Sunday, February 17, 2019

Skiathos, Greece: Day on Agia Eleni Summer Beach and Dinner at Salt & Pepper Restaurant

This is one of our favourite days in Skiathos.


Agia Eleni Summer  Beach.

Lounging the whole afternoon until early evening on Agia Eleni Summer Beach in the Koukounaries and then followed by a nice dinner at Salt & Pepper Restaurant nearby....

Ah, I reckon, just a normal day in the Greek Isles =)


Dinner at Salt & Pepper Garden Bar Restaurant.

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Sunday, February 10, 2019

Evening in Skiathos: Harbour Walk and Dinner at Taverna Akrogiali in Paraliakos

This is one of our evening walks in Skiathos and dinner on the harbour.


Dining out during the summer holidays is something I always look forward to. It is like a treat. For this reason, I pick nicely situated restaurants with a good ambiance. Sometimes I check Tripadvisor for suggestions based on ratings and reviews. In the Greek Islands though, not all restaurants have their own websites, although the popular and bigger tavernas do have their own website or at least a Facebook page.

But based on experience, we just tend to hit the town center and choose which one we like randomly. If I am craving for something in particular, then I would scan the menu first to make sure the place offers what I want to eat that evening. That simple really.

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Saturday, February 09, 2019

The Bourtzi Islet in Skiathos, Greece

So I am backtracking to our summer holiday trip in 2017 to Skiathos, a Greek Island in the Sporades archipelago in the northern part of the Aegean Sea. I will be posting a series of blog posts for this holiday in the coming days.


The island's resident cafe, restaurant, lounge and bar of the same name.


The view to Bourtzi from the hill.

Skiathos is a small and very pretty island, quite popular among the Greeks and European tourists, but luckily the holiday situation here hasn't reached the mass proportions of Santorini, Mykonos, Kos, and Crete. It has gotten famous in recent years though because of the Mama Mia movie which was filmed on set here. I have partly seen the movie on TV but it was after our holiday on the island. I have however watched a Mama Mia theater show in Utrecht, Netherlands many years before.

Anyway, I wanted to blog about this charming tiny peninsula annexed to the old harbour and town center of Skiathos, the Bourtzi Islet.

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Sunday, February 03, 2019

Wintersport Holiday: Walk and Dinner in Lanslebourg, French Alps

On our third evening in the Alps, we decided to have dinner outside in Lanslebourg village.


Lanslebourg village in Mont Cenis (Val Cenis).


The tiramisu that saved the evening's dinner.

It's a Monday evening and many Mondays in the restaurant world is a rest day with kitchens closed for the whole day and evening. Last year we went out for dinner on a Monday evening in Les Champs, the small village between Lanslebourg and Lanslevillard, and the restaurant I had in mind was closed. There was another restaurant nearby with the tartiflette in their menu, something that I was craving for that particular evening. That restaurant saved our night.

Well, I have a few restaurants in mind (thanks to Tripadvisor) so I am confident we will not be walking the chilly 2 kilometers to Lanslebourg for nothing.

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Friday, February 01, 2019

Skiing and Boarding in Val Cenis, French Alps (2019)

We decided to stay in Val Cenis ski resort for our second day of skiing and boarding.


The advantage of skiing off-peak season is less human traffic on the slopes.

We learned that our ski pass has a free upgrade similar to an Eskimo Pass. Because we have a 6-day ski pass, we are entitled to ski at the other 5 ski resorts in the Maurienne valley for 1-day each. Dutchman and I already planned to ski and board at 2 other ski resorts but for Monday, the second day of skiing, we decided to stay at our home base in Val Cenis.

For this day, we planned on taking the 2 summits of Lanslevillard and Lanslebourg, the 2540m and 2330m.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Wintersport Holiday 2019 in Val Cenis: Our Chalet Apartment

We went back to Val Cenis in the French Alps for this year's winter sport's holiday,


The next morning we woke up to a 3cm of snow. Not bad.


We stayed at the CHG Residences & Spas - Le Chalets de Flambeau.

The ski resort runners-up on our list were Les Portes du Soleil and Paradiski which are massive ski areas in the French Alps but with the combination of the right price and the accommodation on the piste or less than 100 meters walk to a ski lift, Dutchman and I ended up choosing Val Cenis again.

We managed to snag a very good deal at CHG Residences & Spas at the Les Chalets de Flambeau which is between 2 ski lifts, the Pre Novel chairlift, and the Vieux Moulin gondola, both approximately 70 meters away. And from the slopes, you can ski down up to your door. Just perfect! The chalet apartments were also very nice, modern fitted and spacious. And here is the cherry on top of the icing -- free entrance to the spa. We cannot say no to that.

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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Bonjour, Bonsoir from the Alps!

Sorry for the silence dolls and guys, I am on wintersports holiday in the Alps now...


Dutchman and I are skiing and boarding here in the Alps right now until the end of the week. We've had all kinds of weather this week so far... cloudy, snowy, misty and sunny. We can't complain really because last year's wintersports holiday we've only had one day of blue skies. So we are lucky this year.

I will be updating the blog when I am back in the lowlands.

So just a few photos!


Travel Period: January 2019
Destination: French Alps, France

Keep in touch and follow me on Facebook: Travel & Lifestyle Diaries by Jo Travels
Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Pictures of Utrecht Centrum in 2018

Happy New Year fellow travellers and (good) lifestyle enthusiasts!


The Oudgracht from the Vismarkt.


I have been meaning to post more on a regular (daily!) basis but I think I am just getting old. I am getting tired easily these days and would prefer my evenings spent doing nothing or I spend them on trivial activities such as lurking or watching funny videos of cats and dogs on Facebook and all sorts of Mukbangs on Youtube, haha.

