Photo Essay: Bali

Bali with a 2.5-year-old? Yes, anytime again!

While our 2-week vacation in Bali earlier this year wasn’t flawless, we had a fantastic time there. The little one especially liked nasi goreng (fried rice), mi goreng (fried noodles), dancing and pool time, while my husband and I enjoyed all the temples, traditions and green landscapes. Bali really had something for each of us.

I can’t deny though that we suffered from the heat. While adults can more or less deal with 30°C and higher, young kids struggle. Our daughter is usually a good walker, but in Bali 200 metres were waaaayyy too long for her. So we had to do a lot of carrying, which isn’t enjoyable under such conditions. You might wonder why we carried her instead of using a stroller; the road and pavement conditions make it impossible to go for a walk with a baby buggy (especially in Ubud).

So we did a few trips with our Deuter Kid Comfort (which is a life-saver) and spent a lot of time in taxis to visit different places in the cultural Centre, relaxed East and buzzy South of the island. Word of advice: if your kid is too small to properly sit in a regular car seat with a regular seat belt, you should pre-book your taxis with a service like Bali Bubs, who do not only offer airport transfers with baby conform vehicles but also rent out baby equipment if you plan to travel light. We were lucky in a way, as our girl is way too tall for her age and was comfortable and safe in the middle seat of the taxi back bench.

Time wise, two weeks were perfect without being in a constant rush. Quiet days are essential when travelling with kids and so we spent 7 days in Ubud, 4 days in Amed and 5 days in Benoa Beach. But even the lazy days at the hotels were an adventure (pools, restaurants, kids club, …), so I would have been glad to stay for a third week.

Our accommodation was always kid friendly, which is why we can recommend:

The gallery below is chronological. Read the image captions to discover Bali the way we did and learn more about this beautiful place in the heart of Indonesia.

 

 

Can’t get enough? Here are two bonus videos I created.

Enjoy a compilation of various Balinese dancers that appeared on stage at the Peliatan Royal Palace in Ubud on the 21st of April 2018.

Get a feeling how snorkeling in Amed can look like.

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Photo Essay: El Hierro

After visiting El Hierro, the smallest of the Canary Islands, I have been approached several times by people asking us how much time to spend there. Obviously, it all depends on your holiday style. If you love spending quiet days at the beach you can stay there forever. But if you are interested in visiting all the popular corners recommended in travel guides, I’d say 1 week is perfect, especially if you travel with kids and don’t want to (read can’t) go at a crazy speed.

Here are my personal highlights from our week in El Hierro. Please click through the gallery to read the captions for more details…

And here is a short bonus video of some crabs in La Caleta, fighting against the strong waves of the sea. I filmed this on our way out from the public pools in La Caleta. Who’s up for a bath?

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Photo Essay: Maisons-Laffitte Parc Thoughout The Year

maisons-laffitte, france

You have to imagine the Parc de Maisons-Laffitte like an oasis in the concrete jungle of the Paris suburbs; an oasis to not simply stroll, picnic or play in — it’s an oasis to live in. Therefore, its preservation must be ensured.

A municipal association is deciding about each single construction project that could change the look of the park. You want a larger garage? Get the association to approve. You want to build a house? Get the association to approve (tough one!). You want to open a shop or restaurant? Deal with the immediate rejection. There are no commercial buildings in the Parc de Maisons-Laffitte, despite of its size: 7km². The park makes up for 60% of the surface of Maisons-Laffitte, while 40% of the city’s inhabitants live there.

Those 60% of Maisons-Laffite are a haven for castle lovers and horses (they have priority at all times and even better walkways than pedestrians do). The park is wild, lush, full of trees and birds (I have seen parakeets here) and undergoes an ever changing floral look. Maisons-Laffitte Parc is a great place to be for nature lovers, who seek a remote spot for living while being only a 20 minutes train ride away from Paris.

