One Year Blogiversary Quiz!

I know it’s a cliché, but time really does fly when you’re having fun. It’s already been a year since I started this travel blog and I have learned so much. I’m miles from where I want this blog to be, but I can see my number of followers growing every day and I’m loving every second I spend working on it!

I was thinking of a fun way to celebrate my first blogiversary. Something about my recents posts, about me, a giveaway… But then I took this Buzzfeed quiz to see which Mamma Mia Character I was (I am Rosie, by the way) and I had it! A quiz! Because quizzes are fun!
So: Enjoy, and also, thank you guys so much for your likes, comments and general following. I love it that you’re on this journey with me!

The rules: each answer has one or more letters behind it. Simply note how many times you pick each letter and discover which one of my favourite destinations would be your perfect citytrip!

What would be your perfect city trip?

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Citytrip: Köln

Though The Netherlands is a small country with both Belgium and Germany at it’s borders, I’ve never been to the latter. Actually, that’s not true. I know my parents and my sister and I went on a trip to Germany once. I was too young to remember any of it, but I do remember my mum complaining about there not being a television in the house or cabin that we rented.

Last year, boyfriend and I moved to another town that was even closer to the border. It takes less time to get to Germany than it takes to go to my parents in law (who actually live in the Netherlands as well). At Christmas we went shopping for presents at Kleve, which was not all that exciting, except for that I found a new sense of freedom because I was driving myself. When I got my licence about 5 years ago, I told myself I could go ANYWHERE now, though I never actually did. But it felt so cool to actually cross the border into another country. I could go anywhere. I could drive further, to Switzerland or Spain, or maybe even Russia. Last week, we crossed the border again, this time to see Köln and the Eifel.

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Can anybody tell me where the Blarney Roses grow?

Can anybody tell me where the Blarney roses grow? It might be down in Limerick town, it might be in Mayo. It’s somewhere in the Emerald Isle and this I want to know. Can anybody tell me where the Blarney roses grow?

blarney castle and gardens welcome sign

I thought we would find them at Blarney Castle, but no such luck. But even without the roses, this was a perfect day in a perfect place in Ireland.

On our last full day in Ireland, we had actually planned to travel to Dingle, to take a boat tour there and try to see if we could find Fungi the Dingle Dolphin. But we discovered that the trip was a bit pricey so we decided to go to Blarney Castle instead. And I’m really glad we did because it was an amazing day.

pastel pink flowers in blarney castle garden

It was such a beautiful place to be. The castle gardens are huge and you can wander around for ages. It has the most amazing flowers, waterfalls, little bridges and a whole  garden with beautiful statues.

We walked around for a few hours, taking in the beautiful nature that surrounded us and enjoying some massive icecreams. It was a very relaxing day. The sun was shining very bright and it was a wonderful day.

girl hiking in the woods near blarney castle

Besides the gardens, there was a whole forest, where we also walked around for a bit, before entering the gardens again and walking towards Blarney Castle.

blarney castle tower seen from below

Blarney Castle was built in 1446 and is one of Ireland’s greatest treasures. It is home of the Blarney Stone, the legendary stone of eloquence. It is said that if you kiss the Blarney Stone, you will never be lost for words. Needless to say, there was a huge line here. We didn’t do it, but it was fun to see others do it.

Instead, we just walked around a bit more. We found a poison garden with lots of interesting plants. We took our time to be able to see everything and have a relaxing, quiet day.

That evening, we had diner at Luigi Malone and I had the most wonderful lasagna and a rum strawberry cocktail. We spent the rest of the evening in a bar with live music. Ireland has a lot of these, but this is the first night we actually went to one. I would really recommend this, because it’s a lot of fun!

And thus concludes our trip to Ireland. We had a wonderful vacation, spending a few days in Dublin, Kilkenny and Cork and saw a bit of what Ireland has to offer. I can’t wait to go back to see even more of this beautiful country ♥

Ghost Stories in Kilkenny

We didn’t just book a vacation to Dublin, we wanted to explore Ireland a little bit more than that. On the first few days we had seen Dublin and Glendalough in the Wicklow mountains. After Dublin, we would stay one night in Kilkenny before traveling to Cork, where we would stay for another two days before going home again. Our day in Kilkenny was short, but definitely worth a blogpost!

Our plan was to take the bus from Dublin to Kilkenny. We didn’t know where the bus stops were, so we asked a couple of people. Everyone sent us in another direction, so we kept walking in circles before finally finding the bus stop. We left two hours later than was originally our plan. But you know, that happens. We tried not to let it get us down. We were very tired so today wouldn’t be a very busy day. We slept and had lunch in the bus and walked to our hotel when we arrived in Kilkenny. We would stay one night in the Kilkenny House Hotel, which was quite luxurious compared to what we usually stayed in, and especially compared to the room we would later stay in in Cork….

Did I mention we were tired? We only wanted to relax in the room for a little while. I took a bath, we watched some television. And then we fell asleep. We only woke up with just enough time to make it to the city center, have some quick dinner and then start the Ghost Tour we booked.

