Day Trip from Loano to Portofino

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Portofino: Portus Delphini/ Port of the dolphin (Wikipedia)

Portofino is a good one and half hours drive from Loano which is why we chose to stay in Loano. We spent the day walking around the tiny little fishing harbour, admiring the super yachts that were anchored close by. It’s a favoured weekend trip by people who own yachts due to its accessibility. The cobbled square is adorned with boutiques (not one price tag in sight) and restaurants, where the rich and famous have stopped by to visit in the past and continue to do so. Some of the restaurants have photos displayed of the actors, singers and royalty that have dined at their tables. The architecture is typical of the Italian Riviera with lots of colourful pastel buildings and small windy streets. Portofino lies south-east of Genoa and is a favoured spot for the rich and famous to anchor their yachts and dine at one of the many restaurants there.

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This is a well visited restaurant by rich and famous people who visit Portofino.

Parking is a little bit of an issue in Portofino but my husband managed to find a parking space in a multi storey parking lot. Be warned it was a very tight squeeze and expensive! We were pleased to have found a space so close to the hub of the little village. We walked through the square and made the ascend to Castello Brown. As a family we decided to walk to the very top of the path and enjoy the view from the top. There is a little cafe at the top for refreshments, if my memory serves me well. The path is easy to walk but was quite steep at times. Once we’d finished taking our photos and had enjoyed the view it was time to make the descend towards the square again.

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View from the top by the cafe.
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I love this beautiful landscape.
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The descent back to Portofino square.

My husband and I decided we’d like to visit the exhibition in Castello Brown. It was full of photographs, of famous people like Grace Kelly, John Wayne and Laurel and Hardy. There was a small entry fee of five euros per person but we considered it worth while. It is open for weddings, conventions and also holds art exhibitions. From the beautiful garden you have a fantastic view over the harbour which is ideal for taking stunning photographs of the harbour from above. Castello Brown is architecturally beautiful and the weddings they hold there must be breathtaking.

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Unfortunately dogs are not allowed in the castle and Lotta waited outside for half an hour with my two sons. After a quick visit  we walked back down to the square where we decided to enjoy an ice-cream each and a drink. We got a little bit of a shock when the bill came and paid as much as if we would have eaten out in the evening, just for a few ice-creams and drinks!

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The path near to the entrance of Castello Brown.
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Here you can see a stage they were building for a festival that was due to take place.
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One of the beautiful cobbled walk ways back down to the square.
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A view of Castello Brown from the square.
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Portofino harbour where we stopped for drinks and ice-creams.
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The walk back to the car park.

It’s advisable to wear sensible shoes when visiting Portofino because of the cobble stoned streets. I also don’t remember there being very many grassy spots for dogs to relieve themselves. We had a lovely relaxed visit albeit quite short. I can fully recommend it and would definitely return. Have you ever been to Portofino or the Italian Riviera? Did you take your dog with you? I’d love to hear your experiences and your impressions from this beautiful little fishing village.

Here is a link to another beautiful travel blog I found with so many destinations:

Love Travelling Blog

Here you’ll find a link to a German blog about travelling with a dog:

Nalas Crew

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Josie & Lotta 

Furbo Dog Camera: Do you have problems leaving your dog at home alone?

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If the answer is yes, then this could be an invaluable product for you! I was gifted this product in exchange for my honest opinion after thoroughly testing it out with Lotta. The Furbo is designed to keep owners and dogs connected even when they have to leave their dog alone for a short amount of time. My family and I have always had the problem of having to eat breakfast separately whilst staying in a hotel. As one of my blog readers you will know that we travel to England by car at least once a year. We normally stop in France on the way. This is when we have problems leaving Lotta in the hotel room, most hotels don’t allow dogs in the dining area. Lotta tends to get stressed when left alone in an unfamiliar place which can mean she resorts to destructive behaviour, so we would never leave her alone in a hotel room, normally. With the Furbo all of our problems would be solved, well at least one of them.

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So what’s in the box?

Inside the box is the Furbo Dog Camera with a natural bamboo wooden lid. It comes with a quick start guide, two meters of USB cable and a power adapter. I really love that it comes with an adapter which we can also use in England and don’t need a special adapter for.

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What functions does the Furbo have?

The Furbo is a high quality HD camera with a 160° wide angled lens. It has an infrared LED light for night vision, it also features a high quality built-in speaker. At the top of the Furbo is a removable wooden lid where you place the treats inside the machine. There is enough space for around one hundred (round app. 1cm in diameter) treats inside the machine. Dog owners stay connected to their dogs at home by talking to them and rewarding them with treats that can be launched from the Furbo. The camera has a warning function when the dog barks, this can be activated in the settings of the Furbo app. The dog owner receives a push up message on their smartphone should their dog start barking. The neighbours will be very grateful for this function!

