Archive For The “European Travel” Category

Madeira Quinta da Casa Branca Dining

Madeira Quinta da Casa Branca Dining

Funchal in Madeira is one of my favourite cities and Quinta da Casa Branca has one of my favourite restaurants. That is surely a recipe for delicious contentment and a very happy reviewer. I have not actually stayed at Quinta da Casa Branca but dream of doing so. It is perhaps one of the most…

Read more »

Aegina – accessible Greek retreat

Aegina – accessible Greek retreat

Aegina is perhaps the most accessible of Greek island idylls.  It’s the playground of holidaymakers from Athens, but has also long been popular with European tourists who are looking for a quintessentially Greek experience. The island is named after Aegina, one of the 50 daughters of the river god Asopus. It is located only 25…

Read more »

The Farm Brewery – Goossens

The Farm Brewery – Goossens

Goossens Farm with Malting Brewery Lambic Brewery Heritage Lambic beer is a typical wild yeast beer, brewed in the southwest region of Brussels (Pajottenland).  It forms the basis for geuze (a blend of lambic of 3 different ages) and for kriek lambic, a cherry beer. This farm with malting brewery was one of the many…

Read more »

Madeira’s Still-living History

Madeira’s Still-living History

The 15th century saw the dawn of the Age of Discovery, a time when European powers began exploring the world to find new lands and new opportunities. Portugal was in the vanguard of this drive, sailing southwards in their case down the west coast of Africa. So it wasn’t long (1419 to be precise) before…

Read more »

Madeira wine – a sweet tour

Madeira wine – a sweet tour

For a small island in the midst of the Atlantic Ocean, Madeira has a big reputation for the sweeter things in life: its history includes sugar, wine, and ‘honey’ – well, a Madeiran interpretation thereof. We’ll discuss the first and the last of these elsewhere, but it’s the story of wine on the island that…

Read more »

Freewheeling along the Voie Bressane

Freewheeling along the Voie Bressane

A modern-day adventure in step with today’s tastes, cycling tourism is the latest thing in travel. In order to welcome an ever-growing number of enthusiasts, Burgundy-Franche-Comté has put the wheels in motion in an attempt to reinvigorate its vast network of cycling trails and dream up some new itineraries. This is true for the Voie…

Read more »

Madeira – a younger look

Madeira – a younger look

This beautiful and unique island has been a much-loved destination for European tourists, yet primarily for the slightly older generation. But this traveller wonders why, when Madeira has so much to offer for everybody. It has not only an all-year-round summer climate, but tropical flowers, plants, fruits and vegetables. It’s rich in culture and history,…

Read more »

Mercado dos Lavradores, Madeira

Mercado dos Lavradores, Madeira

It is perhaps one of the highlights of any vacation: a trip to an exotic and thoroughly Instagrammable market is hard to beat for local colour and atmosphere. Madeira has a gem of a covered market in the middle of Funchal and it’s well worth a visit. It’s a celebrated and popular landmark in the…

Read more »

John Burton-Race on AmaWaterways Rhône Cruise

John Burton-Race on AmaWaterways Rhône Cruise

John Burton-Race Floats New Menu on AmaWaterways Rhône Cruise Two Michelin star celebrity chef, John Burton-Race, is to set sail aboard a luxury river cruise ship as guest chef for an exclusive group this September. Burton-Race is to partner with Go Cruise and AmaWaterways to provide his amazing flair and cooking skills to 20 exclusive…

Read more »

Madeira’s Most Genteel Factory – Bordal Embroidery

Madeira’s Most Genteel Factory – Bordal Embroidery

Madeira is said to have been discovered by the Portuguese in 1419, though there are stories from intrepid sailors of much earlier times, that tell of two verdant islands far off the African shore. Settlers arrived just a few years later; they found this paradise to be perfect for developing first the sugar cane industry…

Read more »

The Jewels of the High Jura

The Jewels of the High Jura

La Taillerie – the Gemstone Shop Although precious stones are not found naturally anywhere in the Jura mountains, the cutting and polishing of imported stones played a significant role in the economy of this region for three centuries. There are still traces of those traditional skills to be found if you look for them. Start…

Read more »

A Spectacular Museum in Jura

A Spectacular Museum in Jura

In the beautiful Jura mountains of Eastern France, in the small town of Morez, there is a big museum. It’s dedicated to a rarely-seen industry that’s staring you in the face, and whose products change our view of the world. Spectacles, of course! Metal-working trades began to develop in the 16th century along the banks…

Read more »

There’s no smoke without … a Saint-Claude pipe

There’s no smoke without … a Saint-Claude pipe

You, dear reader, will be unusual to say the least if you own one; your father probably didn’t have one, either; more likely your grandfather might have had one … or two or three. Take a look in your old family photo album and chances are there will be someone smoking a pipe and looking…

Read more »

Bonnet Jujurieux Silk Factory Museum

Bonnet Jujurieux Silk Factory Museum

This is a charming museum, and it seems to encompass most of the original Bonnet silk factory in Jujurieux, a small town in the department of Ain. The hub of the silk-production industry was Lyon. C J Bonnet founded a company in that city in 1810 and established this factory at Jujurieux in 1835. The…

Read more »

Absinthe – Green Hills & Green Fairies of Jura

Absinthe – Green Hills & Green Fairies of Jura

Originally produced in the Val-de-Travers region in Switzerland and in Pontarlier, France, Absinthe is a distilled anise-flavoured spirit made from herbs including the flowers and leaves of the plant Artemisia Absinthium, also called Wormwood. It’s the same botanical as used in Vermouth. Although it is sometimes termed a liqueur, absinthe has no added sugar and…

Read more »

The Bells, The Bells of Jura

The Bells, The Bells of Jura

When you wake in your hotel room in the beautiful green mountains of the Jura, in Eastern France, you may hear, for the first time, the iconic sound of bells – cow bells, tinkling across the valleys as the brown-and-white ladies stroll to the milking parlour (or return to the pasture, if you’re a late…

Read more »

Rubenshuis in Antwerp – travel review

Rubenshuis in Antwerp – travel review

Antwerp is often overlooked, visitors to north-west Europe gravitating to its more celebrated cousins of Paris and Amsterdam. It is, however, a treasure-trove of history, classic Flemish architecture and art, and all in a relatively small area; Antwerp is an ideal walking city. It was, for much of his life, the home of Peter Paul…

Read more »

Jan Steen Exhibition at Mauritshuis The Hague – review

Jan Steen Exhibition at Mauritshuis The Hague – review

The Mauritshuis is home to some of the most famous Dutch paintings of the Golden Age. The gallery is a perfectly formed and fitting contemporary venue for its much-loved collections. It has a beautiful and leafy location in the heart of The Hague and it houses masterpieces such as Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring…

Read more »

Antwerp for a Belgian Break – Things to do! – travel review

Antwerp for a Belgian Break – Things to do! – travel review

Antwerp is the capital of the Belgian province of Flanders. It is one of the most populous cities in Belgium, although the old city centre gives the impression of a much smaller and more intimate town. It is about 40 kilometres north of Brussels, and only 15 kilometres from the border with The Netherlands. The…

Read more »

Port, Wine and the Douro – travel review

Port, Wine and the Douro – travel review

Ah, beautiful Portugal! Striking architecture in iconic Lisbon. History and character in Porto …and then there is the Douro Valley, which is stunning and will entice any visitor. This area is known for its natural beauty and also for its wines and, in particular, Port. No, it isn’t made in Porto although it’s that city…

Read more »