Brazil is one of my favorite countries and I’ve spent a fair amount of time there in the last few years, enough to notice a lot of interesting aspects of Brazilian culture and behavior.
Instead of listing the usual stereotypes, such as Brazilians love soccer, carnival, parties and are always late, I’ve tried to include less-well known and more interesting aspects of Brazilian culture.
Note that Brazil is a very large country and there are big differences between the various states and cities. However, I believe the following is true in most parts of Brazil. Continue reading »
One of the strangest places I’ve been during my travels has to be the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in South-Korea. I had no idea one could even visit this notorious area.
The DMZ is a 2.5 mile wide strip of land that stretches across the Korean peninsula, separating the South and the North. Installed at the end of the Korean War, it is meant to serve as a buffer zone, to prevent hostilities between the two countries that, officially, are still at war. Continue reading »
The island of Bohol features a surprising number of unique highlights, given its small size. It’s home to the world’s smallest mammal, the Tarsier, it features over 1000 cone-shaped hills, the Chocolate Hills and it hosts one of the oldest churches in the Philippines.
During my stay in Alona Beach, I decided to rent a car and a driver for the day to check out what this island in the Philippines has to offer. My friendly driver Larry arrived spot-on at 9am in the morning and off we were! Continue reading »
Together with cheese, wooden shoes and tulips, the windmill is one of the things Holland is most famous for. Tourists flock from all over the world to catch a glimpse of these historic buildings. But the windmill is not just a pleasure to the eye in our typical, flat landscape.
Windmills played a crucial role in the development of our country. Windmills were used in various ways throughout the history of Holland. They were used to create land, build ships and produce flower, oil and even mustard! Continue reading »
I’ve had my fair share of weird drinks during my travels. I’ve tried Kava in Fiji, beer mixed with coke in Germany and Kierewiet (made from Marijuana) in Holland. But coffee made from the poo of an animal?
It sounds disgusting, but believe it or not, this is how the world’s most expensive coffee is produced. It comes from Indonesia, where it’s called “Kopi Luwak,” which translates to Civet Coffee. Continue reading »
On my way from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur I passed by a city called Malacca. I heard that there was some Dutch heritage in this city so I decided to stop for a night or two to check it out.
It turned out to be a good decision. Not only does the city have a really interesting history, its old city center has been listed as UNESCO world heritage site since 2008. Continue reading »
Trakai Castle – A Medieval Stronghold in Lithuania
When in Lithuania, a visit to Trakai Castle is mandatory. The castle is located in the city of Trakai, about 20 km from Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital. It’s situated in the Trakai Historic National Park.
The park consists mainly of forests and lakes, well over 200. The castle itself is located in the middle of the biggest lake, lake Galvė. The castle was of great strategic importance during the days of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and it has seen many wars. Continue reading »
Queen’s Day turns King’s Day
Today, April 30th 2013, is just an ordinary day in most parts of the world. But in The Netherlands, it’s a very special day. Today is the last time Queen’s Day will be celebrated. That is, for the foreseeable future at least.
After reigning the country for 33 years, Queen Beatrix has decided to resign and her son, Willem-Alexander, will be inaugurated today. Starting next year, the national holiday will be held on April 27th, the birthday of the new King. It will be known as “King’s Day.” Continue reading »
Kava Ceremony in Fiji
During a Kava ceremony the traditional Kava drink, which originated in Fiji, is consumed. It is made from the ground Kava root and water and served lukewarm in traditional wooden bowls.
In Fiji, Kava drinking is a daily ritual and an important social event during which stories and jokes are told and conflicts are resolved. The drink has an interesting side effect… Continue reading »
One of the things I love about Latin American culture is the hospitality of its people. There is nothing better than arriving in a foreign land, staying with people you’ve never met before, yet feeling completely at home.
So what is it about Latin people that makes foreigners feel so comfortable? I believe it’s a unified desire to encourage a laid back experience for guests. All cultures place a high value on hospitality, but Latins do it with an ultra relaxed approach, lulling you into a calm state. Continue reading »