NOMAD – No Ordinary Meals And Drinks

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I live in Bruges, the most beautiful city of Belgium.
As much as I love to travel, I can’t be always on the road. So occasionally I like to go out  and discover new places to enjoy with friends and family.

NOMAD is one of the new it-places and is located in the center of Bruges. It’s the perfect location to have breakfast, lunch or a sweet break between your shopping spree or cultural visit.

I went there with a friend to catch up while having breakfast. Everything is being made with bio products from their local farm, which I think is a plus.

We ordered the Kickstart breakfast and asked for an egg with that and the All day breakfast sandwich.

NOMAD

NOMAD

The breakfast was tasty, especially the farm style ovenbread! The juice was fresh, the coffee hot and strong! The service was friendly.

A very good place to catch up with friends over a yummy breakfast, lunch or cake.

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My travel bucketlist

quote travel

This quote has been posted many, many times before me.
But who does this not apply to? Who wouldn’t want to travel the world?
Just imagine you could go anywhere without having to save money for a few months or even years.. Where would you go??

Here’s my top 5 of countries I really want to see one day :

  • Australia : not one place in particularly but a round trip would be amazing. I’m a big fan of Home and Away and the renovation tv show House rules, also Masterchef Australia has been a big inspiration to go visit Down Under. Must see : The Opera House in Sydney, The Salamanca market in Hobart, Summer Bay (the hometown of the people in Home and away, I was once told this town really exists), the great barrier reef and plenty more to discover.
  • Bali : A round trip to see all the beauty the nature of bali has to offer. Ubud must be one of the stops. And with this maybe an extra few days to go to Java.
  • Brazil : After seeing some tv shows where Brazil was the hosting country, it makes us want to go there someday.
  • Japan : again a round trip would make me very happy. I’ve heard you have the 4 seasons in Japan, which makes me curious to experience it. There is snow, sun, spring and middle temperatures. Tokyo, Kyoto, Fuji Mountain. And just the way of life, the stress, the tea, the geishas, everything.
  • Mexico : this would be a relaxing holiday. Probably Cancùn, for all the beaches.

And of course the world has much more to offer and to see. A citytrip to New York or Rome would be on my bucketlist and going to Croatia or seeing some more of Africa would also be very tempting. The world is big enough for all of us to see and enjoy it. I’ll try to see as many countries as possible. One country at a time.

I am very curious about your travel bucket list! Let me know what countries or places you would love to explore. And if you have any tips for me to add to my list or must see’s please let me know!

Magical Marrakech

Have you ever been to Marrakech? We did and it was the best citytrip we’ve made. After seeing and hearing a lot, positive as well as negative, we wanted to see for our selves what’s the fuzz about Marrakech. What is that place called Jemaa al Fna? Or the souks, the old town, the new town, … ?

Jemaa al Fna

We’ve stayed in Dellarosa Suite and Spa, a 4* hotel in Marrakech. The hotel has the perfect location for a short stay in Marrakech. We were able to go to the old city center (where the souks are) as well as to the new center (Guéliz) without having to take a taxi or shuttle bus. Everything was nearby! Another plus is the more than friendly staff. They really had that mediterranean character where a good morning, good afternoon and good evening come from the heart.
The hotel has a rooftop bar which gives you a view on the city center. There’s also a refreshing pool (too bad it has little sunlight because of the buildings surrounding the hotel) and a big spa area (same prices as in western europe).

rooftop view dellarosa

We started off by going to the Jemaa al Fna market square. This is what we came for. First impression : how big, how vivid, it only makes me curious  to go explore some more! All day long there are plenty of things to see.
By day you have the juice stands (yummy freshly pressed juices!!), the people selling ‘real’ argan oil, women who do henna tattoos, musicians and of course all the special attractions like the snakes, the birds, the monkeys, and traditional clothed men who want you to take a picture with them.
Don’t be fooled, they all do it for the money, even when they say it is a gift or free for you. Keep this in mind and you won’t feel bothered by all of this. Make sure you have some coins in your pocket to give after taking a picture.
At night the place transforms into a big open air restaurant. Many food stands offer you delicious food for little money. You have to experience this and try some of the local dishes.

jemaa al fna

jemaa al fna

jemaa al fna

I really wanted to go visit the Jardins Majorelle. Yves Saint Laurent bought the villa in this beautiful botanical garden to prevent it from being transformed into a hotel complex and found lots of inspiration here.
The gardens are amazing and very colorful! The main color is blue, which is called the majorelle blue. There are many plants to see, you can sit there and enjoy the beauty and silence in this vivid city.