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If you have any questions regarding the camera, you can click on the question mark in the top right hand corner of the screen.

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How does this work?

The Furbo works together with the Furbo app on your smartphone. This can be downloaded for free and is available for ios-, android devices and the Apple-Watch. It’s really easy to download and takes no time at all. Once downloaded, the app will advise you to update to the latest version.  The Furbo should ideally be placed on a hard, raised surface with a very good WiFi connection, where the dog can see it. Once the Furbo is plugged in and connected to the app, the yellow light will turn to blue, these colours have been used as they are recognisable to dogs.

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Under the Furbo are self adhesive stickers that can be stuck to hard surfaces, should you have a young dog who is likely to knock the camera over.

Images below are of an android smartphone screen:

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Adding the details of your dog to the profile, really adds a personal touch when you open the app.

Once connected to the smartphone, the user will see a live stream video of the room they have installed the camera. On the mobile screen, several functions are displayed which the user only has to touch with their finger to implement them. The middle one is a round treat shape which is swiped up with the finger to throw a treat out of the camera. Before the treat is released it gives out a high-pitched signal (this is customisable) to get the dog’s attention. On the right hand side of the screen, a microphone can be seen, if clicked the dog owner can talk to their dog to reassure it and reward their fur baby with a treat. There are also buttons to record a video or take a photo using the camera. To alter any of the settings, users can click on the three dots at the top right hand corner of the screen.

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How do I introduce this to my dog?

It’s recommended that your dog is introduced slowly to the Furbo, as not to frighten it. For young dogs who are not used to being left alone this will take some time to train and should be done at first over a short period of time. I have been training Lotta whilst sitting with her in the same room. I showed her where I put the treats and let her sniff the device. I then told her to sit and get ready for a treat while pointing at the camera. It’s important never to shoot a treat out of the device if the dog is standing too close to it! Then I moved out of the room out of sight from Lotta and spoke to her via the microphone on the app. She really wasn’t sure about this but nevertheless accepted the treat she was given and also obeyed the command I had given her before the treat was released. On Saturday night we went to see my eldest son play in his orchestra, during the interval I was able to connect to the Furbo and communicate to Lotta. I was amazed how quickly it connected and how well it functioned. In the settings of the app is a helpful training video to you get started.

Where can I purchase a Furbo?

The camera can be purchased on the Furbo website.

How can it be improved?

I love the over all sleek design of the Furbo and wouldn’t change anything in its appearance. I love all the functions and the app is very easy to use and install. The only thing I would like to see is maybe a travel version. Because Lotta travels in a dog box in the boot of the car, we are very limited for space. A smaller version of this would make it easier for us to transport. It’s a very well thought out design and definitely worth every penny.

The Furbo will make our lives much easier and we will be more relaxed whilst out of the house knowing that we are still connected to Lotta where ever we are. Leaving Lotta for a short while on her own should, from now on be no problem at all!

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Josie & Lotta

Kabang Review. The Mary Poppins’ bag for dog owners. What sets it aside from all the rest?

*Ad*

I have been slightly distracted with Instagram and have built up quite a community with other dog owners. Once I’d reached a certain amount of followers (I can’t remember how many!) I decided to launch a giveaway as a way of saying thank you to all those that follow our profile. This is how I came into contact with Any and her KABANG®. At first she offered to sponsor a micro-fibre cloth which you can attach to the KABANG® system to take with you on trips. It comes in handy for wiping hands or paws before you get back into the car or even drying your dog, as it is so soft and has great absorbancy. We had contact over the phone and through Instagram and we watched our followers grow. The giveaway was a great success and because a lot of small companies had agreed to collaborate with me, it meant I had several prizes to give away. At some point Any offered to gift me a KABANG® in agreement that I included it in a post on Instagram, a blog post and maybe even a video on YouTube. So here we are! Thank you Any!

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What’s the main function of the KABANG®?

I have been using the KABANG® for around three months now and it has been everywhere with us. It hangs in my hallway with the coats and when I take Lotta out, I don’t have to search for anything anymore, I just swing the KABANG® over my shoulder. What I really love about it, is that at the back of the bag is a separate compartment where there’s space for a full dog waste bag, which means it frees up your hands and you don’t have to walk along swinging a stinky bag until you find the next dog waste bin. In the summer I don’t have any pockets to put the items I need on a dog walk, so this is going to be great in summer. In the winter it means I don’t have to stuff my pockets full of treats and dog waste bags.

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Where does the name KABANG® come from?

The name comes from Korean which means a bag.

What do I have in the bag?

