Even if your trip has been cancelled or you prefer to stay at home, your holiday is far from being cancelled!
Whether you’re sitting back in your garden, lounging on your balcony, just enjoying nature or are cooped up in the four walls of your house, you can have just as much fun in your free days!
Take the chance, and make the best of summer 2020. Get to know your own city better, get your home back in shape, learn new recipes, or DIY projects or just lie under the bright, warm sun.
For you, I have jotted down the best tips!
A #staycation should be planned like a holiday. Otherwise, you will fall into your daily rhythm and won’t allow yourself any time out!
City Trip at Home
Have you ever had a guided tour of your home town? Do you know all the corners? I must confess that I only know a few districts in Cologne. Get to know your city by bike or on foot. Go to the areas you haven’t been to yet and visit new restaurants and cafes.
There must be a lake or a forest in your immediate vicinity. Take a trip to see fresh nature in all its glory and enjoy a sunny day with a picnic or with an entertaining book or podcast.
Holiday at Home
Why don’t you design a theme room? We picked out the online shop 4Murs.de and could shop directly by themes such as Tropical Mood or Arty Life. So it wasn’t hard for us to find some furniture and decoration articles for our Boho Beach room.
In our comfortable bamboo armchair, I‘ve already read some books.
But of course, you can also redesign your garden! I have built up a cosy corner with candles and fairy lights. In our hammock, I often like to lie in the evening with a glass of wine and our dogs.
Meanwhile, I have also tested some DIY projects like my self-made wooden ladder, which we used as a “herb garden”.
No matter if you live alone or in several homes, your friends and family will be happy about brunch or an invitation for dinner. Try out new recipes or improve your cooking skills.
Look at the time you’re spending at home in a positive light and make the most of it. Your travel budget for next year is likely to be larger, as home vacations are usually cheaper. You don’t have to worry about missing a plane or train. But the best thing is that you can take the time to do the things you didn’t do before.
It takes just under three hours from Cologne to Bloemendaal aan Zee. We have driven this route far too seldom up to now and have not appreciated it enough!
That’s why after our first tour to Ouddorp we now went to the corner of Haarlem and Zandvoort.
Here you can easily combine a city and beach trip!
Our apartment with sea view at Poort Beach Hotel
I haven’t been in Bloemendaal aan Zee for a long time. So, we were looking forward to the super stylish Poort Beach Hotel Apartments. The tasteful accommodations have so much to offer!
We had planned to spend 2 days on the beach, but when we came to the apartment, we immediately knew that all our time would be spent on the spacious terrace. From here, we could also watch the whole happenings on the beach along with the surfers. In the evening, you can enjoy the beautiful sunset with a delicious glass of wine.
The apartments are equipped with a lot of love for details. As always, you should think of bringing salt, pepper and oil, in case you do your own cooking. Otherwise, everything is on the spot! Even a Nespresso machine! I always bring my own milk frother for a delicious cappuccino in the morning.
In our apartment, 6 persons could have stayed overnight, and it costs about 250€ a night. You should book the apartments well in advance as they are almost always fully booked.
Things To Do
You’ll never be bored in Bloemendaal aan Zee as there are countless things to do!
– Beach Walk – Every evening, we took a drink from our apartment and walked along the beach with Chuck. Dogs are allowed to run around freely without a leash from 19 o’clock in the evening.
– Water Sports – You only have to walk down the stairs to go to the beach and rent the surf equipment for surfing. Of course there are more water sports available right outside your front door!
– City Trip – It’s only about 10 minutes by car to Haarlem. For a day trip, I would always prefer to go there. The beautiful city of Haarlem has its own charm with its small streets and canals. The place is also known as the “little sister of Amsterdam”. However, I would rather walk all the way to Haarlem because the parking spaces are very expensive. Anyway, the footpath to Haarlem has a lot to offer! You will pass the Kemmerland National Park and some great housing estates. Walking there is an absolute breeze!
– Beach Club, Republiek – Right in front of the apartment door, you have the Beach Club, Republiek. If you prefer to have breakfast in the morning, I recommend you to visit the trendy and new Beach Club. I could have spent the whole day in the lounge chairs in the sand.
– Zandvoort – Do you feel like a walk on the beach? Then you should consider going to Zandvoort! There are also a lot of modern beach clubs here! In the centre of Zandvoort, there is also a small shopping street to stay in. We made a stopover at the photogenic beach club “Ubuntu Beach”; a must-visit for Instagram lovers!
If you want to see more videos of my stay, have a look at the highlights on my Instagram account.
In the middle of the nature reserve “De Punt” on the Grevelingenmeer is the modern Oasis Parcs Punt-West Hotel & Beachresort, which we reached after a good 3-hour drive from Cologne.
