Category Archives: travel

La vie de chateau

Crossing the Loir Valley with all the memorable medieval and renaissance chateaux of the area around the river, was definitely one of the best parts of my roadtrip.

Highlights:
The gardens and the labyrinth at Chateau de Chenonceau are competing in beauty the main building with the arches
and the lush rooms.
The black mourning bedroom of Louise of Lorraine was enchanting, decorated with feathers (from the old French word “penne”, meaning sorrow), silver tears, grave-diggers shovels, widows’ cordons and crowns of thorns after her husbands assassination.
The local methode champenoise is the best sparkling wine outside Champagne.
Cheese again and again. I think I’ve tried every type of chevre that exists out there.
The duck salad at Le pot de Lapin.
Breathtaking view from the castle of Chinon.
The painteresque medieval town of Saumur, built by the river, and its charming chateau.
The countryside and the routes alongside the Loir river is something that cannot be missed.

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Belle-ile en Mer

Τhe most remote and Western part I visited in France was this small island in Brittany, where the ocean meets the sky for ever and nothing stands between Europe and America but water. Belle-ile en Mer is a quiet paradise
for those who love nature and the wild face of the Atlantic.
Highlights:
The seafοod is absolutely amazing. Oysters and clams and crabs and fish. And vegetables and chevre. Everyday.
Port-Cotton: Where the sea water smashes fifty meters below your feet roaring and charging on the rocks, turning into a velvet foam that climbs to the ground. Every burden is blown away by the winds, that only herbs and seagulls can abide. Undefined nostalgia, food for the soul.
The weather: In three minutes time the summer sun may disappear and the water becomes silver while a storm straight from the atlantic is on its way.
The low tide lets you walk on the sea bed. Literally. Water recedes living boats, seaweed, clams and medusas lying on the sand.
Hydrangeas are big like trees but not as pretty as the wild flowers in the woods.
I’ve never seen anything like that night sky.

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On the road

From Aix en Provence to Cahors and Bordeaux:
Aix is unexpectedly pretty. The Musee Granet hosts a magnificent permanent collection, as well as the temporary collection “Cezanne et la Modernite”  in collaboration with the Pearlman Institution until October, dedicated to impressionism and post-impressionism artists.
Shopping: Intimoda boutique
Loved “L’ epicerie” restaurant at Place des trois ormeaux. I tried the fillet de boef Rossini and the lemon tart,
absolutely delish.
The area around Bordeaux is known for -what else- wines. A couple of wine tasting strolls were on my menu.
Small village Cahors is world wide known for its fine Malbec. Pilgrimage shells are found all around, showing the way.
More wine tasting at Bordeaux. Fine food e v e r y w h e r e. Fresh pasta and tons of prosciutto at “Chez Peppone”.
I felt that small at Dune du Pilat: Europe’s largest dune is located at Arcachon and it’s spectacular.

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From Italy with love

Currently on a roadtrip that started with a 24h boat trip from Greece to Ancona.
First stop: Florence.
Highlights & tips:
The trip is long and the boats are no cruise ships, so be well prepared.
Florence, as you well know, is a small jewel, a live museum throughout its extent.
Don’t miss the green, red and white italian marble facade and the duomo of Santa Maria del Fiore.
The Uffizi Gallery, that hosts treasures of the Renaissance, like Botticelli’ s Birth of Venus and Spring.
Try a negroni or a glass of prosecco at the veranda of Hotel Lugarno by the river, right before sunset.
Late dinner at Osteria dell’Olio, excellent wines and Tuscan plates.
Fine stationery and smart gifts at Parione.
One of the best Bisteca Fiorentina is that at Trattoria 4 Leoni that my Florence based friend Haritini recommended, as well as the ravioli stuffed with pear cream and cheese.
Not to be missed: La Officina Profumo Farmaceutica Santa Maria di Novella, a post about this 16th century perfume legend is on the way.

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