Luxurious Luxembourg

If I’m asked to use a single word to describe Luxembourg, it will be Luxurious. Read on to understand why.

Alright, so here is another post about my travelling adventures.

We are turning 3. I really mean we are celebrating our 3rd year together as a couple. Because I like to find an excuse to travel, celebrating anniversary is a great excuse for me!! So I’d decide we should find somewhere to go. We didn’t have the luxury of going for long break so we only have the weekends and for a quick get away, I quickly thought of Luxembourg. We could conveniently drive up on Friday and back on Sunday. 2.5 days in Luxembourg I reckon is more than enough.

We drove through Germany before arriving in Luxembourg, and we stopped for Echternach which is a little village that is just next to the border to Germany. Quite fun to know you can be in two country at one time!

The picture below shows an old customs “hut” that is no longer in use since the European Union is in place.

Old Customs House

Because we arrived in the afternoon and the sky gets dark earlier these days, we didn’t do so much on the first day we arrive. However, we did make it to Luxembourg City for our 1st anniversary dinner this year. I meant to say we will have a few more until October ends, because the actual date was 31st October! 🙂

Anyway, when arriving town, the first impression I get from these restaurant in line was how luxurious each and every one looks. They all looked kinda expensive and I am truly amaze how they really take pride in making sure their restaurant is renovated in class. The number of restaurant that are posh versus the normal ones are 9 out of 1. To be clear, I meant in every 9 posh restaurants & cafe, I find one normal cafe. In other words, the ambiance on the streets are just filled with luxurious class.

Not just the restaurants, the locals are very well dressed, so much so we felt really under-dressed. I happened to not bring enough clothes to mix and match so I have this rush to do some serious shopping !

Anyway, so we ended up being allured by a fondue restaurant. They serve Cheese Fondue, Chocolate Fondue and Meat Fondue! Now I’ve tried cheese & chocolate fondue but meat fondue sounded really interesting.

Fondue Restaurant

Beef Fondue

So Beef fondue is really cooking your own beef in a pot of OIL!! They are served with several kinds of sauces to go with the beef and a huge chunk of fries to fill you up. In the end, we were really filled up and I didn’t manage the finish all the meat and fries. I wouldn’t do this again because I prefer for professional chef to grill a proper beef steak than having to do it myself in an unprofessional way. And no, I didn’t enjoy having the oily smell clinging onto my coat for the rest of our trip! But still… it is a good experience!

The next day, we went shopping! Because our clothes smells like oily beef and we didn’t bring enough clothes to change. So Jos got a pair of new jeans and I bought another coat! Mine is clearly an excuse to shop.. anyway, move on.

After a little shopping, we walk around Luxembourg city. Besides the feeling of being posh, Luxembourg is like a garden city. Full of beautiful trees!

Later in the afternoon, we drove off from town, intending to visit the mini waterfall in Mullerthai. In the end, we ended up in Consdorf. I was told then, I had to do a hike from Consdorf to Mullerthai, in order to reach the waterfall. Now, while typing this, I’m beginning to feel like I’ve been fooled. See, if the waterfall is in Mullerthai, what are we doing in Consdorf??? Huh Jos?

Anyway, I am not complaining! The truth is I will never experience something so awesome if we didn’t take the Consdorf to Mullerthai trail. It was one of the best walk (in this case – hike) I’ve made!! Totally interesting and somewhat “dangerous”, in my dramatic opinion.. well, you will know why later…

So this path looks nice to walk on doesn’t it. But wait, that was only a very small part of the trail we did. Most of the time we are face with path like this one:

Up the steps….

and this one:

And more up slopes

And this one…

First down and then go up!

So yea, this is like a super tough hiking trail and we walk for a good 4 hrs.

At some points we have to walk through caves!! Yes, I am not joking, it is caves, so cool!

The exit of a cave. Yes it is that narrow!

