Monday, October 30, 2017

How to Travel Alone

I love company! I like to share my experiences (and this is why I write on Dear Small World) and specially to enjoy a meal together with someone. But not all the time this is possible. We live in a busy world. We can maybe enjoy vacations around one month per year. A couple tries to manage their time together to go on vacations, but if when you are single the story is very different.

So how to travel alone? Can I answer it?

Of course I can! So many times in my life I was not able to control my vacations and it was really impossible to set some dates with my friends. I was working in a casino, with a very hard schedule and, because of the events, programming the days to travel was always a big mess in my head. I can't say I did not freak out. I was always used to travel with company, my friends, or my family or my girlfriend, but I did not want to be dependant on going somewhere just because I had no company.

I had to set my mind first. I had to realize what would be the best way to do it and what locations could I visit to feel myself more comfortable. Working and doing the same routine everyday was quite easy but stopping that would make me realize how lonely I was at the time. I had one relationship that ended and I was a little bit lost. So I knew I had several limitations to start with the planning. I was going to travel solo.

At this moment I will base my opinion on more practical methods. Maybe one day I will develop on how I prepare my mind into doing it.

Before You Travel Alone

1 - Control your budget!

Everything  moves around money. Well, not everything, but this is always your engine start and fuel to do your travelling. Researching your destination on the web, checking your flight, hotel and food costs, will give you a good idea on how much you will need. Saving money to travel is having an amazing reward for all you hard work.

2 - Choosing the destination

Your confidence on how far you can be away from home can dictate your destination. After that you can adjust it according to your budget. I always wanted to go to New York, but I decided not doing it alone. It was a bit too far on my mind, and I really never imagined going there alone. Of course I could do it, but it was not the right time for it. So I choose to decide on places I imagined I could control more. 

It is good to have a destination that allows you to wonder around and not considering so much travelling from there. This will save you money and will slow your mind. I believe that travelling alone demands attention for detail and embracing smaller things, rather than going on a bus or a train and all the time reading a book.

Do you want to move on a city, relax in the mountains or enjoying the sun? These are questions to ask yourself on what you enjoy to do alone. I am sure my girlfriend would choose to go on a city if she travels alone. This way she will not have a standing boyfriend every time she wants to buy clothes...

3 - Choose an hostel

I have travelled alone to cities where I had friends living there. At the time they were working intensively and I really did not want to spend most of the time waiting. I wanted to have action, meet new people and having a little bit of community feeling. So I have choose hostels when I want a more social travelling. I do not enjoy so much to share a room, but I did it many times and I (almost) never regret it. But there are also many hostels with double or single room. Then you have the common areas, like terraces, living rooms, kitchens... Read review on the hostels atmosphere and look for what you want. I have many amazing friendships around the world with people I knew while trying to open a bottle of wine. You can go out to a club, you can join a group to go to museums, you can do the free touring around cities... There are so many different personalities that you will make friends easy.

4 - Pack Less

Be free of your stuff. Why taking so much clothes to vacations when you want to spend less time as possible to go back to the hostel all the time to change clothes. You will be able to wash if you need some of your pieces and you will feel free. It is terrible to take so many valuable items and then your mind is more on "is someone going to steal this", than actually on having fun. I always take my camera and tablet, so that demands a bit of caution, but because it is so less, I can just put it on the lockers and go out with peace on my mind.

5 - Choose nice restaurants

I hate to eat alone. I really love to enjoy checking a menu with somebody else. But if at that moment I do not have that chance, I just enjoy anyway. Eating is one of the best things you can do while travelling alone. Sitting on a restaurant and enjoying a nice meal will make you feel like you are really enjoying what you should when travelling. Yeah, take some snacks so that you don't spend money all the time, but at least make one of your meals an important highlight of the day. You were saving money to travel, not just to pin another country on your map!

