Archive for the ‘wine’ Category

Tuesday June 19th 2007 is departure day for the Rountrees.


After a late evening out, taking night photos and eating our last gelatos for this year, we had a difficult time hauling ourselves from our sleep. We had booked an early wakeup call and were soon up, showered and packed. No time for a Cappuccino today. We headed down to the lobby of the hotel for a taxi cab call. The taxi picked us up at 5am and drove us to the parking spot, which we had parked the Jag in. We loaded up the car and set “Scanducci” to take us to the airport.

hotel.jpg The ride to the airport seemed long, but I knew it wasn’t. Whenever we leave Florence it is like leaving home. A sadness weighs heavy on the heart. I tired to make myself happy about thinking about the trip we will take…where will it be? When will it be? Did I pack everything? Did I bring everyone a gift? Ughhhh…

We made it to the airport in Florence with plenty of time to return the car to Thrifty’s lot and deposit the keys….we loved the Jaguar! We loved “Scanducci”! Next time we will definitely book a car with GPS. After unloading the car and walking into the airport we realized that the checkin process with Alitalia had changed and they had moved up stairs in the airport…….very inconvenient. We found the checkin spot and checked in without a hitch.The plane left Florence right on time. We landed in Milan an hour later, only to find out that our next flight was delayed by 2 hours. So we sat and I shopped of course…purchasing some Limoncello di Crema for home. I even sampled it that early in the morning….but what the heck it as in the middle of the night back home!

Eventually we made our way over to our gate to sit and wait. Soon the plane began to board, we sat in row 24 near the window and aisle. I pulled out my book I had been reading, but could not concentrate as I was growing so sad for leaving. So I sat next to Don as we tried to relax for the long flight home to the States. The flight lasted about 9 hours and we were late landing in Boston. Our luggage arrived with us, and we made our way through customs without any issues. We say people having their proscuitto and cheeses being confiscated. But my chocolate, cioccolato cantucci, wine, pasta, and Limoncello remained safe in my possession.

We started the next leg of our flight, waiting. We waited for our departures to Kentucky and to Maine. Don had an earlier flight than I did; however, due to my Uncles’ death I was able to fly standby and home sooner than expected which would have been a 23 hour trip. I said goodbye to Don, which is always difficult to do, but in an airport coming home from an extended vacation it is even more difficult to do. I boarded the plane home and realized that I wouldn’t see my husband again for two months. My heart grew heavier… 😦

Don’s flight was delayed in Boston for 3 hours and he did not arrive home until 1:45 am the next day. He landed in Cincinnati and had to drive an additional 3 hours home. And I thought I was tired?

We had a fantastic trip filled with great memories. We always have a difficult time explaining to others the beauty of what we saw, witnessed, experienced and ate in Italy. But this time was different we had made new friends that in Italy, and we could share our experiences with them. Cyndi and Danilo, invited us into their home and into their hearts as well. For we will never forget that day in Fusignamo and the fun we had and our new friends! Ciao!!!

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PS. I’d like to thank my sweet (dolci) husband Don for everything. He is the best travel partner and husband anyone could have. Together we can do anything, I miss him terribly when we are not together. He tolerates my shopping, and frequent gelato stops, wine sampling and constant craving to experience new places. He is a keeper! In February will will celebrate 10 years of marriage together….I wonder where we will be to celebrate? 😉


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Day 4 Wednesday June 13th! Off to Venice for the day!

