The Arts District: Downtown LA’s Neighborhood-on-the-Rise

Upon first glance, it may not look like much, but take a closer look and you’ll see Downtown LA’s Arts District is more than just early 20th century warehouses and abandoned factories. Must-see galleries, socially-conscious eateries, stylish coffee shops, and trendy blocks are popping up more and more, and Angelinos seeking novel streets to meander and new backdrops for their photos are starting to flock as they catch wind of this hip neighborhood.

Having lived in LA for more than half a decade, I revel in any opportunity to explore places I don’t usually frequent. So, with a fairly open weekend on my hands, I made the drive downtown. With the sun deciding to greet me after a week of Southern California’s infamous “June Gloom”, it was hard to leave my beach town. But, I’m so glad I did.

Zinc Café
Fourth-generation vegetarian, John Secretan attended school in Berkeley, California and dreamed of bringing the vibe of the area down to LA. Opening his first Zinc Café in Laguna Beach almost 30 years ago, Secretan lived behind his first ever food industry venture in a small wooden shack to ensure he’d always have a close hand in the business. 

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Choose to eat indoors or out; either way, the dining areas are a welcome respite from the busy city

After years of renovating and expanding, a new branch of Zinc opened in Downtown Los Angeles, boasting the franchise’s first full service restaurant and bar. With three years under its belt now, my brunch experience was a success and filled with creamy lattes, fresh dishes, and creative cocktails. www.zinccafe.com

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Zinc’s Asparagus Sandwich with a poached egg on top

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Zinc offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, cocktails, and desserts

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Bar Mateo is the newest addition to Zinc, with a craft cocktail bar set in a 1914-built barn

Street Art at Every Corner
Cities around the world are seeing a sprouting cultural wave involving Street Art, and the artists behind the paint are turning into household names. The Downtown Arts District is no stranger to this popular movement. In wandering the streets, you can find hand-painted murals, airbrushed stencils, or thought-provoking proverbs to fit your day’s mood.

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I was so excited to see work by Wrdsmth, currently my favorite street artist!

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Art everywhere!

Pit Stop at Resident
Perhaps one of the coolest places I’ve discovered in a while is Resident, tucked away only blocks from the popular Arts District Co-op* and other chic shops. What began as a studio for the artist-owners, this is “not-your-grandmother’s” backyard, as it has been transformed into a hybrid of a bar, beer garden, and music venue. With beer, wine, and cocktails on tap, drinks are served out of an Airstream, and semi-permanent food trucks are carted in to help you beat those mid-day cravings. At night, the inside opens up as a hip bar, as well. Bonus: The owners, Tim and Bridget Vagedes, still live there, as they’ve secured an RV on the roof of the three-story former metal shop and warehouse, decked out with string lights, yard decorations, and plenty of greenery. www.residentdtla.com

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Resident’s Airstream: an innovative bar

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A peek at Resident’s eclectic outdoor seating

The Arts District Co-op is a landmark not to be missed. Picture a 15,000-square foot indoor flea market, but with nothing but the most up-to-date fashions and desirable trinkets. Over two dozen vendors offer jewelry, apparel, home goods, and, if you’re in the market, art of all mediums. Plus, there’s a permanent stage set up in the back for live music featured on the third Saturday of every month!

As the sun set, I didn’t want to admit that the day was coming to a close. I had only scratched the surface of this neighborhood-on-the-rise and hungered for more. For example, the Arts District Brewing Company has finishing tanks stationed behind each bar to serve tap beer straight from the source; and, while sipping your suds, you can play Skee-Ball or try your hand at table hockey. Westbound, unobtrusively set along the perimeter of a mixed-use walk street (both residences and storefronts share this stretch), features craft cocktails, seasonal small bites, and even boozy milkshakes.

It’s not hard to see why this area is becoming so popular, as the Arts District has a little bit of something for everyone. With so many more to streets explore, shops to peruse, and bites to nibble, I’ll certainly be making my way downtown more often.

Love,

Shae

*Shae is our guest blogger from Los Angeles. An educator whose lust for experience influences her teaching, she travels with the desire to immerse herself in diverse cultures, seeking new adventure and inspiring others to engage with compassion and expand their world view. Follow Shae on Instagram! @seekvantage

The Dutch Weed Burger Joint

You must have seen The Dutch Weed Burger at various food festivals, markets or events. If you haven’t, you should try it because it’s one of the most innovating burgers in the world right now. You could already order the special burger at many restaurants around the country but now it’s time for the venture opened it’s first vegan-seaweed-fastfood-bar in Amsterdam West called The Dutch Weed Burger Joint.

