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This is not a travel guide,
it's just our stories and our journeys.
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Right after the school bell rang for the last time and school was out for the summer we started packing our bags and drove off the very next day to the French coast in Normandy.
We had booked a bungalow in a small holiday domain by 'Pierre et Vacances' in Houlgate. The cottage was quite spacious, but only because we had booked a 3 bedroom cottage for 8 people even though we were only 5 plus dog.
The surroundings of the cottages were great: well kept green areas and wonderful flowers, bushes and trees all around. The domain was a bit off the centre, but still feasible to walk to the beach, shops and restaurants (if you're not afraid of a steep return route).
The heated swimming pool was great and the kids have been to the pool daily.
Unfortunately the state of dilapidation and cleanliness of our cottage were not at the top. I immediately informed the receptionist of some things that were broken and the condition of the cottage. Unfortunately during our whole stay nobody took care of any of the listed points or repaired something. On the day of our departure I addressed to the same receptionist again. I also send an e-mail with pictures to the manager, but am still waiting for an answer . . . .
I had not told the kids yet, but we were going to attend on that evening an NBA basketball game:
NY Knicks v. Detroit Pistons
Madison Square Garden.
As MSG was literally only around the block of our hotel, it was easy to access and easy to return back at the hotel afterwards.
There was no excessive queuing, security check went smoothly and we located and accessed our seats without any hassle.
We were seated in section 225 row 1 and had a great view. Unfortunately, food was mediocre at best and of course overpriced as well as the tickets in general, but I consider this a 'once in a lifetime experience' never to be forgotten and was therefor willing to pay these prices for a family of 5!
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Wednesday started with blue sky and great spring temperatures. After breakfast at GastroBar©35 at the hotel we headed west direction Hudson Yards (new development project) to reach the HIGH LINE.
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We arrived thus on a Monday afternoon after a highly pleasant flight, took a cab just outside the terminal and headed to the hotel.
We checked in and went to our room to get installed and have a short break. We decided for an early dinner and gave the GastroBar©35 at the hotel a try.
Afterwards we explored the surroundings and walked around the neighbouring blocks seeing Madison Square Garden, Empire State Building, Macy's, Broadway and much much more .....
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From April 8th to 16th 2019 we have been on an awesome trip to NYC with the kids.
Unfortunately since we returned from NYC I have been quite busy as I accepted to replace a colleague in Kindergarten who is in maternity leave and I had lot's of stuff to prepare and get my mind into the right 'kindergarten gear'.
Right now thus, the kids and I are off for one week and I want to share finally some more details of this awesome trip.
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Bevor ich weitere tägliche Berichte unserer Irland Tour schreibe, dachte ich, es sei interessant die Eckdaten und weitere Infos übersichtlich in einem Post zu veröffentlichen.
Auf der Karte von google maps habe ich alle unsere Stops und die gesamte Route eingetragen.
English version - - > follow this link !
Details und Infos zur Reise findet ihr hier unten:
Before posting more daily reports about our adventures on our Ireland roadtrip, I thought it would be fun to share some facts and figures ... and much more.
On this map by google, you can see the complete route which we covered.
Glencarrig Farmhouse B&B is the perfect spot for exploring Loop Head Peninsula.
It's located just outside Carrigaholt, so it's perfect too if you wanna go on a dolphin watch sailing, on a fishing trip with the owner Luke or spend a day at Kilkee beach, wich is only about 10 km away.
The B&B is nice and cozy, only the bathrooms are a bit dated, but that's nothing that bothers me generally as long as everything's clean.
After we spend a pleasant night in Limerick, had a yummy breakfast and visited the city by walking and walking some more, we hopped into our Qashqai and headed west again.
distance: 100 km
route: about 1 hour 50 min
I had hoped I could keep up with blogging during our round trip through Ireland, but it soon became clear that there was no time left for blogging.
So, with a little delay...here comes the first blog about our round trip through parts of Ireland.
