Road trip through Europe: Èze, France

In summer, we did a 10 day road trip through parts of Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France. Our itinerary was: BerlinWeimarHeidelburgFreiburgLucerne Lake ComoLa-SpeziaCinque TerreBussana VecchiaMonaco – Éze – Gorges du Verdon – Moustiers-Ste-Marie – Valensole – Chamonix – Tübingen – Swäbisch Hall – Berlin.

On day 6 of our road trip, we drove from La Spezia in northern Italy to the Mediterranean coast of southeastern France – the French Riviera – where we would stop for the night in the charming medieval village of Éze. Before reaching Éze, we drove through Genova, stopped for a walk in the artists’ colony of Bussana Vecchia and took a quick walk around the principality of Monaco. It had thus been a busy day and we were tired, but we perked up as soon as we reached the pretty hilltop town of Éze, with its cobbled paths and stone buildings. Continue reading

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Cheese, glorious cheese: Cheese Fondue and Raclette

Last week I went to a meeting in Switzerland, which is a great place for fans of cheese, chocolates and mountains, like me! Switzerland is particularly known for their tasty, yellow, semi-hard and hard cheeses made from cow’s milk, like Gruyère and Emmentaler. Two of their traditional dishes have cheese in the starring role: cheese fondue and raclette.

 

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Road trip through Europe: Monaco

In summer, we did a 10 day road trip through parts of Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France. Our itinerary was: Berlin – WeimarHeidelburgFreiburgLucerne Lake ComoLa-SpeziaCinque TerreBussana Vecchia – Monaco – Éze – Gorges du Verdon – Moustiers-Ste-Marie – Valensole – Chamonix – Tübingen – Swäbisch Hall – Berlin.

Having left Italy and crossed the border to France on Day 6, it wasn’t long before we found ourselves arriving at the Principality of Monaco, a sovereign city-state with an area of just over two square kilometres. For some reason, Monaco has always been pretty famous where I’m from (South Africa), despite being on the other side of the world, and a lot of the magazines carry stories on the royal family of Monaco. This only increased when the prince of Monaco married a former South African Olympic swimmer. The royal family, the house of Grimaldi (of Ligurian origin) have ruled Monaco since 1297. At any rate, when I knew we’d be passing right by Monaco, I was curious to stop for a quick look, and my husband was equally curious because of the famous Monte Carlo casino and its association with James Bond (007).

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An Introduction to Ski-touring in the Bavarian Alps (Spitzensee)

The establishment of a fast train connection from Berlin to Munich means that the Alps are now that much closer, and long weekend trips are easier than before. We have a friend with whom we often go on outdoor adventures, including those of the snowy variety, and she is a big fan of ski-touring, so last weekend the three of us headed down to Bavaria so that she could show us why she loves this sport. Ski-touring involves climbing  up slopes with special skis that have “skins” on for grip, then removing the skins so that you can ski down off-piste on lovely, fluffy powder snow. The skins are usually made of nylon (cheaper), mohair (more expensive), or a combination of the two. Continue reading

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Road Trip through Europe: Bussana Vecchia

In summer, we did a 10 day road trip through parts of Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France. Our itinerary was: Berlin – WeimarHeidelburgFreiburgLucerne Lake ComoLa-SpeziaCinque Terre – Bussana Vecchia – Monaco – Éze – Gorges du Verdon – Moustiers-Ste-Marie – Valensole – Chamonix – Tübingen – Swäbisch Hall – Berlin.

On day 6 of our road trip, our goal was to drive from La Spezia, in northern Italy, to Éze, a charming medieval village in France. Before stopping in Éze, we drove through Genova, made a spontaneous stop in Bussana Vecchia and took a quick walk around Monaco. That’s the great thing about a road trip – being able to stop along the way wherever you like! Continue reading

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Road Trip through Europe: Cinque Terre

 

In summer, we did a 10 day road trip through parts of Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France. Our itinerary was: Berlin – WeimarHeidelburgFreiburgLucerne Lake ComoLa-Spezia – Cinque Terre – Bussana Vecchia – Monaco – Éze – Gorges du Verdon – Moustiers-Ste-Marie – Valensole – Chamonix – Tübingen – Swäbisch Hall – Berlin.

