7 Pictures That Will Make You Want to Travel to The Costa Tropical

Let’s talk about location first: the Costa Tropical is the coastal region of the province of Granada (Andalucia, Spain), between the Costa del Sol (province of Malaga) and the Costa de Almeria (province of Almeria). Or a bit more precisely, between Almuñecar and La Rabita.

Because of the proximity of the mountains of the Sierra Nevada, the Costa Tropical has less big resort towns than the Costa del Sol, for example. The biggest places in this area are Motril, Almuñecar, and Salobreña. The rest of this Costa consists mainly of smaller towns and villages and is, therefore, less crowded and certainly more picturesque.

By the way, because of the presence of the majestic Sierra Nevada which captures precipitation, this area is less dry and is home to a lot more vegetation, including tropical fruits, hence the name. It is also – but to a lesser extent – known as the Costa de Granada or Costa Granadina.

Playa de Cotobro

Almuñecar is home to several beaches and this is the most beautiful one. It’s located in the west of the town.


This is one of the smaller coastal resorts, Calahonda. It belongs to the municipality of Motril.

Castillo de Baños

So small, and oh so picturesque!

Grilled Sardines!

Simple but delicious: fresh sardines and a big mixed salad…

La Herradura

One of my favourite areas is La Herradura with its pristine beaches and spectacular cliffs.

La Rabita

In the east of the Costa Tropical, you can get lost in the narrow and steep streets of La Rabita.


Motril is one of the biggest towns at the Costa Tropical, but it does have its quiet corners like this nature reserve, which we will discuss more in detail soon.

Have you ever been to the Costa Tropical? Or do you plan on going there?


Places to Visit around Dinant

Today we take you to the Belgian province of Namur, situated in the south of Belgium. The town of Dinant is very well-known amongst tourists, but there are some beautiful locations not so far from it that are also worth checking out. Let’s take you to a region of castles and ruins, quaint villages and towns with narrow streets!


This is one of the most beautiful villages of Wallonia; Falaën is indeed a member of the association called Les Plus Beaux Villages de Wallonie, which makes it kind of official. You can visit Falaën Castle (with a farm) in the center, but we nosed around in the local church. That’s what happens, by the way, when you travel with a former organ player; you see a lot of churches…

We loved the bright yellow interior, which made the church look cozy and cheerful!

Montaigle Castle

Just outside the center of Falaën, you can visit the ruins of Montaigle Castle.

This medieval castle dates from the 14th century but was destroyed about 200 years later. There is only one word to describe these ruins: magnificent.


There is nothing as picturesque as a village with a small river in its center!

In a bend of that same river, the Bocq, lies Spontin Castle, right in the heart of the village.

Building took place from the 13th to the 16th century, when the castle finally had its current shape. In the 19th century, it was transformed into a private residence, after which it was neglected for many years.


By the time we had arrived in Waulsort, we had become very thirsty!

There are restaurants and then there are really idyllic restaurants! Introducing Villa 1900:

If you know anything about Belgium, you must be aware that we have a formidable reputation when it comes to beer! My advice: always try a local variant.

Address: Villa 1900, Rue des Jardins, Waulsort.


Also called Bouvignes, this is an old town along the river Meuse with picturesque narrow streets. Nearby are the ruins of the Castle of Crèvecœur.


More of a hamlet than a village, this was our last stop of the day. Lying next to the Molignée, Sosoye is known for its church, which was unfortunately closed, and its barn.

I put all destinations on this map:

Up to the next post, where we take you to another corner of Europe!

Adventures at the Beginning and the End of the Danube

During our travels through Europe, Lars and I have often crossed the Danube, the second-longest European river – the first one being the Volga. During its course of 2850 km, it flows through no less than 10 different countries, passing illustrious cities such as Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, and Belgrade.

The Beginning

The Danube starts its journey in the German town of Donaueschingen, located in the Black Forest (Baden-Württemburg), in the region of Freiburg.

The town counts about 22.000 inhabitants, who throughout the whole year welcome many tourists, eager to see the origins of the famous river, after which the town is named.

It’s at the confluence of two rivers – called the Breg and the Brigach – that Donaueschingen is located. This is the official source of the Danube.

