Category Archives: Traveling in Europe

Oysters in Cancale

Cancale is a little fishing village between Saint Malo and Mont Saint Michel, at the Bay of Mont Saint Michel. Although the village offers a nice beach and great sailing and water sports opportunities, there is one main reason to visit Cancale: Oysters.

This is one of the most famous places in France for Oysters and if you are in the area, you should consider visiting to try some fresh Oysters. In travel guides the “market” at the Porte de la Houle is recommended and this is where you might want to go: one word of warning though: it´s not a “posh” market, but just some tents with fisher men and women selling Oysters. You will get a dozen for about 5-6 Euros and they will open the Oysters for you. Then you take a sit at the harbour wall, put some lemon sauce on your oyster, cut it through and get them down.

For beginners, like me, you might want to go with the smallest size and aim for half a dozen.

I liked them, but I am not really convinced about the hype about eating Oysters.

You can also get Oysters in every (literally!) restaurant at the harbour, if you want to eat them with more style and have some wine with them. You might also see french people, who have brought some wine with them to the harbour: also a great idea.

More pictures from Cancale can be found at our german speaking Blog, wundrig.at !

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A day at Mont Saint Michel

I am currently on vacation in Saint Malo, in the french region of Bretagne. One of the main touristic attractions of this region (and of France) is Mount Saint Michel, an old abbey set onto an Island in the Bay of Saint Michel.

You can visit Mont Saint Michel per car, or take, as we did, busses and trains – I do not advise to do so, as it was rather difficult to do so, as the french company, that organizes this (Ligne Baie) was not organised at all, and left people behind after the bus was full (and they were aware of that in the morning).

Mont Saint Michel itself is a gem and a great place to visit and I do advise everyone in the region to go to the place. You should not miss out on the Abbey on the top of the mountain, as it is the highlight of the visit. You will queue for some time, but after you entered the Abbey people will quickly disperse and it is a joy to be there.

You will have some excellent views over the bay and the rooms in the Abbey are interesting as well. We decided to not visit the other museums on the Mont and instead made a walk around the island during low tide, which was another highlight of the day.

Eating and drinking at Mont Saint Michel is something that can get rather costly, so you might consider to do it the “french way” . A lot of visitors from France had some sandwiches with them and were picnicking at some of the nicest places of the island: next time I will do this, too.

I am sorry about the lack of updates on heartlandeurope.com but as I am working as a journalist in Austria I decided to concentrate on my journalistic work in german. Moreover I run another travel blog in german, together with my wife, which consumes most of my times. She is a great photographer and if you want to see more pictures of our visit to Mont Saint Michel please visit our article at wundrig.at – “Ein Tag am Mont Saint Michel”. You can also find a lot more articles about our holidays in the Bretagne.

 

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A Romantic Rejuvenation in London

London is one of the most romantic destinations of Europe, where you will find boundless love flowing in air. To get a touch of healing romance in this city, you just need to know the right places to be, and right time when the magic is at its best in those spots. If you are bored of those same dinner and movie date combinations, the city of London is here to offer something even more exciting and romantic. It ranges from outdoor films, to drag nights, speed boat trips and clubbing in London. Try out something new and refreshing to get the feel of it.

A Romantic Rejuvenation in London

If you are considering a visit to this city with English promises, you will get a penny for thought over here: Continue reading

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Visiting the Magical City of Paris

Paris is truly a magical city, and considered to be one of the top destinations to visit in the world. Once you have travelled to this beautiful city, you will soon understand how people fall in love with Paris so easily.

Travellers have been journeying to Paris for centuries, and it attracts a vast array of different cultures, ages and religions.