6 - Stay in touch, but not too much

Keep track of the places you visit, the restaurants you tried, the beach you have found on that bus going anywhere. At the end of the day just skype your family and your friend and talk about it. It is very nice to have some words with somebody we know and realize that the travelling is still an experience to share. Writing about it will make you smile in the future. You will miss those days. Even if it is not your favourite thing to do, travelling alone will make you grow and proud of yourself!

7 - Adapt to your new destination

Don't rush to the places you checked on the internet. Take your time to get to know your surroundings. Travelling is about checking small details. Everyone takes that picture of the Statue of Liberty, but maybe they miss the bird next to the hotdog man. Enjoy unique smaller things, look at your window and realize your neighbours. If you rush you may miss one "Hello".
One thing I did all the time was chatting with the hostel people. They know everything around and it's part of their job to welcome you and showing you what you can do. 

8 - Don't be the tourist

Keep safe and low profile. Don't go out with your big camera on the first day and walk with the map on your hand. I have been in many dangerous places and I was able to look like a local because I did not behave like I didn't know anything or where I was. If I had to look at the map, I would stop next to a shop and check it. 

9 - Take day tours

Well, don't be the tourist, but be a tourist! Maybe you have all the track you need to do, prepared on your phone, but maybe it is not a bad idea to take one tour, even if you have to pay a bit more. You can check for someone that can offer something unique and just invest on it. This will give you space to relax and to maybe getting to know someone next to you.

10 - Take a book everywhere

If everything goes well, you will be very tired. Enjoy a coffee, a local snack and just sit and have your book with you. I love to check people around and can be hours just looking at the movement of people, but sometimes we can just chill and read our book.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

How to be a Local Tourist

Everything is about perspective. We may choose to be passive about the surroundings or we can choose to absorbe and understand all the details around. This is something that saved my life when I move to Groningen. When we think about travelling and going somewhere, we always have the feeling of a monstrous event that will hunt us every minute. What to do? Should I just get a nest and save the money?

As an outsider to Netherlands it was easy for me to find interesting things around. My girlfriend is Dutch but she is very active on Facebook or websites to try to find out what is happening. Reality is that not all the time something is happening and we have to make an effort. That's why we match so well.

When coming to the Netherlands it was all about the houses! I didn't care so much for most of the stores, as I could also find them in Portugal, so I have started to check architecture, people, habits.

1 - Get a camera!

I was all the time with the phone on my hand taking pictures of the houses and sharing it on Instagram was an eye opener for Dutch. My friends and colleagues started realizing how beautiful their houses are! Amazing doors, detailed windows and well presented garden. They were impressed and started doing the same. Taking pictures to something they were seeing everyday but not capturing them. A camera will give you more inspiration as you know that if you leave the house with it, you need to find something inspiring. Yes, quality of phones are amazing, but try zoom to check details. What a difference!

2 - Attend events!

I am still very surprised that I only live in The Netherlands for 1 year and I have already been in more Dutch places than most of my colleagues. There is a big focus on vacations and, of course, they all like to fly somewhere else. So they simply don't realize that inside there is big treasures to find. In Groningen many events are organized on weekends, but going to the market is one of my biggest interests. There are days when museums are free or with a low entrance fee, there is classic music on the street, there are races and even if you never thought about stopping to see people run, there is always something you can do in those days, like grabbing something special to eat. I realize now I don't mind seeing people running!

3 - Check stores!

This is full of Zaras, H&Ms, Berskas and so on and so on. But in the middle of all this franchise noise there are special shops that locals fight to have them open. And it is so amazing to find something special. Here in Holland, cheese shops are beautiful, but I can never stop entering vintage shops where I can see second hand items. It is like going in the museum. My girlfriend she is not so fond of it, but I love it because I really see things that are unique. She has the same feeling when in Portugal. Now she goes in with me and she realizes that are things worth of being in museums.

4 - Have a drink!

