Exploring the world one bite at a time

Month: February 2018

Pairi Daiza: “A must visit”

Pairi Daiza is a gorgeous animal park in Brugelette. This park is so much more than a zoo, though, the environment is breath taking, with beautiful gardens, temples, an African stilt village, a nice playground for the children and so much more. A day really isn’t enough to visit everything thouroughly. The animals in the zoo have plenty of space and can be admired from different view points. No ugly cages here, but nice, clean housing with animals who look well fed and not stressed at all.

There are lots of different options for food. You can take your own picknick, buy some fastfood or eat in a real restaurant. Food is a little bit expensive, though.

I have to say, the pandas were a bit of a disappointment. Their housing was quite dark and to be honest, these animals are cute, but also a bit boring. The visit to the Lemure island was a highlight, though. It is absolutely wonderful to encounter these lovely animals up close and personal (one even sat on my shoulder).

Pairi Daiza
Hainaut / Henegouwen

Visited July 2015. You can find my review about Pairi Daiza also on TripAdvisor.

Belfry and Cloth Hall (Belfort en Lakenhalle): “Incredible views”

This is a must see when visiting Ghent. From the top of the Belfry you have a splendid view on two of the three famous Ghent Towers (you’re standing on the third). You can also see the famous bell ‘Klokke Roeland’ and two of the older versions of the dragon on top of the tower. The Belfry is a beautiful historical place, you won’t regret visiting. Don’t worry about the stairs, there is an elevator which brings you to the highest level.

Belfry Gent / Belfort
Ghent 9000

Visited June 2015. You can find my review about Belfry and Cloth Hall (Belfort en Lakenhalle) also on TripAdvisor.

London off the beaten path

London is a city that never ceases to amaze me. So many things to do and visit. Since I’ve been in London four times now, I thought I’d share some less touristy places to visit. I can guarantee you: you won’t be disappointed.

1. The Charterhouse

This museum site is packed with history and has lots of interesting stories to tell. I liked the fact that the narrative of the museum takes the visitor back in time. Using artifacts (including a skeleton from the time this site was used as a cemetery for plague victims) as anchors for the visitor’s journey. The highlight of the visit to me was the beautiful chapel. So much history condensed in one place, impressive!

location: Charterhouse Square, London
price: free

2. Borough Market

Well, perhaps not really a hidden gem, but no foodie can miss the opportunity to sample the great dishes the food stalls prepare. I would personally recommend to go for the more traditional British dishes, but you’ll find dishes from all over the world here. My personal favorites: the fresh oysters. Lovely!

location: 8 Southwark St, London
price: free (although you’ll want to make sure to have enough cash on you to pay for all that great food)

3. The Old Operating Theatre

To enter this quaint museum you’ll have to climb a steep and winding staircase. Although very interesting, this place isn’t for the faint of heart, because the whole place has kind of a creepy vibe. You’ll find an impressive collection of medical instruments, medicinal plants and some specimens of human pathologies. I personally was both fascinated and abhorred by the historical operating theatre.

location: 9a St Thomas Street, London
price: £6.50

4. Alternative London Walking Tour

Do you love street art? Then this is the tour for you. The Alternative London guides are great and very knowledgeable, which is not surprising because they are street artists themselves. East London is teeming with great street art from the most famous street artists in the world (cough, Banksy). When the tour is finished, you choose how much you want to pay.

location: East London
price: what it’s worth to you

5. Regent’s Park

One of the Royal Parks of London and an ideal place to wind down from the busy city life. This beautifully maintained park is huge and consists of mainly open parkland with a wide range of facilities and amenities. My favorite spots were the Japanese Garden Island and Queen Mary’s Rose Gardens. I also recommend you visit the nearby Primrose Hill for some lovely views on the London skyline.

location: Chester Rd, London
price: free

6. Chelsea Physic Garden

One of the oldest botanical gardens in Britain and definitely worth a visit. The walled garden in itself isn’t that big, but the variety of plants is absolutely impressive. You can visit the garden on your own, but I highly recommend taking a guided tour. The guides will amaze you with lots of interesting facts regarding the garden and its collection. I especially loved the green houses with their beautiful architecture.

location: 66 Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London
price: £6.10

7. BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

Save the best for last? This hindu temple is situated in Neasden. It takes some time getting there if you’re staying in the center of London, but the temple is well worth the travel effort. The temple is built entirely using traditional methods and materials. The carvings and statues on the inside of the building are stunningly beautiful. Unbelievable that this is all man made. Sadly the whole building is concealed from the outside by a big wall and iron gates. So it is kinda hard to take a good picture of the exterior.

location: 105-119 Brentfield Road, Neasden, London
price: free