Tag Archives: Vacation

Corsica, France: From Bastia To Corte (1)

An Original Way of Traveling

A Mix of TGV & Ferry

When I was offered to travel to Corsica with a TGV with SNCB International and ferry of Corsica Linea, I was very curious to experience this way of traveling! Departure from Brussels from Gare du Midi around 10 a.m. In the comfort of the first class, I quietly watch the landscape scroll.

Arrived in Marseille at 3:50 p.m. The subway is direct (2 or 3 stations) to the ferries of Corsica Linea which is located in a renovated area, with large modern shopping malls in old warehouses. How to wait before boarding the Pascal Paoli ferry at 6 p.m. for Bastia? Do some shopping : I took the opportunity to buy Detox Kusmi Tea (a soulful memory of the Paris fashion weeks years ago, lololol!).

We had dinner in the ferry restaurant. Everything was really fine: the crew was super pro and the night route allows you to reach your destination early. My only con, some travelers: as a woman, I did not feel comfortable crossing the corridors, alone. 

The spectacle of the sunrise when approaching the port of Bastia is absolutely gorgeous! 

From Bastia To Corte

The Old Port of Bastia

At 7 a.m., we land at Bastia. Early fall, the trees start to slightly become orange under a shy sun. After a long break in an outside cafe, we walk in empty picturesque streets leading to the Old Port. The city wakes up slowly. I like the South, its rhythm.

  

Lunch in Folelli

I fruletti

In the late morning, we leave Bastia for the village of Folleli, where we have lunch at the restaurant I Fulett. Our long table is on a pleasant terrace with enough sun to believe summer is not over. The Mediterranean cuisine with Corsican and Italian influences is delicious. I even took a dessert (my dishes pictured above and below)! 

The Parc Galéa

We take the road towards Taglio Isolaccio to visit the Parc Galéa, where I had a big crush for the cactus gardens (photos above and below). This park allows to discover the natural and cultural heritage of Corsica.Visitors can attend lectures on various topics, or have guided tours and educational workshops. 

  

Corsican Whisky

Domaine Mavela

Surprise: Corsican whiskey! The Mavela distillery produces spirits and has partnered with the Pietra brewery to produce quality Corsican whiskeys under the name P & M. I do not drink alcohol, but I am always curious about terroirs and know-how. After a tour of the distillery, we tasted different liqueurs (like those of Cédrat Natura and Clémentine Natura) and some whiskeys.

Then we leave for Corte, where we sleep tonight. To be continued…

    

Photos : © Mademoiselle Le K – Tous droits réservés

Informations  

To go to Corsica by Ferry : www.corsicalinea.com, Sales office in Brussels : T. 02/620 06 76, resa.benelux@corsicalinea.com

To go to Marseille by train : www.sncb-international.com. 2 or 3 connections a day by TGV Brussels-France (duration: 5h10). If you buy your TGV tickects online, you can print them at your home, or download them with the SNCB International mobile appli.

CCI de Bastia et de la Haute-Corse : www.ccihc.fr

Related articles : Destinations & Lifestyle

Many thanks to the Corsica Linea, SNCB International and CCI de Bastia et de la Haute-Corse, for this beautiful invitation. As always these are opinions.

Tokyo: Capitol Hotel Tokyu

A Room With A View

Kumbawa Tokyo!

We arrive from Hiroshima via Himeji to visit the famous Castle. Long day including two trips in Shinkansen (bullet train), three cities – three moods and a thousand impressions! We are a little tired when we arrive in Tokyo tonight. We finally are at the Capitol Hotel Tokyu, conveniently located in Chiyoda-ku, with a metro exit that directly leads to the hotel.

What a great view from our Premier Corner Twin room at the 26th floor! We fall asleep with the show of the city lights. The room is really large: 57.8 m², which means huge for Tokyo. The shower & bath area also offers a superb view! Showering while “flying over” Tokyo. Awesome! 

Minimalist interior design with a great comfort (including an air humidifier). It is very hard to leave your bed (and the bathroom and room too, lol), even if I’m up at dawn! When traveling, I like getting up very early. And in the Land of the Rising Sun, from 5 a.m. it is broad daylight.

  

The Swimming Pool

Some Lengths

My second pool of 20 meters long in Tokyo’s skyscrapers. The first one was at the 47th floor of Park Hyatt Tokyo. Here you can also enjoy a beautiful view of Tokyo. As it opens from 6:30 a.m., we serenely swim before breakfast.

The pool is adjacent to the spa. Unfortunately, we did not have time to test the Carju Rajah Tiado spa. We only stay two nights and Tokyo is huge! For the next trip, the beautista in me will make you a “spa and beauty in Japan” article.

