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Venice, Italy

Venice is one of the most unusual and beautiful cities in the world. Imagine a city but on Trees. These trees support the city over the lagoon. Venice has many touristy sites in Piazza San Marco that should be seen at least once. After you have done the tourist thing, go to the back paths of Venice. Explore, get lost, find new areas and enjoy the real Venice. There are many bridges and many of them have steps but it is worth the effort. Discover hidden churches, bars, restaurants, islands and markets. This is where the Venetians live.

Many bars serve Cicchetti, which is a form of Spanish Tapas unique to Venice. Some bars will give you free small plates with the purchase of a drink. Others will charge a small fee. This is a way to try several Venetian dishes and discover new favorite ones. This way of eating is cheaper than in the restaurants especially around Piazza San Marco.

Come watch the YouTube video below and walk with Rory and I around the touristy and back areas of Venice. We also go to Murano to see glass blowing and the Lido to walk around and see the beach. We missed the Venice Film Fare by a week, which is held on the Lido Island.

You get to these Islands and the Train Station & Airport vis vaporetto (Water Taxis).

Ciao,
George

Categories: Airplanes, Beach, BLOG, Bread, Cafè, Carnival, Cicchetti, Eating, Eating Italian, Flights, Food, General Travel, Glass Blowing, Godola, Grand Canal, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Lido, Murano, Pasta, Pastry, Piazza San Marco, Planning a vacation, Romance, Saint Mark's Badoge Palace, sea, Smart Phones, tapas, Traveling without a tour, Trottoria, Valporetti, Vaporetto, Venice, VLOG, Walking, Water Taxi, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seville Spain

Seville Spain is a wonderful old city with great architecture like the Alcazar and Seville Cathedral. Its narrow streets invite exploration. Walk, get lost, discover new things. When you are hungry, stop at a small tapas restaurant or bar. Order some wine or beer and a few tapas. This is a great way to explore Spanish foods.

In the morning get Churros dipped in chocolate. You will never want to leave. Another all day favorite is a Spanish omelet. It is made with potatoes and onions. This is a real treat any time of day.

Come walk with us arround Seville, Spain:

 

– George

Categories: Beer, BLOG, Cafè, churros, Europe, Food, General Travel, Planning a vacation, Romance, Sevilla, Seville, Spain, tapas, Trains, Traveling without a tour, VLOG, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Madrid Spain

Madrid is the capitol of Spain and is a wonderful city to walk, sites, eat food and drink wine. Tapas are the specialty for lunch and snacks before dinner. These are small portion plates that can be shared. Order several and try many new or old favorites from Spain. We order several tapas and some wine or sangria and make it a meal. For breakfast there are many options but a national favorite is churros dipped in melted chocolate. How can you say “No” to this?

When flying into Madrid’s airport remember there is the metro and the Renfe trains (c1, c10, etc). They are two different systems with different entrances and fees. If the metro does not go close to your hotel, try the Renfe lines.

Come wander around the small streets of Madrid, museums, the Palace, the Botanical Gardens and so much more:

– George

Categories: BLOG, Botanical Gardens, Cafè, Chocolate, Church, churros, Eating, Food, General Travel, Hop on Hop off Bus, Madrid, Metro Travel, Museums, Spain, tapas, VLOG, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spain and Italy

This is a summary of out trip to Spain and Italy and gives details on how we planned the trip. Rory and I travelled to Madrid, Seville, Barcelona, Venice and Rome. How did we plan this trip? How many days do you need in each place? How do you get from one city to the next?

these questions and more are answered in the YouTube video below:

Ciao,

 

George

 

Categories: Air Fares, Airplanes, an Museum, Architecture, B&Bs, Barcelona, Bars, Beaches, BLOG, Bocca della Verità, Cafè, Eating, Europe, Flights, Food, Funicular, Gelato, General Travel, Hotels, Italian, Italy, Itinerary, Madrid, Metro Travel, Museums, Orvieto, Pasta, Pizza, Planning a vacation, Romance, Rome, Saint Peter's Basilica, Seville, Sistine Chapel, Spain, Spanish Steps, The holidays in Europe, Towns, Trains, Traveling without a tour, Trevi Fountain, Vatican, Vatican City, Vatican Museum, Villa Borghese, VLOG, Wine | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