The Dutch Weed Burger Joint, Burgers
The famous Weed Burgers Source

Sea Weed is a natural product and the food of the future

Come to this new vegan hotspot for a tasty bite with a beer in your hand and enjoy a 100% plant based menu. Besides the Weed Burger you can also order Seawharma, The Dutch Weed Dog and Wish ‘n Chips. The Joint will also serve freshly made Mylkshakes 100% vegan sweets like the Galaxy Doughnut. Sounds good!

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The new location. Source

So Why Seaweed?
The burger is made out of seaweed but don’t be alarmed, it actually taste very good plus there are a lot of health benefits. Sea Weed is a natural product and the food of the future. Sea Weed natural contains protein, omega 3 and minerals. Many scientists believe that this powerful plant could save the world if we run out of resources. It hardly needs any sweet water or space so it’s good for the environment. A win-win situation!

Dutch Weed Burger Joint
Nicolaas Beetstraat 47, Amsterdam
Open: wed – sun 11.00 – 21.30
Website

Love,

Elke

Looking for more tasty hotspots in Amsterdam?

LUST Spots

 

Summer in the city, why we love Amsterdam

It’s no secret that we are crazy in love with Amsterdam. Even though we travel around the world and have seen so many amazing places, it’s such a good feeling to fly back to Amsterdam, the city we call our home. Like most cities, Amsterdam is at it’s best during summer. There are ton’s of events, places to sit outside and summer festivals. In collaboration with www.weekendesk.nl we have lined up a few reasons why Amsterdam is our favorite city in..well, the world!

Those Canals..
Yep, that’s Amsterdam’s little Venice. There’s nothing like it and during summer you can’t miss out on the many boats floating around the canals of our city. It’s very common for a group of friends to hire a boat where everybody brings wine, snacks and music to enjoy the day until the sun goes down. At night you can enjoy the canals as most of them are lit up by romantic lights.

It’s Foodie Heaven
New York, Bangkok, Los Angeles, Berlin, Paris, London you name it, we’ve all been there but Amsterdam seriously has some of the best food divided over different area’s. Because it’s so multicultural, you can literally find all sorts of cuisines here. From Asian, Moroccan, Italian, French to Tapas or Vegan. It’s here. If there is a new food hype, you can probably find it here in Amsterdam. Some of our favorite restaurants are BAK, Cottoncake, A-Fusion and Bo Nam.

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On Friday nights you can find us at Bo Nam!

Green, Greener, Greenest
Because Amsterdam is so wide and open, we have a lot of space for green. Meaning, we have a park in almost every part of the city. If you live in West you have Westerpark, If you live in East, you have Oosterpark, if you live in South, you have Amstelpark and the center has the famous Vondelpark of course. We haven’t even mentioned the large Amsterdamse Bos which is more of a forest! Check out our green urban route in Amsterdam.

Urban adventure with Wander-Lust
In the forest of Amsterdam

Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin. ― John Green

Terraces Everywhere!
Unlike a city like New York, we have a lot of space in between the buildings and houses. Therefore many restaurant and bar owners have a licence to serve drinks and food outside. This is what makes Amsterdam extra special. If the sun shines, everyone is outside. Check out the best terraces in Amsterdam West and Amsterdam East or look a little higher and find out where the best rooftop terraces are.

Restaurant Bureau rooftop

It’s Close to the Beach
If it’s more than 25 degrees outside and you’re in need of a sea breeze to cool you off, you can drive to the beach within 25 minutes. You have many options to choose from but we love Wijk aan Zee, Zandvoort and if you want to stay really close, you can visit Blijburg beach which is actually IN Amsterdam!

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At Timboektoe Beachclub, Wijk aan Zee

We have some of the best Museums in the world
This is actually a fact. The Van Gogh Museum is one of the most visited museums in the world with more than 2.000.000 visits. Besides that we have the Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk for modern art, FOAM for photography and of course the famous Anne Frank house. Nemo is a science museum for kids and Amsterdam hosts many exhibitions throughout the year at various locations.