The End

The mouth of the Danube is called the Danube Delta, which is located partly in Romania and partly in Ukraine. Wikipedia explains the Danube Delta as follows:

The modern Danube Delta began to form after 4000 BCE in a bay of the Black Sea, when the sea rose to its present level. A sandy barrier blocked the Danube bay where the river initially built its delta. Upon filling the bay with sediment, the delta advanced outside this barrier-blocked estuary after 3500 BCE, building several successive lobes:[5] the St. George I (3500–1600 BCE), the Sulina (1600–0 BCE), the St. George II (0 BC–present) and the Chilia or Kilia (1600 CE–present). Several other internal lobes were constructed in the lakes and lagoons bordering the Danube Delta to the north (Chilia I and II) and toward the south (Dunavatz).[6] Much of the alluvium in the delta and major expansion of its surface area in the form of lobes resulted from soil erosion associated with the clearing of forests in the Danube basin during the 1st and 2nd millennium.[7][8]

So far, only Lars has been lucky enough to visit the Delta, accompanied by his mother. Their exploration started near the Romanian village of Murighiol, which is really off the beaten path.

The trip started at 6 in the morning on a small boat and cost 80 euros for 3 hours. We were at the southern side of the Delta, whereas the northern side is actually the border with Ukraine. In the middle is a city called Sulina, the easternmost point of the country. The guide pointed out dozens of species of birds (and their nests), including pelicans.

It was so early in the morning that the clouds still had to make way for the sun.

As you can see from the pictures, the landscape of the Danube Delta consists mainly of water and wetlands. The area, however, experiences the driest climate of Romania.

Join us on a trip in another corner of Europe next time!

Mastering the Art of Eating Tapas

If you have ever been to Spain and you made an effort to taste the local cuisine – and let’s face it, you should, you have probably heard about tapas. And maybe you even tasted them as well. If not and you really don’t know what to expect, here is a short guide.


The word “tapa(s)” is derived from the Spanish verb “tapar”, which means “to cover”. This could be associated with the fact that innkeepers used to show their guests samples of their food on a pot cover. But it could also refer to the habit of covering a drink with a slice of bread and a topping to keep insects away.

Nowadays, a tapa is a cold or warm snack that usually accompanies an alcoholic drink (especially beer and wine). In the south of Spain, tapas are included in the price of the beverage, although in touristy areas they tend to charge for it, usually between 1,50 and 2 euro. It’s custom that the waiter chooses the tapa for you – which enables you to discover the local specialties, but there are lots of places where the customer can (also) choose himself.

It’s easy to combine various tapas to a complete meal, which is what we usually do. We hardly ever go to restaurants here because tapas bars are so much cheaper. Going from tapas bar to tapas bar is called tapear and it’s a habit that we have taken over from the locals. By the way, tapas can be extended to a media ración (half a meal) or a ración (full meal), which you usually share with your friend(s) and is an even cheaper option.

Nowadays, we live in Churriana de la Vega, not far from Granada. Gone are the menus in English, because this is certainly not a place for expats! But the advantage is that you learn many new words and get to taste a lot of new local food. By the way, kitchens here usually close between 16.30 and open again around 20.00. And be sure to ask for the tapa(s) of the day! It’s the best way to discover new food!

Classics and Favourites

Maybe not the most typical Spanish dish, but most of the tapas bars that we frequent serve this: a juicy burger! I usually start my tapear with this one. By the way, Spanish pork is of very good quality.

It’s very hard to see, but this sandwich hides a thin slice of fried chicken breast and is very popular with the locals.

Toast with artichoke hearts and anchovy.

A ración of anchovy with olive oil and olives.

A ración of grilled calamaritos (small squid).

A classic: tortilla with potatoes. You can find this easily in supermarkets.

Fried cod is another classic, best to be eaten with some olive oil.

This is by far my big favorite: albondigas, meatballs usually served with tomato sauce.

Shrimps come in all sizes. And all of them are so tasty…

Sausages marinated in white wine and fried with onions.

A refreshing potato salad, cheese and a variation on ensaladilla rusa (boiled potatoes, tuna, olives, and mayonnaise).

On the menu of the day, pork stew with potatoes and green beans.

If you want to see more pictures of tapas, better check out my Instagram feed!