Do you ever stop to check your street? Do you wonder what people are doing or talking about? Well, I'm latin so it's in my blood, but this is really something I love to do. Terraces are the place to be. You can have your dose of oxygen and just enjoy a drink. In Portugal you would have 5 beers! Here in the Netherlands either you are rich or you can't just do it. So, I prefer to spend a bit more and order that special beer I never heard about. And it tastes good or bad, but one thing I promise. I don't forget that moment. I started doing terraces as soon as I arrive and this was my way of realizing people's habits.

5 - Take your bike!

Well... Easy to say when you are in a country where mountains are rare! I am very lucky that I can just decide to go somewhere and my bike can take me there, not spending money at all. I usually go to Google Maps and check what is around, lakes, small villages, and take my camera with me. I can bike for 2 or 3 hours, just calm and enjoy all the roads that take me there. Is is impossible to do it in a different country? No! In Porto, Portugal, roads are not plain at all, streets are busy, but still, with my Dutch friend, I decided to take him on a bike ride. He loved it! We were able to see so much and at the end of the day it was really nice to have to carry it on the side because people were walking everywhere!

6 - Check restaurants close to you!

Do you realize you are the one responsible for the ratings on Tripadvisor? Just go out and decide something different. Try restaurants and don't be afraid to repeat the experiences. If you really enjoy it, try to check what is special about it and write! Share your experiences with your friends. I love when my girlfriend goes out with her friends and tells me to try something out. She also loved that I wanted to try something specific and almost "force" her to experience something she never thought of. The best restaurants in Porto are far from the first rated ones. And this is because they are too small, out of touristic areas and the attention is just no there. Let's fight for it! We are the locals. We should be official reviewers!

7 - Read about history!

I am usually very lazy and the documented history of places I visit, I explore it only after being there. Is this good or bad? I am really not sure. Here in the Netherlands, many places are rich in history because of being so close to the II World War. For me it is impressive how much a place can be a picture of its history. Checking the pictures before and after can give us so much information on how the cities are growing and evolving. Take a historic route or read after being there. I am sure you will come back to the same place with a different perspective.

8 - Act like a tourist

Take pictures to the shops, to the people preparing your favourite snack, to the rooftops, gardens. It is free publicity and maybe someone will thank you. Every time I go to a different place in the Netherlands, close to where I live or a bit hard, I have a bunch of curious people who ask me where I have been, how was it, what can they do there, was it expensive. They know I am still the "tourist" here. And I promise you that next time, you are maybe part of a bigger group!

local | travel | budget | museums | friends | tourist | museums | save money | bike | restaurants | store | camera

Monday, October 23, 2017

How to book the cheapest flights?

The one thing I always have in mind when travelling is having enough money to enjoy the trip itself and not being stuck to the hotel's meals or constantly having to look to the wallet to check if there is enough until going back home.

Freedom of traveling means to have a mind clear of our day by day routines, and this includes having to check money all the time. When travelling it is very important to try and plan things ahead, but at the same time having the space to change if something interesting comes along. This is actually the fun part of travelling, right?

Part of the planning is, of course, booking the flights. Today we have thousands of options and it becomes very hard to decide. The longer it takes this decision, the more expensive it can be. Trying to book a flight at least 2 or 3 months before the trip itself is very important.

But is this enough? Well... it is not.

Travel should be done off peak season.
This means that you may have to face not so pleasant weather conditions, but nowadays, unfortunately, this is not such a big problem, as the conditions change all the time and seasons are not so defined anymore.

Travel off peak times.
Besides seasons, also is important to define the times to travel outside work transport times. This means you probably have to wake up very early or to wait a lot for your flight, but at the end of the day, it is worth it!

Indirect flights.
Well, nobody wants to do it. It's always terrible when you have to wait a few hours for the next plane, but at the end of the day you are travelling and you can enjoy yourself a nice book or just browsing internet on what you can do on your destination.

Luggage fees.
Me an my girlfriend rarely take an extra bag on the back of the plane. This means I usually loose space as a man! But, I do not care. I learned how to be extra compact on the things I take on my travelings. I learned this very well when coming to live to Holland. And the less things you have, the less you worry about it. I just need a little corner for my camera.

