Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Alemany Market


Visit the Alemany Market in San Francisco for a wide variety of fruits, veggies and flowers...



Types of mushrooms I have never seen...


Fall gourds...


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Marche Atwater in Montreal, continued


Absolutely everything you have ever wanted for eating and cooking could be found at Marche Atwater in Montreal...



Even some things you didn't know you wanted...





How do you like your meat cut?



If this doesn't say Fall...I don't know what does.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Marche Atwater in Montreal, continued



Wandering through Marche Atwater in Montreal reinforced my French lessons...


made me thirsty...


started my mouth watering...


and excited my eyes...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Reviews


When you are looking for a hotel, B & B, restaurant or anything else do you read reviews? If so, how much do you believe what is written?

I read reviews...but I also look at the number of positive ones versus the negative ones. Anybody can write a bad review. But if there are several bad ones to few positive ones...I will probably not use that hotel or etc.

On the other hand I look closely at the positive ones, paying close attention to the words used. If the rooms in a B & B are "charming" or "cozy" I may think they are small. In that case I would read some more reviews to see if anyone else talks about the size of the rooms. If someone says their experience was memorable and would definitely come back...there is a good chance I will look closely at that one.

Another question. Do you write a review of your hotel, restaurant or etc. after you return home? I do. And I am truthful and specific about my experience...positive or negative.

How about you?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

LeTerra Nostra



If you are planning a trip to Montreal a fabulous B & B is LeTerra Nostra. Appearing rather simple from the outside, the stone building houses a gem of a place.





Once you open the front door and are greeted by the owner, Mimi, you step into a world of French hospitality and tastefully appointed rooms everywhere you look.


Three course breakfasts were different each day, starting with fruits and juices each morning. Pears in croissants, scrambled eggs with bacon and veggies, mini-muffins, pastries, crepes with home made berry compote, fresh baked banana breads...and coffee made to order. What a way to start the day.


When the weather cooperates, a terraced patio out back provides a setting for breakfast or late afternoon snacks.


Each bedroom is generous sized, with a king size bed, closets and more. Bathrooms, with both a shower and a huge tub are fantastic...complete with heated tile floors.

Mimi uses her decorator skills throughout as every room is tastefully decorated and unique in its own way. You won't lack for anything when staying here. Hospitality...food...personalized directions...comfortable surroundings...your special whims catered to...it's all here. Check it out.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Holiday Travel



It's Fall and if you are traveling over the holidays...here are some things to think about.

Book Now! The sooner you can book, the better. Perhaps you could get a cheaper flight closer to your trip, but do you really want to chance that? Plus this way you can get the seat you want...or at least closer to it!

Book your flight for early in the day. You are less likely to deal with delays and hectic situations at the airport.

If you can travel on the actual holiday you can save some money, according to the airlines. And if you are flying from the east coast to the west an early departure puts you on the ground with most of the day left to celebrate.

Consider an alternate airport. You may have to drive, but if weather is not an issue you may save enough money on your flights to make it worth your time.

If you are flying to Europe, try to fly on December 25, 26 or 27 or New Year's Eve to beat the crowds. Remember to check out your cab or hotel shuttle needs ahead of time, though. They might not be running on those days.

Always check any hidden flight costs when you book. And make peace with your flight costs. You can bring your own snacks to avoid costly airport food. Bring non-sugar foods like vegetables, or nuts or cereal. Don't forget reading material, your iPod, cell phone and laptop...including their chargers.

Leave early...early enough that it may seem ridiculous. You may have to wait in the security line an extra long time or perhaps you will get behind those that just take a long time whatever they do! This gives you just a little more room to breathe. You can always sit and relax before boarding your plane. Or wander through the airport. Some now have mini-museums or art galleries where you can spend some time.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

TSA Travel Tip



Coming back from Denver this weekend we noticed something as we went through security. Most of the lines were the same length...something the TSA agents on hand try hard to maintain. However, two lines out of 10 or 12 had two men reading the x-ray machine, instead of just one.

