Tag Archives: family trip

A birthday experience: cakes and more.

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For my birthday this year I wanted a new family experience around something we all love. And that is easy to choose. We are all into cakes and making a cake by learning from a French pâtissier in France sounded just right.

I chose Atelier de Yann in Colmar, Alsace. It is a multi concept store: boutique factory, tea time, ateliers de patisserie, opened in 2015 by Yann Navarro, maitre pâtissier, chocolatier. And it was a perfect choice. The first word which came to my mind to describe this place and the service is i m p e c a b l e from the registration to the class to the unboxing of the products of our hands at home. I am very happy to note how client-oriented are the owner and staff, something of a gem in France. I notice it when I encounter it. I am grateful that they adapted to the presence of my kid, in a workshop otherwise designed for adults. In fairness, she has better self-management and dexterity than many adults I know.

The class was conducted by Yann, the owner of the place. We navigated through the stages of the Succès Pistache & Framboises, under his patient and humble guidance. We all felt at ease with maneuvering, matching and spoiling, tasting and mixing, taste and quantity balancing, regardless of the age and level of baking skills. Now the pastry bag has no more secrets from me. I also loved that we could each manifest our own creativity at the decorating stage without being bound by French pastry rigors. And there are many.

We left with a sense of great satisfaction as all our questions were answered with the clarity of a great master and the generosity of the host manifested tiny yet significant details of the true hospitality.

It inspired us to share the experience with friends over a cup of coffee. No that we could not devour the three cakes at once.

We will no doubt come back for more and warmly recommend this temple of nurturing the love for French pastry, with our best wishes of success and prosperity to Yann and his team! If I would award Michelin stars, one would certainly go to Atelier de Yann.

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Thank you, Netherlands!

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on our first night in Amsterdam we had dinner at Rianna & friends in Czaar Peter neighbourhood. It was close to her closing hours, yet she fed us. The home-made meals were delicious: carrot soup with ginger, rice with chicken and pineapple and lasagna. We tasted the Texels beer from her home town. Rianna, the owner, shared her story and ho she became a cafe owner and cook after her career as a nurse and in healthcare management. She enlightened our evening with her sunny personality and shared tips about places to see and things to do in the neighbourhood and the city. Thank you, Rianna! We also came back for her coffee one morning – a flavour rich coffee – served with Rianna’s warm and sunny smile. Check out https://riannaenfriends.nl/

Amsterdam was a reminder to me. someone smart said “you do not get to choose your childhood, but you get to choose your second childhood”. I became a child in the land of wonders at Nemo science museum. Running mesmerised from one experiment to another up to the roof, keeping the pace with my kid, was wonderful! I warmly recommend it to families visiting Amsterdam.

Artis – the zoo – is another wonderful spot to explore during an afternoon and admire the plants and animals. Baby elephant and baby giraffe, butterflies and the aquarium were the highlights of our visit.

if you want to understand more about how this nation developed, then the Maritime Museum is a must. The virtual reality experience on the replica of a Dutch boat is awesome.

Amsterdam has many things to offer and “Believe it or not” is another thing to discover with your little curious ones. It is home to the world-famous Ripley’s collection of wonders from all over the world.

We also loved the Amsterdam Hermitage and its inner courtyard. It hosted the Three Graces expo. We also learned about Amsterdam’s influence on Peter the Great and his subsequent development plans for the Russian flotilla and the city he built – Sankt-Petersburg.

A canal cruise with a young and fun captain – blue eyes included – was another highlight to see the city from a local perspective.

What I loved most about the Royal Palace was the square in front of it: a place for all kind of street artists to display their art and perform their shows. The inside of the palace is worth a visit: it seemed the least opulent of the royal palaces we visited.

Tropen Museum was a wonderful experience. It is humbling to see how Dutch present their colonial past: with acknowledgement and respect for all who felt the taste of their swords and bullets. The museum had a special exposition to experience Morocco. All visitors got passports with Moroccan visas, got “on board” and “descended” in Casablanca to stroll on improvised Moroccan streets.

We also ventured on seaside to Enkhuizen – a lovely town with an open air museum to see and experience the life of its inhabitants as it was 200 years ago. We get to craft and to taste the sea – the smoked herring was delicious. We also put our feet into the Nord Sea – unusually well-behaved that day.

Amsterdam has a museum for almost anything from bags to cats, prostitution and marijuana, art and diamonds. It also has plenty of outdoor places to see. For a sunny day, we chose Oosterpark and fed the ducks and pigeons. The Botanical Garden is also a beautiful destination: you get to be in two different climates inside the tropical greenhouse and outside in the open by the canal. The coffee and lunch at the Botanical Garden is delicious. The only downsize is that only visitors can benefit.