Transport to and from airport.
Sometimes we take too much time checking the flights and then we forget that we add costs when we travel there. Here in Holland we have a very nice and cheap service called Flixbus. The travel takes longer, but it is amazing. It is a nice bus with a toilet and internet connection. It is very comfortable and it allows me to think about the destination once again.

Mix your flights.
Don't get stuck on the same airlines to flight to your destination and back! Just feel yourself free to use online tools and check which ones are the most affordable.

Match all your online information of the flights with travelling agencies.
Sometimes it is much easier to let the agencies take care of everything. And because most of them are checking the transport to and from the airport, or also paying for the parking fees, if you leave your car there, it becomes a very good option. We did it when going to Bulgaria. Some agencies learned that they had to low their costs to become competitive, so it is a good idea to check their deals.

Check alternative airports.
Again this is an amazing way to not only save money on your trip, but also to check destinations that you never though of before. In our Summer vacations we had extra days free and decided to check what Groningen Airport could offer us. And we travel to Gdansk. Never did I before though of going there. And it was so impressive, as you can read in this website.

Bring your food. 
I know.... it is vacation time so let's do everything. No! You can save on different ways and you can enjoy so much more in your destinations. Take some food to have on the way or in the airport. It will save you so much money. We know how expensive the airports are!

Check your bags weight at home!
After so many years of travelling I took this for granted. And on the way to Poland, there I forgot to check the dimensions of my luggage. And the worst happened. I had to pay extra 60€ for it! Almost the price of my plane ticket (75€). Always check again. The dimensions change even between low cost flights.

Get your travel insurance elsewhere! 
Don't leave it to the airlines. It is so expensive. And I you can check your bank for some travel insurances. You can save so much money.

Check Google Flights! 
No doubt that this is my favourite tool when traveling. It is very easy to use and it will give you an overall view of the cost of the flights around the days you are trying to plan. With one click you can change the day to go and come back and it makes the calculations automatically. And there is no commission. Google is just showing you the information from the airlines websites and it will not add any extra costs like many services out there. There is no delay when you hit search. It is just immediate results.

How to use Google Flights

Just type in google "flights from Amsterdam to Porto" or go to the webpage

Choose Round trip, One way or Multi-city.
Enter your departure city and destination. If you are logged in into google you will have a default location based on your current city, or an early search you may have done.

You will be provided with the best and cheaper options to travel. You can choose based on time, cost or nonstop/indirect flight.

Also you can hit the button Track Prices so that you receive updates on the flight costs on your email.

You can also narrow your choices by number of stops, price, airlines, times and more.

When you are done just choose your flights and google will redirect you to the websites, so that you can finish the booking process.

The magic happens if you click on the calendar of departure or arrival dates, and you will be able to check in real time the prices of the flights in different days. This will allow you to choose the best and most affordable flight.

Thursday, October 19, 2017


You can't stop but imagining the wonders of Africa with the arabic influences and inspirations. Since the movie "The man who knew too much" I couldn't stop wonder how it would be to sit and drink tea and listening to the tradicional music. Marocco is very close to Portugal and back then I was still living there. Silla was in The Netherlands and we wanted to meet each other in a paradise like place. None of us ever flew to Africa and we were wondering if we could have a romantic meeting in an unknown place for both of use.

We tried to set some plans before going but we have realised that we didn't have that much time to do so many things. So we have decided to only go to Marrakesh.  It was a very good idea as looking back, little or no time is left to do so much in 4 days. The city is big, busy and so distinct that it is important to leave space and time for your imagination and to enjoy the small things it can offer.

Flying from Portugal in a budget turned ou to be harder than I expected. From Porto I could only find cheaper flights if I would do one stop in Madrid. Which I did. Silla was leaving The Netherlands earlier than me and she would be waiting for me in the airport. I couldn't relax during the days prior to the trip. I didn't know that much and I have had so much bad feedback on blonde girls experiences that I was a litle bit scared. She had also to drive from Groningen to Amsterdam to catch the plane, and that would take at least 2 and half hours. So I was "joining her" while still in bed. I didn't want her to fall asleep and specially to rush to much.

