Tag Archives: Gardens

Schloss Nymphenburg

Nymphenburg Palace was the summer residence of Bavaria’s rulers, the Wittelsbacher family. The gardens, which are largely woodlands, are enormous and contain, in fact, five palaces, one big one and four teensy ones. Well worth a visit if you happen to be in Munich with an afternoon to spare and a hankering for a dose of nature.


















I had a delicious plum crumble, but wolfed it down too fast to take a photo…

That’s Just So… North London!

I spent a decade of my life North London, and those who’ve read my previous few posts will know that I went back there last week for the first time in three years. Anyone who moves to London will suss out very quickly just how attached Londoners are to their neighbourhoods. Many will only socialise in two places: their part of town and the city centre.

There is a particularly curious divide between North and South – to convince a North Londoner to cross the river and set their Kate Kuba encased feet onto the southern Thames shore, you’ve got to come up with a pretty good reason. Taking their children hostage and threatening to force-feed them food additives should do it.

Anyway, here is a selection of pics that struck me as typically North London. Let’s start with a few shots of Hampstead front gardens and back streets…

Hampstead garden 1 Hampstead Garden 2Hampstead Garden 2

Hampstead Street

Hampstead pubHampstead street 2

Hampstead shop inside

Decor inside a Hampstead Shop

Hampstead street 3

I bet my bottom dollar that she’s got a quinoa burger on a bed of rocket and mango salsa in that paper bag…

The Bishop's Avenue

Take on Bishops Avenue, Hampstead Garden Suburb, dubbed “Billionaire’s Row”.

Highgate Tea Shop

One of my favourite Highgate Tea Shops. Oh, the cakes…!

Highgate message board

A message board in Highgate

Highgate house buyer

Now, a house in Highgate will cost you anything upwards of £3m… that’s a lot of cash propping up her pillow!

Highgate Pet Shop

What exactly happens at “Weekly Puppy Parties…?”

Highgate Car

Now, I just want to point out that I didn’t live in either Hampstead or Highgate, but in a more …erm… affordable patch wedged in between 🙂


Dachau Palace Gardens… and CAKE!

I’ve already prepared you in the last post that the objective of our family trip to Dachau a couple of weekends ago had less to do with enjoying the (unashamedly pretty) historic town, and everything to do with gluttony.

Dachau Palace, which overlooks the town, harbours a cracking café that attracts audiences from far and wide with the most delectable cakes imaginable.

First though, let’s take a quick stroll through the beautiful palace gardens, resplendent not only with magnificent flowers, but also laden with sumptuous fruit at this time of year.

View from the gardens
Palace and fountainPath with flowersPlant close-upOrchardRoseApple treesBunte BlumenPathPurple flowers

Wedding Cake

This wedding cake was being wheeled about when we arrived at the café. Afterwards, as we strolled through the town centre, we spotted a wedding party emerging from the local church. For all appearances, the groom was a local boy, and the bride Chinese. The cake, which is quite obviously theirs, seems to confirm this 🙂

Wedding Table

One of the ‘wedding tables’


Yellow Cake


Unfortunately, cakes never photograph well through the glass display counters, and these pics are the only ones that turned out (sort of) OK. There were so many more delicious creations… sigh.

Thyme Liqueur? Seriously…?!

Some things just don’t sound like a good idea. Until you try them. And such was the case with said thyme liqueur. A total winner!

But who’d come up with such a thing? Answer: The eccentric people of Toledo. In particular, a guy called Ricardo Sánchez Butragueño, who is attempting to commercialise this odd-sounding concoction following an old family recipe.

There’s a back story, of course. For hundreds of years, Toledo has been celebrating Corpus Christi (which fell on Thursday, 19th June this year) for all it’s worth. I mean, they seriously go to town on this one. I must confess, I’m not a particular fan of watching church furniture being lugged round the streets for hours on end by people in stuffy costumes.

The only thing I like about this gaudy spectacle is that they sprinkle the streets with thyme and rosemary. It smells nice. And all I can think about for the entire Corpus Christi week is Welsh roast lamb with butter-drenched new potatoes.

So, when Maria told me that someone had managed to “bottle the Corpus” and that the product launch was going to happen on one of her clients’ venues on Tuesday, we just had to go.

Three botles

Photogenic bottles!

Even the local press turned up for this momentous occasion

Even the local press turned up for this momentous occasion. Note the thyme sprigs strewn all over the floor. Nice idea, but they kept getting caught in my dress, making their way up towards my knickers. A bit scratchy…

Bottle with the back story in the background

Bottle with the back story in the background


Maria and I faffing with our cameras

Maria and I faffing with our cameras

This taking selfies thing is definitely NOT my forte...

This taking selfies thing is definitely NOT my forte… and I wasn’t even drunk at this point!

They let you have as much as you wanted... a fatal concept!

They let us have as much of the concoction as we wanted… a fatal concept!

Some people even turned up in bottle-matching outfits ;-)

Some people even turned up in bottle-matching outfits 😉

View of Toledo

View of Toledo from the venue

So, thumbs up to thyme liquor! Where have you been all my life?! The kind organisers gave freebie bottles to take home 🙂

[The event was held at Cigarral Del Angel Custodio, one of Toledo’s most splendid historical country houses. It has amazing garden and terrific views of Toledo, some of which I captured a few weeks back, when the roses were in bloom. Click here if you’d like to see those pics.]

Toledo’s Most Beautiful Garden – By A Mile!

The hills surrounding Toledo are studded by posh country houses called “cigarrales”. For hundreds of years, these tranquil abodes have been serving as an escape for the Toledanian elite during the summer months, when temperatures in the city climb to a brain-baking 45ºC.

The cigarrales are still in private hands today and not freely accessible to the general public, but I got lucky on Sunday! One of the cigarrales, the largest and oldest of them, El Cigarral Del Angel Custodio, happens to belong to one of Maria’s clients, and she smuggled me in 🙂

This cigarral dates back to the eleventh century, when Spain was ruled by the Moors, and the Arab influence is evident in the design and lay-out of its extensive gardens.

Oh, the gardens… so stunningly beautiful with all the roses in bloom… anyway, that’s the whole point of this post. And without further a do, care to take a tour?

Garden 1Garden 2Fountain

Part of "The Garden Of The Poets"

Part of “The Garden Of The Poets”

PoetAngelView and fountain

Statue of a Capuchin monk

Statue of a Capuchin monk

Garden viewCypresses

Well, there's got to be a bit of kitsch...!

Well, there’s got to be a bit of kitsch…!

Garden 3

A most fabulous view of Toledo :)

A most fabulous view of Toledo 🙂



What? Of course there was free food and drink involved!!!

Of course there was free food and drink involved, what did you think!?! My new career as a gatecrashing freeloader is coming along swimmingly…

And delicious it was, too 🙂

The Cigarral De Angel Custodio is available for hire as a wedding venue, and on that particular day, they had laid on a little matinee fiesta for all the couples who’d got married there over the years. If you want to see more pictures of this place, here’s their website.