Saturday, February 23, 2019
Italian Coffee
Sure, you’ve had an espresso and a cappuccino, but that’s just the tip of the Italian coffee iceberg, my friends. Coffee in Italy is a thing of it’s own. Even if you’re familiar with copycats...
Let me just save readers a lot of nasty comments by saying: "I am American. These are not necessarily MY views, but rather the views that have been expressed to me, many times, by multiple...
The thought of drinking red wine at 10am in the morning may not appeal to all…but I say “anything in the name of history and culture!” It is hard to resist an invitation to participate in one of Florence’s Vinaino Tours on a fresh, sunny morning. The streets of the centro storico, which many of us know so well, suddenly becoming unfamiliar, stepping back into a Florence of street merchants, tradesmen and marketplaces, where stealing a bunch of grapes or trying to cut your wine with too much water will deal you a public flogging in Piazza Repubblica…
Back in April, I got a call from Vueling Airlines. And they were like, "We're launching four new direct flights from Florence, Italy to London, Berlin, Copenhagen, and Hamburg and we want to send you...
Cabin seats
I was doing the unthinkable, on the brink of breaking my new year’s resolution, booking a flight home from Pisa to London, with Ryanair. The reasons for my personal boycott of this particular no frills, no thrills airline were perfectly valid but it was a long time ago since I last flew with them. Surely it couldn’t still be that much of an unpleasant experience? They were still operating, after all.So, at my computer I negotiate my way through the online booking process, lured in by the illuminated strobe candy !!€7 until midnight!! (I think that refers to the price of the snack pack on board, which doesn’t come with a drink by the way. What kind of snack is that?). In the extra cost field I dodged the default priority boarding tab and the automatic travel insurance, backed up the automatic text message alert truck, hurdled across the branded Ryanair luggage purchase (please!) and jumped all over the recommended hotel and car hire bookings…with the skill of the penitent Indiana Jones “kneeling” before God to claim the holy grail.Moment of hesitation: Number of bags to check in? Sod it, Indiana Jones only needed his leather satchel and his hat, I’m not paying to cart around two pairs of extra shoes. I’m taking one pair of shoes, and they’ll be on my feet at check-in. I was only going for 2 nights after all. Laptop can go in my hand luggage next to shoes, a couple of pairs of knickers and socks, a few tops, mandatory chunk of Parmesan cheese for my brother, and off I go…As outbound flights go, this one wasn’t too bad. No one weighed my bag at Pisa airport or seemed to mind me carrying a small handbag in addition to my carry-on case, which I was prepared to put inside the case if necessary - I was playing by the rules. Cabin seatsApart from the roller coaster, get to know your neighbour, bright yellow seats and the ridiculous trumpet sounding on landing celebrating that we were all still alive and Ryanair had managed to land on time (sorry, should we be thanking them for sticking to a timetable?) I arrived at Stansted relatively unfazed.
IMAGINE...Imagine a city where every road is water, and every car a boat...Imagine Venice!Being a city of water it was fitting that we arrived under the November rain. The incredible thing was that you almost didn't notice the dark winter shower for the brilliance of the buildings which filled every corner of every glance. VAPORETTO #1Apart from the forbidding yellow border at each ‘station’, gliding down the Grand Canal in vaporetto no. 1 in the early evening couldn't have been more of a contrast to rolling underground on the northern line after a day in the London office. After 40 minutes of dark waves, cold air and twinkling lights we arrived at Arsenale in the east of the city.INSIDE THE LABYRINTHThe streets were gentle and quiet and you could hear the sound of the waves lapping against the road edge. The impressive lack of smog throughout the city and the silence of the streets is an instant and very welcome sensation.Admittedly November will be quieter than the height of summer but I was aware of a lovely overall sense of calm which filtered the calle. Within a matter of seconds we were already immersed in the gorgeous narrow backstreets of this magical city. There is something quite tempting about surrendering yourself to the labyrinth and seeing where it takes you...this time however, we knew where we were heading and once over the first little bridge,
Every now and again there are moments in your life that you just know are going to be great even before they happen; a party, a journey, a gig, a feast, a sound, a taste, a show. Last night was one of these moments. The ingredients were all there. It was going to be quite a night! The occasion was to mark an important date in the career of five young creative individuals from the catering world whose indefatigable passion, effort, commitment and energy has earned an enthusiastic following in Tuscany. I say ‘important’ but I also mean a little sad, as the occasion was a farewell to “I 5 Sensi” (The Five Senses) as they hang up their aprons in the Osteria where they have delighted palettes, educated eyes and tantalised tongues for the past five and a half years. Anyone who has been welcomed to one of their tables in the lush green surroundings of the Il Borro Estate near Arezzo, and sampled one of their stunning menus (the Chianina beef and wild boar dishes without a doubt being amongst the best) will know that they will be missed!
IBIke Italy wine tours
Touch the coast of Italy: check. Climb the Duomo: check. Eat a cannoli from Sicily: check. Eat a cow's stomach lining (EEEK), but: check. My list can go on. But noticing that my adventure in...
Ochsenbraterei!
Oktoberfest was dope. It was like your local town fair, but 80 times bigger, and with a bunch of Germans in Lederhosen.  I booked my trip with Bus2alps student travel agency, which included transportation (a...
If you come to Italy there are some things you just have to do, foods to try, and places to see. There are 50 UNESCO protected sites here, that’s more than any other country in the world. So where do you start? Don’t worry we are here to help you with a simple guide to make your visit a truly unforgettable one.