Saturday, November 18, 2017

First Tastes of Umbria

It's "Hockey Night in Canada" and raining cats and dogs,
which gives me a chance to slow down,
catch up on blogville and gather my thoughts and memories of our trip to Italy!
There is pizza baking in the oven and the wood stove is warming the living room as I type this.

After our 7 day cruise on the Mediterranean Sea which ended in Rome,
we took a quick tour of Rome by taxi, hitting all the highlight spots
such as the Coliseum, Pantheon, and of course Trevi Fountain.
We threw some coins into the fountain in 2006 and sure enough we returned to do it again!

This was a drive by shot! Traffic was horrid and we didn't stop.

A panoramic shot inside the Pantheon - what an amazing place!

Trevi Fountain - as beautiful as ever.

A quick stop at the Abbey of St. Paul on our way out of the city was well worth the time!
The unhurried hush and respectful atmosphere of this abbey was a welcome calm to the very busy
city of Rome!


The first night on our own in Italy was at Hotel Castrum Boccea.
A beautiful country resort, giving us our first tastes of Italian driving, dining, and resting!

Delicious Dinner in the resort's wine cellar - amazing! Great way to start our Italian adventure.









I loved the table centre piece - perfect for our first authentic Italian dinner!















Next morning we made our way North to Umbria.
Our castle "Castello Izzalini Todi Resort" awaited our arrival.
Can you believe it - we stayed for a whole week in this beautiful castle?
We were pinching ourselves ...












The farmer snapped this picture of me sitting in the window sill, sipping on our first home-brewed coffee from a moka pot! It was a delicious introduction to how to brew and enjoy Italian coffee!

A sweet gentleman at a little grocery store in Todi sign languaged me as to which was his favourite coffee and the resort maitre de showed us how to use the moka pot! A lesson well used throughout the rest of our vacation.

The view from this window, morning, noon or evening never grew old!
Castello Issalini was our home base for so many adventures in Umbria.


First destination from the Castle ...
Assisi - Home of St. Francis!

Steep climb to the top - this picture does not do justice to the incline! Why hadn't we done some physical training for this?

The climb was well worth the views and sounds of the Basilica Papale Dis San Francesco!





Downhill was much easier ... beautiful views along the way!

We were ready for a filling and delicious fresh roasted (before our eyes) meal before heading back to the castle - what a day ending with complimentary Limoncello!

Rosa dei Venti

So much more to share about this enchanting place ... stay tuned.


In the meantime, Toronto Maple Leafs are winning against Montreal Canadiens. The pizza was delicio and I am exhausted from a full week of helping with Theatre Wellesley's production of "Daddy's Girl" by Gary Stapp. One more performance to go tomorrow afternoon. Then it's buckle down time to get Christmas decorations started around this old farm house. How do they decorate in Italy I wonder?

Ciao!

Happy Thanksgiving weekend to all my American friends ... may you be blessed by family and friends as you gather together.








Monday, November 6, 2017

Rest of the Cruise

The remainder days on our cruise took us to
Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Barcelona, Spain
Ajaccio, France

In Palma, the capital city of the island Mallorca, we took a whirlwind
tour on the city's Hop On Hop Off bus.
We were able to capture some great shots of the Cathedral of Santa Maria,










Inside the cathedral was the stunning
rose window, one of the largestest in the world.
It measures 40 feet across.




















One of the beautiful sculptures in the cathedral.












Incredible installation by Miquel Barcelo, reminiscent of Antoni Gaudi's work

Photo credit from internet - my batteries failed me for this picture.

On the Cathedral steps - a bit wind blown looking from sitting on the top deck of the bus.

the beautiful harbour and marina,


the hilltop medieval castle/fortress called Bellver Castle


Ancient windmill's along the way - such a beautiful city!


That evening we sailed to Barcelona, Spain

We only had one day at this port and were fortunate to hire a very knowledgable and interesting taxi driver to tour us through this stunning city.
So thankful this tour took place shortly before all the recent unrest in that city.


We could see Gaudi's famous La Sagrada Familia in the distance.
This church has been under construction since the late 1800s.
It is simply stunning inside and out!


Other Gaudi buildings and Park Guell which he designed.
All strange and wonderful.




Following a quick trip up to Monjuic Hill and a refreshing glass of Sangria,
we headed down to the famous La Rambla

Marilyn Monroe greeted us on the street!
La Rambla market - goat head anyone?




It was time to board the ship and we looked forward to our delicious
Spanish dinner - Paella (the best meal we had on the ship by far)!

Joanne and I decided to dress up a bit and wear our leopard leggings
to hang out in the ship's leopard lounge - silly ladies!!!
That was another amazing and exhilarating day!
Barcelona - we hope and pray that all the political unrest can be resolved and soon.


The next morning we arrived in Ajaccio, France on the island of Corsica.
We walked to the town square and experienced their delightful market.




Enjoyed the town square fountain.




And the perfect spot to rest and have a delicious Gelato!


This is the town where Napoleon Bonapart 1769-1821 was born and lived!
There is a wonderful museum dedicated to his family - we did not take the time to see this.

We were all on board for the 7 p.m. departure - our final sunset night on this
beautiful ship.
We dressed up, ate some fancy food and enjoyed the sunset.





Meanwhile here at home - I finished a baby quilt for my almost 4 month old great niece - Maia Star!


Till next time - November has taken me a bit by surprise. So much to do ...


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Butterflies and Tea

BOO!

Happy Hallowe'en Y'all!!!

Careful - she's turning people into frogs!!!