Tips for exploring the Netherlands

I’ve a little while to wait before Eurostar starts its direct route to Amsterdam – due in 2016 – but it’s already a train journey that’s on my list.

For some reason, I’ve never explored the Netherlands quite as much as I’d like, even when I was living just a two-and-a-half-hour train journey away in Germany. To be fair, I was busy exploring quite a bit of Germany at the time.

netherlands-windmill-tulips-holland-travel

But to give me some more food for thought, as well as tips on a return journey to Amsterdam, I’ve come across a helpful Dutch tourism site, Netherlands-Tourism.com. Continue reading

Winter sun with kids in Majorca

The first overseas holiday I ever took was to Majorca, aged about four.

One of several trips to the Balearic islands (and Portugal) before my parents, transferred their allegiance to camping in France, the excitement of being in a foreign country – and of being on holiday where the rules regarding chocolate milk were relaxed – has never quite left me.

majorca-beach-sea-winter-sun

But although it’s great for small kids, I haven’t yet made it there with Minnie, despite a couple of trips to Spain’s other island group, the Canary islands. Continue reading

Eight things to do in Lille with kids

Yesterday it was Brussels’ turn. Today, I’ve had fans of Lille encouraging me to choose that for my discounted Eurostar trip.

And if you’re thinking that Belgium has the edge with frites, waffles and chocolate (and moules for me), this part of northern France is close enough that I wouldn’t go short of those in Lille either – for more reasons to drool over a potential visit, the Lone Gourmet has me severely tempted.

lille-christmas-market-travel-france

For places to stay and more family-friendly places to eat, I came across these recommendations on Kodomo. But apart from the famous Christmas market, perfect for kids, these are the top eight things for children I’ve found in Lille.
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10 things to do in Brussels with kids

So my idle pondering about planning a new trip to cheer myself up provoked a couple of helpful comments. The gist being not to use my Eurostar discount on going back to Paris but exploring somewhere new.

Possible Lille, about which I know almost nothing. Possibly Bruges (which I love, partly for the chocolate). Or Ghent. Or possibly Brussels.

Rue de l'Étuve - Stoofstraat, Bruxelles - Brussel, België

I’ve been to Brussels but remember remarkably little of either visit. So I thought it was time to do some research and find out what all the destinations had to offer for kids. And in the city of the Smurfs and Tintin, these are the top 10 things for children I’ve found.
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New attractions at Zoomarine, in Portugal’s Algarve

Almost exactly a year ago I was sunning myself in the Algarve. Actually that’s not quite true… I’d hoped to sun myself but germs, teething and circumstances meant my lounging was slightly restricted.

While we were there, the friends holidaying with us spent a day at Zoomarine, a short drive from our villa.

zoomarine-pool-dolphin-seal-waterpark

We’d decided Minnie was probably a bit too young to appreciate it anyway, but at nearly three, their daughter had a whale of a time (pun intended) and still has a much-loved dolphin toy to prove it. Continue reading