Majorelle

Majorelle

Majorelle

Majorelle

After this we went to the Palmeraie, a piece of desert just outside the city. We did a camel ride, but you can also walk trough it or go for a beach buggy tour. I found it a bit overpriced but we enjoyed it anyway.gracefullyDebby 410

For shopping we went to Guéliz, the new town. Here you find all kinds of shops and many known brands. Plenty of coffee and juice bars have a sunny terrace where we enjoyed a drink or two.
Another place to shop are the souks , it’s some kind of labyrinth full of small streets where you enjoy getting lost.
I loved walking in the medina every day and discovering new places every time. A visit to the local barber shop, a spa, herbs, anything can be found in the souks!

souks

Another way to see the city is by horse carriage, which is also very romantic and if you’re lucky you get some extra information by your driver.
– As we passed by the royal palace the flags were out meaning king Mohammed was in the house.

We would love to go back soon! This is the perfect getaway to relax.
When going to Marrakech I would recommend a hotel or riadh close to the old city center and not to take an all inclusive formula. Jemaa al Fna has so many great food to offer for so little money it would be a pity to miss out on all of this!

Not so far from Marrakech you have the Ourika valley with the Atlas mountains, great for an adventurous walk.
And I was told the red beach is a great place to enjoy a sunny day. Sitting by the pool, chilling with friends, listening to lounge music, sipping cocktails is what the red beach is all about.

Please let me know what are your hotspots in Marrakech? Did you love it there?

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My 5 questions to … Clay

While browsing the web looking for travel inspiration I found Clay. He’s a twenty – something U.S. traveler, university student and entrepreneur.
While he travels he writes about his adventures on the road while giving plenty of tips and tricks to enjoy traveling without exploding your budget. His upcoming adventure is moving to Scotland.

He was so kind to respond to my 5 questions to keep others inspired!

  • When did it hit you, you like to travel and blog about it? Was it one holiday in particular?

Nope! It wasn’t a particular holiday. It was completely random, really. I remember 2 months out from graduating high school asking myself if the career path I had chosen was what I wanted in my heart (it was being a police officer) and I asked myself what I would do if I could do anything. Like any sane person I said “Travel the world!” Luckily I had some writing chops and was recognized by my peers as being talented in that area which gave me some confidence, so travel writing it was. About a year later I launched Headed Abroad.

  • What was the best hotel you’ve ever been to?

That’s a tough question! I would have to go with this place I stayed in Dearborn, Michigan. I can’t even remember the name of the place, but it was typically used for business travelers. What I liked about it the most was that it was 10 or so stories tall and the entire middle was carved into a giant atrium. There was a bar and lounge area at the bottom and a big pool (i’m a sucker for pools) inside. 

  • What holiday surprised you the most? What country/city was more amazing than you thought it would be?

The holiday that surprised me the most was a trip I took to Florida. I spent a week traveling through tourist areas in cities like Orlando. I’m typically not a big fan of tourist attractions, but there was the Harry Potter World at Universal and of course being a massive fan I had to go.

  • What holiday was a disappointment? When you thought it would be great but really wasn’t.

Hmm, good question! I can’t say I have one particular holiday that was a disappointment because i’m generally fairly satisfied when i’m traveling. A recent disappointment though that I had was plans to head to Colorado that ended up falling through. Travel plans falling through is the worst!

  • What country/city/hotel is your #1 on your wishing list?

The number one on my list right now is Scotland. I’ve heard incredible things about it and i’ve been wanting to go for years. I even read a guidebook on it because I wanted to go so badly even though I didn’t have any plans at the time. Thankfully, in early to mid-August i’ll be moving there for 3.5 months just outside of Edinburgh and taking a guided tour of the Highlands as well as a few other trips when I can afford them. I’m going to have to find a new #1 pretty soon!

