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November 2008: Gran Canaria

2008_1119AD.JPG (559904 bytes)When in Holland the days become dark and cold it's time to escape to the warm and sunny climate of the Canary islands. We have been there so many times that we know the streets by name. In the past we went for the sun and for the party's in the Yumbo.  But now we still do enjoy the soft climate very much. But our main goal is scuba diving, good restaurants and a relaxed atmosphere. Yes of course we still go out to the Yumbo only not as excessive as in the past

2008_1118AG.JPG (564862 bytes)This year we dive for the first time with diving center: 'Let's Go Diving'. Michel the owner of this diving center is Dutch and that makes communication a lot easier. His instructor Kevin is English.  The diving center is based on a boat and that has some big advantages:

Enjoy traveling to the divesite(s) on a sundeck instead of long car journeys.

No walking over crowded beaches or rocky shore with full equipment butjust one step into the water.

No struggle to swim to or climb back into an inflatable boat but a comfortableswimplatform and ladder

No sanitary stops behind a bush or rock but a real bathroom on board.

And you can bring non diving partners. they are welcome as well for a nice day out on board!

We love our dives with Michel and Kevin and met some really nice people too. The Canary Islands has a lot to offer for divers especially the marine reservaat of Arinaga is a must see.

 

As I told before we like the canary restaurants a lot. We pick them somtimes for the food. Sometimes for the atmosphere and sometimes for the spot

2008_1123BF.JPG (645836 bytes)this is our top 3

Number 1: Restaurant "Las Cumbres" - Traditional Spanish kitchen. The steak are the best. Order them plane because it's a waste of the taste too add extra sauce to it.  Address: Avenida de Tirajana 11

  1. Number 2: Restaurant  "Bei Lelo" - German and international kitchen, local (gay) hot spot, food is good and the service also (depends a bit how busy it is). The waitress Andrea is sometimes a bit lost but with her personality you forgive her easily. Address Yumbo shopping-center, 2e planta
  2.  
  3. Number 3: Restaurant: "Merlin" - Good business and a nice reastaurant; the food is nice and the service outstanding. Address. Avenida de Tirajana 18

For the Beach we give a grade A.  Nice sunny weather and only one day with wind. And we enjoy our walks along the beaches a lot.Every day we walked from Playa del Inglès by the beach to Maspalomas and then back to Playa del Inglès.

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A free night extra because of an delay on our flight back

Because of the snow conditions in Holland our plane was delayed in the Netherlands. And because of flight regulations the crew was not allowed to fly back the same night. The hotel on the Las Palmas airport did not have enough rooms available so they decided to put us in the 5 star Sheraton Salobre Golf Resort & Spa hotel.

It must have been a strange experience for most of the regular guests to see the next morning our group in the dining room. The night in this hotel was more expensive than that most guests had paid for the whole week. And most of our group had no idea how to behave or how to dress..... We were happy that I could speak Spanish to the waiters and we tried to speak as little Dutch as possible. We did not want to be a part of the Dutch group Neandertalers.

Tour de France  june 2008,We travelled with our Camptrailer through France. We visit
St.Cheron near Paris.
La Douze in the Dordogne
Vieux in the Tarn (Midi Pyrénées) a very nice camping owend by Maarten and Koosje
St. Privat de Champclos in the Gard (just below the Ardeche) and found a camping at the river Cèze
Verrières small village, in region the Aube (Champagne-Ardennes)

Zeeland diving weekend with ABC

   

Three days of diving, gathering with friends, good meals, a lot of fun, that is what our diving weekends are about.

October 2007: Safaga, Egypt. Diving the Red Sea.

In Holland the summer ends and the leaves are falling. But we still have a week full of sun to go. With our diving club Aqua Business Center we are travelling  to Safaga in Egypt for a week diving. 

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Safaga is a small Egyptian village in the desert near Hurghada. Safaga is located directly to the beach of the Red Sea, near to the best Reefs. There are hardly any shops or restaurants in Safaga, so you are totally depending on the hotels and diving clubs. We stayed at hotel Nemo, a small en friendly hotel. We dived with Orca diving, a German owned dive school. We are lucky to get our own boat with crew. This is nice to have no Russians on board. The Russians have a very bad reputation with diving. The Red Sea is one of the best diving locations on the World. To enjoy the unther water world, its important not to dive beyond your limits.

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On the boat it's diving, diving and diving.... So to escape, we and Chris made a citytour to Hurgada on Friday. Ahmed, our Egyptian guide, was a funny man. He showed us Hurgada and also pointed out to the Gay life in Egypt.... It was a pity that Amed's organization of  the tour on Monday was poor.