Summer Festivals
If you like summer festivals, Amsterdam is perfect for you! Our city hosts a stagering 300(!) festivals per year so you can only imagine how many there are during the summer. From dance festivals to foodtrucks, kids or festivals for the LGBT community, it’s all here!

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Amsterdam has so many festivals to choose from

Amsterdam is very diverse, also when it comes to it’s people. Most people who live here, weren’t born or raised here but pretty much consider themselves as an Amsterdam citizen. Why? Because they are proud to live in Amsterdam. And yes, we are guilty as charged, because we are “imported” as well. Almost 10 years ago! We can’t imagine leaving this beautiful city just yet..

WIN A WEEKEND AWAY
Do you want to visit Amsterdam for a weekend? We are eligible to give one of our followers a weekend voucher worthy of 150 euro that you can use at Weekendesk.nl. Just tell us why you love Amsterdam or why you want to visit our captital and who knows, you might win!

Want to find out more about Amsterdam and what’s new? Check our Amsterdam Guide!

 

Summer Trend » The Slogan Beach Hat

You may have seen them in your Instagram feed. The beautiful straw hats with various words written on them. The Slogan Beach Hat is the musthave for this summer!

Large beachy straw hats are both practical and fashionable. Nobody wants a burned face right? You can now order your personalized hat with the words of your choice. All the way from Lebanon, we feel the best customized slogan hats are made by @bitsandpiecestogo. Just have a look at their Instagram account! We ordered one and can’t wait to show it off.

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The Slogan Beach Hat with Wanderlust. Photo by @bitsandpiecestogo

Slogan beach hat trend
On a Safari. Photo by @theblondmacaron

You will really stand out with this musthave summer essential. If you live in the Netherlands, you can also order this one at Modemusthaves.com for €24,95.

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Love,

Elke

More Essentials? Check here!

 

 

Why You Should Travel Alone

It’s midnight and I’m walking through the rainy streets of Koh San Road, Thailand. I’m surrounded by fried scorpions and Thai neon signs I don’t understand. With a backpack filled with courage I try to connect with the already drunken tourists, but unfortunately without any success. The first time out of Europe, the first time backpacking. I walk alone, but I feel more powerful then ever. A sense of freedom, I can do what I want, whenever I want. There is nobody here to stop me. I kissed my fears goodbye and convinced my dad that backpacking through Asia would be a better fit for me than a road trip trough Belgium. (seriously dad?) It was time to discover the world on my own, and go on an adventure. It was the best decision I could have made. Here are 5 reasons why I think you should travel alone.

Why you should travel alone

Nobody can discover the world for you
We can get lost in the most beautiful travel documentaries, dream away with breath taking photos and listen with unbelief to the stories of others. But nothing can compare to the experience in real life. If you want to discover the world we live in, go. Cause nobody can discover it for you. Being on your own means you can decide where you want to go, which places inspire you and choose the adventures that most appeal to you. You are in charge of broadening your horizons.

Finding your own rhythm
I’m definitely not a morning person and it has always been a challenge to agree with the overenthusiastic waking-up time of my friends. It’s a great feeling waking up and start doing whatever you want. There is no boss waiting for you at the office or a friend that desperately wants to go to that trendy, hipster breakfast place four blocks away while you’re starving. You have the time and space to create your own rhythm and discover your own needs. This is a valuable lesson to learn, also regarding your daily routines back home.

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You are more in the moment when you travel alone

While traveling I realized that the differences between all of us are insignificant compared to what connects us.

Experiences will be more intense
The autopilot of the mind will be switched off when you’re confronted with new situations, which results in a higher level of focus. You’ll have to stay alert, take care of yourself and create your own path. Because of this you’ll feel more aware of your surroundings instead of looking at it passively or getting lost in a conversation with your partner. You will experience the world around you instead of only seeing it.

New perspectives
Not being with friends or a partner means you have to go out of your comfort zone to meet new people or talk to locals. You’ll meet travelers from different cultures, backgrounds, social environments and also different characters. While traveling I realized that the differences between all of us are insignificant compared to what connects us. Traveling alone will teach you to be flexible, open minded and less judgmental.

