Tag Archives: Photography

2# Sun and sand in Culebra

My favourite part of Culebra are definitely its beaches. Flamenco Beach is its most famous beach being named the third best beach in the world according to Tripadvisor. However, there are more beaches and in my opinion some might even be more beautiful. So, here is a list of the beaches I visited in the last month.

  1. Flamenco Beach

Culebra’s renowned beach, Playa Flamenco is certainly a marvellous beach with its white sand, blue water and soft surf. The Beach is the ideal destination for families and taxi’s go back and forth constantly to drive tourists from the ferry dock towards the beach.

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2. Tamarindo Beach

One of my favourite beaches is Tamarindo beach. The beach might be not as sandy and there are rocks and sea urchins in the water but that doesn’t matter because this is the ideal place to spot sea turtles and stingrays.

3. Melones Beach

When you are looking for nice coral, Melones Beach is the place to go, as long as the tourists from the cruise ships don’t trample these corals first. And make sure you take care of the corals yourself. Again, this might not be the most beautiful beach but the marine life makes up for it big time.

4. Punta Soldada

Punta Soldada one of the rockiest beaches in Culebra and definitely not one of my favourites. Make sure you bring some water  shoes when going to this beach, getting in can be a bit tricky.

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5. Carlos Rosario

This marvellous beach is pretty quite if you go there at the right times. Since getting to the beach involves a 20 min hike from Flamenco Beach, something most tourists are not willing to do.  The only busy moment on this beach is when the dive companies from the main land take their lunch breaks here.

6. Resaca Beach

Going to this beach is quite a hike but totally worth it. I underestimated it a bit based on the fact that normally people tend to exaggerate the difficulty of the hikes here. When they say, you can’t walk there it is way to far, it usually takes half an hour to walk there. Although the walk only took 30 minutes from the end of the road as well, the path is quite steep and if you are walking from the airport you have to cross the hill from both sides which easily brings the duration of the hike up to one and a half hour.

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7. Brava Beach

Brava Beach is definitely one of my favourites again a beach that requires a bit of a hike but that makes arriving at the beach so much more better. After a 20 minute hike you arrive at this beautiful beach with no one around. The beach is nice and quite and there is quite a surf.

8. Zoni Beach

Zoni Beach is a turtle nesting ground, be careful when entering this beach. You won’t probably see the turtles since they don’t come ashore during the day most of the time and the beach is closed at night. However, the beach itself looks like it comes straight of a Pirate Movie. The white sands and the low hanging palm trees are just, magical.

9. Tortolas Beach

And lost but not least there is Tortolas Beach. You can reach Tortolas beach by turning around the corner at the left of Zoni Beach. The beach is quite small but charming. Again , an ideal place to come to rest.

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So, these is my pic on the beaches in Culebra. You’ve got another opinion or know about a beach I missed and should really visit, please don’t hesitate to comment.

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1# Hello Culebra, scuba diving

Culebra is a small island in the Caribbean, popular in Puerto Rico for its day tourism. With its magnificent beaches and colourful marine life it certainly is a paradise too me.

As a motivated scuba diver the island seemed to be the ideal place to “dive” deeper into my dive education and do an advanced course here. With Culebra divers being the only dive school on the island it wasn’t hard choosing a dive school and prepared as a am, I finished my theoretical part before I went to Culebra, Yey e-learning.

Apart from their office hours (which they do not exactly follow) Culebra Divers is actually pretty great and we had a great time. The dive sites were exquisite and our dive instructor Walter Rider made sure we knew everything we needed to know and more.

Dive location: Tamarindo Chico

Dive location: Luis Peña

Dive location: Cable Bay

 

2# New York, a panoramic view

Our second day we got up bright-and-early for another fun-filled day, with the Rockefeller center on our schedule early in the morning. Seeing Central Park from this height certainly offered a nice perspective. Rockefeller_fam_new

 Tip; when visiting the Rockefeller Centre or the Empire State Building, you are waiting in line longer than you are actually admiring the view even with pre-paid tickets. While, the view from Brooklyn bridge is just as spectacular, without the lines and the fees.

