After the holidays – detox at Lake Garda/Italy

Soon the holidays will be over and we’ll all have to pay the price. Too much food and drink, too little exercise, the past- festivities hangover will kick in. Not to worry though, help is at hand.What about booking yourself into this fabulous spa, getting fit and detoxed and enjoying a great part of Italy at the same time?

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Rebalance your body after the festive season at the eco spa Lefay Resort & SPA overlooking Lake Garda with a programme to purify the body of toxins. In just three days the treatments will improve the free flow of vital energy and eliminate such symptoms as fatigue, irritability and swelling.

 

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The holistic purifying programme uses the stimulation of the Classical Chinese energy points to eliminate toxins, caused by factors such as poor eating habits, alcohol and cigarettes.

Treatments include a detoxifying massage, aimed at removing accumulated toxins working on the meridians and specific points of Classical Chinese Medicine that promote lymphatic drainage and eliminate toxins.

Guests will be given personalised phytotherapy, using specific medicinal plants that work mainly on the kidney and liver to create a bespoke Classical Chinese medicinal herbal infusion that guests drink during and after their stay.

Other treatments include a wrap with micro-eclatée algae and detoxifying essential oils, a massage with mud rich in oils, clays, sulphates and marillonite, which performs an osmotic detoxifying and antioxidant effect and a session in the salt water lake – the high temperature allows the body to absorb the trace elements and minerals from the marine salt dissolved in the water, which has a draining, detoxifying and relaxing effect.

The purifying programme is accompanied by a slightly low-calorie and detoxifying diet.   The price per person is £880 (Euros 1,035) based on two sharing and includes accommodation, all treatments and meals but not flights. The nearest airport is Verona.

http://lagodigarda.lefayresorts.com/eng/special-offers/wellness-programme/

Images provided by the resort.

Explore cool and exotic Bogor/Indonesia

‘A romantic little village’ is how Sir Stamford Ruffles once described Bogor in West Java during colonial times.’ Little village’  does no longer apply, because the city, located some 60km south of the capital Jakarta, has grown to a population of over 1 million. But, a romantic charm persists to this day.

Old Post road

Old Post road

Add friendly people,a cool climate, breathtaking volcanoes, jungles and waterfalls, great food and one of the world’s oldest and largest botanical gardens and you’ll want to pack your bags and head to Indonesia straightaway.

lily pond

Botanic Garden Image by Ian Riley wikepedia commons

Plan your trip successfully with the help of Traveloka. You’ll find the best deals, connections, suitable times to visit and everything else to make your stay in Bogor an unforgettable adventure.

An important role in the enjoyment of any trip is the choice of hotel. You can’t do much better than with the Hotel Aston Bogor. Providing all necessary creature comforts, the hotel is suitable for families as well as for solo travelers. A natural river runs through the lush grounds where you get a first impression of the great nature which makes Bogor such a coveted ‘escape’ from hot and crowded Jakarta. Relax in their full service spa and then set off the explore such main attractions as the Botanical Garden or the Jungle Water Adventure Park, all within easy walking distance.

Of course, being in Indonesia you’ll also want to use one of the colorful local rickshaws known as Becak.

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ABecak_Bogor.jp
What to see and do in Bogor and surroundings

You simply cannot skip the Botanical Garden. Located in the city center next to the presidential compound of Istana Bogor, this paradise of tropical vegetation covers 210 acres and is home to nearly 14.000 different trees and plants. The garden has many sections, the most remarkable being the water garden with giant water lilies, fish and birds which live in the park and the  Orchid House full of the most exotic specimen. Or get lost in the massive maze garden. There are also monuments reflecting Bogor’s British and Dutch past, such as a memorial to Lady Raffles.

A logical next stopping point is the presidential palace right next to the Botanical Garden. The building originates from 1744 under Dutch rule but was destroyed in an earthquake. The current palace dates from 1850 when it was rebuilt. The Botanical Garden was once the palaces’  backyard and even now it is surrounded by lavish grounds. Strangely no president or anybody else lives there, but deer, once brought over from Nepal roam the grounds freely and are much loved (and fed) by visitors.

View over the Bogor Palace in Botanical Garden in the morning in Jakarta Indonesia.

View over the Bogor Palace in Botanical Garden in the morning in Jakarta Indonesia.

Bogor is divided by two rivers and located in a basin surrounded by mountains, jungle and volcanoes. The highest peaks are volcano Salak and Mount Gede. Naturally, no visit to Bogor is complete without venturing further afield.

Mount Salak in the background

Mount Salak in the background

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AKota_Bogor_%26_Gunung_Salak.jpg

 

Visit the Tea Estate and enjoy some horseback riding at Gunung Mas.  You can join a guided tour to learn about Java’s tea culture.

