Destinations -
Maastricht, the Netherlands

How to Spend an Awesome One Day in Maastricht

If you want to spend one day in Maastricht here is the perfect list of the things to see in the beautiful town on the souther tip of the Netherlands. Maastricht is one of the oldest medieval cities in Holland that has about 590 listed monuments. It’s very compact so you can explore this little town within 1-2 days.

Streets of Maastricht, the Netherlands
Streets of Maastricht, the Netherlands

Maastricht is also famous for being a university city with a large international student population. It’s also known as a birthplace of the well-known Euro. It has numerous things to offer like great dining, relaxed atmosphere, awesome cafes and delightful shopping. Moreover there are terrific museums and interesting Roman history.

Maastricht in the Netherlands
Maastricht in the Netherlands

Things to See in Maastricht

Het Vrijthof

One of the famous monuments in Maastricht is Vrijthof. It’s a medieval main square. If you visit Maastricht during the Christmas period you will discover a beautiful Christmas market here. Museum aan het Vrijthof was founded in 1973 with the intention to exhibit a huge collection of artworks that used to be owned by a rich couple of The Hague. Nowadays it presents masterpieces of contemporary artists. During the summer Vrijthof is surrounded by trees, cozy cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy a drink on the terrace. Adjacent to het Vrijthof is the St. Servatius Basilica, a Romanesque cathedral worth visiting.

St. Peter’s Caves

St. Peter’s Caves is one of the highest spots in Holland. You can have a unique tour through miles of tunnels that were excavated by men through the centuries. The tunnel system is over 80km long. Interesting fact: The cave also served to keep Rembrandt’s famous “Night Watch” painting safe during WWII.

St. Peter’s Fortress

St. Peter’s Fortress was built in the 18th century with the purpose to defend the city from the French. You can access this magnificent 300 year old monument only on a guided tour that takes a bit over an hour. You will see the cannon gallery, underground tunnels and last but not least a breathtaking view from the top. The green surroundings of the fortress are a protected nature reserve.

Top Museums of Maastricht

Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht

Maastricht features various great museums that reflect it’s long history. Here are the best of them that you can’t miss. Museum Kelder Derlon displays archeological artefacts from the time when the Romans maintained garrison in Maastricht. Perfect for a family visit is Maastricht natural History Museum which offers a wide collection of scientific specimens, artefacts and the skull of a prehistoric aquatic lizard, Mosasaurus. It was hiding in the Meuse river for over 7o million years ago. Last but not least check out the Bonnefantenmuseum because of it’s vast collection of objets d’art and a great selection of paintings, statues and installations from the Medieval period to the present day.

The Meuse River Tour in Maastricht

Another great way to explore the little town Maastricht is by joining the Meuse River Tour by boat. Within an hour you can sail through the scenic waters of the Medieval town.

Shopping in Maastricht

Maastricht is a great destination for the shopaholics. It offers numerous amount of amazing boutiques, big brands and many unusual stores. Just walk through the labyrinth of cobble streets around the Wyck district and you will discover plenty of beautiful things.

Restaurant Tips in Maastricht

After a long day of walking and exploring the beautiful historic town you will definitely be hungry for delicious food and you would like to eat in Maastricht. There are numerous great places to have dinner in Maastricht, nevertheless my restaurant tip is to visit Harvey – Kitchen & Bar. This cozy eatery is open for lunch and dinner. It’s a bit out of town but definitely worth a visit. During the summer period you can enjoy drinks and snacks on the terrace.

new_zealand_beer_yeastie_boys
New Zealand beer “Yeastie boys”

The young owner who has been travelling the world and decided to open his own bar. That’s why you will find an outstanding menu with the modern cuisine. Beer lovers will be spoiled: There is a great variety of Belgian beers and even awesome New Zealand beers. The staff is very friendly and helpful if you need any advice on what to order.

Burger in Harvey - Kitchen & Bar, Maastricht
Burger in Harvey – Kitchen & Bar, Maastricht

We went for the BBQ Wild Chicken & New York Beef Burgers with fresh orange juice and a “Yeastie Boys” New Zealand Beer. My boyfriend was extremely happy because he didn’t expect to find New Zealand beer in Europe. Our portions were big and sumptuous with tasty fries on the side. Enjoyed every bite of it! So if you want to eat burgers in Maastricht don’t miss Harvey – Kitchen & Bar!

Where to stay in Maastricht

There are numerous of hotels in Maastricht but we were staying at EasyHotel Maastricht in the city centre. It’s an amazing to stay for 1 night. It offers free Wi-Fi, clean and tidy little rooms with very comfortable beds, a big flat screen TV and a private bathroom. Hotel also has 24-hour front desk with very friendly staff. It’s definitely an ideal place for budget travellers who want to stay in the heart of Maastricht.

MyHeritage picture

The best ancestry test with MyHeritage DNA kit

I’m convinced we all at least once in our lives questioned ourselves what is my heritage? If there is reliable and the best ancestry test to find out more about your family history? Not even being a genius in the history of the world we know that borders of countries were and are constantly changing, people have been traveling and exploring the world so probably our great grand parents also didn’t stay in the same little village their whole lives.

Furthermore I think learning your family history and ancestry is an essential part of understanding yourself. And when you find out your roots you might confirm something you always wondered about, or reveal something you never knew. There are numerous DNA testing companies but I’ve discovered an affordable MyHeritage DNA kit.

My personal MyHeritage DNA test review

So thinking about all these vital life changing questions I decided to amaze my boyfriend with this original present so he can discover his DNA genealogy and ethnic origins. I’ve read DNA kit reviews and decided to go with ancestry DNA test kit from  MyHeritage. It shows you with a simple DNA check great ancestry results like from which geographic regions and ethnic groups you come from. I saw that customers from all over the world can purchase it so I ordered one online. It was delivered within a few days. It was so simple to accomplish everything and the results were so interesting in the end that I couldn’t resist to order another one for myself too!

