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There are two things you need to know about me:

1. I’m a proud Swabian and Baden-Württemberg is the most beautiful state in Germany.

2. I always wanted to be a princess

If that makes you curious or if you want to experience Germany from a different side, then this road trip is for you. In a week you get to see some of the coolest places, most beautiful castles and intriguing monasteries in the most beautiful part of Germany. (I’m biased, but it’s true).

Day 1: Maulbronn Monastery // Hornberg Castle

Maulbronn monastery is a UNESCO cultural heritage site since 1993 and counts as the best-preserved medieval monastery north of the alps. It really is impressive and today you also find the town hall of Maulbronn there, a boarding school and several restaurants. When visiting Maulbronn you have to order “Maultauschen”, a very popular German pasta dish, which was invented at this monastery. In the local dialect Maultaschen are also called “Herrgottsbscheißerle”, which more or less translates to “Godcheaters”. Why do you ask? Well, it happened that the monks once got a huge amount of meat as a gift but it was during the Lenten period so “officially” there weren’t allowed to eat meat… but they also didn’t want to throw it away, so what they’ve done is they made minced meat out of it and hid it inside of pasta dumplings. Very clever! (And very yummy!)

For the first night, I recommend staying at Hornberg Castle*, to feel like you’re actually time traveling to the Middle Ages.

Definitely, check out the old Castle before going to bed, it’s still a hidden gem and when we were there we had the whole castle for ourselves and that’s something really special you won’t experience that often.

Day 2: Heidelberg Castle // Europäischer Hof Heidelberg

You might have heard of Heidelberg Castle before. It’s probably the best-known castle ruin in Germany, if not in whole Europe. It got destroyed through several attacks during the 17th century, they tried to rebuild it afterward but gave up at one point and left it as it is today. And it does have a very special vibe to it because of this. They even celebrate the destruction with a firework each year, which already fascinated Mark Twain during his visit to Heidelberg.

I recommend to also check out the city itself and stay here for a night at the Europäische Hof Heidelberg*, a grand hotel that will make you feel like traveling in time and definitely helps to create the illusion of being royal.

Day 3: Weikersheim Castle // Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe

Baden-Württemberg surprised me once again with Weikersheim castle. I’ve seen many castles in my life and I’m always thrilled to visit a new one, especially when it’s as stunning as the castle in Weikersheim. Every single room I’ve seen was full of beautiful decor and furniture, some of the paintings are breathtaking. Plus: the park reminds me a lot of Versailles. Definitely a real hidden gem!

For the night we stayed at the Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe*, which is especially interesting if you’re in for some wellness or if you love golf.

Day 4: Wiblingen Monastery // Schiefes Haus Ulm

From the castles, we switched to more monasteries. And although monasteries might not sound as exciting as castles for some, this one is definitely worth a visit. The library is like right out of a Harry Potter Movie! Including a secret passageway. And I got some more goosebumps about these amazing old books in this library. If you love books, Harry Potter and or are just fascinated by old stuff, then this is for you!

From the monastery in Wiblingen it’s just a short drive to Ulm and there we stayed in a really extraordinary hotel. The schiefe Haus von Ulm (the crooked house in Ulm). It is indeed crooked and it’s fun to stay there, not only because of the crooked floors and walls but also because every time you look out of your window there are tourists standing and taking pictures. It’s definitely a once in a lifetime experience to stay there.

Day 5: Schussenried Monastery // Federsee // Landgasthof zur Linde

A new day.. a new monastery…

The monastery in Schussenried also has a really beautiful library (and you can also get married there!) and the museum that gives you more insight on the fascinating history of the monastery is definitely worth a visit.

When you’re in that part of Baden-Württemberg then you should definitely plan some hours at the Federsee, a lake surrounded by moorland. There are many myths about the Federsee, one for example about a village in the lake, that sunk hundreds of years ago as a result of the impious behavior of its population.

For the night we stayed at a typical Swabian inn, the Landgasthof zur Linde.

Day 6: Alpirsbach Monastery

At the monastery in Alpirsbach, you’ll find many interesting things, among others you can find “medieval graffiti” from the 16th century. Students decorated the walls in their dormitory back then and you can still see it today. Again an amazing place to experience some time travel moments. I would recommend a whole day at the monastery and in Alpirsbach itself to have enough time to explore everything.

Feel like you want to do such an extraordinary road trip in Baden-Württemberg? Then lean back and enjoy this video I made about the trip… and start planning!

Have you been to Baden-Württemberg before? Which castles and monasteries are your favorites? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you in cooperation with Baden-Württemberg. All links signed with an * are affiliate links. If you use these links to book a hotel I’ll get a small provision and it doesn’t cost you more.

The post A fairy tale road trip in Baden-Württemberg, Germany appeared first on JUST TRAVELOUS.

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I’ve traveled a lot during the last years and I think I’ve been to around 50 countries, I’m actually not counting, but I’ve stayed at many many hotels, guesthouses, and bungalows and slept some nights in tents and some other times under the stars. And these are the ten places, that have a very special place in my heart.

My top 10 places to sleep around the world 1. Creag Mhor Lodge, Scotland

Creag Mhor Lodge* close to Glencoe in Scotland is a place very very close to my heart, not only because the view is breathtaking or because the owners are super sweet people or because I’ve slept like a baby there, but mainly because that’s the place I fell in love with Scotland. If you want to explore Scotland I highly recommend doing a road trip in Scotland by yourself just like I did.

2. Almonds and Corals Lodge, Costa Rica

I still remember the sound of the jungle, how the rain dropped on the roof of my bungalow, how the howler monkeys had some dispute above my head and how the wind rushed through the trees. I’ve sat on the stairs of my bungalow that night and recorded all the sounds, so I can listen to it anytime I can’t fall asleep. The sound of the jungle is still one of my favorite bedtime stories. Almonds and Corals Lodge* is perfect for experiencing jungle AND beach, just a two minutes walk from your bungalow you’ll find this gorgeous beach where sloths are hanging from the trees.

3. Delano South Beach, Miami Beach

The Delano South Beach* is a hotel I could easily spend a week. The pool has so much glamour, the art-deco style of the hotel itself AND the chance to see one or two celebrities there… enough stuff that would engage me for a week. And then THE ROOMS. Originally designed by Philippe Starck all white in white – a dream. Definitely one of the sexiest hotels I’ve ever stayed at.