Admire West Java’s largest  Hindu temple, Pura Parahyanan Agung Jagatkartta. Tourists are not allowed in the inner temple but you can enjoy the beauty of the buildings and even more green gardens.

This is just a small selection of attractions to wet your appetite for a visit to Bogor. You can swim under waterfalls, hang glide in the mountains, hike and rock climb or simply enjoy a variety of great food at the Ah Poong  Floating Market.

Just don’t forget to bring umbrella and raincoat. Regardless to which time of the year you visit, all this abundance of vegetation has a reason: it always rains, even in the dry season.

A Bucket List for the Outdoorsy Types

Age is nothing more than a state of mind. Sure, you may not be physically able to do all the things you could 40 years ago, but when it comes to the adventurer’s spirit, there is no 20-year-old who could keep up. However, the focus of this article won’t be on the best places to visit, but the outdoor activities you should definitely try out. So, unleash your inner voyager, and do everything you’ve been dreaming about. Here are just some of the activities you should not skip, as well as a few suggestions for those unable to make up their minds.

Image by Unsplash used under Creative Commons license CC0 Public Domain

Horse-Riding

In some parts of the world, people are born in the saddle, live their entire lives in the saddle and die in the saddle. Sadly, in most parts of the Western Europe, people never learn how to ride. There are those who are skeptical about taking up riding in their 60s or 70s, but if Nick Skelton could earn an equestrian gold at 58, you can definitely learn at least the basics of horseback riding at any stage of your life. Some parts of the world, like Cappadocia, Turkey, offer this as one of their strongest tourist attractions.

Camel Trekking

No matter how exciting it is, riding a horse is something that a fairly large number of people tried at least once in their life. On the other hand, how many of your friends can boast about having a camel trekking experience? Without the internet, finding such an opportunity would be a challenge indeed, but with the right platform, you can easily find inspiration for a holiday that includes this activity in their offer, and the beauty of it is that it’s just a few clicks away. If you are not sure where to start your search, you cannot go wrong with Erg Chigaga, Morocco.

Hiking in Nepal

Whereas climbing Mount Everest may be too extreme, hiking up the Everest base camp trek is definitely something you should do in the nearest possible future. The track itself is 70 miles long, but it is intended to last at least 16 days, which makes this goal quite achievable. By hiring a guide for no more than $10 or $20 a day, you make this experience much safer and get to learn a lot about autochthonous culture.

Going on a Road Trip

Image by Unsplash used under Creative Commons license CC0 Public Domain

Finally, going on a road trip may seem boring in comparison to the aforementioned activities, but then again, this depends on the destination you choose. There are many options, but the most interesting ones are located in the Northern part of the United States. A road trip through this area would allow you to visit places like Yellowstone National Park, Niagara Falls and even have a quick detour through Illinois and Minnesota.

Conclusion

Sure, the idea of fun is not the same for everyone. To some, this means spending their days in a reading nook or in a chair next to the fireplace. However, there are others who would take on an adventure over it in a blink of an eye.

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Hotel Le Saint James – an ideal place for my Anatomie clothes

A match made in heaven: glamorous travel clothes and a luxury hotel. Last week I had the chance to wallow to my hearts’ content in this double luxury.

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Yet again, my Anatomie travel clothes proved to be the ideal outfits. During the day, I wore pants, made of a slightly stretchy extremely soft material. They fit perfectly and have the necessary pockets in just the right places. In black and dark blue I combined them with tops and sweaters.

Anatomie lace top

Anatomie lace top

In the evening my favorite jacket got an outing on the occasion of the exclusive Wine Club meeting which is held every month in the luxurious St. James Hotel Bouliac where I was staying. Black with lace insets in front and back, elegant long sleeves with the cuffs turned back, I got more than one admiring glance from the French ladies, known for their chic.

This is the background: The Le Saint James Hotel in the quaint village of Bouliac, some 20km from Bordeaux is i a rare combination of art and comfort. Originally a farmhouse, French architect Jean Nouvel got to work and created a luxury hotel of just 18 rooms, three of which are suites. Each room is individually designed and features wrks of art, such as a motorcycle sculpture or a sofa in the form of a baseball mitt. They all have in common that they embrace the surrounding hotel- owned vineyards by allowing a view at them as soon as you open your eyes. This is achieved by huge windows, high ceilings and elevated beds, so you litterlayy wake up in the clouds and mist before the sun disperses them, revealing the lush green of the lawns and vineyards.

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pool

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In the summer you can swin in an outdoor pool lined in black. The hotel features a gourmet restaurant run by 2star chef Nicolas Magie whose creations are truly magic.

