Getting there: By bus Assen (NS station), but we got there by car
Scenery: Trail into the forest, dunes like desserts and a beautiful small town
After a lot of months without our hiking getaways (thanks to COVID-19), we finally did our first dutch adventure of the year. This time, we decided to visit the beautiful province of Friesland by doing a road trip. Our main intention was to visit Leeuwarden (Awarded cultural capital 2018), but also we wanted to do a hike in a National park of that province. Luckily, we found on google maps the Drents-Friese Wold National Park, that actually is a national park that is shared by two provinces, Friesland and Drenthe.
Appelscha looked like a nice option for starting our hike, especially because we found the perfect Airbnb in there, completely recommended! Amazing huge breakfast, it was so much that they even gave sandwich bags, so we could prepare our lunch with the leftovers, of course, we did it and we saved on lunch for two days! After breakfast, we started our hiking trip from a desolated Appelscha. This little town is lovely by its own, and since it is so close to the national park is very quiet.
Just after the first kilometer south, we immersed ourselves in the first forest. The trees were so tall and the trail was noiseless, perfect for some relaxing moment in the morning. We walked in here for around 1 km more before getting to the road.
Once we got to the road, there were many farms with amazing horses. One of them was a famous Friesian horse, these types of horses are originally from Friesland and they are impressive. Some of their characteristics are the black color and the size, they are huge!!! Also, they have a lot of presence and elegance.
Then, we immersed ourselves in the national park, where there is a huge dune area that looked like a desert. This was the hardest part of the trail because it was really hot. Anyways, it was a different experience in our dutch hikes.
After walking in the desert, we reached a lovely lake in Canada! Yes, Canada is the name of this lake just in the middle of our hike. In here, we had a lovely sandwich made from the leftovers of the breakfast. The lake was full of families enjoying the nice weather. So, it was a nice lunch watching all the locals swimming and relaxing.
Our last stop of the journey was to reach the visitor center of the national park. Here, there were many beautiful wood sculptures of animals. We rested for a couple of minutes here and started walking to our accommodation.
In total, we did around 24km around this amazing national park. We crossed from one province to the other one, and that is always nice to say 🙂 The hardest part was the dune one, well, and the end as well, since we were already very tired.
Once we got to our Airbnb, we enjoyed a quiet and nice evening in the room.
Around September from last year, I wanted to surprise Glenn for his birthday in January. Which better place to celebrate his 32nd-year-old than the happiest place in Europe. I checked the discount and I got a half-board free dining plan and a 25% discount on my stay. I was so excited because when we got married we wanted our honeymoon in Disneyworld with the dining plan, but we couldn’t do it. So this was going to be like our birthday/honeymoon celebration. At the end of the page, you can check how much we spend on this trip.
But well, for me one of the most important things is the food. So I read a lot about the best restaurants in Disney, and in which I can use the Disney dining plan. After reading a lot the menus, we decided to book two months (yes, 2 months earlier!)earlier in the following restaurant. Also, you can check some of our snacks outside the dining plan.
Disney plus dining package
How it works? Well, there are 3 different types of dining packages: Basic, plus, and premium. Since we stayed in a moderate price hotel (Sequoia Lodge) we got the plus package. We decided to upgrade the package to full board, so we could go to more restaurants. The discount only included free half-board (breakfast and a meal in a restaurant per night), but with the full-board, one more meal per day was included. We thought that we package didn’t include drinks, but it does. Per person, you can have a soft drink (soda or juice) or a coffee/tea. This last one was very useful for me because normally I eat with water and having tea after the heavy meals were amazing (yes, you can ask for tap water for free).
