Our Vietnam trip
Our Vietnam trip planning is well underway. People either love travel planning or loathe it, I fall into the love category as I enjoy researching options and destinations, seeking those hidden gems and local experiences. Our two families will number nine travellers in total, so planning takes on another level of logisticals. We have booked our air connections, accom in Hanoi and cruise, So far our itinerary looks something like this.
- Hanoi – 3 nights staying near the old city, time to explore, shop and eat
- Ha Long Bay – an overnight cruise around the spectacular Ha Long Bay and the thousands of limestones outcrops and islands
- Hoi An – 5 nights exploring Hoi An’s city, beaches and surrounds
- Ho Chi Minh City – 2 nights to complete our trip and more shopping and eating
In a blink of an eye we arrived home in Melbourne, if time flies when you are having fun, time goes into hyperspeed when you are travelling on holiday (apart from the 14 hours on the flight home, that is the longest 14 hours of your life). With so many experiences, sights, tastes and sounds concentrated over a few weeks its a very tough, no impossible, task to answer the inevitable question “What was the highlight?” Instead, we have a number of highlights…
Top 4 Meals (by Sam)
- Breakfast in Butzbach ( Buffet of meats, cheeses, fruit, bread)
- Buying baguettes in Roussillon for Breakfast (Sam walked down to the Boulangerie and bought baguettes by himself!)
- Potato rosti in Murren, Switzerland
- Pork Knuckle and pretzels in Germany
Top 4 Churches/Museums/Castles
- Les Baux Chateau, Provence France
- Notre Dame, Paris
- Munzenberg Castle, Germany
- Frieburg Munster, Germany
Top 4 Places we stayed
- Our little house in Rousillon, Provence
- The 5th floor Paris Apartment next to the Notre Dame (apart from the stairs)
- Gasthaus in Butzbach
- Chateau in the Black Forest, Germany
Top 4 Markets (Nicki)
- Sunday markets in Frieburg
- Markets in Lourmarin
- Bonnieux market
- Rousillon market
Top 4 shopping experiences (Becca)
- Dubai Mall, biggest in the world
- Paris shopping
- Interlaken souvenier shopping
- Carrefour department store, Emirates Mall
Top 4 drives (Mike)
- 160kmh on the Autobahn from Frankfurt to Frieburg
- The Route Napolean, France
- Winding through narrow French roads in Provence
- Swiss alpine driving Interlaken to Annecy
Top 4 Baked Goods (Nicki)
- Raspberry tartlette, Rousillion Patisserie
- Millefuille, Hugo & Victor Paris
- Hugo Chocolat, Hugo & Victor Paris
- Croissants, Paris
Want to see more of our trip? Some of our favourite photos have been loaded onto Flickr
Dubai is truly an amazing city - towering skyscrapers built to a master plan. Everywhere you look there is huge construction – what was desert one day, is a whole new skyscraper the next. @got to admire the udacity of the vision and the progress towards delivering on it. The UAE has definately bought into the biggest is best mentality…we went to the biggest mall in the world (eat your heart out Kim D) and the taallest tower.
My top 5:
1. 4WDing in the desert (listening to Sam squeal like a girl)
2. Swimming in the Arabian sea….so warm!
3. The view from the tallest building in the world – what a way to aapprreciate the scale of development in Dubai and the rate of progress.
4. The hommous here is FANTASTIC.
5. G&T’s at the beach bar at the Hilton
Sad to be going home. Could continue the adventure foreever!
now we are at the Abu Dhabi international airport, in 3 hours we are catching a plane to melbourne. it will take 14 hours . i am ok about coming back because i have missed you all but i am sad about leaving Europe. see you all later. from sam
Yesterday we went to a desert in Dubai, it was really big ! First we got picked up by our tour guide then we picked up the other people in our group. After that we drove into the desert in a 4×4 it took 1 hour.
Then we let our tires out so we could go up and down the dunes without flying off them! The drive felt like a roller coaster because we went up &down and side to side,it felt like we almost flipped over! It was really fun!! Then we arrived at the Beddoin tent village.we sat on pillows and we had a low table.There were a few free things you could do or get done here they are…You could get a henna tattoo,we rode a camel, I held an Eagle, there was belly dancing,and we had a HUGE banquet!
Me running(well actually walking) up a sand dune.
This is the 4×4 we drove in.
Me holding the eagle!