4. B Ocean, Fort Lauderdale

If you like to watch the sunrise from bed, then you HAVE to stay at least one night at the B Ocean in Fort Lauderdale*. The view is already pretty breathtaking during the day but if you jetlag wakes you up way too early you’ll be rewarded with that view. I don’t think I have to say more…

5. Nabucco, Borneo (Kalimantan)

My trip to Kalimantan (Borneo) is still one of my favorite trips ever, not only because I slept like a baby on a dirty mattress somewhere in the middle of the jungle, but also because I learned how to dive on the two islands Nunukan and Nabucco. Both islands are paradise, Nunukan offers some fancy accommodation and Nabucco has these beautiful wooden bungalows. It takes like forever to get there but it’s absolutely worth it.

6. Tent/Yurt, Mongolia

I love being in nature somewhere in the middle of nowhere and Mongolia is perfect for this. Most of the times we’ve stayed in tents and every now and then in yurts. And I do remember especially two nights. One in a tent in front of the flaming cliffs and the other one in a yurt with three kittens cuddling with me while the fire cracked in the oven and I slowly fell asleep. Moments I will never forget.

7. InterContinental Le Grand Hotel, Paris

What I do like about myself is that I feel comfortable in a tent in Mongolia just as much as I like to stay in fancy hotels, like the InterContinental Le Grand* in Paris. It’s next to the opera and it’s a house full of history. When it opened in 1862 it was known as the best hotel in the world, also because most of the rooms had already ensuite bathrooms and the elevators were running up AND down. Imagine how that must have been back then…

8. Ottmanngut Suite & Breakfast, Merano

The Ottmangut* is more than just a hotel for me, it’s kind of home too. Mainly because the owner Martin and the whole team will make you feel like staying with friends. All rooms are individually decorated and for breakfast, you can expect a three-course menu. Amazing!

9. Wild Orchid Villa, Bangkok

The first time I’ve been to Bangkok was in 2010 with the lovely Susi from blacksdotswhitespots.com, back when we both weren’t travel bloggers yet and had no idea what kind of adventures were awaiting us when we checked in to the Wild Orchid*for our first night in Bangkok. Because of this, this place has a very special meaning for me, it might not be the best guesthouse in Bangkok, but every time I’m in town I HAVE to stay there at least for one night. It feels like coming home every time.

10. Namib Dune Star Camp, Namibia

I’ve slept more than once under starry heavens, but never like I did in the desert Namib. At the Namib Dune Star Camp you can roll your bed out of the room onto your terrace and through this, you’ll get a very special experience under the open sky. Definitely the most extraordinary sleeping experience during my road trip in Namibia.

If you fell in love with one of these places or if you’re about to book another place for one of your upcoming trips, then I have a nice surprise for you. If you book through THIS LINK, then you’ll get 25€ after your trip added to your credit card (cash back) you use for your booking.com account. Plot twist: I also get 25€ and through this you not only do something nice for yourself but also for me and this blog, so I can provide you with more stories on this blog. Thanks to booking.com for this great idea, everyone can benefit from. It’s valid for the first 500 people who book through this link. 

Disclosure: All links with a * are affiliate links, which means you don’t pay more if you book through this but I get a small provision. This post is brought to you in cooperation with booking.com

The post My Top 10 Places to sleep around the world appeared first on JUST TRAVELOUS.

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I’m drinking virgin colada on a private island and the next moment I find myself in the middle of a camel souq, surrounded by men wearing the traditional dishdasha.
I’m ordering a golden cappuccino. And the next moment, I’m wondering, why are you you?
I have sand on my feet and I realize that I don’t like selfie sticks.

My memories of my trip to Abu Dhabi seem like scenes from a dream. Random. As if they don’t fit together. As if it doesn’t make sense to have all these scenes in one dream. How are they connected?

Traveling for me is about being in the moment. Diving deep into the joy of existence. Wondering like a child with big open eyes about the magical beauty of this world. The diversity. The similarities.

Traveling for me is about creating memories. Being so fully in the moment and being aware of all the little details. Soaking all in. Immersing into the moment.
The more you’re fully in the moment, the more you will remember.
You will remember, how you felt, what you thought, what you said. How the air smelled and how the melody of the sound found you. How life tasted in that moment.

I can’t guarantee that you will feel the same, think the same, say the same words. I don’t know if the air will smell like it did for me. Or which sounds you will hear. I don’t know how life tastes for you.

But I can try to tell you, how life tasted for me during these days in Abu Dhabi and how you can create similar memories when visiting Abu Dhabi. Here are my personal highlights from my trip to Abu Dhabi, my top six things to do in Abu Dhabi.

Things to do in Abu Dhabi (to create similar memories like mine) 1. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi

I’ve wanted to visit this mosque since I saw a picture of it many years ago. It looked like a dream from “One Thousand and One Nights”. Seeing it with my own eyes was even better than I had expected. And I learned, that the idea behind the design is to unite the cultural diversity of the Islamic world with the historical and modern values of architecture and art. The architect is Syrian, artisans and materials were used from many countries like India, Germany, New Zealand, Italy, Egypt and United Arab Emirates, just to name a few. I think that’s beautiful. It’s a breathtaking site that makes you whisper.

It’s a must see when visiting Abu Dhabi, you really should not miss this. I visited it on my first morning as my first stop and it was a perfect pathway into experiencing Abu Dhabi from my own perspective, while understanding its culture and traditions. I always wanted to go back for sunset as I’ve heard it’s most beautiful around that time, I somehow didn’t come back, but I highly recommend it to you. Please note, that appropriate clothing is mandatory.

2. Heritage Village

It’s not that the Heritage Village is a must see during your trip to Abu Dhabi, but it certainly can help you to understand the culture of the United Arab Emirates. For me understanding and learning more about the culture of the countries I’m visiting, is part of the fun. But I understand that some might think museums are boring. I get that. If you don’t want to explore the Heritage Village in Abu Dhabi then at least have a look at this picture.

