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

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.

Window shopping in Paris

Paris, France: Paris is one of my favourite cities in Europe. I love walking around different areas and watching the shop windows. There are so many beautiful little boutiques and local shops with most fascinating window decorations. I have collected in this post some of the beautiful windows I saw when walking around the city.

 window shopping in Paris

window shopping in Paris

Traditional bakery in Paris

Beautiful candles in Paris

La Maison de Brune, Paris

Jaime Mascaro Shoes, Paris

My First Day at Kamalaya

Kamalaya, Koh Samui, Thailand

Kamalaya, Koh Samui, Thailand: I arrived Kamalaya at lunch time yesterday, and today is my first full day at the resort. Despite of almost continuous pouring rain and heavy clouds on the sky, I have had a great stay by this far.

Kamalaya is a holistic wellness and spa resort located in Koh Samui, Thailand. It offers healthy lifestyle, exercises, healing therapies, relaxation and nutritious cuisine in beautiful surroundings looking over the Gulf of Thailand. The resort is built around a cave temple, which once served Buddhist monks as a place of meditative retreat, and is now providing an inspiring ambience for this place.

I started my morning with 1,5 hours Kundalini Yoga thought by Siri Anand with passion and insight. Kundalini is a yoga of awareness with powerful breathing and varied movements followed by a deep, mind clearing meditation. I am not sure if this is really my style of yoga, but it made a good start for the day.

After awaking my appetite with some exercises, I had a healthy breakfast with some detoxifying juices, fruits and buckwheat pancakes with blueberry and raspberry toppings. All of them very delicious. The lunch menu looked mouth-watering too and I decided to try some detox dishes, having cucumber and melon salad with pumpkin seeds as a starter and green vegetables soup as a main course.

In the afternoon I enjoyed a vital essence oil massage in an open-air room listening to the rain drops dancing with the light wind. And while the rain was having a break, I made a short walk on the beach to enjoy some fresh air.  

Now it is time to go to the stretching class after which it will be dinner time.

TheBodyHoliday – the wellness and sport retreat in St. Lucia

Spa villa, TheBodHoliday, St. Lucia
Once a year I need an ultimate healthy holiday, and I like visiting in different wellness resorts. TheBodyHoliday in St. Lucia (Caribbean) offers a great variety of sport activities, healthy food and daily spa treatments, all-inclusive. I did 4-5 hours sports every day including yoga, pilates, aqua fit, fitness classes and much more… A week of exercises gives you a new boost for the year.

Relaxing, TheBodyHoliday, St. LuciaWhat I liked the most in TheBodyholiday retreat?
TheBodyHoliday has absolutely great sport programme. It is one of the bests I know offering an enormous variety of activities every day. The list includes Fitness Classes, Personal Training, Water Sports, Scuba, Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Tennis, Archery, Golf… you name it! And the classes varies from beginners to more advanced, there are definitively something for everyone. You can plan your own day, choose your programme and go which ever classes you want. After a week you clearly notice the difference.

Click here to read more about my week in TheBodyHoliday.

Gridlon – an idyllic wellness hotel in Pettneu, near St. Anton

Hotel Gridlon Pettneu St. Anton AustriaPettneu – St. Anton, Austria: Looking for a nice hotel in St. Anton area? We stayed in this lovely alpine style hotel called Gridlon, which is located in a village of Pettneu, next to St. Anton. The hotel is quiet and very charming. They have nice dining facilities, a small bar, a spa and sauna area, good ski room facilities and a free shuttle bus service to the ski lifts in the morning and return in the afternoon. This place is a perfect choice for an idyllic stay near St. Anton.

We had a spacious room with two bedrooms, balcony and a view towards the mountain peaks. As I was travelling with my two cats, I highly appreciated the friendliness of the hotel personnel and they great flexibility with accommodating my little pet princesses. This place has definitively a “can do” mentality!

The hotel offers half-board with enormous breakfast that keeps you going until late lunch. Their afternoon tea with delicious home-made apple pie, which you can enjoy next to the fire place is also definitively worth to mention. It warms you after full day of fresh air and makes a perfect break before heading for the dinner, which is also included.

Click here to vist the hotel Gridlon’s website for more information