Saturday, June 21, 2008

Historic Houses in Lyon - Maison Thomassin

As I, for the first time, wandered into the narrow passages of old Lyon, I suddenly found myself in another time. Many of the houses here are ancient, but there are few signs visible how old they are, exept for this one. The Maison Thomassin had a stone on the front that told the history of the house and the people that once rebuilt it. It took me far back into Medieval times in Europe.

The stone commemorated the history of two generations of the Thomassin family. The house had windows framed by beautiful gothic arches and the commemorative stone told me that the house was reconstructed 500 years ago. It told the following history.

MAISON THOMASSIN RECONSTRUITE A LA FIN DE XV SIECLE PAR CLAUDE THOMASSIN
CONSERVATEUR DES FOIRES
CAPITAINE DE LA VILLE
QUI OUVRIT LA MEME EPOQUE LA RUE PORTANT ENCORE SON NOM
SON PETIT FILS RENE THOMASSIN
(FUT) LE PREMIER QUI REMPLIT LA CHARGE
PREVOT DES MERCHANDS
CREE PAR EDIT
D'HENRI IV DECEMBRE 1595

MAISON THOMASSIN RECONSTRUCTED AT THE END OF THE XV CENTURY
BY CLAUDE THOMASSIN
THE ONE THAT CONSERVED THE FAIRS (?)
CAPTAIN OF THE CITY
THAT OPENED IN THE SAME TIME THE STREET THAT STILL BEARS HIS NAME
HIS GRAND CHILD RENE THOMASSIN
(and her it greats tricky, but I think the latter were in charge of the merchants, but what ever he did was according to)
AN EDICT CREATED BY KING HENRI IV IN DECEMBER 1595

Be aware the fact that the Maison Thomassin was reconstructed, not constructed more than 600 years ago, and thus must be considerably older. Claudes grandson Rene grandson lived during the reign of Henri IV of Navarre (left) 1553-1610, the huguenot king brutally murdered by a fanatic catholic in Paris 1610.

So here you also find yourself during the dramatic age where the battle between the emerging reformed church in France and the Roman Catholics culminating in the St. Bartholomew Day Massacre in Paris August 24th 1572.

Interesting - and this was only the start, and I was going to learn so much more.

Friday, June 20, 2008

43 new destinations launched for Norwegian air travelers in 2008


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Several airlines have opened or are planning new non-stop services to 43 destinations in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East from Norwegian airports in 2008. Most of these new destinations are operated by either Norwegian Air Shuttle or Scandinavian Airlines from Oslo Airport Gardermoen or the newly opened Rygge Airport Moss.

Most of the destinations are in Europe, but non-stop flights are opened or are planned to destinations in North Africa and the Middle East. Norwegian Air shuttle will offer low cost fares to Marrakech in Morocco, Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Here you find the new destinations to and from Norwegian airports, what airline that operates them and scheduled start of new services. Maybe you will find a new service to an airport near you? In that case, you might get a chance to visit Norway.

Enjoy!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Admiring Marmorkirken (Fredriks Kirke)

As you arrive in Copenhagen you cannot avoid seeing the dome of Marmorkirken (Marble Church) rising over the roofs of the Danish capital. Located by Bredgaden close to Amalienborg, the royal residence it is visible over much of the city. We admired this beautiful architectural monument during a promenade that took us from Amadeus Conditori, on to Amalienborg Palace with a view to the new opera house ending at Nyhavn where we enjoyed a few very good glasses of cava.

The history of the present church are close to 270 years old, designed by Nicolai Eigtved in 1740 and was erected as to the 300 jubilee of the first crowning of a member of the House of Oldenburg. Nicolai Eigtved found the inspiration for his original designs in classic Roman architecture, probably the Pantheon in Rome.

The process from design to completion was long and complicated. King Fredrik VI laid down the foundation stone October 31st 1749, but due to budget cuts and the death of Eigtved in 1754 the church was left incomplete. As most of Eigtveds plans were discarded in 1770 the church as you see it today is based on designs by another architect, Ferdinand Meldahl and it was paid for by Carl Frederik Tietgen. It was opened August 19, 1894.

As you look up it is easy to be impressed by the enormous church dome, in fact the largest in Scandinavia with a span of 31 metres or nearly 100ft.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Eat green food – or another colour

Eating food with strong colours is good for you. This point is taken by the food producer Knorr that wants us to eat colour. Yesterday I ate green, as I fell for one of their new products a soup with broccoli and spinach.


Tomatoes are as good as pills against prostate cancer, blueberries are full of valuable antioxidants that protect against all kind of illnesses, and spinach? Remember Popeye? Super strength to protect Olive derived from spinach. I had no illusions to get strong but to get a good meal.

I have given favourable reviews to several of Knorrs soups earlier here on Enjoy Food & Travel. They are, in my mind a great alternative to the dead, dried soup mixes. This line of products feels more natural than a powder dissolved in water.