I usually have the pocket for my smart phone attached to the front belt part and the bag that hangs down at my side. The bag contains waste disposal dog bags and some treats. When Lotta is off the lead I store the lead in the front net compartment so that I have my hands free but there is so much room for so much more.

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What do you get when you buy a KABANG®?

The KABANG® is an adjustable belt system with an attachable bag which can also be used separately. The KABANG® Classic comes with a pocket which can be fitted to the belt and the bag. The KABANG® Complete comes with a special water bottle holder which is best fitted at the back of the belt and two pockets and the bag. The pockets are attached to the belt by slipping them through the belt then attaching the clasp to the metal hoops. This means they stay securely in place and don’t swing from side to side. Inside all the pockets and the main bag are metal hoops so that you can attach keys or dog whistles to them. The bag is also available separately for those of you just interested in a treat bag and also the pocket for the used dog waste bag.

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Are there any add ons?

As I mentioned earlier you can buy a micro-fibre cloth that can be attached with a bone shaped Munkee® carabiner to the KABANG®. This cloth is so soft and absorbent, I use it to wipe Lotta’s paws before she gets back into the car but it has other uses such as, drying off a wet dog or wiping hands clean of residue from the dog treats. Just recently the option to have the cloth personalised by embroidering the name of your dog on it has been added. You can also buy extra pockets to attach to the KABANG®.

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Is this made in China?

The answer to this is, no, it definitely isn’t! The materials are all sourced in Germany and everything is carefully sewn together by a local seamstress in Allgäu. The belt system is waterproof and very robust while also being very light weight.

Why do I need a KABANG®?

I had been looking for something similar to this system for a long time and the other bags just didn’t match my expectations. I was so glad to find the KABANG® and it makes going for walks so much more relaxed and I never forget anything. Safety has also been thought of and reflectors have been sewn into the belt, so that when visibility is poor, I can clearly be seen by other people but also car drivers. If you want to be well prepared for your dog walks without having to carry a rucksack and stuffing your pockets full of treats and toys, you really need a KABANG®!

Where can I buy a KABANG®?

There is a KABANG® for every budget making it affordable for everyone. You can purchase one on the website shop here: Kabang.dog

Until July there is a discount code ‘lottaskabang’ which saves you 10% using this link:

KABANG®

*Affiliate Link* It’s also available in different variations on Amazon here:

KABANG® Classic

KABANG® Komplett

KABANG® Bag

Some local pet stores are stocking them too,  ‘Hund Katze Maus Der Laden’ in Grafing near Munich: Rotterstrasse 12, 85567 Grafing. Tel. 08092 8684460

Can the KABANG® be improved?

Any has already made huge improvements and values genuine feed back of how she can improve the system. It used to be a velcro system that attached the pockets to the belt. It’s now a loop and clasp system which makes it very secure. The only velcro now is on the flap of the pockets so they can be closed. It would be helpful to have a separate compartment in the main bag to store a purse, so that I wouldn’t need a handbag when we are travelling. For me it’s also a little too long in the summer without a jacket, maybe there should be an option for smaller carabiners to attach the bag to the belt system? I love the colours red and black but maybe some other customers would like to see it come in different colours. To stay up to date with KABANG® follow them on Instagram @kabang.dog or visit their website, as mentioned above.

Conclusion

I have never found a bag quite like it and I have looked everywhere for one that suited my needs. The other bags I’ve found, haven’t had space for my smart phone and, as far as I know, there isn’t a bag with a separate compartment for a full dog waste disposable bag. It really is the Mary Poppins’ bag of all dog bags!

Eva from @undercover.labrador-ein Huskyblog, has also written a detailed blog post about the KABANG® in German:

Undercover.Labrador

 

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Josie & Lotta 

 

Weekly photo challenge: Out of this world

lotta&blossomI don’t know what it is about spring this year but the blossoms on the trees are ‘Out of this world’. Is it because it has been a long drawn out winter or is it just the sheer longing for some colour in the world? Either way, I am really enjoying the burst of vibrant colours at the moment and hope it lasts for a while. Which season do you have at the moment, some of our followers on Instagram are just going into Autumn and Winter?

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Weekly Photo Challenge:

Out of this world

 

 

 

Day Trip from Loano to Monaco

When we were planning our trip to Italy, I really wanted to visit some of the famous and beautiful, touristy towns of the Italian Riviera. We chose to stay in Loano because it was in between two of the towns/countries I wanted to visit. I had always wanted to visit Monaco with its extravagant style and all the millionaire yachts and Portofino was to be on the list too. I first heard of Portifino when Wayne Rooney married there and I fell in love with the photos I had seen. First I will take you on a fascinating journey to Monaco.