Kilkenny is a small town with a lot of old buildings and ancient history. When we had booked our flights and hotels, I was looking for things to do in the city. I found this ghost tour that sounded amazing. I was a little bit afraid that it would be a tour with things jumping out of the dark, which is something I would not love (did I mention I’m a scaredy cat?), but luckily it wasn’t. Instead a tour guide would take us through the medieval city centre and tell us ghost stories.

For the tour, we got to dress the part. We could all get a cape and a wizard’s hat which was very fun. Only Boyfriend and I did this, the rest of our group didn’t want to. Which was their loss, because the outfit really helped a lot with the rain. Though a lot of other tourists just stared at us…

Our guide was a very good storyteller and he told us all sorts of ghostly tales about things that happened in this town. Sightings of Banshees, for one, but he also told us some tales about witches. The one I remember best was about Alice Kyteler. She was the first woman that was accused of witchcraft in Ireland. In her life, she had been married four times and all of her husbands died under mysterious circumstances. She was on trial for witchcraft and was imprisoned along with her servant Petronella, who had confessed, under torture, to have helped Alice in her witchcraft. But only Petronella stood on trial, and was burned at the stake, for Alice had disappeared and was never to be seen again…

After the ghost tour, we did a little walk around the town ourselfs, admiring the city in the nightlight, before we went back to our hotel to get some rest. The next day we would be traveling to Cork.

Guinness Lake and Glendalough

On our fourth and last day in Dublin, we decided to take a tour to see some of Ireland’s beautiful nature. We had planned to cycle to Powerscourt Estate but it was raining and also, the Irish drive on ‘the wrong side of the road’ and that’s just difficult. So instead, we looked for tours and found a great tour with PaddyWagon, that would take us to see Glendalough.

Our tourbus was late, but to make up for it, our guide Frank took us to see the Guinness Lake. Which was absolutely breathtaking. We took hundreds of pictures but they don’t quite capure the magnificence.

The Guinness Lake is actually called Lough Tay and is part of the Wicklow Mountains. It was so awesome standing there, taking in the view and feel the crisp clean air fill your lungs.

We set on to Glendalough while our tourguide talked about Ireland and its history. It was all very interesting, though it took me a few seconds to understand his accent.

Glendalough is an Irish valley in the national park Wicklow mountains, and it’s about an hour and a half away from Dublin.

We just walked around for a bit, taking in everything. It was a wonderful place to be. At one point it started raining, but we didn’t care, we just had fun. When the rain stopped, the sun broke through the clouds and it gave the whole place a somewhat golden glow. It was beautiful.

Way too soon, we were to leave again. I could have wandered around for hours, but alas. Our bus took us back to Dublin. The tourguide stayed silent this time, because a lot of people wanted to sleep in the bus. Boyfriend also fell asleep, so I talked a bit with the girl that was sitting behind us. It’s so nice to meet new people from all over the world. She came from Japan and we talked, almost the whole ride, about our countries and the differences.

Back in Dublin, we had diner at Grand Central and then we went back to our hotel for our last night in Dublin.

Cat art and zebra’s

Your own country can be as amazing as a place far, far away. Last week I posted a list of six things that I still want to do in my own country, to visit places and museums I’ve never been before. One of the things on my list was going to Vianen and see cat art in the Stedelijk Museum.

Vianen is a little city nearby Utrecht. When I was looking for things to do, I discovered an exposition about cats in art with paintings from Henriëtte Ronner-Knip in the stedelijk museum in this little city. It will be there until may 12th. So we figured, why not go there, have lunch and go see the art, and then go to Utrecht (since Vianen is so small there’s not much else you can do). It was a small exposition but the paintings were really cute. I also bought a book with pictures of even more cat paintings!

We went to explore the city a little bit and then we wanted to visit my friend, Congo the Zebra. I’d like to tell you this story!

Five or six years ago, when I was still studying at Utrecht University, and living with my parents, everyday I had to go to Utrecht by bus. One day in my first year, I was on my way home, staring outside. Suddenly, I saw a zebra standing in the middle of the meadow, surrounded by a few horses. I texted a friend of mine, like ‘omg, there is a zebra here!’ and then I fell asleep, which happens a lot to me when I’m sitting in a bus.
I woke up, thinking I had dreamed the whole thing. But the text was proof that I had actually seen a zebra.

I told some people but no one seemed to believe me. Over the years, everytime I was in that bus, I stared out the windows to see if it was still there. Sometimes I saw it, sometimes I didn’t. When I was hoping to be able to rent a room in Utrecht, I told myself that I would succeed if I saw the zebra. And then I saw it. When I was nervous for a presentation, I told myself that all would be fine, if the zebra would be there again, and then it was. It sortof became my lucky zebra.

Anyway, yesterday we were in Vianen and it just so happens that my zebra friend was located between Vianen and Lexmond. So I figured, why the hell not, and we drove the way the bus always did to see if it was there. And it was! I couldn’t see it at first, but my boyfriend saw it and when we went closer, I saw that it was actually there. We parked the car and walked for a bit, getting as close as we could. Which was not very close, but still. I was able to get some pictures. Now I have finally seen my Lucky zebra friend again, and also, finally have proof to show my family that I’m not completely bonkers.