Trust your intuition
Being on your own in an unknown country will give you a major confidence boost. Not only will your self-esteem grow (cause it’s really awesome to travel alone), the trust in your own intuition will increase as well. I can be quite the control freak so I tried to avoid making too many plans for my backpacking trip. It made me really nervous in the beginning as I was constantly questioning myself if it would workout. And to be honest, not everything did work out like it was suppose to. There was one day I didn’t have any money, food or a place to sleep cause my creditcard got blocked. Or this time that I jokingly challenged a Muay Thai boxer (what was I thinking) and broke my toe. But in the end, everything will be fine, one-way or another. There is no need to stress or worry cause if you trust on your intuition it will always work out.

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Eva in Chiang May, 2015

In my opinion, to travel alone is not only a ‘cool’ thing to do but it really helps you to extend your boarders and develop yourself. You will gain new insights of the places you go, the people you meet and the cultures you will learn about. Beside that it will also deepen the perspective on your own social environment and needs.

Traveling alone is the greatest gift you can give yourself. So, where are you going next?

Love,

Eva

*Eva is one of our guest bloggers from Amsterdam. She’s a city girl who only leaves her heals at home when wearing a backpack. Living by the urge to be where she’s not, to explore, experience, fall and get up. You can follow her on Instagram.

More travel tips? Check them here!

 

 

Explore the magnificent landscape of Cappadocia in a hot air balloon

You’ve probably seen the photos of dozens of colorful balloons floating through the sky above a magical moon landscape and wondered where it was? This historical region is called Cappadocia and is located in south central Turkey. We sent over our photographer Ilsoo van Dijk to shoot this spectaculair sight and enjoy some of Turkey’s best treasures.

The Beautiful landscapes of Cappadocia
Cappadocia is home to one of the world’s most unique landscapes in the world and therefore placed on the World Heritage List in 1985. The region has a surface of 2000 km2 and lies in between the rivers: the Kizilirmak and Euphrates. It’s best known for its unique moon-like landscape, underground cities, cave churches and houses carved in the rocks. The remains of a traditional human habitat dating back to the 4th century!

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This unforgettable experience and will definitely set the bar for you next adventure.

Hot Air Balloon
If you want to get the best impression of Cappadocia, you have to fly in a hot air balloon. It’s total magic to say the least. Imagine spectacular surrealistic landscapes while the balloons to gently drift over and between the unique rock formations, orchards and vineyards. You will fly over and through impressive valleys, each with distinctive rock formations and beautiful colors. You will continue to float up over rippled ravines for breathtaking views over the region. Even if you have a fear of heights, the view will keep your mind of it. To experience all the beautiful colors, you need to get up early and be ready at around 5am, so you can see the sunrise.

Hot Air Balloons over Cappadocia
What a sight!

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Like something out of a fairytale

Wander-Lust in Cappadocia
Up in the sky

Where to Book
You can say that no trip to Turkey is complete without treasuring this unforgettable experience and will definitely set the bar for you next adventure. (plus you will have the best Instagram feed for weeks!) An 8 day trip to Cappadocia is available for as little as 199,- euro per person with Corendon (inclusive flight, transfer and accommodation) Do you want a little more luxury? You can also opt for 8 days to Antalya and stay in the luxurious All Inclusive Delphin BE Hotel (inclusive of flight and transfers) for 620,- euro! Check all the trips to Turkey on www.corendon.nl

Hotel Dephine BE in Turkey
Hotel Delphin BE in Antalya

Love,

Wander-Lust

All the images were shot by Ilsoo van Dijk

A little Romance on Sicily

We all know, Italy is for lovers. And so is Sicily. Lovers of people. Lovers of food. Lovers of ocean views and mountain roads. It doesn’t really matter what kind of love, Sicily is the perfect place to enjoy it. And here’s exactly where to do that in the North-Western side of this stunning island.

Dine your way through Trapani
The small city of Trapani isn’t the first spot people think of when they want to book a trip to Sicily. Which leaves Trapani a little bit undiscovered, always a good thing! It’s the type of town where you will get lost the first few times you walk around the city-center and every time you’ll discover something else to marvel about. Maybe an ancient church, the magnificent views from the boardwalk or a cute little cafe in a corner somewhere. Here you will find the most delicious food and drinks in narrow Italian alleys or on grand marble boulevards. Everything for very reasonable prices. And by reasonable I mean you can go for breakfast, lunch and dinner every night without a worry in your wallet. Feeling romantic? A must-go is Osteria I Vitelloni, situated in one of the main streets in the centre of Trapani. Order the tuna in a pistachio crust and let them pick the wine. But, skip the dessert. You’ll need some room for an amazing ice-cream at Panna & Co. If that isn’t love in a cone.. You can thank me later.