It shows how Abu Dhabi looked like in the 1960ies. And seeing this picture definitely gave me a new perspective on Abu Dhabi. It’s stunning to see how much has changed since then. Are you curious now and want to know more about the history of Abu Dhabi? Well, then put the Heritage Village on your to do list for Abu Dhabi…

3. Emirates Palace and how it is to order a Golden Cappuccino

Emirates Palace is definitely more than just a hotel, it’s an experience. If you can’t afford to stay there (rooms start from around 600€ a night, including your own butler) I highly recommend to at least have lunch, tea time or dinner there. I went the path of least resistance and booked a city tour that already included lunch at Emirates Palace (the price for the tour incl. lunch was around 150€).

Lunch was from the buffet and drinks were not included. My highlight was the Sushi, which definitely was one of the best Sushi I ever had and I’m still dreaming of the dessert buffet. I could have eaten my own weight in dessert if that would be something I could do. And for sure I had to order the famous golden cappuccino. It costs around 14€ and comes with 24k gold flakes. I can’t say that it was the best cappuccino I ever had, but it definitely was an experience. And honestly, if you get the chance to order a golden cappuccino then, well, do it.

And at Emirates Palace I was wondering once again, why I am me. All around Abu Dhabi you see these words “Why are you you?”, advertising the newly opened Louvre Abu Dhabi. It sadly wasn’t open yet, when I visited but from this display alone I definitely feel intrigued to visit Louvre Abu Dhabi one day.

4. Zaya Nurai Island

Spending time at the beach is normally something I only do when I have nothing else to do. When I’ve done all the things I wanted to see and experience and I still have time to waste. Working on my tan and doing nothing often makes me anxious, I don’t mean it in a fear of missing out way, but more in a “I don’t want to spend a whole day just laying around”-way. So I wasn’t sure if I really should spend the money and a whole day for Zaya Nurai Island. I’m glad I did, it really feels like a different world. It’s a paradise.

Zaya Nurai Island is a private island a ten minute speedboat ride away from Abu Dhabi. A day pass cost around 100€ and I read somewhere that there are only around 30 day passes available per day, so booking in advance definitely makes sense. You can do that like I did it through myconcierge. Included in the day pass are food and beverages in the same amount of money as you paid for the day pass. Only what you consume on top of this, you have to pay extra. Pretty good deal in my opinion.

I spend the whole day at the beach of the Smokin’ Pineapple lounge, one of the many restaurants and areas on the island. I met Fifi there, who took care of me during the whole day, making sure I had always what I needed in that very moment. Later, after sunset, we started talking and she told me her story, how she survived a severe illness, literally escaping death narrowly. And how that changed her life, how she connected with her self-love in a whole new way and how she wants to empower other people with her story. My day on Zaya Nurai Island couldn’t have ended any better. Thank you!

5. Desert Safari

First let me tell you: I did enjoy the desert safari, although it definitely was the most touristic and least authentic thing I’ve done in Abu Dhabi. I enjoy being in the desert, no matter what. Spending time in the desert definitely should be on your bucket list anyways. AND dune bashing IS a lot of fun. It’s a different kind of rollercoaster and if you haven’t done something like this yet, I definitely highly recommend it.

After the dune bashing you arrive at a camp, where you can try sandboarding, get a henna tattoo or hop on a camel for a two minutes camel ride (and that’s when I realized that I actually don’t like selfiesticks, as they look weird when you’re taking a picture of other people). After that you get traditional food and a belly dancing show. I would say: do it, and then decide if you like it or not. I did enjoy it. Just saying: if you haven’t experienced a sunset in the desert yet, then you have no idea what you’re missing out on.

6. Al Ain Camel Souq

There are many reasons for visiting Al Ain, my main reason was the camel souq. I wanted to experience something authentic, something that’s the same way happening if tourists are around or not. And I got what I was asking for.

While I was walking on my own through the souq many of the men there approached me, being curious about me in the same way I was curious about them. Being from another world, another culture, another reality. All of them were polite, friendly and respectful. I’m always amazed how easy it is to have a conversation, even when you don’t speak the same language. And when I left I understood that I did not went there for the camels, I went there because I wanted to connect in a new way with the culture and tradition and the people.

These six things were my favorite things to do in Abu Dhabi, I’ve done more and I’ve seen more and I know that there are many other things to do and see in Abu Dhabi, I would love to do on my next trip. I thought four days are enough, while getting to know Abu Dhabi better I realized that four days are enough to create some lasting memories but there’s so much more to see in Abu Dhabi. Next time I’ll stay longer.

Have you been to Abu Dhabi? What are you favorite things to do and see in Abu Dhabi? Do you have any insider tips for Abu Dhabi you want to share? I’m looking forward to your comments.
This post is part of a campaign with Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates. Etihad is rated as one of the 5 star airlines by Skytrax and is operating more than 1000 flights a week to destinations in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and America. Transporting 18,5 million passengers in 2016.
If you ask me, if I personally would recommend flying with Etihad Airways I would love to share this with you: Everyone I met who worked for Etihad, was friendly, helpful, and real and provided a heartfelt service. And if you ask me, the real quality of service is shown when something isn’t working out the way the costumer wants. I had minor issues with check-in, because of the way my ticket was booked. And even then, around midnight at the airport in Abu Dhabi, when I was tired and hangry, they held space for me and gave me the feeling of being truly cared for. And that’s a quality I do really admire. And I know some of you might say this should be mandatory, but I often enough made different experiences and I do appreciate heartfelt service. Besides this, they have these super cool dimmable windows in their newer planes and the overall service I experienced was worth a 5 star airline.
Where to stay – I stayed at the Gloria Downtown Hotel, I mainly chose this hotel because of its location. But I definitely can recommend it. Airbnb is also a great way to save money and experience Abu Dhabi. If you use this link to sign up you’ll get a 30€ voucher.

Where to book tours – I booked all my tours through Get Your Guide.

The city tour with lunch at Emirates Palace

The Desert Safari

The day trip to Al Ain

* Links in this infobox are affiliate links, if you book through these links it doesn’t cost you more, but I will get a small comission.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you in partnership with Etihad Airways.


The post Of memories, authenticity and things to do in Abu Dhabi appeared first on JUST TRAVELOUS.