My flight from Madrid to Marrakesh was quite impressive. I still remember so good passing the Mediterranean Ocean and immediately noticing the diferences in the african landscape. The weather was amazing and everything was very clear. It is a big desert with som roads and villages here and there. When you see the big spots of green colour you can't help but smile, bringing back the memories of the Aladdin kind of tales and my heart was pumping so much also because we would meet together after long months without seeing each other. Landing was a big adventure I wasn't expecting. We got in a desert storm and the plane took a while to land. Already in the tracks and leaving the plane, I have noticed the militaries with a very intimidating eye contact. Inside I had to fill some papers and asked a pen to one kind person, because they were quite scarce. In the big glass walls I could already see Silla, and I couldn't wait to meet her!

After one huge long hug we went outside where a shuttle from our Riad was coming to get us. We were staying at Riad Sofia, in a very central location. The trip was intense as your first impact is the impressive trafic, with cars, bikes, scooters driving everywhere. Arriving there we noticed the nice temperature, but also the noises around. The mess becomes more and more familiar and you start enjoying it. We went thru a covered market, full of shops and people everywhere, and we walked thru tight alleys with so many beautiful painting on the walls, and arabic style doors and kids playing with a ball and so many other things.

Arriving to the Riad was impressive. You come out from a loud world into a island of silence and calm. The people that greeted us were impressive. They invited us to sit and started explaining us what we could do.  There is a small pool with water where we could see some guests refreshing themselves. There was no music, just the sound of the water echoing. We were offered tea and we payed the staying in the Riad. The hall is an open air with the rooms around it. There were about 3 floors. On the top we would have the breakfast and we could relax and catch some sun or just sit inside of a tent. Our room was on the 1st floor and it was impressive. Everything you can imagine from a magical arabic place. Everything was very tradicional and there was no tv or modern devices. The windows were closed but still leave space for a lot of light to come in. We had a huge bathtub and decided to have a nice bath to refresh ourselves. Enjoying the small things.

We have tried to plan a little bit our walk on the city but google maps is only helpful if you have a 3g connection there. We didn't, so we only had the names. We went for a walk outside as we were quite hungry and decided to go on one of the largest alleys. We took the route Sidi Abdelaziz The amount of colours, smells, different people is quite impressive. There is a big attempt to protect the streets from the intense sun and they put some kind of sticks on top. The atmosphere becomes impressive. We wanted to have an orange juice, as there are many people selling it on the streets. They are so cheap and you can sit on one small bench made of wood and enjoy what is happening around. There are nice and less nice people. Everything is a business there and we were many times asked if we needed help. In the beginning you answer, but then you just need to give up, as it is a constant.

Our direction was to Madrassa Ben Yous. This used to be an Islamic College, and the biggest Madrassa in Marocco. It used to hold 130 students that spend their day and night there. It was closed in the 1960 and opened to the public as an historic place in 1982.

We walked to Koutoubia Mosque, the largest mosque of Marrakesh. It is one of those huge places of Marrakesh. In a city that we could consider a true maze, these are the places that you take in consideration because it is very central and easier to find. The palm trees around in the yellow background is just breath taking. It is a building made of red stone and it is just beautiful.

The nights in the Riad Sofia were our rest. Arriving to the place we always enjoy a bit of terrace in the night. There is a silence that is worth gold and we could just enjoy the place where we were and talk about our days. Waking up was done very early as we wanted to enjoy our breakfast. There is a small domestic kitchen where they prepare our meal and we had the most amazing food.

It is good to just walk in Marrakesh. You will get lost! Just put that in your mind because it is almost impossible not to. There will be a lot of people trying to help you, but don't forget that they ask money for everything. There was one old man that insist on taking us. I said that we do not have money but he continue in front of us and showing us a way. At the end he took us next to some kids and your heart pumps. It's a terrible feeling but I had some gums on my pocket and they were happy with it. Nothing that makes me proud, but you can't fix everything.

