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Mini Trip Reports for 2013 - Where did you go last year?


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Where did you travel to last year? Add a mini-trip report to this thread.

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I will go first!

February 2013 - France - 2 nights in Arles, 1 week in Nimes
Some days were colder than we expected (Mistral!!), but we had many lovely sunny days.
Flew into Marseilles (from Heathrow), picked up a rental car.
We stayed at Hôtel Jules César in Arles, taking advantage of their off-season rates. Perfect location and that European "old world" feel that I like. Large rooms. I loved the Roman Amphitheater in Arles - amazing!

Drove to Nimes and spent a week in a lovely 1-bed apartment with a roof terrace overlooking Place aux Herbes. It came with a parking spot in the lot above Les Halles. Great apartment - very comfortable, great location. Nimes Apartment.
Spent half our time exploring Nimes, the other half driving out for day trips in the area. A wonderful week.


Amphitheater in Arles

May 2013 - France - a week in the Dordogne, a week in Uzes
We flew into Toulouse from Heathrow, picked up a rental car, and spent the first night at Hôtel Le Saint Cirq. Visited Peche Merle (cave art), then drove to the Dordogne for a week in St Cyprien, in the house that Kathy Wood stayed in the year before. Rented from En Toutes Saisons. Visited the Dordogne towns and Sarlat. Had a few rainy days so saw lots of the wonderful prehistoric cave art - Font de Gaume, Lascaux II, Rouffignac. We loved the town we stayed in, and really liked the area. The towns along the Dordogne River are over-touristed, as is Sarlat, but I was happy to see them after reading about this area for so many years. Next time we will stay either further north or south in the Lot.

Long, boring autoroute drive to Uzes (just north of Nimes), where we met Chris and we all rented a fabulous house. House in Uzes. We loved Uzes and the surrounding area. There is good hiking/walking in this area with well marked trails and lots of other people out walking. We did some walking, spent several days exploring the town, did some fun day trips.


Uzes from a nearby walk

July 2013 - England - two weeks in Cornwall
What luck! We had a cottage booked for mid-July with our UK friends Wendy and Richard and arrived at the start of a heatwave! We stayed in the Lizard area and the house was very nice BUT it had an Aga which they would not let us turn off (even in a heatwave) and on the second last day of our week the farmer started spreading "muck" (the polite word) in the field next to us - YUCK, what a smell!! But we went swimming several times, did some wonderful walks on the South West Coast path, went out for some good meals. The perfect place to be in hot weather - it is cooler in Cornwall and you can go swimming.

We liked it so much that we booked another week in an apartment in Carbis Bay. All that was left in the start of high season was a small apartment with no view, but it was comfortable and in a good location. I liked Carbis Bay. We continued walking on the Coast Path, visited several stone circles, walked into St Ives a couple of times, went swimming. A wonderful trip - but everyone says we will never be so lucky with the weather again.


Swimming in Cornwall

September/October 2013 - France - 1 1/2 weeks in Uzes
This was a last minute trip to meet a friend from Portland who was traveling in France. I wanted to stay in Aix but we could not find anything available. Looked also for rentals in Vaison-la-Romaine, the Luberon, St Remy - nothing suitable for the 3 of us. So we went back to Uzes, to a different house this time, and had a lovely time. House in Uzes. This house smaller and not as interesting, but had a fabulous roof terrace off the kitchen - yes the kitchen is on the top floor.

We did day trips into Provence, did some walking, spent time exploring Uzes. It really is a lovely town and I would go there again.


View of Uzes from the tower in the Medieval Garden. That green patch is Place aux Herbes with all its trees.

When we lived in the US we did longer trips to Europe, and usually one per year. Now that we live in the UK we can do these shorter trips - much easier to organize!
Privacy screens, maybe - but also wind breaks I think.

An Aga is a big stove, usually gas heated, that is always on. You find them in England, but most people turn them off for the summer. This house had another stove top (electric) but wanted the Aga kept on because it was the only oven (and they take a day to come to full heat). This site has a photo: http://www.agacookshop.co.uk/about-aga

It is a special skill to cook on one (I don't know how) and it is odd to see one in a vacation rental.

My pronunciation of it is always corrected here - should be ah-gha . They call England countryside romance books "aga sagas".
So nice to be so close to all of Europe (and especially living in the Cotswolds!) I think that aga in the middle of summer would give me agita.

We didn't travel as much this year as I would have liked. Hoping to make up for that this year.

July, 2013 - Germany, 4 days

We flew into Munich and spent our first four days there. We enjoyed this city very much - it has a hopping, fun vibe, with a beautifully gentrified city center, and tons of history. Good food, shopping, beautiful parks, fabulous open air market, and beer gartens everywhere. Public transportation is excellent, easy to access. Everyone speaks a little English, which as a non-German speaker, was very helpful. We stayed in the Hotel Acanthus, which was in a good location, comfortable beds, and a morning buffet included; internet extra. We also included a visit to Dachau, only about a half hour by bus from our hotel.


Hofbrau House, along a pedestrian street.


The English Garten, with literally hundreds of people enjoying a hot summer day, many nudists here, too.

July 2013 - Castelrotto, Italy, 1 week

This destination turned out to be one of our favorite trips ever. The little town is situated in the Dolomite mountains, proximal to hiking, skiing, and all sorts of outdoor activities year round. We went for the hiking and the breathtaking scenery all around. We stayed at Haus Silbernagl {link removed, website gone} and the owner couldn't have been more helpful to us. We took daily hikes up on the Seiser Alm plateau (largest in Europe), that afforded outstanding views and walks for all abilities. We were blessed with no rain for our visit. Austrian and Italian cultures have collided here, and in the best way.


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The dolomites look beautiful! We have been on hiking vacations in Switzerland many times, but never in Northern Italy. Were the trails well signed? Was it easy to figure out where the good hikes were?
The trails are super easy to follow, Pauline. Since there are few trees, you can actually see your trail in the distance; really not many signs, as not many are needed, just at crossroads/intersections with other trails, and trailheads. There are great trail maps to be purchased in the towns. The tourist board also provides wonderful guides, with illustrated maps. But I have to say that our innkeeper was a wonderful advisor, and helped pick out trails for us that matched our inclinations. Before we left, I did buy Shorter Walks in the Dolomites, but found that I referenced it very little while we were there.
Pauline, as Terry says, the hiking in the Dolomites is fantastic! We stayed at the same hotel that Terry recommended, for six nights, and the innkeeper is wonderful. Near Castelrotto at the Alpe di Siusi (Terry's photos) is a huge high alpine meadow, surrounded by mountains. There's cross country skiing here, so you can take the big cable car up and then many of the chairlifts are open to get you up to higher levels where you can enjoy the hiking without having the difficult climb up. We were there in July I believe, and the wildflowers are spectacular. There are mountain inns where you can have lunch or a drink.

One day our innkeeper asked if we wanted to be included in a taxi some other guests had booked. We went by taxi up on the Alpe di Siusi to a road that I couldn't have imagined a minivan going up. We drove quite a ways to an extremely isolated mountain inn, where we then took an incredible trail up and around to another mountain inn that wouldn't be accessible by any type of vehicle. See below... and remember this is July!! (The hike down was very steep... difficult on the knees but well worth it.) You and Steve would love this area... an interesting mix of Austrian and Italian culture, architecture, cuisine, language. One day we didn't hike and did a day trip to Bolzano.

Hiking trail.jpg

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