Friday, June 29, 2012

Tim and Katrien in Quito

After the lovely Mindo,
Tim and Katrien came back to Quito.

Tim and Katrien are having a wonderful time,
walking around the city, meeting wonderful people, ...
They planned a trip to the Amazon for the weekend...

Tim got sick,
Katrien cooked them a healthy meal.

Tim felt better,
they rescheduled their jungle adventure.

Tim and Katrien are enjoying their extra weekend time in Quito.

Katrien loves the veggie restaurants they discovered in ''New Town'',
Tim is spending some time on his fabulous writing.

Tim and Katrien are loving Quito.

Tim and Katrien are loving each other.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Best breakfast spot

Our hostel in Mindo (Casa De Cecilia), Ecuador (which we left today to go back to Quito) serves breakfast in the morning for a small, reasonable price.
So, every morning, after my yoga session,
we head over to the breakfast area
and I have my fruit, yoghourt and granola
with a cup of lemon grass tea.

There are always birds, butterflies and one day even an iguana's to spot.

Yesterday, this one payed us a visit.

Best Breakfast Spot... EVER!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Makin' 'n tastin' chocolate

Saturday the 23rd, was one of my favorite days of this trip!
We had a resting day after hiking the day before...
and... made our own chocolate.
But most importantly:
ATE the chocolate we had just made!

Here's how it went:

This is the cacao fruit.
You cut it open and take the beans out.
Those beans have to dry/ferment for a couple of days.
This was done for us.

Then, the beans get heated up,
so they burst out of the shell,
or the shell is easy to take off.
Our guide heated up the beans,
while stirring them so they don't burn.

Here you see the beans without shell.
That's when we got to work.
They came off really easy and it was a relaxing job...
The smell at this point was delicious...
You could tell this was going to turn in to chocolate
and we started to get excited!

And then the real fun started!
We pushed the beans through some sort of blender...
and chocolate came out!!!!
A luscious chocolate paste!

We heated up milk and
brown raw cane sugar (called panela).

Our cacaobean paste went in...

And then, the feast started.
Our guide chopped up fresh fruit for us
(pineapple, banana, strawberry and apple)
and we started to dip, plunge, drop, ...
that already delicious fruit
and made it even more delicious!

No comment...

It was pure enjoyment!


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Loving the leafs!

On our walk to see hummingbirds...

we saw none..

But we saw a tarantula (yikes!!!)

and leafs, leafs, leafs!

And... we loved it!

Lieve leafs...
Ik heb jullie lief!

Dolle dots

Big banana leafs,
thank you for the shelter from the rain.

Love... nature... love!

Rain in the jungle is...

Nature is...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Goooood foooood!

From Quito, we took a day trip to Otovalo.
A surprisingly cute town, with lots of shops and a famous indiginous market.

What made the trip worth it?
The great food!

We had
dough balls (kind of like ''smoutebollen'', but less oily)
fried platanos (a type of banana)
a cup with some sort of bean, with tomato sauce, fried corn and banana chips and some lime juice
and of course, we took some stuff ''home''
That pineapple made a delicious breakfast!

Tim, his hat and the dough balls.
Me and my fried banana.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Quitting in Quito

My first post without a picture...

It's symbolic...

Quito is robbery and pick pocket central
(so we have heard from the tourist horror stories)
and I am afraid to take my camera out. 

Although I never really felt unsafe....

We enjoyed the city,
but I felt less aware walking around,
less open and less focuesd!
I am in Ecuador!!!!
I can't believe this, really!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Botero in Bogota

And this is a detail out of a painting from the Colombian artist Botero I mentioned in my last post.
His paintigs (and sculptures) are fun and witty. His people, animals and fruits are all a bit chubby and he puts things out of proportion...

Something totally different from my favorite painter Dali (of whom they had at least one piece in the Botero museum in Bogota) but... I kind of love it!

Detail from painting Botero.

Friday, June 15, 2012

NOT missing a kitchen...

I enjoyed NOT having my own kitchen... at least yesterday (and the day before).
I had the most delicious ''Menu del Dia'' at ''Quinoa and Amaranto'', a veggie place in Bogota.

A fresh juice, soup, a main dish and a little dessert.
All delicious. all vegetarian, all fresh (but of all I was not quite sure what they were) and all for the price of 6 dollars...

That restaurant,
the amazing street arts,
the street full of buttunstores we just descovered on our last day (!!!!!)
and the fantastic Botero museum
would all be good reasons for me to stay in Bogota!

But I think I can move on... right?
Oh man, but look at that food!

Wednesday's soup: ''calabacin'' and amaranto on top.

Wednesday's main dish: lentil burgers with bell pepper,
a salad with carrots, radishes and who knows what
and brown rice with almonds.

Wednesday's dessert: guajaba fruit puree.

Missing a kitchen

Believe it or not...
I miss my own kitchen.
I miss cooking whatever I want, whenever I want!
I miss experimenting, getting the cookbook out...
Especially when visiting this
amazing fresh produce market in Villa De Leyva.

Most of all, I miss vegetarian food
whenever I want it.
Good vegetarian food... Healthy food.

And it hasn't been that bad yet. I really can't complain!
We've found some great places (Pekish and Casa Salud Natural in Villa de Leyva and a couple of Middle Eastern reataurants with delicious veggie options in Bogota).

It's bound to get a lot worse....
Veggie food wise that is...
It is supposed to not be that easy being         
a vegetarian in Ecuador (where we are flying to today!)

