Saturday, July 31, 2010

Panini lunch at Eetcafe Lumiere in Oudewater, Netherlands

Aren’t we all guilty of procrastination? I have been putting off going to Oudewater, the little ‘witch-free’ town famous for its ‘Witches Weighing House’ (Heksenwaag) now a museum located not very far from Utrecht simply because—it’s not very far! Well, I have finally conquered my procrastination alibi and went there.


Eetcafe Lumiere from the Witches Weighing House.

But before I talk further about the lovely town and the witch tales in my next entries, I am going to have some lunch.


Lunch in Eetcafe Lumiere: salami and brie cheese panini, the usual green salad with alfalfa and fruit sidings, and fresh mint tea as well. Helaas, there was no salad on the menu =(


Here comes my fresh mint tea. Mint tea using fresh mint leaves have in recent years become popular owing it to the Moroccan mint tea tradition.


The square in Oudewater with terraces and the cafe restaurants where you can order food and drinks.

This lunch is 4 stars out of 5 stars.

During the warmer months, the square in the center of Oudewater is speckled with terraces. When the sun is out, this is definitely the best place to have lunch or coffee while enjoying the convivial atmosphere of a little town.

Travel Period: July 2010
Destination: Oudewater (Utrecht), The Netherlands

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Oh so lovely Ardennes countryside

Dear Flanders (Dutch speaking part in the north of Belgium),

Please reconsider divorcing Wallonia (French speaking part in the south of Belgium) because she is just awfully, spectacularly, ooh so magnifique-ally LOVELY! Her countryside is so amazing. It would be such a shame, an immense loss if she goes sovereign or returns to France.

AUB niet laten gaan. Niet loslaten. It is a sin!

Sincerely,
Dutched Pinay

I swear on OVI Maps, best thing ever when I switched to Nokia Mini (I ‘had’ Nokia Navigator with Route66). FREE GPS/Maps to all countries! How can you not fall in love with that scenery?

Fields of barley, they shine like gold under the daylight sun.

Cattles are so organised. Follow the leader!

Lovely countryside views.

Can you tell these white cows were enchanted by my presence?

Lavender fields, it smells so divine here!

More cattles grazing the fields.

Barley for the winter.

Pretty much I went euphoric with the scenic panorama I encountered on every bend. I couldn’t help but stop the car every now and then, sometimes in the middle of the road, just to take a damn picture! That’s not a crime right? I am deep in the countryside so there is barely any car passing through every 2-5 minutes. OK, I am a road menace lol. But what can I do if it’s so lovely here?

Travel Period: July 2010
Destination: Assesse (Namur), Belgium

Voy a Al-Andalus

Finally, our long-awaited Andalusian summer holiday is booked! It will be a 2-week holiday of sun, relaxation, fun, beach, culture and gastronomy. We will be staying on the southern coastal province. I deliberately picked this location because it is right in the middle of Andalusia giving us between 100 and 150 kilometers distance (1 to 1.5 hours) from the other capital cities and important towns of the other 7 provinces.

Spain Map and its 17 Regions



Andalusia (Al-Andalus) Region and its 8 Provinces:



What’s more, the hotel we are staying is perfectly located on the beach coast, has a free WI-FI so I can continue documenting my travel entries at the end of the day, that is, when I have the time and I am in the mood. When holidaying, I sometimes get lethargic you know =)

And aren’t we lucky? The annual 10-day ‘Feria de Malaga’ (Malaga Festival) starts on the second week of August! This is a fun-filled colorful cultural event where locals revel on the streets in traditional costumes dancing to the flamenco tune. There will be cuisine aficionados showcasing typical Andalusian tapas and wines in every plaza corner, as well we will be able to witness the gruesome Corrida de Toros (bullfights) event that attracts the best matadors in the country, and lots and lots of fireworks, entertainment and many more. Wow, I am really looking forward to this!

Travel Period: August 2010
Destination: Andalucia, Spain

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chateau in the middle of nowhere: Chateau de la Poste in Namur, Belgium

In most of my travels, I almost never blog about the hotel I stayed in, perhaps because my passion when traveling lies on discovering the country, the culture, the local culinaire and the people, and not my hotel bedroom or the hotel lobby and restaurant. I don’t stay in the hotel most of the day anyway—well, only to sleep. I am outside exploring new places, new things, new experiences and new ideas.

For this short trip in Wallonia, I wanted some nature. I wanted so badly to be surrounded with vegetation and mountains. I saw Chateau de la Poste, a lifestyle resort in the Ardennes mountains in my favorite hotel booking site and was right away attracted to its location. What I am trying to say is—I find this hotel very relaxing and very interesting as well, maybe because it’s a castle, so I took fotos of the interior and would like to share them here.


The chateau is located in the village called Maillen in the Assesse municipality of Namur province (Wallonia, Belgium).



This is the entrance of the castle from the main road.



I did a little walk so I can commune with nature and shoot a nice postcard foto of the chateau.




There are three salons in the chateau. Design is quite eclectic - a mixture of modern, period, log cabin country style with a touch of kitsch-ness.



My bedroom and bathroom.



The very surprising and modern breakfast room.



From the breakfast room you can walk outside to a corridor and down to the massive castle yard. The chateau is featured in the 'characteristic chain of hotels' book.



The terrace of the chateau hotel. I love the furniture design, the inflatable air sofa, very ingenious and practical (material looks like pvc tarpaulin).


The interior design is a mixture of contemporary, log cabin country style and surprisingly with a touch of royalty and kitsch-ness, both blending nicely with each other. I was told by the woman in the reception that the castle previously belonged to Princess Clementine of Belgium, daughter of Leopold II and wife of Victor Napoleon, the nephew of the king. Now I know why the restaurant of the chateau is named after her, Restaurant Chez Clementine.

The food here is lovely, the wine superb, the service great, there is attention to detail and the rooms are good. But most of all I love is its location: in the middle of the countryside, in the middle of the forest, in the middle of nowhere. I thank the Dutch in laws for this B-day gift!

Travel Period: July 2010
Destination: Maillen (Assesse - Namur), Belgium

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