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Thinking about a trip to Germany and want to experience a real hidden gem? There’s a region that you might not have heard about yet, but you might have heard the story of Martin Luther. Reformation? Yes, that started in exactly the region we’re talking about. The World Heritage Region Anhalt-Dessau-Wittenberg. Here are 9,5 reasons why you should put this on your travel bucket list.

1. Bauhaus Dessau and Masters’ Houses

I think everyone who has got in touch with design, has heard of Bauhaus. Nowadays the mixture of the simple and the useful is still state of the art. If you are interested in design and architecture you definitely have to visit the Bauhaus in Dessau, the “mecca” of design. During a tour through the former workshop and Masters’ Houses, I realized what dedication these artists (Paul Klee or Kandinsky) had! The Masters’ Houses (Meisterhäuser) are also definitely worth a visit! In these partly restored, partly new build homes you can really emphasize with the artists.

2. Woerlitz castle/ Woerlitz park

Just about a 25 minutes drive from the Bauhaus is the Woerlitz castle, which has more to do with Bauhaus than you would expect! Walter Gropius, the architect of the Bauhaus, used the castle as inspiration for his project, for example, the visual axis through the building, or the special way in which the doors in the castle were built into the walls. Overall you can say, that Leopold Friedrich Franz, the builder of the castle, similar to Bauhaus, had an exceptional visionary thinking, and constructed things like beds you could fold out from the wall or central heat. He had similar ideas for his park, which was not only about the beauty of nature but also to educate his folk. Especially during nice weather, you should plan in an entire day to see all details!

3. City made out of Steal – Ferropolis

If there would not have been some innovative thinking Bauhaus students in 1991 there wouldn’t be much to see in Ferropolis nowadays. But because they had this vision to preserve some of the machines used in the mining days, you can step into a time travel place, that kind of has an apocalyptic feeling to it. Pretty stunning. The machines are huge! Ferropolis is also used for events and festivals like Melt! or Splash!. Definitely would love to experience a concert in this scenery. Oh and by the way: that dope street art in the header is a painting by Hendrik Beikirch. It shows people who worked as minders in Ferropolis back in the mining days.

4. St. Jakob Church in Koethen and Koethen castle

Koethen is one of these cities, that is rarely known by name but the history of the city has been more than fascinating! It was in Koethen where Samuel Hahnemann invented modern homeopathy, while he was researching and practicing it under the protection of the Duke of Anhalt-Koethen in the beginning of the 19. century. And Johann Sebastian Bach spent some of his most productive years in Koethen. From the St. Jakob church you’ll get a view over the city and if you’re part of a guided tour you’ll also learn a lot about its history. A must do is definitely a visit to the crypt where you’ll see some breathtakingly ornamented sarcophagus. When in Koethen then you have to visit the castle too. That’s where the princely family of Anhalt-Koethen lived and where Bach composed some of his most renown pieces. Koethen castle was the place where he performed his “cello suites” for the very first time. Nowadays you can also find one of the biggest bird collections in the world in this castle.

5. Bernburg castle

Castle Bernburg is beautifully placed on a hillside right next to the river “Saale”. Probably some of you have heard of Till Eulenspiegel. Some of his stories played around this castle! This was quite a throwback to my childhood to me… this place has so much history! If it is the story how the bears came to the castle (yes, actual bears) you are interested in or the story of the castle itself, it is worth to explore all of it. If it is good weather I also recommend to take the ferry to the other riverside of the “Saale”- you will have a stunning view of the castle and it is a beautiful place to take photos of it.

6. Goitzsche

Bitterfeld, where the lake Goitzsche is located, was probably one of the ugliest places all over Germany a couple of years back. But then they flooded the former coal mine, made it a landscape art project and through this changed the whole idea of this place. Some people told me how they remember the days when they weren’t proud of living there and now… they have tourists coming from all directions to spend some relaxed days here and enjoy nature and culture. I can really see myself even living there one day.

7. Castle Church Wittenberg

In 2017 we’re celebrating 500 years of the Reformation and Martin Luther is more famous than ever. And it all started in Wittenberg, that’s where he posted his 95 theses on the church door.

Fun fact: He probably did not use a hammer and a nail, because the oak door would have been too hard. It’s more likely that he used sealing wax instead to put the theses on the door.

8. 360-degree Panorama Luther Wittenberg

This installation shows you how people lived during Luther’s time. In this round panorama, including realistic sound, you can really experience how life must have been back then. It did indeed feel like time traveling: How cool that would have been, to sit down with Luther and discuss his theses with him!

9. Sachsenspiegel

Have you ever heard of the Sachsenspiegel? I, to be honest, hadn’t. And yet this is probably one of Europe’s most important documents. Around the 13th century, Eike von Repkow wrote down the law for the first time. From traffic law to neighbors law. Afterwards, this was in place nearly all over Europe and parts of it are still used. Amazing, right? This happened in Reppichau, a small village that’s worth a visit. Nearly all walls of the buildings are painted with themes from the Sachsenspiegel and the whole village is used as an outdoor museum.

9,5 Half a reason for the end – the Hotel „Zum Stein“

It is actually worth more than half a tip, probably more like two! The Hotel “Zum Stein” in Wörlitz is perfectly located for exploring this region (Castle Woerlitz is just a few steps away) and after a long day exploring and culturing and naturing you can enjoy chilling in one of the two pools or treat yourself to some wellness.

The region Anhalt-Dessau-Wittenberg does not call themselves world
heritage region without a reason: in this region, you can find 13 UNESCO world heritage sites and many other cultural attractions. If you buy a “Welterbecard” you’ll get free entry to all world heritage sites and use it for more than 70 different cultural and touristic sites. It costs 20€ for one day and 40€ for a three-day pass.
You will also explore places, you probably never expected like the “Restaurant Sehnsucht” or the “Falknerei Wörlitz”. If you visit the world heritage region with the “Welterbecard” you definitely also should check out the “Cranachhöfe” and the “Lutherhaus”

Disclaimer: this post is brought to you in cooperation with the WelterbeRegion Anhalt-Dessau-Wittenberg.

The post 9,5 reasons to visit the World Heritage Region Anhalt-Dessau-Wittenberg appeared first on JUST TRAVELOUS.

