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
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.
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
for your revigorating spa at Caracalla Therme. It made me remember a soviet time childhood motto: Ветер, солнце и вода наши лучшие друзья* 🙂 overwise served with a very present sense of German order and structure. Helpful in particular when an all-smiles octogenarian crosses the nude-clothed areas as if at home 🙂 under the priceless looks of ladies of his age 🙂
a first experience of swimming under the rain. “Swimming” in my case case is more of a “comme le fer a repasser” (an ironing machine) 🙂 as Mme Francois, my neighbour-patissiere, puts it.
my muscles fever and a reminder that i have them and they need regular exercise,
a very nice Alte Laterne hotel team. They made us feel at home.
a special dinner at Garibaldi Restaurant with many authentic Italian flavours.
an excellent Russian speaking guide at the Faberge Museum. It was our first encounter with Faberge and the 1,5 cm Easter egg with a rabbit inside was most impressive. As were the first and last Easter eggs made by Faberge for the Russian crown. The Museum has also a small but impressive collection of gold jewelry from all over the world and a lovely small garden with the sculpture of a gigantic rabbit.
very pleasant evening walks along the “Lichtentaler Allee” and the little cascades of the Oos stream, with a busy ducks traffic.
a show of old-meets-new with the 19th century railway station transformed into a concert hall.
your many and diverse children playgrounds. A must in our case.
Only an hour by bus from Strasbourg – thanks FlixBus- Baden Baden gained a spot on my list of places to comeback to for a shot of relaxation and recovery.
* wind, Sun and water are our best friends.
What a lovely Sunday discovery!
A foggy uninviting weather forecast was proved wrong by the shiny Place Stanislas (Stanisław Square). It is one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. Hotel de Ville opens for visitors on weekends. The view from its balcony is a sort of royal-eye delight.
Untill 6 November, Place Stanislas will be beautified by a garden, a tribute from the city to their Duke, the Polish King Stanisław I Leszczyński .
Stanislas was a plants-lover and a duke gardener. Parc de la Pepiniere is one of his creations. Not literally. By his will, rather. It is a noisy place these days though. Toussaints school vacation time. To kids delight, it is occupied by a shiny-sparkly-noisy entertainment park. The Park is also a home to a small zoo. Its inhabitants – rabbits, monkeys, goats, ducks and swans – are not seemingly bothered by the carousels noise.
One of the Park’s alley took us to Charles de Gaulle square. To the right we discovered the proud Duke’s Palace, transformed into a museum.
Its inside court is worth a pick.
The visit to the Aquatic Museum was like a tour into exotic seas. Colours and shapes will satisfy little ones curiosity. Taking time to read explanations is gratifying. I learned a couple of new facts about sea inhabitants.
For lunch, we chose Michelangelo restaurant on Place Stanislas. Italian cuisine and a kids menu drew our attention. The place is spacious. Its visitors range from seniours to families with young kids. The food was good, tasty and authentic. For a few seconds my Summer memories of Emilia-Romagna resurrected. Kudos to the Chef and his team. Two hours later, Amorino, another Italian place, satisfied our sweet tooth.