There numerous exciting places to explore whilst in the city, and you will never tire of seeing the magnificent architecture, beautiful scenery and natural sights. Regardless of why you have chosen Paris, you will feel a sense of romance as you stroll through the quaint back streets. Love is considered to thrive throughout the city, and people fall in love with each other as well as Paris itself.
The city is a hive of activity; however, the people remain calm and laid back, which is fantastic for enjoying the culture. There are plenty of small coffee shops to sit and update your travel blog, as you enjoy the delicious patisseries and unique French coffee on offer. People watching is a favourite past time, and the people who live in the city are fascinating.

The buildings and monuments throughout Paris are incredible, and there are so many for you to explore and enjoy. The Eifel toweris of course the largest and most impressive of all the landmarks in Paris. You can enjoy the most spectacular sights from the top level of the tower, with a 360 degree view of the stunning architecture.

Paris Workout

The Arc de Triomphe is another incredible landmark, where you can again view the majority of the city. You may need to catch your breath after climbing the stairs; though the view is worth every step. Another, beautiful area of the city is the Rive Gauche district, which has remained untouched, and many artists travel to this area for inspiration.

The Musee D’Orsay is a beautiful building, which overlooks the River Seine, and houses some incredible pieces of art. Impressionist artists such as Van Gogh, Renoir, and Monet have pieces of art in this building. Once you have admired this stunning collection of art, you can easily join one of the river cruises.

The River Seine is mystical and offers an incredible views of the Eifel Tower and Notre Dame, there are both day and night cruises which are brilliant. The night cruise is perfect for a romantic evening meal, and an idyllic end to a fantastic day in Paris. Once you have tired of the landmarks and stunning buildings, you can enjoy the natural beauty in the parks.

Seine de la Tour Eiffel

Many people do not realize that there are several open spaces in Paris, which are the ideal place to stroll and have a picnic. The parks are incredibly popular with the workers in the city, and during the lunch period, they can become busy with people escaping the offices and boutiques. If you want to explore a structured park and garden, the formal Tuileries Gardens are ideal.

Set in the heart of Paris these gardens are stunning, highly maintained to ensure that they remain immaculate. The defined beds for the flowers, lush green lawns and elegant statues are typical Parisian. Shopping is another reason to visit Paris, and you will find a huge array of different shops, stores and boutiques on offer.

Article provided by Steve at Explore-Earth.co.uk

Thanks for this great article, Steve – great read!

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Start to bike season featuring pictures from Lake Garda

I had a really long ski season this year and therefore I started biking rather late, but at least I started. This reminded me of a great biking trip to Europes Mountainbike hotspot Lake Garda (North Coast) in May 2009.

going up

Going up is the hard part …

going down

going down is more fun … most times …

I wish all cyclists out there a great season without injuries!

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Austrian Cuisine – Maibock and other May Specialities

In todays issue of Austrian Cuisine I want to focus on dishes which are typical for May in Austria.

Maibock (deer) is the first deer you will get served in Austria during the year. This is because the hunting season starts at the beginning of May and traditionally the hunters try to shot some two year old deer, which will later be served as “Maibock”. After the rather poor food deer eats in Winter in spring they begin to eat fresh grass and herbs again and they start to gain some weight .

Maibock is traditionally served with vegetables who are very common in Spring, like spinach, green onions, chard or aspargus.

You should be careful when ordering Maibock – because in Bavaria its a very strong beer which is only brewed in May and if you confuse these two, you might spend an afternoon being drunk and hungry.

Aspargus is the other traditional dish in May – in the Marchfeld in Lower Austria there are huge fields of Aspargus and the markets and shops are full of it. You will get it with sauce hollandaise and potatoes, you will have it as a side dish with a Maibock (see above) or fish and some people also make salad out of it. Grüner Veltliner is my wine of choice with any Aspargus dish!

Asparagus (vegetable), served with Hollandaise...

Moreover in Austria we celebrate Mothers Day on the second Sunday of May – which will be this weekend. In my family there is the tradition that the kids prepare breakfast for Mum and also have some small gift (like flowers or something sweet). Other families do some trips and have lunch or dinner with the family. Restaurants and Cafes are generally very crowded, as a lot of Austrians celebrate Mothers Day outside of their home. So be prepared, that it might be very busy in restaurants on the second Sunday of May … reservations might be needed.