MyHeritage DNA kit

MyHeritage DNA kit

So how does ancestry DNA test kit of MyHeritage work?

Opened box of MyHeritage Media Kit

Opened box of MyHeritage Media Kit

After ordering ancestry DNA test kit online as I mentioned before within few days you will receive modern and cleverly designed box. By the way if you want to send it as a gift you can also ship the DNA kit to the address of this lucky person. All instructions can be found within the box. They are very simple, first of all activate your account with a few easy steps online. Afterwards use the sticks to scrape the inside of your cheeks for 1 minute each. It means no blood or any other tests should be provided, it’s pure saliva ethnicity test. The saliva samples will go into the special vials which you need to mail to the lab in enclosed envelope. You need to pay for porto costs so it depends on your country how much it will be. Anyhow it’s a little letter and in Belgium I’ve paid less than 5€.

What you will find inside of MyHeritage DNA box

What you will find inside of MyHeritage DNA box

When will I get my results?

Online results of MyHeritage DNA test

Online results of MyHeritage DNA test

Within the first 2 weeks you will get an email from MyHeritage that your vials with saliva ethnicity test have arrived in the lab and after that it will take around another 3-4 weeks. You will be informed via email when your DNA ancestry results are ready to be viewed. And after your DNA analysis you might discover some surprises like I did!

My personal results of MyHeritage DNA test

My personal results of MyHeritage DNA test

My personal results of MyHeritage DNA test

My personal results of MyHeritage DNA test

My Heritage DNA results

After viewing a little video presenting my ethnic origins and geographic regions I could look at my DNA results a little bit closer. I had no idea what’s my heritage could be. It was an unexpected surprise to discover that I have Japanese and Eskimo roots! I have no idea where it could come from but the 2,2% of Finnish ethnicity explains my affinity for cold Suomi and handsome Ville Valo.

Why you should do Family TreeDNA test

The other interesting thing is that you can find and connect with new relatives who share your DNA. Additionally you can create a family tree DNA results to uncover the full story of your family. I believe creating and building a family tree lets you leave a legacy for your children. Invaluable family history that could be lost forever can now be documented and passed from generation to generation. Isn’t it fantastic?

It also makes sense to provide your parents with the DNA kit so you will gain additional information like which of your results is maternal or paternal. Good to know: Your siblings may get different results as you do because of the nature of genetic inheritance.

Use this coupon and you will get free shipping: ELYSIANMOMENT.  Definitely try MyHeritage because it’s a best genealogy test and without any doubt it’s one of the most interesting and useful things to spend money. You can also give DNA origin test as a present because it’s something that will stay with you and your family forever.

Airplane in the sky

Review on Airport Taxi Transfers, Uptransfers

Nowadays we can’t imagine our lives without flying when it comes to holidays, business trips or any long distance travel. It can be fun and exciting but nevertheless it can also be tiring, especially if your flight is in the early morning or late evening and your only cherished thought is to reach your final destination asap. This is when Airport Transfers like Uptransfers comes in handy!

I was traveling back home from Malta to my small but cute town Bruges with my partner and our little baby boy. Our plane was landing in Charleroi Airport near Brussels which is a 2 hour drive away from Bruges. We were arriving in the late evening, that’s why I wanted to avoid any hassle in this small, crowded airport after our 3 hour flight and took to ordering an airport transfer to Brugge. There are various companies, but I had read nice reviews about Uptransfers, who provides Airport Transfers from and to airports around the world so I decided to experience their services.

How to book an Airport Transfer?

First of all it was very easy to book the Airport Transfer to Bruges online. You just need to decide if you need taxi service one or both ways, afterwards from which airport you should be picked up and where it should go. The number of passengers has no influence on the price only on the size of the car. And last but not least the day and time of arrival is doubtlessly also crucial.

https://uptransfers.com/

https://uptransfers.com/

The awesome thing is that afterwards you will see the prices, no hidden costs and you can choose the car or maybe bus that suits your taste and budget. In the last few steps you need to fill up some information regarding your flight, your name, mobile number and email address. After confirmation you will receive the email with all transfer details and the rendez-vous point. The payment option in this case is cash to the driver.

Booking Airport Transfer from Charleroi Airport to Bruges on on uptransfers.com

Booking Airport Transfer from Charleroi Airport to Bruges on on uptransfers.com

Unfortunately our plane had a 1 hour delay, nevertheless our driver was still there waiting for us. We could identify him immediately because he was holding a sign with my name on it. I can articulate myself in three languages but unfortunately not in French and that was the only language the driver spoke but it didn’t bring any confusions. The driver was very polite, professional and helpful with our luggage. There was a very comfortable and clean baby seat prepared in the car for our little boy. The car looked tidy from the outside and inside. Important to mention it smelled good too. Another fact that gets 10 out of 10 points is driver’s competent steering skills: He was not making sudden turns or stops, not speeding on, driving very smoothly and following all the traffic rules. After riding along in taxis in Malta it was a big change and also very considerate of a sleepy baby on board.

We arrived at our destination faster than expected, safely and without any superfluous hassle. Uptransfers provided our journey back home with everything what you would expect from the reliable Airport Transfer to Bruges: a great vehicle, good offer and qualified driver. I would recommend this company to anyone who wants to escape the airport mess and chaos and get to their place on time.

 

Malta things to do and see

The best 10 days of Family Holidays in Malta

Malta is the best destination for a family holiday with kids. It’s an island country located in the central Mediterranean Sea, it’s small but with a rich and turbulent history. The country is an archipelago with the three largest islands being Malta, Gozo and Comino. Malta played a crucial role in the struggle of power between the ancient cultures of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. But why are over 2M tourists so curious to travel to Malta every year? First of all the capital of Malta, Valletta is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites plus it has been crowned as the European Capital of Culture for 2018. There are various beautiful architectural masterpieces as well as the oldest Megalithic Temples in the world, which were also included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The weather & the best time to visit Malta

Moreover summer is almost all year round, winters are very short just 2 months long. I would suggest to visit Malta in September or beginning of October to avoid the heat of the hot and dry summers. Malta in September is warm, sunny and dry. The temperature is around 26°C to 29°C. Nevertheless take enough sunscreen and a hat to protect your skin from the vicious sun.