Us riding camels im on the second one
Paris is an amazing and beautiful city. Our five days in Paris was never going to be enough but we certainly covered a lot of the French Capital. We did a lot of walking, and also caught a lot of Metro. Unfortunately the Paris Patisserie Challenge fell short of our goalHugo & Victor was a highlight. We will have to return!
Our small apartment was perfect, fifth floor corner apartment, one block from the Notre Dame is about as central as you can get in Paris. A boulangerie down the street, and easy walking distance to Latin Quarter, Louvre and Hotel de Ville. Thank you Thierry! Details on our apartment, highly recommend!
The climb up and down the five flights of spiral staircase helped burn off the baked goods, no wonder there arent many fat Parisians!
The Notre Dame, an iconic site at any time of the day, the 8am bells were our wake up call each morning.
The picturesque Jardin du Luxembourg in Autumn colors
A welcome rest for tired feet, taking a boat trip along the Seine
Had been threatening the kids that we would be eating frogs-legs and snails for months. We did just that at a restaurant in the Latin Quarter. The frogs legs were ‘like chicken’ however the escargots were ‘disgusting’! Sams reaction to escargots was hilarious, the wee snail did not remain in his mouth for long!
We visited the Musee D’Orsay and the Louvre, the sheer scale and quality of both collections is amazing, the Louvre is massive. We looked through the huge Louvre Egyptian collection, Greek sculptures and Italian masterpieces. The Louvre gallery itself is a work of art. Of course, we saw Mona and Venus.
After a busy day walking the streets, gardens, shops, galleries, churches and patisseries of Paris, Nicki and I had earned a drink or two in a cafe to discuss the day and watch Paris pass by.
Rebecca’s photo of Paris - A bike, the metro and the Louvre
Whilst it doesnt look as though we will succeed in our quest to make it through the top 17 pastries in Paris according to parispatisseries.com we made it to Hugo & Victor today. On Blvd Raspail amongst designer shops, H&Vdecor is more jeweller than patissiere, everything on display looked exquisite. Finally decided on our choices, and headed to the banks of the Seine to indulge.
The kids chose caramel and mango macaroons, serious melt in your mouth, not that we got to taste much. Then onto the serious stuff, I’ve chosen the ‘Hugo Chocolat’is as parispatisseries.com describes ‘a pastry connoisseur’s fantasy’. At about AUD$8.50 this is a premium pastry but your taste buds are high-fiving through the whole chocolat experience.
Nicki went for the ‘Victor Pomme’, there are millefeuilles and then there are millefeuilles. Layers of light delicate pastry with smooth cream and apples. Another pastry Everest!
The search continues…..
Art meets pastry at Hugo & Victor
About to taste the Hugo Chocolat, Bec’s eyes on the Chocolat!
Nicki very happy with her Victor Pomme
Bec and Sam review the rides and attractions at Disneyland Paris….
Big Thunder Mountain
Bec: It was great fun, but it freaked me out, thought it was going to be slow and boring but it was fast and dark. 8/10
Sam: It nearly gave me a heart attack, it went so fast but it was very good. 10/10
Mark Twain Riverboat
Bec: Really nice, could see fake people, then we saw real people but thought they were fake! 7/10
Sam: Peaceful ride, also a bit boring 5/10
Pirates of the Caribbean
Bec: Really good actually, lots of cool pirate scences and skeletons at the end 9/10
Sam: Good ride, two small drops, got a bit wet! 7.5/10
Mad Hatters Tea Cups
Bec: Really fun, could spin the cups by yourself 8/10
Sam: Really enjoyed it, went on the cups ride four times 9/10
Its a small World
Bec: Very cute, little dolls singing from different countries and I saw Australia, kangaroo and a koala! 8/10
Sam: Very peaceful, shows you the cultures of different countries 8/10
Dumbo the flying elephant
Bec: Fun, got to choose how high you got to fly, water surrounding you 9/10
Sam: Pretty cool, could see lots of Disneyland, got to pull a lever to go up and down 9/10
Bec: Really fun, in a spaceship simulator going up, down, side to side, on the screen could see where we were flying, had a robot pilot and we got attacked and crashed into the Death Star! 10/10
Sam: I didnt do it, it looked to freaky for me
Captain EO (3D Michael Jackson film)
Bec: Michael Jackson at his best, little characters were cute, the whole theatre moved 9/10
Sam: felt like you were moving in the movie, very good 9/10
Bec: Just a normal railroad, not that exciting 2/10
Sam: Boring, couldnt see much 2/10