Category Archives: Travel

France: Wish List and Friend’s Suggestions

Standard

My mother’s neighbor suggests these places:

1. Branly Museum (Musee du quai Branly) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musée_du_quai_Branly http://www.quaibranly.fr/en, She said lunch in the gardens of this museum is a must, I’m intrigued.

2.  Le Train Bleu for dinner, http://www.le-train-bleu.com/uk/

3. Another fun place to eat,  Au Pied de Cochon,   http://www.pieddecochon.com/

4. Shopping near The Opera House, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palais_Garnier

My Wish List:

1. Dordogne River canoe or barge ride (or bicycle ride). http://www.northofthedordogne.com/

2. Wine Tasting in Bordeaux, along with bike ride or bed & breakfast stay.

3. Normandy (possibly), http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g187179-Normandy-Vacations.html

4. Mont Saint Michel, http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g196646-Mont_St_Michel_Basse_Normandie_Normandy-Vacations.html

5. Giverny (Monet’s Garden….tour, paint and possibly spend the night)

6. Versailles  http://www.lonelyplanet.com/france/versailles

7. Louvre Museum

8. Notre Dame

9. Sit at a sidewalk cafe with coffee and croissant.

10. Walk along or cruise along the Seine

11. See the Eiffel Tower (maybe dinner with a view of the lights).

12. Musee de l’Orangerie

#1 Memory – The Sixth Sense

Standard

Memory – The Sixth Sense
June 7, 2008
(Prompt – magazine photo of man & woman walking through a European town)

Traveling to Europe is an experience with sensory overload. Each step on the cobblestone streets sends vibrations through my body. The sound of my shoes on the uneven foundation keeps my focus on each step instead of the visual surroundings. My eyes race from architectural feature to natural environment.
What would it be like to live here? Not just visit, to really become a part of this community. Would the novelty of everything being foreign wear off quickly? How long before I stopped noticing the old brass rings for tying horses by the door? Would people here invite me into their world or put up with me until I moved away?
The best part is walking everywhere. One week in Florence and I physically feel better. There is strength in my body that I didn’t know was possible. Rushing to catch the train forces me to breathe deeper. Maybe that is why I feel more alive.
There is nothing like newness or should I say out-of-the-ordinary-ness to enliven the senses. They say scent is the most powerful sense for triggering memories. Strangely I remember the negative smell of some unknown German food more than I do the wonderfully positive aroma of the Italian food.
That is like me though. The negative (feeling sick) seems to be stronger than the positive. Or is it that the more unfamiliar has more impact?

Palm Desert – April 2009

Standard

It is windy and cooler than I thought it would be this time of year. The view of the pool and then the golf course (with water feature) is just beyond. Roadrunners jog by from time to time and a few geese that haven’t migrated yet linger nearby. I’m enjoying hearing the stories from 84 years of living from the Grandma. I’m surprised by how quickly we feel connected – I think we really could be room-mates. Watching her deal with the loss of her eyesight has helped me to appreciate some of the simple things I enjoy. 

We had left-over Easter Lamb tossed into a salad with the other things we had on hand the first night. We went to the grocery store yesterday and picked up some fresh ingredients. Grandma had never had (or even heard of) Tilapia but she was willing to try it. So I baked two yams in the microwave and sauted onions, yellow and green squash in a skillet. After I took the vegetables out I added a little more light olive oil and cooked the fish until it was browned and flaked easily (it cooked quickly since the filets were small). It always feels so good to eat healthy food – fish and vegetables, a little olive oil and salt and pepper – simple goodness.

Tonight we plan to have Turkey Meatloaf – we had a conversation about comfort food that prompted the decision. I’m hoping to make a Lemon Meringue Pie tomorrow (or tonight) but I need to go buy a rolling pin first.

The house is beautiful, comfortable and welcoming. Well, it’s time to look through some recipes, almost time to cook.

Nor Cal to San Diego Trip, 2-09 #1

Standard

If you like rock and roll and modern decor you will love the Hard Rock Hotel www.hardrockhotelsd.com/. My husband stayed here for business once (I know what your thinking, ‘what kind of business is he in?’ but the truth is, it was for a convention across the street.) I’m starting to digress…When he was at the Hard Rock Hotel he called to tell me all the little things that make it special (see details he loves below) and how he hoped to bring me back some day.

