SoulFood Coffee House – Redmond, WA

Tags

SoulFood Coffee House is a local coffee shop here in Redmond, Washington. I’ve been living here for 9 years and I haven’t heard of this place until last year, when I joined some local groups on Facebook and Meetup and they would host some of the events there.

So finally this year, I managed to visit this coffee shop with my oldest son in tow. I just loved the atmosphere of the place. Very unique, very eclectic. The baristas would jump in the piano and sing if there were no clients waiting for them. And my favorite feature: there’s a kids corner! So mom can have her coffee while kid is happily playing.

They also seem to have some interesting events going on every month like open mic, poetry night, live music, etc. Check out their calendar for more info.

SoulFood Coffee House

SoulFood Coffee House

SoulFood Coffee House

SoulFood Coffee House
http://soulfoodcoffeehouse.com/
15748 Redmond Way
Redmond, WA 98052
(425) 881-5309

Advertisements

Castle Park – Kirkland,WA

Tags

, , , , , ,

We’ve been back to the United States for almost an year now! Nothing more perfect than to restart writing on my blog after a long hiatus talking about the Castle Park on the Eastside since the last post I wrote was about the Castle Park in Luxembourg.

This Castle Park is located in Kirkland, Washington. The official name of the park is North Rose Hill Woodlands Park. The park is huge but we never got to explore the rest of the park, we always go directly to the Castle playground.

The playground is fenced which helps to keep young toddlers under control. I like that they have smaller structures which makes it perfect for smaller children. For example, my 4 year old is always afraid of the tall monkey bars, but on this park since they’re a little bit shorter, so he goes unafraid. In addition to the nice castle structure, that the kids love to go around, there’s also a very cute mini climbing wall. By the playground, there’s a nice grassy area which is great for the kids to play soccer or perhaps having a family picnic.

Address:
9930 124th Avenue NE, Kirkland, WA

Parking is recommended on NE 100th street, however I usually just try to park close to the playground on 124th Ave NE. There isn’t a restroom in sight close to the castle playground, but there might be one by the park entrance (I’ll check next time I go there and update the post).
Castle Park (N Rose Hill Woodlands Park) - Kirkland, WA

Castle Park (N Rose Hill Woodlands Park) - Kirkland, WA

Castle Park (N Rose Hill Woodlands Park) - Kirkland, WA

Castle Park (N Rose Hill Woodlands Park) - Kirkland, WA

Castle Park (N Rose Hill Woodlands Park) - Kirkland, WA

Castle Park (N Rose Hill Woodlands Park) - Kirkland, WA

Castle Park (N Rose Hill Woodlands Park) - Kirkland, WA

Castle Park (N Rose Hill Woodlands Park) - Kirkland, WA

Castle Park, Luxembourg

Tags

, , , , ,

It’s spring time in Luxembourg and nothing better with kids than going to one of the many great parks in the city of Luxembourg on a bright and sunny day.

A fairly new park that opened last year is called Spillplaatz Scheiwisschen (aka the Castle Park), in the Merl/Belair neighborhoods. It’s a fenced park that is like a giant sandbox with a wooden castle structure for kids to climb. Very cute!

When the park opened last year, my oldest son was only 2 and 1/2 years old, so the park was a little bit difficult for him. But the more we visited, the more he got comfortable climbing around the castle (since it’s not really made for the adults to go along with such narrow passages). But there are some smaller toys more suitable for younger children as well.

The only downside is that this park doesn’t have public restrooms or any kind of snacks for sale, so bring your own picnic when you come. And be prepared to leave with lots of sand inside the shoes and clothes!

Address:
Rue Charlemagne,
Luxembourg

If you’re going by car, you can put the following address on your GPS (the building will be in the corner of Rue Charlemagne):
25 Rue d’Orval, Luxembourg

By bus, you can reach the park using lines 6 or 7 (closest options; bus stop Merl-Orval), line 8 (bus stop Belair-Oradour) or line 12 (bus stop Belair-Place de Liège).

