Canary Islands: Lanzarote and Fuerteventura

To those who think that the Canary Islands is only a place with nice beaches and lots of sun, please read on! The two islands I had the chance to visit are that, but they are also SO much more.

The Canary islands are a group of islands, seven in total, conveniently located off the African west coast and therefore benefiting from a nice and warm climate all year round. Interesting fact, these islands are volcanic ones as you can notice by the lava fields covering pretty much the whole surface of the islands. Cactus, Aloe Vera and vine grow here, but apart from that everything is imported.

Some practical information: We rented a car at the airport of Arrecife, Lanzarote, For 11 days we paid only 111€ for a small car (Auroreisen), insurance included. You can drive to all the interesting places and  take it on the ferry to Fuerteventura. Accommodation can easily be arranged with airbnb. Be sure to check out the following hosts: Irene in Puerto del Carmen, Jindriska in Corralejo and Aurelio in Caleta de Fuste.


You cannot talk about Lanzarote without immediately thinking of Cesar Manrique, the artist who tainted all the island with his art. He was an architect, a painter and a sculptor and his works can be found all over the island.

We started by visiting his house, which has been converted into a museum. The artist has ingeniously taken advantage of the location on the lava field and has used volcanic bubbles as rooms. You can acces the rooms through tunnels and the last one is a recreational area with a swimming pool. In the museum you can find Manrique's art, but also his private art collection.

Next stop is "El jardin de cactus", one of my favourite places on Lanzarote. Manrique designed a garden with thousands of cactus's. It is a combination of art and nature which is most successful. Big, small, green, pink, brown, yellow cactus's grow everywhere in a harmonious ensemble.

Jameos del Agua is another outstanding place to visit on Lanzarote. It is a volcanic tunnel with a high ceiling that gives it the feel of a cathedral. At the bottom, there is a natural lake with crystal clear water.  One of the inhabitants of the lake is the blind albino crab. It is completely white and only a centimetre long. This crab also happens to be the symbol of the caves.

Situated only a few km from this cave is another one worth a visit: Cueva de los verdes. A guide takes us from one rock formation to another. The last one is spectacular, and quite surprising! I leave you to discover it.

Do you know Aloe Vera? It is a miracle plant in the family of garlic! You can use the plant inside and outside your body and it has many special virtues such as rejuvenating and healing properties. After visiting one of the many Aloe vera museums and a plantation, we are convinced! You should try it too!

La Graciosa is a small island situated north of Lanzarote. We accessed the island by boat from Orzola. On the island itself, there are almost no vehicles, which is great! You can either rent a bicycle to get around, or walk, like we did. Try walking to Las Conchas, an unspoilt beautiful beach on the other side of the island.

La Geria is Lanzarot's wine region. The wine is excellent and the landscape impressive. To protect the vines from the heavy winds, the lanzarotenos have constructed little semicircular walls with rocks around them.

Parque nacional de Timanfaya also called fire mountains is one of the must see attractions on Lanzarote. We weren't very impressed by the so-called geysir, or the hole in the ground, but the bus ride through the martian landscape was nice. You can see some craters and the colours are beautiful, a subtle mix of ocre and sand...

Last stop for us is the coast near El Golfo, definitely the most beautiful place on Lanzarote. Waves as high as houses crash onto the black rocky coastline. It is wild, it is crazy and I love it! You can also see a strange green lagoon some hundred metres from the small village. To top of the visit, you can sit and watch the waves while sipping a drink in the village of El Golfo.

Photos Lanzarote


From Playa Blanca (Lanzarote) there is a boat going to Corralejo(Fuerteventura). The two islands couldn't be more different - what a pleasant surprise! Fuerteventura is wilder, less organised than Lanzarote, and we are about to discover its secrets...

Corralejo is in the north and a typical surfer and hippie place. The local market is full of inventive artists who recycle, re-use and upcyle almost everything. And then there are the beaches! No wonder Corralejo is called the Carribean of the Atlantic. Endless white beaches stretch out, bordered by incredible turquoise water, home to surfers and nudists.

Isla de Los Lobos is only a boat trip away from Corralejo and well worth a visit. We spent a day there, walking around the island and enjoying the silence. There are no cars and no inhabitants on the small island.

On our third day, we learned that Fuerteventura was an important military base in the earlier days (around 1800). It was raining, so we visited la Casa de los Coroneles to get an insight in how they used to rule over the island. Conveniently located next to the casa is the museum of Canarian art, a smell jewel of a museum. There we discover the cultural richness of the island, and also that Cesar Manrique was not the only talented Canarian artist.

I love goats, I don't know why, but I love  the way they walk, talk, look at you and generally the way they look. Even the smell I like. Did you know that on Fuerteventura there are more goats than peolple? Imagine my joy when I discovered this!