TIP: Only upgrade if you will stay enough time in Disney, in our case we arrived on a Friday morning and leave on Sunday Night. For us, the meals portions in the package were huge, so it was a good idea to disperse our 6 meals between the 3 days. Our schedule was the following;
2:00 pm- Lunch at Captain Jack’s
9:00 pm- Late Dinner at Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show
10:00 am- Late breakfast at the hotel, this is one is from 7:00 am to 11:00 am (after Magic hours)
7:00 pm- Early dinner at Bistrot Chez Rémy
9:30 am- Late breakfast at the hotel (we woke up late 🙂
6:00 pm- Early dinner at Cape Cod
On the second and the third day we had some snacks between meals. These were not included in the meal plan, but were worthy 🙂
Captain Jack’s – Restaurant des Pirates
Our first meal in Disneyland Park was this romantic and delicious restaurant. The cuisine is tropical/Caribbean, and we were curious about this. Since we are from the tropic and our culture has a lot of Caribbean influence, we wanted to know how good Disney was doing proper research on the international cuisines. We were not disappointed!
With the dining package, you can only ask for the selection available for this selected plan. If you want something else from the premium package, you have to pay extra. We got the chicken salad and the fish soup as an entreé. They were huge, actually, they were almost like a main dish. On the side, they brought us a warm coconut bread that was nice (for me nothing special, it tasted like bread with artificial coconut flavor). The salad was delicious, it has like a Thai papaya salad flavor, and it was fresh and crunchy. Glenn’s fish soup was also very good, it tasted like tomato soup with tuna, it doesn’t sound good. But actually, the combination of species and textures was very authentic.
As a main dish, I chose the baked Mahi Mahi with coconut rice, and Glenn had the Caribean chicken with rice as well. My fish was baked in a tomato sauce (similar to the fish soup from the entreé) and some extra vegetables. It was really good and the rice was amazing. Glenn’s chicken was big and very tasty as well.
Our desserts were fantastic, but one more than the other one. I had the sugar cookie topped with roasted pineapple and cream. Glenn had the seasonal dessert of Christmas, it was a Minnie cookie shape, topped with berries mousse and raspberries coulis. The best was this last one, the pineapple one was good but I expected something more sophisticated and less sweet.
Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show
At night, we went to the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Dinner Show. You can go without paying extra with the plus dining package at the 9:30 pm show. Since we don’t have kids, this was perfect for us. We saw many kids sleeping in the middle of the show, so if you are going with kids at this show make sure they sleep before going, so they can enjoy the whole show.
The food was a typical American BBQ. Once you get to your site, there are some tortilla chips on the table. Then, the staff starts giving you the beverage and a piece of cornbread. This last one tasted like vanilla cake with some corn flavor, was good but no phenomenal. TIP: The beverages are unlimited, especially the beer 🙌🏽
As the second dish, we got a delicious Chili con Carne. As an expert on this field, I can say it was full of flavor and the portion is big enough. Well, at this point we were already kinda full, especially because we ate a lot of chips at the beginning (do not make this mistake, the best was going to come).
The main dish was a full BBQ with glorious pork Ribs, a chicken leg, a spicy sausage, and some roasted potatoes. The best were the ribs 🤤so much flavor and they were warm. The chicken was really good as well. It was a huge meal, and it didn’t end there.
The dessert was a warm apple cobbler with vanilla ice cream on top. It was really sweet for my taste, but I still ate it all 😂. They also brought us coffee or tea and a small chocolate coin for later. This was a good experience and the show was entertaining. I don’t think we will do it again, but we didn’t regret trying it at least once. I think is a must-do in Disneyland Paris.
Breakfast at the Hotel
We were pleasantly surprised about the breakfast at our hotel. The restaurants were you can get it are Hunter’s Grill and Beaver Creek Tavern, located on the ground floor. Both of them have nice decoration and they are very big, so there is not a problem to get a space.
Because before getting we read reviews about it and people said it was very basic. Not at all! The breakfast included many types of bread, scrambled and boiled eggs (but really in France you have to the get the scrambled, with all that butter). All kinds of cheese, seasonal fruits, and deli meats. Lastly, the best for us was the Croissants and the pancake, both fresh and delicious. The coffee was ok but the best, at least good to start the day. TIP: I combine half espresso with half hot chocolate… amazing mochaccino.
Between meals, we had snacks and some of them were seasonal. Like this Gingercake and the Christmas donut. Both of them were around 3 euros per two portions. They were nice, especially the ginger cake, but the donut was basic, just like Dunkin Donuts. Also, we had to try the Croque Monsieur from Market House Deli, after reading a lot of reviews about it. And yes, it was delicious and huge.
