Autumn escape to Lake Como

Boutique hotel Villa Vittoria Lake Como, Italy

It may not have been the most obvious time of the year to travel to Lake Como in late October, but it was a good choice. No crowds anywhere, just some locals walking around, it was so quiet and beautiful. Many of the restaurants were already closed after the busy summer season, but some of them still remained opened over the weekends offering delicious Italian food and wines.

Lake Como in autumn colours in October

Hotel Relais Villa Vittoria lake como, ItalyAll the little villages around the lake were shining in autumn colours under the autumn sun. The temperature was a bit above +20C degrees, so rather ok compared to many other European destinations at this time of the year.

We stayed in a lovely boutique Hotel Relais Villa Vittoria, which looks over the Lake Como. We managed to book our room just a night before our arrival, and we really enjoyed our stay in this charming place. The service is friendly, a bit like staying someone’s gorgeous holiday home. I hope we can return here next year again…

Villa Vittoria, your living room at Lake Como

Relais Villa Vittoria, Lake Como - living room

Reception Villa Vittoria Lake Como

Pool at Villa Vittoria Lake Como

Lake Como in autumn colours

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

related blog post

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

related blog post

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

related blog post

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:

Autumn hiking in Niederurnen

Hikes in Switzerland - Niederurner Tali

The best mountain view over Walensee

Little Gondola on to the bergstationNiederurnen, Switzerland: Today was a beautiful Sunday, sun was shining from the blue sky and the weather was perfect for hiking; not too warm and not too cold. We decided to explore the Walensee area a bit more and climbed up from 980m to Hirzli berg which is 1’640m above sea level. The climbing was maybe a bit exhausting and took some good 1,5 hours, but the view from the top was worth it. This is probably the best view over the Walensee you could imagine – and you don’t really have to share this experience with many other tourists.

Autumn colours in the Swiss Alps

The view from the top is amazing – you can see the autumn colours around Walensee. And as you can see, we climbed to reach the snow…

The best hiking view over Walensee

Swiss alps in autumn costume

Swiss hiking in Niederurnen in autumn

The autumn colours were at their bests under the alpine sun.

Swiss walks - discovering Niederurnen

After about three hours hiking, we were finally back to the valley. There was a bit of snow on the shadow side of the mountains, and it looked very pretty.

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

Where to go in October?

Autumn Colours in the Swiss Alps in October

Swiss Alps, Konstanz and Bahrain…

Where to travel in October? Autumn is arriving in Europe and the nature is shining in the most beautiful autumn colours, so this is definitively a good time to explore mountain resorts in the Swiss Alps. It is also a good time to visit Middle East, while the weather is getting cooler…

Experience the autumn colours: hiking in the Swiss Alps
October is the best time of the year to experience the autumn colours in the Swiss Alps. Yellow, Orange, Gold, Green and in all shades – the most beautiful palette the nature can offer…

Kalusenpass - Hiking in Autumn in Switzerland
Klausenpass in autumn costume

Flumserberg Lake Seealpen - Hiking in Switzerland
Flumserberg – Hiking around Lake Seealpen

Hoch-Ybrig autumn hiking in Switzerland
Hoch-Ybrig with autumn colours

Hoch Ybrig - hiking in autumn
View from the top in Hoch Ybrig – so beautiful!

Hoch Ybrig signs
Where to walk?

Autumn Colours in Hoch Ybrig
I love these colours…

This is the list of my favourite hikes in the Switzerland.

Shopping in Konstanz by Lake Constance
The small idyllic town of Konstanz, just next to the Swiss border is a great place to make a day visit from Zurich and benefit some great shopping. You can also visit some of the idyllic little cafes having a break with most delicious cakes, bakeries and homemade ice creams.

A day trip from Zuricj to Konstanz

Sunshine in Bahrain
And if the autumn is getting too cold in Europe, Middle East offers enjoyable warm weather. Discover the exotic Bahrain in the style of 1001 nights… We stayed in the beautiful Banyan Tree Al Areen resort in Bahrain.

Bahrain sky line
This is Bahrain… The first view from the plane.

In villa Pool Banyan Tree Al Areen
Banyan Tree Al Areen

Restaurant Saffron Banyan Tree Al Areen
Restaurant Saffron in Banyan Tree Bahrain

Saffron Banyan Tree Al Areen
Banyan Tree Al Areen