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The journey there was very easy, although the satellite navigation system didn’t seem to work too well near Monaco. Once we drove off the motorway the ascending road became narrower and very curvy. There are several viewing places to stop and take in the breathtaking scenery. Once we had driven up to the top of the road to Monaco, we passed border control, where several men in uniform stood by the side of the road. I was amazed at how small Monaco was, considering the amount of money it has. I had imagined it to be bigger. We parked in a multi storey car park and walked into the centre of Monaco. It was quite breathtaking, this small sovereign country set in a bay with cliffs as its backdrop. Unfortunately the weather took a turn for the worse and we decided to purchase a couple of umbrellas on the way to Monaco castle, to see the changing of the guards.

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Being so compact, Monaco is very easy to navigate and we had no problems finding the places we wanted to visit. My mother in law said the changing of the guard at The Prince’s Palace was a must see. To get to the palace we walked up a long, steep narrow pathway right to the top. It was such a fantastic view of Monaco, it was well worth the walk up to the top. Lotta loved the ascent with plenty of new smells and a few places to stop and relieve herself. She wasn’t however very pleased to see all the people also waiting to watch the changing of the guard. We waited patiently in the ‘Place de Palais’ with anticipation admiring the view of the yachts below and the stationary canons that once guarded the palace. At five minutes to twelve the action started. If you have seen the changing guard of Buckingham palace, this is of no comparison, but never the less a must see if you are visiting the country.

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Changing of the guards at the Prince’s palace Monaco.
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Look at those beautiful windows!
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Monaco castle from a different perspective.

The palace village is very quaint with its own narrow pedestrianized streets and touristy shops and cafes. The architecture is beautiful with vibrant colours, I particularly liked the mirrored windows of some of the palace buildings in the courtyard. Lotta seemed to enjoy the spectacular views from the top as well. From here we walked through the quaint little streets and made our way down to the main city. We walked through the harbour to see the spectacular yachts on show. I knew the yachts were big but some of them were so ridiculously huge, they had another smaller yacht inside them! I was in awe of what I saw but at the same time quite sickened to see such absurd riches when we have so much poverty and hunger in the world.

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Lotta enjoying the view of the harbour from the Prince’s Palace village.
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The descent to the harbour.
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Monte Carlo harbour as seen from the castle.
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Millionaire’s yachts.

Next on the agenda was the famous ‘Casino Monte Carlo’ that once featured in the 1995 James Bond movie ‘Golden Eye’ with Pierce Brosnan. We made our way through the harbour up to the Casino, walking through the tunnel where the formula 1 drivers have a chance to over take and up the steep windy hill to the casino. Walking the track you can fully appreciate the skill of the formula 1 drivers who have to navigate their way through a pretty treacherous track. Once there you are greeted with the most expensive and extravagant cars imaginable from Porsches to Mercedes to Lamborghinis, you can see them all parked in and around the casino. In the centre is a huge mirror centered in a park with a grassy area. Here you can find a hotel and restaurants and cafes but be sure to take enough money with you or your credit card!

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Casino Monte-Carlo.
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It was quite hot outside the casino!
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The gardens in front of the casino. No dogs allowed unfortunately!

We had a fantastic day out, luckily we chose a day where it was a little bit cooler otherwise I think it would have been too hot for Lotta. Dogs are very welcome in Monaco although some of the gardens, dogs are prohibited. Would I go back? At the time I said no but I may be tempted back again someday and visit the casino and some of the museums. If I won the lottery I would definitely visit with my yacht!

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Josie & Lotta

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Variations on a Theme

This week’s photo challenge is Variations on a theme.

We love going for walks with Lotta, one of our favourite walks is in our local forest. The forest trails go on for miles and the scenery is beautiful. I have a feeling Lotta loves these walks too!

 

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Featured is a dog bandana from ‘Bramble & Friends’, you can find them on Instagram. Lotta is wearing the Summit Parka jacket from Hurtta and the lead is a Hurtta’s casual rope lead.

Photo book review for: Saal Digital (English & German)

I was chosen to review Saal Digital’s photo book after applying online. We have made photo books before using a different company so we are used to the layouts and the programs most companies use. To create your photo book from Saal Digital, you first have to download their software which takes no time at all and is really easy. Once this is done there are several products you can choose from, posters, calendars, business cards etc., you just click on the product you would like. I received a voucher code of 25€ which covered the cost of creating this book. The book I chose is hard back, has glossy pages and size A5 (15,2 x 20.6 cm).