Bistrot Chez Rémy
The second day we had dinner at the restaurant from Ratatouille attraction. The topic is french cuisine but with American portions, so for us was perfect! The ambiance is unique, you really feel like the restaurants for the rats of the movie.
As an entreé, I got the salad with a poached egg and Chantal cheese. Glenn got the seasonal soup, pumpkin soup. Both were delicious, and the ingredients tasted very fresh.
As a main, both of us got the fish with Ratatouille and mash potatoes. I think this was the best dish I had on this trip. The sauce was bloody amazing, and everything on the plate was like a celestial marriage. The portion was perfect, not too big or too small. The ratatouille was on the same plate (different from other plates).
Finally, our dessert was the tiramisu and the chocolate mousse. For me, both were very sweet, and I would prefer a typical tiramisu, but in general, it was good since they were already made in a freezer. The chocolate mousse was ok, I prefer the ones that the chocolate flavor is more intense, but I guess they have to make one in the middle for every taste. Next time I would like to try the Gusteau’s Dessert, because yes I hope we will have the next time in this restaurant 😍.
On the last day, we want to go to this café, since it was number one in Tripadvisor from the Disney restaurant. The scenery and the decoration are amazing, in fact you are paying for it. We got the seasonal hot chocolates and a Croque monsieur to share (yes, the one in the picture is a Croque monsieur…). We were kinda disappointed with the food. The hot chocolates were normal, just the decoration was nice, but we realize you can get the same hot chocolate (with the decoration) for half the price in one of the stalls outside. The Croque Monsieur was a joke for me, it was like one of those simple sandwiches you make for kids. The whole price of this meal was 33 euros. Buring the fantastic Croque Monsieur at Market House Deli was only 7,5 euros (double the size, and the real thing). You can find those chocolates for 5 euros each. To sum out, this improved meal outside can cost you half-price. Basically, you pay the other half for the place.
Our last meal was a buffet before getting back home. We chose Cape Cod because we wanted to visit this hotel, and the reviews were really good. People were right about this one, one of the best buffets I have tried in Europe. Everything was fresh and delicious. We loved the soup, the salmon and of course the desserts. This was the perfect ending for our Disney foodie trip.
I have to give you my thoughts about our Hotel. The Sequoia Lodge had good reviews, and a price is a perfect option if you on a romantic trip. We stayed in the main building, in the east wing. Our room was a little bit far from the reception or the restaurant, but this was ideal for us since it was quieter. The only bad thing about the position was to walk until the reception to get back from the room, but it was not a big deal.
The view from the room was great, it was the lake. From here you can see the Disney globe and the Sequoia trees just outside the hotel. The room was big and the bed was comfy. The decoration was about Bambi and we found small shampoos and conditioners with Mickey design in the bathroom. The room didn’t have a kettle or tea facilities (we didn’t stay in the Golder Forest rooms).
The hotel is very cozy in general, for the winter is perfect. In addition, having a wine or a hot chocolate in front of the biggest fireplace in Europe is a must, this one is located in the Redwood Bar and Lounge. In general, this is an amazing hotel, and the location is less than 15min to the parks.
Accommodation (free half-board dining package, upgraded full-board, 2 nights, magic express, and park tickets for 3 days): 1035 euros
Food (outside the Dining Package): 66,5 euros
Transport (Train from NL to France in Thalys): 198 euros
Total: 1299,34 euros
Next trip wishes
Definitely, we want to go back and experience all the things we couldn’t on this last trip.
Places to eat (Buffet): Restaurant Agrabah Café, Inventions, Hunter’s Grill and Beaver Creek Tavern.
Places to eat (Table service): Silver Spur Steakhouse, Manhattan Restaurant, Walt’s, The Steakhouse, Auberge de Cendrillon, and Annette’s diner.
Places to eat (Counter Service): Earl of Sandwich, Fuente del Oro, Hakuna Matata, and Au Chalet de la Marionnette.