The only five-year-old facility in Ouddorp in the south of Holland (near Renesse) is located directly on the Grevelingenmeer inland waterway.
The sea may not be as clear as the crystal blue water in the Maldives, but the villas and studios are located directly on the water! Most of them even have their own beach.
Instead of the Mediterranean palm trees, you look out over the bright green dune grass from the terrace or the panoramic windows.
Oasis Parcs Punt-West Hotel & Beachresort
We were able to enjoy the wonderful view of the place directly upon arrival in our modern “Hotelstudio Waterfront” for 2-persons. On the ground floor, there is a small kitchenette and living room. From the couch, you can always watch the sea drifting through the wide, panoramic windows.
On the first floor, you reach the bedroom and bathroom, where well-scented Rituals products await you! My personal highlight was, of course, the terrace directly above the sea and the quietness in the resort that makes one really relax.
Also, during breakfast and/or in the restaurant, one always has a direct view of the wide sea!
At the reception, in the restaurant building, you can also rent a SUP or bike.
For your information:
The stairs to the first floor are a bit steep. We always carried Chuck, our Frenchie, upstairs, as he could not walk up them alone. Even for older people who find it difficult to climb the stairs, it is better to choose another type of accommodation in the resort.
The fitted kitchen has a microwave but no stove. You should bring your own salt, pepper, oil etc. if you want to prepare something.
There is no partition wall between the terraces of the studios. If both studios are occupied, you end up sitting very close together on the terrace. Dogs, for example, can run over to the neighbours quickly.
We absolutely enjoyed the peace and quiet and the location. Our Hotelstudio is offered on the website for about 350€/night, including breakfast, which is, of course, an exclusive price.
Therefore, the price-performance ratio did not fit 100% for me, as the equipment of the hotel studio is very ordinary. However, I did look at some villas from the outside, which were very ornate! Especially as a big family or a group of friends, one can have a great time here!
Things to do
Not far from the resort (about 15 minutes walk) is the 18km long coastal beach. Even during Corpus Christi, there was hardly anything going on here, and we could really enjoy the absolute silence! I definitely recommend a walk to the lighthouse and a romantic picnic at sunset. If during the day the weather is halfway ok, you can expect a beautiful sunset!
An absolute must in Holland is of course to explore the area by bike. You have a great landscape all around, which you can explore by bike.
Whoever arrives early in the morning by car or camper has a great first-row seat at the sea to watch the kite surfers. Unfortunately, you don’t get breakfast here, but there are plenty of public houses on the Dam!
If you do not want to spend a day at the sea, you can be in Rotterdam or The Hague in less than an hour.
The Moselle, also known as one of the most impressive river landscapes in Europe, is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Germany. It’s a site that both the younger and older generations can enjoy!
Idyllic wine villages, a multitude of hiking trails with a view of the stunning vineyards, wineries and countless rustic restaurants with a great selection of wines, as well as the tasty home-style cooking and the varied sports programme make for an unforgettable short trip to the Moselle! Of course, I have summarized exactly what you can do on a weekend or a long weekend like Whitsun or Corpus Christi, so you don’t miss out on anything.
Where to stay?
The Landal GreenPark Mont Royal really lives up to its motto “My holiday in the countryside”. The holiday park surrounded by forest with its contemporary-style architecture really did it for us! We, obviously, went to the open holiday park Landal GreenPark Mont Royal over Whitsuntide, but we didn’t have any great expectations, as holiday parks often get old.
When entering our modern 6-bed house, I had to pause for a while and think about our Tiny House in Estonia, our apartment in Australia, and the Nordic interior decoration! The stylish furnishing with sophisticated interior design is simply impressive. Also, the houses in the park are very much the “Insta Houses.” Extremely photogenic!
The accommodations are not just a pretty sight, they have almost everything that you‘ll need! Many even have a Nespresso machine. You can find out more about this before your arrival. Think about the kitchen basics like salt, pepper, oil, and an outdoor grill!
If you are missing anything, you can always ask at the reception desk. The friendly, courteous staff will be happy to help you! A walk to the reception is always worthwhile, as there are goats, a restaurant, a miniature golf course, and a playground to look out for.
We spent a lot of time at our house. In the mornings, we had big breakfasts on the terrace, sometimes indoors, and in the evenings we saw beautiful sunsets with a glass of wine and a round of wizard.
But there are a lot of leisure activities in the surroundings that you can go for!
What to do?
Kröv -Traben – Trarbach
On our first day on the Moselle, we set off with the dogs from our house in the Landal Mont Royal Park in Kröv to Traben-Trarbach.
The approx. 4.5km long hike offers great views and promises some exciting surprises along the way!
It takes only 5 minutes to cross the former fortress of Mont Royal and through the walls of the fortress to the forest paths that lead you directly to the gliding airfield “Mont Royal”. Here, one can watch how several gliders take off! It was a real highlight of the trip for me, as I‘ve never seen how it works. Those who want can also have something to eat or drink in the appendant inn.
