Posts Categorized: travel

Architecture + Europe + Life + travel / Wednesday, 10 Apr 2013

Provence–Gordes

I’ve been lucky to see what I consider some of the most beautiful places in the world. However, rarely has a place made such an impression as Provence. I’ve been having dreams about it. It’s a place that I would love to return to again and again and again. Which means that I need to get rich and buy a villa there, bien sur. When my mom came to visit me in Copenhagen in September we took a side trip (after MUCH drama including missing our flight–my fault–and thinking we could compensate by driving–nope!) to the south of France. I’ve talked about parts of the trip herehere, and here. Gordes was one of the most beautiful towns we visited. It felt more like a museum town in that it was quite pristine and glowing as the town is built of limestone. I wouldn’t say that you need to stay here if you’re visiting unless you use your holidays to lounge, swim, and walk around. My mom and I just loved soaking in all the architecture and as she said, her favorite part was looking at all the building materials. Nerd alert! But, alas, it WAS the best part. Look at the lovely shades of shutter colors! I mean, come on! 
Some of the photos might seem a bit repetitive, but it’s because the details were so lovely. There are complicated details in the ironwork on the windows and handrails. Some I just took pictures of because I wanted to remember details for my future villa. You know.

I must also mention the kindness of the people. The French in the South of France are kind, warm, and open. That, combined with the sun was the perfect escape from cold Denmark. 

I love what this person did. The town attracts loads of tourists and I’m sure they made braids on their doors to keep peeping toms like me out of their house.

A functioning water fountain! Yes, I stopped on the side of the road to quickly get this shot.
Leading into the town of Gordes is the Lavender Museum or Le Musee de la Lavande. Provence is the lavender capital and sadly we missed it all by a month or two. BIG SAD FACE. So we had to hit the lavender museum. I’d say it’s worth it if you like factory tours and such, like Mama and me. It shows the processes of how they make it and the history. We found it quite fascinating. At the end they lead you to a boutique where you can find all sorts of lavender products including an ointment that helps alleviate aches and pains. Sign me up! 
And, of course, it wouldn’t be a trip without pictures of doors and windows. 

 Majestic, non?

 Complete with bistro lights. Sigh.

 Here are the iron-work details. See what I mean?!

 Oh, and just a laundry rack. Covered with IVY!

 Too much for me.

 Swimming anyone?

 Have you ever been to Provence? What were your favorite places? In other words, where should I buy my villa?

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Europe + Life + travel / Monday, 1 Apr 2013

The Sound of Music tour

Preface: April Fool’s day is possibly my favorite holiday. But I’ve got nothin this year. FAIL! No need to read with caution.
Melinda came to visit me in Copenhagen in August (only 8 months ago. I’m way on top of life) and she asked, “where do you want to go while I’m there?” I had only one suggestion: THE SOUND OF MUSIC TOUR in Austria. Melinda knows Vienna (here’s the Vienna review) quite well and hadn’t been to Salzburg, so she, too, was all about it. Of course, we knew we had to wear outfits appropriate for the tour, but I didn’t have time to make outfits from cut-out curtains so I had to make due with a floral skirt. Melinda had found this divine yellow two-piece ensemble at FN92, a vintage shop in Copenhagen, that reads “mixed pickles” so, obviously, that was a given.
I grew up on The Sound of Music and I suspect a lot of you did too. I mean, did you imagine yourself running through fields singing “The hills are alive” or putting on puppet shows yodeling? I bet so. In other words, this was a dream come true.

Fun fact: my uncle was originally cast in the film role of Frederick, the oldest boy. Sadly, they found a boy at the lats minute who had a real British accent. Blast you authenticity! 
I had been dead set on doing the Sound of Music bus tour, but after reading the Yelp reviews, we weren’t so certain anymore. They were so across the board. We  looked into the walking tour with The Sound of Trudy, but she was all sold out for the day we were there. We decided to gamble on the bus situation and ended up on Panorama bus tour, the original. The tours are frequent and down to a science. I forget the name of our tour guide, but you can tell had had done led the tour millions of time joked after calculated joke. But I LOVED it. I ate it up. The bus takes you to the two houses that are used as the front and back facades, the gazebo of 16 going on 17, the chapel where Maria and the Captain are married, past the Red Bull headquarters (highlight!), and winding through the Alps with great views of the lake and flower-boxed houses (remember this post?). Oh, and a gladiola farm. HEAVEN (minus the Red Bull, that’s all the April Fool’s jokes you’ll get today from me).

Was it worth it, you ask? Definitely. Would I recommend it? YUP! Again, the reviews on Yelp were so mixed up that I can imagine a bad tour guide could happen, but who cares?! You’re in Salzburg with the Von Trapps? You’ll get caught up. Oh, and did I mention at the end of the tour while you’re cruising back to Salzburg, the guide puts on the soundtrack and you sing. I mean, I sang, I couldn’t really hear anyone else. But the girl from China came up afterwards and congratulated me on my voice. All I could say was, “I know it quite well”. This was only a day trip from Vienna, a lovely 3 hour train ride, and if I were to go back I might spend the night and do more Mozart stuff, because I also love him.

The End. 

