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A Holy Week in Andalusia (this is not KKK)

Happy Easter to everyone! Last week I stayed in several towns in Spain’s deep south. Wherever I went, I came across Easter processions, accompanied by brass bands, incense and floats with wooden Bible images. But the thing that impressed me the most were los Nazarenos, men and woman dressed in robes with pointy heads in different colors. But let’s make it clear: this has absolutely no connection with the old American extremist group KKK. These are just Catholics who are having the time of their lives, because Semana Santa or Holy Week is in Spain guaranteed to be a big party!

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Cours Julien, Marseilles hipster and street art quarter

Most of the tourist that are heading to this Mediterranean city, will just see some main tourist attractions near the old harbor. And that’s a shame, because next to the bustling Noailles quarter is the quarter Cours Julien. Where street art, a fantastic bar and restaurant culture and multicultural street scenery are blending together. Let’s go to a southern French bohemian neighborhood! Continue reading “Cours Julien, Marseilles hipster and street art quarter”

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Marseille off the beaten track: La Friche la Belle de Mai

The main tourist attractions of this southern French sea port are well known, so let’s focus on one of her hidden gems. La Friche la Belle de Mai is located several kilometers outside the city center and has a lot to offer. This former tobacco factory has been transformed into a cultural complex with a skate park, some stunning street art, several bars, a playground for children, an art gallery and much more.  Continue reading “Marseille off the beaten track: La Friche la Belle de Mai”

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Holland off the beaten track: Enschede

Although all the hidden gems of The Netherlands seems to be discovered, the eastern town Enschede remains as a well kept secret. In this city you won’t find just old industry and working class districts, but you might encounter here some stunning urban renovation, a Rijksmuseum and even the ugliest building in this North Sea country. Continue reading “Holland off the beaten track: Enschede”

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Zipaquirá: an unknown amazing city center

Zipaquirá is one hour north of Bogotá. Almost all tourists go straight ahead to a salt cathedral and forget to visit the city center. And that is shame, because this is a calm oasis near a city of eight million. Why should you consider visiting Zipaquirá’s center? Because of its beauty, coffee, Indigenous market and tranquility.  Continue reading “Zipaquirá: an unknown amazing city center”

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Popayán and Silvia: Indigenous presence in South Colombia

South America’s northernmost country is famous for its multi ethnic society. Less known is the inhabitance of its Indigenous cultures. The Guambiano culture for example, inhabits the southern department Cauca. You can meet this culture in Popayán, the so-called Colombia’s white town because the main color of the houses is white, and in Silvia, where a big market is held every Tuesday. Continue reading “Popayán and Silvia: Indigenous presence in South Colombia”

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Cali is a hot and surprising metropolis

The world already knows Bogotá and Medellín, but Colombia has another jewel: Cali, the so-called world capital of salsa music. But this big city isn’t just salsa, because it has a lot to offer: old streets, always a hot climate and stunning street art. Several years ago, this town was full of cars. But recently a highway has been replaced by a pedestrian zone and the number of cyclists is increasing.  Continue reading “Cali is a hot and surprising metropolis”

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How to quickly improve your Spanish skills?

This was a serious issue for me last year. As part-time traveller through Spain and Latin America, I needed a development of my knowledge and skills in Spanish. After failing somewhat during Spanish classes in my hometown and due to a lack of opportunities to practise this language, I decided to take an in-depth immersion in the language of Garcia Márquez. For one month, the Colombian town Medellín became my home and after four weeks I literally felt part of the local Paisa community. And… I was even able to think and dream in Spanish! Continue reading “How to quickly improve your Spanish skills?”

