Valcea Village Museum

It’s a hot summer day and like on every other sunny day we are having lunch underneath the mulberry tree in front of my grandparents’ house. For a foreign eye this would seem like a small house with three rooms of not more than 3 square meters each but for us this is home of the happiest moments of our childhood. We know each and every corner, we got out of the rooms through all its windows when we were small enough to fit, we ate on a three feet table on top of grandma’s bed when it was winter and cold outside and grandma was weaving at her weaving loom filling the room, we spent nights of gossiping while “beating” the milk to make butter in the middle room of the house where everyone used to gather for cooking, eating and small talk, we sat lazy on the porch reading books when it was raining outside or lining up tobacco leaves, we painted walls and cleaned everything up on Easter time, we shared donuts freshly cooked by grandma in the middle of the night all toped up with laughter and happiness in our small sanctuary called “odaie”, we searched through the pockets and bags of grandpa coming back from church with small gifts for the kids and the ever not missing flowers, we fought for that place behind the heating machine to get warm after coming home from caroling out in the snow, we washed our little faces with cold water every Easter night and dressed up just to get ready for “getting light” in a proper way, we packed small bags to give away the morning of the Easter day for our ancestors and shared the only fish we got from one of our relatives or neighbors at the church just to make grandma happy because she used to think this will make us fast like a fish in the year to come, we guided ourselves from many nights spent having fun with our friends by that light that grandma always used to leave on in the porch for the kids to come home, we ran in and out of this small house saying hellos or goodbyes so many years until we grew so tall that we were almost the size of the entrance door but the house never grew to small for us or our memories.

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Like our story there are tons of other stories of childhoods and lives spent in the Romanian traditional village

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in small houses where everything was circling around one room or two

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where life was spent more outside in open air

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where every object had its purpose and it was used almost daily and not forgotten in the back of a drawer for years to come

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where it was perfectly ok for the chicken, the cat or the dog to enter the “middle room” as it was equally ok to eat with bear hands or from the same plate.

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Valcea Village Museum has gathered in time an impressive collection of houses from different areas in Romania and recreates on an 8 hectares area the functional image of a traditional rural settlement with all its social-cultural institutions including a primary school built at the beginning of the XXth century

Valcea Village Museum

a wooden church from 1785

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a swing from Stoenesti commune that my other grandma used to call “wardrobe” and said on Easter kids could ride it for eggs

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an inn

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a pottery shop from the XIX century

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a sheep yard

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a bee keeper’s place

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The Museum is so well arranged and preserved that you feel like going back in time in that garden, on that day, on that summer, in front of that small 3 rooms house and grandma is calling to go pick-up zarzare :p.

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How to find it?

Valcea Village Museum it’s located near Valcea in Bujoreni Commune. You can drive or you can even take bus number 7 from Valcea and it will drop you right in front. Starting from the month of April the houses may be visited also inside and workshops are organized. And if you are lucky the nice historian that take place of the place will share stories about the school, the houses and cherished old times traditions. All you have to do is ask :p

For more pictures check out our Facebook page here.

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Addicted to happiness, a story about Crete

I felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else.” is what Nikos Kazantzakis was saying in Zorba the Greek. And if you read the words below from our friend Cristina Mihalachioiu we can’t promise you won’t fall in love with Crete and go searching for happiness…in the small details.

“First time I was in Grece, I went to Crete. I stayed in a tidy hotel with a sea view, located on the bar street of what I think to be the liveliest city in Crete: Hersonissos. I could smell the sea from the balcony and stare at the mountains from the window.

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The beaches are not the widest, to say the least, but the sun is welcoming and the waves are hugging you into a cameleonic embrace. There were many days, during my other visits in Crete, when the sea literally changed color from green to turquoise, from blue to black. It’s especially magic during the spring, as it is quiet and controlling. It has a life of its own this sea and it is simply surprising.