How I Plan a Trip to Europe

Planning a trip to Europe can be expensive and frustrating. In this video I give ideas for saving money, planning and creating a trip that will be fun and memorable. Don’t spend your time running around a city and traveling between cities. Enjoy life in Europe. Be a European while you are there. Make contact with locals, communicate, observe life around you. Enjoy the museums and sites but also savor the food and wine. Watch the Europeans around you. How do they live their lives?

The video below will help you plan a memorable and rewarding trip to Europe. Buon Viaggio…

Ciao,

George

Categories: Air Fares, Airplanes, Bars, BLOG, Cafè, cornetto, Eating, Espresso, Europe, Fish, Flights, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Hotels, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Itinerary, Metro Travel, Money, Mountain Towns, Museums, Panini, snow, The holidays in Europe, Tour Groups, Towns, Trains, Traveling without a tour, VLOG, Weather in Europe, Wine, YouTube | Leave a comment

How to properly see Italy

I get asked all the time how to see Italy so you don’t miss anything? What should I see on my first trip? How is the food? Is it safe? So this BLOG is to answer these questions and state some rules:

  1. There are no rules
  2. I don’t believe in tours. They take you to the worst restaurants in Italy and move you along from site to site too fast. Most people take tours because they are afraid of getting lost, Can’t speak the language or don’t want to miss anything. Use your smart phones GPS to get around. Search on top things to see.
  3. The big cities are a must but the real Italy is in the small cities. Don’t miss these.
  4. Italy can’t be seen in one trip. Plan several trips and enjoy it more.
  5. If you are seeing 10 cities in 7 days, you have not visited or seen Italy.
  6. The food, outside touristy places is fantastic. Eat with the Italians in small Trattoria.
  7. Museums are important but the art in Italy is all around you everywhere you go.
  8. Stay in small hotels not big American ones. Don’t worry about your points, you are in Italy.
  9. Learn a few key phrases in Italian and use them.

OK you are on your first trip and don’t know where to go. Plan Naples and Rome or Florence and Venice. Spend time in each city. You win nothing by running from site to site and then moving to the next city. In fact you lose a lot! Italy is a country that moves slowly. Sit and observe it. Walk with the Italians at lunch time (la passeggiata). It is not enough to see the famous art and buildings but the people who live here. Communicate as best you can. Use simple 2-year old talk or charades.

Tours normally work against these goals. They force you to eat where they make the most money. They rush you from one site to the next. You see Italy through a bus window. This is not much better than seeing it on TV. If you must take a tour, find a small walking or biking tour. Find something in a van not a huge bus. Make sure you have a few days on your own to explore as you want to. Don’t be afraid to take trains between cities. They go almost everywhere. Within cities the metro is clean and efficient.

Rome is a city of architecture and history unlike any other in the world. Naples is old and many Americans came from this area of Italy. Florence is the capital of art and the Renaissance, Here you will find unbelievable art and the beginnings of modern thinking. Venice is the most unusual city in the world. Here you will explore a large city made up of sidewalks and canals. There are no roads or cars. Enjoy these cities but take time to understand the history, the people and the food.

Plan more trips to visit places like Verona, Bologna, Capri, Amalfi Coast and the millions of small wonderful sea port and mountain towns. We love driving south from Rome on the A1 to our home. We see an interesting town high up on a mountain side in the distance. We use our iPhones to identify it and plot a course to it. After exploring the town we have a café at a bar or lunch in a small local restaurant. This is enjoying Italy and getting to know it.