I did, however, find the green soup less appetizing than the yellow (chicken & coriander), red (tomato / goulash), or white soup (Thai sweet & sour). If you want a green soup I would recommend you top buy frozen green peas, warm them in hot stock until tender and then blend into a delicious soup. Add mint as a change – the combination mint and peas is delicious and add sour cream as you serve. Yum!

And now to something completely different - delicious dim-sum dumplings

Monday I bought a tray of frozen dim sum dumplings at my Chinese grocer. I have since then indulged 6 dumplings with different fillings a day as I return from work, prepared in my bamboo steamer, served with sweet chilli sauce and sesame oil. A dumpling a day is probably good for you and is seriously delicious.

The wrapping on the different dumplings are thin rice paper, tofu, or (I think) ordinary pasta dough, and the fillings are seasoned pork, vegetables or prawns. Scrumptious!!

Highly recommended when feeling the urge for a light snack.

Take out 4, 5, 6 or as many as you want out of the freezer and put the steam on. 10 minutes and you are in for a treat.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The streets of my childhood

During summer I love to stay in Arendal, the place I was born and spent 19 years of my life. Arendal is the administrative centre of Aust-Agder county on the southern coast of Norway. If you want to travel to Norway this is the area where you are likely to have the best weather during your stay. The area around Arendal have in average the highest number of sunny days during the year of the entire country.


I love the place I was born. The city was first mentioned in 1528, and grew during the 18th century into one of the largest commercial centres in Scandinavia. During its peak, more than 600 sail ships belonged to the wealthy families in the city.

The area has a rich cultural, architectural and historical heritage. As the city throughout its history was built in wood several fires ravaged the historic city centre, but there are buildings that escaped the flames.

The main historic district is Tyholmen, a peninsula that survived the fires, but were threatened by urban planners in the 1960s. 40 years ago protests from the citizens of Arendal stopped plans to demolish the entire historic district as the politicians wanted a modern city centre. Now the old buildings here have been brought back to its former glory to house galleries, small shops, restaurants, and flats.

The oldest houses here may be as old as 400 years. At that time there were islands where you today find streets and squares. In fact Arendal was called the Venice of the north, due to the fact that there were channels rather than streets that separated the houses.

Pollen, the old harbour, is the only remains of the old channel system. On the left you have Langbrygga - the long quay that burnt down during the last fire in 1868 and was rebuilt in bricks, on the right side you see houses built in the late 17th and early 18th century and the 82 meter high tower of Trefoldighetskirken (Trinity Church) that was built at the peak of the city's wealth in the 1880s.

During summer there is a hectic life here and you find speedboats, yachts and traditional wooden boats side by side. One of my favourite past times is to sit here and eat freshly boiled shrimps out of a paper bag and look at the hectic life.

Or you may visit the market square, once the place where you could buy fresh produce from the areas around the city. The tradition is still alive as you can buy fresh flowers and vegetables here, and there are farmers markets regularly where you can buy specialties produced in the area.

The yellow house on your left is Bondeheimen, the only house that survived one of the large fires and it dates back to the 18th century. When I was a kid, we often went here to eat at the local tavern that served traditional Norwegian food. Sadly it is now gone.

The city has not entirely escaped urban planners, but lately new architecture of a high standard has made the city more beautiful, than more ugly. The new culture centre is a good example of this.

The largest square of Arendal was the location of its bus terminal. On this square you found a six floor building. The urban planners proposed to tear the office building down, and build a brand new cultural centre here, and succeeded. Today you find this example of beautiful contemporary architecture here and a large shopping mall was built on what used to be a parking area.

The latter has brought the customer back to the city centre, as it was slowly dying out due to the construction of a large shopping mall (or shopping area) at Stoa. The mall has once again made Arendal city centre a place for shopping.

If you want to see another area that might give you an impression of what old Arendal once looked like, I recommend the old area at Barbu bukt, a bay east of the centre.

Lykkensborgveien and Hulveien are two old narrow streets with wooden houses from the 18th, 19th and 20th century in beautiful harmony. The history here goes back to the late 1500s.

I have heard a story that Jens Munk, the famous explorer, was born in one of these houses in 1579. I have not been able to verify the story or do not know in which house he was born. What we do know is that he was born at Barbu.

I love my city, and I do recommend a stay here during summer. There are so much to do in the city and the area around. An English friend of my sister once described it as the Provence of the north and I do agree. This is the place to stay from June to August. You may enjoy the world during the rest of the year.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Grand Hotel des Terreaux - recommended!!

















I chose the Grand Hotel des Terreaux in Lyon at a special rate of €72 offered by www.venere.com. It had received a very good rating from previous guests (average 8,5/10), and the site described it as:

"This venerable former mansion in Terreaux neighbourhood has preserved a rich heritage featuring , among other things, stones from on old local church in the swimming pool and on 18th century staircase. A coaching inn in the 19th century, it became in the 20th an elegant hotel gleaming with marble and precious woods." (Venere)

Who could resist living in such a hotel, and was it true? Well, the glam-factor was a little lower than expected, but I was very satisfied with what Grand Hotel des Terreaux had to offer me as a guest, and Enjoy Food & Travel do recommend it to those of you travelling to Lyon.