The Ultimate Guide to the Most Beautiful Crypt in Brussels


I know that I had planned a completely different post for today, but due to unforeseen circumstances, I have to postpone this to next week. Instead, let’s return to Belgium!

Today we will have a look at one of the most beautiful crypts in Belgium, the Laeken Cemetery Crypt. This is not to be confused with the Royal Crypt of Belgium, which you can find underneath the nearby Church of Our Lady of Laeken; as the name suggests, this is the burial place of the Belgian Royals. The Laeken Cemetery Crypt, on the other hand, stretches out under Laeken Cemetery itself, which is one of the oldest and most beautiful cemeteries in Belgium. Many famous Belgians are buried here and the cemetery is also known for its magnificent tombs and works of art.

Where Exactly?

Laeken Cemetery is located in Laeken, a municipality to the north of Brussels. It is the home of the Royal Castle (not to be confused with the Royal Palace in the Belgian capital itself) and the Royal Greenhouses.

When you enter the cemetery, just follow the main path until you can go no further and then turn left. You will see this building:

Just take the stairs downstairs.

There are three tunnels in the crypt, similar to the main paths in the cemetery above. They were constructed at the end of the 19th century. The most recent burials date from 1978, when the crypt had already been neglected for a long time. Due to liquifying coffins and exploding caskets, the place was a nasty state. More than 30 years later, the local government restored the crypt and in 2017 it was open again to the general public.

Although the crypt is in a lot better state now -most of the mold and the rust are gone, walking around in the many galleries still gives you an eerie feeling.

The Cemetery Itself

…is also worth a visit.

Practical Information

The address: Leopold I-straat, 66, 1020 Laeken.

The cemetery is open every day, from 8.30 am to 4 pm.

At the entrance you can park your car. There is also a metro nearby (stop: Bockstael) and trams 62 and 93 pass in the neighbourhood as well.

10 Pictures That Will Make You Want to Visit Portugal

Before the summer of 2018, Lars had never been to Portugal, whereas I had visited the country at least 5 times when I was still a teenager. And since it has always been one of my favorite destinations and we were now living in Spain, it was about time to introduce my travel buddy to this beautiful country.

Cacela Velha

One of the first towns you can visit when you cross the Spanish – Portuguese border. It has a magnificent beach.


A charming fishing-town in the Algarve. Looking for lunch. But first a walk to the beautiful local church.

Grilled Swordfish

Food is one of the reasons why I love Portugal so much. I will soon write an in-depth article about local food.

The Cathedral of Silves

One of the prettiest villages in the Algarve has a beautiful cathedral. And a medieval festival in summer.

Cabo de São Vicente

If you like dramatic landscapes, this is the place to be: the most southwestern corner of Europe.

Surfing Beaches

Lots of surfing spots, for all levels. This is Carrapateira.


The Foia is the highest mountain in the Algarve. When it’s not cloudy or misty, you have a beautiful view of a huge part of the Algarve.


And why not visit a spa-town? The hot springs (Caldas de Monchique) are located 6 km from this charming town.


Go inland, in the region of the Estremadura and discover quaint towns like Estremoz.


Oh yes, Portugal has got some excellent wines! This is the wine-house, Herdade das Servas, not far from Estremoz.

Soon I will discuss some of these locations in detail, so keep an eye on this website! On Thursday, I will return with an article about one of Europe’s most famous rivers.

Here are the locations of today:

Discovering a New Hometown – Torrox (Color)

Pros and Cons

Lars and I have been in Spain for almost 20 months now, so obviously we have a good view of the good and bad sides of our new life now. Let’s have a look.


  • The climate (which was – as you can imagine – one of the main reasons we came here).
  • A cheaper way of life (for example we spend 30 to 50% less money on grocery shopping).
  • Free healthcare.
  • The relaxed attitude of the locals.
  • Huge variety of landscapes. This country is a paradise for landscape photographers such as myself.
  • The food! Especially the free tapas in and around Granada.


  • Administration can be slow and complicated (even the Spanish complain about this). Luckily you don’t have to deal with this every day…
  • Banks: more expensive and client service – and I’m really sorry to say this – sucks.
  • In general, water and electricity are more expensive.

As you can see, the pros outnumber the cons. I am very happy to be living here; ever since I came to Spain, I have not been physically ill and on a mental level I feel better as well. In conclusion: I have no desire whatsoever to return to Belgium. Actually, I don’t think I would get used to living there again. And the Traveling Viking shares the same opinion.