Streets of Malta's Capital, Valletta

Streets of Malta’s Capital, Valletta

Maltese people & Maltese culture

The medieval Malta is a small island with the population of 460,297 citizens. It’s full of lovely villages, reminiscent of when the Knights of Saint John settled the island. Maltese’ hospitality is renowned for it’s warmth and kindness. Additionally they adore babies and children, so if you travel with your little one and he gets fussy, don’t worry, people in Malta will smile and wave at him to help you out. The official languages are Maltese and English, making it easy to travel on the island. The Maltese language by the way is a fusion of Arabic and the Sicilian dialect of Italian. Because of being under British rule from 1800 until 1964 there are various English influences like driving on the left side of the road. Nowadays Malta is a part of the EU so the local currency is the Euro. Everyone who visits Malta can find something to fall in love with. No wonder that movies like Troy, Game of Thrones, Gladiator and Assassin’s Creed were filmed on this ancient island.

Valletta, Malta

Valletta, Malta

Getting around in Malta

There are various ways to explore and get around Malta. The public transport mainly bus rotates daily and frequents between all the towns including the coastal road. A one way ticket costs 2€ but you can also get a 1 week pass for 14€ to save some money. Because of high numbers of tourists and locals buses driving between St. Julian and Valletta are often crowded. Most families own cars but because the number of vehicles per household is one of the highest in Europe there is a lot of traffic going on on the roads of Malta.

MCabs Personal Driver Service in Malta

MCabs Personal Driver Service in Malta

A great and efficient way to travel in Malta is by private driver. Because we were visiting the island with our baby we decided to arrange personal transport from and to the airport with MCabs. We arrived pretty late and our driver was already expecting us directly at the arrivals gate with my name on a sign. It’s an amazing feeling to know that everything has been taken care of in advance. We arrived at our destination safely and without any hustle.

You can also find ferry services between Malta and Gozo, and even Malta and Sicily.

Where to stay in Malta

 St. Julian's (Maltese: San Giljan)

St. Julian’s (Maltese: San Giljan) in Malta

On our family holiday to Malta we decided to book a hotel which was based on the seaside town  St. Julian’s (Maltese: San Giljan). It’s situated next to Sliema, a former fishing village that turned into shopping and eating area and it’s north of the Malta’s capital, Valletta. St. Julian’s is known as a tourism-orientated area full of hotels, restaurants and nightclubs. Honestly I was surprised that so many 5 stars hotel were located in this town, it’s not a very charming place, the atmosphere wasn’t very appealing to us and there is not much to experience as a family. Nevertheless we were lucky to watch the beautiful fireworks from our balcony dedicated to the Independence Day of Malta on the 21st of September.

Where to go in Malta with kids

As I already mentioned Malta is indeed an open air museum with numerous scenic towns. The main attractions of it are spread all over the island that’s why we decided to experience MCabs’ Full Day Tour to save some time and patience while we were also traveling with our baby. It was the best decision to see everything in one day on our family vacation in Malta.

Valletta, Malta

Valletta, Malta

Visit capital of Malta, Valletta

We were picked up from our hotel at 9:30 am and headed straight to beautiful Valletta. It’s a must visit and wander through the charming narrow streets of Malta’s tiny capital Valletta, built by the Knights of St. John on the peninsula. It’s founder decreed that it should be “a city built by gentlemen for gentlemen”, and it retains it’s 16th-century golden-stone fortresses. Don’t be fooled by it’s size because Valletta is “one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world”.

View from the Upper Barrakka Gardens in Valletta

View from the Upper Barrakka Gardens in Valletta

James, our guide was showing us the most significant areas and buildings of Valletta. He told us a lot about Malta’s history like the meaning of Order of St. John. Besides on another day you can also visit the famous St. John’s Co-Cathedral if you don’t mind standing in the long queue, or the Casa Rocca Piccola, a 16th century palace repleted with impressive paintings and antique collections. Enjoy the picturesque view of the Three Cities and Grand Harbour from the Upper Barrakka Gardens. If you make it there at 12am you can witness a midday gun salute, firing the cannons. Surely but right Valletta spoils it’s guests with numerous cafés and restaurants where you can enjoy a glass of local wine or beer Cisk on the terrace.

Exciting Corsairs of Malta Tours

Exciting Corsairs of Malta Tours

Fun things to do in Malta: Pirate Tour

There is another great guided walking tour that introduces you to Malta’s shady mysterious past and I  would definitely recommend it to everyone. Corsairs of Malta Tours are full of provocative and captivating information, on the other hand if you are traveling with little ones it can also be organized to be innocent children’s ears friendly. I didn’t expect that there are so many dark secrets about the corsairs, the Order of St. John and Malta’s cruel history. All these intriguing facts have just recently been exposed and the tour guides are continuing to research this shocking topic. That means more and more of these violent but colourful facts will be added to every tour.

The Most Famous Fishing Village in Malta, Marsaxlokk

The Most Famous Fishing Village in Malta, Marsaxlokk

Things to do in Marsaxlokk, Malta

After spending 2 hours in the capital of Malta we’ve been driven to one of the most famous fishing villages in Malta, Marsaxlokk. The brightly colored fishing boats, morning markets and restaurants serving freshly caught fish among the harbour are the main attractions of this peaceful place. Interesting fact though every boat has an eye painted on the bow, the symbol of health and protection. It ensures that the fishermen are being kept safe while they are out to sea.

The "Silent City", Mdina

The “Silent City”, Mdina

Things to do in Mdina

We tasted the local seasonal fish lampuka at one of the restaurants in Marsaxlokk. My tip let your tour guide know what your budget is for the lunch so you won’t be surprised with the bill. Afterwards we made our way to an ancient capital of Malta: Mdina. Located at a high point in the heart of the island, medieval Mdina has been dubbed as the “Silent City”, which perfectly describes this place. Approximately 300 residents mainly aristocrats and nobility live in the fortified city that traces back to 800 BC. There are limited cars and all this contributes to the peaceful and timeless atmosphere.

