I remember our summer vacations with our local friends in the province of Emilia Romagna, Italy. My family and I stayed with the Visani family in Cesena. We exchanged memorable experiences like cooking typical Italian meals and tasting local delicacies. We visited the local markets and bought products from the region. We also spend some lovely days on the beach. My brother and I soon learned our first Italian words.
Now, 20 years later, this way of travelling has been given a name: ‘social travel’ or ‘connect with the locals’. Having authentic experiences with local inhabitants is becoming a trend! It’s actually something similar to what we used to do with our Italian friends. Yet this time you don’t know your hosts. Also, you book an online experience. And you have to pay for the services the hosts provide.
‘Ik kan echt niet meer zonder!’ zeggen velen of men kruipt juist ineen met opgetrokken neus en lippen waarbij de afkeer van hun gezicht is af te lezen. Je houdt ervan of veracht het. Ik ben eigenlijk nog niemand tegengekomen die zich in het midden van dit spectrum begeeft. De sterke koffie die je tong streelt met de smaak van cacao moet je liggen. Het ligt ook aan de manier waarop je het zet. Zelf zet ik het op de authentieke manier met een traditioneel Vietnamees koffiefiltertje waardoor er wat drab in je kopje achterblijft. Echter, dit fenomeen verdwijnt als je het met een filterkoffieapparaat zet.
Na mijn reis door Vietnam begon mijn queeste naar het vinden van Vietnamese koffie in Nederland. Na maanden van speuren, vond ik via een Vietnamees restaurant een pakje koffie bij een Toko, maar dat was het. Verrekte lastig, vond ik het. Dan moest ik het zelf maar gaan aanbieden. En daarom heeft mijn twee maanden lange reis door Vietnam geresulteerd in het ontstaan van CaffeeNam.nl. Niet alleen ben ik verliefd geworden op het land, ook op de Vietnamese koffie. En al staat Vietnam op nummer twee op de wereldranglijst wat export van koffie betreft, deze koffie met cacao-achtige smaak is in Nederland nog maar op weinig plaatsen te verkrijgen. Daar wilde ik wat aan doen. En om die reden bied ik de koffie online aan, zodat deze nu landelijk te verkrijgen is voor alle Vietnamese koffieliefhebbers.
2014 has again been a splendid year full of amazing trips to different corners in the world. We enjoyed learning about new cultures, exploring amazing historic city’s, we treated ourselves with delicious exotic food and took a swim at the most stunning beaches. Looking back to last year’s travel adventures gives me a very happy feeling and I’m thankful for these wonderful experiences I was able to have.
I’ve been travelling for many years and I’ve certainly seen lots of beautiful places in various continents around the world. It’s not only breathtaking landscapes that captivated my heart and made me eager to travel more, yet also the fascinating cultures I’ve encountered, the culinary delights of several countries I’ve visited and the architectural gems, both contemporary and historical, that have truly inspired me.
Exactly one year ago I launched Orange Spots, a lifestyle and travel blog where I can share my most memorable travel experiences and inspiring photographs.
I think I’ve fallen in love with the Mekong Delta… I’m amazed by the beauty and peacefulness of the green rice fields, the colorful fruit plantations, the friendly people, the fantastic view on the Hau river, the amazing nature and let’s not forget the tasty food. I’d like to tell you more about the latter, given that food is not quite an unimportant thing to me 😉
Before we booked our boat trip to the floating markets and other highlights around Can Tho (Mekong Delta) we did some research on where to book and what kind of itinerary would fit us best. Many boat tours are offered by hotels and tour operators. These vary from a simple ride to Cai Rang market, till more extensive boat trips to places such as a noodle factory, Phong Dien floating market and visits to paddy fields and fruit plantations.
You’ve probably heard of the Mekong Delta. Maybe you read about it in history class when learning about the Vietnam war, and there’s a good chance you watched the movie Platoon where American soldiers cross the narrow rivers by boat in search for the Viet Cong. Last year I read a fantastic article about a boat cruise on the rivers of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. The report really inspired my imagination, I had to go there! I read about the beautiful green landscapes, the green paddy fields which are cultivated by farmers wearing the typical conical hats (nón lá), fruit gardens full of exotic fruits and the crisscross of rivers. Located in the deep south of Vietnam, this area is also known for the heartiness of people and its great food. I think there’s just no excuse to skip this area; it was definitely one of the highlights of my trip to Vietnam!
I’d like to take you on a journey through Vietnam. Discover the busy streets of Ho Chi Minh City, the exotic floating markets ‘Cai Rang’ and ‘Phon Dieng’ (Mekong Delta), beautiful beaches of Phu Quoc, breathtaking landscapes, Vietnam’s delicious food and much more.
The first time I had sushi, I went bananas. I loved the taste of soy sauce, combined with rice and tuna, salmon, avocado and fresh vegetables. These ingredients combined with nori (seaweed) made me discover a new world. A fan of the Japanese cuisine was born. This was my first experience with Asian food, other than Indonesian and Chinese. Then, years later, the first Vietnamese restaurant opened in Rotterdam, my home town. It was here that I first tasted Vietnamese food, and again, same as with Japanese food, I was overwhelmed by heavenly flavours I had never tasted before. I loved the combination of fish sauce with basic ingredients as mint, cilantro, and tasty marinated meat and fish. Since then, the Vietnamese cuisine is listed in my top 5 (1. Japanese, 2. Peruvian, 3. Thai food, 4. Italian). I couldn’t wait to travel to Vietnam to experience its authentic, fresh, healthy and savory food.
In March this year, I travelled to Vietnam for a round trip to different cities and regions, such as Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Noi, the island Phu Quoc, Mekong Delta and Hoi An. Before travelling to this beautiful country I thought the Vietnamese might be a bit reserved and less social than for example Thai people, which could be the consequence of the Vietnam war (1955-1975). My perception might also been influenced by stories from friends who have visited the country, or things I’ve read on blogs or magazines. However, I must say that after visiting different regions in Vietnam, my perception has completely changed. The Vietnamese might not be very outgoing, but they are definitely one of the loveliest people I have ever met! I can’t recall a trip where I’ve been touched so much by the people as during our stay in Vietnam, Mekong Delta in particular (countryside). The Vietnamese show interest to know about your culture and country and they want to make your stay as pleasant as possible. Also, I noticed that most Vietnamese are modest people and not yet corrupted by mass tourism.
The first day you arrive at your holiday destination is definitely the best, knowing that there are so many experiences ahead and many cool things to do. We are in Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City (later referred to as HCMC) and we are thrilled to explore the city and get immersed in the Vietnam experience we have been looking forward to for quite a long time!