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Osteria I Vitelloni

Scooter your way around
Trapani is also a perfect gateway to a ton of other places you must see while you are on this side of the island. A scooter will take you and your loved one(s) everywhere! Go to Marsala for instance, a famous wine town a little drive to the south. Along the way you’ll see the salt pans this area is known for and feel the wind in your hair. A little more inland (after a fun drive) you can find the majestic temple complex of Segesta. A history lesson has never been more exciting as you climb the ruins and check out those magnificent views. Another piece of the past can be found in Erice, a medieval town which you can find hovering on a mountain above Trapani. Get there by scooter, or by cable car! And try not to get lost in all the bumpy, winding streets. Although I didn’t try it, I have been told you can buy the best canolli on the whole island here (why I didn’t try it myself will always be a mystery).

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Whatever you do in Trapani, don’t forget to visits the Egadi Islands. They are only a boat ride away but you’ll feel as if you travelled back years in time. The little villages cannot be any more picturesque and the surrounding waters couldn’t be more azure. If you have the chance to stay a few days on one of these islands, go for it. Opting for a day trip? Don’t fall for the tourist trap, the packed boats. If you are on a ‘everything is possible’ trip, book the catamaran. Little more of a budget? Just take the ferry to one of the islands and rent a bike once you are there. Exploring a tiny tiny island together, oh the romance.

San Vito Lo Capo, just the sound of it makes you want to go
Trapani is the perfect place to stay and to explore this side of Sicily. However, if you are a beachlover, this town’s city beach won’t fulfil your sandy and salty dreams. Luckily there are some options for you to get your toes touching some lovely blue water. When traveling a lot to find that perfect spot isn’t your cup of tea, then head over to San Vito Lo Capo. It’s possible to scooter there for a day trip from Trapani, or if you want to lounge around the beach for a few days you can book a place to stay. It is a bit more touristy, best don’t expect the Robinson Crusoe vibe and book your accommodation in advance (in the high season from June to August). This little coastal village offers a beach that makes you feel as if you are on a tropical island. There are plenty of cute shops and spots to grab a bite, put on your holiday hat and enjoy. Every year in September they host the Cous Cous Fest in San Vito. Do check it out whenever you are in the area at the right time and feed each other some couscous!

Not far from San Vito Lo Capo lies the Riserva Naturale Orientata Dello Zingaro, a nature reserve which holds some beautiful bays with rocky beaches and ridiculously azure water. Bring your goggles for some underwater fun with the fishes! The park is not accessible for cars or any other type of vehicle, be prepared for some hiking. It’s worth it!

Chill in Cefalu
Want to head over to a different side of Sicily to chill? Cefalu is your town! From Trapani you can book a ticket with public transport and it will take little over half a day of travel by bus and train. Cefalu looks like the Italian coastal towns that you see in paintings. It’s got the maximum idyllic factor. There’s lots to do here if you want to, from sailing to an active volcano-island to day trips to other well-know Sicilian places like Taormina. Or you can just stroll through the paved alleys, have an iced-cappuccino every once in a while and stretch your legs on the beach. I have to admit, that latter was how I filled my days in Cefalu.

Sicily Cefalu view point

Even if you are feeling the lazy vibe, you should get of your beach bed once to climb Rocca di Cefalu. This massive rock towers above Cefalu and will give you some breathtaking views and historical facts. It is quite the climb, leave your flip flops at home and put on some more solid footwear. Once you’re on the top, there are loads of spots for that perfect lovey-dovey selfie. Just like in Trapani, San Vito Lo Capo and probably all the Sicilian towns, the food in Cefalu is amazing and the amount of restaurants to try is enormous. You cannot leave without trying at least five different types of pasta (more is better in this case). Many restaurants have hidden terraces overlooking the sea, be there in time for sunset!

Give each other a kiss, and book that ticket to this North-Western part of Sicily!

