Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Treviri (Trier)

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

Lunedì scorso siamo partiti da San Giorgio e mercoledì siamo arrivati a Londra. Abbiamo deciso di fare due tappe – Colmar in Francia e Treviri in Germania. Speravamo di arrivare a Colmar alle due ma c’è stato, a causa dei lavori stradali, un ritardo al San Gottardo e anche in Francia e perciò siamo arrivati dopo le cinque. Non c’era la possibilità di esplorare la città ma solo fare la doccia, bere un aperitivo e mangiare. Da Colmar a Treviri ci vogliono solo quattro ore e il prossimo giorno siamo arrivati a Treviri a mezzogiorno. Abbiamo pranzato vicino al Duomo e dopo abbiamo visitato il Duomo, la Chiesa di Nostra Signora, la basilica palatina ecc. La città è molto bella e molto interessante. Prima di cenare volevamo un aperitivo e abbiamo trovato un bar, La Rochelle. Ci siamo seduti fuori e abbiamo guardato il menu. C’era un offerta speciale di prosecco con fragole. Comunque dopo sei settimane in Italia abbiamo deciso di bere un vino locale e abbiamo ordinato un Riesling. Il vino era gustoso, molto rinfrescante. Un vantaggio del Riesling è che la gradazione è solo 7 percento e perciò si può bere un secondo bicchiere. In Italia una cosa che mi piace è che gli spuntini sono serviti con il vino. Di solito non succede in Francia o Germania. Comunque in questo bar la cameriera ha portato una scodella di patatine con il Riesling. Era bello bere il vino e guardare il mondo che passava.
Riesling wine in Trier
Last Monday we left San Giorgio and Wednesday we arrived in London. We decided to make two stops – Colmar in France and Trier in Germany. We were hoping to get to Colmar at the two but there was, because of the road works, a delay at the Gotthard Tunnel and also in France and so we arrived after five. There was no opportunity to explore the city but just take a shower, have a drink and eat. From Colmar in Trier it takes only four hours and the next day we arrived in Trier at noon. We had lunch near the Duomo and afterwards we visited the Cathedral, the Church of Our Lady, the Palatine basilica etc. The city is very beautiful and very interesting. Before dinner we wanted a aperativo and found a bar, La Rochelle. We sat outside and we looked at the menu. There was a special offer of champagne with strawberries. However, after six weeks in Italy we decided to drink local wine and we ordered a Riesling. The wine was tasty, very refreshing. One advantage of riesling is that the alcohol content is only 7 percent, and therefore you can drink a second glass. In Italy one thing I like is that snacks are served with wine. Usually it does not happen in France or Germany. However, in this bar the waitress brought a bowl of chips with Riesling. It was nice to drink wine and watch the world go by.

Getting away from San Giorgio 2: Montefortino

Sunday, July 1st, 2012
antico mulino Montefortino Montefortino

Moving into summer every Italian village feels it has to put on “events”. Being old and grumpy it seems to us that “events” tend to be over amplified rock or pop music. San Giorgio is no exception and so two Saturdays ago in the middle of a heat wave permission had been given for the Osteria Casa Mina to have an evening of Brazilian music while the sports field were having the “best of rock bands” competition. As our house is half way between the two we decided to go away for the night. Our friend Alba suggested an Agriturismo in the Sibillini mountains in the south of the Marche. It was called Antico Mulino and was near the  small town of Montefortino.

On Friday evening we booked a room and Saturday afternoon we set off. We had been warned that the entrance to the agriturismo is a bit off putting as you pass by a bottling factory but once inside it is a very lovely place with beautiful landscape, in the surrounding area. There is the central tower with some other small out buildings providing extra accommodation around it. The place has been beautifully restored and comes complete with a covered swimming pool. Our room was in one of the outbuildings and was clean and simply furnished but with the extra bonus that our windows overlooked a lovely mountain stream.

The price was 100 euros for the night. This included dinner (four courses with wine, water and coffee), breakfast and an evening without loud music. Well worth the trip.

Getting away from San Giorgio 1: Berlin

Saturday, June 30th, 2012
pergamon museum pergamon museum
pergamon museum carlottenburg palace

Before coming to Italy we had planned to travel around Italy a lot. However, San Giorgio is so alluring that it hasn’t happened. Now in 2012 we are starting to travel within and without Italy. So at the end of May we went with Pam and Michael from Tavernelle to Berlin.

