Tag Archives: Summer

Back To My Roots

I had not been back for nine years. My Grandmother’s native village in Piedmont. A small place built halfway up a mountain, with narrow, cobbled streets and stone houses. A short drive from beautiful Lago Maggiore and its Borromean Islands.

I spent a lovely “generation” holiday week there in the summer with my Mum, Auntie, sister and my two daughters. Cute Doggy was the only male representative! 😉 We went for walks around the village, to the nearby forest and to the “summer” hamlet, an hour’s hike up the mountain. We caught a boat to cross the lake and visited a market on the other side. As other family members were present at the same time, we had lovely meals together. Simple moments but lasting memories.

On a walk alone with the dog, I realised how much I had missed Italy. Or should I say my roots? I have always felt more Italian than Swiss. That family spirit, the love of people and spending time together with relatives and friends, often around the dinner table. I came back feeling re-energised.

I have to go back. Soon.
Piedmont - Italy - Church
Piedmont - Italy - Nautre
Piedmont - Italy -  Valley with river
Piedmont - Italy - Roman stone bridge
Piedmont - Italy - Religious painting
Piedmont - Italy - Oratory
Full photo gallery on Of Lens And Pen

How To Have The Ultimate Family Adventure This Summer

Summer is just around the corner, which means it is the perfect time to start planning your family adventures. How exciting! If you want to have the ultimate family holiday this year, you can use this guide to help you plan.
Discuss The Kind of Trip You Want to Have as a Family

When you are planning the trip, do not make it an adult only thing. Sit together and talk about what you would like to do. What kind of sceneries and temperatures would be ideal? What should be added to the list of activities? Build up the enthusiasm and then research some possible destinations that sound like your dream holiday. Go through the whole process as a family. When you all get really excited organising it like this, you are bound to have a brilliant time.
Make Sure There Is Something for Everybody

Really young children might not be able to contribute to the family discussion much, so you might want to plan things for them to enjoy too. You definitely do not want to have a disappointed toddler when the point is to appreciate your time together. Ensure there are activities where everybody is included, like family canyoning trips.
Family Holiday

Photo Source

Save Up Plenty of Money

The more money you save up, the more potential for a great experience. It is not necessary to spend an absolute fortune to have the holiday of a lifetime. There are many things you can do for free, such as walking tours, museums, etc. However, if you have money to spare you will be able to add some extra fun stuff to do while you are there. You will be able to eat what you like and have a good time in general.
Plan for Every Eventuality

It will pay off to plan ahead, as you want to be worry-free while you are away. Pack sunscreen, lots of towels, sunglasses, protective clothing and get insurance. Think about everything you need before you go. Make a list, and check it multiple times. Skipping on some details might turn into a stressful time later.
Keep it Positive

Spending a lot of time all together can mean a few tense moments. Try to put a positive spin on everything and keep everybody’s spirit up. This will make for the best trip and can turn things around instantly. Your own attitude is really important, as your kids may take cues from you. Remember, it is OK to have a little time apart if you need it. You could let the older kids explore while you play with the younger kids, or just chill out.

Have fun!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

Colour |
Stunning South Of France

These photos have been posted on this blog before, the second one as recently as last week. But when I read the theme for The Gallery, I thought they both deserved to make an appearance again.

The picture of this boat was taken at the Saltern of Saint Martin’s Island last summer. I was totally bowled over by the purple of the water, such a fabulous background for this colourful boat. We visited again this year at Easter. The water looked totally different, a mix of blue and washed out brown. On reflexion, I should have asked why (makes a note to enquire next time)!
Le Salin de L'Ile Saint Martin Gruissan - Bateau - Boat
This second photo is part of my Ten Things To Do In The South Of France post. This spice stall really stands out as you stroll around the Gruissan market. Every time, I look forward to re-discovering it, admiring the vibrant colours and enjoying the enticing smells…
Market Day Gruissan South of France
Are colours also linked to your travelling memories?




The Saltern Of Saint Martin’s Island – Gruissan |
Le Salin de L’Ile Saint Martin – Gruissan

During our recent holiday in Gruissan we visited the Saltern of Saint Martin’s Island. I published a first photo in my Douceur de Vivre In France post with the promise to tell more about this picturesque place.

The first impression when we arrived was of a burst of colours. A gorgeous painting made of an incredibly blue sky and the deep pink of the salt marshes, peppered with the browns, greys and greens of the landscape; simply amazing. We then took in how vast the saltern is, stretching over 400 hectares, La Clape and its vineyards overlooking it. Saint Martin’s Island is a good example of sustainable development: Dating back to Antiquity, the salt marsh technique used has turned this spot into the perfect home to several bird species and plants.

We also found out that the light “flower of salt” appears on the salt plains once the wind stops blowing at dawn and is carefully collected in the summer.

Guided tours are available and to learn more there is also an eco-museum. In the summer various activities such as concerts and story telling are being organised, as well as exhibitions. The boutique sells regional products, not only salt-related but also for example wine and a selection for the sweet tooth. I am very much enjoying the different bath salts I bought and we use our Gruissan salt every day in the kitchen. As our visit took place in the middle of the afternoon we did not try La Cambuse du Saunier restaurant. The menu is composed of different types of oysters and local fish and meat dishes. There is always next time…
Le Salin de L'Ile Saint Martin Gruissan - Bateau - Boat
Lors de nos récentes vacances à Gruissan, nous avons visité le Salin de l’Ile Saint Martin. J’en avais d’ailleurs publié une première photo dans mon article Douceur de Vivre In France en promettant d’en dire plus au sujet de cet endroit pittoresque.

La première impression lorsque nous sommes arrivés fût celle d’une explosion de couleurs. Un véritable tableau comportant un ciel incroyablement bleu et le rose foncé des marais salants, parsemé des bruns, gris et verts du paysage; tout simplement fabuleux. Nous avons ensuite réalisé à quel point le salin est immense, s’étendant sur 400 hectares, la Clape et ses vignobles le dominant. L’Ile Saint Martin est un bon exemple de développement durable: datant de l’Antiquité, la technique de marais salants utilisée a transformé ce coin en un habitat parfait pour de nombreuses espèces d’oiseaux et de plantes.

Nous avons également appris que la si légère “fleur de sel” apparaît sur les marais salants une fois que le vent cesse de souffler à l’aube et est récoltée avec soin en été.

Des visites guidées sont proposées et pour en apprendre d’avantage, il y a aussi un écomusée. En été, diverses activités telles que concerts et conteurs sont organisées, ainsi que des expositions. La boutique vend des produits du terroir, pas seulement à base de sel mais aussi par exemple du vin et une sélection de douceurs. J’apprécie grandement les sels de bains que j’ai achetés et nous utilisons tous les jours notre sel de Gruissan en cuisine. Comme notre visite a eu lieu en milieu d’après-midi, nous n’avons pas mangé au restaurant La Cambuse du Saunier. Le menu se compose de différentes sortes d’huîtres et de spécialités locales de poisson et viande. La prochaine fois…
Le Salin de L'Ile Saint Martin Gruissan - Pont - BridgeLe Salin de L'Ile Saint Martin Gruissan - Vue sur la Saline - View over the SalternLe Salin de L'Ile Saint Martin Gruissan - RestaurantLe Salin de L'Ile Saint Martin Gruissan - Canard - DuckLe Salin de L'Ile Saint Martin Gruissan - Restaurant Huitres - Oyster RestaurantLe Salin de L'Ile Saint Martin Gruissan - Musée - MuseumLe Salin de L'Ile Saint Martin Gruissan - Paysage - Scenery