Ten days ago, we left for Dublin, flights had been booked, most of the hotels / B&Bs too and I had an itinerary and places in mind I wanted to see and show the kids.
Our baby girl was quite excited the week prior to our departure, as this was the kid's first flight ever. The boys' excitement started only to show the same day than we left.
Fortunately our plane left only at 11:40 am, so we didn't have to start the day in a hurry and leave home in early morning hours.
We arrived in Dublin around 1:00 p.m after a pleasant flight and nice first experience above clouds for the kids.
To me it had been something special too as this had been my first time on a plane in 11 years. I do remember well my last flight in June 2007, as it was back then, after returning from TT @ IOM that we found out I was pregnant with our eldest son.
After a nice evening and yummy dinner at the 'Kloosterbrasserie de Kanunnik' , a good nights sleep and awesome breakfast, we were ready to explore GAIA ZOO in Kerkrade - Limburg - Netherlands.
Usually, I don't visit zoos, nor circuses, but as I was looking for a nice place to visit with the kids and since I don't like rollercoasters a.s.o, I though I'd give GAIA ZOO a try.
My husband had been 'kidnapped' by his wife and kids !
Friday June 22nd was actually his 45th birthday. It had all been organized and arranged, and our dear Daddy didn't have a clue and the kids had kept the secret so I was taking the family on a short trip for the weekend.
So, on Friday evening, when my husband returned from work, I asked him to take his jacket, his pair of sneakers and to get in the car.
By then, he only imagined that we had planned something for the evening, but still ignored that his birthday celebration was going to last the complete weekend.
So 140 km, 110 minutes and three countries* later we arrived at the Abdij Rolduc in Kerkrade - south Limburg - Netherlands.
*yes indeed we rode from northern Luxembourg through
parts of Belgium, then Germany to arrive in the Netherlands
On the first weekend of our two weeks school break in early April, we went on a short trip to Belgium, more precisely to Dinant and Bomal.
Though Dinant might be a known city, Bomal certainly is less famous.
We have been to this area exactly a year ago when I wanted to discover Durbuy.
As back then I did not find any suitable or reasonably priced accommodation for 2 adults and 3 kids in Durbuy, I searched the internet and that's how I found 'de Dennenheuvel' or in French 'Mont des Pins' near Bomal, where we stayed last year as well as this year though.
Dinant was a city I also had heard of so I wanted to visit Dinant this year.
I booked a hotel for the first night in Dinant, and for the second night again in 'De Dennenheuvel' where we had stayed the previous year.
Dinant is thus mostly know as the hometown of Adolphe Sax, the father of all saxophones.
I had a lovely day out with the kids today.
If you’re looking for fine cuisine, don’t go there for lunch, but if you’re looking for a nice family lunch with kids, Cornelys Haff in Heinerscheid (Northern Luxembourg) is a great place to be.
Service was great and staff goodhumoured.
There’s a spacious parking and lots of space for the kids to move around as well as a little theme playground.
Great place to start or end a biking or hiking tour or to stop by for a little break on the sunny terrace for a nice beer brewed at Cornelys Haff, a yummy homemade tart with coffee or an ice cream.
Cornelys Haff which actually means 'Cornelius farm' has a long history and has been totally renovated in 1990. They do also host some quaint rooms, reasonably priced, and as mentioned above: the brewery of the local beer 'Ourdaller'.
Ostfriesisch für Anfänger !
. . . ist der Titel eines Filmes von 2016 mit Dieter Hallervorden in der Hauptrolle.
Ich habe dies als Aufhänger gewählt, denn neun Wochen Sommerferien sind nun zu Ende, da ist es endlich an der Zeit über unsere letzten Ostfriesland Erlebnisse zu berichten.
Strasbourg had already been on my bucket list for some time, and we've already been there with the boys years ago, but past December when I tried to organise a family trip it was impossible to find accommodation on short term notice for five person, so this idea was postponed . . . . until a few days ago.
I checked availabilities on internet past Friday, booked the hotel room on Saturday, got the train tickets on Monday and off we went to Strasbourg by Tuesday.
