24 Hours in Strasbourg, France

We usually go to Strasbourg once a year, and our highlights remain staying at the 4-star Hotel Cour de Courbeau, and then visiting the flea market on Saturday morning. Again this year, we got there on Friday around 3pm, and left the city on Saturday shortly after lunch. It is enough time to pack in quite a few things, such as a visit to the Alsatian Folklore Museum (about a minute walk from the hotel), visit a few restaurants, shop at the flea market, stop for some coffee and a pain au chocolat, and much more. We usually park at the Austerlitz Car Park, which is a minute from the hotel, has clean facilities, and the rate for one day is just under euro 20.

This is always our first stop – the bridge overlooking the River Ill.

Boat touring the River Ill

This is an ad for the city’s upcoming plans – to build a floating jetty, across from the Historical Museum.

Floating jetty for Strasbourg

This is the courtyard of the Hotel Cour du Corbeau. Built in 1580, it has served as an inn (or hotel) for most of its time since then.


View from our room onto the balcony. Last year, we were able to sit on the balcony late in the evening. This year, a Siberian wind made it impossible.

Some of the interior was renovated to reflect its original half-timbered building style.

This is what I found at the flea market – a sewing table, with a painting by Louis Bollinger (a.k.a. BOLL or BOLI).

What to Do in Tallinn, Estonia in November

Tallinn is known to experience its second-wettest month of the year in November (after June). Well, we were in luck. It was a bit rainy in the mornings, but it usually cleared up towards noon.

We had flown from Frankfurt via Stockholm to Tallinn. When we arrived at the Tallinn Airport, I learned my suitcase was still in Stockholm. Oh well. This was nothing a good local beer could not fix.

This was the first sight we saw entering Old Tallinn.

Old Tallinn entrance

We stayed at the Baltic Hotel Vana Wiru, where they have a very fine restaurant. More about that and Estonian food in a different post.

By midnight, we checked into our hotel, and then went to a pub. By the time we got back, my suitcase had arrived at the hotel too. It was a bit damp from having been out on the tarmac for a while, I’d suppose.

The next day, we hit the Christmas Market several times. Old Tallinn is not that big, so you are bound to cross the market again and again on your way around. We tried different sorts of Glögg (the Baltic version of mulled wine). Interestingly enough, it was often offered in three content levels: 0% alcohol, 11% alcohol, and 21% alcohol.

Glögg’s the word!


Christmas market tree in Tallinn

There are many tourist shops selling their knickknacks, shops featuring amber in any possible form, and there are many cafés, pubs, and restaurants.

Amber jewelry tree

This amber jewelry tree would set you back by € 4950 – in case you were wondering.

I had read somewhere Tallinn would not be so crowded in November. It seems they still have their fair share of tourists during that time of month, especially with the start of the Christmas market.


In my opinion, a full day in Old Tallinn is enough. We had one and a half days, which was plenty. Well, and then, there is always more Glögg.

Hotel Cour du Courbeau in Strasbourg

We left Germany on a dreary Friday afternoon and arrived in sunny Strasbourg three hours later. We got really lucky with the end of February weather.

We had booked the Classic Room online at half price for one night at the Hôtel Cour du Courbeau in Strasbourg. This hotel is most impressive: authentic 16th century on the outside, and completely 21st century on the inside.

Hotel Cour du Courbeau

This photo was taken from our room, looking out on the balcony which stretches along the whole front of the building. The thin wires are to keep the pigeons off.

We had a pleasant evening sitting outside on the balcony, gazing at Orion’s Belt. We moved the room’s little bench outside, and shared a bottle of wine on the balcony. This was so pleasant. For smokers, there is an ashtray on the wooden railing for your convenience.

We skipped the € 24 per person breakfast (offered by the receptionist), and headed to one of the cafés nearby for a smaller breakfast version.

This hotel is centrally located, next to the canal and very close to the cathedral. We only had to cross the bridge, and found ourselves at the Saturday farmers’ market, with the flea market right next to it. The flea market takes place Wednesday and Saturday mornings.

We found a few interesting articles at the flea market, ranging from a wooden spice box with pewter labels spelled out in French, an old postcard from Germany, a hand-carved wine bottle topper, etc.