The Big Mistake We Made in the Beginning

When we had just arrived in Torrox, Lars and I saw our life as one endless holiday. Painful was the moment when we had a look at our bank account one day and realized that our finances didn’t allow for such a lifestyle. So, after a couple of months, we actually realized that we live here now. Let’s face it: in Brussels, we didn’t go to a restaurant on a daily basis either.

Splashes of Color Everywhere!

Belgium could be so gray… But Torrox – or Spain for that matter – is so colorful!

Odd Thoughts

  • When you have lived in a big city where you take the tram and/or metro on a daily basis, it is strange to live in a small town where the only means of public transport is the bus.
  • The Spanish can be so loud, yet when it’s time for their siesta, there is dead silence everywhere…
  • I still can’t get used to the presence of orange trees in the streets!

And Then…

We had to leave Torrox. The house in which we lived had serious humidity problems and we had no choice but to look for another place. Read about our new home later this week on our other travel website, The Cosy Traveler.

Discovering a New Hometown – Torrox (White)

An Important Decision

In 1995, I spent a holiday for 3 weeks in the south of Portugal with my parents. During that time, I met a British woman who worked in tourism and was married to a Portuguese man. We often talked about her experiences in a new country. I slowly became thrilled by the idea of living and working in a warm and sunny country and after 2 weeks and a half, I actually noticed that I didn’t want to return to Belgium anymore. But when I discussed my dream with my parents, their reaction was so intense that I thought that World War III had broken out…

Disappointed, I returned to a somber, cold and wet Belgium, immersing myself in one (boring) job after another. I also gave in to my movie addiction and started writing for a movie magazine. Because my parents had been so furious with me, I never spoke about my dream again, not even to my boyfriend or closest friends.

But that doesn’t mean that the dream disappeared… And somehow, and certainly, when the years passed, I had the feeling that Belgium was not my home anymore…

Fast forward to January 2018… I had depression again forcing me to leave my job where I had been severely bullied anyway. And when after 5 weeks in the hospital, where I was diagnosed with an incurable disorder, I started thinking. I had a close look at my CV which had more holes in it than an Emmertaler cheese… That’s when I realized that I had no more future in Belgium. At least, not on a professional level.

Less than 6 months later my travel buddy and I moved to Spain.


Torrox had become our new hometown.

As you can see on the map, Torrox is located in the Costa del Sol. The municipality is divided into 2 locations: Torrox Costa at the sea and Torrox Pueblo, which is 4km inland. You can see them on the map when you zoom in. To be more precise, the center of Torrox Pueblo was now our new hometown.

We soon discovered that a lot of expats call Costa their home as well. On the one hand, this proved to be an advantage; we could ask a lot of advice and questions in English and/or German, which facilitated our transition to a new country (and administration). But, on the other hand, you don’t get a taste of real Spanish life.


Anyway, the biggest charm of Torrox (especially the Pueblo) is that it’s one of the famous white villages. Have a look at the next pictures!

Our house at the left

Our house had an enormous roof terrace where we spent a lot of time. Especially in the evenings, when we had a BBQ and saw the sun go down.

The central square

If you ever visit Torrox, take some time to walk in some of the many alleys. Make sure that you have a map from the local tourist information office though!

What about you? Would you be able to leave your home country? On Monday, I will publish the second part about Torrox and life as an expat in Spain.

Where the Biggest Waves in the World Roam

You may think that I am taking you to a very exotic location for this post, like Hawaii or Australia, but we actually stay in Europe. Introducing Nazaré in Portugal, home to the biggest waves in the world. As a teenager, I used to bodysurf – I know, hard to believe when you see me nowadays – and I can still be amazed by the skills and courage of surfers trying to tackle huge waves.


Located in the province of Estremadura, Nazaré has 3 neighborhoods: Praia (beach), Sitio (old village, located on a cliff) and Pederneira (another old village, located on top of a hill). From a fishing village, it has developed into a very popular resort; tourists come here for the beaches in summer and the (in)famous waves in winter.

