Hello friends! How are you? Hope all is well in your world.
My head is in the clouds a bit today…I’m dreaming of jumping on a plane destined for Paris and spending entire days drowning in all the treasure at the flea markets. I just found out that there are actual travel companies that take you on guided tours of these magical markets – totally brilliant! sigh. I want to go so bad!
Okay, so the reality is…I’m not going anytime soon so what’s the next best thing? – I’m going there vicariously.
This would be my Parisian apartment for the week. A perfect place to lay my head after a day rifling through French antiques! Isn’t it dreamy?
My first thought of where we should go today was Paris. With Valentine’s day upon us, I figured it would be a suitable destination…but…I found myself hesitating. Too obvious. So, I did a little digging and decided to take us somewhere a little bit unexpected – India!
Currently ranked as the most romantic hotel in the world is the breathtaking Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur. Incredibly beautiful and dreamlike, this white marble palace seems to float on Lake Pichola waters, like a precious ivory flower. This architectural masterpiece was built by Maharana Jagat Singh in 1743. Royalty used it as a summer get away to escape the intense heat. Not too shabby for a summer home right? Let’s go!
Obviously we’ve got to hop on a boat to get to the palace so…all aboard!
Welcome to the Palace. Ready to be treated like Royalty? Yes please.
I can’t wait to see what the rooms are like! Let’s have a peek into several of the suites…
Gorgeous right? Tough choice! But I think we deserve the Presidential Suite…don’t you? Go big or go home.
Check out the view from our private terrace! This place is beyond magical.
I’m dying to explore the pool and gardens…come on…
I’m getting the feeling that romance was actually born here. Aren’t the grounds stunning?
Okay, so I have a real treat for you. We usually hit a spa of some sort on our escapes but today…we are actually going on a SPA BOAT! Yup. Why not sail on the gentle waters of the lake while we slowly slip into a state of bliss…here it comes…
This spa boat idea is pure brilliance!
As the sun sets, let’s go enjoy some dinner…
Don’t want to join us? Would you rather have a private dinner out in the middle of the lake with your love? Go for it. It can be arranged. How’s that for romantic?
As for the rest of us…let’s enjoy a cocktail in the lounge while our table is being prepared…
I think we should dine in the gardens…don’t you?
I leave you here to enjoy your meal and watch as the Palace is veiled in darkness. Experience the twinkling lights of a thousand candles, the fragrance of exotic blooms and hopefully a romantic night you’ll never forget!
Thanks for coming with me on this Friday escape.
Happy Valentine’s Day Weekend! Spend it with those you love.
p.s. Not quite ready to leave the Palace…watch the video tour here.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love Portland. Yes, I even can deal with the rain…but I’m only human and sometimes on a dreary, wet day like today, I can’t help but dream of the sun, warm sand and an exotic destination. We haven’t been anywhere in a long time so, while this isn’t a full on Vicarious Vacation…I thought we’d revisit Greece for a moment. Sit by the pool, sip a drink and feel the warmth of that glorious sun on our faces…ahhh…sounds so good.
Last time, I took you to Hydra Island and that was spectacular but today we are going to peek in on the island of Santorini and a gorgeous resort called Vedema. Let’s go…
Oh Greece…how I love your blue and white! Cobblestone streets and blooms everywhere, I’m in heaven.
Oh yeah…this looks like our kind of place…
Yes…more blue and white. It’s so fresh and I find it rather hard to get sick of, especially with all that sunlight pouring in! Let’s check in.
Of course I got us a gorgeous suite! Only the best! I love all the white in these rooms with the splashes of bright color. I feel tanner already!
A cocktail poolside you say? I’m so there!
Santorini as night falls…so gorgeous right?
Ahhh…okay, I feel a tad better. It’s nice to just escape for a minute isn’t it? Hmm…I might have to plan little escapes for us each Friday. We deserve it don’t we?
I miss our Vicarious Vacations. Do you? I do love to research new places and although it was hours of work, I miss that feeling of discovery. So…I thought I would start a new little series celebrating the holidays. These journeys won’t be as thorough as the VV’s, but I couldn’t resist hunting down beautiful images of places around the world and how they look at this special time of the year.
I asked Grace which city I should begin with and of course she said, “Paris!” Together we perused Flickr, finding the prettiest pictures of Paris during Christmas.
Here’s what we found…
The City of Lights certainly doesn’t disappoint. It would be truly magical to stroll the Parisian street during Christmas. Maybe one day we will…
Want more? Check out this video tour…featuring some of the elaborate window displays on show this season…
What is your favorite city at during the holidays?
Hello friends and Happy Friday! Welcome to our last Vicarious Vacation. I know the previous destinations have been off the beaten path but I couldn’t resist taking you here. Like many girls, I have a soft place in my heart for fairytale castles. So far…the only one I’ve ever seen, is the one in Disney World and frankly, I don’t think that counts. So, I decided to take you to the a land where fairytales castles were born – we are headed to gorgeous Luxembourg.