Ich wurde ausgewählt, das Fotobuch von Saal Digital zu testen. Wir haben Fotobücher auch von anderen Unternehmen verwendet, so dass wir die Layouts und die Programme gewöhnt sind. Um Ihr Fotobuch von Saal Digital zu erstellen, müssen Sie zunächst die Software herunterladen, die keine Zeit beansprucht und wirklich einfach ist. Sobald dies erledigt ist, gibt es mehrere Produkte, die Sie auswählen können, Plakate, Kalender, Visitenkarten usw., klicken Sie einfach auf das Produkt, das Sie möchten. Ich habe einen Gutscheincode von 25€ erhalten, der die Kosten für die Erstellung dieses Buches abdeckt. Das Buch, das ich wählte, hat ein Hardcover, glänzende Seiten und die Größe A5 (15,2 x 20,6 cm).

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Once you’ve clicked on the photo book of your choice, on the right hand side are different covers displayed, I chose the shiny cover which entails no extra costs. There’s also a choice of a padded cover which costs 5,00€ extra. There is also a choice of paper you’d like for the inside of the book. I chose shiny photo paper, if you choose matt paper you actually pay less for the book. My book has 26 pages but you can have more if you wish.

Sobald Sie auf das Fotobuch Ihrer Wahl geklickt haben, werden auf der rechten Seite verschiedene Cover angezeigt, ich habe das glänzende Cover gewählt, das keine zusätzlichen Kosten verursacht. Es gibt auch eine Cover-Wattierung, die 5,00 € extra kostet. Es gibt auch eine Auswahl an Papier für das Innere des Buches. Ich habe glänzendes Fotopapier gewählt, wenn Sie mattes Papier wählen, zahlen Sie weniger für das Buch. Mein Buch hat 26 Seiten, aber Sie können mehr haben, wenn Sie es wünschen.

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After all that has been chosen, we come to actually designing the book. I chose the “One-minute-photo” book option which was super quick and easy. To have more control over how the book is created you can opt for the Auto-layout.

Nach allem, was gewählt wurde, kommen wir tatsächlich zum Entwurf des Buches. Ich wählte die “One-Minute-Fotobuch-Option”, die super schnell und einfach war. Um mehr Kontrolle darüber zu haben, wie das Buch erstellt wird, können Sie sich für das Auto-Layout entscheiden.

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Following choosing your photos, and they have been uploaded to the program, the “One Minute photo book” option places the photos automatically on the pages. If you would like to place them differently you can choose a different layout on the right hand side as seen in the photo. There are also several themes to choose from ie. if you have wedding photos you choose a theme for a wedding etc.. I chose the “Simple” theme but with a background colour which looks like water-colour paper. To place the text where you would like it you have to turn off the automatic layout function.

Nachdem Sie Ihre Fotos ausgewählt und in das Programm hochgeladen haben, werden die Fotos durch die Option “OneMinute-Fotobuch” automatisch auf den Seiten platziert. Wenn Sie sie anders platzieren möchten, können Sie auf der rechten Seite ein anderes Layout wählen, wie auf dem Foto zu sehen ist. Es gibt auch mehrere Themen zur Auswahl, z.B. wenn Sie Hochzeitsfotos haben, wählen Sie ein Thema für eine Hochzeit usw. Ich wählte das “Simple” Thema, aber mit einer Hintergrundfarbe, die wie Aquarellpapier aussieht. Um den Text an die gewünschte Stelle zu platzieren, müssen Sie die automatische Layoutfunktion ausschalten.

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Finally, like all online purchases, you give in your personal details and how you would like to pay for it. I finished my book last Monday and received it on the Thursday. It took a little longer than expected because of the bank holidays we had in between. I can highly recommend this company as I’m really pleased with the super quality of the photo book and the simplicity of creating it, we will treasure it for years to come. Thank you Saal Digital!

Schließlich geben Sie, wie alle Online-Einkäufe, Ihre persönlichen Daten ein und wie Sie dafür bezahlen möchten. Ich bestellte mein Buch letzten Montag und erhielt es am Donnerstag. Es dauerte ein wenig länger als erwartet wegen der Feiertage, die wir dazwischen hatten. Ich kann diese Firma sehr empfehlen, da ich mit der super Qualität des Fotobuchs und der Einfachheit der Erstellung wirklich zufrieden bin, wir werden es für die kommenden Jahre schätzen. Danke, Saal Digital!

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La Dolce Vita

We had another road trip in the summer, down to Italy near the French border. My youngest son had continually mentioned that he’d quite like to go to Italy again for our summer holiday. During their younger years, we always had had an Italian holiday. We used to drive down towards Venice and stay in Bibione, Jessolo or around those areas. It was lovely whilst they were young and they would sit playing in the sun on the beach but after eight years, I grew tired of the same old, same old. That’s when we decided to give Croatia a try.