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Antigua und Barbuda… maybe you asked yourself right now what and where this is, but don’t worry – before my trip I actually felt the same way and did not know anything about Antigua and Barbuda and first had to google where it is actually located. But now, after my trip, I’m a fan and recommend this destination to everyone, and one main reason for this are the fun loving powerful people in Antigua and Barbuda! I will tell you everything you need to know about Antigua and Barbuda and other facts which might convince you to put Antigua and Barbuda on your travel bucket list.

Where is it located?

Antigua and Barbuda is an independent country, which is divided into two islands, Antigua and Barbuda and it is part of the commonwealth. The islands are located off the coast of Venezuela and between the Dominican Republik and Trinidad and Tobago. Antigua is the bigger island of the two and still you can do a round trip in about 2,5 hours by car. During my trip I only visited Antigua and I will restrict my impressions to this.

Nature – more than just sun and beaches?

Do I really have to say something about this? Just close your eyes and imagine your dream beach and now you know how nearly every beach in Antigua looks like. Cristal clear water, a nearly white beach, and palm trees everywhere, is probably the best way I can describe it. Which I did not expect was, that the island has lots of mountains too. Also, there are many smaller islands around Antigua. You probably have the most fantastic view, especially at sunset from the Shirley Heights. This will definitely give you goosebumps!

What else you should do when you visit Antigua and Barbuda

If you want to do more than relaxing at the beach, you can do many things in Antigua to get through your day. The Caribbean is really famous for their good rum, there is no way around a rum tasting. I also really enjoyed the local markets. The different fruits they offer and the people you meet during a visit are just unbelievable! Besides this, I loved connecting with locals at the beach. An intercultural small talk is worth a try!

Carnival in Antigua and Barbuda – is it similar to Rio?

Once a year, around the end of July the island changes into a colourful carnival. On the first day I was quite confused, because it was more like a party and the main activity was to drink alcohol. But because of that the second day was even more beautiful where everyone was wearing beautiful colourful costumes, which I already got excited about during my research before my trip. These costumes are made by the different “Bands” (carnival groups) and presented in a huge parade. My personal highlight was being part of the biggest band with about 1500 members. This was one of those moments you will remember your entire life. If you want to be part of the carnival yourself you can easily do it. And if you pay a little more you can actually be one of the “Queens” of one of the bands who are leading the band with their extravagant costumes. Costs for being a part of the parade vary between 300-850 USD.

How cheap is it there?

The cleaning lady from our hotel told me, that Antigua and Barbuda is one of the most wealthy countries of that region and that she would earn 3-4 times more than in her home country, the Dominican Republic. Prices at the restaurants were similar or even more expensive compared to Germany. That is why some people call Antigua and Barbuda “Switzerland of the Caribbean”.

Environmental protection – how big is that topic in Antigua and Barbuda?

There are plenty of nature and water protection areas around the island. Antigua takes the protection of endangered species and nature really serious. All of our guides were always very persitent when it came to leaving no trace. And you will really notice how clean Antigua and Barbuda is everywhere. The nature is also important to the locals as a touristic aspect, because most of the tourists come because of the nature, so it obviously makes even more sense to protect it.

Do you feel safe in Antigua and Barbuda?

Antigua and Barbuda is claimed as a really safe country, probably because all the people are so deeply relaxed. But nature has a saying in this too. Hurricane Irma sadly destroyed most of Barbuda, which means, that the island is uninhabitable for the next couple of year. Antigua was luckily not damaged. But this makes the tourism even more important to the locals, so that they can pay for the rebuilding of Barbuda. And I can definitely say, that it is worth to go there! Support the locals with a trip to Antigua and Barbuda. Doing good while enjoying some dream beaches can feel amazing…

What translator do I have to download before my trip?

Because Antigua and Barbuda is part of the Commonwealth their first language is English. This makes it even more easy to travel around the island and get in contact with the locals.

Overall I can say, that Antigua and Barbuda is a country which does not have to hide behind its bigger Caribbean siblings, like the Dominican Republic or other well known places. And if you are a little bit like me you probably like travel destinations even more when they are not on everyones bucket list.

Disclosure: I was invited on my trip to Antigua and Barbuda. All opinions are my own.

The post 8 things you should know about Antigua and Barbuda appeared first on JUST TRAVELOUS.

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Ever thought about bungee jumping or skydiving? I guess most of you have. At least you’ve thought about it, haven’t you? Maybe you’re even an adventure seeker, always looking for the next thrilling experience.

What if I tell you, that I’m not like that? I do not have any adventure bucket list, and therefore never put things on a list like a Husky expedition in Russia or canoeing in the Oslo fjord. But it seems like adventures like this come find me all the time. Yes, other people often do not even believe me, what I have done already at my age. I’m 18 years old.

When I get asked if I feel more mature because of these adventures I am telling them, that I think that it depends on different factors if these adventures can bring you forward in your life or not. If you are open to taking risks, or if you just do it to tick it off from your bucket list. If you are getting in touch with what you are doing and also embrace the sometimes uncomfortable feeling of not knowing what you’re doing or if you stay in your comfort zone and refuse to learn something new.

For me, the only reason, why I am doing what I am doing was always to challenge myself to try new things and get out of my comfort zone. I want to experience more, get out of everyday life and feel how I’m holding my breath while doing something I will one day tell my grandkids about.

And that’s what I’ve done, once again, with 8 strangers in the wilderness of Norway.

I was part of the National Geographic Adventure Trip. Together with different partners, like the Globetrotter Akademie, they offer once a year an adventure of a lifetime to eight lucky winners. This year together with the editorial director of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Germany the trip took us to Norway  to go canoeing in the Oslo Fjord and sleep on remote islands in tents.

Imagine eight random people from around Germany, who are coming together, emerging into the outdoors and leaving their comfort zones for one week. It was one of the funniest and most exciting weeks of my life! So many different stories, viewpoints, and life experience, but in the end, there was just one goal for all of us: to get to the next island and cook a warm dinner for everyone. Still, we had to deal with what we got. The weather didn’t always allow us to do what we wanted to do, we had to go several times ashore because it got too windy and sometimes we couldn’t sleep in our tents but had to find shelter inside a hut.