Places to stay: We would love to stay in the new Marvel Hotel (it was under construction), Newport Bay’s Club, Hotel Disneyland, and Cheyenne.
Many things to do in the happiest place in Europe. Please let me know if you need more info or if you recommend something for our next visit.
Last June, we finished our 2 weeks Norwegian trip. One part of this journey was a road trip from Trondheim to Bergen, making some strategic stop in places we want to do some hikes or we want to see some attractions. Some here is all the info, including our accommodation, meals, and budget.
We rented the car at Trondheim Airport. From there took us around 5 hours to get to Eide, where we were going to spend the night. As the main objective of this stop was to pass through the Atlantic Ocean Road, we first put on our GPS a supermarket in Kristiansund. So, after there, we had to get the popular road to get to our destination. This route has a ferry that cost around 15 euros for the car and an extra passenger.
Eide to Stranda, vía Trollstingen
After having a local breakfast at our Airbnb (Some barley porridge), we headed the road to Trollstingen. We were super lucky that the road was already open (it’s closed until the beginning of summer). The road by itself is beautiful and somehow magical. We reached the parking spot on the top, and from there we did some short hikes (Around 1 hour, since there was still some snow on the top). We had lunch here, and then we continue our journey to Stranda. where we spend two nights.
Stranda was a strategic stop for two reasons: the amazing Airbnb that was like staying with friends, plus the proximity to Geirangerfjord and other hiking trails. The next day, we drive until Hellesylt, where we took the tourist ferry to Geiranger. It is cheaper to get on the ferry without the car, it was around 93 euros return ticket. I think it is expensive but completely worthy since you can see the waterfall and learn some story behind the fjord. The ride is about 1 hour each way, so as we did it early, we had the whole afternoon to do a hike around Stranda.
Our Airbnb host recommended a hike near her place. Just a few minutes away by car we reached Livarden starting point. This hike is around 10km up and the view is outstanding, from here you can see have a spectacular view of the connection between Geirangerfjord and Tafjord, resulting in a big river that ended up in the ocean.
Stranda to Vikøyri, Lovatnet Lake stop
The following day, we started our long drive to Vikøyri. It was around five hours of driving since we want to get to know Lovatnet lake. We had a lovely lunch in front of the lake. This road has many types of breathtaking sceneries, as the view of the fjord from the mountain.
We decided to sleep at Vikøyri due to the convenient location, nothing more. But for our surprise, there is an old Stave Church called Hopperstad stavkyrkje. The structure is amazing and the whole ambiance made me feel I was in a mystical place. We arrived late, so we couldn’t get inside, so I will have to return to check it out.
Vikøyri to Segelgjerd, Viking village stop
Our next stop was Segelgjerd, a town near Trolltunga. To get there the trip is around 2 hours, but it took us more than because we want to visit the Viking village at Gudvangen. The entrance ticket is around 20 euros each adult and includes a small tour with some explanations on the Viking life. It was nice to see that the people working there actually live there, only for the 3 or months that the village is open. Apparently, there is a nice summer Festival in July, so visit around those days to have the full Viking experience.
The rest of the road was agreeable, with some nice views and tiny towns. Once we got to Segelgjerd, we were impressed by the landscape. Apart from Trolltunga, the surrounders are beautiful and you can have a nice view from the fjord along the highway. We were going to stay here because we bolled a two-day tour to climb Trolltunga the next morning.
Our Trolltunga experience was completely different from what we thought was going to be. Especially because we didn’t have the best weather, it was snowing at the end of May, so our equipped wasn’t the appropriate one but we survive! Luckily, besides the snow and some clouds, we achieve to saw the troll tongue (Trolltunga).
We booked a tour with Trolltunga adventures, it included the accommodation on tents on the top, all the meals, and local hiking snacks. I think it was worthy, so if you want the whole Norwegian hiking experience you should check them out!
Segelgjerd to Øystese
Since our two-days Trolltunga experience finished around 2 pm, we chose a near town where to spend that night closed to Hardangerfjord. This town was Øystese, near the ferry stop and the intersection for Bergen.
The view from this little town is amazing and our Airbnb was cozy and convenient. We just relaxed after all the walking and prepare for the following day drive.