After the Rockefeller we went into the centre of Brooklyn for a guided Graffiti Tour concerning the Bushwick Collective. These pieces of art are definitely amazing and to think that they are a part of the ever-changing street view is a pity. None of these works are permanent and every year or two a new work will be put in that same place. But maybe that’s the point and therefore its transiency becomes a part of its charm.

We made our way back to Manhattan by crossing the Brooklyn bridge, which offered a view just as nice as the Rockefeller centre, minus the waiting and the costs. You get to see the city getting closer while walking across the bridge.

After having a quick look at Wall Street, we decided to grab a bite at China Town. China town actually proved to be hard to find due to our expectations regarding the neighbourhood. We expected a similar atmosphere and decorations as in London, however when being compared, the neighbourhood wasn’t exactly striking. With only a few lanterns indicating you are in the right neighbourhood.

1# New York, everything gets bigger except my luggage

This year I followed the course “New York in 21th Century Literature” at the University and naturally I could not wait to see all the places mentioned in our curriculum with my own eyes. However, in order to get there a ten hour flight and a six hour time difference had to be abridged first and we reached New York without any trouble (so we thought).

Once we saw my luggage we know something had gone wrong. My luggage was only held together by ribbons and half the size it was when we started off and soon we discovered that the only thing missing in my suitcase was a purple bag. The bad thing, that purple bag contained all my clothes for the next six months. Since we could not do much about the lost luggage we decided not to let it bring us down and enjoy the rest of our stay (now a week later I still don’t have my clothes).

The next day we got up bright and early, ready to set upon our adventure. We started with a stroll along 5th avenue enjoying the marvellous views along the road, from the green landscapes offered by central park to the skyscrapers on the other side of the road, the combination of the two offering a wonderful contrast.

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One of those places I could not wait to see was the MoMA, although I am not a fan of Modern Art, I really wanted to see Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” and have to admit that the museum was not my cup of tea. Therefore,  my only interest lay in the fifth floor where paintings from Van Gogh, Dalí and Money could be found.

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When stolling further down the avenue I found the Public Library, a place I can imagine myself to be entire days. The architecture is great and the decoration in the reading rooms is magical.

TIP: When visiting New York, I certainly recommend you take a peek inside the public library, the readingrooms are to die for.

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Next we took a boat trip along the monuments by Circle Lines. The guide was excellent and told us a lot about the history of New York and it’s monuments. Allowing us great views of the Manhattan Skyline, the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge. Three locations that were pretty high up my list. The Statue of Liberty represents New York to a certain extent, it is the first thing people saw arriving by boat, welcoming them to the new continent. The New York skylines aren’t any less famous and although, during my visit I only saw them during the day, I can clearly imagine the magnificent view the glow of the city must give at night.

TIP: When planning a visit to New York certainly take a look at the New York Adventure Pass and other combination passes. These tickets do not only provide discounts but also allow you to skip the lines since you already paid in advance.

We continued our tour be taking the highline in the direction of Soho. The highline, as it name suggest stretches out several meters above ground and consists of the old railroad. Nowadays this railroad is converted into a green path through the city with several idyllic relaxing zones and a great view of the city.

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To end up in Greenwich Village, which was a bit of a disappointment in my opinion. The name indicates a quite and rustique neighbourhood while in reality we entered an area with few restaurants and dense traffic. Totally exhausted from a long day of walking around we decided to go back to our hotel. Our street really reminded me of the brownstone in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (at least how I imagined it would look like).

What I love about Malaga

Malaga, my Erasmus city and definitely one of my favourite places. Why? I can go on endlessly about how great Malaga is. However, I am going to try to be concise and restrict myself to my personal top 8 of things that make Malaga so great.