But adventures are all about that! That not everything is always going the way you’re hoping for and that you still think during the entire trip, that this was the best decision you have ever made. There are always ups and downs. How do you want to know that something tastes sweet when you never taste something sour? And trust me – a warm shower, after one week without running water and electricity is one of the most amazing feelings you can get in your life!

Another thing I realized during this trip is how significant the impact of proper equipment is if an adventure is going well or not. Until this trip, I only used to go camping once a year at a music festival. With a cheap tent, and no idea how different camping experiences can be. This time everything was different. Thanks to Fjällräven we were all equipped with trekking pants, a jacket, and other accessories. Things I never owned before and always thought of as unnecessary. But I learned that lesson right on the first day when I wore a cotton sweater and I tried to dry it at the campfire, and well, it just did not dry at all. That was the moment when I realized, that if you have the right equipment, you can start an adventure with much fewer worries in your mind, because you know, that you can rely on it. But NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC doesn’t only know what kind of equipment will keep you warm and safe when you’re out in nature, they also know how to enhance your experience.

They gave us nice little gimmicks like the Swarovski Optik binoculars. And let me tell you, you don’t know how much you actually wanted to see a close up of that bird that is hundreds of meters away from you until you do.

I’m grateful for the experience and I’m grateful for the knowledge the people from National Geographic shared with the group, on how to make adventures the best adventures ever. With taking care of some important things so that you can focus on the experience in a best-equipped way. And I’m grateful that they’re offering this kind of trip every year. Maybe next year you can be one of the lucky winners who goes on an adventure with National Geographic. Fingers crossed.

And well, I am curious what other adventures will come find me next. I promise I’ll tell you all about it.

// ADVERT //

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC is more than just a magazine: Since 1888 it is keen to explore and preserve our world. There are always around 200 scientists travelling around the world, to explore new things about mother nature. Because thats the only way to save our planet. Inspiring people to care about the planet –  that is the mission statement of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. The magazine tells you about adventure exploring, the wonders of our nature, of faraway countries and cultures. In spectacular stories and breathtaking photos.
The Globetrotter Akademie offers trips with focus on outdoor adventures. The Globetrotter Akademie organises outdoor-seminars, -events and -tours with instructional character in the nature.
Fjällräven stands for innovative and functional products since 1960, which are appreciated by outdoor-fans worldwide and are awarded many times for there great products.
As a manufacturer  of high precision optic products with highest quality requirements and excellent user comfort Swarovski Optik is one of the worldwide leading provider of binoculars and other fine optic products for hunting, nature- and bird observation as well as for travelling and hobby.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you in partnership with National Geographic. All opinions are my own.

The post On adventures, bucket lists and Norway appeared first on JUST TRAVELOUS.

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Sometimes I catch myself staring at the news and shaking my head in disbelief. How on earth is it possible that we do treat each other and this earth that way? I feel how my heart then is clamming up and a cold shiver is running down my back. It can feel scary to watch the news these days.

But then again I feel this power that’s so much stronger than anything else I’ve ever experienced. The power of love. (Yes, a force from above, cleaning your soul.) And then I remember all the beauty in my life and how privileged I am to be able to share this with other people. And I understand that I want to share this even more as I have witnessed how my love can and does change people’s lives. And how easy it actually is and how fast you’ll see progress once you start spreading the love by loving everyone and everything around you. Even the ones you think they don’t deserve your love.

Some of you might be skeptical right now, asking: “How and why should I love someone who’s clearly not a good person or is doing something that’s totally against everything I believe in? We need to fight these people, they don’t deserve my love.”

Well, what if I tell you that not even only sometimes but actually always these are the people that need love most? And they do deserve love just as much as you deserve love. And you deserve a lot of love. And I promise you that there is actually an easy way to receive more love in your life. (And make this reality the best ever).

Is love “enough”?

We tried fighting each other. We tried. For centuries. And it brought us to a place full of hate, confusion, and abandonment.

The world seems lost. It seems we took a wrong turn at one point.

Everything seems to become more and more absurd and this reality seems to turn into a place where happiness is just a random memory of the past. Oh, if we just could change the past…

What if I tell you there is no past? There never was and never will be.

The past is and always will be just a memory in your mind. You can’t change it. You can’t touch it. It’s gone.

Imagine arriving in the NOW. Exactly the way it is.

Look around. See what is. See the pain, the chaos, and the hate. It’s there. You can’t close your eyes. It’s there.

But, now is now. And now is the moment that will change everything. Now is the moment to decide.

Who are you?

Who do you want to be?

It doesn’t matter who you’ve been.

It really doesn’t matter.

All that matters is who you are now.

From now on things will get better. Now is the moment to decide that love is your motivation. Love for yourself, for everyone else and love for this place called earth. Love for this reality you’re living in.

You CAN make a difference. The truth is, that you have to make a difference. We’re in this together.

We are connected. You are me and I am you. Everything and everyone around you is another version of you. Once you start to understand this, your true motivation will be love. You want to be nice to yourself. You want to be kind to yourself. You want to treat yourself the way you want to be treated. Love everything and everyone. This is the secret.

What can you do to make this reality heaven on earth?

This is just one of many ideas… but I promise you, if you do this, your life will change for the better in just 7 days.

#7daysofhappiness

Let’s play a game, let’s do some magic. How? Whenever you feel ready, you can start with the 7 days of happiness. The goal: to create one magical moment of happiness every day for one week. There are no rules, you can do that however you want to do it, but here are my suggestions on how to enhance this experience for you.

  1. Create one magical moment of happiness a day for yourself, a friend or a stranger. Really stick to this commitment for 7 days at least. Make it a challenge. A mission.
  2. Create the moment without expectations. Don’t expect anything in return.
  3. Be creative! It can be as small or big as you want.
  4. Maybe start a journal about your moments, tell someone else about these moments you created or even share the moments on social media (if you want to do that and include #7daysofhappiness it would make me happy and through this, you already have another magical moment of happiness) (And yes, do good and talk about it as this can inspire other people to spread the love too!)

From my experience, it’s easier to create this kind of moments with strangers as they don’t expect anything from you and it’s also more likely that you don’t have any expectations on them. Their reaction will be a complete surprise for you and I promise you, it will be a positive surprise.

