Athens, Greece from the eyes of our son

Acropolis

Acropolis

3 years ago we wanted to go somewhere reasonably priced, somewhere convenient and somewhere warm in November and did a long weekend trip to Athens, Greece. I have written about how our son loves to be in ancient cities here. Athens/Acropolis would be probably on top 10 list of ancient cities to visit.

Actually Athens was a bit of disappointment other than the Acropolis. A day in Acropolis, with a good walking and climbing and an evening in Pire, a day trip to outskirts of Athens including Kifisia and Rafina was more than enough for a weekend.

Acropolis

Acropolis

Although we had a rental car, once again we preferred to get on a hop-on-hop-off bus, to go around the city and know what is where. So we understood that Acropolis is our only attraction point, as our son hates shopping, and father hates ordinary museums. Therefore, we got off the bus at Acropolis and played our typical ancient city game “pretend to be”.

Acropolis

Acropolis

Athena Nike tample, Proplylaia (the entrance), Parthenon, Dionysos Theater, Heredos Atticus Theater and lovely views of city of Athens from various angles, were all nice to visit on a warm autumn day.

View of the city

View of the city

Afterwards we walked down hill to the Plaka area, to find a local restaurant and some shops for a relax afternoon.

Finishing the city before 5:oo pm, we decided to get our car and drive to Pire maybe to find a restaurant or for a sunset view at a cafe, but maybe it would be better to get some idea from locals, as we could not find a nice place to sit, and there were almost nobody around except us.

Next day, with the advice of our eyewitness book of Athens, we decided to drive some other towns nearby. We started with Kifisia in the morning, which is said to be preferred by locals for summer season mostly. Nice houses, some shops and a natural history museum were what we saw, nothing close to History Museums in New York, Vienna or London.

Animals in Natural History Museum

Animals in Natural History Museum

Some insects, some butterflies, some animals and minerals were interesting maybe not for us, but for our son.

For the afternoon we went to the east coast to Rafina, another advice of our eyewitness book. Again not much to see, except some fish restaurants to have lunch by the port and to watch the ships coming and going.

So that was all for us in Athens. We simply did nothing on the third day. Had a long breakfast in our hotel – Hotel Novus, with the most lovely pie we have ever had- and drove around the city with our car before going to the airport.

Do you remember game:

Me: What do you remember of Athens.

Our son: Our hotel with the view of Acropolis.

Me: And?

Our son: And the Acropolis.

Me: And?

Our son: More Acropolis

 

PS. All photographs in this post are taken by our son.

A day trip to Annecy

A day out in Annecy in March, not the best time but the best place to go for a family like us.

We went to Geneve Motor Show last March, which was a quick but a good decision. It wasn’t the first time neither to Switzerland nor to France, but the first time in the area. Being the last minute planner for the motor show, we could not find a place to stay in Geneve, so we searched for around and find a convenient, business hotel at Thoiry/France, a cute little village  just half an hour drive from Geneve. Of course  a long weekend to the area provides you more than the motor show itself. So we decided to do a day trip to Annecy, which was about 50 km. from our hotel.

To Annecy in the beginning of spring

To Annecy in the beginning of spring

 

The park by the lake

The park by the lake

Annecy is a very nice town, in the middle of the Alpine Mountains, by the lovely lake of Annecy. A town of castles, lakes, rivers and bridges. French Cafes, Macaronis, red tiled roofs and little village streets. Parks, large trees, fog and well, castles again.

Rivers and bridges

Rivers and bridges

French Cafes

French Cafes

French Macaroni

French Macaroni

A walk in the park

A walk in the park

We started our tour in the lanes of the town, climbing up to the castle, which was not the best part for our son actually, as he doesn’t like to walk. Afterwards, we had a little break in a nice French cafe, at a very small corner table and enjoyed our hot chocolates and cappuccinos. For lunch (which I may tell mote n another post sometime later) we had a lovely meal at a very French restaurant. When I say French I really mean French, with French speaking waiters and a French menu. Thanks to the non-Parisian French guests of the restaurant on the next table, they very helpfully explained us all the menu in English and with lots of advice, helped us to give our order.

In the afternoon we did a walk by the foggy lake and some “people watch” activity with lots of relaxing time and feeding the swans. By the evening, we loved the town, loved the people and dreamed of coming back sometime in summer or late spring maybe in the coming years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy parks cafes and streets of Warsaw

Before going to Warsaw, I was very much concerned about the history of Warsaw. You can read my post of my concerns here, in another post. However, when we got there it was a totally different scene, with lots of festivities in the city, very nice weather and lots of things to do with our son.

The reason of going to Warsaw was primarily, my husband had to give some lectures in The University of Warsaw. So we thought it was a good reason to make a long weekend in Warsaw.

When we arrived to our hotel, the very helpful reception staff adviced us a half day city tour, which would be possible to start from our hotel. That sounded very nice to get to know the city, so we joined in. Next morning, after a super breakfast in our hotel, our city guide met us in the lobby and so our tour started, together with another 10-12 tourists in our mini bus. First we went to the Lazienki Park, at which we were left at the top gate of the park and enjoyed a downhill walk trough the park. Lazienki park is a really nice, green park with very nice trees, palaces, ponds and statues.

Lazienki Park

Lazienki Park

Lazienki Park

Lazienki Park

Very nice statues

Very nice statues

Palaces and gardens

Palaces and gardens

Nice details

Nice details

After a nice walk trough the park with a nice ice cream break in it, we headed to the city center, which is very typically called “Old Town Square”. What was different from very typically, was the crowd of people, with flags in their hands, balloons and music everywhere, and a huge stage on main “piazza” with big screens on both sides and very nice music.