Now that I told you about my big love, the Aegean Sea, I’ll tell you also about my other love, eggplant burekakia. It’s an amazing dish – I don’t know if it’s Cretan or Greek, never cared – based on eggplants and feta cheese (I know the entire recipe, but I’m keeping it for myself 😊). This I discovered in a magnificent restaurant called Argo. I think it was there were I fell in love with Crete – they say: “there are people coming to holiday in Crete and there are people coming for holiday in Argo”. I’ve met a lot of the latter and became myself one of them.

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But this piece is about Crete and how amazing Crete is. You see, we’ve come to such a strong bond, that Crete has slowly became a part of me.

The sea is not what Crete or Hersonissos is all about; while the port side is better known for its tavernas, but especially for the bars and clubs along the sea, there is also Hersonissos village, up towards the mountains. It’s pretty traditional, there are special nights and tours organized for tourists. But what I recommend is for you to rent a motorbike and ride it up the mountains. And then stop. Stop to gaze at the sea from above. And now you’re addicted to happiness…

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Coming back to another type of happiness – nightlife in Hersonissos, I think even Greeks find it the best. You have to see it for yourself and not forget to stay responsible. You’ll see you’ll find it extremely difficult with all the joie de vivre around yourselves, but you have to. Otherwise, you risk staying on a bench in front of the hotel for three hours because your friend has the room key, she doesn’t answer her phone and the reception desk opens at 7:30 a.m. :p

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And if you get to Crete you must not miss Matala and Chania and for history lovers Knossos.

Matala is in Southern Crete and has this amazing silver beach, with weird pierced rocks around and used to be a place where the hippies would gather back in the days. You travel there through sloppy roads in the mountains, through olive trees plantations and red lands and it’s worth it every minute of the journey.

Chania is the second largest city in Crete (after Heraklion, the capital) and has this amazing old harbor area very well preserved which deserves at least one afternoon of doing nothing and just enjoing the food in the tavernas around.

Knossos is very well preserved and recommended to ancient ruins lovers only. Otherwise, it’s very hot in the summer and if are not a fan of the type, you would be annoyed.

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Bottom line – the sea, the sun, the food, the Cretans, just amazing and you can only see by yourselves.”

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Puglia region and the love for the South

There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the passion of life”. As you hear these words of Federico Fellini in your mind your feet are carrying you on cobblestone streets and you enter this labyrinth of creamy houses, flowers, stairs…clothes and bed sheets hang from windows or in front of the doors right there on the street…it smells like freshly baked bread from that focaccia in that small shop on a street corner…voices accompanied by hand gestures cut the air around in the port area and the fish smell doesn’t bother you at all…pointy rooftops of trulli houses surround you…a well-practiced movement of hands piles up those Italian pastas you just heard about… orecchiette…someone is talking to you in Italian comfy and relaxed like you naturally understand every word and the thought of sharing a coffee on top of the streets of Matera with that nice old lady that would tell you the most amazing stories makes you feel sad you have not learned Italian yet…

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Where are you might you ask? Well, you are just cruising around Puglia region in South Italy. The Adriatic Sea is right there in front of your eyes and the heel of Italy’s “boot” will unveil in front of you small cities filed with stories, history and the Italian passion of life. Oh yes…of course…and loads of focaccia and seafood to shift your appetite and make you crave for something so simple as bread and tomatoes.

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Intrigued? Take a sip of espresso, heat that oven and throw in a pizza and while is baking read away…

Bari

Bari is an amalgamation of modern and old greeting you with streets for shopping and relaxing while tasting cakes and coffees or just wandering around for window shopping while in the same time teasing you to wander the old city with small streets, churches in unexpected corners, twists and turns, old city walls and small restaurants catching your eye with those traditional Italian plates the most famous of which are Patate, riso e cozze (potatoes with rice and mussels) and all sorts of orecchiette.

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The port area in the morning light with the calm Adriatic Sea, the fish all laid down on tables and those mid-age Italian men having their coffee, drinks and playing games or just gossiping with lots of hand gestures it’s a must.

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And if you are really lucky you can also see in the morning old Italian ladies preparing the homemade orecchiette and knowing this lovely Southern people one might actually invite you in to take a sit and learn some of Italy’s traditions.

