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olive harvest at la vialla
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end of october we returned to our home away from home, fattoria la vialla in tuscany. we love getting away to somewhere a little warmer for a week in autumn - it really is the ideal time of year to travel when you want to enjoy some peace and quiet before the christmas madness begins. tuscany in autumn is such a dream - the fields, hills and trees are washed-out from the summer sun, making for the softest colour palette wherever you look. it’s just warm enough to soak up the sun in a dress during the day with a glass of rosé, but cuddle up next to the fireplace in a cozy knit as soon as the sun sets.

this was a really special trip, because we came to la vialla with a group of our best girl friends for a week of cooking, eating, olive harvesting and calmness. as always, arriving felt like coming home and we were greeted with such warmheartedness, generosity and love by our la vialla famiily. especially our dear annette, steffi and christina. our friends, most of who hadn’t been here yet, left feeling like family, too, at the end of the week. we want to share some of the pictures we took during our day of olive harvesting. it was really foggy when we started but in the course of the morning the sun came through and it turned out to be the most beautiful day.

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as a reward for all our hard work (ha ha), we had lunch in the olive grove. the longest table we had ever seen was set up, beautifully nestled between the olive trees. it was rather spectacular! the lovely cooks of la vialla completely spoilt us with bruschetta, pecorino, antipasti and toasted bread with the fresh olive oil from this years harvest. homemade sausages were cooked on the open fire, as well as a thick, warming chickpea stew, which was best washed down with a glass of ‘vino nuovo’ - the very first bottles of this years’ red wine.

lunch lasted well into the afternoon and we could have happily sat there, drank wine and chatted with the other guests, most of whom have been coming to la vialla as long as we have, for many more hours.

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england part II: our favourite norfolk beaches

after two beautiful days in barford we packed some sandwiches, said our goodbyes and jumped in the car. next stop: norfolk.

back when we were living in england we used to spend holidays fishing for crabs in blakeney (apparently the chelsea of norfolk), eating lobster and building sandcastles at the beach. when we moved back to germany we started spending our holidays elsewhere again and slowly but steadily forgot all about norfolk. and how beautiful it is. just the spot of calmness and the breeze of fresh air we needed after a long hot summer in munich.

we fell in love with norfolk all over again and will feed you our favourite things to do, see and eat in the next couple of posts. to start, we really wanted to share our favourite beaches with you, as we think this can be a bit of a "hit or miss" - we drove to quite a few, some that you're better off avoiding and some that are so beautiful we just had to share.

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holkham beach

we loved holkham beach for its sheer vastness - sand and water as far as you can see with beautiful dunes to nestle into and enjoy a picnic or just some rays of sun and a good book. there were lots of dogs racing around and playing so coming here with your dog must be a dream (we wished we had taken leni!). it's also possible to bring your horse and go for a ride along the water, making holkham an animal lovers' paradise. still, it's so vast that you can absolutely come for a long walk and some peace and quiet without being bothered by anyone or anything. it also wasn't crowded at all when we were there. maybe because it is rather a little stretch to walk from the parking lot. we didn't mind at all and it was a beautiful walk through the marshland. just remember this when planning a trip in case you have lots to carry or are travelling with little children.

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what to do in the area

when visiting holkham beach we suggest you go see holkham hall afterwards, as well. it is just down the road across from the beach car park and has a beautiful deer park, walled gardens and a house that is worth visiting. the family who own it still live there but it's open to the public on mondays, thursdays and sundays (the grounds and gardens are open every day). afterwards, stop for some cake at the courtyard café and enjoy a look around the lovely shop - we certainly did! if you're looking for a proper bite to eat we recommend the victoria inn.

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weybourne beach

weybourne beach was just a super quick drive from our cottage in letheringsett so we loved coming up here for the golden hour when the evening sun bathed the cliffs and stones in golden light - quite spectacular! as you can see from the pictures weybourne is a pebble beach with a strip of sand right by the water. it therefore wouldn’t be our first choice for a typical beach day when you just want to cosy up in the sand and read but it’s perfect for picnics when sand can in fact be a bit of a pain. we packed a basket full of quail egg salad and crayfish & rocket sandwiches and homemade flapjacks and were happy to just sit on the pebbles and enjoy the view.

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what to do in the area

after the picnic we absolutely recommend you go for a walk along the norfolk coast path that starts directly at the beach. you can walk all the way to sheringham and it’s a beautiful route with stunning views that you mustn’t miss. it’s an easy walk we would consider appropriate for almost all ages - the whole walk to sheringham is just over 4km and pretty flat throughout.

