Tag Archives: Holiday

A Weekend In Saarbruecken

 
Apart from brunching with Sherlock Holmes, here is what we did in the captivating town of Saarbrücken last year. We had to compose with the weather being capricious but fortunately, there is plenty to do inside and outside. As the city is relatively small, all sightseeing spots are easily reachable on foot, a big bonus! You can view more impressions of Saarbrücken on Of Lens And Pen.

St. Johanner Markt
As the sun was shining when we arrived, we headed to St. Johann Market Square for lunch. Being an early spring Saturday, the square was bustling and there were not many free tables to be found. There is however no shortage of restaurants and we soon settled on the terrace of an Irish pub. Lovely little shops are aplenty too.

Fröschengasse
Close to the square, this delightful narrow street was once the home of craftsmen and workers. Now rebuilt in the Baroque style, it offers a good choice of restaurants.

Europa-Galerie

Realising that being the Easter weekend, Saturday would be our only opportunity for shopping, we paid the Europa-Galerie a visit. This shopping centre is located in a beautiful building that was once the headquarters of the Saar Mining Company.

Alte Brücke

This old bridge, built in 1546 by Charles V, connects the old Saarbrücken with St. Johann. It was destroyed during World War II and only 8 of the original 14 arches now remain.

Saarkran

Dating back to 1761, the Saar Crane reminds us of the trade past of Saarbrücken. It makes a great sight when strolling along the Saar.

Johanneskirche
Of Neo-Gothic style, St. John’s Church looks impressive as you arrive from the Old Bridge. Used nowadays as a meeting point for demonstrations and peace services, it is surrounded by charming gardens.

Basilica St. Johann
A masterpiece of Baroque style and the work of architect Friedrich Joachim Stengel, the Basilica is well worth a visit. The organ, built in three individual parts that can be played independently or together, is especially striking.

Ludwigskirche
Another work of art from Stengel, Ludwig’s Church has a place of choice in the middle of Ludwigsplatz, surrounded by a palace and civil servants’ quarters. A perfect Baroque composition, visually stunning. Thanks to a painstaking restoration, one would never guess that it was completely demolished during WWII.

Saarbrücken Schloss , Schlossplatz and Invisible Memorial Square

The Saarbrücken castle has been destroyed and rebuilt many times in different styles over the years. The last renovation was done in 1989, when a central part made of steel and glass was added by architect Gottfried Böhm. The Schloss is now an administrative centre and event venue.
The few cafés nearby offer a nice view on the paved Schlossplatz. It is the home of the Invisible Memorial Square, a project of tolerance and fight against racism conducted by students of the Art Academy in 1993. Over 2,000 flagstones were removed and engraved on the back with the names of Jewish cemeteries, before being laid down again.

Museum of Regional History and Saarbrücker Kasematten
Last but not least, under the castle is an interesting museum retracing 500 years of Saarland history and the amazing Kasematten. The remains of the original castle, you can still see a dungeon, fortifications, a shooting range and a ball game hall, all from different eras. Wandering underground in this magnificently lit maze, you certainly get an Indiana Jones feeling!

As you have probably guessed, we were quite taken with the interesting capital of the Saarland region and will definitely return, perhaps this time in summer to enjoy its laid-back atmosphere even more.
 
 
Saarbruecken Germany - Colourful bags outside a home decoration shopSaarbruecken Germany - Tree with fairy lightsSaarbruecken Germany - Antiquariat Martin BarbianSaarbruecken Germany - Schlossplatz - Illuminated castle at nightSaarbruecken Germany - Old wall with ivy and mossSaarbruecken Germany - Saarbruecker KasemattenSaarbruecken Germany - Saarbruecker KasemattenSaarbruecken Germany - Garden outside St John's Church
 

Full photo gallery on Of Lens And Pen

 
 
 
 

Brunch With Sherlock Holmes

 
Last year, our party of four visited the charming town of Saarbrücken. There is more to come about our stay in Saarland and discovering the fabulous UNESCO World Heritage Site of Völklinger Hütte, but for now let’s concentrate on our breakfast with Sherlock Holmes…

I am sure the girls would have loved for Benedict Cumberbatch to join us, but even without his presence, our brunch at the Baker Street Criminal Pub was a very enjoyable experience.

