The main goal of this blog is to share with you my travel experiences in the past, present & future.
- First of all, giving you a personal, but honest impression of a place I’ve visited (Through words & photos).
- And, secondly, providing you with useful tips & ideas if you’ve planned to travel to the same destination.
“To travel” can mean many things. For most people it’s to escape the daily routine & getting to know other places, peoples & cultures. For me personally, traveling means just that.
This home page gives you an index of all the travel blog posts so far.
- Throughout most posts on this travel blog you’ll find affiliated links provided by TravelPayOuts. Links & Ads that may help you plan your next trip to Paris. If you click on them & buy a ticket for a museum, book a tour, a hotel or flight a small commission of your purchase will go to me (paid by TravelPayOuts, and – most importantly – not by you).
Conquer the World
Like many of you, I’d like to conquer the world. So far though, I’ve mainly visited countries in Europe & the Americas.
First of all, almost all the countries of Western Europe, including Italy & Greece.
Besides that, visits to the United States & many Latin American countries. Foremost, the Andean countries. Ecuador, Colombia, Peru & Bolivia. But also, most countries of Central America. As well as some Caribbean islands.
- I haven’t visited Asia or Africa so far, but there are serious plans to do so soon. During the last trip I at least had a chance to behold the last continent – from the famous Rock of Gibraltar -so that’s a start.
And by the way, I usually don’t travel alone. Generally I am accompanied by my wife Wendy & for many years also by our daughter Lisa.
My favourite country so far is: Mexico.
My first visit to Mexico was in 1992. A journey that I started, with Wendy, in Florida, USA, before crossing Mexico from north to south. Furthermore, on that same trip we visited Guatemala, Honduras & Belize, before ending up in Yucatán. A trip of almost three months.
A travel blog on worldwide destinations
Nowadays, though, instead of writing a book it’s possible to share a travel story & all my/our experiences through a blog.
And that’s what I decided to do a few years ago (Just before the pandemic (!)). So far resulting in:
Click on the name if it matches you next travel destination:
- France: a blog post on the City of Light: Paris.
- UK/Great Britain, things to do in mysterious: Edinburgh, Scotland.
- A journey through Spain: with its own: Intro to Spain.
And individual post on:
- A visit to the USA, concretely: Manhattan, New York.
- *** With a special page on The Best Hotel in Central Manhattan (for every budget).
- A personal passion of mine is the fascinating Maya World (Mexico & Guatemala), which besides its own:
- Intro to the Mundo Maya
- also provides a Top #12 of the most beautiful Maya sites
Which introduces leads to posts on:
- Yaxchilán & Bonampak
- Kabah & Labná
- Ek Balam (under construction)
- Chichén Itzá & Tulum (under construction)
- Calakmul (under construction)
After finishing the last individual posts on my favourite Maya-sites, I hope to start a series on our latest journey through Yucatán & Chiapas. A trip which – besides many visits to the old Maya ruins – brought us to places like Mérida, Valladolid, Bacalar & many others.
Living in a far away country
Besides traveling, I live in – what many of you would call – a faraway country.
My wife Wendy and I left our home country, The Netherlands, definitely many years ago (in 1994), and exchanged it for Latin America. Besides that, we had the honour of living for three years in Guatemala. The rest of our time we lived & still live in Ecuador.
Since 2003 we have owned a Hotel-Restaurant in the Northern Andes town of Otavalo, famous for its traditional indigenous market. The hotel is called Hotel Doña Esther, while the restaurant goes by the name of Árbol de Montalvo.
Through the years we’ve tried to built he The best, and most beautiful Hotel & Restaurant in Otavalo. A place to where the lemma is to:
“Eat, drink, sleep, enjoy and remember.”
Travel blog segments on Ecuador
Ecuador is really one of the most beautiful countries in the world. An ideal country to escape daily routine & get to know a whole other world: unique natural parks, friendly peoples, a fascinating history & culture.
Ecuador is a relatively small South American country, but full of diversity. In just a few hours you can travel from the Andean highlands to the Amazon rainforest or the tropical Pacific-coast. Besides that, a rough 1000 km/ 600 miles from the mainland, you’ll find the Galápagos Islands.
You just can’t stop wandering & wondering in such a diverse country.
So, besides visits to world destinations, be prepared in this blog to travel with me through Ecuador & and receive useful tips & ideas about visiting its many attractions.
For a introduction on this beautiful Andean country, go to: Ecuador
Special attention will be paid to attractions in my home province Imbabura, but not exclusively so – as you will see.
