Monday, April 24, 2017

The Rutherford Grill In Napa Valley Is Always A Favorite!

Always a favorite place to stop when in the Napa area.

Yesterday's meal was I need to figure out how to make it.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Simple Suggestions To Get The Most Out Of Your Trip Abroad

I've posted several suggestions to get the most out of your trip. I'll continue to post those...

For today, take a look at these simple suggestions...

Map your location
Most of us already check street maps a few times before a trip to make sure our hotel is close to downtown or a planned drive isn't too long to do in a day -- but there are many more riches to be found if you spend a little more time with a mapping app.

Preview the traffic
Before I fly into an airport, I check the route from the airport (or the rental car garage) to my lodging.

Read a history book
Sure, you’ve probably read guide books. But, this can help you gain appreciation and understanding of the various tourist landmarks you might visit. That way they won’t seem like just another thing to gawk at and move on.

Look at photos
Again, take a step beyond the guide book and check out some extra photos.

Learn a few phrases

I find it a good idea to learn several phrases. Please, thank you, and hello go a long way. For me, I learn even more. I want to be able to read the menu and street signs. If you can’t speak the language…at least smile.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Help...I've Lost My Wallet! Some Travel Tips

Lost your wallet when traveling?

Here are a few tips if you think it’s lost.

Contact your bank to change your PIN and cancel and replace your ATM card.

Contact your credit card companies. You should be traveling with only one or two, but call them immediately.

File a report with the hotel where you’re staying, the local police, and anyone else your concierge recommends.

You will need to contact the DMV to replace your driver’s license when you return home.

You will need to contact any insurance companies, if you carry those cards with you.

Pay close attention in the next few weeks to your bank statements, credit cards, and anything else that doesn’t look right.

To back up a few steps…what are some things you really don’t need in your wallet when you travel?

Your Social Security card…leave it in a safe place at home.

Any cheat cheats with PINs or passwords, especially for bank accounts.

Blank checks…not a good idea.

Your Medicare card…after all, it has your Social Security number on it. Instead, make a copy, block our several digits of your SSN, and keep that in your wallet. Hospitals can look you up if they need to.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Do You Have a Favorite Travel Purse?

When you travel...what purse do you like? Is it RFID? Is it large enough to hold everything? Or, is it small enough for just the basics?

I've had different ones over the years. Some I liked...some, not so much.

Recently, I came across a site with stylish, yet functional and safe purses for travel.

I will be trying this on at least two different types of trips.

Stay tuned for how I fill it...and how I like it. I'll give you all the details then.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Cookery Course With A Difference In Italy

L’arte di mangiar bene, the art of eating well, lies at the heart of the Italian lifestyle — and that’s just what you’ll enjoy during this cookery week. You’ll learn the secrets of healthy eating from The Watermill team, among them an Italian grandmother, an organic farmer and our gardener’s wife! You’ll choose freshest local ingredients (many from our own gardens) and prepare them deliciously. We’ll visit markets, vegetable gardens, olive groves and vineyards.

The Italians are the healthiest people in Europe and this is due not just the quality of the food, but to la bella vita italiana, the relaxed lifestyle which means taking time to talk to friends and to enjoy their company, not least in convivial meals around the dining table. You’ll be savouring all that, too.

You’ll stay in stylish bedrooms in elegant buildings around the sunlit courtyard. The mill’s gardens, secluded millstream paths and riverside walks are all yours to enjoy.  This is the art of eating – and living – well!

On this cookery course with a difference, you’ll gain hands-on experience of cooking mouth-watering, healthy Italian meals with the freshest ingredients. The emphasis will be on culinary techniques that will help propel the healthy Italian lifestyle into your own home.

Our team is led by Lois Breckon, who has masterminded the Watermill menus for many years, and her friend and colleague Ingrid Fabbian, an expert on nutrition, as well on the preparation of home-made pasta and bread. Our Italian experts include our cook, grandmother Mirella Musetti, professional chef Angelina Benedetti, organic farmer Federica La Sala and our gardener’s wife Marida Tognini. We will share their decades of culinary and horticultural experience, based on knowledge passed through the generations of Italians.

Your hands-on cooking sessions and our daily demonstrations will cover many aspects of the Italian and Tuscan cucina, from appetisers (antipasti) to after-dinner biscuits (biscottini) and much else in between; from pane to pasta, through main courses, to homemade puddings and ice cream.

