Riquewihr, a picturesque village in Alsace

Welcome to Riquewihr, Alsace!

I was recently spending my weekend in Alsace, France.  Recommended by our friends we decided to drive to a little village called Riquewihr.  The Alsace area is famous for its Riesling wines and for no exception you can buy them also in many little shops in Riquewihr.  But that is not the only reason to visit this picturesque village, the old town attracts visitors with its many little shops and restaurants, old tiny streets and beautiful buildings in full colours, everything that you need to nourish your body and mind. When in Alsace, I would recommend visiting Riquewihr, I think these pictures tell why…

Beautiful flowers in Riquewihr, France

At the heart of Riquewihr, France

Rainy day in Riquewihr, Alsace, France

Little interior shop in Riquewihr, France

Buying Riesling in Riquewihr, Alsace

Wine shopping in Riquewihr, Alsace

Riquewihr vineyards

 

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Weekend escape to Burgundy

This is chic!

Sometimes we like to do things spontaneously. And this was one of those escapes better not to plan in advance. We saw in a travel magazine an article about Burgundy, the well known French wine region with excellent restaurants and got an idea to try one of the praised restaurants. We called the place on Friday evening and managed to get a table – three stars waiting for us in Joigny, a little village I haven’t even heard before.  A closer look at the map revealed that we have over 500 km ahead of us!

Wine Shop - La Boutique Des Domaines

Wine bottles

In the village

DrinksOn our way on Saturday we visited picturesque Burgundy villages with little wine stores and lovely restaurants offering French specialities.  Closer to evening we reached our final destination, restaurant La Côte Saint Jacques in Joigny. The village was empty, there was almost no-one around. We had our drinks on the hotel’s terrace looking over the quiet river. It was perfect way of relaxing after driving the whole day.

La Côte Saint Jacques in Joigny, France

The food in the restaurant was amazing, as you would expect from tree stars. I had asparagus with morels and snails as a starter and guinea fowl as a main course – both beautifully served. The food was excellent, but the real experience was their five courses surprise desert, as you can see from my pictures.  The restaurant itself may have rather boring interior, but the food was excellent – well worth of driving over 6 hours.

La Côte Saint Jacques in Joigny - starter with aspargus with morrels and snails

La Côte Saint Jacques - main course with guineafowl

La Côte Saint Jacques - little desert

La Côte Saint Jacques - desert 1

La Côte Saint Jacques - desert 2

La Côte Saint Jacques - desert 3

La Côte Saint Jacques - desert 4

La Côte Saint Jacques - desert 5

Before checking out from the hotel – which was also very nice, we had their state-of-art breakfast. With a traditional idea of breakfast in mind, but delivered through an innovative setting this was a great enhancement to our stay.

La Côte Saint Jacques - breakfast

Vosne Romanee, BurgundyOn Sunday morning we decided to visit see some vineyards and drive around Burgundy area before returning back to home. As you may know one of the most famous French wines are from this region and it is also a home for many of the most expensive ones in the world.  The highlight of our visit was a little walk around Vosne-Romanée, a stunning wine village where the region’s most celebrated wines are being produced.

Visiting Chablis Wines

Visiting Burgundy

Wine shopping in Burgundy

Vosne-Romanee vineyard map, Burgundy, France

Rue de la Tache, Vosne-Romanee, Burgundy, France 

Vineyards in Vosne-Romanee

Vineyards in Vosne-Romanee

As I love castles, we needed to make a quick visit to this beautiful castle before driving the other 500 km back to home.

Castle with vineyards

My tips for Burgundy:

Vosne-Romanee little wine shopThe destination restaurant and hotel: 
La Côte Saint Jacques in Joigny

Where to visit:
– Dijon
– Besancon
– Vosne-Romanée
– And any little village in the area…
– The little vineyards selling their own products

Travel year 2011: My top 10 destinations

St. Moritz - skiing in the Swiss Alps

Happy New Year 2012!! For me the year 2011 was a great year of travel. I visited over 20 different destinations, discovered new places and returned to many of my favourite ones. This post is a collection of my top 10 travel destinations in 2011.

1. Travelling around Yunnan province and Tibetan plateau in China
Ringha, China

related blog post

2. First time in Hong Kong
Hong Kong by night
related the blog post

3. A day trip to Macau
Macau

related blog post

4. My friends’ wedding in Athens, and first time in Acropolis
Acropolis, Athens

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5. Discovering the Austrian Alps in Lech and St. Anton
Austrian Alps St. Anton, Austria

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6. Wellness holiday in Kamalaya, Koh Samui (despite of eight rainy days)
Kamalay resort, Koh Samui, Thailand

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7. Culinary trip to Paris
L'Ami Louis, Paris

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8. Mini holiday in Palma de Mallorca
Palma de Mallorca - Weekend destination

9. Hiking in the Swiss Alps in autumn: Murgtal
Murgsee - walks in Switzerland

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10. Mysterious Grand Hotel Orologio and why it was closed?
Grand hotel Orologio, Abano Terme, Italy

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Where to travel in 2012?
I also started collecting some travel ideas for 2012. There are so many interesting places I would like to visit, but I think these are quite on the top of my list:

The best of Swiss Alps – Hiking in Sattel

Hiking in Sattel, Switzerland

Crossing the Europe’s longest suspension bridge

Switzerland offers a countless number of trekking routes across the country, and I try to explore something new every year. Few weeks ago I was hiking in Sattel, which is located in Kanton Schwyz about 30 minutes drive from Zurich.