Back to our museums track, we popped in the Diamonds Museum and discovered why Amsterdam is called the city of diamonds. I am convinced now, I do not need a crown. I had my doubts.

We skipped the Rijks Museum this time and spent some time in its gardens and playful fountain.

Roof top dinner is a must in all my trips, so we tried The Kitchen in de Bijenkorf on pur last day and it was very pleasant. We said good buy to this wonderful city of joy, tolerance and freedom. I know now where do French go for the “Liberte” in their trinity of beliefs 🙂

How Haut Koenigsbourg fortress lost it to Monkeys Mountain

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Not literally, of course.

1 May. Labour Day. France. Family trip plan to one of most famous fortresses in Alsace: Haut Koenigsbourg. Incited by 1 May invitations “all – to the fortresses” which invaded Facebook, I bought the train tickets Strasbourg-Selestat on-line the evening before. They are polite, the French railway: tickets for itineraries offered on line are guaranteed strike-free.

The next morning, Labour Day lesson 1: no buses or trams. They expect you to know that. Especially, after some years one lives in France. So, we do some “kilomètres de solidarité” to the railway station. Some celebrate the Labour Day. Some have to labour it.

The train is on time and we get to Selestat. Labour Day lesson 2: read the small script. The navette driver announces that of all castles only Haut Koenigsbourg is closed today, as he heard himself this morning on radio. I open the facebook event on Alsace castles, click couple of pop-up sites to finally get to the text in small letters: Haut Koenigsbourg is closed today. Merci beaucoup!

The driver’s entrepreneurial spirit comes to rescue. He tells us about La Montagne des Singes on the same itinerary and offers not to charge the kid for the trip.

20 minutes latter we are there, meeting the loveliest creatures. Sorry, Haut Koenigsbourg you lost it to monkeys this time. Without even a battle 😉

Time spent there was lovely: we fed them with pop corn distributed by the park’s employees

watched baby monkeys playing

witnessed a love story

and learned how to stay zen even when surrounded by hoards of curios visitors

Merci Monaco

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Merci Monaco

for an immersion into pure warm Summer and Sun filled days with feet spoiled by the freshness of the sea 

Yoga on sunrise on my balcony

the fun of feeding birds on the beach

the hilarous coffee drinking pidgeons, when waiters and customers were not looking. They were quick- managed no picture :). No prints. No proof 😉

letting us discover the other you up the mountain 

the gorgeous Japanese garden, where all has a meaning of itsown and the city noise resigns in front of the serene spirit of stone lamps

a little trip to Africa in the Le Jardin de la Petite Afrique

a special vanille monegasque-framboise macaron. 

snacks at Costa, the royal supplier; and its unforgetful pecan cookies

the walks on your old city narrow streets

the cuteness of fish at the Oceanographic museum. And for getting to know a bit more about our impact on oceans and your turtles saving project. 


a special cafe gourmand

getting lost in multiple passages and the joy of finding our way just around the corner

the generosity of plant growers, offering baby-plants to anyone wanting one  

Le Meridien Hotel, where we felt at home and treated royally. 

A bientôt! 

Merci Mont Sainte Odile

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Merci Mont Sainte Odile

for the superb view over the Alsacian plain, colored by Autumn in all of its splendor, 

an unique artefact, a sundial built in the 18th century,

The 3 legendary limetrees – a favourite picture place for visitors, some taking time to meditate inside its trunk 

A walk in the forest dressed in Autumn colours


A travel in time to the taste of my grandmother’s bread

A moment of gratitude prayer 

An out-door lunch in great strangers company 

Family time: a walk in the park

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Pourtales Park is at 10 minute bus ride from my home. Yet, our busyness kept it miles away. So one Sunday morning on a beautiful September day, we made it. What a lovely discovery! 

The Palace made it through wars and was reinvented and rescued with private investment by Dr. Leibrecht and his family. It is a hotel and an events venue today. 

The Park’s trails take you to places with surprises. Thanks to my kid’s previous school trip, we knwe what to look for. But it is also fun if you just walk and let the Park reveal itself. Portales: a place where nature meets art. 
  

Thank you Munich

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Thank you Munich

for your rainy-sunny late August days,

a pleasant walk in your zoo

the wonders of the Deutsches Museum, where we learned by playing about science and progress, from mining to astronomy:

your biggest public park in Europe: the English Gartden of Munchen where you can watch surfers, have a beer next to a Chinese Tour, enjoy a ride in a 100 year old carousel or just enjoy a walk