Welcome to the country of the sweetest kitties

we are in Romania now, our favorite country in the east, after having passed the Hungarian border we found a hotel. The last time we were in Romania was in 2015 when we visited all places linked to Vlad Tepes. As soon as we arrived in the hotel, we drank some Romanian beer and ate something. Soon we got the company of a very sweet cat, to be honest, both of use are dog lovers, but it was hard to say no to our feline companion

Priorities first; beer!

And food!
Our sweet companion

HERfavorite, the Viking’s knee


The second day a family party kept our kitty outside, the next day she was back, but it was time to say goodbye. More far horizons were awaiting us.


The risotto incident

The day afterwards, we found ourselves at the shores of lake of Bled. This is the most picturesque place in Slovenia. The Viking quickly announced he was not going to have lunch, since he was not hungry at all. Luckily, the waiter thought otherwise and brought a big portion for both of us.

The beer made Lars hungry (I

In the blink of an eye, Lars had devoured his portion. It was indeed a very delicious risotto (SEAFood risotto) Since I know how to make a risotto, I decided to make the same risotto when we were back home. That was a success too!

In the previous post , I forgot to mention the address oh the hotel?restaurant:

Vila Planinka

Zgornje Jezersko 67, Zgornje Jezersko, 4206 Slovenia

The experience of a lifetime

After our memorable lunch in Arles, we spent the rest of the afternoon, doing some sightseeing. Coincidence or not, we found ourselves in an area not far from the Gorges du verdon, a very beautiful but also expensive area. Lars decided it would be a good idea to cross the border with Italy and then head east to Slovenia. It was already past midnight when we crossed the aforementioned border, and we actually passed the night at an Italian gas station. WE had taken our bed linen with us, in case we couldn’t find a cheap hotel or camping place. Late in the afternoon the following day, we crossed yet another border, we had arrived in Slovenia! We drove to a small village where Lars knew several cheap places to stay. We started with high hopes, but that soon changed. All the places were completely booked or were closed. Finally, we stopped at a place called Vila Planinka; the price was quite high, but the owner luckily proposed a discount, which we accepted. Since it was late in the evening, .we decided to have dinner in the restaurant. Lars immediately discovered it was a one Michelin -star restaurant. I convinced him to give it a try, after all we were foodies, and we deserved this.

THE beautiful Surroundings
The extensive and expensive menu
a very tasty beer as an apéritif
Main dish ; trout and asparagus
My starter; raw meat
dessert with asparagus ice cream

In general, this was the experience of a lifetime. The food was delicious, we tasted food combinations we were not used to, the service was impeccable. For Lars, it was the first time in a Michelin restaurant, and he was simply overwhelmed. And the adventure went on…

Dinner in Paradise

So far we have had a very cold winter here in Spain. But fortunately, a couple of Sundays ago, temperatures started to rise again. We decided to celebrate this event and go to the Costa tropical. Our favorite place there is Calahonda, but it turned out that most restaurants were still closed. Instead, we went to the smaller town of Castillo de Baños. One of the biggest attractions is the restaurant El Paraiso. The restaurant specializes in fish and seafood and is located right next to the sea. It’s not the cheapest place at the Costa, but the food is excellent!

The restaurant was full when we arrived, so we had to wait inside and half an hour later we couldto our greatest joy sit outside. Having dinner and observe the waves at the same time turned out to be a lot of fun.

Watching people and the big waves

Lars chose the escalope and I had the gambas with pil-pil sauce (a very aromatic and spicy sauce!). The food was very delicious; we really felt in paradise!

Chocolate cake for dessert and a brandy; in the meantime the waves got bigger and bigger!

Our GPS had one surprise in store. Instead of going home via the motorway, she sent us through the mountains of the Alpujarras. The landscapes were a real treat!

No matter what you are celebrating, restaurant El Paraiso will always be an excellent choice!

A weekend in Freiburg

When Lars and I still lived in Brussels, we sometimes jumped in our car on a Friday evening and drove abroad. Waking upon a Saturday morning in Freiburg im Breisgau is a real treat!

We celebrated our arrival with a breakfast with some champagne.

If it had been warmer we could have had breakfast outside! The Main church is worth a visit!

The loca lmarket was cozy as well

And what about tasting some wine?

To the Pyrenees-The gastronomical Adventure of the Year

During our day in the Pyrenees, we decided to follow a touristic route in the area, we basically drove from one village to another. In Valle de Villaverde we decided to take a lunch break, we had become hungry!

So we parked our car near the Santa Maria Church and made our way to the Posada Calera. As soon as we entered the dining room, we were welcomed by delicious smells coming from the kitchen and a very friendly woman presenting the menu del dia to us.

Lars chose chickpea soup with extra cabbage for the starter, and I had macaroni. Both dishes were incredibly delicious. The Posada has an excellent cook!

Very happy Viking in foodie heaven

For the second course we both had French fries, eggs, and the best smoked ham we had ever eaten:

Dessert was Natillas (Vanilla custard), containing about a miliion calories! One of the best meals we ever had, we were in foodie paradise.

When we were back in the car, the explorers in us woke up, and we decided to go to Bakio (am small coastal town):

Huge change of scenery, and what a scenery:

it was the end of the afternoon and lots of people were soaking up the last sun rays on the beach with their pooch.

And after all the fantastic events of that superb day, It was time to return to Santander.

To the Pyrenees – Arrival in Santander

With its more than 170.000inhabitants,Santander is one of the bigger towns in the north of Spain. During our stay, El Figon was our temporary home. The hostel is spread over two blocks, one contains the reception, restaurant, and bodega, the other block further away from the very busy street contains the rooms. Amongst the interesting sights are the beaches, cathedral, Old Town and a center for contemporary art. And it’s close to the Pyrenees! After checking in, we had dinner; our first course resembled paella, and the main course -fish-was to die for. Just look at the smile on the Viking’s face!