If you’re curious about Clay’s adventure in Scotland or interested in his tips and tricks while traveling you should definitely check him out here : headedabroad

Discovering Atlantis the Palm, Dubai

Atlantis the palmThe second stop we made on our UAE trip was Atlantis the Palm in Dubai! This is the ultimate luxury experience!

From our hotel in Abu Dhabi we took a taxi to Atlantis the Palm in Dubai. It took us about one hour drive to get there. The hotels we’ve passed were already amazing, but once arrived I was amazed with the grandeur and luxury the Atlantis emits!

Plenty of cars, taxis and limousines stop all the time at Atlantis. Many bellboys are ready and help you and your luggages out of the car.
Once we’ve entered I was overwhelmed! This must be a dream I’m in.. Could this be real?? A big sculpture of colorful hand blown glass pieces (more than 3000!) is the first thing you see. Then, i had no idea where to check in. Many counters are to be seen, but a concierge saw my hesitation and came right up to us and guided us to the check in counter we needed.
There are many nationalities working in Atlantis the palm so the language you speak is probably one they speak as well.

glass sculpture atlantis

glass sculpture atlantis

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Atlantis the palm entry

The deluxe guest room is a classic standerd hotel room with all you need on a holiday. There is a balcony, a desk, flatscreen, fresh fruits, a safe,… But how the bathroom was my favorite place in this room! A spatious walk-in shower and a bath from where you can open a door to have an open view in the room.
The products of ESPA are amazing to use!
The fruit in the room is daily fresh and even the water bottles have the Atlantis brand on them. Like how cool is that!

We had only two days in Dubai, so we wanted to make the best out of it. Atlantis provided a free shuttle bus taking you to any shopping mall you want. We wanted to start with the outlet shopping mall and then go to the Dubai Mall. The trip to the outlet shopping mall was very long and so not worth it. We didn’t find our luck and decided to take a taxi to the Dubai Mall. My gosh! What a difference! This mall is so big! You can go skiing, ice skating, shop, eat, drink, there is even a rainforest cafe (one of my favorite stops in London) and much more.
Outside the shopping mall you can visit the Burj Khalifa. As for us, time was not on our side and we had to make a choice : shopping or visiting the Burj..
Yes, I know, we should be ashamed but we preferred the shopping. However we took some pictures of the building, at least we saw it from the ground up.

Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa

I bought some traditional caftans, to wear at wedding parties. Every time I wear them it’s a great success, especially when I tell them I bought these in Dubai. The caftans of Dubai have a great quality and are known to be very glittery.

Back in the hotel we had our dinner at Kaleidoscope, same restaurant where we took breakfast. There is a wide variety of foods. Every cuisine has its place and as it is a buffet you can try many things!

The next morning after breakfast we went for a special date! My childhood dream coming true! A swim with the dolphins! Oh my god, I can’t believe this is really happening!
A small shuttle took us to Dolphin Bay, within Atlantis the palm. We were checked in, and had to wait until it was our turn. Once inside we had to put on some surf gear and had to remove everything that could come loose. After this we had instructions on what was about to happen and what we need to be careful about.
And then, le moment suprême!! My dolphin encounter! He was so soft and sweet and cute! There was one dolphin per 6 people to meet. We had a few moments to touch the dolphin and to dance with it! Also he took us swimming. After a hug and a kiss the time had already come to say goodbye.. This was amazing! Like really! One of the best moments in my life!

dolphin bay

dolphin bay

In the afternoon we went for some fun in Aquaventure. The water park also located within Atlantis the palm. As we already went for a waterpark in Abu Dhabi (Yas waterworld, Discovering abu dhabi) we decided to spend only one afternoon instead of a full day. The park was great! Plenty to see and do! Of course we had to do the leap of faith. The most vertical waterslide in the park. We felt like kids again, having so much fun in one day!  aquaventure

This hotel has so many to offer you could spend 2 (or more) days in Dubai without even leaving the hotel.
It offers 20 restaurants, plenty of bars, a lot of activities. The hotel is also very child friendly!

