Saturday, May 18, 2013

Around the globe

There's a lot of places in the world I've visited and lost my heart to.
I wanted to make a list of these countries or places and tell you why I love them so much.

First of all, I am truly a lucky person to have parents who travel a lot, that's the reason why I already had the chance to visit quite a lot of countries in my still very young life (I'm turning 20 tomorrow!!)

1. New York City

The first place I am genuinely in love with is of course New York City
I already wanted to live there when I was about 8 or 9 years old and hadn't even visited the big apple yet. Everything in the world seems to be - how should I put this - tracing back to New York. I mean, that it is - to me - the center of the world, the place where everything happens. 

Anno 2013, I already have about 9 "Welcome to New York"-stamps in my passport. 
I don't really remember the first time I visited the city, I was only 10 years old, but I remember the feeling of being totally overwhelmed by the rare beauty of this concrete jungle. 
In the meantime I've been growing up while visiting New York almost every year, but the feeling I get when I'm there, has never changed. 

I get this feeling of being SO anonymous and free, you can do whatever you like and no one will care or be judged about it; whether that's wearing a prom dress with combat boots or walking a donkey in the middle street. And I like it that way. 

In the shops every employee says "Hi, how are you" and "Have a good day!" and whether they mean it or not, that doesn't really matter, it leaves you with a nice feeling. In Belgium people are more rigid and reserved, which makes communicating with strangers far more difficult (and awkward). 

In the meantime, I let go of my dream of living in NYC because I realized that I need space and nature around me; and as much as I love central park, it's just not enough. 

I love just hanging out by myself, blending in with the crowd. That way you can view the city like a native New Yorker (I love that song).

One of the main reasons I love New York: they have SoHo. SoHo is just such an artsy, lovable neighbourhood that makes you forget you're in the center of the Manhattan-madness. 

So, I'll leave it at that for New York, cause I could go on and on, and on, and on.. :) :) :) :)

Times Square - New York

2. the South of Africa

I've been to Southern Africa the first time when I was 14 (actually on my 14th birthday, I celebrated it in Johannesburg). It was only a short trip but I enjoyed it to the fullest. We did safari's near Krügerpark and I had the weirdest feeling ever. I felt so scared because of all the very dangerous and very unpredictable wild animals such as leopards, lions and elephants and at the same time I was overwhelmed by the beauty of nature in its purest form. The Savannah is really an undamaged land, it has looked the same for ages and ages (I wasn't there but I can imagine ha-ha)

So South-Africa was the first country I visited in the whole of Southern Africa and I fell in love instantly. We've been going to Africa almost every year ever since and I've visited another part of South-Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, Namibia and a little part of Zimbabwe in the mean time.

My favorite country ever is Namibia. It's just so deserted (and desert-ed), has extraordinary wildlife and the most beautiful nature I've ever seen. Being in Namibia was overall one of the best feelings I ever had.

The rest of the countries I visited in Africa still rank high on my favorites list, but Namibia was the absolute champion.


Desert of Namibia

Desert in Namibia


Namibian Elephant

Damaraland - Namibia

Me & my sister - Safari car! 

Guide in Damaraland - Namibia

3. California

This one's very obvious. In California, life is sweet. I've visited it twice and it's exactly like you'd imagine. Endless boulevards, palmtrees, streets filled with SUV's, tan people on skateboards, the ocean, Beverly Hills.... aahhhh the good life!

The weather in California stays more or less the same throughout the year and it's awesome. It's kind of springlike the whole year round. Of course it gets a little hotter in summertime and a little colder in wintertime but the differences aren't as horrifying as in Belgium. (Oh how I love the Belgian weather. Pause. Not.)

So California is awesome, especially Santa Barbara and San Diego.. I can't emphasise enough how much I love these places and how much/soon you have to visit them!