I think no stop on our itinerary was as highly anticipated as Cinque Terre. This national park is famous for colourful villages standing on rugged cliffs overlooking the sea, a thing of painter’s dreams.

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Road trip through Europe – Lake Como to La Spezia, Liguria

In summer, we did a 10 day road trip through parts of Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France. Our itinerary was: Berlin – WeimarHeidelburgFreiburgLucerne Lake Como – La-Spezia – Cinque Terre – Bussana Vecchia – Monaco – Éze – Gorges du Verdon – Moustiers-Ste-Marie – Valensole – Chamonix – Tübingen – Swäbisch Hall – Berlin.

On Day 4 of our trip, we spent the morning around Lake Como. After spending the morning taking a boat ride on beautiful aquamarine waters and walking around the town of Como, we had lunch and then headed off on a 3-4 hour drive to La Spezia, where we would be staying for the next two nights. La Spezia has a good rail connection to the famed Cinque Terre, a collection of five colourful villages nestled on cliffs above the sea on the Ligurian coast. As accommodation in Cinque Terre itself was relatively difficult to find, not to mention parking, we decided to stay in La Spezia and visit Cinque Terre on the train. As Cinque Terre is so scenic, it inspired more than enough photos for its own blog post, so I thought I would write a separate post about La Spezia, which was also a nice place to visit. Continue reading

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Road trip through Europe: Lake Como

In summer, we did a 10 day road trip through parts of Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France. Our itinerary was: Berlin – WeimarHeidelburgFreiburgLucerne – Lake Como – La Spezia – Cinque Terre – Bussana Vecchia – Monaco – Éze – Gorges du Verdon – Moustiers-Ste-Marie – Valensole – Chamonix – Tübingen – Swäbisch Hall – Berlin.

After leaving Lucerne, we drove across Switzerland and through the mountains to the region o Lombardy in the north of Italy, coming to our overnight stop for Day 3: the charming town of Torno. Torno is situated right next to Lake Como, a beautiful lake in the foothills of the alps, surrounded by towns with villas and churches. It was one of the places that had made a big impression on me during a trip to Italy in 2005, and I was excited to show it to my husband. Continue reading

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Road trip through Europe: Lucerne

In summer, we did a 10 day road trip through parts of Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France. Our itinerary was: Berlin – WeimarHeidelburgFreiburg – Lucerne – Lake Como – La Spezia – Cinque Terre – Bussana Vecchia – Monaco – Éze – Gorges du Verdon – Moustiers-Ste-Marie – Valensole – Chamonix – Tübingen – Swäbisch Hall – Berlin.

Lucerne (or Luzern as it is called there) was a great surprise. We’d picked it as a half way point between Freiburg and Lake Como, not expecting so much as we’d never heard anything about it before. However, it is a beautiful Swiss town, with lots of old buildings, a rushing mountain stream though the middle of the town, old fortress walls you can climb and a historic old  bridge bedecked with flowers. Continue reading

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Road trip through Europe: Freiburg

In summer, we did a 10 day road trip through parts of Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France. Our itinerary was: Berlin – WeimarHeidelburgFreiburgLucerne – Lake Como – La Spezia – Cinque Terre – Bussana Vecchia – Monaco – Éze – Gorges du Verdon – Moustiers-Ste-Marie – Valensole – Chamonix – Tübingen – Swäbisch Hall – Berlin.

We drove towards Freiburg from Heidelberg on Day 2 of our road trip around part of Europe (see here for the itinerary), arriving in the evening at our accommodation: a room on a wine farm just outside of Freiburg. Our hostess was lovely, and gave us a good tip for dinner, an Italian restaurant in their village. we headed straight there as it was dinner time and enjoyed a delicious meal, with the owner bringing us bread with olive oil, parmesan, aïoli and other toppings and a surprise starter of smoked salmon and cream cheese roulade. That was followed by the mail meal (risotto) and of course we accompanied it with wine, since we were right in the wine region.

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