A walk in old town square

A walk in old town square

Old Town Square

Old Town Square

A street lamp on the old town square

A street lamp on the old town square

Enjoy "people watch" activity on street cafes

Enjoy “people watch” activity on street cafes

A colorful Sunday afternoon

A colorful Sunday afternoon

Our guided tour ended, after some stops in Jewish quarter and a walk in Old Town area. So we had lots of time enjoying the street cafes and have lunch escorted by a “people watch” activity.

After wards we decided to return to our hotel with another good walk, at which we gave a break of evening wine and “we deserved this” deserts at the famous Bristol Cafe. When I say “a walk” do not think of a small walking. It took us about 3 hours, with lots of things to see on the way, shops (Yes-open on Sunday), on-street exhibitions of old Warsaw photographs and “I’m tired”s of our son.

Bristol Cafe

Famous Cafe Bristol

Loved this "wall" at Cafe Bristol

Loved this “wall” at Cafe Bristol

Evening wine, with a nice evening sun

Evening wine, with a nice evening sun

The Inn Under the Red Hog is to come in the following days… Do not hesitate to follow me…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Cruise Tour-day-6

Good morning view while approaching to Oslo

Good morning view while approaching to Oslo

The 6th day of our Great Cruise tour started with a lovely good morning view of Oslo. Unfortunately we only had a few hours to spend in Oslo, the capital of Norway. Moreover, this few hours would start even earlier than the days before. Therefore, I preferred to order my breakfast to our room, in order to avoid the hassle of 13th floor restaurant, and enjoy a superb breakfast with a splendid view of Oslo bay and islands. (Just a little tip here: order breakfast to your room, more than you think you will eat, as the plates are so small.)

No place to eat in our tiny room, so we did eat in our balcony

No place to eat in our tiny room, so we did eat in our balcony

Besides the breakfast, the early morning routines were pretty much the same. Today we took the “Introduction to Oslo” tour which I would not recommend if you are not a big group like ours. The only attraction of the tour was a superb Vigeland Park, which could be reached by a taxi, faster and easier. Other than the park, we did not have any chance to see the centre of the city, because of the traffic and not easy for the huge bus to go around, we could only pass trough the main streets and noted to come to Oslo again, sometime soon.

View from our balcony

View from our balcony

Vigeland park, is a must in Oslo, one of the best parks I have ever been. Home to some 192 sculptures by its namesake, the Vigeland sculpture park is the cynosure of Norway’s artistic landscape. The park is Gustave Vigeland’s artistic statement about the quintessential themes of life and relationships. A hundred meter long bridge bifurcates along a waterfall, each path adorned with large bronze wheels, while the bridge itself is adorned with granite depictions of humans at various stages of life, including Angry Boy, one of the most prominent sculptures in the park. Its other highlights include sculptures such as The FountainThe Monolith, and The Wheel of Life.

Angry boy

Angry boy

Wheel of life

Wheel of life

Vigeland Park

Vigeland Park

Another attraction of Oslo is the park where the winter Olympic games are held and the ski jump tower. The observation deck by the tower has a lovely view of Oslo and the Ski Jump simulator is very attractive for a child like ours.

Ski jump tower

Ski jump tower

Goodbye Oslo

Goodbye Oslo

I wish we could stay more in Oslo.

Another important thing to remember in Oslo is to redeem your invoices for tax free refunds, as Oslo is the last stop in Norway. To do this, you need to approach the tiny building by the Cruise, in which there are some souvenir shops and long queue of tax refund. Moreover, in the queue you find out that there are two different tax refund companies and if the invoices you hold comprise them both, you need to get in two different queues one by one. My advice would be either just skip it (which means  no tax refund), or ask your friend or partner to stay in the other queue (which is at the far end of the building). Other wise you spend a good half hour waiting in each of the queues. Is it worth waiting? Well, about 15% of the invoice, if you have a number of them, it may be worth it.

A chat from yesterday evening:

Our son: Mom do you remember the dance lessons you took.

Me: Sirtaki, Salsa, or Tarantelle.

Our son: Tarantelle, do you remember the dance steps?

Me: No, none.

Altough I enjoyed the Sirtaki class (yesterday), Salsa Class (The second day) and tarantelle class (today), during  the one week tour, when I try to remember any of them… No, not even one step is in my mind. What a pity.

Our day ended with long lunch, again in the Kaito sushi bar, the rescued island, far from the mass of people. And an afternoon nap, before dinner, after which we found – luckily- a place to sit in the lobby and enjoyed the live music of piano.

Weekly Photo Challange: Curves

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This weeks photo challange is the “curves”. Where on earth you can find curves better than Cappadocia? A land where nature is unique, where early Christians lived in the underground cities and caves, where every season has its something to show you and where children will love the adventures of being in a natural wonderland.

Clouds around curves

Clouds around curves

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A 3 to 4 day trip to Cappadocia with children will provide you more than you expected. The famous cave hotels to stay, will let you pretend to be living in early history. Each one of the undergound cities will come to life with the imagination of your children.

Autumn leaves of Cappadocia

Autumn leaves of Cappadocia

Do you remember game:
Our son: Do you remember the “Family Chimneys”, the father, mother and son?
Me: Yes, and the grand parents further in the back

Me: Do you remember our hotel “Cappadocia Estates Hotel?
Our son: Yes, it was like a cave and had a lovely breakfast.

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