The View from the Top of Mdina, Malta

The View from the Top of Mdina, Malta

We were exploring magical Mdina, walking through it’s walled, narrow laneways and visiting some churches. We could also enjoy the 180º view of the island from the top of Mdina. Afterwards we were invited for a drink in one of the gorgeous cafés with unique views over the countryside, Fontanella Tea Garden. Regrettably I didn’t try their homemade cake but this place is famous for it!

Rotunda of Mosta, Malta

Rotunda of Mosta, Malta

Rotunda of Mosta, Malta

Rotunda of Mosta, Malta

Why you should visit Rotunda of Mosta

Our final destination after the exciting day of getting to know the best of Malta was the Rotunda of Mosta. Mosta is at 66m high the third largest unsupported Dome in Europe after the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Golden limestone from the outside and amazingly colorful and quiet inside, this gorgeous building is indeed impressive. There is a tragic and fortunate story behind it: During WW2, a half tonne bomb was dropped on the building, going through the roof, it didn’t explode or injury anyone, this was regarded as a miracle. There is a small room in the church which shows a replica of the bomb.

Replica of the Bomb

Replica of the Bomb

Around 6pm we were brought back to our hotel bursting with memorable impressions of Malta. My partner and I were truly amazed on our first day what this tiny island has to offer and our baby seemed to enjoy his first trip as well. It was doubtlessly worth to plan a tour with MCabs, our guide James showed us the best of Malta and introduced us to the authentic Maltese culture. Loved it!

Visit Malta’s the Three Cities of Cottonera

The Three Cities of Cottonera, Malta

The Three Cities of Cottonera, Malta

One of my favorite parts of our family trip to Malta was to be transported back in time and explore three fortifies cities of Cottonera: Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua. The most common and easy way to get there is to use the 58m high Upper Barrakka lift in Valletta that you can take downstairs for free. This lift will bring you down in 25 seconds from where you can enjoy the  beautiful view of the harbour. It is also possible to combine the ferry ticket to the Three Cities for the lift as the quickest alternative to get back into the city from the Valletta waterfront.

The streets of Senglea, Malta

The streets of Senglea, Malta

The three cities are mine kind of area: tranquil streets, picturesque views and colorful details of the architecture. This is where the Knights of St. John first settled in the 16th century and many of the buildings and forts are older than in Valletta.

Pinterest Top Things To do in MaltaVittorioso also known as Birgu existed since the Middle Ages well before the arrival of the Knights. It’s also the most popular and impressive one. Vittoriosa’s waterfront is truly impressive with various sizes yachts and a fortress on a peninsula. Senglea Cospicua suffered great damage in WW2 and needed to be rebuilt. Today they are full of golden limestone houses blended with historical buildings, charming narrow streets and  appealing restaurants. The Three cities are indeed an open air museum where you can get lost for the whole day.

Food in Malta

Maltese Traditional Snack, Pastizzi

Maltese Traditional Snack, Pastizzi

While you are in Malta it’s crucial to taste the traditional cuisine which offers you an influence of cultures like Sicily, Arab and Malta’s own. The prices in Malta are a bit high for the EU standards: 10-15€ for pizza or pasta and 20-25€ for mains. A typical and very popular Maltese snack is pastizzi: Deep fried pastry filled with ricotta or any other delicious mix of vegetables and meat. It’s extremely tasty but you need to be careful not to exaggerate with it’s consumption because one pastizzi which costs around 30-40 cents contains about 500 calories. Yes, I know calories don’t count on vacation but there should be a limit.

Traditional Maltese Pizza, Ftira

Traditional Maltese Pizza, Ftira

The best place to dine in Malta

To experience high quality and traditional delicious food I would suggest to visit Nenu the Artisan Baker in Valletta. This place is not only serving local authentic cuisine but also lets you immerse into the history of Malta. Relics of the old bakery can be seen in the restaurant and their traditional delicious Maltese pizza, ftira is made in an oven that is between 80-100 years old. Ftira has a thick but fluffy base and often topped with different local specialities like cheese, fish, meat, olives and even potatoes. We’ve tried one with the seasonal local fish Lampuka. In addition to it we ordered the local favorite beer Cisk and Malta’s very own soft drink, Kinnie, which is made with bittersweet oranges and aromatic herbs. Kinnie reminded me somehow of coca cola with a zesty orange aftertaste.

Octopus Stew with Potatoes

Octopus Stew with Potatoes

We also ordered a traditional octopus stew with potatoes, which was my flavorful highlight of the night. Before our mains were served we were being treated with fresh-made Maltese bread and delicious dips. Important to mention that Maltese hospitality is a top class in service: The staff is quick, helpful and friendly. Nenu’s menu offers great choice of Maltese food with decent portions. This place is also very beloved by locals so I suggest that one makes a reservation.

Amarino Ice Cream in a shape of Flower

Amarino Ice Cream in a shape of Flower

For a tasty cooling dessert on a the hot day I would highly recommend to visit the small but wow ice cream café Amorino. This place is not only serving delicious Italian ice cream with natural ingredients and amazing flavors but also shapes your ice cream into a flower, a true masterpiece. You can also ask to taste some flavors before you make your final decision and add as many as you want to your floral creation.

If you are searching for some other interesting holiday destinations in Europe, you can find some inspiration here!

Liège, Belgium

Main things to do and see if you visit Liège, Belgium

Historical side of Liège, Belgium

Historical side of Liège, Belgium

Liège is the third largest city in Belgium after Brussels and Antwerp. This charming place is also the largest city in the French-Speaking region of Wallonia. In just one hour from Brussels by train you will reach the medieval and historical treasure of Liège. Not everyone knows but Liège is one of Belgium’s most important industrial centers. The city was one of the first places in Europe to start mining coal and has a long tradition in manufacturing. Due to the industrial heritage I didn’t expect to discover such beautiful architecture and variety of interesting museums and churches.

