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Planning a wedding is a big deal; planning a destination wedding overseas makes it an even bigger one.
Posted in Travel and Tourism on November 3, 2 Comments ». After somehow tearing ourselves away from Perros-Guirec this still seems like a mistake. Why did we ever leave?
Why I am not there at this exact moment, eating galettes and going for bracing daily swims? Nowadays, it is also a major transportation hub, on the TGV line from Paris and with a port that welcomes British ferries and many, many British tourists. After the tranquility of Perros-Guirec, it was a jarring change to suddenly be surrounded by so many rather obnoxious travellers.
So, I did the only reasonable thing: after checking into our AirBnB within the walled city, I hopped the boat to Dinard, a resort town just across the estuary from Saint-Malo. One of the main reasons I wanted to go to Brittany was to explore the GR34 walking trail that follows the coastline. Starting off with the beautiful 3 hour walk from Dinard to Saint-Malo was a great way to stretch my legs after a morning spent travelling and escape the daytripping crowds in Saint-Malo.
The next day, there was yet again more walking. We caught the bus the public transportation around Saint-Malo was excellent! It was a stunning trail, with lots of variety and some extraordinarily beautiful points jutting out into the ocean. This part of France is full of reminders of the Second World War, which, as a history buff, I found fascinating.
Brittany had a strong resistance movement and there are tributes to the Maquis in many villages. For a break from the sea, we spent the next day exploring the charmingly picturesque village of Dinan further inland. We visited on a Monday, when most of the shops are closed, so we missed the tourist crowds that are usually there are enjoyed having the quiet, beautiful streets largely to ourselves.
I did, although it may not sound like it, also spend some time inside the walls in Saint-Malo. Read Full Post ». Posted in Travel and Tourism on August 18, 9 Comments ». Despite growing up with plenty of exposure to all things French, I have never been a Francophile.
My holiday dreams have always looked further east, to central Europe, or north, to the UK. But the one area of France that has always captured my imagination is Brittany. Being a true Vancouverite, nothing could be more enticing to me than the promise of rain and people who share my love of it. It was time to go to France.
It turned out to be the perfect destination especially since it was so easy to add Giverny to the itinerary as well. For a relaxing approach, we chose two different towns to stay in, each for four nights.
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We started in Perros-Guirec and it quickly became one of my favourite places I have ever been. We had perfect weather no Breton rain for me on this trip! After a long travel day from Giverny via Pariswe arrived in Perros-Guirec in the late afternoon to find the locals taking a dip in the surprisingly warm ocean.
For water lovers, this was an excellent first. As we talked to people throughout our stay, we discovered that the Perros-Guirec sex chat absolutley free apparently stays quite warm year-round and many locals swim — or at least walk in up to mid-thigh or waist, doing companionable strolls through the sea with friends — each day. Such a life! We had no vigorous agenda for our stay — just lots of walking and relaxation. The entire day was stunning. The next day we took a taxi to Port Blanc and walked back to Perros-Guirec from there about 16km.
Most guidebooks recommend a car for Brittany and I can see why — the public transit is pretty dire in some regions — but we got along quite well without one. One of the most enjoyable things was chatting to our taxi driver we had the same one take us to Port Blanc as had picked us up in Lannion and brought us to Perros-Guirec on our first day and learning about his love of the region and what had brought him there.
Not surprisingly, you get a lot more out of a destination when you can speak to the locals!
Then we went for a dip in the ocean, just as warm as the locals had promised it would be! And the food, as you would expect in France, was excellent. We ate some delicious galettes and had a marvelous dinner in town, but mostly we enjoyed simple picnics with stunning views, both on our walks and for dinner.
Our hotel room had a terrace with a sea view where my mother and I would retreat with some wine and food in the evenings and congratulate ourselves on the excellent decision making that had brought us to Perros-Guirec. All in all, it was a spectacular destination.
Not only was the scenery extraordinary and the walking wonderfully easy along well-maintained trails, but the entire region was pristine. Everything was so clean — the water, the forests, the buildings — and the diversity of wildlife was fantastic.
Bretons are proud of the natural beauty of their region and work hard to keep it that way, as well they should. As much as I love my mountain holidays, Perros-Guirec has me convinced that seaside escapes are just as restorative, especially out of peak season. Within day-trip distance of Paris, the tiny village of Giverny explodes during the day as tourist arrive, filling the gardens and the village with garden-lovers from all over the world, only to contract again in the evening to a sleepy place where only two restaurants are open.
