a river crossing. But also there may be ferries that are not running on certain days or the bus service you may need could be limited on certain days. All these things can be found out well in advance.
We found another hiking paradise and it’s called Tasmania. Located on the opposite part of the world for us, we spent a month here, exploring what Australians call ‘the Apple Island’ by foot and by bike. We knew that Tasmania had some pretty spectacular scenery to offer but we kept on being surprised over and over again by the diversity of this place. One day we’d stand with our feet in the sand on some stunning beach and the next day we’d be in a rain forrest discovering the prettiest little waterfalls. When you are going hiking here, there is no way you will get disappointed. Here is our selection of the best hikes in Tasmania!
For me, a visit to Crater Lake National Park had been on my bucketlist for many years. Being from The Netherlands it’s not nearly as well known and popular as other US National Parks such as The Grand Canyon or Yellowstone National Park. However, after hearing about this place from a friend, I knew I wanted to go here one day. I kept on googling Crater Lake National Park year after year, at some point I knew it was my time to head on another trip to the US and go for it. And so I finally got to visit Crater Lake National Park after wanting to go for such a long time.
On We12travel you will find everything you want to know about outdoor traveling, nature and hiking. From the best outdoor clothing to the greatest multi-day treks in the world, and everything in between. I’ve been inspiring readers from all across the globe since 2011 and am the leading Dutch outdoor and hiking blog ever since. I help you in your search for beautiful hiking destinations, preparing for your trek and planning your trip in nature.