One of the best experiences we had was going to Jardin Majorelle. The colours are so intense and it is so peaceful there. You will find a lot of blue, cutting thru the dusty paths with plants everywhere. This garden was designed by Jacques Majorelle, and the beautiful part of the story is that he was living in Casablanca but, when travelling to Marrakesh, he fell in love with the city and decided to settle there. Curious is that the property was also owned by Yves Saint-Laurent. Well, I can really understand that if you had the money, you would choose such an Oasis.

Next to the garden we decided to go on a horse chariot. We were very lucky with our funny driver. We had 2 options and decided to go thru the longest one. And we did well. You can move away from the city, and you can hear the driver complain with all the traffic around! He took us to many places, but we can't forget one kind of old fortress full of orange trees around and with a big kind of lake with fish that were eating bread! Was this nice? Beautiful! Very strange, but very unique. We went up on the ruins and it was dry and old, like you imagine when you see Africa movies. We also meet one amazing shop of spices, soaps and many other tradicional products from Marocco.

One of the highlights of the trip was our visit to Nikki Beach. This was our rest from the city. You are hot, you are dirty, you are confused and suddenly you just chill.... A huge club, a huge swimming pool and the feeling you are rich! You have an impressive oasis with some house music on the background and with a nice service. Food and drinks are not cheap, but it is worth it. Just relax and embrace all the experiences you had in Marrakesh!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Vietnam - thru the eyes of European girlfriends

My first Asian experience was a great one! With one of my best friends I’ve been to Vietnam. Such a difference in culture that the first day that I was quite in shock.
You almost think that it’s the last day in your life trying to cross the streets full of scooters. Only in Saigon drives 5 million scooters.  They transport everything with it: chickens, cows, furniture and also their whole family. Vietnamese people work hard even when they are still so poor. They need to live from 150 dollar in the month! Men and women both work so much... Houses don’t have windows. Women admire white skin as unique and beautiful. You see them with socks, gloves and hats when it's 30 degrees.

For tourists, Vietnam is a very cheap place. For dinner you pay around 3 euro. And for less than 20 euro you have a nice hotel room for 2 persons,  You still see and feel the impact of the war in Vietnam. There are a lot of handicapped people. These are people who were born during or short after the war. Their parents came in touch with the poisoned gas the American people put. This war took around 17 years. 3 million people killed. We feel continuously that we are millionaires! 1 euro is 27.000 Dong. We are not the best calculators, but after 16 days we were still confused and did wrong ones. Pho is the most popular food in Vietnam. You can eat it already for breakfast! It’s a nice noodle soup.
Afbeeldingsresultaat voor route vietnam hanoi naar saigon
Our route:
We saw in 16 days the most beautiful places in Vietnam. We started in Hanoi where we slept for 2 nights. Only the first 2 night Hanoi we booked before.


Must see:  
Mausoleum. People are very strict to rules here (no photos, keep walking inside, no naked shoulders, etc). Ho Chi Minh is still very important for Vietnamese people. Inside you see his balsamed body.

Ho Chi Minh Museum.
In this museum you realize the importance of Ho Chi Minh. You see letters, clothes and movies from Ho Chi Minh. Museum is very big but there is no need to take hours of your time there.

Water Puppet theatre.
We’ve been to the theatre you see in the picture. You can easily buy the cheap tickets in the theatre itself. It was very nice and traditional. Its creative and not English but you don’t need to understand it. It’s the experience you have to feel.
Halong Bay.

From Hanoi we spent one day in Halong Bay. A beautiful world wonder and on the Unesco World heritage list. In the ocean you see 1969 calc stone Islands. Many of them has big caves.

