Visit to Idstein in the Taunus

During this fairly quiet week between the Christmas holiday and the New Year, we decided to visit Idstein. This little town is known for its historical Altstadt lined with many beautiful half-timbered houses. Idstein is also part of the Deutsche Fachwerkstraße (German Half-timbered Houses Road), which connects selected towns with historic half-timbered houses and buildings.

We were quite impressed with what we found – such a jewel close to home. From friends I also heard it is famous for its many micro breweries. For us it was a half-day visit, and we managed one beer.

Idstein/Ts. an der Fachwerkstraße
Idstein Marktplatz

We had a very good lunch at the ‘Alte Feuerwache’ (Old Fire Hall).

Idstein ‘Alte Feuerwache’ Brauhaus
‘Deutsches Haus’ in Idstein

The hotel/restaurant Hoerhof (in German: Höerhof) courtyard looks very inviting. I would like to try their restaurant.

Hoerhof courtyard in Idstein

Hessen has many beautiful little towns worth visiting.

On the Road in the USA – Concord, NH

On our way to Boston, we stopped in Concord, a town rich in history.

We went to see Thoreau’s house in the woods where he wrote his famous novel Walden. 

 … two months later, Thoreau embarked on a two-year experiment in simple living on July 4, 1845, when he moved to a small, self-built house on land owned by Emerson in a second-growth forest around the shores of Walden Pond. The house was in “a pretty pasture and woodlot” of 14 acres (57,000 m2) that Emerson had bought, 1,5 miles (2.4 km) from his family home. (source: Wikipedia)

Thoreau house

Where Thoreau wrote “Walden”

Of course, our teenage children could not resist from modifying his sculpture for a little fun. Thousands of others must have done that before them.

Thoreau sculpture

Next we went down to Walden Pond to have our take-away lunch by the beach.

Walden Pond

Walden Pond

This was my first Reuben sandwich in 30 years and it was delicious. Reuben is corned beef, topped with sauerkraut, melted cheese and 1000 – Island dressing on toasted/or marbled rye.

Reuben sandwich

Reuben sandwich

We had gotten our take-out lunch from a restaurant on Main Street. The menu to choose from was plentiful and most decorative!

restaurant menu

Again and again, I see so many homes which have tiger lilies growing right around the edge of the house.

tiger lily

tiger lily

From here in Concord, it is only a one-hour drive to Boston, where we will spend the weekend to walk the famous Freedom Trail.

Review for K-haus Gwanghwamun in Seoul, Korea

On our way to Japan, we visited Seoul for two days and booked K-haus Gwanghwamun in northern Seoul for our accommodation.

Prior to our departure, we got a few personal mails from the manager with directions and other useful information.

The little privately-run hotel lies on the outskirts and it was not easy to find. The usual 10-minute walk from the bus stop took us close to 45 minutes all the while asking for directions. We had the Korean address and not even the taxi driver nor shop assistants were able to direct us. While looking lost standing at a corner, we were approached by helpful Koreans several times. One of them was able to direct us to the place. The best landmark to point out for future reference would be the Czech Republic Embassy which is on the same road. The Czech Republic Embassy is listed on most maps.

The location itself is perfect though. Surrounded by consulates and embassies, it is in a very quiet corner of Seoul. Walking up the street  towards the guest house, you can see the mountains in the back.

The guest house is very clean and the manager was most accommodating in our needs. When we walked in, she already had a caller’s message waiting for me as well.

Our room with three beds was average size. Our shower equipment was very simple – a handheld shower head in front of the bathroom sink. But it worked nicely.

The breakfast on offer is basic (beverage, coffee and toast), so we ventured out to one of the many cafés lining the streets of Seoul for a more culinary experience.

The Airport Limousine bus service to northern Seoul is KRW 10.000 per person. On the way back to the airport, we took a taxi (orange colored, stating Interpretation Taxi on its side) which cost us KRW 50.500 (about US$ 44,–). Very affordable.

Last, but not least. My daughter left her plush animal behind, and Mrs. Lee, the manager, has been most helpful in trying to get it to Germany. She went way beyond her calling on that one.

You can visit K – haus Gwanghwamun on for more information.

K-haus Gwanghwamun in Seoul, Korea

When I go back to Seoul, I will definitely book K-haus again. It is clean, quiet, shows good management, and is reasonably priced.

Frilly Thrills in Paris

If you are heading to Paris for some thrills, then visit the newly opened haunted house Manoir de Paris. Located in a building under historical preservation protection, near the Gare de L’Est (on 18 rue de Paradis 75010 Paris), visitors get to enjoy 13 chilling tales or horror.

Take some friends with you when walking through the 1000-square meter haunted house. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the Phantom of the Opera, the bloodthirsty pastry chef… and others… are there to welcome you.

Entrance fee: € 20 for adults, € 18 discounted (children and students)


Thu and Fri: 17:00 – 21:00

Sat and Sun: 15:00 -19:00

Access :

Metro: Gare de l’Est / lines 4, 5, 7 or Poissonnière / line 7

Bus: Faubourg Saint Denis (line 32)

More on LeManoirdeParis

Lemon Tree House in Bosa

Since I could not go to Sardinia this summer, I asked our sixteen-year-old to write a short post about this trip. This is what Thomas had to say:

This summer was the first time that our annual family vacation took place in Sardinia. We had been to Italy before, specifically Sicily, but I had heard that Sardinia was quite a bit different from the other regions of Italy.

This family vacation itself was also a bit different than what I had been accustomed to, as only half of the family (my father and I) would go. This was due to some complications regarding my sister’s physical condition… she injured her knee three days before our departure and ended up in the hospital in Frankfurt.

The city where we stayed for two weeks, called Bosa, is a very picturesque town full of history. The apartment where we lived, was submerged directly into this culturally intense atmosphere. It was aptly called The Lemon Tree House, as one of the main attractions to this place was the lemon tree situated on the front terrace.

The tree was a very pleasant and shady place to relax under the warm sun, and provided us with lemons as well. These we would use to make lemonade, or just pure lemon juice. As I arrived on Sardinia with a bit of a cold, my father had me drink  freshly squeezed lemon juice almost every day.

Fresh lemons in Bosa

Visit Lemon Tree House Apartments (rentals) in Bosa, Sardinia for more information.

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