And finally we arrived at the waterfall……

Beautiful! Totally worthwhile! I will do this again and again.

Before we leave Luxembourg, we went to yet another castle. I realise we always end our trips with a castle. The last time we did the same while in Dusselfdorf!! So here is a picture of the castle! 🙂

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Exploring Dutch Nature – De Hoge Veluwe

As with most Sundays, we like to take long walks in the Nature. Almost every Sunday morning, Jos would browse through the wander book we have. This book compile all the possible walks within the Netherlands, it entails the routes and also what we expect to see during the walk.

Last Sunday, we had an unusual one. The weather was unusually good, with sunshine most of the time at 16 degree Celsius, just perfect! I had so much fun I must blog about it. Google this : De Hoge Veluwe! Unlike most of these nature walk, this one has an entrance fee but it is well worth it. For EUR8.40 per adult, you get to grab a white bike near the entrance for free and go on exploring the beautiful dutch nature on that bike for the whole day!! How cool is that.? Hearing it is enough to entice you right?

There are two cycling path, 10km & 26km. Jos being Jos, he choose the 26km and cut it by 6km by looking at the map he purchased at the entrance for EUR2.50. So yes, we travelled 20km on the bike which burns my thighs, ass and legs altogether! Still it is all worth it! I can do this over and over again. I cannot express in words how I love living withing these beautiful nature! We don’t have such space in Singapore, so you can imagine why I feel this way.

Being Autumn, it is also the time of the year where beautiful mushrooms grows in the nature. I’ve never come so close to a fairy tale mushroom. Althoug, I’ve blogged about it last Autumn, read it here, Today, seeing it again, I am still enchanted by its beauty. Not just the red ones, also the other colors, brown, white, grey, orange.

This year, there are more mushrooms which we can easily spot even though we are riding on the bike. And the fairytale mushroom looks more radiant and so very cute.

Now the grey ones, they are also beautiful.

Besides the mushroom, the beautiful colors of the autumn leaves continues to amaze me. Although we know the tree will lose all its leaves at the end of fall, but I have to say they die in grace ! 🙂 During the ride, I’ve wanted to stop many times to snap pictures of the colors of Autumn. I managed a few pictures but didn’t think my picture skills gives justice to the actual beauty!

The above picture is the cycling path we ride on. It is hilly at some point and flat at other. Perfect ground for cycling.

After a few times of stopping to snap pictures, I turn into a dare devil, I managed to cycle and take a picture of my man in cycling in front of me! 🙂

Yes I am quite far behind, but i really slowed down so I can hold my iphone steady!

I always love the view of woods like this one, although just brown but I love it. Beautiful isn’t it?

That’s me cycling! Told you I can cycle! 🙂 Oh and by the way, all bicycles comes with a child seat! So if you are bringing along your child, you have no worries! They also provide bikes for smaller children of which I am proud I don’t have to use them. Since I’m short, I was worried I have to use their kid bikes! But I’m good with the adult ones, so proud of myself 🙂

This picture below is another cycling path in the open, also hilly at some point.

Finally, I could not withstand it anymore. I had to add myself in the scenery and have my man take a picture of me, because I love it so much! So here it is:

If you lives in the Netherlands and are wondering where to go in the weekend.. try De Hoge Veluwe! I am very sure you will not regret visiting!

Ciao!

Rainbows Season

It is official! I’ve brought with me the rain. While I was still in Singapore, there was crazy thunder storm almost every day. The thunder was ferocious, loud and fierce, I had to hide under my blanket for a good hour. Yes I admit, I’m very very afraid of the thunder. The rain pour was flooding some western part of Singapore, at some point creating water falls within the train stations. But no, there was no Rainbows. Just thunder and lots of rain.

I returned to the Netherlands last week. The flight journey was perfect, there was no turbulence felt literally and I was blessed with having two seats all to myself! So this means I could lie flat on both seats and sleep throughout. I really did. Well, yes, I’m a sleeper, I can sleep anywhere as long as it is time to sleep.

Also watched the Great Gatsby in flight…. super love it! Love the story line, love Leonardo’s acting, he is so good… so good. 🙂

While on our way home from the airport, I was really happy to be greeted with not one but two beautiful dashes of Rainbows. So naturally I asked, has it been raining? We all know, there is no rainbow without the rain, that’s clearly why it’s called Rainbows, duh. The answer was clear, “yes it has been raining, looks like it is the start of the autumn.”

Noooo…. I’m not really done with Summer yet! But oh well, we live with it. Every seasons has it’s beauty right? And this happen to be the Rainbow Seasons… in my opinion at least.

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This morning, yet another rainbow… this time a full rainbow right in front of our balcony… 🙂

Could't zoom out to take the full rainbow, so I took the brighter side :)

Could’t zoom out to take the full rainbow, so I took the brighter side 🙂

Maybe I will see another rainbow tomorrow, I do hope. Since we have to live with the rain, we might as well wish for the rainbow right?

 

Autumn in Dusseldorf, Germany @ minus 2

To celebrate our 2nd year anniversary, we have landed our feet in Dusseldorf! Supposedly Autumn so I assume 8-9 degree during the day but we had a -2 degree temperature. It was freezing so much that I had numb fingers and a brain freeze. Okay, I lied. The brain freeze was due to the Bubble Tea I had in one of the Food Court in Dusseldorf. And yes, I’m crazy to drink bubble tea at -2 degree. But, I cannot remember when was the last time I had bubble tea and I love them! They are no where available (not that I know of) in the Netherlands. The existence of Bubble Tea was like “WOW” to me. 🙂

European Bubble Tea

The one thing I must agree with the many review online; Dusseldorf have a wide selection of food choices and they are truly tasty. The first meal we have in Dusseldorf was a superb breakfast in Hanseat Hotel. This is a pretty boutique hotel, small but beautiful,  great service for a reasonable rates.

BUT… There is just one thing I really dislike about he hotel. Look at the picture on the right, this is the view to our room. If you look closer, you will realise a dog face with a human body hung on top of the bed. So we thought, looks like we are being watched… not just from the behind but also from the front! Look! A bigger one staring at us all through the night!

Seriously, Dear Hanseat Management, this is creepy. Please change the picture to some sunflower field or beautiful scenery of Dusseldorf. A dog head on a human body isn’t cute.

Now the good part. Every morning, I’m awaken not by a dog sniff but by the fragrance of freshly baked croissant! No I am not joking, even with window closed, the fragrance came through. It just gets us really hungry that we had to wake up early for breakfast.

As mentioned, Dusseldorf has really nice food & great shopping, but I choose to tell you more about the food because the shopping to me is the same everywhere. And I get all excited talking about the food because we are able to eat delicious lunch for just EUR6.50 in their local Food Court. It amaze me to see that they have the same food court we have in Singapore! I don’t see them in Holland; which is kinda sad because this is just pure survival for me. Being able to grab proper lunch (my way) and eat them fast. We patronized the Indian Cuisine because I love spicy food. The spice wasn’t spicy enough but because it is so tasty, I’m quite happy with my lunch.

At dinner, we had to decide what to eat. Having so many choice is not good because then we cannot decide what to eat. We were told before we arrive in Dusseldorf that the Blackout Steakhouse is really nice. But we decide to have fish instead and we think it is possibly even nicer with a good price! Please people…. you mustn’t miss the FISCHHAUS! I enjoyed every bite of my meal. 🙂

Whole Dorale Fish… the juiciness of the fish, the freshness of the spinach and the sin of having CARBO from Potatoes.. it is all worthwhile! 🙂

Jos had mix grilled of seafood, If i have a stomach of a giant, I would eat them all! Too good.

