October 14th, 2014


One of the best things about Pairi Daiza is its attention to details in maintaining the integrity and authenticity of the worlds it tries to represent.


In each region you can find the indigenous animals as well as architectural representations, and a window into its art and culture:


The garden’s charm is in all the quirky things like a downed airplane (which reminds me of one of my favorite books, Le Petit Prince) in the hyena section:


If you get a chance to come out to Belgium, spare a full day for Pairi Daiza. Enjoy all the sights and sounds it has to offer…


but most of all, bring comfortable shoes. At some point your feet will still feel tired even when you’re sitting down!


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October 10th, 2014



The slogan for Pairi Daiza is Un jardin des Mondes and the brilliant landscaping designs of this world garden definitely lives up to that motto as they take you on a trip around the globe…



from China (La Cité des Immortels)…


to Indonesia (Le Royaume de Ganesha)…


to Africa or home of the Big Five (La Terre des Origines) which they do in fact have on the reserve (lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino, and leopard)…


to Australia…


and back to the Valley of the Source (La Vallée de la Source) which is the tribute to the medieval history of the abbey…



Thanks for staying with me through such a long post but it’s hard to cover every aspect of this beautiful place with just a few photos. I’ll leave you here for now on one the many suspension bridges in the Immortal City and pick up with final shots in the next post before we head out to another city in the real world.

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October 5th, 2014



As much as I would prefer to encounter animals of all species roaming in the wild as opposed to being paraded around in captivity, for me this visit to Pairi Daiza was a real treat of seeing and touching some animals that I would otherwise only get to see on TV or in magazines.


In Part Two of our visit to Pairi Daiza, we’ll trade our feathered friends for the four-legged kinds:


Some day I’ll see these kings and queens in their home turf…


And on another adventure I’ll get to ride these elevators once more…



instead of just petting them:


If I had a spirit animal I would like to think it would be something as graceful as a giraffe or a wild mustang, but in reality I think the hyper-freak-out energy of these prairie dogs is more akin to me (sigh)–though I do wish I had their metabolism as well:


But amidst all the eye candy here, the main attraction is really beyond this cave:


I don’t know if this guy in a bamboo-induced food coma is Hao Hao or Xing Hui…


but what I do know is the magic of a giant panda that can make a crowd, ranging in age from 2 to 82, break out in applause and pure, utter joy just from waking up from his slumber:


If only it were this easy to counter our current world problems with some panda magic dust.



Next entry we’ll explore the other face of Pairi Daiza.

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October 3rd, 2014


In old Persian pairi daiza means closed garden, an early reference to the idea of paradise. In today’s entry I’m taking you on a photographic escape into Pairi Daiza, a private 140-acre zoo/botanical garden in the Hainaut province of Belgium. This place was once a sanctuary of a different kind, a Cistercian abbey–Abbaye de Cambron to be exact:


In Part One of our visit, it’s all about the feathers…


Is there anything more magnificent than an eagle’s wingspan?


And what about this guy with the killer legwear (reminds me of the ornate McQueen feathered gowns)?


The best part about this place is some interaction that’s allowed between visitors and residents. After a few hours of wandering through paradise, I’m thinking it’s really not so odd to walk a pelican…


More to come in the next post, but it’s going to be pretty hard to beat petting something this velvety soft:


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September 22nd, 2014


I’m not much of an outdoors person, and I would fare much better in a concrete jungle than the one filled with foliage and bugs. And yet, the most rewarding trips to me are usually nature related. Maybe just the sense of surviving a whole day without checking my email is a feat in itself.

But back to where I left you last… so after lunch our group drives to another village still in the Hautes Fagnes area, where we trade our aching feet in for pedals:


It’s a different kind of work on your feet (and butt) when you pedal a rail bike as opposed to just walking. You can go as fast as you want (assuming there’s not too much traffic ahead of you) or take it easy and really take in the sights and sounds around you…


Needless to say, I pedal like a crazy person running a race of one. As much as I appreciate the clean air and all, I’m always in a hurry to see what’s waiting at the end of the destination. In this case, our day leads to wine tasting in Verviers,


followed by a heavy, heavy meal…


I crawl out of bed the next morning, my knees and shin splints killing me. Did I forget to mention that we had a bit of a collision on the rail bikes at some point the day before? I didn’t exactly fall out of the bike (completely) but I think my knees and legs did make contact with the rail. Ouch. But when in pain, what do I do? I try to walk it off. I’m still thirty minutes too early for the breakfast meeting so I tour the grounds of the huge hotel…


and for a few minutes my pain is distracted by a collection of these classic cars in the front parking lot:


Hands down, this is my favorite:


Well, this city girl is heading back to the concrete jungle. Change is coming to this blog so there may be a lag in my next few posts, but Paris is on my horizon so I promise to make the eye candy worth your patience!

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