As the name suggests, Nazaré is indeed linked to Nazareth through a local legend. In the 4th century, a monk brought a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary from Nazareth to Spain. 7 centuries later, another monk and a Portuguese king transferred the same statue to Nazaré. Nowadays, you can admire it in the baroque Sanctuary of Our Lady of Nazaré, located in Sitio.

Nazaré Canyon

The presence of the huge waves is due to the underwater Nazaré Canyon, which is about 5 kilometers deep and 230 kilometers long.

The next video explains where these high waves exactly come from.

As I have said before, the highest waves usually occur during the winter season.

The Waves

The waves can become between 20 and 30 meters high (60 and 90 feet). Have a look at the next videos.

Our Visit in Summer

In summer there are no such high waves, but you can still enjoy some really impressive views. When Lars and I arrived in Nazaré, we followed the signs towards Sitio and afterward to Farol (lighthouse). In winter, most people gather at this lighthouse to have a good look at the waves.

This is the magnificent south beach, home of sunbathers and swimmers.

The last picture features the Praia de Norte, where those magnificent waves occur.

It is our dream to return to Nazaré in winter. I am not sure if we are going to make it this year, but we’ll see. I would love to see these huge waves for myself (of course) and photograph them, visit the church where they keep the legendary statue of the Virgin Mary and have a closer look at the 3 neighborhoods.

Exploring Movie Locations – Haunted Fortress Adventures (B&W)

The movie location of today is quite a unique place. Not only has a movie been made here, but it is also part of our urbex project, Creepy Travels and finally, it’s not open to the public. Horror writer and blogger Vanessa Morgan, Lars and I had permission though to visit the place and photograph it (thanks, Vanessa!).

The Strangers Outside

Let’s have a look at the movie first and especially the book on which it’s based. Both have the same title and our good friend Vanessa Morgan is the writer. As it says on Amazon,

Two families return to their remote holiday cabin after a day at the seaside. But little do they know they’re being surrounded. Shortly after their arrival, they will come face to face with THE STRANGERS OUTSIDE. When the assailants make their intentions known, things take a shockingly terrible turn, and an intense battle for survival will begin.

I would really spoil the fun if I gave you any more details… Anyway, The Strangers Outside started as a short story, but later Vanessa reworked it into a novel. In 2011, it was turned into a movie with Pierre Lekeu, Iulia Alexandra Nastase and Avalon (Vanessa’s cat). Check this out:

Alex Corbi’s song Avalon features some images of the movie. Philippe Geus, by the way, was the director of The Strangers Outside.

The Location

The movie was made in various locations in Belgium, but for the creepiest part of The Strangers Outside, the crew went to Sint-Katelijne-Waver, a small town between Brussels and Antwerp.

The Exterior

Filming took place around and inside a fortress in Sint-Katelijne-Waver, called Schans Dorpveld. It was built just before World War I; because of its strategic location, the goal was to prevent the Germans from invading Antwerp after Brussels. Unfortunately, the plan failed.

This was actually our second visit to Sint-Katelijne-Waver. During the first one, I was impressed by the creepy vibe of the building. The whole location, however, oozes a peculiar atmosphere; holiday cottages, which have surely seen better times, surround the fortress, where about a century ago soldiers died. Moreover, a couple of strange events occurred during that first visit… If you want to know what exactly, you have to wait until I publish the color pictures I took then.

Anyway, the three of us were very eager to return and we did so in the summer of 2017. This time I planned to edit all my pictures in black and white and Lars and I also wanted to make a video of our visit. That last part didn’t work out at all, however… I don’t think that any paranormal forces are to blame for this; a GoPro is known to function badly in low light conditions and inside the fortress, it’s quite dark.

But we had hardly arrived when my camera started to malfunction. Strange, because I had checked all settings twice before I started shooting. I checked them again but to no avail. To this day, I have no idea what happened to my camera… Anyway, I cannot offer pictures of the usual quality for this post; on the other hand, they do have a spooky atmosphere.

The Interior

During our first visit, the ground floor was completely covered with garbage. Most of it had been cleared by the summer of 2017, whereas the second floor, on the other hand, looked pretty much the same. And we even discovered rooms we had missed the time before. My camera was still malfunctioning, by the way.

I have noticed that lately, I have been posting a lot about Belgium, but we have visited a lot of other countries as well! So, expect a lot more variety in destinations from now on.

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