But it’s absolutely also possible to create this kind of moments for friends, family and even for yourself. Maybe you always had something in mind that you wanted to do but you never found the time or courage to actually do it. Treat yourself to something you desire. Allow yourself to “spoil” yourself. Sometimes this can be a peanut butter sandwich at midnight, sometimes this can be things like skydiving or speaking your truth in front of someone you didn’t allow yourself yet to be real with.

Once you start creating these moments you will notice a shift in your life, you pretty likely will feel a gratitude that will empower you to create even more magical moments, you will become more and more creative and at one point you might even realize how addictive it can be to create magical moments for other people…

I’m pretty sure you already have some ideas in mind how to create these moments. In case you’re looking for some more ideas…

Here are some examples of how these moments of happiness could look like:
  • Give a compliment to a stranger
  • Tell a friend how much he/she means to you
  • Buy a coffee for the stranger waiting in line behind you
  • Buy a lottery ticket and leave it for someone else to find it
  • Ask a friend if you can do something for him/her or help with something
  • Buy some flowers and give it to a stranger/friend/yourself
  • Ask your cab driver how he/she is doing and really listen
  • Smile at a stranger
  • Tell someone who hurt you that you forgive them and mean it
  • Put your phone away when meeting up with a friend
  • Write a letter full of encouragement and hide it in your local supermarket for someone else to find
  • Listen to your favorite song on full volume and dance your heart out for a few minutes
  • Learn something new
  • Start reading your favorite book again. Remember why you like it so much
  • Buy a second copy of your favorite book and give it to a friend or stranger
  • Allow your inner child to come out and play at least for one moment
  • Give yourself a hug and tell yourself what you love about yourself
  • Make a promise and keep it
  • Create a holiday to celebrate someone you love (like „My best friend appreciation day“)
  • Thank someone who’s done something for you in the past. Even when you already thanked them for it
  • Send a postcard to a friend or family member you haven’t talked in a while
  • Give sweets to a stranger
  • Send a love letter to a close friend/family member
  • Listen. Sometimes that’s all someone else needs
  • When you see someone else doing something nice compliment them for doing that
  • Write down the things you’re grateful for
  • Clean your space and donate stuff
  • Volunteer
  • Leave an extraordinary big tip
  • Buy a small gift for a friend or give it to the next stranger you interact with
  • Smell the flowers

If you want to dive deeper into this, I recommend you to read these articles about how small things did change people’s lives.

People share the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for them

Stories of incredibly kind acts done by complete strangers

Imagine: You can be the medicine someone else needs. Every moment you create can possibly change someone else’s life. I promise that you will feel more and more empowered with every moment you’re creating and you will realize how much love and happiness you’re creating through this for yourself. Imagine everyone would create magical moments full of happiness for everyone else… what a magical place this reality can be…

Love & Happiness, always.

Tell me how you feel about this idea and share some moments you created with us in the comments.

The post How to change the world and live a happier life – #7daysofhappiness appeared first on JUST TRAVELOUS.

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You’re thinking about a trip to Boston? Then we have some cool places and things to do in Boston for you that will make your trip to Boston even more fun.

1. Rooftop Bar on top of the „Envoy Hotel.“

Relaxed atmosphere, good music, and a beautiful view of the Skyline of Boston – there is a reason why the Rooftop Bar of the „Envoy Hotel“ was voted as one of the Top 10 Bars in the US. Extra cool: during the winter months the terrace is converted into an igloo landscape, which creates an entirely different atmosphere for your sundowner.

2. Coffee tasting at the Godfrey Hotel

You probably heard of wine tasting or even did one before. But have you heard of a coffee tasting? Even if you are not a coffee fan – you will probably become one after the coffee tasting with George Howell. Not only because of the different coffee sorts, but also because of the incredibly cool location at the Godfrey Hotel.

3. Mass MoCa

If you have the time you should definitely also visit the area around Boston. About 2 hours away from Boston you will find the Mass MoCA, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams. Back in the days, this building was used as a cotton factory, nowadays you will find modern art in this beautiful industrial looking building. The art installation of Nick Cave (who of you actually knew, that he is also an artist?) is especially impressive, not only because of its size. If you would like to stay a little bit longer in North Adams I can recommend you the „Porches Inn“. The building of the hotel was actually used as a home for the workers, who worked in the cotton factory, which is the Museum nowadays.

4. Tavern Road

Would you like to get in touch with the scene neighborhood „Boston Downtown Seaport“? Then you should definitely visit the restaurant „Tavern Road“. The two owners combine Italian cuisine with modern culinary art. Your meal will be served similar to Tapas, so everyone is eating something from each others plate. What do they serve at the Tavern Road? Things like lobster risotto or caramelized broccoli. Yummy! Note: You should book a table in advance if you would like to eat at the Tavern Road restaurant!

5. Red Socks / Fenway Park

The Red Socks are probably not only known by Baseball Fans. The team is one of the most famous Baseball Teams in the US and if you are visiting Boston you should definitely visit Fenway Park! But sadly it is extremely difficult to get tickets for a game, and even if you get some they can easily cost up to 400$. Still want to visit the Fenway Park Stadium? You can do that by doing the VIP Tour around the stadium, which you can book through the Fan shop of the Red Sock. You will probably never get as close to the playing field and at the same time, you are learning a lot about the legendary stadium.

6. Movie Tour

The city Boston is famous and really popular (thanks to their tax discount for film productions) as a film location for many American movie productions. For example movies like Ted or Manchester by the Sea were filmed in Boston and the area around it. During the movie tour, you not only get to see the different film locations, but you also see Boston from a whole new viewpoint.

7. Boston Symphony Orchestra

Particularly during the summer time, you should visit the world-famous Boston Symphony Orchestra. During this period they put tables where you can have a snack during the concerts. Overall the atmosphere in summer is much more casual and most of the time the orchestra is playing film music or Jazz music.

Have you been to Boston? What are your favorite things to do in Boston? Leave your tipps for Boston in the comments!

Disclaimer: JUST travelous was invited to Boston by airberlin.

The post 7 travelous things to do in Boston appeared first on JUST TRAVELOUS.