Castle Park (Spillplaatz Scheiwisschen), Luxembourg Castle Park (Spillplaatz Scheiwisschen), Luxembourg
Castle Park (Spillplaatz Scheiwisschen), Luxembourg Castle Park (Spillplaatz Scheiwisschen), Luxembourg
Castle Park (Spillplaatz Scheiwisschen), Luxembourg Castle Park (Spillplaatz Scheiwisschen), Luxembourg
Castle Park (Spillplaatz Scheiwisschen), Luxembourg Castle Park (Spillplaatz Scheiwisschen), Luxembourg
Castle Park (Spillplaatz Scheiwisschen), Luxembourg Castle Park (Spillplaatz Scheiwisschen), Luxembourg
Castle Park (Spillplaatz Scheiwisschen), Luxembourg

Diekirch Cavalcade – Carnival 2014 in Luxembourg

Tags

, , , , ,

Last weekend, it was Carnival time and here in Luxembourg and in neighboring countries, there were several events going on. We chose to go to one of the closest for us: the Diekirch Cavalcade.

The cavalcade has a long history. The first one was held in 1870 and throughout the years the event has been on and off until 1979, where the tradition of the annual parade has been created and maintained ever since (except for 1991 because of the Gulf War). For more information, visit their website Cavalcade de Diekirch.

Growing up in Brazil, it’s hard for me to even start comparing the two Carnivals. But it was a fun event to go with kids. Each one of the 50+ floats paraded with their own theme and music through the 2km course and the day was lovely (cold but sunny). There were a couple of people selling tickets to the parade, but I think it’s only to help offset the costs since there was no one actually checking if you had a ticket or not (and we didn’t stay until late to find out if we won the raffle or not). The event is also a good excuse for young people to just drink and dance!

If you missed this event, there are some other parades happening in Luxembourg until the end of March. Check this article on Wort about it: Get crazy for carnival season in Luxembourg.

Diekirch Cavalcade 2014 Diekirch Cavalcade 2014
Diekirch Cavalcade 2014 Diekirch Cavalcade 2014
Diekirch Cavalcade 2014 Diekirch Cavalcade 2014
Diekirch Cavalcade 2014 Diekirch Cavalcade 2014
Diekirch Cavalcade 2014 Diekirch Cavalcade 2014

Tramways and Bus Museum – Luxembourg

Tags

, , , , , ,

We were looking for something to do on a cold rainy winter afternoon in Luxembourg and I remembered that a friend of mine had recently wrote an article for Wort (the local newspaper) about the Tramways and Bus Museum, so we decided to check it out.

Tram operations in Luxembourg began in 1875 with horse-drawn carriages. In 1908, electric trams began to replace the horse-drawn cars. Like many other cities, the lines were closed down in the 1960s to make way for the bus. The last tram drove through the city in 1964.

The museum, which opened to the public in 1991, is located in a former tram depot. It has 2 tramway motor coaches, 2 tramway trailers, a life-size replica of a horse-drawn tramway, two buses, scaled-down models on a scale of 1:8 of buses and trams, documents and very interesting photos that show the history of trams in Luxembourg, and some old equipment in display.

What my son loved the most was that he could enter in all the trams and buses and just play. It was like a giant playground and since the museum was empty, he had it all for himself. We all enjoyed visiting the museum, including the adults.

And the best of all, admission is free! Their website also mentions you can schedule a guided visit, although it doesn’t say in which languages they offer that. Our visit was not guided since we planned to go very last minute.

The museum is located close to the P+R Bouillon and is open on Thursdays from 1.30PM to 5.30PM and on Saturdays, Sundays and legal public holidays from 10AM to 6PM. It closes on November 1st and also from the weekend before Christmas until January 15th.

Tramways and Bus Museum - Luxembourg Tramways and Bus Museum - Luxembourg
Tramways and Bus Museum - Luxembourg Tramways and Bus Museum - Luxembourg
Tramways and Bus Museum - Luxembourg Tramways and Bus Museum - Luxembourg
Tramways and Bus Museum - Luxembourg

Adventscircus in Luxembourg

Tags

, , ,

It’s been quite a few years that my husband and I haven’t been to a traditional circus. But since I saw there was a circus coming into town, I knew my son would want to go, even though he had never been to a circus before (he’s always been in love with clowns!)

The Adventscircus comes every year to Luxembourg near Christmas time. I think it’s a little bit expensive with prices ranging from €20 to €40 for adults and €15 to €35 for children 2+ years old but it’s a good option on what to do in the city at this time of the year. You can buy your ticket online at www.luxembourg-ticket.lu, however, if you buy your ticket in person at Glacis, you can download a coupon at their website and get a €5 discount per person (print one per each person). I noticed however that sometimes some sections are not available online but you can buy them in person at Glacis. They have 5 levels of price and only on the two higher tiers, you won’t have any sight obstructions.