So this year when my husband asked where we should go on holiday, both my youngest son and I immediately suggested Italy. My husband wasn’t too keen at first until I came up with the idea of driving through Switzerland to the Italian Riviera. I had always wanted to go and see Monaco and Portofino. We were a little late booking our summer holiday as usual, so I was really pleased when I stumbled upon a hotel that also accepted dogs. The location was perfect, in between Monaco and Portofino enabling us to visit both places during our stay in Italy. There was one slight problem, they only accepted dogs up to 15kg, Lotta weighs 21kg. We were devastated, as we thought we’d found the perfect place to stay with our family. The hotel has three swimming pools, one of which is a heated indoor pool in the spa area. It had a fitness room for my eldest son and my husband (who’d have thought), a games room, table tennis and of course evening entertainment. Well, we weren’t going to let that put us off, so my husband sent an email of Lotta sitting on my lap when she first arrived at our house. This photo had worked before and it did the trick again, they made an exception. Funny that they should have a dalmatian as their mascot on their website!

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This was on the way home! She jumped into the front seat as if she was trying to make us laugh, it worked!

The day came when we were due to leave. I, unusually for me, was quite organised (or so I thought) and had managed to wash everything we wanted to take with us and had packed it the night before. Little did I know, until it was much too late, that I had in actual fact forgotten the towels!!! Who needs towels when on holiday swimming everyday!! Anyway, we were all full of anticipation and eager to get on the road. It was a very plain sailing drive down to Italy with one shock of the toll price of Switzerland’s motorways, you have to pay for a whole year, which is maybe ok if you own the car but not if your car is about to be changed for a new company car (then 40 Euros are a lot of money). The added advantage of this, is that there are very few cars on the roads and the scenery is just breathtaking. Lotta travels in the boot of the car in her travel box which she actually prefers to the back seat with the boys. If I remember correctly we only stopped twice on our eight-hour journey.

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Entrance to ‘Ai Pozzi Village’

So we arrived at our destination ‘Ai Pozzi Village’ in Loano. Our first impressions were very positive after driving through the Palm tree adorned entrance of the hotel. After parking the car we tumbled out and bounced up to reception and were greeted by an Italian who said he spoke a little German. We had to laugh at this because he spoke fluent German with very few, if any, mistakes. He rambled on about the services we could pay for and that parking wasn’t actually included as we’d booked through booking.com. This we found a little irritating as all you want to do on holiday, is get in your hotel room and as quickly as possible and jump in the pool. A very positive thing to note is that dogs are allowed in a designated area by the pool. One of our concerns was that we would have to take it in turns looking after Lotta in the hotel room, so it was great that she was allowed to sunbathe with us on the terraced area. We did however, have to take it in turns to eat, as dogs are forbidden in the restaurant. We booked just breakfast, which was a buffet that we all enjoyed in the morning. There was a huge variety of food, something for everyone.

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Lotta looking smug, sunbathing on the terrace.
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View from our hotel room at night, looking over the pool.

The hotel room was a snug fit with bunk beds and a double bed for the adults. For four adults there wasn’t enough wardrobe space and was lacking a chest of drawers (would possibly be ok for a family with smaller children). The balcony was huge but had a partitioning see through wall. On offer was a mini-bar which proved useful on occasions and meant I could store Lotta’s food safely. The room was air-conditioned as you would expect from Italian hotels. The bathroom was a really good size and had a walk in shower with a rain drop fitted shower head and a flexible shower head. We had a hotel room on the fifth floor which meant using the lift to get to our hotel room. Lotta quickly got over her fear of lifts, thank goodness!

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The hotel room.
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Lotta found the beds very comfortable.

The hotel is only a fifteen minute walk away from the town centre and the train station. To get to the town centre you have to cross the railway line which sometimes meant we had to wait at the crossing until the train had passed. The hotel also has its own private beach which has the added cost of paying for the sun loungers. Dogs are unfortunately not allowed on this beach which I think is a little crazy as the hotel is advertised as being dog friendly (we were aware of this, as it clearly states on their website). There are however assigned dog beaches and the cheapest one we found was in the town itself at the cost of eleven Euros for four people plus dog. Again this was ok for smaller dogs but was a little on small size for bigger dogs. There are so called free beaches which are as the name would suggest without charge but as you may have guessed dogs are not prohibited on these beaches. I will do a separate blog post on the dog beaches in the area and describe in detail the prices and what there is to offer.

Eating out is always a pleasant experience with Lotta who has become really good at lying under the table until we have finished. In one of the restaurants the waitress came out with some tasty ham for the dogs. I think this was Lotta’s favourite one. The town offers a wide range of restaurants from pizzerias to more sophisticated sea food restaurants. We found the best value for money restaurants near the square in the town centre. After a while we couldn’t see anymore pizza and pasta and decided to try out a Tex-Mex restaurant. In past experiences this hasn’t been the best choice of restaurants in Italy. I had seen a sign for ‘The Ranch’ advertising Tex-Mex food and we decided to try it out. We were not disappointed with the menu full of Tex-Mex and steaks, a little on the more pricey side but a refreshing change from your average Italien touristy cuisine. It’s well worth visiting if you’re in the area. It’s situated jut outside Loano (in Pietra Ligure).