Love,

Jill

*Jill is one of our guest bloggers living in Amsterdam (@jillgwendolyn) where she works as a content manager for a digital agency. She’s Crazy about traveling and has spend her studies in New Zealand . You can read a new article from Jill in every 3rd week of the month!

NEW! A Vegan Ice-Cream Bar in Amsterdam

When it’s hot outside, we want ice-cream. But when you’re vegan, it’s not always that easy to find the Ice-Cream you want. If you are vegan or you’re trying to cut down on dairy, you will be happy to hear that the Juicebrothers are selling amazing vegan ice-cream flavors at their new location in Amsterdam!

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The Ice-cream bar at Juicebrothers Haarlemmerplein Source

In collaboration with Van Leeuwen Ice-Cream, they now sell delicious flavors like Black Sesam, Tumeric and even Spirulina! Van Leeuwen Ice-Cream is an organic brand that originated in Brooklyn New York. Besides their New York and Los Angeles stores, they are now making waves overseas. The vegan scoops are made with housemade cashew milk, organic coconut milk, organic extra virgin coconut oil, organic cane sugar, pure cocoa butter, and organic carob bean. 

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Van Leeuwen Ice-Cream in Amsterdam
Van Leeuwen Ice-Cream announcing their collaboration with The Juicebrothers

We’ll can’t wait to try it!

Juicebrothers
Haarlemmerplein, Amsterdam
Website

Love,

Wander-Lust

Camptoo, the Airbnb for Campers!

As a traveler, you always have a few things on your bucketlist that NEED to be done. These could be destinations, but also experiences. Most people would agree if I said that taking a roadtrip with an old Volkswagen Van would be one of them. I certainly had it on my list and 2 weeks ago I was so lucky to cross it off my bucketlist! Camptoo, the Airbnb for campers and mobile homes, asked me to take an oldtimer Volkswagen T2 for a little roadtrip.

What is Camptoo?
It’s too easy to compare Camptoo with Airbnb but it’s really the best comparison to make. It basicely works like this; most mobile-home owners only use their ride half the time so it just sits there, in front of their garage. Camptoo makes it possible for those owners, to rent out their camper. Just look on their website and select the camper you want, for how long and which date. You get several options and all you need to do is to pick your favorite and send the owner a message. You will see if it’s available and if they accept your request.

After a quick check up, we were handed over the keys and headed on our little adventure.

Once accepted you will receive a confirmation email plus a text message. I picked the beautiful (and in a very good state!) Volkswagen T2 Van owned by Nicole from Limburg. Not really knowing what to expect, me and my family drove down to her house where Nicole explained everything we needed to know about her precious ride. Camptoo makes sure that you are all-risk insured and you pay a deposit to cover yourself for any damages along the way. Just make sure to have your travel insurance sorted. After a quick check up on damages and details, we were handed over the keys and headed on our little adventure.

On an adventure with Camptoo

I have a baby of 3,5 months old so I was a little nervous about sleeping in a van of course. What about the cold? Would the rain come inside? What if the van breaks down? All the motherly instincts you would expect, but as a true traveler, I needed to let some of these insecurities go and enjoy the ride. Literally.

Volkswagen dreams. Camptoo

The Route
The first thing I noticed is that driving a car like this get’s a lot of attention. A lot. People waving, throwing up peace signs or giving you a thumbs up out of respect. Pretty cool. We decided to drive to The Ardennes, an area with hills and greenery and lot’s of adventurous roads. From Limburg we had about 2 more hours to go and we found this amazing camping online called Les Cabanes De Rensiwez. Here you can camp but also rent the most amazing lodges such as treehouses, Norwegian style cabins and hobbit-like-houses. Our campervan included a little kitchen with a stove so we could prepare dinner and make some tea. Very handy if you need to warm up! No camping adventure is complete without a little thunder storm and boy did we have one on the first night! It rained and rumbled for about 3 hours but it just made the whole experience even more special and cozy. TIP: Bring your own pillows for comfort and a (extra) warm sleeping bag as it get’s very cold at night even during summer. Many camper owners have blankets available but they can be too thin for your liking.

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Bohemian dream
Yep, this is soo me!