Øystese to Bergen, via scenic route 49 & 48
This scenic route was recommended by our Airbnb hosts. It took us one hour more to reach Bergen but it was worthy. Although it was raining that day, we appreciated the numerous waterfalls, tunnels, and islands. We left the car at Bergen so that concludes our road trip.
Norway is an enormous country that we could see only a small part of it. Definitely, it has so many things to see and it is a great place to do any kind of outdoors activities.
This small road trip gave us a taste of the most popular attractions on the road, so if you want to replicate this trip let me know and tag us on Instagram.
Last June, we did a Journey of 10 nights and 11 days around the Island and this is how we did it:
We arrived at Dublin Airport and we rented a car in Hertz. Something important is that the price showed in the web page didn’t include taxes or Insurance. We got the full coverage insurance because many people told us about the tiny roads in Ireland. So, at the beginning the price for 10 days was going to be around 260 euros, plus everything else end up being 700 euros (more than the double). Also, they gave us the choice of returning the car full or empty, their gas price is lower than outside, so we decided to return it empty.
The first stop was Rock of Cashel. It is an amazing old church and everything I expected from Irish scenario. Nearby, there is an old abandoned castle, it is very nice and not so touristy, you can see it from the Rock of Castle.
Then we arrived at Cork, where we stayed at a Hostel called Kinlay House. Is a very basic accommodation, breakfast is poor, only toast and jellies. But it was nice to make sandwiches for the day.
We had dinner at the Fish Wife. If you want real Fish and Chips eat there! They are huge and the flavour is unique. The place is small so ask it for take away and sit in front of the river or in a bar.
We went for a little walk around the town and we end up at Blackrock castle. This one is a museum for kids, it was smaller than we thought. We walk back from there to the city, so we were starving, so our next stop was Franciscan Well, an old brewery with a nice selection of beers and pizzas. A most go if you visit Cork. They have live music and a nice atmosphere.
After breakfast, we went back to the road, our next stop was Kinsale. A beautiful and colorful little fisherman town. We had coffee and scones in a very cozy café called Jo’s Café. The raspberry scone was divine and fresh. It looked like a favorite between the locals.
After Kinsale we went to Killarney National Park. It was enough time to do the long trail and getting back to the Killarney downtown where our Hostel was. The Black Sheep Hostel was amazing, I highly recommended. The rooms were clean and the beds were private, the breakfast had a nice selection of different toppings for the toasts, cereals and fruits.
Dingle Peninsula Day. It is completely worthy and is kind of a short trip in the morning, after lunch we walked around the town. We had dinner in a place called Quinlan’s, it is famous for the fish and chips. They are very yummy, a little bit more restaurant style than the ones in Cork. The portions are big but is expensive, around 15 euros the plate. Later, we finished up in a pub with live Irish music. We tried, as always, the good local beers (Murphy’s and Killarney).
Finally, we did the Ring of Kerry, it is stunning and if you go early the tourist buses are not a problem. From here, we went directly to Cliffs of Moher. The place was crowded but since is very big you cannot realized it, giving you a lot of opportunities for photos without people.
Then we did Burren National Park on our way to Galway. It is worthy, we thought that we were in another planet.
We arrived at Galway in the evening, so we checked in the Hostel (Snoozles Hostel) and went to bed. This one was a new Hostel, it was comfy but a felt I was in a student residence.
We walked around the city and we went to the Claddagh Cottage, where they offered us a cup of tea and a scone. There was a very nice guy, who told us a little bit of the history of the Claddagh ring, cottage and Galway.
After our journey around every possible place in Galway, we had an early dinner in a place called The Pie Maker. It is a very small and cozy place where you can find delicious pies! My favourite was the Chicken and Mushrooms with Irish Whisky Sauce. Glenn had a Beef and Dark beer pie, and they recommend us to have one that was practically an Irish Breakfast in a pie. Since we already had enough Irish Breakfast on our trip and so more to go, we decided to skip it. The ambiance around Galway at night is amazing, it is very artistic and if you meet the Galway Street Club, you will enjoy of a great show for free.