So here we are, months later, at the Hard Rock Hotel and it is a great way to enjoy downtown San Diego. It helps that our adult daughter lives here so that we can get some insider tips on where to eat. It also helps that regardless of where we eat we enjoy being with her and her boyfriend.

But let me back up a little.

One random tip: if you are traveling and need a place to spend the night (I mean literally just pull off the road and sleep) then use www.Hotwire.com. We knew we were going to be driving down to Southern California and we wanted to get the most of our reservation at the Hard Rock Hotel (more on how we got that later) so we wanted to check in as early as possible but we couldn’t leave Nor Cal in time to make that happen. So we left Sunday afternoon and planned to stay at a cheap place in Orange County so that we could get to the hotel in time to at least park and walk around the Gas Lamp District.

 Lenny went to hotwire.com and picked the Irvine Spectrum area and the star rating (three stars) and paid (he is a bit of a gamlber so he got excited to see what kind of hotel he would end up with). After paying he found out it was Holiday Inn. The price was $58. He then went to www.expedia.com  just to see what that same room would have cost throught that source, it was $114!! He was very excited to have saved so much.

We arrived at the Holiday Inn  around 9:30 PM; they were friendly, helpful, gladly gave us Holiday Inn Priority Club points for our stay, along with two bottles of water and 15 % off card for the restaurant. The room was clean, smoke free and quiet (that is all I require when we just need a place to sleep).

Breakfast the next morning was fine (I was a little disappointed with my buttermilk pancakes but Lenny’s Godfather Omelett was great). The staff everywhere we went was great though. Someone from the kitchen passed by with a cart loaded with jello, juice, fruit and cookies. He offered us some; Lenny took a snickerdoodle and I took a couple of strawberries (one was dipped in chocolate). When he came back through later we asked what the cart was for and why we got some. He said it was for the staff and he just offered us some. Nice touch.

So back to the Hard Rock Hotel. We arrived early (1:00ish instead of 4 pm check in time), it was pouring rain (one down side to this hotel is there is no Portico to drive under for protection while unloading), on the upside though the bellman opened my door and directed me to go on inside, he then unloaded the car and whisked it away for vale parking. This service does cost $30 a day but there are in and out priviledges and each time we asked for the car there was a new chilled bottle of water in the car with a note also pointing out that the windshield had been cleaned. Yes tipping is expected but the ‘free’ bottle of water helps reduce the  pain of that.

Lenny booked this reservation through www.expedia.com, the off season, mid week rate that included a $50 Spa credit was $169 (around $300 directly with the hotel), the upgrade to a suite was $20 more through expedia but closer to $350 directly with hotel.

When we checked in (early) not only did they not make us wait they didn’t even mention that we were early. As we finished up the check-in process the woman asked what type of music we want in our room (Lenny chose alternative) and as the bellman opened the door to our room that music was already playing on the two flat screen TV’s in the room.

The decor is very modern with an interesting use of clouded glass, back and up lighting, glass shelves, chrome, mirrors, leather (or faux leather), music themed art, etc. Did I also mention the $15  charge that covers the wifi in the room, pool and the workout room. We don’t always use the workout room (we always have good intentions) but we do always use the wifi.

We settled into our room and pulled out our laptops (time to catch up on email, facebook and research the location of the place we are meeting our daughter for dinner – mmmm, the menu looks great,  I want to try breakfast and afternoon tea too). Lenny fell asleep on the couch to the sound of  ‘Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations’  on the Travel Channel. The daughter picked a small a cute  french bistro type place a few blocks from our hotel. I was excited about finally getting to try Cafe Chloe www.cafechloe.com/. For more on that read the next blog Nor Cal to San Diego Trip, 2-09 #2.

27th Anniversary

Standard

It’s 7:25 PM and I need to get out of my hotel robe and into my dress. Dinner reservation is at 8 but a very short ride in the hotel car will get us to Navio on time. Lenny is still on the patio finishing his cigar by the fire pit (strumming his guitar), I’m on the couch by the fire place. Each of us sipping our glass of Merlot we found at the impromtu wine tasting. The Italian deli was next door to the gas station where we filled up the car.