At first you really don't think anything about that. After all, Denver is a big airport with lots of travelers. But as we inched (slowly inched) closer the x-ray machine it became painfully aware why there were two agents there.

Training (in its slowest form) was taking place. I understand training the agents and I certainly am all for it...

Next time, however, I will look for those lines where two agents are intently looking at the x-rayed bags...and avoid them!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Marche Atwater in Montreal


Montreal has at least two street markets that run daily. Marche Atwater is one of them with fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats, wines, bakery and pastry items, olive oils, maple syrups, vinegars and just about anything else related to eating.


Gourds of every kind...some new, some I've seen before.


Standing at attention lined up waiting for Halloween...or pies.


More gourds...and more gourds




More vegetables later...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Street Views in Montreal




Looking over Montreal from Mont Royal...the highest point in the city.





Street signs...




Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rewards Programs




Some call them Rewards Programs...some call them Membership Programs. Either way, if you pay attention you can gain some great benefits. Budget Travel just had some great info on programs. Here are some of their findings as well as my own information.

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards: fly eight round trips within two years and receive a free ticket. You have up to a year to redeem this ticket. Not a bad deal if you fly Southwest often enough. Plus it's easy to use, there are no cancelling fees...and your bags fly free. This one makes a lot of sense for those of us that love Southwest Airlines.

Delta Skymiles: fly 25,000 miles and your rewards start. Since it's more of a challenge to find a ticket for your 25,000 miles you need to book early. Start as soon as you know you will be traveling...up to 331 days in advance!

American Airlines Aadvantage: fly 25,000 miles for your free ticket. Relatively easy to book online this one also allows you to use your miles one way (first class for instance) and then pay for the return trip. Might make a difference if you are flying a long distance.


Marriott Rewards: spend $750 (7,500 points) and you will earn a free night in a category 1 hotel like a Fairfield Inn. A free night at a category 7 hotel requires 35,000 points ($3,500). This is a good deal if you stay often enough at Marriott Hotels.

Hilton Honors: earn hotel points and airline miles for the same stay if you like. Your points equate to dollars spent at all Hilton Hotels. This one is easy to use.

Starwood Preferred Guest: Starpoints equate to every dollar spent. You do need to book these over the phone, however.

If you are staying in hotels frequently, try to stay in one brand that you like. Join their membership program and get your points to work for you. It doesn't cost anything and who doesn't like to get a free room in a hotel you might not have wanted to pay for...especially for a special treat.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Cathedral-Basilica Mary Queen of the World




Began in 1870 the Cathedral started its liturgical life. In 1940 it became a parish and in 1919 a cathedral-basilica in Montreal. It's impressive dome can be seen from Mont Royal on the other side of the city.


The great organ, inaugurated in September 1893, consists of 93 stops, four manuals and pedal.



Arches along the aisles are decorated with paintings depicting the founding of Montreal. Walls and floor are made of Italian marble and mosaic. Here the top of the Baldacchino, a replica of the one at St. Peter's in Rome, can be seen beneath the cupola. Created in Rome, made of red copper it was fashioned by hand and is decorated with gold leaf.


This Cathedral is a scaled down replica of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Impressive in every detail, this is a stop not to be missed when in Montreal.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Abbaye Saint-Benoit




Southeast of Montreal in the Eastern Townships an Abbey's bell tower appears above the trees. Built by the Benedictines in 1912 on a wooded peninsula on Lac Memphremagog the Abbey is home to 60 or so monks who sell apples, sparkling apple wine, cheeses, meats, chocolates, fruits and jams. Apparently people from all over Quebec know when to come to get the best in the area.



Also located on the property is a retreat, available with reservations to men. Women are allowed at certain times, with the appropriate reservations.



Ceiling leading to the Abbey's modest chapel. Definitely different architecture than what we saw in Montreal at the Basilica.