Breakfast at the camping
A breakfast basket brought to our camper

The next we drove down to a special place called the Jan Foppen Forest. This is a small forest on top of a hill where you can do crazy survival stuff like abseiling, climbing, paragliding, horse riding and more. My boyfriend and his parents used to come here and group of friends book a weekend here to spend quality time. We just came to say hello and show off our amazing campervan of course ;-). It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re heading to the Ardennes. Check here for more info.

Camptoo at The Foppen Bos
Our VolkswagenT2 at the Foppen Forest

On our last and final day we really got to drive through small towns where we stopped if we saw something nice such as a little Sunday market or a beautiful viewing point. We had to deliver the Van back to it’s owner in the early afternoon so we decided to sleep at a camping in Limburg, near the Belgian border. This camping was very modern and even had a swimming pool, restaurant and beautiful forest nearby to walk in.

La Roche
We stopped at La Roche, a town visited by many cyclist 

My Verdict
A dream come true. honestly. Okok, I didn’t have a lot of sleep like I would have in a 5 star hotel but that’s not what camping is about. Camping and especially, camping in an oldtimer, is about the magic of it. The adventure without knowing where you will sleep the next day and to follow your own path. I’m so glad I did this as a family so I can tell my son about our little adventure when he’s older. I felt like a true nomad and how amazing that he was a part of it. Besides that, the whole thing was so well organized from beginning to the end.

Me and the VolkswagenT2, Camptoo

Do you want to go on the same adventure? You can find the Volkswagen Van that I traveled in, here: camper/2553. Thinking about renting out your mobile home? Visit Camptoo’s website and check their Facebook & Instagram for inspiration!

Check out my video to get a good impression!

Love,

Elke

10 X Child Friendly Hotspots in Barcelona

The summer is getting closer and it’s the perfect time to go out of your house and sit down in a nice café for a brunch or “merienda”. If you are a parent and want a café where you can easily get in with your stroller and enjoy an amazing coffee and at the same time let your baby have a great time; we have the perfect places for you! It is easy to fall into routines and always go to the same places, doing the same things. Let’s switch things up for the summer! Here are 10 child friendly hotspots in Barcelona curated by The Nannyline.

Parc de la Ciutadella
Passeig de Picasso, 21

Near Arc de Triomf we find the beautiful Parc de la Ciutadella, “the central park of Barcelona”. This 17 hectare big park is filled with fun, exciting things that the kids will love! We find a little café next to a majestic fountain. Right next to the café you can take a 30 min row boat ride in a little lake. The park also has a greenhouse, The Umbracle, filled with tropical plants. Moreover, probably the most exciting for the kids: The Zoo! Parc de la Ciutadella is nevertheless the ground for Zoo of Barcelona. Perfect place for your nanny to bring your kiddo. Test your kids animal knowledge outside the children’s books! In the zoo you will meet hippos, flamingos , monkeys and much more. Parc de la Ciutadella is undoubtedly a park you can spend countless hours in. This is the place for both expats, tourists and locals to hang and enjoy the amazing city of Barcelona.

parc-de-la-ciutadella

CosmoCaixa Barcelona
Carrer d’Isaac Newton, 26

Too hot outside and in need of air conditioning? Explore the wonders of science in CosmoCaixa’s Science Museum! Your nanny and kid will definitely be entertained by this museum placed in northern Barcelona, Sant Gervasi. Boost your kid’s curiosity and creativity and explore the different interactive workshops and activities! They have a recreation of an Amazonian rain-forest (Flooded Forest “Bosc inundat”), a planetarium taking you on a journey through space and time, and a creative space with experiments and games suitable for kids from 7 years and older. They also have workshops like ¡Toca-Toca! and Clik, where you are not only allowed, but supposed to touch, play and interact with different things.

Beach
Build sandcastles, maybe play a little football and take a refreshing dip in the water: the beach is one of the best things of Barcelona. A big city with an accessible beach; can it be any better? You can take your nanny with you to the beach so you can relax for a bit and let the nanny babysit the kids. Here are some suggestions for beaches where you, your child and nanny can go:

  • Sant Miquel and Sant Sebastià
    Near hotel W we find these two beaches. Great for kids because the water is shallow.
  • Nova Mar Bella
    A bit more quiet with space for a picnic and there is a playground nearby.
  • Ocata beach
    A bit outside of Barcelona heading north we find Ocata beach. A big, wide beach with white sand. Perfect if you have the time and ability to go outside the city.

