Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

Tag Archives: unesco

Dreaming of a white Christmas in Český Krumlov

The first time I heard about the city of Český Krumlov in the Czech Republic was, incidentally, through my own blog. A reader posted a comment on my Travel checklist three years ago, suggesting that I add it to my list. And so I did, but didn’t get a chance to travel there until December 2014. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Český Krumlov is located a little less than 200 km south of Prague, easily reachable by bus. As part of my trip to Eastern Europe, of courrrrrrrrrrrrse there would be no way that I’d miss the perfect opportunity to see Český Krumlov during the Christmas season!

Christmas had already passed when I visited Český Krumlov (I spent last Christmas in Prague), but it’s never too late to hope for some post-Christmas snow, which was absent in Prague. I arrived in Český Krumlov after the first snow of the year (or so said the guide of my walking tour), and I was glad! What’s winter without a bit of snow and freezing temperature to set the mood?

I arrived in Český Krumlov in the late afternoon, when it was already dark outside. Even though I wasn’t able to see the details very clearly, I could already feel that I was falling in love with the town bit by bit as I strolled from the bus stop to the hostel. The winding river Vltava, the same one that traverses Prague, divides Český Krumlov into sections, but the entire town itself could be explored in about two hours. That, of course, would be during the daytime, but I still took my time admiring the lovely reflections of the night lights in the river.

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The subtle side of Hallstatt

Part 2 of the Hallstatt posts brings out the subtle beauty of the village hidden in the mountains, waiting to be uncovered. During the unexpected hike, I’ve already discovered the trails scattered around the small village, but Hallstatt is so much more than that.

Tiny green, flower-like plants were sprouting from the rocks, very cute and delicate. When you look closely, each of them looks like a mini-rose that has turned green with envy but without the vicious thorns to launch an attack or even to defend itself…

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The 12 months of Saint-Émilion

With the visit to Saint-Émilion in October, I have checked yet another item off my bucket list: to visit Saint-Émilion in every month.

Saint-Émilion really is a lovely place that I never get tired of visiting. Whether it’s bringing friends from out of province to see its medieval beauty, or just getting away from the city for a few hours by myself, I can always enjoy the little town’s exquisite atmosphere in every season. The surrounding vineyards never cease to amaze me, and there seems to be a never-ending maze of narrow streets through which I can leisurely navigate without turning back.

With the help of a simple collage creator (no need to mess with tables 😉 ), I compiled some of the pictures that I took during each trip to Saint-Émilion in hopes of capturing its essence in every shot. There were some disappointments (no snow this year!) but oh, how it mesmerizes me, even today!

January (Jan. 20, 2013)

I went with the intention of capturing Saint-Émilion by night. In January, it was usually “dark” by 6:30, which was when some of these photos were taken, but not dark enough. Unfortunately I had to catch the train back to Bordeaux (the one after would be two hours later!) and so this was as close to “night” as I could get. The streets were almost isolated without a soul to be seen, but I loved how the calmness contrasted with the tourist-filled atmosphere of the summer seasons.

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Northwestern France, days 3 and 4

On day 3 of my Christmas escape from Bordeaux, I visited the famous Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy…or is it part of Brittany? I’m not sure. The bus ride was a little less than an hour and a half from Rennes, perfect for a day trip. I figured since I was in Rennes, why not drop by to see what’s the big deal?

Day 4 was an unplanned but interesting detour…you’ll see. (See all photos.)

Obligatory front shot of Mont Saint-Michel upon arrival. Mont Saint-Michel is a tidal island that is connected to the mainland via a causeway. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the entire “town” of Mont Saint-Michel is enclosed by a fortress, with a gigantic abbey at the very top in the centre.

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Saint-Émilion in late November

One day not long ago, I spontaneously added an item to my bucket list: to visit Saint-Émilion at least once in every month. I’m not sure why I decided to do that, but I thought it could be a challenge to make life more interesting for my remaining year (at least) in Europe. Also, I want to see how a town changes from month to month, from season to season, and what better place to go than charming little Saint-Émilion?

So far I’ve done April, May, June, July and now, November. If I plan out my mobility well, the rest of the months are well doable 😉 To add to the challenge, I have different company every time. So far only one person has gone with me twice, and that would be MM. In April 2011 I went for the first time with Chahat, a university friend studying in the UK at that time. In May 2012 it was with my Canadian crew Sharon and Cindy. In June 2011 the trip was spent with the Yihua family, MM, and Wan Zhe. In July 2011 there was Helene, Mengran, Xinning, SB, and MM again.

Before November was over, I decided to make my fifth trip to Saint-Émilion with a colleague. It was also the first time I brought Mr.Nikon with me, hurray! We caught the last weekend before it got too cold, and really, it might have been my favourite visit so far, thanks to so many things.

What makes Saint-Émilion such a charming and irresistible place that I go back again and again? You’ll see. (Click for full album.)

Mr.Colleague wondered whether there were still grapes on the vines in November. Well, who knew? Unless we found out, of course 😉 I remember in June last year, there were green grapes on the vines, but in November, even if there were any left, they couldn’t possibly be green or even purple anymore, right? Alas, we saw some dark blue grapes still stubbornly hanging onto their branches, though these were few. I kinda wanted to swipe a bunch, because they looked oh-so-sweet-and-delicious 😀

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