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Europe + Life + travel / Tuesday, 13 Nov 2012

Two days in Austria

My travel posts are SO behind. I’m still catching up from August! At least it gives me the opportunity to remember what the sun felt like so long ago. *sigh*. My dear friend Melinda* hopped over to Copenhagen to spend her birthday with us and we were so so honored. She decided we also needed to hop countries and knowing that I’ve been dreaming up Austria for a long time now, we decided what better time?! Mostly, it was for the Sound of Music tour in Salzburg, but more on that later. For now, it’s Vienna. House Trip was kind enough to sponsor our stay while we were there and we had a terrific experience with them. It’s a site where you can rent out your apartment/house while you are away. We selected an all-white apartment along a canal next to the Kunsthaus Museum. A kind lady met us there to give us our keys and show us around.
I loved the view of the courtyard and looking onto the colorful tiled building in the back. And are you looking at that herringbone flooring? So lovely! Melinda knows Vienna pretty well so she took me around to some of her favorite spots. In particular she was excited to see the Klimt murals at the Kunsthistorisches Museum because for the first time they provided stairs up to the ceiling so you could take a close look. 

Melinda took me to this wonderful confectioners, Demel (careful, music on their site!), where we loaded up on beautiful illustrated chocolate bars and of course a stop at their outside ice cream bar. Adorable right?

We passed by the Vienna Secession building. You know, I find it so odd how a bunch of artists at the turn of the century had so much money that they could build such a lovely building. Anyone know the history of it and how they could do that? That just doesn’t seem to happen these days.

When I travel to destinations that I’ve been dreaming about for ages I seem to forget that once upon a time they were not crawling with tourists. But crawling with tourists they are (see above).

Our stay in Vienna was sponsored by HouseTrip, but all content and opinions are my own. Thanks House Trip!

*Melinda’s dress is a good story. She found it here in Copenhagen at a delightful vintage dress shop, F.N.92. The pattern says “mixed pickles”. I don’t know what that means, but I love it. While she was shopping she thought she recognized Eva Mendes, but dismissed the idea because she was wearing flats and clearly Eva Mendes doesn’t wear practical sight-seeing shoes. Well, turns out she does! It WAS Eva Mendes. 

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Europe + Life + Provence + travel / Monday, 29 Oct 2012

Walking around Apt

Oh, I’m not nearly done talking about our trip to Provence last month. The thing about Provence is that most everything is picturesque so you can’t help but walk around with a camera to your eye. Now, I stopped dead in my tracks when I came across this little square in the village we were staying at in Apt. I felt like I was suddenly transported into a de Chirico painting. You know what I mean?

Love doorknobs in the center of the door.
And you know, grapevines over your door. Just in case you need to make some wine really fast.

More pics from the trip here.

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Europe + Home + Interiors + Life + Provence + travel / Thursday, 18 Oct 2012

Our apartment in Apt, France

On Monday I talked about our arrival to Provence, Apt more specifically. The trip was just my mom and me and we had been talking about a trip to Provence for ages. You see, once upon a time Mom had a shop in Corona del Mar, CA called “En Provence” where she sold beautiful French country furniture (made by my uncle!) and gifts. But between you and me, she had never been! She’d get comments all the time, “yup, this feels just like it” and she would just smile and nod, “merci.” Most likely because of this, I grew up a French country disciple and devoured anything Provence-related like Peter Mayle’s Year in Provence. You can imagine, this was a bit of a dream come true for us.
Knowing that Mom was coming to visit us in Denmark we just knew we had to go south for a bit and make it a reality. Then the question arose, WHERE to stay? I asked you dear Lars readers for suggestion and you were SO helpful. Thank you! If you want to go there yourself, read some of their suggestions here. I was tipped off by a friend of mine that Katy Elliot, whose blog I’ve adored for many blog years had stayed in Provence and after seeing her post about her stay in Bonnieux I KNEW that that had to be us. The apartment is owned by an architect/designer couple in Maine who also have properties and an antiques shop in New England called Marston House and other properties in Southern France. We didn’t stay in the Bonnieux location, but their 2 bedroom apartment in Apt, the town right next door. The pictures of the apartment showed a really beautiful, simple interior in neutral colors with a mix of antiques and new pieces. They later told me that they completely renovated it themselves including the statement staircase done by local craftsmen (go local!). I loved their whole vibe and their love for the area so I was sold. 
Read more about our experience below.

Like I said, the apartment is a mix of antiques and new pieces including the linens, which included personalized monograms from previous owners. I loved these touches, like on the window curtains.
This is the bedroom that I stayed in, above, and I didn’t get a great photo of my mom’s room which was the bigger of the two.
The apartment overlooked this quaint courtyard, which we could have used, but ended up leaving early in the morning and returning after sundown each day, so we gawked from afar.
If you want to stay here, or at any of their rentals, I would HIGHLY recommend it. Their taste helps transform your experience. I wouldn’t say that Apt was my favorite town that we stayed in. There was a tinge of grittiness that I didn’t prefer, but when you’re in Provence you end up renting a car and seeing all the towns anyway so you may not spend so much time in your place. It was a great home base for us.
Marston House rentals website here. I’ll be posting more about the markets in the area and our day trips. Guys, this trip blew my mind and I can’t wait to show it to you.
All photos but two taken by me. The two are from the Marston House website
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