Food and wine are a national pastime in Italy. Everyone is an expert. The truth is most food comes from farms in the vicinity, wines and olive oil are made locally.  The food is made from ancient recipes handed down over time. No-one cooks pasta as good as an Italians mom!

Hotels are for sleeping after a long day touring. You don’t need a resort type hotel. Pick local small hotels. We always prefer a room with its own bath (not all come this way). These small hotels are often family run. You get to know them as friends if you take the time.

Learn how to say some Italian phrases like Buon Giorno (Good day), Buona Sera (Good Evening – at sunset and beyond). Arrivederci (Good Bye) and Ciao (Hello and Good Bye). You might also want to ask How much? (Quanta Costa?). Jo Anne’s favorite is Quanta costa le Scarpe? (How much are the shoes?). Simply saying Buon Giorno to someone you pass will bring a smile and a Buon Giorno in return. Italy is a friendly place.

This brings us to How safe is Italy? Italy is very safe. There is almost no violent crime. There are pick pockets in large cities. Beware of you purses and wallets. Italians drive very fast so beware of cars speeding by you. We are never fearful walking around large cities like Rome. You are in Italy to learn and enjoy life. Just do it and enjoy a gelato.

Italy is the most romantic place on Earth!

Ciao,

George

 

 

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Bars, Beach Resorts, Beaches, BLOG, Bologna, Cafè, Capri, Driving in Italy, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Florence, Food, Gelato, General Travel, GPS, Italian, Italian Facts, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Metro Travel, Mountain Towns, Museums, Naples, Pasta, Regions of Italy, Romance, Rome, Small Towns, Smart Phones, Towns, Trains, Traveling without a tour, Walking, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Capri, Italy

The Isle of Capri is a true place of beauty. This is why it became the playground of the rich and famous. Many people are confused by the isle’s name of Capri and the city of Capri on the Isle. The Isle has two main cities: Capri and Anacapri. This island is rugged with cliffs and a huge mountain near Anacapri. It has two beaches, the large and small beaches. The ferries drop you off at the large beach. There is a large marina there and porters will take your bags to your hotel. This is a great idea since you will be walking.

Once at the marina at the large beach you can take a bus up a windy road or a funicular up the hill to the center of Capri city.Take the funicular. it is fast and fun. At the top is the main piazza with its clock tower. In this area are many restaurants, bars, gelaterias and stores. Many of the small streets are alley like but take them and you will discover many interesting stores and shops.

So many tourists opt to come on a ferry in the morning and leave in the evening. This is the biggest mistake you can make! Stay at least one night. After the tourists have left, the locals come out. Be a local and enjoy life. This is what being an Italian in Italy is all about. Remember Italy is not a quest to visit as many places as you can in a week. It is about the food, the people, the life, the museums and the cities. You can not fully enjoy or understand Italy without sitting back in each city and being part of the life. Running through a city causes you to miss the life all together reducing Italy to just another tourist destination. Believe me, Italy is not just another tourist attraction!

Come walk with us through the cities of Capri and Anacapri and join us on a boat ride around the Isle. Be romantic in one of the most romantic places on Earth…

– George

Categories: Anacapri, Bars, Beach Resorts, Beaches, Blue Flag Beaches, Blue Grotto, Cafè, Campania, Capri, Cave, Cooking, Cruises, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Ferries, Food, Funicular, Gelato, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Mount Vesuvious, Museums, Naples, Passegiata, Planning a vacation, resorts, Ristorante, Romance, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Stairs, Towns, Traveling without a tour, Tyrrhenian Sea, Villa Brunella, VLOG, Walking, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Marina Casalvelino, Italy – Beach Resort

We own a condo a few kilometers from this beautiful beach resort town. It is located in southern Campania south of Naples, south of the Amalfi Coast and south of Salerno. The town is small with a beautiful sandy beach. The water is calm in the summer but very violent in the winter. There are free beach areas and paid clubs.

The clubs give you lounge chairs, umbrella, table, music and free wi-fi. They also have bars or restaurant to order drinks and food. There is nothing like sipping a cool prosecco on the beach in a glass champagne flute. This is beach life in Italy.