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Loano town centre at night.

I loved the old fashioned architecture and the shutters on the windows, it has a very romantic flair to the area. Loano town itself is full of little back passages and tiny alley ways. At night it is lit up with fancy lights, they look like Christmas lights although they probably are an all year round feature. The promenade is lovely to walk down with a one-way restricted street and adorned with private beaches and restaurants a plenty. Dogs are very welcome here and there are many of them. We had a lovely ten days here and the time just flew past. We had two big day trips one to Monaco and one to Portofino which I will also include in a following blog.

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The narrow streets and alley ways of Loano.

The journey home was horrendous with a five hour traffic jam on one of the ring roads to get onto the motorway. We found out later that a lorry had lost its load of fluid soap and it had taken them all day to clear it up. We were very late in booking this holiday, so were lucky to get anything at all. If we had booked earlier we would have booked one of the apartments they have on the complex which would have been more comfortable for our family with two teenage boys. Would we go back to this hotel? Probably not. For our family and the size of dog it wasn’t ideal but families with smaller dogs I can definitely recommend it. The only thing it is missing is an exercise area for the dogs!

Guess where we are headed next year for our summer holidays?

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Waiting

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The above photo was taken yesterday evening. We are waiting for the new bypass to open on Wednesday. This should mean less traffic in the next town but unfortunately it also means one less place to let the dogs off the lead. This area used to be a popular area for dog walkers as you could let your dog off the lead and not have to worry about the traffic too much. I don’t see any signs of a fence, so it would be too dangerous to have dogs wandering free next to a busy road. This road is badly needed as the local town suffers with lots of traffic and lorries which are just too ridiculously enormous to be passing through such a little town. It is however, such a shame that, yet again we have lost a place to walk our dogs off the lead.

 

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This photo was taken at the same time as the photo above and she’s waiting for me to take the photo. Even though this photo makes Lotta’s eyes look smaller than they are, I still like the colours and composition of this one.

Hey, guess what? You might have already guessed but we finally decided on a camera. We bought a Canon EOS 80D just before our summer trip and I love it already. I still have lots to learn but it’s really fun to use.

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge:

 Waiting

 

How not to go camping with pooch and Co.

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Chiemsee at sunset with Lotta.

If you follow my blog you will have seen from a recent weekly photo challenge that I had a very spontaneous camping trip with Lotta and my boys. I wanted to get my kids away from their addictive screens and experience camping first hand. When I mentioned it to them I was expecting a huge stand off but they took it in their stride and were actually quite willing to come along for the ride.

On the Thursday before, we went to see the musical ‘Cats’ which was playing in Munich at the ‘Deutsches Theatre’, it was fantastic! We sat up in the ‘gods’ and had lots of space and a wonderful view of the stage, it was also in English much to our surprise. By Friday I thought maybe I should buy a new tent as the one we had was a very simple dome tent with room for three. It would have been very cosy with two very tall boys and a dog but not impossible. I thought it would be wise to make the camping trip as comfortable as possible. We bought the tent online and it was due to arrive on Monday, my husband paid a little extra to ensure it would arrive in the morning. Plan B would have been to buy a tent from a local shop, not as nice, but as I said that was plan B. So tent bought I went online to reserve a space for our tent on a campsite.

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Home for a few nights ⛺ @Vaudetent

The campsite I had in mind is a very small family run site which allows dogs and advertises as having a dog beach not too far away. Once the online form had been filled in I decided to enquire about another campsite just in case the other one didn’t have enough space for us. I received an email very late Saturday night asking for my credit card details because I had to pay a deposit due to such short notice. The other campsite also allows dogs and is in an area of Chiemsee I know well. The lake is enormous and has several areas where you can stay. The other site is in the Prien part of Chiemsee and has lots of activities for families to do, cycling, swimming, climbing and you can also take a boat trip to Herren Chiemsee to see one of King Ludwig’s palaces, inspired by the Versailles Palace.

Herren Chiemsee Link.

