341 Kms from Ostend
"Don't be scared to walk alone...Don't be scared to like it... "Once again ( my third time) I took off on a holiday all by myself, and it was nothing short of amazing!Travelling alone is not always about the cliché deep soul searching business or getting lost finding yourself. For me it's more about the freedom to do what I want and when I want without the burden of living up to another person's idea of a holiday.We mostly exist in a routine that thrives on people pleasing. And however selfish this may sound, a vacation should not have to be that.Sometimes you gotta make things about you My photos and descriptions here are an account of how interesting it is to be going solo and still not having to compromise on any of the fun that people usually seem to assume can only come with traveling in a group.
253 Kms from Ostend
I have always been in awe of wooden windmills, from the first time I, as a child, attempted to paint a Dutch country side with a windmills-dotted skyline to the time when I visited a windmill-turned-brewery (Browerij’t IJ) in Amsterdam on my student trip in 2011. My short time in Amsterdam had not given me the scope to visit any other windmills around the area and my awe persisted. In my recent Euro-trip, I decided to get a closure on my infatuation and visit the Dutch countryside teeming with these imposing wooden structures. The visit turned out to be much more than windmills and alas, my love for the Dutch countryside continues…In Netherlands, there are two very popular neighborhoods which have been protected and preserved to display the Dutch way of living and trades and crafts from rural Netherlands. One is Kinderdijk (near Rotterdam) which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The other is Zaanse Schans (near Amsterdam). We decided on Zaanse Schans because it was easier for us travel-wise. We took a bus from Stuttgart to Amsterdam and then bought an Amsterdam & Region Travel Pass, which covers a lot of neighborhoods around Amsterdam including the famous Keukenhof tulip gardens and Zaanse Schans. Zaanse Schans is a short 45 mins trip from Amsterdam Central by bus.We had booked an Airbnb accommodation in Zaandijk, very close to the site of Zaanse Schaans. After freshening up, we took our bicycles and made our way to the site. It was very windy and our hair was windswept. As we neared the place, a strong odour accosted us. We were to find out later that it was the emissions from the chocolate and starch factories in the region.We had a preconceived picture of a few windmills and wooden houses that we would get to see at the site. But the scene that welcomed us transported us immediately to the industrial age in Netherlands. It is like an open-air museum with bakery, cheese factory, clog-making warehouse and wooden houses with barns and working-windmills on the banks of river Zaan that flows in the area. It indeed looked like a painting.
255 Kms from Ostend
I did spend a lot of time researching about the places I would want to visit in this small beautiful country. By shortlisting few places which interested me and putting them on a piece of paper gave my itinerary a good foundation and hurrah, my itinerary fit almost all the places with the time I had. My Flight was at 10:30 in the morning from Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam. The flight duration is about an hour and a half to Innsbruck, Austria.
270 Kms from Ostend
4. Paris, France
162 Kms from Ostend
History: “Bos” is the Dutch word for forest and “Halle” is the place where it is located. With around 6 square kilometres area, Hallerbos is like one of that purple-blue kingdom coming straight out of a Disney movie film making you question its existence in reality! The uniqueness of Hallerbos lies in its natural phenomenon of blooming blue bells (wild hyacinths) that blossom everywhere in the forest between late April and May making it look like a blue carpet (check my video here).
470 Kms from Ostend
Since we had a comfortable overnight journey, today we were all fresh and ready to have an exciting day ahead. Today, we are supposed to go to Oxford city in south east of London. It is a 2 hour train journey from London and we reach Oxford by 10 am. There was a city bus tour here again, but since we had the entire day to spend in Oxford our preferred choice of exploring the place was by walking around. We took a map of the city from the train station and we labeled the route we had to take, it was a circular walk around the city.The buildings in Oxford demonstrate an example of every English architectural period and its known as the "city of dreaming spires", a term coined in reference to the harmonious architecture of Oxford's university buildings. The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English speaking world. Our walk leads us through the heart of the historic city centre illustrating in itself the history of Oxford and its university and the map in our hand gave us the description of the architecture and traditions of its most famous buildings and institutions. Even though I was not a good student myself or much of a book reader, I felt it was a prolific day spent in Oxford, a city also prominent for its medieval university. Our day ended with some good coffee and we reached back home in London at around 8 in the evening.