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Matera

Matera is home of the Sassi a charming historical centre dating back over 7000 years with dwellings carved in stone, cobblestone streets inviting you to get lost and sometimes running on top of other houses just to make the wandering even more spectacular, churches, archways, stairs running up and down, terraces and corners to stop for incredible views.

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Once you exit the Sassi a new city lies ahead with souvenir shops, small terraces where Italian ladies enjoy a quick espresso perfectly going with a smoke and some gossip, focaccia from the street shop eaten with your hands with a better taste than anything else, a guy signing his guitar to make some extra money or who knows maybe to get noticed…Matera is, no wonder, a favourite spot for filmmakers and soon to be European Capital of Culture.

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Alberobello

Beautiful Tree” (if you guys want to translate it) is a small town with just about 11,000 inhabitants famous for its trulli. What’s a trullo? Well it’s a small house with a conical roof made out of stones piled up one on top of the other. The origins of the design seem to be linked with the high taxation on property people of Puglia used to pay and this dry wall constructions where created to allow dismantling when the inspectors were in the area. Some of these elf size houses have particular symbols painted on the cones including a series of Christian symbols.

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And if you get in the area of Trullo Sovrano there’s this cool trullo house home of a shop of Italian food products where this nice gentleman will tell you a few words about the trullo home and its rooms and invite you to taste all types of Italian liquors you are in the mood to try on…we promise the taste is so precious that you will be tempted to ditch the clothes you carried in your backpack and fill it up with liquor bottles, packs of orecchiette and biscuits.

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Locorotondo

The “Round Place” has a circular historic centre.  The village is considered amongst the most beautiful places to visit in Italy with a labyrinth of white alleys, white houses with the most beautifully decorated numbers graciously showing details of the street where the house is located.

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No cone roof tops in the historic centre (you can gaze at them from the viewing point looking towards Locorotondo countryside) but you will find here the special pitched roofs called “cummerse”. And if this doesn’t convince you know also that Locorotondo produces some good white wines still or sparkling.

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Martina Franca and Trani

Martina Franca has a historic centre surrounded by stone walls with remainders of Baroque and Rococo styles to be fund in the gates, the piazzas and the churches. The streets are small and picturesque and the place is also renowned for white wine.

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For a different view of Puglia you can try Trani a fishing port, historic buildings and boats in the harbour playing around with the sunset light to give you enough time and space to breathe and dream.

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You can reach Puglia region by plane to Bari and from Bari you can easily take a train (under 2 hours) for all the above destinations.

For more pictures from Puglia check out our Facebook page here.

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Food & Drinks Dublin

We tried to experience a variety of place while in Dublin so we went eating Irish food, Spanish food, Moroccan food.  Our favourite places for eating where Boxty House, El Bahia and Auld Dubliner.

1. Gallagher’s Boxty House

Right in the heart of Temple Bar area there is this restaurant with ground floor and underground in their own words “the humble spud made beautiful”. We don’t know about beautiful but the food is well worth a visit. Salmon & Mussel Boxty with dumplings, aromatic spices finished with Lemon & Cream is to die for.

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2. El Bahia

You will find El Bahia near Grafton Street on the first floor. Look closely not to miss it! The food is traditional Moroccan and is one of the best food tasted. The tanjine meals and the Moroccan coffees are worth the trip. Make sure to check the schedule – lunch is served until 3 pm and dinner after 5:30 pm.

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3. O’Neill’s

O’Neill’s is a nice traditional pub serving both tons of beer and food. With choices for all tastes be advised that they serve Irish food which means the plate is big enough to serve 2 so come hungry. We did love our pork ribs with a combination of vegetables including mashed carrots and potatoes all flavoured differently to add up to the joy of eating.

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4. Salamanca

Right on Saint Andrew’s Street and across from the O’Neill’s Pub you will find Salamanca. Spanish restaurant that serves tapas, Spanish food but also Irish food. We did love the goat cheese starter.

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5. Stage Door Café

You will find this place on Essex Street right in the Temple Bar area. The breakfast is very good with great prices and the décor of the place will surprise you.