From here, we continue to Traben-Trarbach. After another 15 minutes through the forest, you will be surprised with a wonderful view over a Moselle valley, followed by numerous vineyards and a great view of the village of Traben-Trarbach.
After the approx. one-hour hike, we treated ourselves to a delicious wine spritzer right on the Moselle.
The Calmont Klettersteig was one of my most adventurous experiences; not only because I flew my drone into a tree, but also because of its narrow paths.
Don’t worry! It is not really dangerous. Height may be an issue because the path next to the hiking trail dips into a steep slope. However, after the 3 kilometers and 400 meters of altitude difference, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view over the Mosel loop! If you don’t like to go that far, you can stop after 5-10 minutes and enjoy the view from there.
By the way, the Calmont is known as the steepest vineyard in Europe! So, do not forget to put on non-slip hiking boots.
In the many stories that I read, Bernkastel-Kues was named the most beautiful town on the Moselle. I can only confirm this! Especially breathtaking were the historic market place and the beautiful half-timbered facades that the romantic old town boasts. Here, you will find many cafés, restaurants and shops.
A little tip: Try to come here on a Friday or during the week. On weekends and public holidays, it can get quite crowded.
The Moselle Adventure Forest is only 5 minutes walk from the Landal GreenPark Mont Royal. Unfortunately, it was closed during our visit, but it impressed me so much that I have to tell you about it! I have seen some climbing parks in the past, but I have never seen anything like it!
Hanging Rope Bridge Geierlay
Have your ever had the chance to go over a hanging rope bridge? So if you are around, don’t forget to check it out! The 360m long bridge is for nobody with fear of heights! Crossing the bridge is a real adventure! But for now, check the website to see when you can cross it and from which direction. Due to corona measures you cannot cross it at any time as usual.
After Mother’s Day comes Father’s Day, as is well known. A day to celebrate love. However, it is almost impossible to not get overwhelmed by the mind-boggling question of “What should I give?”
As you contemplate over it, the Father’s Day will come knocking right at your door! This will exactly be the scenario in just two days from now. But don’t fret. For me, my absolute favourite gift of all time has been photos! This year, however, they won’t be able to arrive on time.
And so, I have come up with something creative. On Ascension Day we will have brunch together, of course. Nothing should be amiss. To make it perfect, you shouldn’t miss out on having a beautiful trinket in hand or even a simple yet elegant table decor/present.
For that, you can simply make a heart wreath from roses or any other flower.
What will you need?
– Roses (e.g. from Lidl for about 1,99€)
– A cord or wire
– A pair of scissors
Now, the fun shall begin! While, I know many of you adore your cosy afternoons, creating small handicrafts together whether, with your partner, friends, or children is equally fun. The flower heart will only take less than 10 minutes! And you can hardly go wrong. Just follow the steps below:
1. Gather two roses to form the heart. Take the first one and tie a small knot around the end of the rose. Then twist the cord up to the neck of the rose. Be careful and gentle so that the head does not break off! At the top, you pull the cord back to the end so that you have the shape of half a heart.
2. Repeat the first step for the other half.
3. Now you have to connect the two halves with the cord. Here, you can see for yourself where you can tie the halves together. Otherwise, take a look again at my picture.
4. As soon as the heart is ready, put the remaining roses in the cavity of the heart and tie them.
5. If you have a nice ribbon at home, you can decorate your heart with it.
So, within a few minutes, you‘ll have your decoration or Father’s Day gift at ready. You can also hang the heart up, put it in a vase or lay it on the breakfast table.
These days our creative juices are really flowing at home. After three years, we finally decided to decorate our terrace. A bit. But we wanted to keep things as simple, cheap, and useful as possible.
I found my old maypole in the garden, and we came up with the idea to build a decorative ladder out of it. You can, for example, embellish it with hanging vases. Finally, we have a place for all our herbs!
Building a Decorative Ladder by yourself – DIY Tutorial
You don’t have a maypole or birch tree at home right now?! No Problem!
If you want to build a cheap decorative ladder, I recommend you to go into the forest and collect branches.
You will also need a string, a saw, and the hanging vases for decoration. Of course you can also decorate the ladder in other ways, e.g. with a chain of lights or candles.
What you need:
I bought our herbs for 0,99€ each at Lidl.
Cut your branches to the desired length
Put the branches on the ground and form the A-shape. So you can see where you connect the branches afterwards.
Now you can fix the ends with the string.
Try to fix all the branches relatively tight so that the ladder holds well!
Put up the ladder and decorate it!
My tip: Only get herbs when the ladder is in the shade or inside. Unfortunately, our herbs died after one week. However, we have now put beautiful plants on our ladder!