Delicious patisserie in Belgium

Delicious patisserie in Belgium

Where to stay in Liège, Belgium?

We stayed at Appart-Hotel Léopold Liège Centre in the historic heart of Liège surrounded by lovely bars. It’s next to the Liège’s old City Hall which you can admire from your window at night when it’s gloriously lit up by red spotlights. Our room was tidy, with clean bedding, towels and a comfortable double-bed. It also contains a kitchen with basic kitchen utensils, nice bathroom with a great shower, towels, soaps and shampoo. There is free Wi-Fi and a flat screen TV but unfortunately with mainly French channels. Although we could still enjoy the nature documentary on BBC.

Marvel at the Liege-Guillemins Station

Liege-Guillemins Station, Belgium

Liege-Guillemins Station, Belgium

 

First thing to admire when you arrive in Liège, Belgium is it’s futuristic and iconic central station. The breath-taking building was designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and is made of steel. The modern building completed in 2009 might remind you of a sci-fi movie and it’s an ideal spot for photography.

Learn About Art at the beautiful Grand Curtius

Grand Curtius Liège, Belgium

Grand Curtius Liège, Belgium

The Grand Curtius Museum is an archeology and art museum from the 17th century. The impressive red building belonged to a wealthy entrepreneur from the city and it was his personal idea to bring together four different museum collections in order to form the large collection.

Climb 374 steps of the Montagne de Bueren

374 steps of the Montagne de Bueren, Liège, Belgium

374 steps of the Montagne de Bueren, Liège, Belgium

 

 

With a steep 30 degree slope and a good amount of 374 steps Montagne de Bueren has been nominated as the most extreme stairway in the world. Climb the stairs, take amazing pictures and enjoy the panoramic view of the city.

Visit the Collegiate Church of St. Bartholomew

Collegiate Church of St. Bartholomew Liège, Belgium

Collegiate Church of St. Bartholomew Liège, Belgium

Founded in the 11th century, this gorgeous church was built in the Mosan style. Mosan describes a medieval style of architecture and metalwork centered mainly around Liège and is characterized by a mix of styles popular in neighboring countries: France and the Netherlands.

Popular drink of Liège, peket

The alcoholic drink peket is made from juniper berries so it’s basically gin. It can be drunk straight as a shot but is typically mixed with fruit flavors, usually lemon. There are various flavors and you can taste them in the La Maison du Peket.

Where to eat in Liège?

Burger place in Belgium The Huggy's Bar

Burger place in Liege, The Huggy’s Bar

Yes, of course you can try the traditional Belgian food à la my grandmother can cook it at home. I would suggest to taste burgers from a new and hip place The Huggy’s Bar. The great fact about this place is that all ingredients are produced in Belgium, the majority in Liège. The philosophy of the company is to keep close attention to a positive environmental attitude.

What to eat in Liège, Belgium: Burger from The Huggy's Bar

What to eat in Liège, Belgium: Burger from The Huggy’s Bar

First place where you can pair Huggy's self-brewed beer with burgers

First place where you can pair Huggy’s self-brewed beer with burgers

The Huggy’s Bar offers a casual and laid-back atmosphere with a friendly service. There are 40 various burger combinations paired together with Huggy’s 8 self-brewed beers. We ordered the Avocado Burger with beef and bacon, cheddar, guacamole, tomato & red onions and Huggy’s secret sauce and the Chimay Burger with double bacon, beef, red onions, rucola and chummy cheese of course. Our order came with an unlimited amount of coleslaw and tasty Belgian fries. The burgers were very juicy and sumptuous with fresh products. If I have to give one point to criticism it would be only that the buns were too soft and fell apart. A grilled version of them could make it the best burger. Nevertheless we enjoyed it. Definitely try the Trinity beer if you prefer a bit more character in your glass. My personal highlight was a Galler Chocolate Milkshake which left me speechless for a moment.

Loved it!

If you are planning to visit some other cities in Belgium you can find more tips here.

stella and dot jewelry reviews

Review of a successful online jewelry store Stella & Dot

I’ve discovered a new online shop with beautiful collections of fashion jewelry and accessories with the name Stella & Dot. A great fact about it is that Stella & Dot offers unique design as well as quality. Most of the exquisite necklaces are made out of gold or silver which gives the jewelry durability. I think it’s a big problem nowadays to find a lovely bijou that lasts more than one season and won’t cost a fortune just because of it’s design.

stella and dot jewelry reviews

Stella & Dot Jewelry Review

The story of Stella & Dot

The story of Stella & Dot is also very interesting and inspiring. It begins with Jessica Herrin who has finished Stanford Graduate School of Business and afterwards gone on to co-found of the one wedding website at the young age of 24. After a while Jessica decided to start her own business focusing on designing of jewelry and DIY jewelry kits.

In 2007, Jessica decided together with co-founder Blythe Harris to start a new brand with the catchy name Stella & Dot. They named their business after their grandmothers which is very charming in my opinion. And on top of it these two ladies were mentioned in fashion Bibles like Vogue and InStyle! Impressive, right?

Trendy Jewelry for Women

Stella & Dot feminine Jewellery

Stella & Dot feminine Jewellery

There is a full range of women’s jewellery at Stella & Dot for every taste from bohemian until classy elegant. I love their jewelry because it has a statement. There are various timeless pieces but also jewelry with modern details. As I already mentioned most of the bijous are crafted out of silver, gold and unexpected, contemporary materials.

I personally prefer modern simplicity that will give me as a woman a cool attitude and emphasizes my trendy style. That’s why my favourite ones are these

Stella & Dot trendy jewellery fashion

Stella & Dot trendy jewellery

Nevertheless for those who prefer a bold collection to make simple outfits more interesting there are numerous choices for that too!