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There are so many amazing moments waiting for you when you’re traveling. Big moments and small moments. And there are some moments every traveler will experience. It’s nearly impossible to NOT have these moments. And maybe you’ll recognize yourself in some of these moments. Maybe you’ve already experienced all of them. And in case you haven’t… there will be a moment when you’re traveling when you’ll totally understand what I’m talking about today.

1. Moments with strangers

There are many moments I remember from my travels when I shared something special with a stranger. Like this one moment in Koh Tao in 2014 when I watched a beautiful sunset together with two strangers. A beautiful moment. Nothing world-shaking. But a moment we shared together although we were strangers and were strangers after this moment again.

Click on the picture for the whole story behind this sunset…

You’ll often find yourself in moments like this one while traveling. Maybe with a cab driver, maybe with the woman at the local market. Maybe with the person sitting next to you on the plane. Be open for these moments. I’m pretty sure you’re thinking right now about one or two of these moments when you shared something special for just a moment with a stranger.

2. When you’re proud of yourself for doing something you’ve never done before.

There are so many moments I’m super proud of myself. Moments when I totally found my way through a city I’ve never been to before. The first time I went on a trip on my own. And I clearly remember the moment I learned how to dive. How little did I know how much these moments will change my life.

Does this sound familiar? Do you remember such moments? Is there anything you always wanted to do but never found the guts to actually do it? Tell me about it in the comments, maybe we find a way together how you can achieve this.

3. Discovering your favorite food ever

I have to admit that I’m not really adventurous when it comes to food. Way too often I decide to eat something I already know that I will like it. BUT I’m curious too and so I do try new things every now and then when I’m traveling. And sometimes I discover super yummy stuff I can’t get enough of. Like drinking Thai ice-tea out of a plastic bag…

4. Finding the perfect beach

Everyone imagine the perfect beach differently. I found my perfect beach in 2014 in Koh Samui. And also in 2010 in Koh Phi Phi. And I’m super curious if I’ll find a new perfect beach in 2017. Maybe even NOT in Thailand… But this moment, when you arrive at that special beach, when you look around and this voice in your head says: yes, that’s it… this moment is amazing.

5. Enjoying the silence inside yourself.

This is easier to experience when you’re traveling on your own. When you’re spending time with yourself and just yourself. And then all of a sudden you’ll experience this peaceful silence deep inside yourself. My road trip in Scotland had many of these moments for me: Scotland. Or: How to find your inner calm.

6. To be a kid again

Forget about the grown-up-stuff for a while. PLAY. See every day as a big adventure. Have fun. Songkran in Bangkok is for example a perfect moment for this. And I’m pretty sure you can think of so many more moments when you enjoyed being like a kid again. Looking forward to your stories in the comments!

7. This sensation you feel inside of you when you’re about to dive deep into a new adventure

Oh, it feels amazing. You’re excited, a bit nervous and maybe you’re impressed by your own courage. And before you can even think about this too much you’re right in the middle of this incredible adventure. And you know that something big will happen. Enjoy this thrill of anticipation. Enjoy your adventures.

Burning Man 2016. Oh, how little did I know about all my upcoming adventures. Photo: Kristin Addis from www.bemytravelmuse.com 8. The moments you’re full of love for the beauty of this world

I experience these moments mainly when I’m far away from every-day-life. Mostly when I’m on my own or with a few special people. When the beauty of nature shows its power and you’re standing there, full of awe and you’re thankful for this feeling and everything is filled with love.

I’m sure you can think of some more moments every traveler will experience sooner or later. I’m super curious! Tell me about these moments in the comments!

The post 8 Moments Every Traveler Will Experience Sooner or Later appeared first on JUST TRAVELOUS.

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“The world has stopped turning. The world has stopped turning.  For days now something has been happening that we haven’t seen for a long time. News and social networks, the front page of newspapers are not focusing on evil anymore, but on good. Not on war and terrorism, but on love. (…) The world has stopped turning. The world has stopped turning. To talk about love.” {The Young Pope, S01E10}

The Day Of Good News

It’s simple as this: There is love out there, and hope and kindness and freedom and beauty and laughter. All the small and big things that make you smile and that warm your heart are out there.
Think of all the good things in your life – even the smallest things. Maybe you’re in a thunderstorm in your life right now and you think it never will get better. But there’s hope. There is love. Believe in it. Show it.


Let’s make Friday, January 20th the day of good news.

Tell someone that you love them. Treat yourself to something good. Tell your neighbor about that show you’re binge watching right now and why it’s sooooo goood (you HAVE to watch “THE YOUNG POPE” if you haven’t). Tell your friends on Facebook about that beautiful butterfly you’ve seen while getting a coffee to go. Are you a blogger? Write an article about all the beautiful things you can think of!

In whatever way you can think of: Tell the world the most beautiful stories that ever happened to you or even if you just heard of a pretty awesome and lovely story. Spread the word. Let us all share good news. Let’s make that day the day of good news. And maybe we’ll find that we really like that kind of news, and maybe the next day we’ll just keep on sharing more and more good news, and maybe maybe the world will be a better place, eventually. I believe in it. Do you?

Some of you will totally understand what I mean with this. Some might be skeptical and some might have some questions swirling through their heads right now. I might have some answers. Let me try:

Is this about Trump?

Somehow yes, but then again no. Let’s just call it really good timing. It feels like a good day to do something like this.

Isn’t that somehow naive?

Maybe. But will it hurt the world to spread good news for one day? Even if we can make only one person believe in love and good again, isn’t that worth it?

Do you want us to ignore the bad news?

No, it is important that you inform yourself. That you understand what’s happening in the world and why. But it’s about to create an opposite pole to all the bad news. To not forget about the beauty of the world, about love. We shouldn’t forget love, whatever happens.

Isn’t that quote from “The Young Pope” a spoiler? Did you just ruin the show for everyone who hasn’t seen it yet?

Yes and no. Watch the show if you haven’t and then you’ll understand that it’s not a spoiler in that kind of way.

What’s next?

Think about all the good stuff in this world. Think about all the good news you want to share. Start sharing good news. And then, on Friday, let’s celebrate a firework of good news. Of love.

Is there a hashtag?

Why not? Let’s use #goodnews, ok?

And now go out there. Spread the good news. Let’s make this world a better place.

Love & happiness, always.

Yvonne

The post The Day of Good News appeared first on JUST TRAVELOUS.

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