December for me is all about reminiscing about the best experiences of the year that is almost about to come to an end. and so this December, i’m starting a blogpost about the best experiences i’ve had this year. and what better way to begin this than by talking about food.
the best restaurant experience i had was of course back in France during our family visit in the summer. my in-laws took us to this nice restaurant called La Ferme aux Grives in a small ville called Eugenie-les-Bains, in the South of France, not far from where my in-laws live.
the restaurant was set in the middle of a lovely garden, at the edge of a huge farm, and is owned by a two-Michelin starred chef, Michel Guerard.
the ancient stone house that makes up the restaurant of La Ferme Aux Grives
one of the fondest memories of my university life was taking the mass every Sunday at Saint Vincent de Paul’s chapel.
i was already not a religious person at the time, but i have always enjoyed good singing. the SVP chapel had a really good choir. and i really liked Saint Vincent de Paul’s birthday because it means school holiday. 🙂
last time i was in France, i took the chance to finally visit his ville-natale.
You might think that I have already abandoned this blog since I haven’t been updating for the longest time ever. The truth is June and July have just been very busy for me — entertaining visitors, planning our three-week European holiday, and arranging things for my return to work after a three-year sabbatical!
But I won’t be overwhelming you with too much information on this blog entry. For now I just want to write about my recent trip to Tuscany, one of the best regions of Italy.
Le road trip de rêve — we followed the advice of our Lonely Planet guidebook, except we’ve replaced Volterra with Arezzo and Cortona
We have planned on going for a road trip all over Tuscany. our trip consisted of eight days and eight nights coming from Bordeaux, France to Florence to Pisa to Lucca to San Giminiano to Siena andChianti Arezzo to Cortona and finally back to Florence again.
it was quite a tiring trip but definitely worth it! the place is as magical as how you imagine it and a lot lot better than pictures!
i have seen places that were the setting of some of my well-loved movies: The English Patient and La Vita e Bella, to name a few. you would think that visiting a single place in Tuscany would be sufficient because if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all… NOT true at all. each time we progress to the next destination in our trip, we get completely awed by how beautifully different one place is compared to the last one we’ve visited.
My family and I are planning to have a three-week holiday in France and visit some SchengenCountries at the same time a few months from now. Since my Titre de séjour has already expired late last year, I now have to get a visit visa from the French Embassy here in Singapore. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered how fast and easy it is now for me to get one, being a spouse of a French citizen.
As mentioned in Part 1 of this travel post, I initially intended to go canyoning, but I had the misfortune of getting sick on the day of my travel and so figured I should postpone it til next time when I come back with my family, since hubby is also interested to do it.
I told them, I feel really funny being toured around Cebu by a couple of foreigners, as if I’m not local. Although, come to think of it, I have been living outside The Philippines for almost ten years now, so I’m not really that much of a local anymore.
Climbing inside the canyons makes me feel like a troglodyte
It was a very short walk from Mainit hot spring, going to Montaneza waterfalls. I was a bit disappointed because I really felt like walking some more despite my predisposition.
I had been searching the internet for a mini-break by the beach when I chanced upon SilkAir‘s Sale for flights going to Kalibo, Cebu and Davao earlier this March. It was a perfect opportunity for me. my first option was Boracay via Kalibo. But I wanted to go at such short notice that it was impossible for me to find a decent lodging at a decent price. And so, I opted for Cebu instead.
The shore at Blue Orchid Resort, facing west, directly in front of Negros Island, this area is also a perfect spot for stargazing at night
While searching for a place to go to for our family’s Christmas Holiday, I chanced upon this beautiful resort called Qunci Villas in Lombok, Indonesia from a friend’s facebook photo. and I was mesmerized with the beauty of the place.
Arriving at the place, I did not feel disappointed seeing how beautiful the hotel surroundings are. I immediately fell in-love with the open shower in our room. You can see the tree tops outside while you take the shower because half of the shower area is roofless. It reminded me so much of the batalan in the Philippine provinces. 🙂
The beautiful bathroom with the shower’s roofing half exposed to the elements 🙂
All the art works in the resort are created by a collaboration of french and local artists. I super love them. We tried to visit the gallery where the art works came from but they close really early and they only sell huge wood carvings.
during my first trip in France, i was lucky enough to have my then-boyfriend-now-husband and my in-laws as tour guides. and since i told them that it was my life-long dream to visit a vineyard, they organized an educational tour for me to Saint Emilion, a famous and quite touristic village a few miles east of Bordeaux.
i remember being so excited riding the car on the way there. i can still remember being fascinated by the huge and smiley sunny sunflowers along the road. and you can imagine how thrilled i was at the first glimpse of the rows and rows of vineyards on the rolling hills.
once we were in the vicinity of the vines, it felt like going through a maze finding our way to Clos La Madeleine.
the entrance to the caves where the wines are casked and aged
here, we made a tour around the vineyard and also inside the distillery and into the cave on a guided tour about the process of wine-making.