  

The Breakfast

At Origami Restaurant

The breakfast room opens onto the hotel’s garden (pictured above). Which brings a zen contemplative touch. And makes us forget the effervescence of Tokyo!

The buffet is delicious with croissants as good as in France! The products are fresh and the service  is pleasant, besides throughout the hotel, the teams are efficient, polite and smiling. Photos below: our different breakfasts.  

The Entry Hall

This morning, we hit the road for an onsen weekend in Hakone. By depositing our suitcases at the reception (which we pick up back after Hakone), we hear live Japanese music.

What a lovely surprise! In front of the impressive bouquet in the hotel’s entry hall, an elegant musician in kimono plays a traditional instrument. Superb mix and contrast with the modern architecture! Just like our stay at the Capitol Hotel Tokyu, an experience full of finesse. 

    

Photos : © Mademoiselle Le K – Tous droits réservés

Informations  

Capitol Hotel Tokyu

Planning your trip with Exclusif Voyages

Flying to Japan : direct flights from Brussels & Paris with ANA

Related articles : DESTINATIONS & HOTEL REVIEWS

Many thanks to Exclusif Voyages, Ryokan Collection and Capitol Hotel Tokyu for this beautiful invitation. As always theses are my opnions. 

Japan: Sasayuri-Ann Terrace Villas (Day 1)

The Ozonu Villa

  

The Room

Arriving this morning from Kyoto in the small station of Nabari, we were far from imagining our stay at Sasayuri-Ann Rice Terrace. We are in countryside (one hour by train from Nara), a complete immersion in an authentic traditional Japan. 

We are greeted by Mr Matsubayashi, the owner who, with his wife and two sons take care of the two villas. We stay in Ozonu, the new villa with light woods and opened on a beautiful Zen garden (above, first photo of the article). A smart blend of tradition and luxury, sober and extremely comfortable (modern bathroom and kitchens). I feel like I’m in an Ozu movie.

In the evening, the main space is transformed into a bedroom. We are projected into another dimension, with the backdrop of the lighted garden and the sound of the water. Awesome! Photos above and below: my first fittings of yukata (Japanese summer kimono) in the room.

  

Shabu Shabu

  

Carefully and Warmly

After a long day, we take our first dinner around the “fire”, in the center of the main room. Our hosts have prepared a Shabu Shabu (the famous Japanese fondue). 

Vegetables and beef of the region (cut into very fine marbled slices, like Kobe beef) are soaked in boiling water and then seasoned with sesame sauce. I don’t know the exact recipe, but it’s delicious. Subtle, light and tasty (photo below).

For the desert, a homemade sake ice cream ball served in frozen ceramic cup and spoon (photo above).

Ikebana & Zen Garden

Contemplative Meditation

The garden is the pride of Mr. Matsubayashi who was inspired by the most beautiful Zen gardens. Every evening he meticulously water it. Besides, the villa and the garden are one. 

The garden is divided into three sides: the Landscape Rock Garden, the Pinetree Garden and the Scenery-Borrowing Garden with, in the distance, the bluish mountains. Enchanting setting.

In the afternoon, we attended a private flower arrangement class given by Mrs. Matsubayashi, master of Ikebana. I liked her precise gesture. With few elements, her composition is beautiful! No superfluity, only the essential matters. Japanese minimalism.

 

  

The Tea Ceremony

The Immutable Japan

In another part of the garden, there is a 100 year old tea house (impressive!), With the dimensions of a doll’s house, paper doors and windows. According to Mr. Matsubayashi, the Japanese love everything small.

I feel both like Alice in Wonderland and an elephant in this confined space that seems fragile. As strange as it may seem, everyone quickly finds his little living space. 

Formerly this ceremony was practiced by monks and allowed the powerfuls and gentry to share a moment of peace over a cup of tea. Today, the masters of the tea ceremony are mostly women.

Everything is very codified, the graceful slow gesture is controlled and repetitive too, like a choreography. We hear the sound of water and birds outside. Macha and confectionery are excellent.

To be continued … 

  

    

Photos & vidéos : © Mademoiselle Le K – Tous droits réservés

Informations  

Sasayuri-Ann Terrace Villas

Planning your trip with Exclusif Voyages

Flying to Japan : direct flights from Brussels & Paris with ANA

Related articles : DESTINATIONS & HOTEL REVIEWS

Many thanks to Exclusif Voyages, Ryokan Collection and Mr and Mrs Matsubayashi and their sons for this wonderful immersion in a traditional hedonistic Japan. As always, these are my opinions.