Now I had to stop talking about food… I have to drool talking about them. But really, if you have to go to Dusseldorf, please visit this fish restaurant, a tat bit crowded with small dining table but worth it all.

Now about the sights. We walk around town the first day, and yes, there are just too many shops. It is heaven for shopaholic like me. But ask any lady and they will agree, shopping and holding a man is as good as shopping and holding a child. They are both a big stumbling block to a perfect shopping day. So, I’d prefer to show you all the scene around it. So behold people…. the beauty of DUSSELDORF!

On our last day of our mini getaway, we decided to visit the Castle of Dusseldorf – Schloss Benrath. This must be one of the best decision we made that really complete our trip there with a smile.

The castle was surrounded by a big forest that is beautifully, well… kinda, organised. We arrived early in the morning, where there was a lot of mist. It almost felt like we were in Heaven… so serene, so peaceful and so much mist! I’m glad none of us walk into a tree 😛

Heaven!

 

When the mist clears up… we see more trees 🙂

And we even spotted a Heart made of autumn leaves! 🙂
OK, I lied again…. we made this! 🙂

So what do you think? Already planning a trip to Dusseldorf maybe? Well, it isn’t the best of Germany but it must be the nearest to me and the best. I so love the food there I have requested to visit more often even for a day trip! In fact, I can already see myself living there! To end this with a short and sharp review : I hearts Dusseldorf!

Fairy Tale Mushroom Comes Alive

Now… a random post on a lame fairy tale written by me:

Once upon a time, in a far away fairy tale land, a little girl was told that mushrooms looks like this:

Red with White Dots..

And when she started having mushrooms in their food; she have an impression, maybe mushroom looks like this:

White and Chopped up!

As she grew up, she found out that there are many different kind of mushroom too! Such as these:

These…..

These…

And also these….

The above are the ones that she have seen, touched, well and at some point even eaten them. But the image of the fairy tale mushroom did not leave her imaginary mind. So until a point, she decide, fairy tale mushroom are so rare they can only be seen on television, children’s story book, at most drew on some art; most likely by children that was also taught that mushroom are red with white dots. And that is that.

One day, the same girl; now a grown lady, put her giant feet onto a forest with the love of her life and her extended family wanting to feel the autumn air.

Only to witness the fairy tale mushroom come alive! And look even better on television or books.

Fairy Tale Mushroom Come Alive!

The real thing aren’t perfect. They do not have perfect round white spots but it still look and feel better than that in fairy tales. Besides the ones that are commonly seen in fairy tales, there are also some beautiful mushrooms in the forest. And brace and view…

There are many more of such lovelies that this post cannot contains. It is not a bad idea to go to the forest this weekend; smell the autumn air, feel the falling leaves and see these mushrooms for real.

The forest we visited is called Loonse en Drunense. This is near to Brabant in the Netherlands. I was hoping to see some deers but I guess we were too noisy. 🙂

Shall end my encounters with Mushrooms here with a view of the forest… cheerios!

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Four Seasons Versus One Season

Being a Singaporean, experiencing the four seasons is only possible if we travel to countries with four season. The thing about living in Singapore is there is only 1  season,  summer all year round! Its either sunny or rainy but it will stay humid. So, in order for us to experience four seasons…. we travel! Some think its good because then we don’t have to live with the nasty winter storm but I think its boring to only have 1 season.

This summer, me and Jos spend our holiday in Italy and France for a good three weeks. While I cannot stop applying that SPF 50 sunblock on my face, neck, hands, leg and any part of my body that was  exposed to the sun, I can never understand why Jos enjoys lying by the pool, reading a book under the very hot sun without a shirt on. I will only go with him if he can find me a shade from a big tree, big building or whatever that block me from the sun. Strange Singapore girl I am!

All my life, I’ve never really thought I would be able to experience all four seasons because travelling isn’t cheap. But by now, being in Holland every now and then, I realise I have experienced all four seasons which to my delight, I found them quite amazing and really liked them.