Here we stopped for a second breakfast of croissants and coffee. In the back, you see parts of the farmers’ and flea market area.

We will do this again sometime soon. It was nice to get away for a couple of days.

London in Seven Hours

Yes, I saw quite a bit of London in seven hours. We had gone to London for my daughter to attend a concert and meet someone special, and not knowing what time the celebrity’s Meet & Greet would take place, we decided to take a taxi from Heathrow Airport to the Hammersmith Apollo.

I had read somewhere a black cab would take us from the airport to the Apollo for  £ 30. We ended up with a white cab, which cost us  £ 50. It was worth it, as getting there quickly was crucial, especially sitting next to a nervous teenager.

When we arrived at the Hammersmith Apollo at 4 p.m., the lines were already long.

Apollo queue

With nothing better to do, I looked up and took some photos.

London buildingThen I looked down.

London shoes

We got her ticket from two box-office employees, who were working their way down the line. As a matter of fact, we got two Meet & Greet tickets! I was neither in the mood for the concert, nor interested in meeting a 21-year-old pop singer. We ended up giving the ticket to a very lucky girl.

I can’t recall ever seeing anybody cry so much for happiness. What a beautiful reward, I thought.

My brother and I were free then to explore London. All this excitement got us old folks mighty hungry, whereas my daughter went without a bite to eat until 10:45 p.m.

We quickly checked into our Hotel Adria on 44-46 Glenthorne Road, and headed towards King Street (a two-minute walk). Kings Street has a big selection of ethnic restaurants to choose from. We had a good meal and excellent service at the Indian restaurant Shilpa (more in a separate post).

Dinner at Shilpa Restaurant

Dinner at Shilpa Restaurant

After dinner, we almost contemplated skipping the pub experience. We felt relaxed and had a full stomach at 9 p.m., but had to wait till 10:30 p.m. to pick up my daughter after the concert.

We thought of something really smart – why not stop at the pub Hop Poles, have a tiny drink and sip on it leisurely. Yeah, right.

Within two minutes, I met three British guys. 70 minutes later, we had downed three pints, two Jägermeister, I had taught my new friends how to say “Hau weg die Scheisse!” (instead of Prost) and I danced to Dancing Queen with a stranger. So glad my daughter was somewhere else having a good time.

I did thank the manager Angela (between hiccups), a woman my age from Poland, for the wonderful selection of 70s music they play there.

We only had to walk a few minutes to the Apollo and picked up my very excited daughter, who then had short bread for dinner in bed.


Just before midnight, my brother and I stood outside the hotel in our pajamas to take in the London air. Just so glad no police officers came by.

London was very bright the next morning. We had to rise at 6:15, be at Hammersmith Station at 7:00 to catch the Piccadilly line to the airport.

London on a Sunday morning

London on a Sunday morning

Yes, one can do London in seven hours, and see/eat/drink/laugh much. It was worth it!

*Hop Poles Pub: http://www.hoppoleshammersmith.co.uk/FindUs.aspx

Review for Hotel&Spa S’Entrador Playa in Cap Ratjada, Mallorca

Through the German tour operator Neckermann, we booked our short trip to Mallorca, which included round-trip airfare with Air Berlin, 2 overnights with half board, single room, and airport – hotel transfers.

We did not expect much as it was only euro 277,– per person, but we were in for a real nice surprise.

This little arrangement welcomed us to the room.

Breakfast and dinner were buffet style. The breakfast selection was even more impressive than dinner. Even in late November, we were able to have breakfast outside and chose to have dinner inside.

breakfast area

The rooms were small and ours faced the tennis court, but even though it had a balcony, we did not have plans to spend much time in the room. We only had 48 hours to amuse ourselves on Mallorca.

Single room at the S’Entrador Playa in Cap Ratjada

By the afternoon, we could see some pale Germans sunbathing around the pool in about 20°C weather.

S’Entrador Playa pool

The hotel service (reception desk, restaurant staff, cleaning personal, etc.) was superb. The last thing I remember, is the maid wishing me a Tschüs und gute Reise! when I passed her with my suitcase. Guess I had been accustomed to maids usually looking the other way when passing them.

The hotel caters to mostly German patrons, therefore most of the staff speak German.

For more photos and information (in German), visit Hotel&Spa S’Entrador Playa on holidaycheck.de