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6. Keoghs Café

Located on Trinity street it offers great cappuccino and wide variety of muffins for muffin addicts.

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7. Murphy’s – for best ice cream. We tried

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Tips&Tricks Dublin

  • we visited Dublin for New Year celebration; the hotels seemed kind of expensive this time otherwise the weather was rainless save for one day in the entire week when it poured the whole day; make sure you’ve got raincoats and umbrellas;
  • if you get a hotel near the Temple Bar or the Docklands you can easily walk around the city; and if it’s too hard to walk at some point or you just feel like being lazy just hop in one of the Double Decker buses there are plenty of them all around a trip costs somewhere better 1,50 to 2 euro and you can pay directly in the bus;
  • Temple Bar and Trinity College area have plenty of restaurants and pubs; for shopaholics there’s Grafton street and some streets near the Leprechauns museum;
  • Guinness Storehouse has 7 floors so it will take you some time to run through all of them; maybe save 2 -3 hours for this experience; there are places for eating also;
  • Jameson Distillery is a cool trip through the world of whisky with tasting at the end; make sure to book online before going;
  • Dublinia is a fun experiences for all ages but especially for kids as they have plenty of games and experiences to test out;
  • Trinity College Library and the Book of Kells is something we did not got to visit as it was closed for winter holidays; but from the reviews it seems worth visiting; do give it a try;
  • Entrances to main attractions are rather expensive (somewhere between 10 and 20 euro) so expect to take some money out of your pocket if you want to try the Guinness Storehouse experience (20 euro), Dublinia (13.5 euro combined ticket with Christchurch) or Jameson Distillery (17 euro).

Top 10 Dublin

  1. Temple Bar Pub in Temple Bar area with live music and Guinness beer;
  2. Getting lost on the South Circular Road amongst houses with colourful doors;
  3. The view from the Gravity Bar of Guinness Storehouse;
  4. Wandering the world of the Vikings and the Medieval era inhabitants of Dublin in Dublinia;
  5. Leprechauns and fairies stories in Leprechauns Museum;
  6. Whisky tasting in Jameson Distillery;
  7. The Emerald green you find all around Dublin and especially the Aran wool knitted clothing;
  8. The Double Decker buses;
  9. O’Neill’s Pub and their big plates of Irish food;
  10. El Bahia restaurant near Grafton Street.

Emerald Isle, Leprechuans and Guinness beer

I’ve been a wild rover for many a year /And I spent all my money on whiskey and beer,/And now I’m returning with gold in great store/ And I never will play the wild rover no more/And it’s no, nay, never,/No nay never no more,/Will I play the wild rover/No never no more.”, the Dubliners sing this so well with that typical Irish accent https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJwC9jPhuY4 to make one sit for just one more beer and one more gossip with friends in one of those traditional pubs spread all across Dublin.

Temple Bar Pub

Founded as a Viking settlement Dublin is the capital of the Emerald Isle better known as Ireland or the place of the green Shamrock, leprechauns, Irish Gaelic language, Irish music, pubs, Guinness beer, incredible landscapes and for us, Romanians, the home of Bram Stoker that guy that wrote Count Dracula and made us famous without even visiting our country. Ah yes, and the place of redheads…although statistics say only 9% of the Irish population are natural redheads :p.

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Arseways, too much talking let’s carry on with the trip.

What we did

Temple Bar and Trinity College

The lively part of Dublin resides in the areas of College Green and Temple Bar. Pubs, restaurants, museums, shops, souvenirs, the Irish House of Parliament, Trinity College, the loved Temple Bar Pub with live music, Auld Dubliner, O’Neill’s with their huge plates of Irish food, Quay Pub and so many more.

Trinity College

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Dublin Castle

The seat of UK’s administration in Ireland until 1922 is considered now a major Irish government complex. Not too many rooms but stylishly decorated and if you add the Christmas trees magic it’s worth a visit. Not to mention that is also a filming venue including for the Tudors (if you guys are fans).