I started my trip this year in Giverny, going there directly after landing in Paris where I connected with my mother who had started her trip a week earlier in the Czech Republic.
After airports and airplanes, it was such a relief to walk through fields and be surrounded by flowers, fresh air, and, delightfully, cows. I love being able to match my reading to my holiday destination and this was the perfect choice. Stopping to see the family grave in the small cemetery, all the names of his family members meant so much more to me because of what I learned about them in the book.
The next morning, with our pre-purchased tickets in hard, we showed up at the gardens right at opening time. We strolled around the water garden devoid of water lilies in mid-Mayposed on the wisteria-laden Japanese bridge for the ubiquitous photos, and enjoyed the general calm of the gardens before too many others arrived.
We then made our way to the gardens surrounding the house, where row upon row of irises were in full bloom. There was a light mist of rain that morning, which made the vivid blues and purples of the irises stand out more than they would have in full sun. Iris are one of my favourite flowers so, for me, this was absolutely the perfect time to have visited the gardens.
I absolutely loved staying in Giverny for two nights and not having to rush about like the many day trippers we saw visiting, who seemed too worried about catching their buses and making it to their next destination to enjoy the many small charms of the village.
It was such a pleasure to be able to see everything in a relaxed manner, especially after so many years of looking forward to visiting.
8-time award winner terry lewis
And it set the laid-back tone for the rest of our time in France, when we left the following morning for the stunning Brittany coast. Posted in Travel and Tourism on December 9, 18 Comments ». Life is getting very Christmas-y around here.
But as the year draws to an end, I am also reminded that I never shared any photos from my trip to Germany and Austria in the autumn. We my mother and I flew directly from Vancouver to Munich and arrived during the first weekend of Oktoberfest. We only passed through the city enroute to Austria but there is nothing like being surrounded by hundreds of people all dressed in lederhosen and dirndls to help put you in the holiday mood.
We spent 5 days there hiking and enjoying the beautiful scenery, and it was spectacular. I would go back in a heartbeat.
We had ideal late September weather — if anything it was a little too hot — and the hoards of summer visitors had thinned out to just retired German tourists and us. It was perfect.
Regretfully, we eventually tore ourselves away and headed to Germany. We spent the next few days based in Stuttgart, which proved unexpectedly delightful. We would go out and spend the days exploring the suburbs and local hills and then come back to the city to enjoy the festival in the evening, taking advantage of the food stalls to enjoy a glass of local wine and some of the regional delicacies for our dinners.
We were in Stuttgart over the weekend and on the Saturday we took the local commuter train to the suburb of Esslingen. We had a lovely morning strolling about, enjoying the market and especially enjoying the wine bar at Kessler Sekt.
It was a popular stop for everyone after the market and the crowd overflowed from the courtyard out into the street.
I am not sure I have ever found a better definition of civilized life than friends and families drinking sparkling wine in the streets on a sunny Saturday morning, with children running around and babies dozing in their strollers. Suburban life in Germany always looks good to me but this was particularly idyllic. From Stuttgart, we headed to Heidelberg. My mother has wanted to visit ever since her university days, when her German professor was forever reminiscing about the city where he had studied.
It felt overrun with tourists compared to where we had come from. Heidelberg, on the other hand, felt tailored for visitors rather than locals. Even worse, there was a football match taking place that had pulled in huge crowds of English fans. There were local police stationed near every sports bar and Irish pub in town, looking confused by the rowdy public drunkenness of these visitors.
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There were a of them on our train the next morning and they were certainly in a great deal of pain by that point. But the city was beautiful and I would not be at all averse if someone wanted to gift me one of the villas down along the river. From Heidelberg, we went south, back to my beloved Freiburg. This was my 3rd time in the city and the first time I had entirely good weather. Freiburg is a vibrant university town and a wonderful base for exploring the Black Forest.
We went on some beautiful hikes in the nearby hills but also just enjoyed the city, with its lovely twisting streets, excellent shopping, and laid back atmosphere. It was the perfect place to end the trip. I popped over to Victoria this weekend for a mini summer holiday. It only lasted from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon but it was a wonderful break and incorporated all the things I love about going to Victoria: stunning island scenery from the ferry, amazing floral displays at Butchart Gardens, excellent food in Victoria, and, of course, fabulous book shopping.