For some more pictures, see the Dutchs version of our travelreport click here

June 2007: France, Germany and Luxembourg

Saturday June 16th , we leave in the direction of the south. Pierre en Andre, two friends from South Africa, are on holiday in France. We made an appointment to meet each other Sunday afternoon in Paris. We will be staying at camping Heliomonde which we also frequented last year. The weather is fine and Sunday even perfect (till 16:00). It's good to meet Pierre and Andre again. We met them during our first trip to South Africa and since then our paths crossed regularly (in the Netherlands or South Africa)

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On Monday we travel on to the Alsace (France). Via our camping guide we come across camping Municipal de Wasselonne. Though the Else is a part of France, the German influence is quite obvious here in this region. In every window hanging Geraniums...... The Alsece is a beautiful area to make short trips in the region (Vosges du Nord). The Alsace Kitchen is world famous and not without a reason..... It's time to travel on otherwise we gain to much weight!

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Our next destination is Bad Herrenalb, Germany. We frequented this village 18 years ago during one of our first holidays. Bad Herrenalb is situated in the North part off the "Schwartzwald" (Black Forest). We camp on the only camping in this village camping Jungbrunnen.   Our place next to a nice brook. Later we hiked, with our dog, the mountains to find many springs.

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The second day in Bad Herrenalb the weather changes. During the night mighty thunderstorm. And during the day lower temperature and more rain. We could travel on to the south, in search of better weather. But we decide to travel in the direction of home. So our next stop is Heiderscheid, Luxembourg. Camping De Reemert - Fuussekaul. This is the perfect base for small trips to the Luxembourg Ardennes. Lots of overwhelming nature and aged Castle's. In Luxembourg we experience our next thunderstorm. From 23:30 till 6:15. All night! In all extremes directly above the camping. The force is immense and the next day we discover that there is a lot of damage on the camping. Lucky for us we have no damage. And also in Luxembourg after rain comes sun.......  in the afternoon the tent is dry and we decide to go home. We keep it secret that we are home so we have a few extra days holiday at home!

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February 2007: Gran Canaria

The winter is running to it's end and we are waiting for the spring. It's time for a preview of the summer. It's time for Gran Canaria! Carla, a good friend of us, is having her birthday party in Playa del Ingles. So 'it's a good opportunity to plan our trip in the same period. The only 'but' is, that it is in the high season so it's difficult to get a good appartment. We end up in appartmenthotel Los Tilos direct opposite of the  Yumbo shopping centre. For us it's only a place to sleep. We spent the whole day out. On the beach and with hours of walking.We also did two days scuba diving in "el Carbón Marine Reserve". A perfect spot to dive and lots to see.

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After a day of activity it's nice to relax with a good meal  and a drink on the terrace of Gran Cafe Latino. In Playa del Ingles, there are a lot of restaurants, the art is to pick out the good ones. But with our years of experience, we know exactly where to go. Our favorite restaurant is "las Cumbres". This is also the place where Carla celebrates her birthday.

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Carla cheers!

Juli 2006: " Tour de France "

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This year we traveled through France again.

We frequented:

Haute Marne
Ardeche
Dordogne
Vendée
Essonne

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It was quite a diverse trip and we saw a lot of France. From ancient villages, breathtaking nature and a lot of nice people!

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In front you see a trailer from the 19th century, which was used in 1958 in the movie VIVA MARIA. With Brigitte Bardot and Jeanne Monrau In the background our Camptrailer.nl

2006 New York, New York

New York according to Hans:

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New York is: "more fun than in 1990. People from New York have become much friendlier. I love the rubble and bubble of the city. It's great to move from one side to the other and meet different kind of people along the way.

Highpoints"Walking through sunny Central Park on a sundaymorning. Looking down from the 86th floor of Empire State Building and seeing the lovely musical Hairspray"

Lowpoint: "For only 25 dollar I could have made my debut as CNN -presenter. But I was too shy when they asked me in the Time Warner Building to sit behind a desk and read the news from the autocue…If you visit them, don't hesitate!"

New York according to Rob:

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New York is: "More 'safe and real' since our visit in 1990. New Yorkers can even be friendly sometimes. With the exception of the Neanderthal chauffeur that drove us to JFK airport on the way home. He was shouting his way trough traffic and talked shit about his passengers while we were listening in the back. I had a letter to the organisation in mind but then he stole my heart because he drove us real fast to the airport in a D-tour around the traffic jam on the Highway. (if necessary not even a schoolyard was safe) Great work, but we saved his tip to spend in Taxfree shops on JFK"

Highponts: "Nice food in good restaurants that kept us away from the tourists. Thanks to New York internet guides. Furthermore: walk walk walk our way through Midtown, downtown, Soho, Westside, Village, Chinatown and Brooklyn just to see how different one city can be"

New York is a Cultural Mecca especially for Hans. We went to the musical Hairspray, I loved it! But if Hans had tickets for the Opera, Theatre, Concerts and Musea, we would have had to visit them all, leaving us no time for shopping.To be honest: I'm glad that  most events were soled out. Time to SHOP TILL YOU DROP on 5th Avenue. That's more my thing!

For shoppers: " In New York you'll find the best shops (shoes for 840 dollars as easy as you'll find a toy Ferrari for 25.000 dollar at F.A.O Schwartz's) And the most crappiest shops: cheap electronica  and ugly hats that once (ages ago) looked modern. Too find something that is really worth your money in this Big Apple, is more difficult. Unfortunately for Hans, I keep searching all the time until I found the special shops!"