Upon our arrival, we were ushered into the Adventure Salon. Decorated in a colonial style, the room serves as a small museum for the collection of Saarbrücken explorer Heinz Rox Schulz. Admiring his mementoes and photos, we certainly wished we had travelled the world with him… There are also a bar area and another two spacious, interesting rooms in the pub. In the delightful tearoom, you are most likely to order cakes or scones with clotted cream. As for the quite gentlemanly Dr. Watson’s Club, complete with comfortable leather sofas, it is the perfect place to enjoy a glass of sherry or a drop of whisky.

The service was very efficient and friendly. There was plenty to choose from the traditional Full English Breakfast buffet and the homemade soda bread and scones were delicious.

The Baker Street Pub is definitely an address worth remembering, which we will do during our next visit in Saarbrücken.
 
 
Brunch with Sherlock Holmes - Baker Street Criminal Pub Saarbruecken - Outside viewBrunch with Sherlock Holmes - Baker Street Criminal Pub Saarbruecken - TearoomBrunch with Sherlock Holmes - Baker Street Criminal Pub Saarbruecken - Bookshelf and cakesBrunch with Sherlock Holmes - Baker Street Criminal Pub Saarbruecken - Teapot, cups and candleBrunch with Sherlock Holmes - Baker Street Criminal Pub Saarbruecken - Adventure Salon - Abenteuer SalonBrunch with Sherlock Holmes - Baker Street Criminal Pub Saarbruecken
 
 
 
 

Château Pech-Céleyran

 
During our holiday in the South of France last summer, we discovered a wine growing estate with a particularly interesting history: the Château Pech-Céleyran. Not only has this gorgeous domain been in the hands of the Saint-Exupéry family for five generations but also the grandfather of famous painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was once the lord of Céleyran!

Château Pech-Céleyran is situated in La Clape, an area of the Languedoc region close to the Corbières. The size of the whole estate is 145 hectares, 94 of them being dedicated to vine. The owners grow Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Carignan to produce their red wines and Bourboulenc, Marsanne, Roussanne and Grenache blanc for the whites. The „Cers“ and the „Marin“ winds take turns to blow over the vineyards, bringing the fragrances of the garrigue with them, an integrant part of the aroma of the wines.

When we arrived, the family dog greeted us before we entered an impressive wine cellar. Amidst huge wood barrels, a permanent exhibition about Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, best known for his book “The Little Prince”, is on display. A compelling read before starting with the wine tasting. We learned all about the domain production and left with a nice selection of bottles! There is a little corner selling handmade goodies and house items too. We can really recommend the scrumptious caramel au beurre salé…

If you fancy a stay at Château Pech-Céleyran , there are several B&B rooms and gites to choose from. The estate is of course the perfect location to organise a wedding, a seminar or a party for a special occasion. The full gallery can be viewed on Of Lens And Pen.

The owners also organise events such as concerts, exhibitions and a Christmas market. As for the wonderful Mediterranean coast, the Cathar castles, the old town of Carcassonne and the rugged landscape of La Clape, they are just waiting for you to pay them a visit…

Château Pech-Céleyran - La Clape - South of France

Durant nos vacances dans le Sud de la France l’été dernier, nous avons découvert un domaine viticole possédant une histoire particulièrement intéressante : le Château Pech-Céleyran. Ce domaine est non seulement entre les mains de la famille Saint-Exupéry depuis cinq générations, mais le grand-père du célèbre peintre Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec fut aussi le seigneur de Céleyran !