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brancaster beach

this beach is owned by the national trust and therefore not only very well kept but also perfect with children, as you can drive right up to the front (unlike holkham beach where it’s quite a stretch from the parking lot to the beach). having said that it might be important to add that you won’t be directly by the water, as brancaster beach is exeptionally wide and you can quite literally walk miles until you’ve reached the water. it’s perfect to build sandcastles and there are pools of water to tap into so you probably won’t even mind (we didn’t!). there is so much space that in parts it can feel as though you have the beach to yourself which we really enjoyed. perfect for dozing off or long long beach walks.

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what to do in the area

just under a 10 minute drive away from brancaster beach and sat on a compound with lots of great little shops you’ll find eric’s fish and chips. we read about it in the car and literally 10 seconds later drove by it accidentally - if that wasn’t a sign we don’t know what is. we ordered beer battered cod loin and beer battered king prawns with a side of fat chips and homemade tartare sauce that was ridiculously delicious. the fish was cooked to perfection but the real winner were the king prawns - if we could fly back just for them, we would. eric’s has a really nice outdoor area to sit and the other shops are worth a visit as well, so really make sure to plan a stop here.

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where to avoid

just because we mentioned it before we think we should add that hunstanton beach is definitely to be skipped as we found it just wasn’t worth our time at all. when we were there it was ridiculously crowded and not what we look for in a beach, regarding scenery and crowd. it might be nicer during low season but we would still recommend avoiding it altogether as there are so many far more beautiful spots.

our summer get-away at fattoria la vialla, tuscany
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this is a little bit of a longer post (we couldn't decide between the 1800 pictures we took!) so you might just want to open a bottle of rosé and pour yourself a glass before you keep on reading. just a friendly suggestion, though.

this summer we spent a beautiful week at fattoria la vialla in tuscany, near arezzo. we used to spend every summer there with family and friends but hadn't been for a while up until this year. and going back brought up so many memories. the best thing is: nothing changed! everything is just as beautiful, authentic and idyllic as we remember it.

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fattoria la vialla is one of the oldest and largest organic and biodynamic farms in tuscany and is family-run by the lo franco family since 1978. they produce wine, pasta, homemade sauces, biscuits, bread and have huge crop fields where they grow everything themselves. the premises (3316 acres!) include 21 beautifully restored stone houses that serve as holiday homes, vineyards, olive groves, an equestrian centre, a farm shop where you can buy all the homemade produce and of course a gigantic wine cellar. it's paradise!

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we love the simple interiors - there were a few pieces we would have gladly taken back home with us.

 

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one of our highlights was getting up early and watching the bread being made. first we got to see how the dough is made in the bakery (using even their own flour!) - it's quite mesmerizing to watch how skillfully and quickly the loafs are shaped. all the bread, foccaccia and pizza is baked on- sight in their big stone oven - just like it has been ever since the beginnings of fattoria la vialla. that dedication to tradition and handicraft is what really fascinates us most about this special place. you can always be sure that everything is made with the very best ingredients and the biggest portion of love.

and honestly, there's not much that tops a slice of their pizza fresh out of the oven for breakfast..

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we have so many memories of the barn at la vialla - it was where larissa took her very first lessons and even kerstin used to ride the horses there, something none of us could imagine today. you can take lessons or go on a hack through the beautiful tuscan landscape. sadly we missed out this year as it was just too hot but it's definitely something that should be on your list if you go.

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luckily, no one at la vialla has to go hungry - or thirsty for that matter! on several days of the week they offer lunch and dinner at the main house, beautifully set under a huge oak tree with aperitivo and a four course menu. though we should add that just the aperitivo is a whole meal in itself. you can try all their amazing homemade charcuterie, antipasti, pizza and bruschette all while tasting some of their best wines. and that is before the actual courses. so do come hungry and prepare to roll home!

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it was so hot during our stay that we spent most of the afternoon lounging in the shade, reading or cooling down in the beautiful stone plunge pool that came with our house.

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..just before we were on our way to another wine-filled evening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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on our last night there was a big dinner at la viallas very own museum with aperitivo (of course!), lots of wine and really good food - there was even a midnight pasta after pudding. all the guests got a candle lit tour of the museum that documents the farms' history and gives a little insight on how people used to live at la vialla. as it got dark we had an open-air screening of old italian films on a real film projector that still runs with coal and was operated by one of la viallas first employees. we couldn't have thought of a better ending to our stay!

a huge thank you la vialla, the lo francos and especially annette, who took such wonderful care of us, for making our stay so magical and memorable. we'll see you all next year for the olive harvesting and we are already looking so much forward to it.