Stella & Dot bold jewelry with statement

Stella & Dot bold jewelry with statement

You can also get some inspiration from the Stella and Dot customers who post their pictures on Social Media. There are many very interesting and inspiring looks!

How about to become an independent stylist?

I’ve never thought that it could be a lovely profession on the side being an independent stylist. But actually it sounds like fun. If you feel like you have good taste and want to help people to look beautiful and confident then it could be something very interesting.

Stella & Dot offers plenty of support for beginners, they will set you up with your personal website and provide training. It means no experience is needed to start being your own boss. Ok, you need to invest a bit of money into it but there is nothing for free which has good quality.

I think it’s pretty cool for a business woman to try to be an independent stylist. There is not much to lose and furthermore you can choose your working hours and work from home, organize girls-jewellery parties or just visit people with your collections. Sounds very flexible to me!

 

connected to the world about pinterest

Top Paying Affiliate Programs to Make Quick Money Online

How I make money with Pinterest affiliate marketing

It’s always great to know that you have a passive income on the side that doesn’t need much effort or a huge investment. Here you will find Top Paying Affiliate Programs that in my opinion are awesome to make extra money online. You can implement these affiliate links into your blog or Pinterest profile. Did you know that selling on Pinterest is very lucrative and it helps you to make quick money online?

I’m sure you’re familiar with Pinterest website, otherwise you wouldn’t read this article.  How many times you saved a pin for your favorite recipe or new travel tips? Every time when you click on the Pinterest images and land on the website where you can purchase something the owner of the pin makes money online. Pinterest Affiliate Marketing gives the opportunity to earn money online even if you don’t have a blog or special social media skills.

What is Affiliate Marketing & Affiliate Program?

Affiliate meaning is simple, you are getting paid by a company to promote or recommend their products or services.  Brands have realized the value of personal recommendations over basic paid advertising to reach for more customers. Some merchants do require a blog in order to be approved for their affiliate programs and affiliate links, nevertheless there are many that don’t. (Anyhow you can check my course how to start a blog within 1-2 hours with the secret link for the lowest but very reliable domain price, just 1$ a month!). By applying for these merchants, you can promote their products simply by creating beautiful pins and adding them to your Pinterest profile.  Furthermore you earn money per sale it means when someone clicks on the pin and makes a purchase.

Affiliate Marketing for Beginners

This is an easy explanation how to start Affiliate Marketing. I’ve heard from many bloggers that Pinterest is a great platform to get your blog ranking high in search engines but I’ve never paid much attention to it for a long time. My main intention was also to promote my blog with travel related pins and not to make money. Then I discovered that more and more bloggers are using Pinterest to make extra money online and it made me curious. So the first thing I did was

  1. Converted my Pinterest profile into a Pinterest business account. It’s free and super fast. Afterwards you will be able to access your analytics so you can see the information about your audience and their preferences.
  2. Used SEO especially in the username & bio. Board titles are also very important, they need to be simple and easily understandable. Just think what do you type in the Pinterest search box when you’re looking for something. And of course each board needs to have a good SEO description in full sentences with keywords.
  3. Choose a specific niche for your your affiliate programs to join. Here are some examples of Affiliate Marketing Examples where you don’t need to have a blog to apply. Simply use the Pinterest link with implemented affiliate links. Nevertheless you can also implement them into your blog articles.

Top Paying Affiliate Programs

Most companies affiliate through ShareAsale that’s why you need to signed up here gratis first. And these are the top paying affiliate programs you can apply for, I know it because I’m using them as well:

Cricut has a 45-day cookie and pays a 12% commission.

Erin Condren has a 30-day cookie and pays a 7% commission. Everyone is promoting planners because they are one of the top sellers on Pinterest.

Craftsy is a lovely affiliate for crafts and DIY projects.

Stella & Dot – 30-day cookie and pays 5%-12% commission

Pretty Darn Cute Designs has a 30-day cookie and pays a 25% commission.

Tailwind has a 90-day cookie and pays 50 cents per sign up for the free trial. Afterwards 15%  if someone upgrades to paid version.

(Cookies is a tracking method that gives you more time for the buyer to decide to buy the product. If he or she clicked on the link and landed on the website it can take “x” amount of days until the person decides to purchase the product or services and you will get commissions anyway.

How to promote Top Paying Affiliate Programs with Pinterest images

               4. It’s important to stay active on the Pinterest to be the first in line of the search engine results. Nevertheless it’s impossible to spend the whole day in front of your laptop or PC so there is a great solution created by Pinterest, TailwindTry it out to organize and automate your pins, sign up and first 100 pins are for free. All Pinterest pros are using it at the moment.

                 5.  Use high-quality images with titles and insert affiliate links in your pins. The secret of being successful on Pinterest is to create visually beautiful pins that are standing out from the others so it will make people want to click on them. You can take your own pictures, find some on the website of the merchant or some programs that offer downloading of pictures for free.

                6. Create pins in the size of 600 x 900 but also find more niche specific group boards and join them. Repin their pins to get noticed by the others. There are also plenty of various Facebook groups where bloggers help each other with Pinterest pins. If you need a list of Facebook Pinterest groups just subscribe to my blog and write in the comments that you would like to have it and I will send it to you! Important to mention that you need to pin to the relevant board.

Don’t expect to see your bank account getting filled with dollars immediately. It will take some time, let your pins with affiliate links circulate on the Pinterest network while others repin them. Good luck with your new pins and if you need some inspiration just check or follow my Pinterest page!

 

Family friendly holiday home in Luxembourg: Chalets Petry Spa & Relax

I’ve discovered Chalets Petry Spa & Relax when I was searching for a holiday house with spa in Luxembourg as a getaway from the chaotic city. Why Luxembourg? Because this smallest member of the EU community is famous for it’s breathtaking and diverse nature. It’s 480.000 friendly citizens speak French, German and Luxembourgian here. Nevertheless to find a perfect holiday home is not so easy. There are many old fashioned houses and hotels and searching for a luxurious relaxation place can be tiring. I was lucky enough to stumble upon the website of Chalets Petry Spa & Relax featuring 6 brand new chalets with sauna and jacuzzi.