Location BBBBB

The Grand Hotel des Terrreaux is located in Rue de Lanterne in the historic Terreaux district at the east bank of the river Saone. Rue de Lanterne itself, is a narrow ancient passage, as most of the streets in historic Lyon.

It is easy to get there. Take the bus service to its end destination, Lyon Perrache, enter metro line A direction Vaulx-en-Velin, and leave at Hôtel de Ville / Louis Pradel (5th stop). From here the hotel is within easy walking distance. I found the area very charming with many bars, restaurants and shop in the area, e.g. at the nearby Place des Terreaux.

Service: BBBBB

The previous guests that reviewed the service had been extremely pleased, and so was I. Nice, polite, and a service minded staff at the reception and in the breakfast room.

Hygienic standard: BBBBB-

The room and the ground floor area was very well maintained and cleaned. The carpets in the corridors of the 5th floor, where I stayed, were however both dirty and run down, and they do need to be renovated.

Room: BBBBB

The rooms had newly been decorated in different individual styles. My room was small, but well organized. Delicately decorated in a cream colour with new carpets and furniture in what I would call a Provencal style, with a small oak desk and matching dresser. It faced the enclosed back yard and you could safely go to sleep without being disturbed by either traffic noise or people.

The only thing sorely missed was a good air conditioning system, as I had to sleep with my windows closed during my stay, as I am highly allergic to mosquito bites. The hotel was, however, in the process of providing this extra facility to its guests, and it may be working when you plan to stay there.

Bathroom: BBBB

The bathroom was tiny, but had been renovated to a high standard, delicately tiled. The room was however very small and not practical to use for the largest of you.

Breakfast: BBBBB

The breakfast was not included, and the hotel charged €13 for a breakfast buffet. For this sum you were certainly offered a very good and decent breakfast. The staff offered freshly made coffee or tea in a pot as you arrived in the breakfast room.

The only thing missing from the buffet, that I am used to, was bacon and scrambled eggs, but there were so much else to choose from. There were a larger selection of cheese that I am used to, fresh bread, jam, boiled and cured ham and salami, cereals, sweet pastry, and much more. I personally fell for the mini-flutes served, freshly from the “boulanger” crispy, with good butter and cheese. The buffet certainly offered a breakfast for those of you that plan to roam the narrow city streets of Lyon until the urge for lunch hit well past noon.

Facilities: BBBBB

The hotel had its own swimming pool, newly renovated and adjacent to the breakfast room. It was open from 1 PM until 10PM. It was small but apparently newly redecorated.

The hotel did have a small charming bar in the reception area, and the staff was more than willing to serve you refreshments during your stay. Grand Hotel des Terreaux did not have a restaurant, but there were a large number of restaurants in the neighbourhood, so it was not missed.

Price: BBBBB

Definitely worth the price. €70 a night is a bargain price!!

Rating the Grand Hotel des Terraux experience: BBBBB- (4,87 points)

A bargain at a very good price. I will certainly return here at my next visit, and Enjoy Food & Travel recommends the hotel as a good place to stay in Lyon.

Address:
Grand Hotel des Terreaux
16 Rue de Lanterne
69001 Lyon
Phone: +33 (0)4 78 27 04 10
Fax: +33 (0)4 78 27 97 75
E-mail: ght@hotel-lyon.fr

See location of hotel on my map of Lyon here on Enjoy Food & Travel

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Delivered to you every morning at 8 o’clock!

No, I am not talking about your newspaper or a bottle of milk, but Enjoy Food & Travel. Every morning there will be a new, interesting story for you to enjoy, and we can deliver it to your e-mail address. So subscribe to stay tuned on new interesting stories on hotels, sights, bars & restaurants, travel, food stories and interesting recipes.

What is in store on Enjoy Food & Travel? I have still treasures to share from my trips to Copenhagen. Beautiful Rosenborg Palace, treasures from Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek and Statens Museum for kunst. I revisited Cafe Zeleste in Nyhavn for a great meal and admired a mausoleum in the heart of the Danish capital.

Coming week I will travel to Sitges to enjoy food, wine, sun, and entertainment. Do not despair. Stories will be delivered daily at 8 AM sharp. Stories from Lyon, Värmland and Copenhagen, travel news for those that may want to visit Norway and why strong coloured food is good for you and how the food manufacturers respond to this. What are my other plans for the coming summer? Here they are:

June-September: Regular visits to our summer home on the south eastern coast of Norway

July 4th to July 7th: Visit to Strasbourg, the capital of Alsace and home to the Council of Europe and the European Parliament

August 20th to August 24th: Visit to Schwerin for the opening of the 2nd round of the exhibition Urban Portraits

September: Visit to Massachusetts and New Hampshire, USA to enjoy the last week of summer weather

So there is so much to look forward to here at Enjoy Food & Travel. Subscribe by e-mail or to my feeds to stay tuned.

Enjoy Food & Travel will wish you all a wonderful summer!