Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Busy Day Today

Lots to do today, wondering if I will get it all done.  Packing, Working, Nails (oh to get my nails done when I am not thinking of 1000s of things to do).  Where to start?  Maybe shut down my blog and turn off my email.  That's never happening lol.  But I will cut down my facebook visits to one every couple of hours.  lol

Time to take Stanley's advice, maybe ponder everything over a nice cuppa coffee..... 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Magical Muskoka in the Fall

Every year as October approaches, I am totally amazed at how our world is transformed as the trees start changing.  First go the pines, our property was totally orange from all the pine needles that had dropped, and then the trees start, the reds and yellows on the Maples, yellow birches and not so bright but still colourful oaks.

Saturday had a bright sun which added a beautiful blue to the sky to contrast with all these wonderful colours.  This is at the Lake Joseph Golf Course.  It was very hard to focus on the golf with all the beautiful colours.  Luckily I didn't lose any balls amongst the leaves.

Even Ollie enjoyed the leaves, the cats were chasing them around as they were falling from the trees.

It really is a wonderful time of year and perfect walking weather.  Now that the cottage is closed, I'll have to rediscover the beauty of Aurora.

Enjoy this beautiful fall in Ontario.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Surreal, Beautiful Country, can't wait to go back

Believe it or not we did find a few more touristy things to do on our last day in Rome.  

Circus Maximus, the main chariot racing arena and also where Christians were crucified.  Basically just a BIG bowl in the ground.  We then walked from here up the river past St. Peter's basilica to Castle Sant Angelo.  It was rebuilt by Hadrian around 10 ad, supposedly as his tomb.  it was then turned into papal apartments and a fortress.  It costs about 10 euro each, but well worth the cost, it has been turned into a museum with artifacts from Pompeii, some urns dated back to 500 bc.  There was a fair bit of filming of Angels and Demons here and wonderful views of the city. 

A Sunday in Rome brings out the brides, in some areas there were 2 or 3 of them getting pictures done.  Magical settings with the ruins in the background.

Piazza Navona was another area used for the filming of angels and demons, there is a large fountain here by Bernini used for the film.  Enjoyed a lovely couple of hours here having lunch and a little wine.  Lots of entertainment and artists selling their wares.

Another full day of walking.  For dinner we headed back to the pantheon, for us it was the most magical spot, it is a small piazza with the Pantheon towering over you.  As we finished our dinner a huge thunderstorm with lots of lightning and great rumbles hit the square.  Luckily the restaurant we were at had great umbrellas, didn't get a drop of rain on us.  

Just some general tips and things
  • The public toilets have no seats, 
  • The Sorrento peninsula and the Amalfi coast don't really seem to have beaches per se, it is basically a cliff, so wherever it does go down to the water it is a harbour and rocky, but oh sooooo beautiful.
  • Pizzas in Sorrento area are a little doughier, the Rome ones were more flatbread, very flat.  I preferred the Sorrento.
  • Always have a camera or iphone with you, even at night, the squares are lit up beautifully.
  • Meals are large, a lot of times Jim and I shared a caprese salad, individual pastas and shared a meat, veal our favourite.
  • In Sorrento, Jim ordered a steak, his choices were medium or well done, he asked for it medium rare, the waiter said "you mean red". It was pretty much raw.
  • Lots of gypsies, most looking for money, but they weren't rude.  At the Naples train station were 3 little girls, aged for 4 to 7, they chased people down, skipping, laughing and pulling at their skirts begging for money, they were adorable.  When they were given some, back to momma they skipped, it was a game to them.  Lol
  • They don't really use a lot of garlic.
  • Their veges are seasonal.  For a big city I was surprised, fig season was finished, asparagus season was coming to an end, but oh my fresh mushrooms were just coming into season.  Even olives were rare.  
  • There was only 1 restaurant where I feel we got taken advantage of, it was in Piazza Populo and probably the most expensive restaurant we were in, not only did they charge 4 euros extra for fresh mushrooms even though the menu didn't mention that.  They also put a large tip on the bill.
  • Always check or ask if the tip is included.  A little extra is always appreciated.
  • Keep change and 5 euros around, a lot of times they will say "no change".
  • Bus driver driving around one of the busy squares, smoking a cigarette out one window, while talking on the phone, no Bluetooth for him.
  • Cab driver with the soccer game on the tv in his cab, the GPS going, and he was also answering the phone.
  • Lots of smoking, still a smoking lounge at the airport.
  • The Chiantis are marvellous and very reasonable.  
  • Out of the ten meals, we only had one inside, and that is because it was so busy.
  • A Chinese couple at our hotel asked the concierge to make a dinner reservation for them, he asked when, they said 6, he said you mean lunch.  No they meant dinner.  We never got to a restaurant before 830, and locals were still coming in at 1030.
  • There are a number of different neighborhoods in Rome, all very different.  If you can, try and visit all of them.

What a wonderful place, I never felt unsafe, even wandering around at 1230 at night with my hubby filled up with limoncello.  Our hopefully 1st, great adventure

Arrividerchi Roma, we'll be back.