Luxury holiday house in Luxembourg Chalets Petry Spa & Relax

My intention was to rent one of the chalets for a family vacation with the baby so I didn’t hesitate long to book a holiday home online. The arrival date was at the end of June right on the brink of summer to show it’s best sides.

Arrival at holiday home Chalets Petry Spa & Relax

Holiday home in Luxembourg Chalets Petry Spa & Relax

Wellness chalets are located in beautiful Bettel and it’s very easy to find the way to the chalets especially if you are using a GPS. There is also a sign on the road with a logo which leads you directly to your destination. Our first impression when we arrived was simply “Wow!” The brand new houses standing neatly in a row next to each other, the picturesque view of a field with the forest and horses in a background. It seemed to be a perfect escape to get charged up with positive vibes and energy.

Wellness holiday house in Luxembourg Chalets Petry Spa & Relax

It took us a bit of time to find the reception, which was at the beginning of the road near the chalets. The holiday homes are run by a lovely and helpful couple. It was very interesting to have a chat with them. Check-in processed very fast, we needed to give our credit card for authorization to pay the 300€ bond, just in case something gets broken in the house. Afterwards we got our keys and could finally park our car next to the house and see the inside of our new home for the next 2 nights.

View from the balcony of the holiday home Chalets Petry Spa & Relax

Experience luxury holiday home in Luxembourg

Kitchen & living room of one of the houses Petry Spa & Relax Luxembourg

As soon as we opened the door of our chalet we were immersed into a cozy and homecoming atmosphere. The 3 level house was spacious, clean with decent fresh fragrance. We knew that all 6 houses are identical and provide a private balcony, a BBQ on the ground floor and a terrace with jacuzzi in the spa area. On the top floor there were 4 rooms with 2 double beds and a private modern bathrooms and 2 smaller single bed rooms. There was also a huge fancy bathroom on the ground floor, another double bedroom and nice fireplace in the living room. We didn’t use the fireplace but there was also free firewood provided.

Kitchen of one of the houses Chalets Petry Spa & Relax

Bathroom on the ground floor Chalets Petry Spa & Relax

The whole house was fully equipped: a TV in every room, Wi-Fi, beddings, plenty of towels, shower gel and shampoo and even bathrobes with house shoes. Moreover the kitchen had everything you need and even dishes for babies and toddlers. A great bonus for parents is that a baby chair and baby bed are available. A basket of fresh fruits, Nespresso coffee and a variety of teas were also a great compliment. To conclude the only thing you need to bring with you are your clothes and a good mood. For an extra price food can also be arranged. Nevertheless there are supermarkets close by.

Double bed room on the top level Chalets Petry Spa & Relax

 

Interesting to mention that we saw a couple at the chalet who came with their dog. This means that furry friends are also welcome! And if you have toddlers they can be occupied at the playground so the adults can enjoy the luxury spa. And last but not least the chalets get cleaned every day and you also receive new towels. If you don’t want to be bothered you can just let the owners know.

Bathroom on the top level Chalets Petry Spa & Relax

Private Spa of Chalets Petry Spa & Relax

Outside Jacuzzi in the private wellness area of Chalets Petry Spa & Relax

Sauna in the private spa area of Chalets Petry

The private spa area of the Chalets Petry needs some special attention. The entire bottom level offers the ultimate spa experience. There is a bathroom, sauna, infrared room, comfortable chairs and calm music to relax. Outside you can sit on the terrace, enjoy the view of the pond or just lay in the bubbling warm jacuzzi. For the full treatment it’s also possible to book a massage for an extra fee. We didn’t do it because  the soothing, harmonious surroundings and the private spa alone helped us to unwind our minds and bodies.

Private wellness room in Chalets Petry Spa & Relax

What to do in Luxembourg?

Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to explore the surroundings because we were focused on the spa experience and enjoying family time with our baby. But there are plenty of things to do and that’s why I would suggest to stay more than just 2 nights to get maximum out of your holiday. You can go for a hike, a castle visit or even drive to Luxembourg city.  For any information you can ask the owners of the chalets. They will happily provide you with brochures and a great directions so you will reach your destination!

My opinion about Chalets Petry Spa & Relax

Beautiful outside area with the pond of the holiday home Chalets Petry Spa & Relax

All in one we enjoyed our stay at the Petry’s modern holiday home and had a memorable experience. We could rejuvenate ourselves and restore our energy at the luxury spa and the tranquil surroundings of Luxembourg. The friendly owners and staff let us feel like home so we wished we could stay longer.  I will doubtlessly recommend everyone to visit these holiday homes as a family, friends or just a couple because it offers everything for an awesome getaway. I haven’t written anything about prices because it varies depending on the season but you can easily find them here.

Check another family friendly trip in Europe here!

 

The authentic Review of Vegan Skin Care brand Mad Hippie

Mad Hippie skin care

I got to know the great Vegan Organic Skin Care brand Mad Hippie by accident online. Ever since I’m using it and decided to share with you my authentic review about these awesome natural face products.

About organic skin care line Mad Hippie

Mad Hippie is an affordable vegan skin care line that has been founded in Portland, Orego. Since then it has become a must of the skin care routine of many girls and women. Slowly but right it’s also reaching us Europeans. So the facts that make Mad Happie simpatico: The majority of the products are vegan and cruelty free. The philosophy of the company is to create skin care that doesn’t harm the environment and furthermore $1 from every sale is donated to The Wildlife Conservation Network. I would say Mad Hippie is not just vegan & cruelty free skin care but also a life style brand.

Mad Hippie Cosmetic Products

Mad Hippie also believes that the efficiency of the anti-aging creams lays in the secret of combining several ingredients and not just 1 or 2, the way many companies prefer to do nowadays. All in one after getting to know Mad Hippie’s story closer I decided to try them and see how it works.

