Ah, Panama. Whenever I go to a country, I always love it. I try to explore, try to breathe in all the scents and colors as humanly possible and indulge myself in local delicacies. I promise myself to go back, as fast as I can, but often find myself scrolling through a maze of cheap flight tickets, each and every one of them screaming harder and harder for my attention. Most of the times I listen and give in. Another country, another culture, another adventure. Not with Panama. Somehow, someway, this country found a little spot in the back of my mind, nestled itself warmly in a corner and waited. And waited. – and bombed me from time to time with vivid memories of my adventures in the country – The moment I saw the chance to go, my ticket was already booked. I was going back to Panama. Continue reading Paradise in Panama – Part II
I’ve visited Antigua twice. First time I arrived in a hot shuttle bus with 40 degrees fever and feet that could barely hold my weight because of horrendous muscle aches. Needless to say I didn’t really see much of the city the next couple of days, besides my bed, my hostel, the doctor’s cabinet and the panoramic view from the roof terrace. Second time though, I indulged myself into the Spanish language, breathing, eating and dreaming in Spanish while discovering the pretty picturesque colonial city called ‘Antigua’. Continue reading 6 favorite things to do in Antigua – Guatemala.
Sometimes I regret not taking enough pictures. The day I hitched a ride in the back of the pick up truck of the El Salvadorian police, accompanied by ten other backpackers and speeding past incredible views of lush forest and mountains, was one of those. Continue reading How to find the Tamanique waterfalls in El Salvador.
Costa Rica. Absolutely beautiful country, but according to my wallet also very very expensive. Yes, it’s convenient to pay in dollars. But that’s about it. No need for a 20 dollar taxi to a National Park and pay an additional 50 dollar to enter and a 20 dollar taxi ride back home. In backpacker’s minds it just says ‘ERROR, ERROR, YOU’RE SPENDING TOO MUCH’ and ‘THAT’S 9 NIGHTS OF ACCOMODATION’ and ‘NOPE’. Sadly, you miss a lot of crazy views and beautiful trips. Luckily, you can always visit Costa Rica again once you’ve gathered enough funding. But then I had this magical and incredibly cheap experience. Continue reading Free hot springs at La Fortuna in Costa Rica.
When you hear somebody say ‘volcano boarding’ in Central America, the chances are big they’re talking about the Cerro Negro close to Léon, a beautiful colonial city in Nicaragua. Nothing more fun than a one hour hike up a hot volcano – not lava hot hot hot, but when you dig a little hole while standing on the top, you might burn your fingers – and sledding down on a wooden board. With the right laying-down-and-hold-your-feet-up-technique, you zoom down the slopes in a flash. Yes, what an experience. Continue reading Climbing rooftops in Léon, Nicaragua.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love traveling. Period. But just like life, traveling isn’t always beautiful sunsets, partying whole night long and taking pretty pictures. Traveling is also waiting a couple of hours on a bus, missing planes, shitty weather and being sick with nobody to take care of you. But what sucks the most – according to me – is saying ‘goodbye’ all-the-fucking-time. Continue reading Why travel sucks sometimes.
Welcome to Tikal. As one of the main reasons why I wanted to visit Guatemala, these Mayan ruins definitely deserve their spot on my ‘this is…’ series. They’re worthy of the title ‘UNESCO world heritage’, not only because it used to be one of the most powerful kingdoms in ancient Maya history. When you visit, the atmosphere just breathes greatness and mysteriousness. Questions pop up instantly: how did they manage to make such grand temples in a time with such few building tools? How did they live? Who are those Mayans, that left so many secrets and not enough answers to silence our hunger for knowledge? Where did they sacrifice? – Yep, always interested in the bloody details. – Are there jaguars in the neighbourhood? Is it likely that I’ll be served for breakfast to some jungle animals? Continue reading Mayan mysteries in Tikal.
Everybody who knows me, also knows about my love for architecture. Beautiful buildings dating back from the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century – also known as Art Nouveau – attract my attention in Brussels like light attracts flies. I can walk around ages with my head tilted back, staring at all those mosaics, fresco’s, paintings and details in the ironwork high above eye level. Just like those clear lines and geometric details from the Art Deco period. Or the white and linear, clean and hygienic architectural pearls dating back from the modernist era. Names as Mies Van Der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Victor Horta and Adolf Loos make me drool. But most of all, I love the ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’, where architecture and interior are a complete work of art: from doorknobs to chairs to staircases to the facade. Little has been left of those little worlds of wonder crammed in a house. Or maybe even a couple of rooms. Continue reading Colonial beauty in Cuba.
So far I’ve only talked about Havana. The mixture of feelings, impressions smells and colors. How big of an impression it left on me. Little did I know how big the impact would be of Viñales. Or Trinidad. Or Varadero, initially not my first choice to go to. How warm and colorful the country and most of all, the people, are. How different a country can be. How I loved being in the moment – no wifi, no internet without paying a lot – and just seeing what happens on the way. Continue reading All the colors of Cuba.