Time to go to Sligo, but before that, we tooked the long way to meet the National Park of Connemara and Kylemore Abbey. Definitely, they are worth to visit, the scenarios in the Connemara park are speechless and the Kylemore Abbey looked nice but it was under refurnishing, so we could not enter. Probably we will visit next time.
After the long drive, we got to Sligo, where there is a fairy tale mountain and a completely different scenario of Ireland. It is a little bit more rural but the people is still friendly and a little bit less stress. There, we stayed at one Bed & Breakfast called Benbulben Farmhouse. I have to be honest with you, I chose this place because the Homemade Scones they make every morning and thank God, I did it. The place is amazing! I want to live there; the owner is super cute and helpful and her cooking skills are spectacular.
We had lunch at a place called Henry’s Bar and Restaurant. Our host recommended this place to us. The food is very Irish, if that could be an adjective, big amount and cheap. It was full of locals so if you want the real thing go there. It was also very closed to the B&B. As lunch was big, we ate some popcorn for dinner that our Host made for us.
We had the most amazing breakfast and leave early to visit Donegal and London Derry. Two completely different towns. We saw the Donegal castle and the controversial paintings in London Derry.
As our objective was to stay the closer be could of Giant Causeway, our accommodation was in a little town called Portrush, only 10 minutes by car. The got and an amazing Airbnb in front of the sea. Our dinner was TESCO pizza, not the fanciest think but still delicious.
We woke up early and took the road to try to see Giant Causeway without people. We didn´t achieved it but still is amazing. And make sure you look for the legend before you go. It makes it more magical.
On our way to Belfast, we passed through the Dark Hedges and the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, the first one is practically free, so there is a lot of tourists taking pictures. The Rope Bridge was also crowded but some friends told us that it wasn’t worthy to pay for passing the bridge, that the queue is long and in the other island there is not a lot of things to seem so we skip it.
When we arrive to Belfast, it was raining but that didn’t stop us to walk around the city and check the amazing paintings in the Cathedral Quarter and check the amazing architecture of St. Anne’s Cathedral and the City Hall.
We stayed at a nice hotel called Tara Lodge. The place was fancy, but that is our way to go, the last night of the trip must be a good place with nice breakfast. It is very close to the Belfast University, so we wait until the next day to visit it.
Our first stop was breakfast. It was delicious and they suggested us to try the porridge, Glenn doesn’t like it but I gave it a tried, especially if was a peculiar flavour as the Whisky one. It was amazing, but I would put more Whisky…
The visit to the University was nice and short, it is a spectacular campus and you can see how proud they are about the famous students.
Then, we started the last part of our journey. The last stop before Dublin was Brú na Bóinne, Tombs from the Neolithic period completely well conserved. Our intention was to enter Newgrange but the next tour was late and we had to return the car around 5:00pm, so we went to Knowth. We don’t regret this decision, Knowth is the biggest of the three tombs and you can walk to the top and have a nice view of the landscape. Also, you can enter in one part and see how is in the inside.
Well, we went back to Dublin airport to return the car and took a bus for staying the last night in Dublin. We spent only one night in Dublin because we had already been there, for as a recommendation stay in Dublin at least 3 nights to get to know it better. We stayed at my accommodation for the semester so no more hotels.
Obviously, in Dublin we went to a pub with live music called The Porterhouse. They have craft beer and a nice atmosphere. We had dinner in a place called Bunsen, they specialize in US style burgers, having only 3 types no cheese, with cheese and double. The burgers are really tasty, but what you have to try in there is the Chocolate Milkshake, is super chocolately.
Finally, the last morning we spent in Ireland we decided to go for souvenirs after we had breakfast in Brother Hubbard, because you must say goodbye from their pulled pork. Also, we got a snack to get to the airport at Augier Danger Donuts, a delicious red velvet and black forest donuts.
Well, that was everything. It was a long journey 1900 (we start with 90 km, it was a new car :)= but I think we covered almost everything we want to see.
If you plan to visit I recommend going at the end of May, when the weather is a little better and there are not many people, so the prices of everything are cheaper.