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Guinness Storehouse

I’m sure you all know Guinness beer with that brown colour and distinct burnt flavour. Well, the father of Guinness beer, Arthur Guinness started brewing ales in 1759 at St. James’s Gate Brewery, Dublin.  Today over 850 million litres of Guinness are sold annually and the beer is brewed in almost 60 countries.

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The Storehouse that used to be a fermentation plant for Guinness covers seven floors surrounding a glass atrium shaped in the form of a pint of Guinness and takes visitors through the history of Guinness; you even get to pour your own Guinness and have a free glass in the Gravity Bar with view over Dublin. Ah, not to forget, the lease for St. James Gate Brewery (where Guinness Storehouse is also located) was signed by Arthur Guinness himself for a period of 9,000 years for an annual rent of £45. What a visionary right?

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Dublinia and Christ Church

Dublinia recreates life in Dublin in the Viking and Medieval period. It takes visitors to a cruise around Viking houses and day-to-day life, medieval fairs, warfare, crime and punishment, disease and primitive cures. It is interactive and educative with all types of games and questions to make the visit more fun.

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Christ Church Cathedral built sometime around 1028 well renovated with a welcoming interior and an underground opened for visits. It is also famous for its choir.

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Old Jameson Distillery

The Old Jameson Distillery is the original site where Jameson Irish Whiskey was distilled until 1971. John Jameson, a Scottish lawyer, and his son (also John Jameson) started the history of Jameson Whisky in 1810 after taking over ownership of the Bow Street Distillery in Dublin from his wife’s cousins. By 1866 the Jameson Distillery was so spread that it was called a “city within the city”.

 

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Old Jameson Distillery will offer an inside story on how whisky is made and finish with a whisky tasting session.

Leprechaun Museum

A leprechaun is a type of fairy in Irish folklore. Leprechauns are one third the size of a usual man, wear a beard, coat and hat, they are solitary creatures spending their time making and mending shoes for fairies and hiding their pots of gold at the end of the rainbow.

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Walt Disney seems to be responsible for the green colour of today’s leprechaun’s costume (earlier it was brown) when he dressed their king in green to distinguish him from the rest in “Darby O’Gill and the Little People”. Incidentally the same movie released in 1959 brought Sean Connery the role in James Bond – small world.

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Where we ate

We tried to experience a variety of place while in Dublin so we went eating Irish food, Spanish food, Moroccan food.  Our favourite places for eating where Boxty House, El Bahia and Auld Dubliner. For more details on where and what we ate click here.

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Where we stayed

We stayed in two places in Dublin since we split our trip with a 2 days trip to Belfast. First hotel was Arlington O’Connell Bridge (www.arlington.ie/ ) – well located right across Temple Bar and near the Connelly Train Station, spacious room, clean. The second hotel was Maldron Hotel on Pearse Street (www.maldronhotels.com )– although is more near the Docklands and is a 15 minutes walk to Trinity Street there are busses to take you straight to Trinity College, the rooms are very spacious and recently renovated and there’s a supermarket 1 minute away opened until late.

What we think about the Irish

We felt the Irish as being nice people thanking the bus driver, handsome, most of them young (maybe this is why statistics say 50% of the Dubliners are under 30), most of the time surrounded by friends or family, proud of their roots, beer funs enjoying a good time in their traditional pubs singing out loud to Irish traditional folk, rather smiley shinny people despite or the rainy all year long weather.

Click here for some Tips & Tricks of Dublin.

Click here for our Top 10 experiences in Dublin.

For more photos of Dublin just click here for our Facebook page.

2015 Rewind

Rum chocolate, Hindi music playing on TV, gossiping friends, Skype calling for New Year wishes, Jaipur home away from home…

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Flying kites on the Jaipur sky…

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Goodbyes on repeat…

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Past midnight, no soul, no wind, no move…just footsteps and cheerful voices of three friends getting lost in the heart of Udaipur

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Window seat in a cosy little café in Copenhagen called Mormors or Grandma going through a memory book while surrounded by ancient furniture, porcelain and black and white pictures…

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Walking and walking to find Den lille havfrue just because it wouldn’t be good to leave Hans Christian Andersen’s “home” without a glimpse of the Little Mermaid…