I will still be blessed with the most amazing experiences...
And... I will learn to be more openminded and flexible...
because that is just how you survive while travelling,
 especially while travelling as a vegetarian...

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Man... some places just have such strong energies in the air!

Last week, one of the people that was with the Colombian film crew, told us about these hidden cliff paintings in a valley in Sachica, a town near Villa De Leyva.

We saw this as a gift, as payment for our very hard work for Colombian television and the very next day, decided to walk/hike over there.
We were doubtful that we would even find the painings, but were already grateful because the walk itself was amazing... the views and nature...

And then, all of a sudden, there they were! I am unable to discribe it... but the feeling when we saw the ancient paintings... WOW! Very strong!
What an amazing place!

Read our story on Tims fasciniating blog:

The one to the far left is my favorite :).

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Goodbye lovely place in Villa De Leyva.

I feel like a gypsy...
going from one place to another.
I love staying for a while...
but then I know...
It is time to go...

Thank you hostal Platypus,
for the quick stop.

my backpack rests in a cute and slightly retrolicious (I love it) family hostel in Bogota...
I am soaking and soaking up the atmoshere,
letting in the people and energies
and getting out of my language comfort zone (trying some Spanglish)

Goodmorning cute little family hostal.
Let's spend the next two days together!

my backpack and me will be separated for an hour or two
while we fly high
to the place I've been longing for...
here we come Ecuador!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Thank you feet!

After my morning yoga session,
a delicious breakfast and
a walk through town...

my feet and I rested in a coffee shop.
We waited for our sandwiches ''para llevar'' (to go).

After the cook came running back in the coffee shop,
flustered and out of breath,
with the tomatoes and lettuce that would go on our bread...

me and my feet walked
and walked
Me and my feet in the coffee shop.
and walked
and jumped
and avoided big cow heaps
and climbed...
and walked
and... stopped...

we saw the most amazing views
the most amazing greens!

And we felt the most amazing energies
coming from cave painings from a thousand years ago...

Thank you feet, for getting me there, and back!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Gul met azul...

Azul, blue, blauw...  I am loving it!
The sky is so blue here in Villa De Leyva, Colombia...
and there is just so much of it.
It goes on and on.

The bathroom in Hospederia Nueva Granada is so blue.
Like I am washing my face on a cloud.

My soapdish in our blue, blue bathroom.

The Pozos Azules (holes dug by men, that are now a tourist attraction because of their special blue colour) are the brightest blue. They stand out in the brown desert area.

That special colour blue... I was so amazed by it, I had to share it to the world and talked about it on a Colombian TV show. Really I did...
For the full story, check out Tims blog:

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A bird on my shirt...

I love birds!
They are beautiful and they suit the spirit of my adventure...
No obligations, not too many worries...
just travelling, getting inspired and taking in.

Because my backpack is small and
I have limited clothing options (which is really hard for me!!! ),
I try to make them as interesting as possible.

These previous statements combined: a bird on my shirt!

Thank you lieve zus, for the handy and most adorable knitting kit!

A bird on my shirt.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The universe teaches

Cute breakfast biscuits for breakfast.
I get frustrated, I get cranky...
When I get that way,
I am dissapointed in me...

All negatives!
So, I try to turn things around.

Whenever I get frustrated, there is a lesson for me to learn.

This morning, my lesson was to accept the way things are. Accept that things are sometimes different in this part of the world. Accept that things are not always as you want them to be (I realise everyday how spoiled I am).

And when I am able to do that... I get rewarded. By an awsome breakfast this morning for example.
By things that I would normally not go for, but turn out to be great!

If you think you are openminded? Go travel in really foreign countries! I am learning, every day. And every day, my mind opens up a little more!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Inspiring rows

I love Villa De Leyva...
and I love Hostal ''Parque Narino''
we are staying at.
It is run (and lived in) by a young couple, Alex and Liliana and their cute toddler Mariana.

Alex is a partyplanner, a flamboyant character and one hell of a good decorator
(see pictures from the hostal above and below)!

What I love most about travelling is the inspration it gives me...
This town, these people, this hostal, ...

I am inspired!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Viva Villa de Leyva!

I am absolutely loving Villa de Leyva.

It's sleepy, but very much alive.
It's teracotta, but colourful.
It's touristy, but authentic.
It's cozy, and spacious.
It's warmish, and breezy.

It's just where I want to be...
but sometimes maybe not...

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Artful streets

One of the many graffiti arts
on the streets in Bogota.

On Friday, we went to MAMBO
(Museo de Arte Moderno en Bogota).
We got to see and listen to the French artist ''Orlan'',
who happened to be visiting.
and was giving a lecture about her work.
She was a piece of modern art herself...
She had a black and white ''Cruella De Vil''  kind of hairdo and tumorlooking implants on both sides of her head in the temple area.

This is art to me...
Wall and glass from the Bull-fighting arena in Bogota.

The streets of Bogota carry the best art though...
and it's free...
You just have to look around.
Which is sometimes hard to do when you are looking down and watching your step to avoid the big holes in the sidewalks or the giants heaps of dogpoo...

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Bienvenido en...

Big Colombian city,
Organised bike-taxi protest,
Gorgeous Colombian people (Ok, gorgeous Colombian women),
On foot, through the streets, from one great graffiti-wall to another,
Tim, catching up,
A good start... but ready to move on.

Tim behind run down Carousel in Parque Independencia.