Things to do in & around Otavalo, Northern Ecuador
There are many: Things to do in & around Otavalo.
- One of the most popular things to do is climbing the Fuya Fuya volcano. Located in the Mojanda lake area above Otavalo.
- A second attraction nearby is the spectacular Cuicocha Crater Lake. A MUST SEE when visiting Otavalo. Ideal for hiking, but also to just hang around for a while & enjoy a unique natural mini-ecosystem.
But there are many, many more, like:
- The Condor Park
- Peguche Waterfall
- Otavalo Village Tour
- Chachimbiro’s Thermal Springs
- Authentic rural area around Zuleta
- Mitad del Mundo, Cayambe
- The hidden village of Oyacachi
- Historical zone of Pambamarca
- The pre-Inca site of Cochasquí
- The waterfall of Taxopamba (under construction)
Blog on incidents of travel in the rest of Ecuador
Besides Otavalo & surrounding area I plan to introduce you to other places to visit in the Visit Ecuador – Yes or …better No…-segment.
So far I’ve written post on:
- Papallacta’s Thermal Springs
- Ecuador’s capital Quito
- The Cotopaxi & Chimborazo National Parks
- Cuenca (under construction)
- Baños (under construction)
A little history of Ecuador – The French Mission
In the first half of the 18th century a French scientific mission visited Ecuador. Their main goal was to “Measure the Earth”. Literary to Measure the Earth.
A work that took them eight years from start to finish. Not knowing beforehand it would leave the country it’s name.
For an idea of this fascinating story – which was written down in a book of my own (in Dutch) – go to: Intro to the French Mission.
It’s an introduction to 4 posts with more details on this special history which played itself out almost three centuries ago in Ecuador. Namely:
- Ecuador – What’s in a Name
- How to Measure the Earth
- The pyramids of the French Mission
- Monuments left my the French Mission
A fascinating story & a great introduction to Ecuador.
Facebook Group: Visit Ecuador
* Besides the blog post on Ecuador I administer a Visit Ecuador FB group together with my wife Wendy. A group you can freely join & is open to all. That is:
- People who live here & want to share their experiences.
- As well as people who want to come over for a visit, get to know Ecuador & have questions to answer.
Here’s the link to the: Visit Ecuador FB-group.
A passion of mine is reading & writing books. For me, reading a good story is like traveling.
First of all, in preparation for a journey. You can read guide books, travel blogs, folders about the country or countries you chose as your next destination. This kind of reading is part of your journey, a way of traveling… as you are doing just now.
But even, reading a travelogue, a history book, biography, novel, or cookbook can be a way of escaping routine. We even invented a name for this activity: Armchair Travel.
I personally prefer non-fiction over fiction. Mostly History books & Biographies. Every book for me reads like a journey. A journey through time. Taking me to other parts of the world, other realities and other cultures. In war and peace, winter & summer, in desserts, up the highest mountains… even in outer space, on the moon and back.
So, besides Traveltips I’ll also give you BookTips from time to time in the posts on certain destinations.
A personal Top #10 on Non-Fiction Books
Because reading a good book is a real passion for me, I’ve included a blog segment on Books. Besides an Intro, I included a post on my Personal Book Top 10. A post I plan to expand in the future, making it a Top 20, 30..or maybe even a Top 100.
My own books
Finally, as a writer, I’ve also included a post on my own books. Writing is also a way of traveling. You research, you write, you edit, you dream, you think, you visit places …
My first book was actually a travelogue. Telling the story of our first trip of three months through Mexico & parts of Central America. During that journey I kept a diary. A diary that afterwards – back in the Netherlands – resulted in a rather popular travel book (Written in the Dutch language, titled Land en Vrijheid, 1994, meaning Land and Freedom).
Most of my books are written in Dutch – except two. Besides a scientific survey guide I wrote in Spanish, one of my latest books was translated in English. A personal story translated with the help from my niece Evi, my wife Wendy & daughter Lisa:
- Elzen, Arthur van den, 14 days in May – A farewell to my father, a man who should have died sixty years ago. A true story, 2020, ISBN 979-8647492548
If you want to know more about this specific book, go to: “14 days in May” – A true Family History (including a You-tube presentation) and/or The 14 days in May-Photo file.
About all the books I wrote so far, go to: Author of …
- Final message, for fellow travel writers & bloggers: TravelPayOuts is a global integrated affiliate program focused exclusively on travel offers. If it works for me, it will probably work for you too: TravelPayOuts.