So Monday arrived, at 10am the tent came and by 12 midday we were packed and ready to go. Lotta is used to us travelling now and seems to take it in her stride when the car is being packed. We headed towards Wasserburg and then on to Chiemsee to the small family run campsite. It took us just under an hour to get there. We arrived at the reception and I explained who I was and that I’d booked a few nights camping with them. I was met with a look of confusion which made me feel slightly uneasy. She looked at the list of names and said that she was very sorry but they don’t make reservations for tents, you just turn up and they decide on the day if they have space for you. My heart started pounding and I could feel the panic starting to wash over me. My boys were not amused with a look of disbelief on their faces, I scrambled to find my mobile to have a look at the confirmation I had received per email and realised my mistake, the second choice campsite had been quicker to take the booking.

Panorama Camping Harras

So off we drove again with a confused dog and two disgruntled teenagers. After 20min. we finally arrived at our camping site and this time everything went smoothly, well sort of. Seeing as I’d never actually pitched the new tent before, it took a while to understand how everything worked. After working out how to erect the tent I realised I had forgotten a very important tool………..the hammer! The nice thing I find about camping is the social aspect of it. There’s always someone who is willing to help. I heard someone hammering in his tent pegs and followed the noise. It lead me to a young man and his son who had just finished pitching his tent. After asking very nicely if he wouldn’t mind lending me his hammer he dutifully agreed, thank goodness! My other neighbour gave me his spare tent pegs as the tent came with only just enough but not enough for the storm guy ropes.

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The surf school next to the campsite.

Once we’d pitched our tent we decided to go out to eat. The kids wanted Italian so we drove into town. I know we were more glamping than camping. My eldest son found an Italian using his mobile phone and navigated us to the restaurant. They fortunately allow dogs so it was perfect. Lotta is really well behaved when we go out to eat. She just makes herself comfortable under the table or somewhere near my chair.

I remember when we first took her out with us we tried taking a bed for her or something to chew and so it went on, until one day I decided enough was enough and she should just sit quietly somewhere near to us, preferably under the table. Lotta has calmed down a lot over the three years we’ve had her and trusts me enough now to go with the flow.

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Once we’d eaten we headed back to our tent for the night. I had seen a nice spot not too far away to take a sunset photo of Lotta and I. My eldest son agreed to come with me and take the photo. Off we set to a little jetty around the corner. It’s a place where the boats are moored with a little stoney beach where the dogs can bathe. It’s not nice enough to sit all day and sunbathe but it’s good enough for a quick dip to cool down the dogs during a walk. It was also very tranquil sitting on the wooden jetty looking through the moored boats at the mountains. This is where the featured photo was taken.

We walked back to the tent to where my youngest son was waiting for us. Lotta obviously thought this was a day trip as she insisted on going to the car which was parked in front of our tent. Once she had realised we were staying for the night she settled on a padded beach mat in the middle of the tent. She was so settled in fact that I didn’t need to have her on the lead. The only times she became unsettled was when I left the tent.

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Lotta settled but alert inside the tent.

The tent has two separate sleeping compartments where two people (four in total) can sleep. So I suggested that my eldest son slept with Lotta and my youngest and I would sleep in the other one. That way everyone would have ample space. For Lotta I took the padded beach mat we use in Croatia and an old sleeping bag. The beach mat has waterproof material on the underside so was perfect for this trip. She slept well and was kept warm by the sleeping bag. The tent is well ventilated so the air inside doesn’t become too stuffy.

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Lotta chilled out at the Chiemsee Beach.

The next day came, we had breakfast in the tent after my youngest bought bread rolls from the kiosk (I took Nutella with me) and set off to the ‘Chiemsee beach’ which is where you can sunbathe on a grassy area in front of the lake. Here you can hire out stand up paddles and kayaks at Kayak and SUP hire  . I thought it would be fun for the boys to do but by the time they had decided to have a try, there was nothing left to hire out. Both boys then spent an hour or so swimming and playing in the lake. They were braver than me, I got in up to my knees and that’s as far as I got, the water was ice cold! Next to the hire place is a little café and bar where the boys bought themselves something to eat. After having a relaxing time swimming and sunbathing it was time to go home. The sky had started to look rather ominous.

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I should have realised from the on coming mass of traffic (exiting the touristy area) when we arrived back in Prien, what would be in store for us that night. Luckily I had pitched the storm guy ropes and had hammered in the tent pegs well. We were also fortunate enough to have gone to bed early that evening because at 9pm the most tremendous thunder storm started and didn’t stop until 6am. I don’t think Lotta slept a wink all night, neither did I. The next morning weary eyed and a little wet we decided to leave a day earlier than we had planned. Everyone was exhausted and I needed to get the tent dry and clean. The tent had remained stable during the storm and the only reason we got a little wet was because our camping neighbour’s awning roof was so close to our tent, that when the owner knocked the water off his awning roof it all landed on our tent.

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The morning after.

The next trip will be better planned but I think being spontaneous sometimes keeps life a little more exciting, don’t you?

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Lotta snoozing in the car on the way home 💤