Le Château Pech-Céleyran est situé dans La Clape, qui fait partie du Languedoc, région proche des Corbières. La taille complète du domaine est de 145 hectares, dont 94 sont dédiés à la vigne. Les cépages Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre et Carignan sont utilisés pour la production de vin rouge et pour les blancs, les cépages Bourboulenc, Marsanne, Roussanne et Grenache blanc. Les vents „Cers“ et „Marin“ soufflent en alternance sur les vignobles, amenant avec eux les parfums de la garrigue, qui se retrouvent dans l’arôme des vins.

A notre arrivée, nous avons été accueillis par le chien de la famille, avant de d’entrer dans l’impressionnant chai. Parmi les immenses tonneaux, une exposition permanente sur Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, l’auteur du “Petit Prince”, offre une lecture captivante. Durant la dégustation des vins, nous avons appris les détails de la production vinicole et nous sommes repartis avec une jolie sélection de bouteilles ! Une mini-boutique propose également des produits faits maison et des objets de décoration. Le délicieux caramel au beurre salé est vivement recommandé…

Si vous désirez séjourner au Château Pech-Céleyran , vous aurez le choix entre plusieurs chambres d’hôtes et gîtes. La propriété est bien entendu idéale pour y organiser un mariage, un séminaire ou pour y célébrer une occasion particulière. La galerie photos complète est à découvrir sur Of Lens And Pen.

Les propriétaires organisent aussi des manifestations tels que concerts, expositions et un marché de Noël. Quant à la magnifique côte Méditerranéenne, les châteaux Cathares, la cité de Carcassonne et les paysages sauvages de La Clape, ils attendent votre visite avec impatience…
 
 
Château Pech-Céleyran - La Clape - South of FranceChâteau Pech-Céleyran - La Clape - South of FranceChâteau Pech-Céleyran - La Clape - South of France
 
 
 
 

A Beginner’s Travel Guide To Thailand

 
Thinking of heading to Thailand this year? If not, you should perhaps consider it. It is such a diverse and unique country, you will find something that intrigues and grabs you there no matter what your personal tastes and interests are. In addition, it is quite a cheap destination, which probably explain why so many students and backpackers head there. As the Thai culture is quite different to our Western ways, travellers might get nervous before they head out to the country. This beginner’s guide to Thailand should help you find your feet once you are out there.
 
 
Buddhist Monks Procession Bangkok Thailand

Photo Source

 
 
Make A Plan

As with travelling to any country, it is a good idea to make a plan before you leave home. That way, you can figure out what you want to see and do before you arrive. If you have not decided this once you land, you might feel a bit overwhelmed by all your options and could end up missing out on some important parts. Before you get there, think whether you want to backpack around, enjoy a beach holiday or volunteer in Thailand. A concrete plan can also help you reduce your nerves, as you will have definite places to go to and things to do once you arrive.
 
 
Think About The Climate

You do not want your whole trip to Thailand ruined by the weather! As the climate is tropical, you will have to expect that some months are going to be sweltering. If you know that you cannot cope with excessive heat, do not plan a trip between March and May, as these are the hottest months. You should also bear in mind that the rainy season is from May until October. Even though there are often a lot of rain showers during this season, this is still the most popular season for travellers and tourists. Just remember to pack your umbrella!
 
 
Safety

Thailand is a generally safe country. However, it has gained a bit of a reputation for being unsafe because of a few isolated cases that have hit the headlines. You will be happy to hear that such troublesome incidents are, as a matter of fact, few and far between. If you use common sense, you should not have much to worry about. Make sure you do not take any valuables out with you when you are sightseeing. Especially if you go to a tourist hotspot, as these are were many pickpockets operate. You might also consider not drinking too much on nights out. Alcohol is very cheap in Thailand, which can be tempting. It is always a good idea to be in your right senses and able to avoid decisions that could put your health and safety at risk.
 
 
Thailand is a fantastic destination for this year’s travel adventures. Hopefully this guide will help you enjoy your entire time there!
 
 
 
 
Disclosure: This post has been contributed.