We finally left Laren the 19 th October 2018 and drove via good friends who live in a former church and who run a yoga, meditation & healing centre to Belgium where we stopped for two nights at my Soulsister’s place ‘Yoga home’. From there to the Loire valley where we visited friends for nearly a week and via several campings in the Dordogne to my friends Elleke and Pieter who run a yoga & meditation retreat centre in the French Pyrenees called la Borde Blanque. A beautiful place in The Cathar region not far from the Monségur (link to picture) and situated at a lake ( picture) where we spent two weeks; much time in the unspoilt nature with Zyra and their dogs, their four Icelandic horses, yoga and visiting local markets. From 3-10 August I will be leading a CAY basic retreat there. For information and subscription (see Yoga)
From there our journey continued via a spectacular pass to Perpignan, onto the coast villages Collioure, Argelès sur Mer and Cerbere towards the Spanish border. Our first camping in Spain was in Estartit, north of the picturesque village Begur where we bumped into a meditation teacher from California. Our trip then headed to Olivella where Zyra and I visited Ivor and Nicky, Australian friends of my elder sister Alieska. Like all days, lots of lovely walks in nature with Zyra and a visit to a Buddhist Tibetan Monastry as well as private yoga sessions with Ivor and Nicky and friends of her.
Already from a young age travelling was part of my life. Born in the Netherlands and from the age of four I moved to Australia with my parents and sisters for a couple of years as well as to Bombay, India from the age of 14. After finishing high school and college in Holland I became an entrepreneur and always made sure I could combine work, -read; my passion, with travelling. Like being a wine – and rooibos tea importer and a dance & yoga teacher.
I can’t imagine a life without travelling. It’s so inspiring, stimulates creativity and broadens your horizons!
The decision to travel with a camper, my dog Zyra and yoga tools came at the end of 2017. Already for a while I felt a change in my life coming up. One evening while listening to the camper stories of friends Anneke and Jan the idea suddenly slipped into my head to do the same thing but for a longer period. It meant I had to close my studio in Laren after having taught yoga for many years and make arrangements for my tea company, my house and search for a suitable camper. The whole process went organically; I bumped into friends who wanted to rent my house, my sister suggested she would run the tea webshop (link naar Sonnigdal.nl) and a good camper to rent for many months came on my path.
Knowing that my godchild Manouk and her boyfriend Hidde were coming to Barcalona Nicky and I searched for a good spot to stay with the camper at Gavà beach, just south of Barcalona. That’s the place where Manouk and I made the teaser for the yoga package. (Click to link) After a lovely stay and meeting up with them we drove on to Peñiscola, north of Valencia where we found a campsite near the beach. A lot of winter visitors here. 👵🏻👴🏻For two nights it was fine, also to do some washing. The next stop would be El Saler but before arriving there we did some sightseeing by driving with the camper through the impressive city of Valencia. Beautiful architecture! Camping Devesa Gardens lies in El Albufera, a nature reserve. A lagoon where dunes seperate the sweet water from Mediterrean sea. Lots of birds and rice fields. Due to a national holiday many Spanish came to the camping and in no time it got very crowdy and noisy which made us leave the beautiful spot earlier.
Just a short drive to camping Kiko Park in Oliva for a night and on to Denia where Zyra and I could stay in the holiday home of my younger sister Charlie and her family. It felt good to sleep in a house again, sun bathe, walk along the beach together and play frisbee. Unfortunately we lost two of them in sea. Our next stop was around the corner; Jàvea or Xàbia how they call it there. We found a nice spot for our camper half in the sun half in the shade next to a sweet Dutch couple. And how beautiful with the view on El Montgo, the mountain with the form of an elephant head. In the centre of this lovely town I met an inspiring Dutch couple Ben & Elly who live here for a great part of the year. Immediately we had a click and found out we had many things in common. Before I knew it I was invited for a bicycle tour and dinner. Many moments of sharing took place at their gorgeous house with view on El Mongo. This is so great about travelling; you meet new and inspiring people.