The show has minimal speech so that everyone can understand (sometimes they use English or French). They have clowns, acrobats, numbers with horses and dogs, the globe of death, etc.

My 3 year old son loved the show but he was getting a little bit bored towards the middle and started asking to go home. So it was good that they had a short break and he managed to stay until the end and quite enjoyed himself.

Ah, but don’t forget to bring coins if you intend to go to the restroom. It still surprises me that you have to pay to go to the restroom around here in public spaces!

You can get more information at their website http://www.luxemburger-adventscircus.eu and their show ends this week on December 15.

Adventscircus Adventscircus
Adventscircus Adventscircus
Adventscircus Adventscircus
Adventscircus Adventscircus

Munich with a toddler at Christmas time

Tags

, , , , , , ,

I haven’t written about our trips in Europe so far, but we’ve done quite a few ones which were really nice and I really would like to share our experience here. I’ll start with our latest trip which was Munich and then start going back in time. Most of our trips around here are short ones (usually daytrips or 2-3 days away) and most of the time I’m by myself with my 3-year-old son during the day since hubby is on the trip but for business reasons. I can say that being in Luxembourg and not being working allowed me and my son to travel and enjoy a lot more this European experience (but I do miss working!)

We’ve stayed in Munich for 3 nights and it was cold:

Cold Munich

I’ve never been to a Christmas market before so my first item on my to-do list was to visit the Christmas markets in Munich. We visited two (out of 20 that exist in the city):

Christkindlmarkt
Munich’s Christmas Market – whose roots go back to the 14th century – is held on the Marienplatz in the heart of the city centre. It was a cold and snowy night but we had fun going through the stalls, eating bratwursts and drinking glühwein (“mulled wine”) and kinderpunsch (an alcohol-free version of the glühwein). My son’s favorite stall was the one selling puppets and a candy house that reminds him of the Hansel and Gretel story. And he also loved to see the nativity scene at Sternenplatzl.

Munich Christmas market Munich Christmas market
Munich Christmas market Star lights
Munich Christmas market aCandy house
IMG_4374

We finished the night by having a very German meal at Augustiner am Dom. It had good food and it was a warm place to get out of the snow close to the market.

Augustiner am Dom
 IMG_4382  German beer

Das Weihnachtsdorf im Kaiserhof der Residenz München
The second Christmas market we visited was the one in the Munich Residence. It was a much smaller market but it had something special for kids: a fairy tale section with singing animals and different characters. This was my son’s favorite market, for sure! He didn’t hesitate to ask me to come again the next day when we were walking nearby in Odeonplatz.
You can see more information about their program, including a puppet theater at: Das Weihnachtsdorf im Kaiserhof der Residenz.

Munich Christmas market Luca riding the sleighHansel and Gretel

BMW Museum and BMW Welt

I didn’t really know the difference between the two until we got there. We asked the cab to drop us off at the museum and there one of the employees explained to us: the BMW museum was about the history of BMW brand while the BMW Welt is a showcase of the current cars of the BMW group. The museum entrance is paid while the Welt entrance is free.

Since we were already in the museum, we decided to start with that. The museum seems great but with a 3-year-old, that was a bad idea. He was not interested at all and we had to rush through the whole thing.

After our visit to the museum, we had lunch at the museum cafe which was simple but quite nice. We were almost leaving without checking out BMW Welt but we decided to take a peek. Oh boy, that’s the only place we should’ve gone! My boy went crazy since he could enter the cars, play a racing game or enjoy the activities in the junior campus (actually aimed at older children but he had fun nonetheless). He didn’t want to leave the place. And the architecture of that building is fascinating!

BMW Museum - Innovation
BMW Isetta All BMW models along the years
BMW Welt BMW Welt - racing
BMW Welt BMW Welt - Junior campus

All in all, it was a great trip and I wish we had more time to enjoy the city a little bit more and visit some other places like the medieval Christmas market and the Deutsches Museum.

Our first Halloween in Luxembourg

Tags

, , , ,

Last week, Halloween was celebrated in the United States (and it’s starting to catch on in other parts of the world as well). It had been 2 years that I haven’t participated because for some reason I was always in Brazil on October 31st, so I missed all the fun!

But as my son grows older, he’s enjoying more and more the tradition of Halloween. But we were here in Luxembourg, so what to do?

