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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Carcassonne - 2500-year-old medieval fortified town in South of France

I can't remember exactly why Carcassonne was in my itinerary... Partly because of the fortress, the castle? Partly because I simply wanted to stop somewhere before Avignon as I had to skip Aix-de-Provence in this journey? Anyway, I arrived to Carcassonne at noon, it was a bit hard for me to find my hotel by a "paper Google map", I was almost close to it, but then I took another way and I got lost.

                     One of two main gates to the fortified city, the other one by the river Aude.      
     

Friday, October 24, 2014

La Roque-Gageac - one of the most beautiful villages in France

Wherever you go in France, despite small or big town, you always find the tourist office. There you will be able to get many useful informations about the tours, hotels, restaurants, museums, transportation, tickets to some events...After one day of exploring my favourite historic Sarlat on my own, I needed to get out to La Roque-Gageac - one of the most beautiful villages in France.

It turned out very simple, the lady in the tourist office nicely booked for me a taxi-van for a round trip to the village, I shared the van with a couple from UK, so the fare was only 20 Euros per person and I had almost 4 hours at La Roque-Gageac : from noon to 4:00 PM. Perfect!

                I found this old stone house, deep inside a huge bamboo garden in Roque-Gageac. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Day out at the bird's nest farm in Bình Dương

Last week I spent a day in the bird's nest farm in Bình Dương with some of my old friends. The farm belongs to a friend of mine. I knew him since I still worked for a Finnish company, but we didn''t see each other for a while until last year we met up again.
It was quite interesting day-out to his farm, to witness how they do the nesting houses for thousands of swiftlets, to harvest the bird's nests - one of the most expensive foods that we consume these days.

               The nesting houses in my friend's farm in Dầu Tiếng (Bình Dương province) 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sarlat-La-Canéda - a mind-blowing town in South West of France

I left Blois early in the morning after having a breakfast in hotel. Talking about the breakfast in France, to save time, I often grabbed some of my favourite sandwich-baguette with either an Evian or a mini-bottle of fruit juice at the train station, it cost me around 5 or 6 Euro. Later I realised if I pay 2 or 3 Euro extra I could have a whole breakfast buffet in the hotel with a lot of choices (in France most hotels didn't include the breakfast in their rate).

                   Place du Peyrou - Centre of Sarlat at night.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The famous veal from Củ Chi - Bò tơ

Củ Chi is one of the suburban districts of Saigon. Not far away and a popular spot for tourists thanks to the well-known tunnels from the war times. For people living in Saigon, Củ Chi is still famous for some of their local specialities: the super fresh cow milk, the tapioca that you might try during the tunnels visit and the famous veal or as we say here "young beef" (bò tơ).

I've been to Củ Chi for this kind of veal dish before with my nieces, it was somewhere in some small roads, it was not easy to navigate if you are not familiar with the place, and the eatery was simply down to earth, spacious like in the garden, with few of low wooden tables and chairs, they only cook after getting the order. But last night our place was a kind of luxury, typically spacious in the suburb, with fancy furniture, nice dining room with air con and very good veal dishes.

                 A plate of veal meat, we dipped the meat into a soup of fermented sticky rice (hèm) 

Friday, October 10, 2014

My weekend in Blois & the memorable light show at Château de Blois

After these famous châteaux, I was back to my hotel around 5:00 pm, I thought to invite my companion for dinner but then I changed my mind. I felt exhausted after a whole day exposed on the sun, carried a heavy camera bag with tripod...I didn't feel like to eat anything. No appetite at all.

              Hotel's breakfast room, cozy, ideal place for train traveller, just across the street from station

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Château de Chenonceau and a weekend in Blois - Part One

I left Château de Chambord around 1:00 pm, 40' later I reached the other one, also very famous in this "Vallée  de la Loire" - Château de Chenonceau. When I first saw this architecture on the internet, it didn't blow my mind right away like the Chambord, but when I arrived and saw it my eyes...what I could say was just "Wow"!

              Château de Chenonceau - the famous eastern facade of the castle over the river Cher.

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