But yeah, seriously, that's what I have been doing in the last weeks when I am not playing Candy Crush. I play the 2 versions by the way.

I swear on the above as my de-stressors after work.

Work will always play a huge part of my life, well, until I am ready to retire, which I am, unfortunately not, retiring anytime soon. But I am aiming to retire early though which is a major challenge considering the high costs of living in the Netherlands and the goal of maintaining the same lifestyle.

Anyway, I wanted to post all these pictures I took of Utrecht Centrum last year, my adopted hometown. These pictures were taken spread out in 2018. I hope you like them!

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Saturday, December 29, 2018

My Daily Life in the Netherlands 009

I have been wanting to post a daily life update in the Netherlands a while back but I just didn't have the time to collate all the pictures I took. So, the idea was to do an every 2-month update (ideally monthly) and now I am 6 months too late! Goodness gracious, haha.


I took so many food pictures that I do not know how I am able to post them all of them here? I have to make choices. This is one of our weekend breakfasts. 


Driving on the Lekdijk (Lek dike) in Utrecht.

The struggle is, I have LOADS of pictures and they are all over in my albums (downloaded from my camera) and my phones. My travel albums are organised according to the places I have visited per year, so the times and dates sometimes do not always correspond especially for local travels where I have multiple visits. I have to look into each album to check which photo's are for a particular month. This is going into the details kind of work, ugh.

So for this daily life update post now, I am doing a 3-month timeline: August, September, and October. I will do my best to post the last months in a few days. This is important to me because these kinds of posts I need in this journal when I look back 3, 5 and 10 years from now.

So I guess you know what my New Year's Resolution will be. Do a daily life update every 2 months or monthly!

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Monday, December 24, 2018

San Marino: Cesta and Montale Towers and Chilling at Bar Piadeneria la Capanna


Aperitivo at Bar Piadeneria la Capanna.


This is the Cesta Tower (or the Second Tower).

After checking out the Guaita Tower, I decided to take the plunge and walk to the other two towers. Not to go inside the towers and inspect them but I thought that the walk along the ramparts would do me good. After all, the views would be spectacular I am sure.

And I was correct! The stroll to the two towers was really nice and something I would highly recommend to anyone visiting. I managed to snag an Aperitivo along the way as well. Just perfect as it was late in the afternoon.

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Sunday, December 23, 2018

The Guaita Fortress in San Marino


At the top of the Guaita Fortress on Mount Titano in San Marino!

Two years ago I visited San Marino. It was a short solo trip in the northern part of Italy, visiting the foodie cities of Bologna, Parma, and Modena. I squeezed in San Marino since it's not too far away and the little country has fascinated me for some time now. I really wanted to check it out.

Trivia: Did you know that San Marino is the 3rd smallest country in Europe? After Monaco and the Vatican. In the whole world, San Marino ranked as the 5th smallest country.

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Saturday, December 22, 2018

Bratislava: Tea and Cake at the Magical Kormuth Konditorei


This cafe has a spectacular interior design showcase of artistic details in Renaissance style. To me, it's simply, wow!


I managed to find this historical and magical patisserie cafe during my lunch walk around town on my second day, just before taking the limousine back to Vienna Airport.

Well, I was actually looking for a place for lunch when I passed by this place. I was quick to notice the fascinating interior of this cafe; the walls and ceilings were extraordinarily decorated with paintings and frescoes in Renaissance style. Wow.

Upon closer inspection and after speaking to the waiter guarding the entrance, I realised that the cafe doubles up as a museum. To enter and to get to enjoy the one-of-a-kind interior (and take pictures), one would need to pay by taking one of the two tasting menus available.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Old Town Bratislava in the Evening Photos


After dinner at the Parlement Restaurant in the castle hill, I went around the Old Town (Stare Mesto in the local lingo) for a little evening walk before retiring for the night. My hotel is located in one of the tiny cobbled-stone alleys so it's just a stone's throw away from any nook and cranny of the Old Town.

The stroll was also a good excuse for me to help digest the heavy on the meat and potatoes Slovakian meal. In addition, I was curious to see what the Old Town looks like when the lights glow against the dark skies, and of course,  if there is a good (nightlife) vibe in the old city...

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Sunday, December 16, 2018

Arriving in Old Town Bratislava, Slovak Food Festival and Dinner at Parlement Restaurant

I have been wanting to visit Bratislava for years but never came around to actually planning the trip.


Bratislava panorama from the castle hilltop.


Just about to enter the Old Town's city gates.

The travel plan was to combine 3 cities in 3 neighbouring Central European countries: Vienna (Austria), Bratislava (Slovakia) and a little road trip to Sopron (Hungary), famous for its wine. They are located not more than an hour away from each other. See, I did my homework.

But fate had its own way of orchestrating real life. Last May, I went to visit Bratislava on a business trip.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The (Street) Food Scene in Xiamen, China

So tell me people, who loves to check out the local (street) food scene when travelling to a new place?

Well, raise your feet please! *pun intended* hehe


These braised pig trotters are a delicacy common in southern China, particularly in Guangdong and Fujian regions.


Local street market.

I quite enjoyed the local foodie scene in Xiamen. There were new dishes I discovered and specialities that I tried. Food plays a major part in my travels, mainly because I love to eat and enjoy what the culinary world has to offer.

Food, in my travel book, can make or break the adventure and they can sometimes be the highlights too! In this blog post, I will be posting the food pictures I took in Xiamen.

Brace for a flood of food photos!

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