Hotel: great. We stayed in the Hampton by Hilton hotel. It is located in Charlottenburg which is the shopping area of Berlin. The hotel was very comfortable, good size rooms, very good staff and excellent breakfast inclued in the price of about 100 euros for a double room. The rooms has airconditioning which was great as:

Weather: was very hot. 30 degrees and sunny. Promised rain and cooler weather didn’t materialise and we realised that we had brought the wrong clothes. This meant we had to stop for cool drinks which was easy as the Berlin is full of nice bars and cafes and all reasonably

Priced. We were surprised how cheap it was compared to Italy. A prosecco in the hotel bar was 2.50euros a glass. This is the same price as our beach bar at Torette.  Eating out was good value and meals were “substantial”. Eating out also gave me an opportunity to practice my

German: I had practiced my responses to normal questions such as: “are you ready to order”, “would you like red wine or white wine”. My hopes of impressing Pam, Michael and Bill were dashed when the first question asked by the waitress was ” do you want me to light the candles”. That phrase wasn’t in my text book and so the waitress seeing my distressed look switched to perfect English. Of course my confidence in my spoken German has already been dented when the taxi driver from the airport to the hotel hadn’t understood the address even when I repeated it 3 times. Fortunately to enjoy Berlin German isn’t really necessary as some

Museums etc: leave one speechless. The highlight for me was the Pergamon museum complete with reconstructed Greek, Roman and Bablyonian buildings. We also got to see the Charlottenburg palace which was worth visiting for the pleasant gardens. Unfortunately the “must see” part of the palace was closed on the day we visited.

New York

Sunday, October 30th, 2011
new york laundry new york diner
new york record store woodbury common
carlyle hotel drinks carlyle bar walls  

After Las Vegas we flew across to New York for the last part of the holiday. We were there for 5 days and in that time we met up with friends Peter and George who live in Malverne, Long Island and Mike, Monique, Luke and Dante the dog who live in Brooklyn.

When we arrived in New York the most important thing was to get some washing done and near the hotel we found a Laundry which for $8.50 did 5lbs of washing, drying and folding. We became regular visitors. Just across the road was the Morning Star Diner and that became our favourite place for breakfast. Once we had our washing and our breakfast in place we, apart from a view visits it museums, did a lot of shopping. Bill found a classical record where he browsed the records happily and I watched the rather strange people, Bill excluded, browsed through the shelves. It was clear that all the clients were regulars. We also went shopping with Peter and George who took us to Westbury Common, a very large outlet mall. This is the first of two malls they took us to and we managed to buy some new winter clothes.

We ate out with Peter and  George in an Italian and then a French restaurant. With Mike and Monique we ate at their home and also in a Japanese restaurant. Then with Monique we went to see the Frick Museum followed by a visit to her favourite place for cocktails – the Carlyle Hotel’s Bemelman bar. The walls of the bar are covered with drawings from the Madeleine stories written by Ludwig Bemelman. It is a very cosy bar and serves lovely cocktails. I went for a Mule, Bill went for a Manhattan and Monique went for a gin Martini. After one drink everyone was feeling very relaxed!
carlyle hotel bill and monique

Roller coaster in Las Vegas

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

las vegas big dipper

After helicopter rides in Hawaii and the Grand Canyon we decided to be very brave and try the roller coaster ride which runs on the outside of the casino called “New York, New York”. We were already on the ride and slowly setting off when Bill told me it “looped the loop”. The seats were uncomfortable and formed in a way to provide minimum support to neck and head and they rocked from side to side and back and forward in time to the swerve and curve of big dipper. A very rattling, scarey experience which costs $15 dollars for the first go and only $7 dollars for a second go. We passed on the offer. We also passed on the photographs which were taken at 3 different points on the ride – they didn’t make me look my best.

We heard later that a few years earlier a safety inspection on the ride had shown that 7 or 8 of the bolts holding the ride to the outside of the building were almost sheared off and that the whole thing could fall sideways at any time. From my experience on the ride I can only assume they are near to shearing again.