 

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A bright Royal Vacation – 4 Royal London Parks for Your Vacation

As I am currently very busy I am presenting you with another guest post. This time it is about the great parks you can visit. This post was written by Kate Smedley, thanks Kate, I love it!

 

London is one of the most densely populated cities in Europe, with its multicultural population, vibrant nightlife, ancient and modern tourist attractions and endless shops and restaurants. It also has a more reflective side to it too. You may be surprised to learn that England’s capital city also has over 5,000 acres of parkland, many of them considered to be Royal Parks.

Royal Parks were once the property of the English monarchy and used mainly for hunting land. As the population increased and the balance of political power shifted, the parks were given to the nation granting free access for all.

If London is on the list of possible destinations for this year’s senior class trips, take some time out at one of these Royal Parks:-

 

St James’s Park

Backing onto Buckingham Palace, St James’s Park was originally purchased from Eton College by Henry VIII. It was transformed into a zoo full of elephants, crocodiles and even camels when James I came to the throne in 1603. During the 17th and 18th century cows ambled through the park but today it is simply home to a vast troupe of ducks and wildfowl.

 

Green Park

Sandwiched between St James’s Park and Hyde Park, Green Park was originally used as a burial ground for deceased lepers from the nearby St James Hospital. In 1668 Charles II created a deer park, installing an ice house to provide ready made cool drinks in the summer. Composer Handel wrote Music for the Royal Fireworks especially for national celebrations held at Green Park during the 18th and 19th centuries. It was also a haunt of notorious highwaymen at the time. Today, Green Park is a typical city park ideal for picnics, joggers and sunbathing (weather permitting). A Bomber Command Memorial is also under construction, to commemorate the men of Bomber Command who lost their lives in the Second World War (over 55,000).

Regent’s Park  

Consisting of nearly 500 acres, Regent’s Park is also home to London Zoo. Originally a hunting ground for Henry VIII, it was transformed into an ornamental park by designer John Nash for the Prince Regent in the early 19th century. This inviting landscape is also a sporting center with diverse sports such as Australian Rules football, Ultimate Frisbee, boating, tennis and rounders played through the summer months.

Hyde Park

Originally another one of Henry VIII’s hunting parks, Hyde Park is the most famous Royal Park and at 350 acres, one of the largest.  The royal processional road alongside Hyde Park was built in 1689 and is now intriguingly named Rotten Row. Its famous Serpentine Lake was created by Queen Caroline in the 18th century, so called due to its snake like curves. Landsbury’s Lido – part of the lake – will host the swimming part of the Olympic triathlon in this summer’s Olympic Games. The Diana, Princess of Wales’ Memorial Fountain can also be found in Hyde Park.

Students heading to Florida for the forthcoming show America Sings! will also be inspired by this setting, legendary for its outdoor concerts. Over the years bands such as The Rolling Stones and The Red Hot Chili Peppers have entertained crowds here. Way back in 1976 rock legends Queen broke the attendance record with 150,000 fans attending a free outdoor concern (although the numbers were unofficially thought to be closer to 180,000). That’s a supersize crowd for sure!

Greenwich Park

Dating back to Roman times, Greenwich Park is part of the Greenwich World Heritage Site, and home to the Royal Observatory. Surprise, surprise, Henry VIII used Greenwich Park for hunting and introduced deer here back in the 16th Century. The deer remain in the park today and budding scientists may be interested to know that the Meridian Line which divides the world into western and eastern hemispheres passes through Greenwich Observatory at zero degrees longitude.

Further afield you’ll find other Royal Parks such as Richmond Park in Surrey and Bushy Park near to Hampton Court Palace. For visitors to England’s capital city, these historically fascinating places provide space to escape, reflect and learn.

Kate Smedley looks for senior class trips that offer learning for everyone.

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