Sunday we had a bbq with friends and I spontaneously asked the Mother of two if she would like to join us on our short trip and after rapidly checking train fares and hotel availability, she agreed.
So on Tuesday morning two Moms and five kids got in a car and drove to the railway station to catch a train to Strasbourg.
In early July I had shared a blog post called 'kismet, my friend, it's kismet'.
This earlier post was about the beginning of a friendship between two mothers, two women.
It was about Yasmin and it was about me.
On June 16th, when Yasmin and I had met to chat and have a coffee in nearby town, she said that she would love to see Paris once before she'd die.
Certainly, most of you will think, where the heck is Durbuy, Barvaux or Bomal?
Well, these are two villages and one city located in Belgian 'Province du Luxembourg' only a bit more than a one hour drive from our home, so this was our destination for Easter Weekend.
Ok, this blog entry comes late . . . very very late . . . I know !
First, it was on hold, because during the first subsequent weeks to this trip but I couldn't find the right motivation to write about it, and then it simply slipped out of my mind.
The positive thing about that: at least I didn't get upset anymore about this 'failed trip'.
Fortunately, from a distance now I would say 'it was a great trip - just as our family trips always are' !
I really hope you enjoy the nice pictures and the story of our latest trip to Paris.
Ok, let me tell you this right straight away:
traveling with kids is tiring, exhausting, expensive and stressful,
but it's above all
full of surprises
bonding between parents and kids
and it's feasible
Maastricht is only a 90 minutes drive from our home, so it's a perfect destination for a day-trip with the kids.
It's located on the southern End of the Netherlands and is one of the oldest cities of the country.
Maastricht has an impressive historical background having served as roman post, developed to a medieval fortified city to become an early industrial city in early 19th century.
I am restless . . .
I want to travel . . .
I want to move . . .
Following your dreams
keeps your spirit and soul alive.
Gasthaus Riedboden - BEATENBERG
our favorite place to eat
. . . and the winner is:
We went there for dinner twice, and unfortunately it was fully booked on our last evenig, otherwise we would have made it three.
I won't talk to much: great food, great staff, great prices, little playground, bunnies, great view . . . .what more to say ?
You absolutely have to go there and you'll be delighted.
The owners Brigitte and Markus Jaun take a great interest in their guests, and leave their beloved kitchen on each service to enquire personally on each table about their guests well-being.
They do also have standard rooms, family rooms and even group accommodation for up to 10 p. per room.
Please give it a try!
Vegetarian selection on the menu.
culture, history, , shopping and more shopping....
you'll find everything you need in Bastogne....
Bastogne is a historical town in the Belgian Ardennes, on the borders of Luxembourg, well known for it's part in the Battle of the Bulge in WWII. Nowadays Bastogne is a lively town with plenty of shops (also opened on Sundays), a big market each second Saturday and lots of brasseries, restaurants and cafés to delight the gourmet visitors.
Kings Cross Inn was the third hotel I had booked for my weekend stay in London.
As I was leaving fom Kings Cross / St Pancras Int. Station on Monday morning that was the best option.
The hotel is situated just opposite of Kings Cross / St.Pancras Int. and easy to find.
I was surprised to find out at check in that wifi was not included, but this was my misunderstanding, as I saw afterwards that this is clearly mentioned on their website (£2 for 1 hour and £20 for unlimited use).
The receptionist was not very friendly, but hey...
I payed about £65 for a double room ensuite for single use, without breakfast or wifi.
Saturday I checked in at London City Hotel (Borough) but after nearly 22km (14mi) of walking through London I was too tired to blog.
Oh my gosh this was the best pita ever:
I just checked in at Camden Lock Hotel, and though it might not look stunning from the outside, I completely agree with the positive reviews I read.
Clervaux is a small town in the North of Luxemburg in the Luxemburg Ardennes and also the name of the municipality Clervaux counting 17 villages.