Mad Hippie Reviews

Mad Hippie Eye Cream Reviews

Mad Hippie Eye Cream

Something so delicate like our eyes needs good and efficient care. It’s also not easy to find a good eye cream that doesn’t cost a fortune. After Mad Hippie eye cream review Now I will definitely stick to this product and I will suggest it to everyone.

My order arrived within a week and I didn’t hesitate to try the products. The Eye Cream has a light creamy consistency that needs a bit of time to absorb but it helps to prevent the appearance of dark circles and puffiness around the eyes. Various ingredients like Vitamine C, B3, E and white tea help to protect your skin from aging. It’s always a personal opinion if you believe in the miraculous help of anti-aging creams but Mad Hippie eye cream doubtlessly hydrates the skin around the eyes and gives the skin some fresh brightness.

Mad Hippie Vitamine A Serum 

Mad Hippie Vitamine A Serum

For those who don’t know serum should be always used in the combination with your moisturizing face cream. The goal of every serum is to stimulate skin cell function. Mad Hippie Vitamine A Serum is a good mix of anti-aging highlights that help to improve, tighten and moisturize the skin. The main goals of these products are wrinkle reduction, firming, exfoliation and discoloration.

In my opinion Vitamin A Serum has a bit of the “typical” smell of a natural product, it’s not bothering though. It needs to be used in the evening skin care routine 10 minutes before applying the main face cream. I could already notice the positive effects after just 2 days of using it. My skin (I have a normal type) started to look limped up, fresh and with less wrinkles around mouth and on the forehead. Nevertheless I’ve mentioned it already before I’ve been using it with Mad Hippie Face Cream.

Natural Face Product: Mad Hippie Face Cream Review

Mad Hippie Face Cream

The Mad Hippie Face Cream includes 13 different actives that promise to hydrate your skin and reduce signs of aging. I like this natural face product, it has a pleasant floral scent and is easy to apply. Mad Hippie Face Cream absorbs very fast and doesn’t leave any greasy feeling on your face. You need only a pearl size amount of cream to use. The after effect of the smooth skin and all-day-long hydrated skin is priceless. It says that it’s applicable to all skin types and with my normal skin type I have no issues when using it. All three products last around 3-4 months. All in one I would recommend to try it too.

Where to buy Mad Hippie Skin Care Products

There are various possibilities to buy vegan and cruelty free skin care products online. You can buy it on their official Mad Hippie Website. But if you live in Europe or you would like to have it a bit cheaper it’s better to get the skin care at iHerb.com like I did. 

 

Here you can find some more interesting reviews!

 

 

Get your hike on: The best walks New Zealand has to offer

New Zealand is inarguably one of the most beautiful countries in the world. With so much culture and natural beauty to be discovered on this island, it’s no wonder so many travellers flock in their masses to find it. And, if you’re a rather active traveller, rest assured there’s plenty of places for you here, too.

Of course, if you are planning an ‘adventurous’ holiday for yourself and the family, or whether you’re travelling solo, it’s important to keep yourself well protected. This check list ensures you’re covered for an emergency. Staggeringly, 28% of travellers don’t cover themselves with adequate insurance either, so make sure you’re not the one caught out.

Here are just some of the best hiking opportunities New Zealand has to offer.

Milford Sound

For what is perhaps New Zealand’s most beautiful spot of all, head to Milford Sound. Although often seen upon a cruise, this fjord is better off explored on foot – disembark in this natural wonderland and discover one of the most incredible sights on Earth.

With limestone cliffs protruding majestically from the emerald waters and dense forestry upon them, the hiking potential here is almost unparalleled. Some parts of Milford Sound are admittedly more challenging, but the perks are more than worth it – with stretching panoramas boasting waterfalls, wildlife and sprawling views, there’s a reason why this part of New Zealand is so popular.

Rotorua

 

The smoky Rotorua, New Zealand

Head to Rotorua if you want to discover a prevalence of culture whilst you explore. It’s a town renowned for the prominent Maori culture, boasting the highest Maori population of any town in the entire country. Be sure to try a traditional hangi (feast), as recommended by Audley, during your time here.

But if you’re focused on the hike, rest assured it’s one of the best places for it. The Thermal Plateau has some of the most wondrous geothermal features in the country, with everything from cave formations to dense forests, with mud pools and gushing geysers in between. This will prove to a be a hike unlike any other.

Mount Tongariro

If you’re up for the challenge of hiking upon a volcano, head to Tongariro National Park. There’s countless routes here to discover, depending on just how long a hike you’re looking for – shorter hikes such as the track towards the Taranaki Falls or the Ohinetonga Lagoon circuit are best suited to the less-experienced explorer.

However, you could potentially spend up to eight hours here exploring the sprawling park. The Tama Lakes boast a track that could take just that long if you take your time, taking you through a vast majority of Tongariro. And then there’s the volcano itself – it isn’t an easy climb, but if you’re up for the challenge it’s all yours.

Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park in New Zealand

Another of New Zealand’s national parks, Abel Tasman is very different from Tongariro. Instead of hilly treks and a volcano to boot, you’ll find some lush forestry that gives way to beautiful, glistening beaches. Hike to the top of Abel Tasman’s hills for stretching views out towards the horizon, the sun-soaked surroundings perhaps the closest thing to paradise in the country.

This is the perfect destination for a first-time hiker, especially because the terrain isn’t as challenging as some other entries on this list. And, as an added bonus, you’ll discover some of New Zealand’s natural beauty as a result.

Art Deco Walk, Napier

If a hike isn’t really your thing and you simply want a casual stroll, consider Napier’s Art Deco Walk. This city is full to the brim with incredible Art Deco architecture, with some prominent historical value accompanying it – it’s indisputably New Zealand’s most stunning city of all.

The level of maintenance and upkeep that has so evidently gone into the city’s appearance makes for a fascinating trip, and as you walk upon the streets gawking at the many beautiful buildings before you, make sure you take the time to appreciate the history and how Napier came to be how it is today. Here you will find more interesting places that you definitely need to visit in New Zealand!

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