Aquarium
Moll d’Espanya del Port Vell, Website

Barcelona’s aquarium “ L’Aquàrium de Barcelona” will bring you on an fascinating underwater experience. Prepare to meet lots of different little and big sea friends. You have the guided Discover the L’Aquàrium’s secrets tour where they talk about how the aquarium works and how they take care of their fishes. A fun experience with lots of fun, new facts. You and your babysitter can of course also decide your own tour strolling around as you like. Barcelona’s aquarium also offers a clue game, handicraft workshop and a Q&A with the carers while they feed the fishes.

Parc del Laberint d’Horta
Passeig dels Castanyers, 1

Play in the maze of Parc del Laberint d’Horta! Barcelona’s oldest park located in Sant Andreu is the perfect place to spend a weekend or an afternoon. The green garden is filled with small squares, mythological sculptures, flower beds and a waterfall has a truly enchanted feeling to it, great for exploring! Have a picnic, get lost in the maze and discover all the different corners and places of this beautiful park.

Pudding coffee shop
Avinguda Diagonal, 515
Open hours: Mon – Sun 9.30 – 21.30

The wonderful coffee shop Pudding will make anyone fall for it’s charm . Beside the brunches, sweets and good food they offer they also have a special kid’s club. The club can both help you fix an awesome birthday for your child or provide you with a babysitting service. Located at Carrer de Pau Claris near Urquinaona metro station this coffee shop is a must when you are in Barcelona!

pudding-cafe
Pudding Coffee Shop

Parc Turó de Can Mates
Carrer de Josep Irla, 50

This park , located in Sant Cugat del Valles is a lovely playground to bring the kids to. Parc Turó de Can Mates has four different zones: a flat green area with some trees and an outdoor gym, one area with long and fun slides, a climbing frame and a big sandbox. The park is easily accessible and has a good parking lot. Ask your nanny to take your kids here for the afternoon and let them explore the different areas of the park. Play in the sand, slide down the slides and climb the climbing frame!

Mossèn Costa i Llobera Gardens
Ctra. de Miramar, 50-58

Open hours: Mon – Sun 10.00 – 19.00
Mossèn Costa i Llobera Gardens is a botanical garden at the foot of Montjuïc. Here can your child explore over 800 different sorts of plants. The garden was actually built as an outdoor classroom for students of Escuela de Jardinería de Barcelona but is now open for the public. Take this opportunity to teach your kids about nature while looking at this rather unusual garden. Make sure to not stick yourself on the cactus spines!

mossen-costa-i-llobera-gardens

Baby Deli
Avinguda Pau Casals, 6
Open hours: Monday – Saturday 10:15-14:30 and 16:30-19:45
Baby Deli is a combined store and café. With a sophisticated interior design Baby Deli welcomes us with a warm feeling. This is the perfect place for the whole family. They sell baby food, amazing coffee, toys and clothes. While parents can enjoy a cup of coffee and maybe some snacks, the kids are free to play with a variety of books and toys. It is located close to Francesc Macià and has a nice park just one minute walking distance away. Definitely a new favorite place for the summer!

babydeli-1

Family Room Café
Carrer Joan Gamper, 13
Open hours: Tuesday, Wednesday 09:00-21:00, Thursday, Friday 09:00-00:00, Saturday 10:00-00:00 Sunday 12:00-20:00
Vergós 55. Open hours: Tuesday – Friday 08:30-21:00, Saturday 09:30-21:00
Family Room Café is based on the idea of being “a place for families”. They offers healthy food and a cozy atmosphere on two locations; one in Les Corts and one in Sarrià. The café is spacious and light with nordic inspired interior design. The dried flowers in vases on the wooden tables gives the café a fresh, organic feeling. They have a playground for the kids in both cafés. In Les Corts they have cute wooden houses, toys, a little kitchen and a wooden horse. The Sarría café just opened about two weeks ago and offers a whole floor just for the kids! This is a place where you want to sit down for a couple of hours, eat brunch, drink coffee, relax while the kids have a whole room full of things they can enjoy. A must-see during the summer!

familyroom-2
Family Room Café, Les Corts

Love,

The Nannyline

*The Nannyline is an international agency with highly educated, experienced and enthusiastic nannies based in Barcelona. Find out more at www.nanny-line.com