Some time in late December last year, almost Christmas time, I experienced winter in Holland. Also the same time where many dutchie are hoping for white Christmas and they did!

The last I experienced snow was 10 years ago in London but this just feels different. Maybe because I was in London with my sister and this time, in Holland with my love. Guess that’s what makes it different. Despite the cold, I actually enjoy the beautiful view of white.

According to a few Dutch friends, this time of the year is also the time where suicide rate goes up due to depression from the cold winter. That I can never understand…. whoever kills themselves because of the weather?  And then I read about S.A.D. – Seasonal Affective Disorder. Strange world!

Its really nice to sip on hot coffee on the couch and looking out of the window, watching the snow. I totally enjoy that. And then, winter ends.

Sometime in end March, its Spring time in Holland.  The white snow are gone, I don’t see white anymore. But, I awe at the sight of beautiful flowers just about any where I go.   The view of the country is once again different but still beautiful. There isn’t alot of sun in Holland, so even during spring time, it is still cold at least for me.

As its the first time I experienced Spring in Holland, I had to visit Keukenhof! So we did… all of the flowers everywhere, the whole field full of colorful tulips didn’t stop catching my eyes.

It is also at this time of the year, the Dutchie does ski-ing on the alps. We did ours at Les Menuires, France. Drove 10 hours to the Alps, enjoyed a week of ski-ing and back to Holland to enjoy Spring Time! If you ask me…. this is Life! I cannot imagine what Singaporeans are missing out, not being able to enjoy these beautiful changing seasons.

And then sometime in late March, early April, Jos turns his clock backwards by an hour. We call that Daylight savings and then Summer came… sometime in June! This day light saving thingy never fail to makes me wonder, why is there a need to do that but now I know. It did feels really strange.

Experiencing Summer Time in Holland for the first time yet again. Each day passes I began to understand why the dutchies loves summer. In my own perception, I think the dutch loves summer because:

1) The sky only starts turning dark at about 930pm and super pitch dark @ 1030pm. And the sun rise at 4am at some point of time! To me that is really cool! Can you imagine the amount of day light they enjoy?

2) To top it up. Summer in Holland is not necessary all sun. Some days, they have nice cool breeze with Sun. Some days they have only SUN and Some days they have horrible rain and thunder storm. (Unpredictable Dutch Weather!)

3) And its also the time where the Dutchies escape from the cold lowlands to other part of Europe where there is just full sunshine! It is also this time of the year the Dutch have long summer holiday from 2-4 or even 6 weeks for the retirees.


See me in cardigan and Freek in just shorts and T-shirt! He is a toughie and me… just a city girl from Singapore who feels cold even with cold breeze. But Summer time and  cold breeze are lovely weather!

This is also the time where there are nice harvest in many of the Dutchies’ garden. I remembered clearly the amazing time I have just harvesting from Hilde’s (Jos’ Sister) prune tree sitting on Jos’ shoulder, the strawberries from Nelly’s (Jos’ Mum) Garden and helping Piet (Jos’ Dad) harvest potatoes from his garden. Too fun and these vegetables and fruit just taste too good when its fresh from the Garden.

So yes, in deed, Summer time in Europe rocks! Now I know why they have long summer holiday and we don’t.

Soon Summer will end and the clock will be turn an hour ahead. The last I experienced Autumn in Holland was sometime in Oct 2009. I cannot clearly remember anything nice about Autumn but again I was only in Holland briefly then, so I cannot really remember. So, I feel a little sad I am gonna miss experiencing Autumn but Jos assured I am not missing much because its depressing to see leaves falling and the trees going all bald.

But fortunately, I am gonna be back in Holland in November this year and I should still experience Autumn in Holland before the Winter comes again. Here is a picture abstract from the web of Autumn in Holland.


So what is Autumn like? Is it really depressing? Brown, yellow and orange like falling leaves? What do you think?