There will also be trips out to markets and food producers, to an ice-cream parlour and a hill-top gourmet restaurant, and a panigacci evening (rounds of unleavened bread brought hot to your table and served with local hams and cheeses.) So, as well as learning l’arte di mangiar bene you’ll also sample the vita bella italiana.

Everything is included in the cost of your coking at the watermill:  all tuition, accommodation (including all linen and towels), pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals and wines (including outings to charming local restaurants) and all local transportation (including transfers to Pisa airport and an excursion by train to Lucca or the Cinque Terre). You get to Pisa, Italy, we do the rest!

Please go to to learn more.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Holiday Of Learning In Tuscany. Cooking, Painting, Writing and More.


Looking for a fantastic cooking experience in Tuscany? Recently, I partnered with the owners of Watermill at Posara, Tuscany. This unique setting is the ideal place for their relaxing, inspiring, fun-filled painting holidays and creative writing courses.
They also offer unique self-catering holiday accommodation in three self-contained apartments. The mill has been beautifully restored and furnished and all the bright, well decorated bedrooms enjoy lovely views over the river, the gardens or the mountains.
Check out their beautiful and historic watermill beside the River Rosaro in the small village of Posara. Peaceful and secluded, yet part of the village, the mill is just a mile or so from the walled medieval town of Fivizzano with its cafés, restaurants and shops. This is the heart of Lunigiana, in the North-west of Tuscany.
Want a painting holiday? According to the owners, Lois and Bill Breckon, their relaxing, inspiring and fun-filled painting courses with hand-picked internationally renowned tutors are designed to help both experienced painters and beginners to release their talent and most of all, enjoy their painting.
“We offer courses in watercolours, oils, pastels, acrylics and other media. The courses run from Saturday to Saturday and we usually spend the first day or so painting around the mill, followed by excursions to the hills (olive groves and mountain views), to the medieval walls of Fivizzano and the castle and village of Verrucola for lots of en plein air experience. There’s also a visit to the walled city of Lucca or the fishing villages of the Cinque Terre.”

Maybe creative writing is what you’re looking for. “The Watermill at Posara is the ideal place for an inspirational writing course. Set in a beautiful valley in Lunigiana, Tuscany’s unspoilt corner, the mill provides the perfect environment for focusing on your writing without the distractions of everyday life. Our sympathetic tutors will share with you the secrets of writing success and what publishers are looking for. And after a hard day’s work you can slip into holiday mode with wonderful food, good company and relaxing surroundings.
Our intimate creative writing courses (for 10 or so students) are designed to help both enthusiastic beginners and more experienced writers. Your tutor will give you a one-on-one tutorial during your stay as well as feedback on your work.”
If you’re interested, bookings should be made using the Watermill’s Booking Enquiry Form at If you book via this form, you can use my name as “Introduced by Wendy”. You might just get some special treatment…or a glass of wine!
Want to learn more? Check out their blog.
Stay tuned to my next post and learn more...

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Park Guell. A Barcelona Delight!

Park Güell was commissioned by Eusebi Güell who wanted to create a stylish park for Barcelona aristocracy. Check out the famous Gaudi dragon fountain, all done in colored tile, at the entrance.
Meander through the walkway, supported by twisting rock pillars that appear to be growing right out of the ground. Gaudi used nature in his works and it is evident here.
At the top of the park is a terraced area where you can view the entire park and Barcelona. Take some time to sit on one of the many vibrant, multi-colored tiled mosaic seats. They look hard and not very comfortable. But, the way they are constructed provides a delightful seat with just the right amount of back support. 
The park was built between 1900 and 1914 and officially opened as a public park in 1926. Guell and Gaudi wanted this park within the entire park to be for the group of homes surrounding it.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Do You Visit Museums?

Museums are major tourist destinations. There are many ways to get the most out a museum visit. You  want to do the museum justice and have fun at the same time. So…how do you do that?   
For some museums, it’s best to set an amount of time you want to spend there. If it’s a huge museum…think the Louvre…you won’t see it all!
Make sure you eat before you go. Your concentration will be better if your stomach is not growling at you.
Try to plan a focus. If you hurry though, you probably won’t remember the 200 paintings or exhibits you glanced at. Maybe pick a room or an artist or a time period.
If an audio tour is offered, take it. You might be surprised at the information you learn while you’re studying the exhibit. In the case of the Last Supper in Milan…the audio tour is an absolute must.
If you need or want to view certain pieces, hiring a guide might be the best thing for you.