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Belgian beer and fries in Bruges central square and bicycle rides getting lost on canals in search of colourful doors and small welcoming streets to wander…

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Bruges

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Waffles and brunch time in La Morte Subite in Brussels to remember sweet times…

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Brussels

Hammock in my parents’ garden with that blissful noise a full house makes…

That carrot and cardamom muffin in a small café in Stockholm…

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Reindeers, old time Sweden houses and traditions and that great postcard with Carl, the Royal Prince…

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Old houses, stories from a different era, butter cookies at home…

Hot September day walking around the Grand Palace in Bangkok getting lost in the colours, the crowd, the buildings, the warm feeling around Buddha….

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Live music, Asian rain, strangers feeling like soul mates getting lost on Bangkok streets with no plan, no promises and no tomorrow just a vivid, crazy overwhelming today…

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Train rides, bus rides, hostels, guest houses, bicycle rides amongst Sri Lankan stupas, Oceans, Buddha, sand, sacred tooth, lotus flowers, Sri Lankan strong coffee, tuk-tuk drivers with no clue on how to read a map, tea plantations…

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Cheerful time spent with new friends met on the road with our feet in the sand gently bathe by the Indian Ocean in Mirissa exchanging views on the world and making plans for future encounters…

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That Scottish couple with their map and their happy shinny smiley faces wandering around Asia with an open heart and being the greatest company on a mesmerizing train ride from Kandy to Ella…

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Walking through the crowd of Mumbai with the distinct feeling of how small we are…

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Clubbing and partying with new friends in Mumbai just to discover a new side of India, a modern one, an open minded one…

Home Indian dinners, Diwali celebration, wedding plans, shopping, nights full of laughter and joy with words jumping around in Hindi, English, Spanish and Romanian to remind us that families don’t need to speak the same language to get close…

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One more sight of the Taj Mahal…

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That lady inviting us for coffee in Matera…

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Trulli houses and Italian liquor…

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Watching an Italian lady making Italian pasta, port side in Bari in the morning with the fish market and loud Italians to make you feel at home, mussels, potatoes and rice, olive trees, vineyards, small streets and colourful street numbers perfect to wander around in Puglia region

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Christmas tree, those carol singers that come every year, happy kids, mom’s homemade cookies, warm wine, puzzle madness…

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“We do not remember days, we remember moments” said Cesare Pavese and damn he was right. As we get ready for an Irish New Year we look back with wonder to a 2015 full of surprises and precious moments and wish you all an amazing 2016 living more in the present, sharing, dreaming, investing in family and friends, being kind with each other, challenging ourselves, experiencing, opening our hearts to new possibilities and trusting each other.

Happy New Year!

In Bruges

You are standing on the shore of a canal surrounded by medieval buildings all brown stone and red painted window frames, the May sun is warming you up and it smells like spring, there are yellow flowers in pots around you on walls and wood fences, you can hear the distinct sound of horses on the cobblestone streets around and the engine of the boat getting closer and closer to the shore. Are you ready to board a trip through fairytale land?

Where are we going?

There’s this magic place in Northwest Belgium with not more than 120k inhabitants which is said to have been founded in the 9th century by the Vikings and is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site with medieval buildings, romantic canals, cobblestone streets, beer, lace and swans. The place is Bruges and the name might very well derive from the old-Scandinavian word “Brygga” which means “harbour, or mooring place”. Curious? Than just sit down in the boat and let’s get lost In Bruges.

Bruges - Boat ride

Bruges – Boat ride

What to do

Markt and Burg

Markt and Burg are the most important squares in Bruges. Markt is located in the heart of the city and is a large square surrounded by historical buildings like the Belfry Tower (83 meter high) and Provincial Court and medieval looking houses (many of the houses are just modern reconstructions of the medieval styles).

Bruges Markt

Bruges Markt

The Markt was freed from traffic in 1996 and is the place where the carriage rides around Bruges also start.