Thanks to the ladies of the AWCL (American Women’s Club of Luxembourg) who organized a trick or treat event for the kids, we were able to take part on this American tradition here in the Grand Duchy. And it’s also for a good cause, since the money they raised will benefit an organization in Germany. The event was held a little bit earlier than the actual Halloween day since it’s school break during the actual week and lots of people travel. Grandma was glad she was able to join us as well!

Halloween 2013 Halloween 2013Halloween 2013 Halloween 2013 Halloween 2013 Halloween 2013 Playground - kids in costumes

We also did our first pumpkin carving. We bought a pumpkin at Auchan and went online to see how to do it, since no one in our household had ever carved a pumpkin before. My son loved doing this and was quite thrilled with the results! (and it was less messy that I thought it would be)

Carving pumpkin Carving pumpkin Carved pumpkin

I saw there were other events organized by ZigZag or Hotel Le Royal, but all the events were on the same day so we chose the trick-or-treat one. I didn’t get to see if kids go door to door here or if people dress in costumes on the actual Halloween, since we were out of town.

Halloween will certainly become a big tradition in our home. It’s so much fun!

Apple picking in Steinsel, Luxembourg

Tags

, , , , ,

Last weekend, we headed to Steinsel, a small city just outside Luxembourg City where there is an yearly apple festival!

I had picked up apples from trees before while walking/biking on the beautiful Washington state trails, however I have never visited an orchard before (or any kind of farm to go picking any kind of fruit). So it was fun to go do this as a family for the first time.

I wasn’t exactly sure where the festival was held so I just added Steinsel to my GPS hoping that once I reached the town, I would find some signs pointing to the festival. I did find the signs but they were just tiny signs pointing to “Vergers de Steinsel”. Once you get there, the entrance and parking are free.

It was a gorgeous day and we arrived at lunch time, so we started our day at the festival eating traditional fair food for Luxembourg: bratwurst (sausage) and fries, in addition to some delicious apple fritters (beignets) and fresh apple juice (that you can see them pressing right in front of you)! Yumm!

Apple fritters

Fresh cider

With hunger under control, we then headed into the orchard. My little one didn’t want to ride in the wheelbarrow, but lots of kids where having fun with that. They have a couple of different varieties that are well identified and you just go and start picking right from the trees. You bring your own bags or boxes (or you can buy some at the event in case you forget). After you finish picking, you just head to one of the cashiers at the exit and weigh your apples. It was very affordable. We pay 2 euros for around 1.5kg of apples (and they are cash only).

The orchard Luca picking an apple

As we were leaving, we also picked some more apple products like apple chips and some homemade apple pies. The drive back home was also quite beautiful!

Apple pies

There are two more weekends of the festival (Oct. 5 and 6 and Oct. 12 and 13 from 10AM). I believe you can also just go pick apples on Thursdays from 2PM to 6PM.

Butterfly Garden – Grevenmacher, Luxembourg

Tags

, , , ,

The Butterfly Garden or Jardin des Papillons is located in the eastern Luxembourg, on a city called Grevenmacher (25km east of Luxembourg City, right on the border with Germany).

We were actually in Remich for the weekend because of the Ironman 70.3 Luxembourg. So the next morning, we decided to drive along the shore of the Moselle river to see the beautiful vineyards between Remich and Grevenmacher.
Moselle river

Vineyards

And since my son is crazy about the book “The very hungry catterpillar” (and also the movie available on Netflix US) and I love butterflies, we decided to visit the butterfly garden.

The garden is located inside a large glass house with very controlled conditions (constant temperature of 27°C and high humidity) so that the butterflies can fly freely. Their site says they have 50 different species living there. The garden also has some other birds, insects and other small animals like a chameleon.
Here are some of the pictures I took during our visit:
Butterfly Garden Coccoons Butterfly Garden Butterfly Garden
Butterfly Garden

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to use my SLR camera to take the pictures. Because of the high humidity, the lens would get all fogged. Later at home, I researched and found out that I had to wait until the camera body got warmed up and adjusted to the new climate to stop fogging. So maybe next time!

One of the highlights for us was to see the caterpillars and some butterflies leaving their cocoons as we watched
.
Coccoons

The garden is open daily from 9:30 to 5:30 from April to October (however this year they opened in July only because of some renovations). The entrance fees is 7€ for adults and 4€ for kids. Check their website for the most up-to-date information: http://www.papillons.lu/en/booking/