FRAGMENTS_ jardins fontserè i mestre

Before we started our 50 km roadtrip, Eline and I first had to drive our car from the airport of Barcelona to our hotel in Girona.  To make sure we had the best possible experience during our first drive with the prius plug-in hybrid, the toyota team programmed a scenic route into the GPS.  We drove along some of Barcelona’s most impressive views, but there was one in particular where we could not resist to make a quick stop.  When we spotted the lushious vegetation and interesting architecture of the Jardins Fontserè i Mestre, we just had to pull over!  Unfortunately the greenhouses were closed, so we didn’t get the full experience, but I did manage to snap a few photos that convey the atmosphere quite well.  Definitely a place that should be listed in my city guide for Barcelona!

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FRAGMENTS_ botanical garden in Cologne

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It’s no secret that I’m rather fond of botanical gardens, so it shouldn’t surprise you that when I planned to visit Cologne, the first thing I looked up was if the city had a botanical garden.  Wandering through the lush gardens, exploring its stunning greenhouses and reading while enjoying these exotic vies turned out to be a perfect way to spend my afternoon.   What can I say, I just never get tired of botanical gardens!  So here are a few fragments of Cologne’s most peaceful hideaway, hopefully this dose of greenery brightens your Sunday!

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EXPLORED_ The Barbican in London

EXPLORED_ The Barbican in London - by hannelore veelaert for au pays des merveilles-24When Lies and I visited London, we ran into a picture of the Barbican Centre’s Garden Room on a viny sleeve that immediately sparked our interest for this botanical walhalla.  In the ever growing list of botanical gardens that I’ve visited, this one definitely is my favorite.  Besides its beautiful collection of plants, the Barbican Estate is also an architectural highpoint.  Designed by British firm Chamberlin, Powell and Bon in the 1950s, this complex houses 2014 apartments, a library, several restaurants, two schools, a museum, several theatres, an art gallery and much more.  Curious yet?  I’ve prepared an overload of photos for you below, but I recommend you just visit this place yourself if you’re ever in London.  I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS - website - facebook - twitter

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EXPLORED_ Kruidtuin in Leuven

EXPLORED_ kruidtuin in Leuven - by hannelore veelaert for au pays des merveilles

Even though I’ve lived in Leuven for more than 5 years, I somehow never managed to make it to the Kruidtuin, the city’s botanical garden.  When I recently spent a weekend in my student city with my friend Paulien, we had to pay a visit .  Leuven’s botanical garden is the oldest in the country, dating back to 1738, when it was founded by the university for its medicine students.  Nowadays the garden with its beautiful greenhouse and orangery is the perfect spot to escape the city, take a relaxing walk between the plants, have an indoor pick-nick in the orangery or simply enjoy the sun and the view on one of the garden’s benches.  A must if you’re spending some time in this city!  If a visit to Leuven isn’t for the near future, you can discover more botanical gardens I’ve blogged about here.

Kruidtuin, Kapucijnevoer 30, 3000 Leuven - website

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EXPLORED_ Jardim Botânico in Lisbon

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The Jardim Botânico in Lisbon is one of those place that doesn’t need a lot of explanation.  After our brunch at Tease, Miguel, Lisa and I enjoyed a peaceful walk in the city’s botanical garden, where the gigantic trees offered us some refreshing shade.  With an entrance fee of only 2 euro’s, it’s a must visit if you feel the need to escape the heat in the city!

Jardim Botânico, Rua da Escola Politécnica 54, 1250-102 Lisboa - website

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SUNDAZE_ Lies Mertens

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Sundaze is all about that Sunday feeling, with no obligations, only endless possibilities.  Whether your day off is on an actual Sunday or any other day of the week: everybody knows and loves that feeling.  In this topic, I document inspirational people on their day off.  How we spend the day is up to them, no obligations, remember?  Through this topic, I intend to see the city through their eyes, but also find out a little bit more about what drives this person in their daily life.  The first person to offer a peek into her life, is Lies Mertens, a 25 year old graphic designer and leather accessory designer located in Antwerp, but with a lot of love for travel.

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FRAGMENTS_ Montjuic

FRAGMENTS_ Montjuic by Hannelore Veelaert for Au Pays Des Merveilles
In November I made a short trip to Barcelona with my friend and textile designer Ella De Vos.  We both visited the city a couple of times already, so our plan was to do absolutely nothing but relax.  We needed a few days to escape our busy lives in Antwerp and a few days where nothing was planned but drinking coffee or wine and eating tapas seemed perfect to us.

One particular day, we decided to be a little more adventurous, so we followed this book‘s advice and rented bikes to ride up to Montjuic.  Maybe Definitely a little too ambitious for someone who doesn’t work out regularly (the hill is really steep), so we decided to make stops on the way up instead of on the way down, like our city guide recommended.   This still is quite an effort, but the views you get along the way definitely make up for it.

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