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

 

History and art

 
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I planned to write about August today; how a lot will change in my life the upcoming weeks, how there starts to be a turn from summer to autumn and how much I am waiting my big move (not counting, but 23 days left). Instead I decided that summer is not over, there is still a lot fun things to do before I go, and many of you have holiday still going on. So I will share another travel tip from Tallinn, hope you like art and history!

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What I like in Tallinn a lot is how widely you can see history there. The old town is  like a trip to medieval northern Europe, as the origins of the city is told to date back to the 13th century. But when you travel few kilometers away from the center of the old town you end up in a totally different place. In this place it feels like you would be walking in a imperial residence with Tsar Peter the Great of Russia in the beginning of 18th century. Kadriorg Palace is small Roman Baroque style tsars` palace in the beautiful Kadriorg Park, and the palace now a days is the home of Kadriorg Art Museum. The art museum is the only museum in Estonia devoted to foreign art with permanent and visiting exhibitions.

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I have visited the Kadriorg park numerous times in my life, as there is so much to see and do. I remember taking the tram to the park with my grandparents almost every summer when I was small and we were walking under the oak trees. In the park there is absolutely beautiful Swan Pond (how many wedding photos I have seen taken there?), the beautiful palace and its garden, the promenade leading to the presiden`s palace and his palace of course, as well as many other museums such as KUMU (the Estonian Art Museum). You can walk for hours in the park and it`s different parts, or you can just give a small visit and walk through it all the way to the seafront and visit the bronze monument Russalka Memorial. Either way, this is a must see place in Tallinn.

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We made a small visit to the art museum this time, enjoying the amazing combination of art and history. The permanent exhibition is nice, and at the moment there is exhibition Love. Motifs in Art from the 16th to the Early 20th Century until 21.08.2016, which I especially liked.

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How amazing is the decoration in the great hall of the palace?I could just stay hours there and look all the details. The stucco decorations in the main hall has Catherine’s initials.

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Two things I could take to my home straight away – white grand piano and huge fireplace.

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The main hall has a large ceiling painting illustrating the myth of Diana and Actaeon.

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I am not a big fun of colors, but I have to say that the bright blue walls were fantastic background for art.

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I could imagine a wedding or other party in the main hall. Isn’t it beautiful?

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The visiting exhibition Love is going on still few weeks. I especially liked how they described in in the text below; love is even stronger than death.

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The garden in front of the palace is actually super nice, I just run out of battery and this is the only photo I had time to take from it. So I guess you just have to go and check it out yourself. And you can take tram, the old looking one from the center to the park, easy I would say!

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From art and history I will now continue to work for the evening. I wish we all will have a lovely August, summer is not over yet!

xoxo,

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Details of this travel tip

Kadriorg palace // Kadrioru loss                                                                                                     August Weizenbergi tänav 37, Kesklinna linnaosa, Tallinn                                        Opening hours vary, check it out here