Me and my sister in the Santa Inéz mountains in California

4. Ecuador - Galapagos Islands

In April of this year, my family and me went on a 3-week trip to Ecuador and the last 4 days to the Galapagos Islands, the place where Charles Darwin started his theory about evolution.
When I first saw Ecuador, the first country I ever visited in South-America, my mind was blown. The atmosphere is so different from Europe.

In Ecuador we did a lot of traveling, we saw Quito, Guayaquil, two major cities, the Amazon rainforest, Vulcanos, the Andes (of course), little markets, llamas, wildwaterrivers, Napo-indians, and much more..  For me the highlight of Ecuador was the wild-waterriver in the Amazon rain forest and the rafting we did on the river. We had so much fun!

For the last 4 days we flew to Galapagos. Galapagos is a group of 13 islands in the pacific ocean that belong to Ecuador.
The Galapagos islands are known for the giant (wild but still not so wild) tortoises, tropical fish in the pacific, crabs, sealions, blue-footed boobies, rocky and vulcanic landscape and soil, land-Iguanas and Charles Darwins theory about evolution. 

While we were there, we did a land-tortoise tour, we went snorkling twice, we visited the other islands and we did an excursion to a local foodmarket.

The snorkling was the experience I remember best because it was something I normally would never do. Because I really don't like fish, dead or alive. But I couldn't let a snorkling session in the pacific go by, could I?
So I did it. The first snorkling session was amazing, apart from the fact that I couldn't handle my snorkling gear so I took a few big gulps of -yummy- seawater. It was awesome, I saw tons of tropical fish (like Dory from Finding Nemo), a playing sealion swam by me and I saw 4 small sharks of about 1m. I wasn't too happy to see sharks, but the guides informed us about them, they're not dangerous at all.

But then... Day two of snorkling was more of an exciting experience (or horrifying). The whole time, I was snorkling peacefully, just me among those tropical fish, minding my own business. When I was done snorkling and thought I'd seen enough, I was swimming back to the beach.
WHEN SUDDENLY a big 2 meter-long shark swam my way at 10000000000 kilometers/hour (I might exaggerate a little, but it was really fast). I immediately jumped up and shouted "SHARK!!!!!" which is probably the least smart move you could make, because then you don't see where this giant shark goes next. I almost had a heartattack. I returned to the beach and started breathing again (ha-ha).

After all, the shark was probably harmless and was just a little scared of all the snorklers in the water. Unless you're bleeding (or he's very hungry), I think every shark is more or less harmless.

So that was my story about the Galapagos Islands. Overall, it was an amazing experience to be in an almost prehistoric place, to swim among these fish and to see the land-tortoises of which some are probably 150 years old.

I would love to go back there some day.

Andes - Ecuador - Nono

Andes - Ecuador

Chimborazo Vulcano - Ecuador

Market in Ecuador

me & a little doggy in Ecuador

Iguana on Galapagos




Blue footed boobies

5. Paris

"Paris is always a good idea" -Audrey Hepburn

A quote by one of my favorite actresses of all time - and she is so totally right.
Cliché, I know, but Paris is always a good idea. It's the city of amour, it's only 3-4 hours away from where I live (Antwerp, Belgium) and you feel like you're in a totally different world.

Paris has the pittoresque places like Montmartre, it has the cute restaurants and boutiques, it has the Champs Elysée and of course, the Eiffel tower.. what more do you need?

me and my beloved cousin a few decades ago (6 years) in Paris!

Places I already visited: Belgium (of course), the Netherlands, England, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, Poland, Rhodos, Cyprus, Israel, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, the U.S., the border of Canada (Niagara falls), Tijuana in Mexico, Ecuador, the Galapagos islands, South-Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, Namibia, Zimbabwe (Victoria falls), Sardegna, and Egypt.

I hope you enjoyed this very long post about my favorite places on earth!

Big kiss from Birthdaygirl

1 comment:

Elise said...

Ik ben zooo jaloers!Maar goed dat ik het toegeef he!