Our trip then went to Alcoy, more inland, where a yoga colleague & friend just moved to with her husband. Also their house was beautiful situated in the mountains where we spent time in nature, visiting the centre of Alcoy with its typical Spanish houses, teaching Critical Alignment Therapy and sharing our experiences. After Alcoy we drove further south towards, to Cartagena, which is a beautiful authentic Spanish city. A pity though there was not a camping nearby so again we drove through the city with the camper and stayed at a very big camping in La Manga. After that back to Jàvea for Christmas with Ben and Elly and then a long and breathtaking drive via Murcia and Granada to Malaga where we met up with Soulsister Sari and her partner Wim just before the end of the year. Also a warmhearted city. Only when we wanted to go on a boat trip it stormed. Where to go now? Jannie popped into my mind. She is a good friend of my friend Ellen in Laren, whom I also knew quite well and who had moved to Andalusia years ago. So I gave her a call, we chatted, she gave me an adresse of a camping and invited me for New years eve.
On our way to Ronda where we found a lovely camping we drove behind a shephard with his flock of goats and one deer. So special! Later when I spoke to Catelijne she told me the deer’s mother had died when she was young and that she was brought up by the shephard and his goats. A few hours later we arrived in Ronda and I immediately fell in love with this historical city which you cannot compare with any other city. I hope my photo’s here will convince you but suggest to visit Ronda so you can see it with your own eyes. It lies in a mountainous area in central Andalusia and has a rich history; the early Celts were the first settlers. Also the Greek and later the Romans lived in Ronda. For many decades it was under Islamic (Moorish) influence. Most of the important buildings stem from that period. Very happy to have been here!
At Camping El Sur, run by a family, I also met two nice men from Berlin who were heading in the same direction as us: to El Puerto de Santa Maria which lies between Cadiz and Jerez de la Frontera, the city where sherry is made. Handy, that way we could easily visit both cities by bus and train. At first site I found the campsite too huge but it was ideally located near the sea which meant Zyra and I could stroll along the beach many times a day and play frisbee.
So the 30th of December 2018 we ended up at a camping in Torrox, not far from the sea where we also met some nice people. One of them was Peter, who is also called Cyclepeet because he has seen most of the world on his bike. He knew another nice but basic camping at the lake of Viñuela, very close to where Jannie lives so we moved to that place with beautuful nature and views on the mountains and lake. What moved me every day was to see a shephard with his flock of sheep walking around the lake.
From Viñuela it was easy to visit many other impressive Andalusian places like El Torcal de Antequera where we saw many capricorns, picturesque villages like Nerja and Frijiliana. Eventually we stayed ten days. From there we drove on to a campsite at Parque Ardales to do the spectacular Camino del Rey, the famous walk through cliffs as high as 105 meters.
My sister Alieska had told me about a cousin of her former husband who lives near Antequera, the town which we had visited days before. When we called we were lucky, Catelijne was home and welcomed us over. So we drove to her ranch with Spanish dressage horses which is situated on a hill near the town Villanueva de la Concepcion with a breathtaking view on El Torcal de Antequera and surroundings. How lucky she and her husband are to live there and how lucky we were to stay there for 5 days. We shared a lot about life, visited the special Lobo Parque at Antequera together, see pictures/ video and it was great to see her work with Tango, one of her beautiful stallions.
Besides our friends Werner and Louis were there too. Many times we had breakfast and did sightseeing together. Then it was time to drive to Sevilla where Manouk, who just had moved to Barcalona, would visit us for 5 days to work on the website Alawenyoga. Our German friends also went and we stayed at camping Dos Hermanas, not far form Sevilla. The atmosphere of the place was a bit exotic, perfect for the yoga video’s Manouk was going to make. Link to the package with 10 lessons. We had a great time together, worked very hard on the site but also did sightseeing in beautiful Sevilla and shared several dinners with Louis and Werner. See pictures. Monday evening Manouk flew back home and the next morning we prepared to leave as well. Wednesday 13 February my friend Astrid from South Africa would arrive in Faro, Portugal so we headed to our next camping not too far from the AirPort: Quarteira.
To be continued
My journey on Polarsteps
This journey is a lifetime adventure, please click on the images to have a better look of all the places we have been!