Lowpoint: "I did not have a hamburger in Uncle Sam's country. My last chance was on the airport, but Hans wanted so badly to have Chinese Food, that I chose to have salad. At least some healthy stuff, before  the usual instant meals that you get while you fly above the ocean.

Some last pictures:

 

With the subway to "Breukelen" . Did you know that Brooklyn was founded by the Dutch? They came up with the name Breukelen. A small village in the Netherlands. We walked the Brooklyn Bridge en went back to Manhattan via the Manhattan Bridge.

Ground Zero

While Souvenir-shops do good business with september eleventh-memorial stuff, we were really impressed when we saw what had been going on at Ground Zero. In 1990 we went to the top floor on WTC. Now there's just this hole in the ground.

On the left you see Hans standing next to Fritz Koenig's piece of art that had it's place between the two towers. Now it's damaged and has become a symbol for world peace.

Tour de France 2005

This summer we traveled to France with the Camptrailer. Along the Atlantic coast to the south and through Bourgogne back, it took us two weeks. Besides camping sites we also stayed with fiends who lives in France. Not in the spare room but with the Camptrailer in their gardens! See also our  "Camptrailer 2005"   page.....

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Gran Canaria 2005

After a year of diving in the Netherlands, we would like to dive in the blue sea again. There are so many places to dive, but why not on the location where we started diving: Gran Canaria..... There are many diving locations; an unspoiled under water nature. We made six dives in the Atlantic Ocean. Besides diving, Gran Canaria has so much more to offer (sun and nightlife). The sun is never too hot thanks to the mistral winds.  The nightlife in Playa del Ingles starts afer 1 AM.  And because we had to get-up early in the morning, we have not seen many bars from the inside. We enjoyed spending the evenings in one of the many fine restaurants in Playa del Ingles. This is our culinary top three for this year:

  1. Restaurant "Las Cumbres" - Traditional Spanish   kitchen, an absolute 'must'.  Avenida de Tirajana 11
  2. Restaurant  "Ola" - Good quality of the food and the attendance.  Yumbo shopping-center, 2e planta
  3. Restaurant: "Merlin" - popular restaurant; good food and hard working waiters. Avenida de Tirajana 18

Gran Canaria 2004

We have visited Gran Canaria many times, we think, at least 12 times. Our main target is Playa del Ingles. The first two times we stayed in hotels but now we usually stay in a gay-bungalow complex somewhere on Campo International or Campo del Golf. We like the Canary Islands because it is perfect for a short winter break. Always sunny weather and plenty of nice restaurants and bars. Sometimes we even do an excursion, like a catamaran tour or, like this year, a scuba dive excursion.

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Australia  2002

In November 2002 we visited Sydney.  After the Gay Games in Amsterdam (1998) we also would like to experience the Games in Sydney. Hans had visited Sydney during the opening of the Olympic Games and was inpatient to show me this city.  Sydney is a fantastic city, where you can find both the dynamics of the big city as well the atmosphere of a tropical beach destination. We stayed with friends who we met before in Holland.  Wesley en Jason were perfect hosts.

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South Africa 2000 - 2003

This country stole our hearts. We went to South Africa four times in 2000 - 2003. In Afrikaans, it is a "baie skoon land".  We made some very good friends in South Africa. The distance we conquered by internet, telephone and occasional visits. We are looking forward to see Neil and Thomas in May. And we are expecting Ricky somewere in the summer of 2004.

Some places we visited: Johannesburg, Pretoria, Soweto, Krugerpark, Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Howick, Kaapstad, Hermanus, Greyton, Cape Agulhas, Port Elizabeth, Knysna, Clarens, Underberg, de Rust, Oudshoorn and many others. We also visit with a 4WD the kingdom Lesotho. We drove from Calendonspoort to Sani Pass.

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America 1999

During the Gay Games in Amsterdam we hosted a volleyball team from Seattle. They invited us for a visit to their city. We had visited the USA several times before (New York, Florida and Cincinnati). Our last trip was the West Coast. We stayed for a week in Seattle (and visited also Vancouver Canada, Rob's has still some relatives living there) After our stay in Seattle we took the car to travel on the coastal highway to San Francisco. Whoever thinks that the USA is a modern western society makes a minor mistake. Yes, in the big city maybe....... But as soon as you are 80 miles away from the big city you encounter some very small minded communities. Some of those places could be the decor of a western movie. Even the local bar still has saloon doors.

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Russia 1993

Russia was our first 'big' trip. With the KLM we flew to Moscow and 4 days later we took the Rossia (Transsiberian-express) to Chabarovsk. This is the last stop before Vladivostok. At Irkutsk we had a break of two days, so we had time to visit lake Baikal. From Chabarovsk we flew with Aeroflot to St Petersburg. Here we spent the last day's of our holiday. And with the KLM we flew back to Amsterdam.

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