We were up early, showered and ready to hit the train station for our early morning departure to Venice.We had purchased the tickets in advance for today’s travel so we anxiously waited for the train to arrive and depart with us on it to Venice. When we left our hotel we hopped on the D bus from right outside, which brought us directly to the station.

murano.jpg dsc00532.jpg We stopped at a cafe and grabbed a couple of delicious chocolate brioches and some water for the journey. After a 3 hour train ride we arrived at St. Lucia Train Station in Venice. The ride took us through mountains, forests and beautiful countryside. As soon as the train left I found myself snoring too the rhythm of the tracks.. in front of two strangers and my husband! Zzzzzzzzz’s after-all what is a girl to do after so much shopping and travel? As we debarked the train we walked into the train station to purchase a map of Venice, as we had left ours behind. We were soon approached by a man that offerred us a deal we could not refuse….or so we thought! For 5 euros each he would take us out on a private boat to the island of Murano and have a glass blowing demonstration. We were excited so we hopped on board. The ride out took about 20 minutes, the lagoon was smooth and the ride was very relaxing in the hot Venetian sun. Soon we were pulling up to the dock and jumping off the boat for our tour. WE walked inside to a beautifully restored building with a furnace and showroom. We had our 15 minute glass blowing demonstration, and then were herded into a fancy shmancy showroom like a herd of wild cats. Wild cats you say!!!! Well the first item on display that I focused on was a beautiful example of Venetian art. A hand blown sculpture of a cat. The cat was beautiful indeed. I did not ask the price but, “Addie”, the showroom person was after us like a fly on crap. It turns out that, that infamous cat cost a total of 1200 euros, and he wanted me to bring it home with me. Oh, the pressure was building. For those of you that know me, the one thing that instantly turns me off is a pushy salesperson. Well that was all it took to drive me out of the place. With Don somewhere behind me I left the building only to have “Addie”, chasing me down the calle, telling me that I had insulted him and his family for leaving. Oh boy! I tried to tell him, that I had left message for him, that we were leaving and did not want purchase the cat. So offf we went, insulted hot and a bit frightened. Enough said!

We waited until the next vaporetto arrived to bring us back to San Marco Square. We walked around and soon discovered a hidden gem on a calle headed back towards the Rialto, for lunch. Although I do not recall the name of the trattoria. The food was excellent to say the least. I was in Venice and of course I had to have the local fish! Was my lunch consisted of grilled polenta and calamari.

lunch.jpg This calamari was some of the best I have ever eaten. Don was delighted by his spaghetti carbonara and the local bread. Slowly making our way through the maze of Venice, after getting sidetracked on several occasions to take breaks, we made our way back to the Rialto Bridge and enjoyed the views and photo stops.

We shopped around the Rialto and admired the views that surrounded us, had our daily gelato, and I stopped in to an Internet Train to check my email at 2.50 euros for 15 minutes of time. The slowest computer I had ever seen. At a local bakery we stopped to purchase some Tarfutto Neros (chocolate truffles) for the ride home. Today was extremely hot as we made our way back to the train station, we stopped in some local neighborhood parks and watched children playing under the fountains.

We our time to departure arrived we boarded the train and said goodbye to Venice once more as we settled into our air conditioned car for the long ride home. we watched Venice disappear behind us and talked about the days events including my encounter with “Addie” the equivalent of a Venetian used car salesman.

We arrived back in Florence around 9:30 pm and we took the #13 bus back towards our hotel and had dinner that the Golden View Open Bar.

Our dinner consisted of my daily caprese and pizza margherita and Don’s penne a la ragu, with a pizza diavalo (spicy). I had a 1/4 liter of house bianco, then we left the restaurant to enjoy another gelato of the day at the Bar Ponte Vecchio.

mask.jpg Indeed Venice is a beautiful and mysterious place. Strange also, for after my encounter with “Addie” I’ll have to think twice about being so trustworthy to hop on a boat headed out into the Venetian Lagoon with someone we didn’t know! What lies ahead for tomorrow? to be continued….. 🙂

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Ok so it sounds like a dirty, disgusting word……hehehehehe but it isn’t! It is a person that likes wine! That is one of my new found tasting pleasures. I happened to stumble upon the Beaujolais varietals from the Languedoc Region of France. The Beaujolais is the right combination of tartness, bitter, sweet, fruity, dryness….just right! Here are some of the labels recently enjoyed! Je suis vin!


And a fairly decent Merlot from France:


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