From Hanoi we went by a night bus to Hue. It’s a perfect way to travel. We could sleep very good and comfortable and that for around 20 euro’s and 12 hours driving. Hue is the former imperial city of Vietnam. We did the sightseeing with a private taxidriver who took us everywhere and waited for us when we visited the cultural places. It was not expensive at all and a perfect way to see a lot in short time. After one night we left by bus.
Must see:
Citadel. In Hue you need to visit the Citadel. It’s a beautiful historic place. You can walk here for hours. Even with all the wars, a lot remains. Next to that we also visit the purple city, Tombes and a Pagoda.

Hoi An.
Hoi an was for us one of the most beautiful cities in Vietnam. This because of thousands of lampions that lightened the city next to the water. We spend there 2 nights. Hoi An is well known because of the amazing tailors they have. What a girl's dream! We could choose the materials, the colors and draw our own ideas. All so exciting but we managed to get some sleep and were a bit nervous for the results. But they didn’t disappointed us at all! For 25 euro I had a perfect fit, high quality dress! We sleep in Greenfield Hotel with a very good service and very kind people. For around 15 euros you have a room for 2 persons. When the weather is nice you can enjoy the small swimming pool.

Must see:
Japanese Bridge. It is called Japanese bridge because of Japanese investors and merchants from the 17th century.

Nha Trang With the night bus we travelled to Nha Trang. Finally we saw some sun and we enjoyed here the amazing beaches in Nha Trang. Also it’s a good decision to change from hostels to hotels so that you can enjoy both advances.

Long Son Pagoda. This is a buddhistic temple. If you climb the stairs to the big Buddha you also have an amazing view about the city.

Mui Neh:
You can stay here for 2 nights. It’s not very big or much to see but the calm atmosphere is something what you can appreciate between the busy places before.

Red and White Dunes. What a amazing nature we found here! After waking up at 4 in the night we saw the sun coming up in the sand dunes! You have white dunes and red ones who are a bit smaller. In the red ones they try to sell you a slide but don’t get too enthusiastic. It’s more amazing to rent a trike to play in the white sand! Don’t worry you get some help when you get stuck, like my friend Nynke.

Fairy Stream. Take out your shoes and do a walk in the water, in the middle of rocks, similar to a small Grand Canyon.

C:\Users\Silla\Pictures\Vietnam december 2015\102NIKON\DSCN4149.JPG

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

In 1976, name of the city was changed from Saigon to Ho Chi minh city. North and south Vietnam came together. We notice that it’s more modern here than in the main capital of Hanoi. Going out here is amazing. In HMC lives 4,5 million people!

War remnants museum. A big impact! Some parts are very shocking and I shouldn’t take my children there. It’s three floors with a lot of imagery, photos and posters from the Vietnam war. Especially the photo’s from people with the results of the chemical attacks impressed us deeply. Outside you have the real militant airplanes they used in the war.

Notre Dame (Nha Tho Duc Ba)

Postoffice. Designed by Gustave Eiffel
C:\Users\Silla\Pictures\Vietnam december 2015\102NIKON\DSCN4196.JPG
Reunification palace. This palace remarks the end of the Vietnam war. It’s the working palace of the president.
C:\Users\Silla\Pictures\Vietnam december 2015\102NIKON\DSCN4182.JPG
Cu Chi tunnels. This tunnels were used by the army of North-Vietnam (the Vietcong), during the Vietnam war. They hide themselves here from the attacks of the Americans. For the opponent the tunnels very confusing. There were a lot of boobytraps and fake tunnels. They made a few of the tunnels more wide so that tourists can go inside. For me it was too scared to go inside because I’m a bit claustrophobic but Nynke is my hero.
C:\Users\Silla\Pictures\Vietnam december 2015\102NIKON\DSCN4235.JPG
After 2 days Ho Chi Minh city. we saw already a lot of the city and we wanted to go to the nature again. By bus we went to the Mekong delta.
Mekong Delta
With a day excursion we made a nice boat trip thru the Mekong Delta. We went to a noodle fabric were Nynke took her job very seriously, making noodles! After hard working we had a nice barbecue dinner with mouse and snake. A very nice experience for Dutch people is, of course, cycling thru the small villages.
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Floating Market.