Shows in Vegas-2

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011


The second show we went to see was “Divas”, a drag show in which the host of the show comes out as Joan Rivers and the other cast members come out as various pop stars such as Madonnaa, Tina Turner etc. Normally I am not a big fan of drag shows but have to admit this was very professional and very enjoyable. The Joan Rivers character was very funny if incredibly blue while the divas were supported by an excellent dance group plus great staging which meant the whole show went with a swing. The show has been running for 25 years so perhaps it is doing something right.

Shows in Vegas -1

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011
jubilee show jubilee

Dima very kindly got us tickets for a couple of Vegas shows. The first one was Jubilee which is similar to the Moulin Rouge in Paris – i.e. lots of dancing girls and boys. Apart from the routine dancing the show also had some very good acrobats, and a couple of extended scenarios which had great scene changes. The first scenario was the stoy of Samson and Delilah in which we went from lavish court live in the land of the Philistines where they meet, through to Samson being captured and his hair cut off and ending with Samson pushing apart the pillars holding up the Temple of Dagon and the whole temple collapsing before our eyes. The second scenario was the Titanic where we went from Southampton Docks as the ship prepares to leave dock, to the first class lunch where everyone drinks cocktails, to the engine room where a first class lady passenger comes down for to dance with  the  engineers. This scene was interrupted with the news that an ice-berg was approaching and followed by a scene of the ship sinking in the background while a row boat sailed through the smoke from the dry ice to the sound of the hymn “nearer my god to thee”. All in very questionable  taste.

Gambling in Las Vegas

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

slot machines

Bill and I are slightly behind the times when it comes to gambling. When we put our first money in the “one arm bandit” machines we reached up to pull the lever. It didn’t move. Then we noticed the push button to start the machine rolling. With the slot machines we only used the “1 cent” machines. On our first day I lost 2 dollars on the machines and Bill won 6 dollars. The next day we again started to play and Bill opted to play a new “Batman”  game. The guy sitting beside Bill put in 40 dollars and lost it all. Bill put in one dollar and won 16. I also tried with a couple of dollars and immediately lost them. With Dima we went to play Blackjack where I bought 20 dollars worth of chips and again quickly lost the lot. Obviously Bill is more favoured by Lady Luck and so from now on he can buy the lottery tickets.

Meeting Dima

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011


One of the reasons for going to Las Vegas was to meet Dima Zemskov. We hadn’t seen Dima for 15 years who when we first met him was a dancer with a touring Russian ballet company. Now he lives in Las Vegas and earns his living as a supervisor in a casino with some ballet teaching on the side. We met briefly our first evening on our first evening as he was working. He works 5 days a week from 8.00 p.m to 4.00 p.m.

 The second evening we went out for a meal in his favourite restaurant on the strip – a Frence restaurant whch we reached after a walk through indoor Paris street scenes. The restaurant’s terrace overlooks the Bellagio hotel which has a spectacular water fountain show every 15 minutes as well as being unde a half size Eifel Tower. We had a great meal and caught up on old times. Dima had to leave for work and so, on his recommendation, we up the Eifel Tower for a view of Las Vegas by night. 

las vegas eifel tower
eifel tower in vegas
las vegas view from eifel tower
view from tower

It was great to meet him again after so long. He was very kind to us during the stay, making sure we enjoyed our stay and very kindly got us some free tickets for a couple of shows.

Reaching Las Vegas

Friday, October 21st, 2011
las vegas view from hotel las vegas view from hotel
view from hotel during the day view at night

Leaving the Grand Canyon at 8.30, we arrived in Las Vegas at 1.00 p.m. We were heading for the airport and finding it was not made easy by the poor signage. One exit from the freeway had a small sign but once on the main roads signs were very few and some of them simply had the word “Mccarran” and not something useful such as “international airport”. On one 6 lane highway we were fortunate to notice the very small sign for the airport over on the left hand side and at the last minute Bill was  able to cut across a couple of lanes and make the turn.

Once we dropped off the car we went by shuttle bus to the Mirage Hotel. Its a hotel in the centre of the strip. Checking in we were offered a room with a view of the car park or for $10 a night extra we could have a room on the 23rd floor with a view of the strip. We opted for that and were really pleased with the room and with the view which included a view over the Venetian hotel complete with the campanile and the  Doges Palace.