For me one of the main advantages of living in the heart of Europe has always been the accessibility of all those world famous foods and drinks you can only buy in the gourmet supermarkets back home: Belgian beer, French and Italian wine, Swiss cheese, watches and chocolate, Bavarian beer and sausages are just a few of those things reachable in only a couple of hours by car from our home. Since moving to Stuttgart more than 3 years ago, Champagne has always been on my bucket list. I could very clearly imagine myself driving from one small winery to the other, sipping bubbly and feeling very special being exactly there – in the area where all champagne in the world comes from (coming back home with a trunk full of champagne was, of course, also part of that dream)!
To split our 500 km drive to Champagne into two shorter legs we made a stop in Nancy, former capital of Lorraine province in France. We have never been in Nancy before and didn’t expect much at all, but spent very enjoyable couple of hours in this friendly city and would definitely recommend to anyone as a stop during a bigger France loop or as a day-trip if you are in the area. Just arrived, studying old city map.
May 11th, 20123 Comments, ANIMALS, CITIES, THAILAND, by Masha.
Cooking classes, hill tribe villages and elephant trekking made it to the “must do” lists of thousands of tourists coming to Chiang Mai every year. Everyone wants to learn how to cook a tom yam, see a long-neck woman and get a picture with an elephant. The choice is impressive – tens (or hundreds?) of tiny travel agencies on every corner offer all sorts of activities from 1-day trips to longer term tailored tours. Standard package: elephant ride, elephant show, bamboo rafting, visit to the Karen Long Neck village packed into one day, transportation and lunch included. Sounds good and time-efficient? We decided to dig deeper and collect more information to make sure the place we go to is really the best. Couple of hours in front of our laptop and two bottles of cold Chang later we knew, where we were heading for the most authentic elephant experience.
Here we are – in Bangkok! After 6 weeks in China and 1 week in Hong-Kong/Macau, ready to absorb new culture, new traditions, try new food, meet new people. At that moment we didn’t know how our time in Thailand was going to be, but one thing we knew for sure from the first hours – it smelled so good!
China is for sure an interesting country to explore, but who could nowadays live without Facebook for too long?! So were we – looking forward to cross the border to the bustling and free Hong Kong and afterwards to the neighbouring Macau, probably the most European looking city in Asia we visited.
October 31st, 20112 Comments, CHINA, CITIES, LANDSCAPES, by Masha.
At rock concerts the biggest stars always come at the very end. During our China adventure it happened exactly the same. Three most beautiful places (in our own hit parade) came closer to the end of our time there: Lijiang – excellently preserved ancient town Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces – masterpiece of Chinese farming Li River – one of the most charming natural landscapes we have ever seen
October 7th, 2011No Comments, CHINA, CITIES, PEOPLE, by Masha.
From the start of our trip we decided to skip Tibet for the time being. It takes time to get there, travelling permit is a hassle and the fact, that you have to go with an organised trip, also take quite a lot of money. However, it was very tempting to get close to it. The only possible way to do it without actually crossing the border to the “forbidden” province is a bus trip on a Sichuan-Tibet Highway. We opted for the southern route going via Kangding, Litang, Xiangcheng and Shangri-la. This trip took 4-5 days and was a perfect way to get the taste of the Tibetan culture.
Meeting pandas was one of my dreams, if not from childhood (at that time I probably didn’t know much about them), but for sure for the last couple of years. This dream came true in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province.
Our next destination in China was Xian, home to the eighth wonder of the world – Army of Terracota Warriors.