This area is very popular with Italians from Rome south and Germans. The British and Americans have not found it yet. The beaches are better than the lava beaches of the Amalfi Coast. Come and really relax in Marina Casalvelino.

Rent a boat or have someone take you out in one. Go to a private beach or just tour this beautiful coast line. From the coast you can see huge mountains everywhere. This is some of the prettiest coastlines in Italy. All of the beaches here have been awarded the coveted Blue Flag Award for cleanliness.

There are many beach resorts in this area and tons of beautiful small mountain towns waiting to be explored. Driving is easy with a highway that connects this area to the A3 autostrada. There is also a great train system with some high-speed trains from Salerno, Naples and Rome. Parking is easy right at the beach with pay-for-parking meters. This is a very romantic area to relax at the beach or explore small local cities. There are bars and restaurants around town and hotels and B&Bs. Enjoy …

-George

Categories: Amalfi Coast, Bars, Beaches, Cafè, Casal Velino Marina, Driving in Italy, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Marina Casal Velino, Mountain Towns, Mountains, Naples, Prosecco, Ristorante, Romance, Rome, Salerno, Small Towns, Southern Italy, Trains, Travel Guides, Traveling without a tour, Trottoria, WiFi | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Ostuni, Italy

Ostuni is another small city in Puglia Italy near Cisternino. It is down on the heel of the boot near the Adriatic Sea. These are great cities to walk around and explore. Watch the Youtube video below and come walk with us through though wonderful town. Each Monday we will visit another town on my VLOG. Most will be small mountain towns or seaside resorts but a few will be large famous Italian cities.

These small cities are easily reached by car. Parking is easy and free in most but some have pay machines. You simply look at the machine to see the cost and time covered. Put enough coins in to cover your desired time and press the green button. A ticket is printed and you place it on your dash-board.

The best part of being in these small cities is to become part of Italian life:

  1. Eat the local food
  2. Drink the local wines
  3. Walk like the Italians do (you don’t need a gym in Italy)
  4. When you sit to eat, observe the Italian life around you
  5. Say Buon Giorno or Buona Sera to people you pass on the streets
  6. Speak to as many local people as possible
  7. Enjoy your time, be romantic and never be on a time-table. Be spontaneous

If you like this series of VLOGs, Press the YouTube button on the video below and like it and subscribe to my channel. I hope you enjoy our small walk.

– George

 

Categories: Adriatic Sea, Bars, Brindisi, Cafè, Church, Driving in Italy, Europe, Gelato, General Travel, Italy, Ostuni, Puglia, Regions of Italy, Romance, Small Towns, Southern Italy, Traveling without a tour, Walking, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Italy and Health

Italy has one of the world’s most efficient healthcare systems. The World Health Organization  rates countries on their over all health. Italy’s healthcare system focuses on exercise, happiness and healthy food rather than drugs. The people of this country eat well and eat fresh organic produce that is grown or farmed near their own home. Fruit is seldom shipped but picked locally at the height of freshness and nutrients. It tastes better and is healthier for you.

The Healthiest Countries in the World

1. Singapore
2. Italy
3. Australia
4. Switzerland
5. Japan
6. Israel
7. Spain
8. Netherlands
9. Sweden
10. Germany

The Least Healthiest Countries in the World
1. Swaziland
2. Lesotho
3. Democratic Republic of Congo
4. Chad
5. Mozambique
6. Burundi
7. Malawi
8. Angola
9. Uganda
10. Cameroon

The USA was rated 33 on the least healthiest countries in the world.

We should take a lesson on this from Italy. Not only is it a country on everyone bucket list but it gives us a great example how to live a happy and healthy life.

George

 

Categories: Cafè, Cooking, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Fruit, General Travel, Health, Healthcare, Italian, Italian Facts, Italy, Ristorante, Traveling without a tour, Trottoria, Vegetables, Walking | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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