After a swim in the royal pool, which has an amazing view over the seaside (beach, burj al arab,..) we prepared to visit the lost chambers. These are the aquariums with all kinds of fish! Kids adore this place, it has something magical about it. All this colors and different kinds of fish!

lost chambers

lost chambers

I must say I regret not having had more time to enjoy this hotel any longer. We saw the highlights but ran short out of time to see more of Dubai itself. But surely we feel blessed to have been here. We enjoyed every moment we had here.

Something about chasing dreams

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A few days ago I saw this quote on the Instagrampage of thegoodquotethegoodquote
As I just made up my mind about taking my blog more seriously,  this was not a difficult question.
I really want this blog! I like travelling and I see happiness in the small things (like a good cup of coffee).
My blog goal is to keep a memory of the wonderful, fun places I’ve been to or have experienced rather than making money out of it. It’s my journal and I like to share it with everyone who is willing to make the time to read and maybe try for themselves.

So yes, If money didn’t exist I would still chase my blog, and thus travel, dream!

How about you guys? What are your dreams and would you still chase them if there was nothing like money?

Discovering Abu Dhabi

Let me tell you about my highlights of Abu Dhabi.

In Abu Dhabi we stayed on Yas Island. Our hotel provided a complimentary shuttle bus which makes many stops on the island, so you can visit all the hotspots!

Our favorite fun spot on Yas Island : Yas Waterworld without a doubt! 20140529_142016
42°C, ideal temperature for some water fun! There are water slides, a rollercoaster, a pool with waves and so much more! We had the best day!
We’ve been on all the slides, there was no waiting time! Amazing!
If you don’t want to carry around a bag with  money, you can charge some money on a bracelet which makes payments easier!


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Another visit on Yas Island was Yas beach. This is a private beach, with seats and cabanas. The beach is very peaceful and gives you a great view over some of the hotspots in Abu Dhabi. The waiters serving you is a big plus! For me Abu Dhabi was all about luxury and this is a very welcome service on the beach. 20140528_161428
When you go a bit further, leaving Yas Island, a must see for everyone visiting Abu Dhabi is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. We went around 4pm because at this time you visit the mosque in daylight, but when you leave it starts shimmering and they turn on all the lights which creates a magical atmosphere! A very impressing mosque!
Watch out : no pictures where you touch your partner (not even a hand)! Security comes right up and watches you delete your pictures! I’m still amazed by the beauty of this big, rich mosque!

Hisilicon K3

Hisilicon K3

Hisilicon K3

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As my husband is a big fan of jet-skiing we asked our hotel concierge if this was possible anywhere nearby. He made a few phone calls and one hour later we sat in a taxi which took us to the Shangri La hotel where they would pick us up to go jet skiing. Yeah!! We had fun! Our playground was a calm river from which we could see the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

Then, of course, shopping in Abu Dhabi. Our favorite mall was the Marina mall in Abu Dhabi center. You can shop the big brands, there are plenty of coffee shops (Hello Starbucks!) and even an ice skating rink!
Al Wahda Mall was also big. Although for me, once you’ve been to one mall in Abu Dhabi they all look alike.
Since this trip was a year ago already, there is now a shopping mall on Yas Island, named Yas Mall.

As for eating we had 3 excellent dinners!
First : Amici in our hotel Yas Viceroy. A great italian restaurant.
Second : we enjoyed the buffet in Corniche hotel. Plenty of choice, freshly made food and a superb dessert buffet! (Yes, I’m a sweet tooth).
But this one really needs to be seen because words cannot describe the experience : Rosewater. This restaurant is located in the very luxury Etihad Towers. Before this holiday I wasn’t used to this kind of luxury! Waw! The entry is full of big, poshy cars (Lamborghini, Porsche, Rolls Royce, limousines,…). Every door comes with a concierge.
The restaurant itself has a beautiful location in the Towers. You can sit inside (plenty of space) or outside (hello poolview). We sat outside to enjoy the view and the more quiet setting. What can I say, the buffet had a big range of foods. Everything tasted perfect! And again the dessert buffet!! OMG! The chocolate fountain, the cakes, the sweets, the fruit,… Just Oh My God!

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Well, this was my Abu Dhabi. I feel blessed to have visited all this amazing places.
If I could ever go back, I would like to visit Ferrari World, Yas Mall, The emirates palace (they serve golden coffee!!) and the beaches in Abu Dhabi center.

Keep on travelling!