As our blog grows bigger and bigger, I find it increasingly more difficult to find the time to stay connected with you, our readers. There are always so many projects to handle, with more new ones coming every day. It’s challenging and exciting at the same time, but it leaves little time for more random posts sharing more personal experiences, or just little things we see and do, most of which never appear on the blog…
So I was thinking of introducing a new series of monthly or bi-monthly blog posts Blog Diary where I share some of the random facts and things that keep us busy. Fun things we did that month. Some favourite pictures. Travel plans…
Hope you’ll enjoy reading this. And please let me know what you think. Oh, and once we are at it. I am looking for ideas of how I should name this series. Please leave a comment below with your suggestions!
A LOOK BACK
Summer vacation is almost over and as the kids head back to school tomorrow, we were talking about all the things we did this summer. Those two months flew by!
We had lots of fun in the pool, walks and bike rides, and many bbq’s in the garden. We visited many beautiful places in Belgium and spent some time exploring our own backyard – Antwerp.
Antwerp is Belgium’s most lively city, yet somehow it is often overlooked by foreign tourists. They have no idea what they are missing! If you ever come to Belgium, make sure to include Antwerp in your itinerary. It’s the city that has it all: history, modern architecture, art, fashion, great atmosphere and some of the best restaurants in Belgium. Rent a bike, take a boat tour, or just walk around the old town. You’ll love it here!
We visited all major theme parks of Belgium. I have never been on so many roller coasters in my life! And our kids had the best summer ever!
And last but not least we finally ticked Norway off our travel list. The moment we arrived in Norway, we fell in love with the simple relaxed lifestyle, friendly people, and beautiful nature. It’s also one of the most family-friendly destinations we ever visited! I am already looking at the possibilities to go back again, hopefully next summer. Too many ideas, too little time…
I will be writing much more about Norway on the blog soon, but I want to share this… If you love beautiful nature, charming little towns, good food and friendly people – consider Norway for your future trips! Yes, it’s expensive (I’ll be writing about it soon too), but it cost us less than our American road trip last year. And with Norwegian offering cheap flights, also over the Atlantic, it might be much more affordable than you think. And no, I don’t get any commission on this. 😉
MY FAVOURITE PICTURES FROM THIS SUMMER
Here are some of my personal favourite pictures from this summer. If you are on Instagram, please come and say hi, and follow us for more!
One of the most challenging and unforgettable hikes we ever made – the longest wooden staircase in the world #flørli4444 with spectacular views of #Lysefjord . Big thanks to Geir from @lysefjordenadventureas for showing us this beautiful place and patiently waiting while we slowly made our way to the top of 4444 steps! If you are looking for a hike like no other, #florli4444 will not disappoint! Thanks to @regionstavanger for this unforgettable day! It's a one-of-a-kind experience; one of those that we will still be talking about many years later. 4444 stairs, 740m height, roughly 246 floors. Would you take the challenge? . . #presstrip #lysefjordenadventure #thefjords #fullsuitcaseonthego #stavanger #fjordsofnorway #norwaynature #fjordnorway #visitnorway #ilovenorway #norge #norway #thebestofnorway #destinorway #regionstavanger
We spent an incredible day on the #Lysefjord cruise with @rodnefjordcruise and ended it with one of the most iconic hikes of Norway – #preikestolen or the #pulpitrock Thanks @regionstavanger for this unforgettable experience! It's also great that kids can already easily do challenging hikes like this one. And despite the wind and the rain, they even spent hours outside on deck during the fjord cruise too. A year ago they would have been hiding inside the boat… See our stories for more! . . #rodnefjordcruise #presstrip #fullsuitcaseonthego #stavanger #fjords #fjordsofnorway #norwaynature #fjordnorway #norwegiannature #visitnorway #ilovenorway #norge #mittnorge #norway #thebestofnorway #ilovenorway #regionstavanger
Parkbrug or Park Bridge is another impressive recent addition that Antwerp can really be proud of! It's a bridge for bikers and pedestrians, but far from the usual tourist routes. One more reason to explore Antwerp by bike! . . . #antwerpen #antwerpcity #visitantwerp #antwerpart #thisisantwerp #moderndesign #modernarchitecture #parkbrug #urbanlife #bikestagram #bikesofig #antwerpbybike
As we are not traveling at the moment, I want to share some pictures from Antwerp. We live here, so maybe we are biased, but to me it's one of the most fascinating places in Belgium. There is always so much going on in the city and it is constantly changing.⠀ This building – The New Port House of Antwerp, aka the Diamond Ship, is one of my absolute favourites. It's a bit outside the city centre, but don't miss if in Antwerp! One of the best ways to see it is by taking a harbour tour (now on the blog – link in bio), or by bike. ⠀ ??? #antwerp #havenhuis #porthouse #visitantwerp #atypicalantwerp #visitflanders #visitbelgium #bestofeurope #thisisbelgium #antwerpblogger #igersantwerp #igersbelgium
Do you take detours or do you follow a strict itinerary when you travel? We stumbled upon this little place by coincidence, just by turning off the road, and had the whole beach to ourselves. Kids could have stayed here for hours – there's so much to discover at low tide…⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #fullsuitcaseonthego #unexpectedjourney #norwayraw #bud #fishingvillage #visitnorway #atlanticroad
We find that the best way to have the popular destinations to yourself is by visiting late in the evening or early in the morning. Would you agree?The #Naeroyfjord in #Gudvangen is crowded during the day. And this is the view we found when we went for a walk at our hotel late at night… . . . #fullsuitcaseonthego #visitnorway #visitflam #mytraveldiaries #norwegianescape #nocrowds #ignorway
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT
There are so many fun and memorable experiences, but only a few of them stay with us forever. For me, this will be the summer of 4444 stairs we climbed in Norway. See the picture above or the blog post below if you care to read more!