1.  Big city, small and picturesque city centre

Malaga is one of the biggest cities in Spain, the 6th to be exact. But wandering through the city centre you don’t get the impression that Malaga is this big. The city centre is small, with two rather large main streets. The number of restaurants and bars and the fact that the entire centre is practically car free contribute even further to the coziness of the city centre.

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2. Clean

Malaga is a rather clean city compared to other Spanish cities. Every night all garbage is collected and the streets are cleaned with sea water. Leaving Malaga clean and shining in the morning after all the partygoers finally go home.

3.      Central location (everything is close going from sea to snow)

Malaga has a quite central location in Andalusia and from here you can easily travel around. Most important however for a sports fan like me; Malaga is right at the sea and a quick swim is always possible, during winter Sierra Nevada and its ski slopes are only two hours away and for the walkers among us be sure to visit El Chorro or El Torcal.

4.      The nicest people

During my stay in Malaga I met the nicest people. Always happy to get to know you and lend a helping hand. However, being able to speak Spanish helps a lot. Not everyone speaks English and if they do, they really appreciate your effort, it changes they entire demeanour.

 

5.      The splendid weather

Malaga actually has the second best climate of Spain next to Marbella. The sun shines nearly every day and the temperature rarely goes below 10°C. Quite a difference from rainy Belgium where weather forecasts are almost the other way around.

6.      The surrounding nature

Malaga is surrounded by splendid nature; with forests, mountains, beach settings, … . It is always nice to hike through the woods or the mountains or walk along the beach for a few hours.

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7.      Cultural abundance

As capital of the province “Malaga”, Malaga City is the cultural centre of the province, clearly noticeable by the number of museums that overcrowd Malaga. Malaga is literally filled with museums and historical monuments too much to just sum up. As home of Picasso we can naturally find the house of Picasso and the museum of Picasso here but these are not the only interesting museums. Be sure to see the CAC (Centro de Arte Contemporaneo de Malaga) and the Museo Carmen Tyssen Malaga.

8.      The cultural history of the south of Spain

And last but not least. The cultural history of Andalusia, the land of three cultures. The south of Spain has been ruled by the Moors for a long period and this leaves it’s trails, contributing to a mingling of three cultures: Jewish, Islamic and Christian still visible today. The unique architecture and decorations are simply magical. The amount of craftsmanship needed for such detailed work, only imagine.

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If you are curious about the several locations I so lovingly mentioned, be sure to follow my blog the next weeks as I will blog more about wonderful Andalusia.

But what do you think of Malaga? Do you agree with me or was the city a total disappointment?

 

Terceira: enjoying nature

Terceira; like most of the Azorian Islands is very green and ideal for a nice walk. We followed one of the trails in the “Reserva Forestal” near one the old volcanoes: Pico de Gaspar . Along the trail we got magnificent views, changing environments and a trail that varied in difficulty as well. One moment you are walking around the meadows, the next you are walking in the woods or climbing on the rocky underground. And although it is quite steep we found that the detour to the top of the volcano was quite fulfilling as well. The crater itself may be a bit of a let-down, the panorama is certainly worth the climb.

The most beautiful spot on the island is definitely Algar do Carvao. This cave with its open crater is wonderful to see and certainly left an impression. But the “Gruta do Natal” is definitely worth the trip as well and a lot of fun. The tour is organized with a great deal of information about lava streams and tunnels.

 

 

Terceira: Angra do Heroismo

The next and last isle we visited was Terceira. This island is a lot smaller than Ponta Delgada but it doesn’t mean there is less to do. We started our trip at Angra do Heroismo.

Since our hotel was connected with the local diving centre and we just received or licence in San Miguel the first thing on our mind was diving again. Again, we weren’t disappointed and the diving sights were awesome. Although I prefer the dives we did in Ponta Delgada, the local reef is certainly a nice dive. We saw a variation of fishes with the most impressive one certainly being the giant bream at the bow of the shipwreck.