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The bar with a fireplace invites to a quiet drink from the ample menu. Just across the road you can enjoy a more rustic cuisine in the Café de l’Esperance, famous for meat and home made French fried. Desserts and starters can be chosen from the buffet.

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There are even more attractions. If you want ot leabr about the secrest of French cuisine, you can participate in a cooking class called Cote Cours and imparted by charming sous chef Celia Girard.

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Bouliac itself is a the epitome of a tiny French mountain village with nothing more y a church, a town hall and a boulangerie where the picturesque  owner will be happy to talk to you, provided you speak French of course.

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boulangerie

Most important is that the moment you arrive at the St. James you feel like family. Kids are welcome and get to chose from three different toys which they can keep.

If you want to visit nearby Bordeaux they will arrange transport for you and if, like me, you are in need of a hairdresser…. one call from reception and she will come and do your hair in your room.

My clothes and I were sorry when it was time to leave, but we will be back.

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Wonders in Southwest Germany

Christmas is approaching fast and there is no better way to get into the spirit of things than visiting a Christmas market…or two or ten!

Where do you find the best? In Germany of course. Get inspired by this great selection.

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The nights are drawing in; the weather has turned; a pre-Christmas tonic is needed. The answer is – a short break in SouthWest Germany. With its half-timbered houses and cheerful taverns, nowhere is more Christmassy than the German federal state of Baden-Württemberg. Shop at authentic Christmas markets; enjoy sunny days and crisp nights; relax in a spa or heated pool in a luxury hotel overlooking a beautiful lake. Or, ride a roller coaster through a winter wonderland. It is all on offer in SouthWest Germany: just a hop away, via daily flights direct to Stuttgart’s convenient international airport.

Heidelberg Christmas Market: November 21 – December 22, 2016

One of Europe’s most beautiful Christmas markets spreads across six historic squares in Heidelberg’s historic Old Town. Decorated with twinkling lights, some 140 wooden stalls are full of temptations, from hand-carved wooden toys and Christmas tree decorations to mulled wine and delicious treats. For skaters, there is a real ice rink on Karlsplatz square, with romantic views of the world-famous castle high above, in the background. The city is on the Neckar River. Perfect for that special occasion is a boat ride up to Stift Neuburg, the ancient Benedictine abbey that holds its own traditional Christmas market.

decorations

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More information: www.heidelberg-event.com/events/weihnachtsmarkt/?lang=en

For over 30 years now, the Christmas Market has become no less an integral part of Heidelberg than its venerable university and magnificent castle.

Europa-Park: where winter means fun

It doesn’t get more fun than Europa-Park this winter. What was recently voted “Best Amusement Park Worldwide” for the third year running is transformed into a winter wonderland. There are snow-dusted Christmas trees, the scent of mulled wine, carol singing, thousands of Christmas lights and crackling log fires. Go to Christmas-themed circus shows; eat delicious festive food; take the Snowflake Sleigh Ride; scream on giant coasters, such as WODAN. Germany’s largest theme park opens its gates for the winter season from November 26 until January 8, 2017 (closed December 24 and 25) and again from January 13–15, 2017.

More information: www.europapark.de/en/park/seasons/winter-europa-park

Lake Constance: stylish holiday fun at Hotel RIVA Konstanz

With glorious views of Lake Constance and snow-capped peaks, Hotel RIVA Konstanz is one of Europe’s most romantic destinations. This 5-star superior hotel, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, has 51 exquisitely furnished rooms, a spa and a roof terrace, with a heated pool and lake views. This is a delightful spot to spend Christmas or New Year’s Eve, with gala menus and a glamorous New Year’s Eve ball. Not forgetting RIVA’s Lake Restaurant and Ophelia Gourmet Restaurant, with its two Michelin stars. Stroll the cobbled lanes of Konstanz; shop in the Christmas market and aboard the Christmas ship.

More information: www.hotel-riva.de/en

Stuttgart Airport: get to Winter Wonderland quicker than Santa

Getting to SouthWest Germany in winter is easy from the UK. Fly to Stuttgart, the region’s capital on convenient daily flights from Edinburgh, Birmingham, Manchester, Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick. Fly with British Airways, flyBe, Eurowings, Air Berlin, Ryanair or easyJet. Germany’s sixth largest airport is your gateway to fun. Go Christmas shopping in Stuttgart; pop down to Heidelberg, Europa-Park and Lake Constance. With direct access to the motorway and the efficient rail service, you can relax and enjoy your break just minutes after touching down.

More information: www.stuttgart-airport.com

Please get in touch with us directly:

State Tourist Board Baden-Württemberg
Esslinger Strasse 8
70182 Stuttgart, Germany

As if those aren’t enough, take a look at my personal favorite: a tiny Christmas market in Prien am Chiemsee/Bavaria.

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