The municipality has a total population of nearly 5.000 habitants (2016 Jan. 1.) with a ratio of 66,33 % native Luxemburgers to 33,67% non-Luxemburgers (a total of 67 different nationalities) and me and my family are five among those 4.969 residents.
Clervaux is a nice little town with an important historic background.
In 1944 Clervaux has been hit hard during the Battle of Clervaux (part of the Battle of the Bulge/WWII) from December 16 to 18 and Clervaux castle was the last stand of the defenders until they were forced to surrender after heavy fighting. In early 1945 Clervaux was liberated by American troops of the German domination.
It's been the second time we booked this absolutely lovely apartment to stay for a week on the Belgium coast in De Haan.
De Haan itself is just as stunning as the apartment, it's called the
'prettiest village on the coast' known for it's long sandy beach and promenade, the belle époque buildings and villas.
Even Albert Einstein stayed in De Haan in 1933.
Check out this short footage or this video giving some more details. Apparently Einstein was returning to Europe from the USA in March 1933, and as Hitler had risen to power, Einstein refused to returned to Germany and stayed in De Haan until September 1933.
The recommendations and good quality appartments represented on the official website of the tourisme board of Beatenberg www.beatenberg.ch are to be trusted cautiously.
Beatenberg is a municipality close to Interlaken, canton Bern in Switzerland.
We're back from a week's vacation in Ostfriesland - Lower Saxony - Germany.
Though the weather was child, windy and rainy on the first days, we spent a wonderful week with our kids and my husband's cousin and family.
So we were four adults with five children aged from 5 to 15 years.
We had booked accommodation again at the 'Ferienhof Neukämper' , where we stayed already in July 2015, but this time we stayed in two separate apartments.
Everybody was pleased with this accommodation, the garden and the breakfast buffet!
If there would be anything to complain about, it would be the outdoor facilities around the barn and the access pathway. Arriving a first time at the property (as our cousin's family did, and we did last year) the first impression is bit messy with some rubble and other stuff lying around.
Maybe I am just too demanding, because everything else is in perfect condition as you can see on some of the pictures: the garden at the back is lovely, the interior is great (apartments as well as lounge & breakfast room), the apartments furniture and equipment is new, well maintained and clean and they even installed a new kid's climber with a swing.
Maybe quite soon the rubbish will be removed, as we learned that they will rent the barn as event location starting with a wedding party in June of this year and their planned hay hotel opens also in a few weeks time .
We wish them good luck and plenty of success for this expansion of their business.
We'll be back next year, because after all, there are much much more positive aspects to this property and we still highly recommend this holiday accommodation.
Underneath you'll find some pictures taken at the 'Familienhof Neukämper'.
If you like to know were to have lunch or dinner, here are our tips.
In August 2013 we stayed a week at the Landal Resort Walensee.
(www.landal.de) (more information in my blog post 'places to stay : Switzerland')
It's a great region to stay with plenty of places to see and things to do.
As I was looking for an apartment for our stay on NYE only few weeks before NYE, the apartment on St George Wharf we previously stayed in was booked, and the alternative apartments available at the squa.re didn't match my criteria.
So I kept on checking many many many websites and contacted many operators until after another numerous mails I received a mail on Dec. 13th with following content (yes we intended to arrive on 28th - I told you it was short notice)
' Hi Michele
Congrats: You’ve just discovered a better way to stay!
Ready for London? My name is Elena and I’m pleased to help you plan your stay.
Our mission is to help travelers seamlessly plug into the world’s top destinations. ( . . . . ) '
There's a sports bar named belushi's just around the corner of hotel Hor, between Gare du Nord and Gare de l'Est in Paris, and if you go there early in the evening it's even fun to go with kids.
The were playing live music when we arrived, and the kids simply started to dance and enjoyed themselves.
When we first stayed with the kids in Paris in December 2013, they were aged 2,5 y., 4 y. and 5 y.
We stayed at the Hotel Eiffel Seine, as we wanted to be close to the Eiffel Tower, and indeed it's just a few minutes walk.