Hiking view from 1'600m in Sattel

I am always amazed by the beauty of Switzerland. Wherever I go, the landscape is always stunning – and Sattel was no exception. With great choice of well-marked walks through unspoiled nature, Sattel-Hochstuckli region is a destination for the whole family.

Skywalk in Sattel - the longest suspension bridge in Europe

The revolving Gondola “Stuckli Rondo” takes you up to the hill, where you can start your day by discovering 374 meters of “skywalk”, the longest foot suspension bridge in Europe hanging at a height of 58 meters above the valley below. The view is stunning already from the bridge, and climbing up the hills will reward you with plenty of breathtaking panorama spots to take your best hiking photos.

Hiking Swiss Alps - Sattel

Sattel hike in Switzerland

 

Swiss cows in the Alps

The hills are also a home to cute Swiss cows, which, I am sure, are the most happiest in the world. They look like they have no stress at all…

Sattel Toboggan run - Swiss walking holidays

 600 meters long toboggan run is a great way to finish your day!

Discovering the Swiss Alps: Murgsee

Murgsee hiking travel 

An alpine hike with stunning lake views and waterfalls

Murgsee round trip: I think I found today one of the most beautiful day hike destinations you can discover while exploring the Swiss Alps. Murgrsee round tour takes you through the protected Swiss pine forest reserve to the three Murg lakes located in a quiet mountain valley, and then further along a stunning mountain path back to the starting point.

The round route is about 14km and it takes about 4-5 hours. During the first three hours you need to climb up from 1’100m to 1’985m, but the rest of the route is relatively easy. It is a good hiking challenge with beautiful nature and plenty of waterfalls…

Here are my best hiking photos:


The first waterfall

Murgsee walk in Switzerland
Alpine hiking with the best views

Murgrese - trekking the Alps
Me trying to climb up the hill

Murgsee walk - alpine lake
Small alpine lake on our way back

Murgsee hike - waterfalls hiking
One more waterfall next to the hiking route

Murgsee - walks in Switzerland
Swiss Alps in autumn costume

Murgsee waterfall
One more waterfall…

How to get to there?
Drive the motorway Zurich-Chur and take the Murg exit in Walensee. Then follow the signs to Murgtal. It is a very tiny road, so don’t get confused. You can leave your car to a small parking space in Merlen, where the round walk starts. Remember to take a parking ticket in the gate entrance – the parking is CHF 10,- for one day.

Related links:
See also my other favourie hikes in Switzerland

A day trip from Zurich to Lindau

Visiting Lindau in Germany

Lindau, Germany: One of the best things of living in Switzerland is how easy it is to travel to all beautiful places. Few weeks ago we decided to make a day trip to Bodensee (Lake Constance) and visit the beautiful island of Lindau, which located in South of Germany, less than two hours drive from Zurich.

Lindau old town, Bodensee, Germany

Lindau in pictures - the most scenic places in the world

The island is very picturesque with its beautiful old town overlooking the lake. There are also many interesting little shops as well as plenty of restaurants and cafes to visit.  The best way to spend your evening is as the locals do; having a picnic by the lake and watching the beautiful sunset…

Lindau, Bodensee, Germany

Lindau sunset, one of the most beautiful views over Bodensee

Lindau by night

Stunning sunset in Lindau, Bodensee, Germany

Lindau sunset by Bodensee

Island of Lindau by night

Two amazing cities: Hong Kong and Macau

Hong Kong

Hong Kong: We stayed the last few days of our travel in Hong Kong. This was my first time there, and the city was even more exciting I could have ever imagined. I loved the busy city life, the enormous amount of good Asian and international restaurants and the international atmosphere.  And shopping, Hong Kong is probably one of the world’s best places for shopping.

The weather was very humid and hot during the days, but much more pleasant in the evenings. And whenever it was getting too warm, it was just another good excuse to pop in the air-conditioned stores and shopping malls.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

The city wakes up for the night. Hong Kong has one of the most beautiful skylines. The tall buildings are greeting the visitors by their dazzling lights. One of the best places to watch the sun going down is the rooftop bar at the ICC tower. You can’t get much higher in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong by night

Hong Kong

Macau: For one day we made a ferry trip to Macau, the former Portuguese colony, which today is the world’s biggest gambling paradise, bigger than Las Vegas. The ferry takes about an hour – super class tickets recommended for a more comfortable travel – after which you need to wait almost another hour to get through the customs. But at least you are rewarded with a nice stamp to your passport.

Macao Ferry

Wynn Macau

Macau

The visit to Macao was very interesting. I have never seen as many casinos before; every one of them bigger than the other. And for those, like me, who has no interest at all in gambling, there is still plenty to see and experience. The casinos are huge shopping malls with all the brands you can imagine in addition to many restaurants and bars. It is easy to spend a whole day just by exploring the shops and eating out.

Maco inside the Venetian Casino

Tree show at Venetian Casino

My favourite place was the terrace of Four Seasons. They have probably the best afternoon tea in Macau. Sitting outside in a shade, sipping my tea and enjoying the mild breeze from the sea was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon before returning back to home.