Spring

Summer

Autumn

Winter

Have a look at this city map, which puts the size of the Parc de Maisons-Laffitte into better perspective.

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Photo Essay: Dijon’s Owl Trail In Winter Look

Dijon is chouette. Literally!

I visited Burgundy’s capital during the Christmas holidays last year, aiming for some good wine, maybe a Kir or two and of cause a good sausage with Dijon mustard. Little else did I know about that place.

So like the majority of tourists I started exploring the city by following the owl trail (La Chouette), which leads through the town’s center and stops at 22 different points to make everyone discover Dijon’s history and charm.

Right there, on day 1, I was totally blown away how photogenic Dijon is. I thought it was so fabulous (chouette in French) indeed that I did not only climb up the old Tour Philippe le Bon in the heart of the town to marvel at the view above its rooftops, but I also revisited the same corners with my tripod after sunset.

Please browse my photo gallery for location descriptions:

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Photo Essay: Queensland, Australia

As we travelled from Cairns to Brisbane (North to South) we discovered that Queensland is much more than sunny beaches, surfers and adventure parks. There are also endless stretches of straight boring roads, millions of acres of sugar cane and in between — these treasures…

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Photo Essay: Northern Territory, Australia

How could I ever squeeze the words “freezing”, “dry”, “red”, “traditional”, “heat”, “crocodile”, “billabong”, “blue” and “bushfire” into one photo essay description without writing a novel? You’re right, I can’t. So let me just briefly discuss some weather phenomenons of the Northern Territory, which create a huge natural variety and diversity on the 1,800 kilometres between Australia’s tropical North and the continent’s arid centre.

During our first week in the Red Centre — around Alice Springs — we didn’t see a single cloud. Unfortunately, that clear blue sky over the desert didn’t offer much protection when temperatures dropped from comfortable 20°C over the day to uncomfortable 0°C at night. Camping fun!

That said, taking the plane to Darwin to spend our second week in the Northern Territory’s tropical North sounded like the greatest thing since sliced bread. Due to the wet season, when tropical cyclones and monsoons reign the northern top end, the Darwin region gets 9 times more rain each year than the central desert. While it didn’t rain during our stay (July = dry season), we got to see some clouds up north; and we were finally back to comfortable camping temperatures at night.

Let’s have a look at how these weather differences influence(d) the land, nature and animals of the Northern Territory.

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Photo Essay: Vivid Singapore

After a 1 hour bus ride through Singapore’s CBD in 2011 (transit tourism), we figured it could be fun to spend more time in that city-state. So we went back for 1 week this year, crashing at friends.

While malicious tongues claim it’s not worth it to spend a whole week in Singapore, we wouldn’t agree. We were actually quite occupied, never bored, and didn’t even manage to see all places of interest. The locations we enjoyed most were the ones standing out for their colourful appearance. Please click on the photos below to read their captions and learn more.

Anja’s “Singapore To Do List” (for a 1 week visit):

  • Stroll around the Marina Bay to soak up the skyline (best combined with the daily laser show schedule)
  • Visit the Marina Bay Sands casino (bring your passport since you officially “leave” Singapore when entering the place) and cocktail bar on the roof (you better win some cash in the casino for this one)
  • Marvel at beautiful native plants and orchids in the Botanical Garden
  • Visit China Town and plan in enough time for the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, shopping and lunch
  • Walk in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and watch out for macaques
  • Do the 11km circuit to the Tree Top Walk and back in MacRitchie Reservoir
  • Visit Singapore’s Zoo and try to join 2 or 3 of their daily animal shows or feeding sessions
  • For more shopping, Orchard Street is a must, though I admit it made me really tired
  • Shopping on a local market however is fun; try to taste (or completely avoid) Durian fruits

Got time left?

  • Visit one of the men-made islands (e.g. Sentosa) in the South for some beach flair
  • Book a 1-hour-flight to Kuala Lumpur and visit Malaysia for a day

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