Somehow I managed to publish quite a few blog posts this summer too. Considering three kids and so many activities, it’s quite an achievement. Those of you who have children, will understand. So anyway, here is a small selection of some of my favourite posts from this summer:
- Our favourite destination in Switzerland – 12 Great Reasons to Visit Trübsee in Summer
- The most memorable hike ever! Florli 4444 Epic Hike in Norway
- This post has been encouraged by my friends at Lonely Planet Kids and inspired by many e-mails from our readers: African Safari With Kids – All Your Questions Answered
- Best day trip from Stavanger in Norway: Lysefjord Cruise and Pulpit Rock Hike in One Day
- And for those looking for some travel inspiration: Norway Road Trip Itinerary for Two Weeks
You can find much more travel inspiration on the blog.
If you can dream it, you can do it!
We reached 2,000 followers on Facebook. It might not be much for some, but for us it’s a big milestone. We feel grateful for every single like, as we know there is one more real person behind it. Someone who found our website interesting enough to show the appreciation. Thank you! And if you aren’t following us yet, join us. You’ll make my day! You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, and most other social media @fullsuitcase.
I am getting daily mails and comments from our readers. Here are a few of my favourites. This is the reason why I blog – to inspire other families to travel and to help them make the most of their trips! So it always makes my day to hear from you! Here are just a few of your kind words. Thank you!
- ‘Thanks so much for this post! I loved it so much I printed it out and brought it along on our trip! We spent 3 nights in Yellowstone and saw most of what you listed. The boiling river was so cool! We wouldn’t have known about it without this blog. I bought a book for more details, but used this blog post to plan our daily itineraries.’ – Christina
- ‘Hello Jurga! I loved your post and itinerary! It convinced my husband that Portugal might be a great trip for our family next year…’ – Caroline
- ‘I saw your itinerary and booked up our tickets to Iceland…’ – Shirish
- ‘I have been visiting Garda for 7 years and done extensive exploring and struggled to find a helpful review as there so much out there, however this is the very best I have come across, well done this is so helpful in every way.’ – Stefan
A LOOK AHEAD
I am really excited about September! Yes, I will be taxi-mom again: driving up and down to school, soccer, sport and music lessons, organising birthday parties for my twins and forgetting my own, and juggling more things than I can handle…
But I will also be attending The Social Travel Summit, one of the leading events connecting travel industry with professional travel influencers. Here is what they say: ‘…50 leading influencers and content creators are hand-picked and invited specifically because of their individual skills and reach‘. I’m so honoured and thrilled to have been selected to attend! It’s a unique opportunity to meet some of the world’s leading travel brands, tourism boards, and bloggers.
In addition, I get to see some of the beautiful Tirol region in Austria! Can’t wait to share my experiences with you! Just tell me – what jacket does one pack for the Alps end September…
- Our cat is celebrating her 1 year anniversary with us. Well, she’s probably older than that, but who knows… It’s exactly a year ago that she came to our garden, and despite us traveling for long periods, she loyally comes back every single day. Some people adopt animals, this cat adopted us.
- We decided that it was high time for our kids to start learning English. My husband found a great language course, tailored especially for kids, and I have to say that I’m really impressed. Two days later they can already say a couple of sentences in English. It’s a BBC language course series that has a selection of 7 different languages (including Spanish, French, Italian, etc) – MuzzyBBC. It looks like a great way to learn a language for kids, so I thought I’d share it with you. Apparently, it’s a well known series, with countless awards, and thousands and thousands of kids who learned a foreign language with Muzzy.
- I am always so excited when kids have school holidays, as that is the only time we can travel as a family. But I am just as excited now that school finally starts tomorrow. Three boys together for 62 days – that’s more energy and fighting than anyone could cope with. But give me a month and I will be counting days till the next school break again! 🙂
- I almost booked a trip to Antarctica and Southern Ocean, and then changed my mind again. Kids have school when my dream trips depart… And if I am honest with myself – could they really handle such a long boat trip with nothing but endless ocean for days in a row… Or – even more honest – could we handle three bored kids on a boat… It’s a trip I have wanted to do for years, but traveling without my family isn’t fun either. Maybe one day we will find a possibility to do this together…
- My son managed to ‘can’ his finger at the Norwegian Canning Museum in Stavanger. The day after, he fell and knocked-out his loose tooth at a cafe in Florli. Another few days later he (mis)stepped into a mountain stream and got his pants and shoes soaking wet. When playing football last weekend, he managed to get another tooth out. And the worst is that we still had to drive to the dentist to remove yet another tooth which managed to survive all his efforts to get his mouth teeth-less for the new school year. And yes, all of this happened to the same boy in the same month. And to think that we have three like that…
What about you – how was your summer? And – what did you think of this roundup? Do you enjoy reading this, or should I just stick to writing more practical travel posts? And, any suggestions on how to name this series?
Thanks! x Jurga