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Colombia off the beaten track: Charalá

Imagine an old tiny town with cobblestone roads, full of memories of fighting for South American independance and surrounded by 27 different waterfalls. Here, adolescents are still children and adults learn their children to swim in the rivers. At night people can sleep with their front doors open. This place is not the imaginary Shangri-La or Shambala, but Charalá in Colombia. Or Chalala, according to the Guane, a local pre-columbian culture.  Continue reading “Colombia off the beaten track: Charalá”

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School in Medellín barrio gives students a chance

This month I’m staying in the city of eternal spring to explore how this once violent city has transformed into an innovative city. So far, I’ve visited the city districts Trece de Noviembre and La Sierra, where local government has already been able to make severe changes. Today I’m going to visit a school in the La Cruz district. Something very different, yet in the streets and through the big classroom windows we can see hope on the horizon. Continue reading “School in Medellín barrio gives students a chance”

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Medellín: de tram der streetart

Niet enkel de hoogstgelegen wijken in de Colombiaanse wereldstad kregen de jongste jaren een facelift, ook de weg er naar toe onderging een hele mooie metamorfose. De Ayachucho, of Calle 49, kreeg een futuristische en geruisloze tram om mensen naar de kabelbanen te brengen en werd opgesmukt met graffiti tot een waar openluchtmuseum. Een kleine fotoreportage. Continue reading “Medellín: de tram der streetart”

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De revival van La Sierra in Medellín

Zo’n 13 jaar geleden zette de geweldsdocumentaire La Sierra het westelijk halfrond in rep en roer. Maar het geweld dat deze wijk ooit teisterde, maakt stilaan ruimte voor rust en trots. De voorbije jaren kreeg La Sierra één van de mooiste speelpleinen, scholen en kabelbaanstations van de stad van de eeuwige lente. Met een groep mensen gingen we op verkenning en we kregen een heel ander beeld dan dat de documentaire de wereld destijds liet zien. Continue reading “De revival van La Sierra in Medellín”

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Colombia off the beaten track: Jericó

Afgelopen weekend verruilde ik de hectische stad even voor het rustige dorp Jericó, op een steenworp (nou, eigenlijk drie uur rijden) van Medellín. Ook al kleedde ik me low profile in de stijl van de locals (zwarte broek, wit t-shirt en sombrero), toch werd ik heel vaak aangestaard en aangesproken. Het was dan ook erg gezellig. Ik kon in dit cowboydorp veel fotograferen.  Continue reading “Colombia off the beaten track: Jericó”

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Vernieuwing in de barrios van Medellín

Tot voor kort stonden sommige wijken, of barrios, van Medellín niet goed bekend. Maar het tij is aan het keren door enorme infrastructurele ingrepen. Volkswijken, waar de arme mensen wonen, worden met kabelbanen verbonden met het centrum, en krijgen de mooiste parken, sportvelden en culturele centra. Een fotoreportage vanuit de hoger gelegen wijken van de paisa metropool. Continue reading “Vernieuwing in de barrios van Medellín”

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Colombia is paradijs voor straatfotografie

De afgelopen twee maanden reisde ik door Panama en Colombia. Met name het land van Shakira en Juanes kon mij op fotografisch vlak enorm bekoren. Zelfs in de kleinste stadjes en dorpjes krioelt het van de mensen, voertuigen en dieren. En dat in een schitterend decor van kleurrijke huizen. Vandaag een straatfotografiereportage van het dorp Filandia in de Eje Cafetero, de koffieregio bij Pereira.

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Dwalen door de comuna’s van Medellín

De afgelopen twee maanden reisde ik door Panama en Colombia. In de stad Medellín bezocht ik de volkswijk Comuna 13. Nog niet zo lang geleden was dit de tweede gevaarlijkste wijk ter wereld. Ondertussen is het tij gekeerd en vind je hier de enige publieke roltrap ter wereld, schitterende graffiti, een wandelboulevard met uitzicht en vooral spelende kinderen. En niet onbelangrijk… Er komen zelfs toeristen, politici en stedenbouwkundigen kijken naar de veranderende wijk.  Continue reading “Dwalen door de comuna’s van Medellín”