A very good meal indeed, but it didn’t prepare us for the gastronomical adventure that awaited us in the Pyrenees!

Anyway, you can easily find this hostel on booking.com. And the adventure continues!

Lunch in Salobreña

Salobreña is one of the bigger town at the Costa Tropical (the coastline of the province of Granada). It consists of two parts: the Old Town with its Moorish castle and the touristic part with new developments. Salobreña has 5 beaches where you can find a lot of chiringuitos (bars/restaurants). We decided to give Casa Emilio a try, and we were not disappointed.

Relaxed Viking
Mixed paella for lunch
My dessert
Grilling fish
Lots of waves

This is the address of Casa Emilio: Calle Paseo Maritimo 5, Salobreña. Check out their website.

Excellent service and food, reasonable prices and Salobreña is very picturesque!

An Alternative Route to Trevelez

Most people who go to Trevelez take the classic route via Lanjaron, Orgiva, Pampaneira.

There is an alternative route that takes you to an equally interesting area.

First off, program your GPS for La Calahorra, a small town with 700 residents and a huge Renaissance castle.

You can only visit the castle on Wednesday (10am). Keep on following the A337, a serpentine road that takes you to the Puerto de la Ragua, ski station during winter, recreational area during summer.

Once you leave the puerto, put the GPS on Trevelez and admire the landscapes.

Located at a height of more than 1400 meters, Trevelez is known as the highest mountain village in Spain. Whether this is true or not is a totally different matter, but because of the height and the fresh air, Trevelez can produce some of the best hams in Spain. The hams are dried during some months and have an incredible taste.

Bocadillo with the local ham

Because of its famous ham, Trevelez can attract a lot of tourists in summer. Nevertheless, if you like good food, it is worth a visit.

In our next post, we will show you the most beautiful villages of the Alpajurra.

3 Years in Spain: Embracing Change

Indeed, today is a special day, exactly 3 years ago we arrived in Spain, eager to start a better life. One of the main reasons for leaving Belgium was to be as far away as possible from the toxic people in my life. The people who had made my life a living hell were my parents aka my principal mental abusers who liked to remind all the time that I was “stupid, fat and ugly”. But after some months, I realized that I felt safer, and more relaxed, yet I wasn’t fully enjoying myself, but why not? Why wasn’t I happy? Even when we moved to Iznalloz, something was lacking. Wouldn’t you feel happy if you lived in a cozy apartment with 2 bedrooms, a spacious kitchen and a huge terrace with a killer view, all this for less than half of the rent we used to pay in Brussels for a 1-bedroom apartment with a kitchen designed for Lilliputians?

Relaxing Viking and chocolate milk while I am writing outside, because this Belgian girl still needs chocolate!

A view to die for, the swimming pool we share with our neighbors!

Seriously, why wasn’t I happy? A certain virus gave me more than enough time to ponder this question. Wasn’t it about time that I accepted myself as I was? Wasn’t it about time that I put the hurtful words of my parents behind me, once and for all? Moreover, when we left Belgium, it was merely weeks after having received my diagnosis as an aspie. And then it dawned on me: as long as I did not accept that diagnosis, I would and could never be completely happy. I became a member of a group of aspies on Facebook (I highly recommend this in case you are a struggling aspie yourself), I also started reading scientific articles about my disorder, especially about the positive traits (I will devote an article on this), and last but not least I started following channels about autism on YouTube (ask me in the comments if you want to know which ones I recommend). All of these made me fully accept Ingrid Dendievel with the quirky brain. And once I did that, I reached happiness. I now fully realize how lucky – and happy! – Lars and I am.

Some other big changes

When we had just arrived in Torrox, I felt restless because there were no trams or metro like in Brussels. In the meantime we have realized that living in a small town like Iznalloz is better for us, we have everything we need, the locals are super friendly and whenever we have a bad day, we can seek refuge in the surrounding mountains, where we have a canine friend, a Pyrenean mountain dog called Floof. When I meet him, he comes to greet me and then pees on our car, I think in his own way he has accepted us. And we have become friends with some locals here. All this contributes to our happiness.

I think it’s safe to say that we have become obsessed with the local tapas! I actually come from a family with the worst cooks ever, and I sincerely can’t tell you who was the worst, my mother or my grandmother. My grandmother, who raised me, because my own mother didn’t have the time for this, managed to cook a whole dinner in barely 5 minutes. They both were masters of turning pork into something abominable, a gray mass that smelt, felt and tasted like rubber. Even when I was an adult, I still disliked pork so much that the mere sight of it could make me vomit. Guess what? I have come to love it, thanks to the tapas culture! Not so long ago, I prepared pork tenderloin with a wine sauce for the very first time in my life. Last summer, The Viking almost fell off his chair, when I ate grilled pork fat with garlic as a tapa. I actually felt a bit guilty the other day when I saw a truck full of pigs on its way to the slaughterhouse, but the Viking crushed that feeling by telling me that pigs could behave like cannibals. By the way, I taught myself to cook and the very first dish I prepared was … paella! Actually, the Viking is spoiled with food here!

Happiness can come in small portions. My favorite moment of the day is the evening, when I can hear a lot of neighborhood dogs barking. It always makes me think of “101 dalmatians” (the animated movie, not the one with Glen Close), where dogs far and close bark to spread the message that Pongo’s and Perdita’s puppies have disappeared. This moment of the day always puts a smile on my face.

Anyway, up to many years of happiness in Iznalloz!

What about you? Would you be able to move to another country and to live happily ever after there?

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