Bruges Markt

Bruges Markt

If Markt was the commercial heart of medieval Bruges Burg was the administrative heart. The Burg square is the house of the Town Hall (House de Ville) and of the Chapel of the Holy Blood. The last one seems to be the more famous one being the house of the bottle of rock crystal containing Christ’s blood and the place of the yearly Procession of the Holy Blood.

Bruges Burg

Bruges Burg

Minnewater

If you are taking a train to Bruges what you will most likely notice first while walking towards the city centre is Minnewater or the lake of love (the Dutch word “Minne” meaning love). Minnewater is a canalized lake with plenty of swans. The legend says that in 1488 the people of Bruges had executed one of the town administrators belonging to the court of Maximilian of Austria called Pieter Lanchals (long neck). Maximilian punished Bruges by obliging the population to keep swans on their lakes and canals till eternity.

Minewater

Minewater

Begijnhof

Right there next to Minnewater lies Beguinage De Wijngaard (the Vineyard). A group of houses around a garden with large trees and flowers which became a monastery and the home for the Benedictine sisters since 1937 until today.

Begijnhof

Begijnhof

In the 13th century a mystical form of religion was born as reaction to the growing material and formal aspirations of the regular clergy, one that apostle poverty, simplicity and preaching. The female followers of such movement were tolerated in the form of the Beguine movement and were allowed to live in separate parts of the cities called Beguinages. The beguines lived like regular nuns but with less stringent vows than the regular ones. Although most of them made the vows of obedience and chastity they did not make the vow of poverty and they could break their vows at any time and leave the beguine community.

Begijnhof

Begijnhof

Canal rides

In the Middle Ages, the canals in Bruges were used by ships to deliver goods to the city and to take exports from local merchants. Today the canals are exclusively used for tourist boats. There are five families that are allowed to organize tourist boat rides on the canals with 4 boats for each family. The boat ride takes around 30 minutes and offers a great view of the city, with medieval buildings on the shores, small bridges, nice gardens and swans swimming all around.

Bruges Canals

Bruges Canals

Bicycle rides

Central Bruges has a couple of shops where you can rent a bike for an hour or more to wander around the city. If you have more time and you start in the morning you can even take a bicycle and ride to the windmills, the nearby Flemish countryside, the North Sea or even go to the Netherlands. We choose the streets and parks of Bruges and it was all worth it. For the trip from Bruges to the Netherlands check out the stories from Avem Diacritice.

Bruges

Street wandering

The streets of Bruges have plenty to offer. From small hidden streets along canals, to private gardens along the shores, medieval look like houses..

Bruges

Bruges

Bruges

colourful doors, souvenir shops, lace shops, parks with colourful tulips and open air concerts, carriage rides, windmills…

Bruges

Bruges

Brugesand if you get tired just stop of any of the restaurants or canal side terraces you see on route for waffles, Belgian beer, frites or the local gem – moules.

Bruges

Bruges

Bruges

Bruges

Where to crush

We stayed in Lybeer Hostel Bruges just 10 minutes away from the city centre and easy to reach from the train station. Great private room with private bathroom, good prices and very nice staff. The hostel has also a shared area downstairs with a bar and a piano.

What are people in Bruges famous for?

The Bobbin Lace, a very expensive type of lace to make, is a speciality of Bruges and is a technique that requires that each thread is wound around a separate wooden bobbins. Lacemaking is an industry which nowadays employs in Belgium about one thousand lace works, all of them ladies aged between fifty and ninety years of age.

Bruges

Bruges

Click here for our Top 10 experiences in Bruges.

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For what to experience in the close neighbouring city of Brussels, waffles, frites and Belgian beer check out our post on What do Manneken Pis, exquisite chocolates, French fries, dark beer and BDs have in common?

Top 10 Bruges

Top 10 Bruges

  1. Charming houses and colourful doors;
  2. Canal rides;
  3. Bicycle rides on the streets of Bruges;
  4. Belgian beer;
  5. Chocolate and bananas Belgian waffles;
  6. Breakfast time in a restaurant in Markt;
  7. Minnewater and especially the swans;
  8. Begijnhof;
  9. Open air concerts in a park in Bruges;
  10. Chilling beside the windmills.