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travelLarissa Comments
from cape town with love

so kerstin just got back from yet another trip to cape town and we feel it's time to finally share some of the gorgeous snaps she took down there. we're also including some long time favourites and some new discoveries - so if you have a south africa trip planned, we suggest taking notes.

a new discovery but instant favourite was unframed ice cream artistry, a beautiful shop in gardens that makes artisan ice cream in small batches using only the very best, natural ingredients. they only ever have 10 flavours on display at any time which doesn't make deciding any easier, though. there are always three vegan flavours (mostly nut-based) and they have a whole array of superfoods and toppings to choose from. kerstin went for turmeric latte and coffee (both vegan) and both got a big stamp of approval. unframed has a beautiful instagram account and their whole aesthetics are just right up our alley - we highly recommend a quick stop for a scoop...or two...or three..

a stop that's always on kerstins cape town agenda is boulder's beach and it should definitely be on yours, too. don't expect a secluded beach all to yourself, though - it's highly popular...with the penguins. and they come in crowds. so pack a beach towel, sun screen, a good book and find yourself a comfy spot to watch in awe as they roam freely on the beach and rocks in between dips in the indian ocean. they might even stop by and say hi.

this little guy up here is a dassie, by the way. and you'll never guess who its closest relative is.

the elephant.

it's true, look it up. we're not even joking.

meet dominique with her horse sunshine and her dogs merlin and mila. she offers hacks along the seemingly endless noordhoek beach. just imagine the soft ocean breeze blowing through your hair and the sun kissing your skin as you ride through the gentle waves... if that sounds like somehing you would like to do during your trip, you can contact her here.

imhoff farm has been an absolute favourite with kerstin forever and shes still raves about it after every single trip. the farm has been around for centuries and is popular with locals and tourists alike, offering a wide range of activities to indulge in, lots of happy animals, stunning views and an organic farm shop. stopping by blue water café for a spot of breakfast, lunch, tea or dinner is an absolute must! find a table on the porch or lawn to enjoy the sweeping views of the farm, noordhoek beach and the atlantic ocean. the wine is great and so is the food - prepared freshly using only the best farm ingredients. they serve everything from salads over wood-fired pizza to ostrich meat.

another place to add to your list is the cape of good hope. if you drive up to the lighthouse, it's about a half to three quarters of an hour walk up to the cape from there. the walk is easy (but do wear sneakers!) and absolutely wonderful with stunning views of the atlantic throughout. you'll be treated to a beautiful white sandy beach with the most turquoise of waters. but just see for yourself..

here are some more things to do and eat (get out your note books, you'll want to be writing this down):

what to eat

  • kloof street house: delicious brasserie-style food and amazing cocktails in a spectacular garden setting (fairy lights included!)
  • ricks café américain: a wild mix of oriental foods and really good cocktails
  • dunes beach restaurant: beautifully located on hout bay beach and perfect for a sundowner
  • the test kitchen: located in the old biscuit mill and possibly the most hip location in cape town at the moment, serving exquisite culinary highlights - book well in advance (6 weeks!) to get a table
  • burrata: situated right next to the test kitchen in the old biscuit mill, this place serves some of the best italian food there is
  • v & a waterfront food market: lots of little stalls to cater for every taste, including lots of vegan options

what to do

  • hike up to the table mountain: this is an absolute must, so make sure to make time for this trip. it's a two to three hour hike that is pretty steep at times and recommended only for the fit
  • take a catamaran sailing trip at sunset from the waterfront: the most beautiful time of day to be on the water, you can find some offers here
  • visit the old biscuit mill: a little village in the heart of woodstock, home to day and night markets, dynamic office spaces, a range of workshops and designer stores, delicious farm stalls, decadent restaurants (such as the test kitchen and burrata) as well as an inspiring line-up of festivals and productions.
  • pay a visit to one of the many many vineyards: there are so many to choose from, it's hard to suggest just one. kerstin just visited klein constantia which is absolutely stunning
  • take a train ride to simon's town: admittedly, taking public transport isn't one hundred percent safe in cape town but the views along the way really make up for a little adrenaline rush
  • explore the clifton beaches: four beautiful secluded bays, each with their individual perks

xx k & l

 

travelLarissa Comments