Diary

#HoldMeEverywhere @ Bondi Beach | We are engaged!

It was the night before the morning we were flying to Europe, the flight was not until 11 am (ish). It was 4.30 am and I was still working when LΓ©on said I had to wake up at 7 AM. I didn’t understand why! He had to say he had a surprise – I thought, maybe a romantic breakfast, but can’t that wait until we are on holidays?

We walked towards the beach, and I was wondering where this special breakfast would be. We were almost at the shore of North Bondi, where I saw 2 chairs and a little table, and an old couple which looked to me like fishermen – I thought ‘first time I see fishermen bringing their chairs and table to have breakfast’. That table was for us and not for the fishermen, which where no fishermen by the way, just a lovely random old couple making sure our food was not eaten by the pigeons.


I saw the beautiful food and the champagne glasses – how did he get all this here on the beach at 7.30 AM?! – he asked me to sit down, he started to talk and then I knew it! It was 7-7-2017, and the number 7 means something to him and his family, when he mentioned the date I was sure he would get on his knees. 

The sun just came up and we had the beach pretty much to ourselves, with exception of a few surfers and some spectators along the Boulevard. The colors of the sky and the sea were beautiful, the weather was perfect, the morning was breathtaking. 


LΓ©on asked me to marry him in 3 languages, ‘Wil je met me trouwen?’, ‘Will you marry me?’, ‘Te quieres casar conmigo?’, and while on his knees he opened the little Tiffany’s box – I said ‘yes’, we hugged, we cried, we laughed, we kissed, we had champagne! Surfers came out of the Beach and congratulated us. The spectators clapped. The humpback whales did a show on the bay – so special!


It was a beautiful moment at the shores of the most iconic beach in the world on the 7-7 of 2017. ‘How did you get the chairs, the table, the lovely breakfast, the champagne and the champagne glasses so early in the morning?’ – ‘There are 2 people very important in our lives who helped, and are here hiding somewhere!’. Josh and Alyssa were part of it, their chairs, their table, the breakfast, the bottle and glasses! And making sure it was all set before 7.30 am. The best people to share the first champagne glass with as fiancΓ© and fiancΓ©e! We love you guys, we love to have you in our lives!


We walked back home and enjoyed the view of Bondi Beach from our own balcony. This view that we considered privileged already will never be the same –  this view is now more important to us than ever!

The trip to Europe – now called the Engagement Trip – could start!
Credits: thanks djtristancase for the capturing the moment when LΓ©on went on his knees! 

#HoldMeEverywhere @ Vivid Sydney 2017

When we arrived in Sydney in June 2015 we just missed Vivid. Everybody would tell us how amazing it was, especially the people who experienced it for the first time – ‘Such a pity you guys missed it!’. We experienced it for the first time in 2016, and we loved it. This year we strolled a couple of times through the Vivid 2017 attractions in the CBD, The Rocks, Darling Harbour and The Royal Botanical Garden. We missed Taronga Zoo, which we need to experience next year!

Below a short 60-sec impression of one of our vivid evenings:

What we loved this year – difficult to choose: the Opera House (she is just so beautiful and those amazing lighting designs made it even more impressive), The Urban Tree on Martin Place, the Sunflowers and the Kiwis on the Royal Botanical Garden and the talented piano players on Martin Place’s Twelve Tone. We also love the new iPhone app, which is a lot more interactive and intuitive than the one from last year. You can plan your whole Vivid experience from your phone!

What we missed this year, and we hope vivid 2018 will bring (back): the Cathedral Light in the Royal Botanical Garden from Vivid 2016 and more Sydney-style fireworks in Darling Harbour – we would love to see them less frequent if needed, but bigger and more impressive.

And we obviously got our #HoldMeEverywhere pic, this time at the Under my Umbrella attraction in The Rocks.

Yesterday Vivid 2017 came to an end. Already looking forward to Vivid 2018!

 

#HoldMeEverywhere @ Llanganuco, Peru

I love Peru, not only because I am Peruvian, but because it is a beautiful country blessed with an immense biodiversity above and underwater. It has all natural regions and all climates, which makes it very special. There is always something to explore for everybody, whether it is gastronomy, mountain climbing, hiking, rafting, surfing or touring along the Amazonas.

One of my favorites regions in Peru is the area around Huaraz. It is not on the typical itineraries Β people follow when they travel to Peru for the first time (people would normally visit Lima, Ica, Arequipa, Cusco, PuΓ±o and if time permits the Amazonas area). This is one of the reason why the Huaraz area is very special – it is not crowded! The other reason, and actually the main one, is that the area is blessed with the highest mountains and glaciers of the country and the most beautiful valleys in between the mountains, forming breathtaking lagoons all over the place. There are activities for the beginner and for the advanced explorer, anything you can imagine that the mountains, the roads and the rivers can offer.

Huaraz city is not pretty, but you will need to use it as a base. The surroundings are unbelievable! The ‘Callejon de Huaylas’ is a must in the area, it covers a few beautiful villages (as Yungay and Carhuaz), a few multi-day challenging and less challenging hikes (if you want, otherwise you just drive) and a few breathtaking lagoons (as the Llanganuco Lagoon).

This #HoldMeEverywhere picture is taken at the Llanganuco lagoon, a magical turquoise lagoon in the CallejΓ³n de Huaylas. The first time I saw this lagoon I was 8 years old. I remember how impressed I was with its beauty and its size, and with the mystery that the Andes surrounding it bring. The trees in the National Park where the lagoon is located are also very peculiar. It looks like they have layers of orange, yellow and brown all over. Never seen similar trees elsewhere!

The best way to go to Huaraz is to fly from Lima. The airport in Huaraz has an amazing view of the Huascaran mountain, the highest mountain in Peru. Alternatively you can take the night bus (bus cama) from Lima, the seats recline 180 degrees and you will have a good sleep before arriving in Huaraz!

#HoldMeEverywhere @ The Maldives

Another breathtaking destination!

We always wanted to go to the Maldives, especially as divers we would always hear how amazing the underwater world is on that side of the Indian Ocean. The idea of spending time in one small island for a week or longer, or spending time in a boat without the comfort we were looking for was not very appealing. So that holiday to The Maldives remained on the ‘parking lot’.

One of those weeks was coming on which you have 3 to 4 national holidays within 2 weeks. A Google search brought me to this amazing floating resort in The Maldives called Scupa Spa. It was a combination of the luxury of the resorts on the mini islands, a 5 stars diving centre, excellent food, internet, spa and jacuzzi on board, and all ‘that’ moving from one to another dive site, sandbank and tropical deserted island throughout the week. The route of the floating resort was called ‘The best of The Maldives’. We were in! (we are planning to write a separate post on Scuba Spa, that was even better than what we expected!)

After spending a superb week floating on the Indian Ocean we went back to Male and took a plane to our next local destination, The Ayada Resort in the far south, pretty close to the Equator. That was definitely heaven on Earth! The location, the huge ocean villa, the perfect butler, the local reef, the 5 stars service, the diversity of restaurants, and the dolphins passing by at sunrise and sunset time to say hello! We did quite a bit of research and decided this place was the best for us. We did not regret any second of our stay, and the fact that you are in the far south brings something special to your journey! We actually took an upgrade on arrival, and that was definitely worth every single penny! See this 60-second impression of our paradise on the far south:

We are definitely going back to Ayada, probably early 2018. We want to try the Far South route of Scuba Spa as well, which is only available on January and February (at least at the time of writing this post).