Betancuria is home to many goats and it is also a beautiful little village in the hills in the middle of the island, The trail GR 131 runs through the village, a trail that goes from North to South of Fuerteventura. We follow the trail for the day. It climbs up, up to the top where we finally have a 360° view over the island. The wind is strong and we are grateful. To finish the day, make sure to taste the goat's cheese, it is delicious.

Driving to Jandia is an expedition. The South tip of Fuerteventura is a protected natural area and driving there is very bumpy. Be patient though, reaching the lighthouse is worth to be shaken a little. The view is spectacular.

We stayed in Caleta de Fuste (Castillo), and not far there is the Museo de la sal. If you want to learn how salt is collected and processed, the museum explains everything. The most delicate salt comes from the foam on the waves, and to have tested in myself, it deserves its reputation.

Our trip has come to an end, I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Bye bye Canaries, thank you for sharing your beauties with us and thank you for being so kind.

Photos Fuerteventura


Belgium - Hautes Fagnes

You don't need to go far from home to discover interesting places. Hautes Fagnes in Belgium is a place like that, and it is definitely worth a visit if you are a nature lover like I am. The vast plateau is situated partly in Belgium, partly in Germany. Some of it is even protected as a nature reserve. The Hautes Fagnes are covered in moors and marshland usually encountered in more northerly regions or higher altitudes. Due to cold climate, particularly wet, and the composition of its soil, the flora and fauna is quite extraordinary for our region.

Muriel, our host and guide tells us about the area, and how the season's subtle changes transform everything, dress the nature with wonderful artifacts, colour the trees and the grass, and create all different atmospheres.
We chose to go in autumn, but we just missed the colourful trees. Only a few leaves remain on the trees, torn down by the powerful autumn winds, and they are already brown. Winter is around the corner. The rain pours down from the blue-grey clouds, without ever stopping. After some hours in the action, we have no doubt as to what the word soaked really means. To wrap up a long walk fighting both wind and rain, we are grateful for some glühwein at Baraque Michel. They rent out cross-country skis here, an idea for a next trip?

Photos Fagnes


And then I came home...

For a long time I haven't written because I didn't know what to write. It is like everything all of a sudden stopped and from being constantly on the move, I was standing still. I had prepared for the trip during a year, then there was the trip during one year, then what? Normal life can start again except nothing feels normal anymore. The trip had been my life for a year. I had gotten used to moving every second day, packing my rucksack over and over again. My daily life was to meet new people, get to know them, then leave, meet new people and leave them too. My worries revolved around finding a place to sleep and figure out what I would eat every day. Washing my clothes was also something I sometimes worried about, but I soon realized a T-shirt can be worn more than three days.

It is difficult to come back, as it was difficult to leave. When I left I didn’t know what awaited, when I came back I realized that what was is not the same anymore. Life has continued without me and I needed to find my place again, with my family, at work, with my friends, even in my apartment with my cats.

12 months, 6 travelogues, 75 blog posts (76 with this one), 5 continents, 16 countries, hundreds of people met, new friends, some answers, many more questions... This is one way to summarize my travel around the world. I have learned so much during this year, about differences, about similarities, about happiness, beauty and ugliness, poverty… All this is part of me now, and I am part of it too. I have left a little piece of me in each place I have visited, with each person I have met… Left are the memories… and the photos.

I know now that I can do it, I can travel by myself. I manage on my own out there in the big wide world. And this world is biútiful and it is worth leaving our daily humdrum for a while and take the risk to meet the unknown. If you have the opportunity to do so, I warmly recommend it!

Another thing I have learned is that hospitality is everywhere. As the sign in the non-profit organization in Arusha states: “Kindness is a language which blind people see and deaf people hear”. It is universal. Even more than the differences, whether cultural, material or of any other kind, what struck me the most is the universalism of humankind and its values. Children are the same in Norway as in Africa or Nepal. They laugh, they play and they need the same love and attention regardless of the place in the world where they grow up. Sharing a meal in good company is the same in Peru as in Russia or South Africa, or Belgium. Understanding transcends cultural barriers, even languages.

It is not about where you are but who you are and what you do.

I felt good in all your companies: hosts, all you people who took me into your homes and treated me like family, fellow travelers with whom I shared the marvel of discovering new customs and sometimes incredible sights. I really really hope that some of you will come visit me in Belgium some day, because I miss you.

To my family, to my friends : Thank you. I couldn't have done it without you. Your constancy, your love and most of all your faith in me was the most important item in my luggage. It was not always easy, but I know that you were always there for me.

And to you, faithful readers of my blog. Thank you for reading me. It has been for me a way to make you participate in my trip, my adventures. I hope you have enjoyed and that you will continue reading, maybe share my blog with your friends if you like it. This was just the beginning, more posts and travels are in planning. In fact, I am late. I was in Prague in November, the post is planned, Norway for Christmas... Iceland is coming up in May… 

Travelling is a like a bug, once you’re bitten it never stops itching.