When you are surrounded by three of Europe‘s most beautiful countries – Germany, France and Belgium – it’s hard not to be amazing! Map – here. The history of Luxembourg dates back to the year 963. Over the centuries, its territory may have diminished but it still stands as the richest country in the world and is often referred to as the “Green heart” of Europe. Beyond material wealth and banking success, Luxembourg offers a culturally diverse population, fantastic food and wine, breathtaking landscapes and an impressive art and theater scene. Oh, and then there are the castles…did I mention that already? Yes…there are over a dozen castles in this magical land. It makes my heart skip a little beat…
So where shall we stay you ask? We came here for fairy tales and I intend to deliver…Welcome to Chateau d’Urspelt. A castle fit for a princess right? This romantic castle has a 300 year old history and was terribly damaged in World War II. In 2005, Mr. Freddy Lodomez came across this diamond in the rough, instantly fell in love and committed to having the Chateau restored to its original beauty. Thank you Freddy! What a prince!
Ahh…here we are at the Place d’Armes or as the locals refer to it – Plëss. It is truly the city’s living room and a fantastic place to people watch, listen to some live music and grab lunch at one of the numerous outdoor cafes. I’ve got the perfect one in mind…
Play to listen to the sounds of the plaza…
Here we are at Le Cafe Francais, one of the oldest brasseries’ in the city. Are you ready for some delicious food? They prepare a mix of French and Luxembourg style dishes here. Luxembourg’s food is inevitably influenced by neighboring France and Germany, resulting in a rich blend – the delicacies of French cuisine artfully entwined with the robust, heartiness of Germanic dishes. More recently the cultural influence of Luxembourg’s Portuguese immigrants is also emerging within many of Luxembourg’s recipes. You won’t leave the table hungry, that’s for sure. So let’s have a taste…
To pair with our meal, I have selected a lovely dry white wine, typical of the region or if you feel like bubbles, we can toast to our adventure with the local sparkling wine, Crémant de Luxembourg! Cheers!
Let’s start with a classic Luxembourg dish: Nettle Soup. Ever had this? I haven’t! Often served in the Spring, Nettle soup has a subtle, grassy taste, sweet and mild made rich with lovely cream and potatoes.
On to our next course…oooh…I don’t know about you but I am a total sucker for mussels!! So succulent, with all that buttery, wine sauce to sop up. Here in Luxembourg (in the French tradition) it is often served with pomme frites! Yum! This wildly popular dish is served in the months that have an “r”. October works, lucky for us. Here’s a recipe straight from the region. Recipe. Make sure you use a German or French Riesling for your sauce to make it truly Luxembourg style.
Okay dessert anyone? You know we can’t leave that out. How about some Questscheflued? aka Plum Tart – a local favorite. And no, I don’t know how to pronounce it. Dig in! It looks delightful and it’s heart shaped! Too cute. Recipe.
Now that our tummies are full, I think it’s time to tour a real castle! We are heading to Vianden. It’s about an hour north of the city and is a beautiful medieval town, famous for its stunning castle and charming village. Let’s hop on the bus, I for one, can’t get into that castle quick enough!
*squeal* – sorry I couldn’t help it! Look the castle is up ahead!!
Isn’t it simply amazing? Straight from a storybook! A little history: The castle was built between the 11th and 14th centuries and became the seat of the counts of Vianden. It was further developed until the 18th century but with the departure of the Counts of Luxembourg to the Netherlands combined with the effects of fire and an earthquake, it slowly deteriorated. The final blow came in 1820 when William I of the Netherlands sold it to a local merchant who in turn sold off its contents and masonry piecemeal, reducing it to a ruin. There were several attempts at restoration but these were hampered by problems of ownership. Victor Hugo lived in the castle for three months in 1871.Not until 1977, when Grand Duke Jean ceded the castle to the State, was it possible to undertake large-scale work, most of which has now been completed. – Wikipedia
Let’s go take the tour!
Check out the view overlooking the town of Vianden…gorgeous…
Can you imagine cooking up a feast in this kitchen?
What shall we wish for? World peace? A castle of our very own? How about free plane tickets to anywhere in the world? hmmm…
Alright my friends, I think I will have to leave you here. While you ponder over your wish, I want to wish all of you the best and thank you for coming along with me on these Vicarious Vacations. I hope you have enjoyed them. I know I have. Thanks to Flickr for being a wellspring of beautiful images and talented photographers. In the future, I will be doing more travel pieces. As you may have noticed, Grace and Ivy is in a state of evolution. Lots of changes are to come and I hope you will stick with me. I promise to continue bringing you beautiful posts that hopefully give you some inspiration. Thank you for all your input. I love reading your comments. Till our next adventure…
Hi there. I'm Ivy and Welcome to my blog! I'm an Artist , Art Instructor and Creative Guide. I believe we are all creative beings. By sharing my creative journey, I hope to inspire, uplift and shine light on others and their own unique gifts. I love featuring other artists that inspire me and you will see me posting my own creative projects, info on upcoming workshops and other goodies. Enjoy and if you have any questions don't hesistate to email me firstname.lastname@example.org
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