Unfortunately this hotel was not directly reachable by a metro or bus line, so we took a cab twice, once in the evening to return from Champs Elysées, and once to drive to Notre -Dame, and you would be surpised how cheap caps in fact are in Paris.
The hotel was nice, friendly staff and spacious rooms.
We had booked two rooms with connecting doors and an additional bed. All was set up upon arrival, and we had in fact two adjacent rooms with a small private corridor.
Breakfast room was in the basement, but ok. Breakfast buffet was 16,00 € p.p. but I had managed to arrange free breakfast for the kids.
While visiting London, I noticed on Whitehall, that somebody hat put a hay net on the statue of the Duke of Cambridge.
Though I initially though it was kind of a joke, I tried to find some more information in the www and learned that this is a tradition of the Houselhold Cavalry, to put a hay net and some bedding for the horse from XMas to NYE to make the horse feel comfortable as it has to stand there for 365 days a year (366 on leap years).
Well that's a nice gesture !
Now that our New Year trip to London has come to an end I am really excited to tell you about the 6 days we spend in this wonderful and lovely city.
Ok, lovely and wonderful might not be the words everybody would choose to describe this huge and vibrant capital, but to me that's exactly what London is. Absolutely lovely.
This holiday was again kind of a last minute decision. Though I've had the idea of going to London for NYE for some weeks, I didn't really believe we would make it, as it seemed impossible to find the perfect and affordable apartment to stay in.
Then on Friday Nov. 13th I decided to buy our train tickets before there were no more available.
There's all you need to be happy in Provence.
🎶🎶🎶 sur le pont d'Avignon, l'on y danse, l'on y danse;
Yes, we love to hike!
Today we've been visiting with the kids a hidden place called 'Demoiselles coiffées', located between Bédoin and Mont Ventoux.
We had spend a week in Provence last year with friends of ours and their kids in a house with pool in the Vaucluse department.
Mid july we left home to spend a week on the North Sea / Ostfriesland / Germany.
We had booked a lovely apartment at a 'Gulfhof' which is a typical kind of farmhouse in this area, located close to the town of Norden, Ostfriesland, Lower Saxony.For any further information please check the homepage of 'Ferienhof Neukämper' in Norden.
Their apartments are really spacious, well equipped, and they offer a wonderful breakfast buffet to a reasonable price. One part of the surroundings of the farm was really nicely finished, but the other part, especially the playground was in a miserable condition. But this didn't bother us much, as we didn't really spend much time there but were mostly 'on the road'.
I've been pushing my husband a bit lately to make a dream come true….
and yes indeed we have been to LONDON ! yeahhhhh !
When I was in my early twenties, I went on a short trip to Normandy to refresh my childhood memories.
I vaguely remembered one or two family holidays we spent on the coast of Normandy, so one Friday after work, I got in my car and drove 560 km to Deauville.
On that particular weekend I fell in love with this region, and returned almost each year since.
After I met my present husband, we continued this tradition, until in 2007, the year before our eldest son was born.
We then had a break in our regular visits, and next time we visited Normandy was in spring of 2011, three weeks before Hannah was born.
We were so eager to get back to our beloved Normandy, which we did from April 10th to 18th.
We've been on a short trip to Paris and it was just marvelous again.
As past year, we've been traveling by train without any major problems.
One annoying point though with TGV train is that they're constantly overbooked, or at least each time we're on it.
You may think that this is not a big issue, but it's annoying and it is an security issue!
The aisles and exits have been so crowded with people and luggage, that it took a few minutes to crawl over and to get to the toilet. not to imagine the chaos and struggling in case of emergency ! Fortunately, we never had to deal with an emergency while traveling by train.
This year we wanted give us a special treat and decided to spend the Christmas holiday away from home with the kids.
As neither my husband nor I as practicing ski or snowboarding, and as we are not very keen of driving long distances with unpredictable weather conditions, we decided to stay a week at the Center Parcs Bostalsee.
As we already stayed there once, we knew the premises, the facilities and surroundings, and all this only 130km from home.