Yours truly,



Muizenberg - Cape Town

We arrive at Michael’s place in Muizenberg and even before we put down our luggage Elodie screams out: my camera! We must have forgotten it in one of the shuttles. Trying not to panic we call everyone to locate the camera. It is in the last shuttle. We can come pick it up says the driver, he lives on the other side of town, in a dodgy neighborhood… Let’s go says Michael, our host and savior. This is what a positive attitude does: we have a great ride through all Cape Town, while Michael explains about historical events, cultural phenomenons, and ideology. The camera finds its owner and we drive home in high spirits. No way does he want a compensation. The only promise we have to make is that we will do the same thing to someone else one day. The next day we go all three to the Cape: Cape of Good Hope, or Cape of Storms as it was called before, due to the numerous storms in this area, close to the meeting point between the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. The name Cape of Good Hope was given because of the great optimism engendered by the opening of a sea route to India and the East. After a delicious Tibetan lunch we visit the Jackass Penguins at Boulders, a whole colony of these small South African penguins live there. Three young ones try to conquer the ocean and make me laugh a lot as they stumble under a wave.

On the way back, Michael shows us a statue of the Great Dane “Just Nuisance”, the only dog ever to be officially enlisted in the Royal Navy and buried with full military honor. Another great day.

The beach at Muizenberg is nice, I particularly enjoy watching the Seagulls dig for shells that they drop from a great height down on the beach to break them open. Elodie picks some shells – “I want to cook them” she says, and I can only believe her when she says they are good. To part from our host, and also to escape from the rain, Michael takes us to do some winetasting at Groot Constantia. Elodie knows a great deal about wine and we share some delicious moments, tasting and laughing.

Saths is our next host. He lives in a beautiful house just under Table Mountain which we never see because of the clouds. He shows us all his favorite places to have a coffee in Cape Town, great! He is good company and introduces us to his ten year old son with whom we spend some time and play Jenga while Saths is at work. In two days we leave South Africa and I finish my trip. It feels weird and good at the same time…

The sea is angry and we cannot visit Robben Island, the prison where Nelson Mandela was kept for 18 years. I will have to come back one day. Instead we go for a walk in town, and meet for lunch with Mary I met in Bolivia. We finish the day in the South African Art Museum where we have the chance to be invited to a private vernissage. A perfect end to the trip, tomorrow we go home…

photos Cape Town


Gansbaai – Overberg

It is a beautiful morning in Hermanus, and we are going to cage-dive with great white sharks…Who hasn’t seen the movies “JAW”? Listen to this http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=BE&v=ZvCI-gNK_y4&noredirect=1 it fills you with terror, right? It doesn’t stop us. What an adventure! What we discovered was amazing. These animals are not mean, as we might think, but they are very curious and like to taste with their jaws... One of them bite the cage right in front of me. Saying my heart did not beat twice as fast would be a lie, but I am quite confident that the steel in front of me will hold. No feeding they promised. This is not entirely true. To attract the sharks, they pour fish oil into the sea and to play with them a giant sardine head is thrown repeatedly into the water. After 20 minutes in the water I feel like an ice cube. Enjoying the sharks from above is also quite pleasant and certainly not as cold! We take a shuttle to our last destination in South Africa, Cape Town. For me it’s the last destination of my travel around the world…

photos Gansbaai



The land of caves and Ostriches! Did you know that you can stand on an Ostrich egg without it breaking? Or that male ostriches also lay eggs? (the guide was so convincing, we even believed her for several minutes..). In one ostrich egg there are 24 eggs from a hen… time for omelet! Beautiful animals they are and not as ferocious as they say, I had four of them eating in a bucket in front of me and didn’t’ get a scratch. Another nice thing to see near Oudtshoorn are the Cango caves. We do the “adventure” tour where we crawl up a narrow chimney and slide through a “letter box”. The caves are beautiful and that is good because the weather outside could not be worse. The rain is pouring down and the clouds cover everything in grey.

photos Oudtshoorn


The Crags – Garden Route

Welcome to the Magic world of Khoinania… a mixture of the land of the Khoisan people, original inhabitants of South Africa, and Narnia, the magic world of C.S. Lewis we all know about. It is like entering another world where supernatural is normal. The cat from Alice in wonderland sleeps on the terrace, a 900 year old gigantic tree towers over the forest and the three dog pets of the hostel seem to know more than they want to share… As we descend into the Magic forest, we almost expect to see a gnome pop out from behind a tree, or a talking frog who shows us the way. It is pure magic and I love it! If you pass by this place you shouldn’t miss spending at least a few nights in the enchanted atmosphere of Wild Spirit : http://www.wildspiritlodge.co.za/ Let the pictures speak for themselves…

photos Khoinania