Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

Tag Archives: day trip

How small is the smallest town in the world?

Speaking of extremes, I’ve been to a few “extreme” places in Europe: Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point on mainland Europe, and Nijmegen, the oldest city in the Netherlands (debated by Maastricht). For this post: the world’s smallest town – Durbuy, Belgium.

HOLD ON. I think Hum, Croatia would kindly like to disagree. Perhaps ex-Buford in Wyoming, USA would disagree as well. There really isn’t much factual evidence that Durbuy, Belgium is indeed the smallest town in the world, although that is the small Belgian town’s claim to fame. Maybe it USED to be the smallest town in the world, once upon a time, but not anymore? Who knows?

Just how small is the “smallest” town in the world? A car ride into the hidden little place (thanks to Yi-Shiang & co.) would show us what it’s all about!

Durbuy is literally hidden in the forests. I think we were driving for some 20 minutes between rows of trees surrounded by tiny creeks and rivers, as if we were venturing into an unknown existence deep into the innermost parts of the woods. And suddenly, out of nowhere at all, the town emerged from behind the trees. I felt like we found the entrance to Narnia or something. First impression of Durbuy: it reminded me of another small town that I’ve visited, but I can’t remember which one… >_<

Continue reading

Advertisements

Day trip in little Toledo

When I travel to one place for a sufficiently long period of time (typically more than 3 days), I like to look for small cities or towns nearby my main destination and make that a day trip. During a week-long trip to Barcelona, my friend LS and I took a half-day trip to the nearby Girona. A 4-day getaway in northwestern France brought me to Pornic, an unexpected little corner of the country where I spent two hours. Of course, when I went searching for Mr.DS in Lisbon in April, I visited the medieval town of Óbidos for a day.

For Madrid, the detour was made in Toledo, a little medieval town 70 km to the south of Madrid. I had decided that I would definitely go for a visit, whether anyone came with me or not, after my oral presentation at the conference. After all, I finished it on the first day, and had nothing to worry about, woot!

So to Toledo I went, ultimately with some of my conference buddies and we unfortunately missed the train that we were originally going to take because it ran out of seats as we were making reservations. Boo 😦 So then we waited two hours for the next one. The trip was quite short, taking only 33 minutes from central Madrid. We arrived and took a shuttle bus that took us from the train station to the city centre, which is situated on top of a gigantic hill. I would have loved to take the walk, but with a baby and a stroller in our party, the bus was a much more practical alternative on a hot day.

On the way to the city centre, we saw the Alcázar of Toledo in a distance on top of the hill. The wheels on the bus went round and round, and up and up we went 🙂

Continue reading

Saturday in Sarlat

Last weekend, I was planning to go to La Rochelle with some of the ladies, but due to some unexpected changes in scheduling, it had to be cancelled. Boo 😦 I was extremely looking forward to it too!

So what did I do? I moved the trip to Sarlat with my friend ahead by a week. It was originally planned for next Saturday, but construction work on the railway on that day made it so that it’d take three and a half hours to get to Sarlat from Bordeaux instead of the usual two and a half, WITH a transfer to “autocar” (or bus) in Bergerac. If we went on the 12th, it would be an earlier, direct train, giving us the advantage of convenience and WAY more time in the town than expected. Score! No La Rochelle, no problem!

Sarlat, or Sarlat-la-Canéda, is a medieval town in the Dordogne department in south-western France, a place known for its unspoiled countryside and villages. It is situated in what’s known as the Périgord region, which is further divided into four parts: black, green, purple, and white (Périgord noir, vert, pourpre, and blanc respectively in French). The four colours each describes a different characteristic of the regions they represent – black for the oak trees and chestnut trees, green for the hillside and meadows, purple for the luxurious wine, and white for the limestone plateaux. Sarlat is in black Périgord, the most famous and popular among tourists out of the four regions. (References here and here.)

Our journey started at 7:03 in the morning – on a Saturday! For a night owl like me who struggles to get out of bed even at 8:30, it was quite a challenge to start getting ready at 5:45 and take the 6:29 bus to the train station to catch the train. But both of us made it despite worrying that we’d oversleep! Heh, a 2.5-hour train ride gave us sufficient time to rest before reaching our destination, and we certainly took full advantage of that. Allons-y 😉

The walk from the train station to the old town of Sarlat took a good 15 minutes or so. Bright red wild flowers were in full bloom along the road, adding such vibrant contrast to the scenery.

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: