First castle adventure – Bouvigne

Some time a go one of my professors in the university told me about beautiful castle just bike ride away. He told me about the beautiful gardens, and how I should definitely make a visit to the castle during Breda open monument days, as then you could also visit inside the castle. I started to laugh, and told him, that actually somehow we had already managed to make a visit to the castle (inside also) with a friend. Afterward I have learned, that we have already visited actually quit many places which usually are not easily accessed. So maybe we have been super lucky with my traveling buddy lady A, or maybe it is just the super planning (with color codes, hahah) we have been doing. All the same, we are definitely not going to miss anything interesting during our stay in Netherlands – easy or not to access.

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I have to also say, that somehow me and lady A both are quit fond of castles, and last week we made a plan to visit another 6 or 7 castles the upcoming months. Crazy I know! So this post is also a start for  my castle adventures series, which I hope you will like. But how was the castle? Simply BEAUTIFUL – no other way to describe it!

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The Bouvigne castle is situated in south of Breda, just a bike ride away from my home. The castle is surrounded by water, and the view with waterlilies and swans gliding smoothly around the castle definitely brought images of fairy tails and princesses to my mind. The history of the castle dates back to 1554 and it has surprisingly rich history, for such a “small” castle with several different owners in the past. Today the Bouvigne castle is owned by the Waterschap, which is the regional body responsible for waterways and the maintenance of water levels. So highly important place if you think how important issue water is here in the Netherlands.

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In addition to the beautiful castle, the estate houses also a chapel, carriage house and Hof van Bouvigne (Bouvigne court), which today serves as the headquarters of Waterschap Brabantse Delta. The different properties are not every day open to visitors, but few times a year they organize open door days, like example the Breda openmonumentendag. However I would still recommend a visit as the different gardens in French, English and German style are something you want to see.
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I love simple Scandinavian interior, but somehow every time I see historical building full of strong colors and materials such as silk, velvet and the huge tassels, I just want to redecorate everything. The details are amazing!

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Inside the castle only the first floor was open for a visit. It was beautifully decorated and each room was so different. The only sad thing was for us the lack of information in English – they only provide information in Dutch.

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During our visit we saw few artists working in the gardens, which for sure was not a surprise as the area is so beautiful. It was interesting to see them working, and how different their works were. One man was doing quit modern and strong red colored painting while another one was working more classical piece.

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In the picture above you can see the new main building of the Waterschap (regional body responsible for waterways), which is situate just next to the Bouvigne premises.

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Even though we did our visit on a open doors day, it did not feel touristic at all. The are felt more like a place where the locals go and enjoy their free time without hurry. The old couple sitting together was for sure one of the most adorable things I saw during our visit. Talk about couple goals, here it is!

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The premises is full of small details if you just take your time and start look for them. I example did not realize in the beginning that I was actually walking in a small road covered with seashells, until lady A told me about it. How beautiful is that?
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Overall the Bouvigne castle and the gardens were worth of the visit, and we did spend a lovely afternoon there. I hope I could visit the place again in the spring / early summer as I can only imagine how wonderful the gardens are then. Later this week I am sharing another restaurant tip and sharing a nice photo experience from last week. Stay tuned, see you!

xoxo,

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Escape from the city

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Helsinki is amazing summer city, and what many people tend to forget, is the beautiful archipelago with 315 green islands. Yeas, 315 islands around the capital city, isn’t that amazing? For sure the most famous of the islands is one of the UNESCO’s World Heritage sites Suomenlinna. It has been my favorite also for many years, but this year I have found new favorite – Vallisaari. Vallisaari, and Kuninkaansaari next to it, was opened to public this spring, and offers the visitors history and beautiful nature just 20 minutes away from the city center of Helsinki. I did a day trip few weeks a go to the island with my brother, and it has been definitely one of the most amazing places I have visited this summer. Here is a photo diary from our little escape from the city, enjoy!

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This is a small pond in Vallisaari. When looking to this scenery you totally forgot you are in a island middle of the sea.

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Vallisaari has served as a military base, and you can find many old buildings related to it around the island.

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In July 1937 there was a huge explosion accident in the island. Before opening the island to public it was carefully checked, but still some parts of the island may have explosives in the ground. For this reason the areas you are allowed to visit are clearly marked. I love how they have used for this thick ropes with sailor-minded design and not some metallic things to ruin the scenery.

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Nature in Vallisaari was so amazing and diverse. Some parts are so lush green, where as some parts are more barren.

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Amazing details every where – I just love everything old and rusty.

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Suomenlinna island is so close to Vallisaari that you can clearly see it. It was nice to see Suomenlinna from new direction, as usually you only see it from the other site.

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The history is present in so many details around the island. This metallic door was full of engravings. Look at the date – Jaavo Lehto 25.05.1924, amazing!

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The island has many places for you to have picnic and enjoy your brake. If you forgot to take your own food with you, there is nice small waffle bar Vallisaaren vohvelibaari, where you can enjoy salty and sweet waffles, or example these super refreshing organic lemonades. The only thing I was dissatisfied with the bar was their pricing – you should pay 12€ for waffles and these bottles cost 4€ each. I understand it is the only place open there and I like to support small local companies, but still the prices were way too high.

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From Vallisaari you can go to Kuninkaansaari, which is smaller island next to it. There was nice small beach in the other side of the island where many families were enjoying the sunny day and warm water. But definitely Vallisaari is the place to see and if you are in a hurry, then choose to skip Kuninkaansaari and not the main island Vallisaari.

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That`s my little brother ❤

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 You can go to Vallisaari with a small ferry, like the one in the photo. It takes only 20 minutes and you see during the trip Helsinki from the sea, so it is already something beautiful to see. The ferry compnay also offers Island hopping package which then jbcludes three islands with one ticket – Vallisaari, Suomenlinna and Lonna. If you end up doing that, remember to have good shoes on and a lot water and food with you, that trip will take all day.

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Have you already visited Vallisaari? And if not, please make a small escape from the city and visit this amazing place!

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Details of this travel tip

Vallisaari 
Waterbus from Kauppatori daily till 4th of September – tickets 7€

Timetable JT-line

 

Afternoon in Venice

Like always in holidays the time has been flying and tomorrow it is time for me to go back home. The past few days it has been raining here so I am happy I did not leave my Venice trip for this weekend. I went to Venice earlier this week as I wanted to spend few hours outside of Padova. From here you can go to Venice with the train in 25 minutes and the ticket costs 4.10€ so it is easy, cheap and fast. I have visited Venice I think almost ten times so far, but still I like to return there every now and then. But why? Well for me Venice, even though being super touristic, has some magic that I have not found in any other place. I don`t go there for shopping or the food, I go there to clear my mind as every where you look there is something so amazingly beautiful. Maybe a cliche, but that`s how I feel about the city.

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The day was sunny and like always, the city was full of people. I thought that after the carnival the city would be less grouted  before the summer season starts, but no. There seems to be always people as people all around the world come to see one of the most famous cities of Italy.  We walked around few hours, stopped for slice of pizza (Venice is so super expensive when it comes to food) and wondered if one day we should spend the money and experience the city from gondola. And of course we also took million pictures, like always in Venice, so now less talking ans I hope you enjoy the view!

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As it is my last night in Italy I will now drink a good cup of coffee, prepare my luggage (there is way too many new things I need to somehow get back to Finland with me) and start the dinner preparations.

Ciao,

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