Filling in For Venice – What Pegman Saw

Today Pegman travels to the City of Bridges. A site of great historical importance in the French and Indian War of the 1750s, Fort Duquesne was built by the French at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers. The British replaced it with Fort Pitt a few years later and the city grew up around the military establishment.

Pittsburgh is an interesting city where skyscrapers tower over 18th-century fortifications and funicular railroads crawl up steep hillsides. Stroll and around and see if you can find something that interests you. When you’re done, write 150 words and link to the prompt using the frog below. Remember, reading and commenting is part of the fun!

Knowing nothing about Pittsburgh, I did me a little Googling (which is what this challenge is all about) and discovered more than I thought I would.  I might even be inclined to visit this place one day!

Thanks to Karen and Josh for hosting.

Filling in For Venice

“Pittsburgh?  You want to take me to Pittsburgh? Dude… That is not what I meant when I said I wanted to travel and discover new places. Pittsburgh is a long way off from Europe and not exactly what I would picture as a cultural place to traipse through.”

“Don’t be such a hardass. Give it a try, will ya?”

“I heard it rains a lot there.  Worse than Seattle!”

“So what? It rains a lot in England, yet you still want to go there.”

“Which is in Europe.”

“There are lots of things to see and do, I promise you.”

“I suppose…”

“Maybe we can even catch a baseball or a football game between visits of museums like the Carnegie or Andy Warhol.

“A little something for each of us, eh?”

“Wait, I didn’t tell you the best part.  Pittsburgh has 446 bridges.  Way more than Venice!”

“Next best thing, right?”

Never Too Late – What Pegman Saw

Today Pegman goes walkabout to Alice Springs, Australia.

Made famous by Nevil Shute’s bestselling novel A Town Like Alice, Alice is a “bonzer place,” considered by many to be the jewel of the Outback.

The purpose of this prompt is to inspire you to write 150 words about this place. You can use the Google photo above or stroll around until you see something that strikes your fancy. When you’re done, remember to link your story to the others using the InLinkz frog below. Reading and commenting is half the fun.

Enjoy yourself and do good work!

Thanks to Josh and Karen for hosting.  I haven’t “played” in a while but could not resist this week.  Mom has always dreamed of going to Australia and we haven’t managed to bring her.  Yet.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

https://fresh.inlinkz.com/js/widget/load.js?id=b0e9fc3e17d69ad00968 Never Too Late

Lianne dropped her bags in the lobby, looking around at their home for the next three weeks.  “What do you think, Mom?”

“It doesn’t feel like Australia.  Seems like any old hotel, any old where!”

Lianne couldn’t help but smile.  “You’re not really complaining, are you?  Not my fault you finally got your courage up and ready in your mid-seventies!  I didn’t see us camping out in the Outback!  You’re a little long in the tooth for that now, don’t you think?”

Mo frowned at her daughter.  “Not like I had the chance till now.  The men in my life either didn’t want to bring me or join me so now that I am free, dammit, there is no way I wanted to miss this.”

“We are here now and I’ve a bunch of excursions planned so you can finally see the land you’ve dreamt of.  It’s never too late.”

 

Part of the Plan – Friday Fictioneers

Good Friday on Wednesday, my peeps!  Yep.  Another week has flown by.  The sun is shining brightly but it is still cold here in Quebec.  I’m having trouble visualising spring, the snow is so high still.  If this house had been settled before yesterday, I would be on the beach with my sisters and mother!  Oh well, I’ll just have to book something after I move by May 1st.

Thank you, always to Rochelle for challenging us to write 100-word stories that hopefully entertain you!  This week she chose c.e. ayr’s photo which reminded me of Italy.

Join in on the fun, why don’t you?

Click me! Click me!

 

Part of the Plan

Whose Vespa is parked outside the door?

Mine, why?

Yours? Really? Since when are you the Vespa type?

There’s a type? Where the hell did you get that notion?

Of course there is. You watch the movies. Any time there is someone driving a Vespa, they are well-to-do types who live in Italy, have al fresco parties with good food and wine and—oh… I get it…

What?

I see what you’re doing. Taking this whole visualisation thing a bit far, no? Wouldn’t it be better to just go back and visit Italy?

But I don’t want to come back.

Before the Tide Rises – What Pegman Saw

Karen (and I) could really use a vacation, which is why Pegman is taking us all to the British Virgin Islands.  Having had the opportunity to visit this beautiful island way back in 2001, I could not resist participating in this week’s Pegman, using my own image(s) (sorry my pictures are pictures of pictures).  So thank you, Karen, for choosing this fabulous place!

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to write up to 150 words inspired by this week’s location. You can use the image supplied with the prompt, or take your own tour of the British Virgin Islands using Google Maps. You’ll find a small collection of both streetview and photospheres to inspire you.

Once your piece is polished, share it with others using the link up below. Reading and commenting on others’ work is part of the fun!

Before the Tides Rise

Last stop on our cruise was Virgin Gorda.  We’d never heard of it but were stoked to visit an island outside of the regular Caribbean cruise destinations.

Bruce, a dancer on the ship and our new bestie, promised us something spectacular.  He was taking our gang to “The Baths”.

The trek to the beach was amazing.  Through caverns, up and over rocks, wading in a few inches of water, crouching here, gazing at the beach through peepholes there.  It was fun and a great work-out.

The rush of the waves tossed me willy-nilly against the volcanic rocks and as I was trying to escape the abuse, we heard Bruce yell:

“Time to go!  Tide’s coming in.  If we don’t leave now, we’ll miss the boat!”   We laughed at him.  He insisted.

Walking back, we saw how right he was.  The few inches of water was now up to our knees.

She Dreamed of Africa – Friday Fictioneers

Good Wednesday afternoon, my readers… First Friday Fictioneers of the year!  I know, I know, it’s called Friday FICTIONeers but my sister and niece leave in one hour and, no, I know this is not a picture of a desert, nor a vast plain but hey… it’s what I’m seeing now and it’s not what we look at, but what we see, right?  Says so right down there ⇓

 Thanks to the comedic duo Rochelle and Russell for their collaboration this week.  Do join in on the fun!  Just click on the blue frog below to add your 100-word story to the party already going on.  Not sure about the rules and regs?  Click on Rochelle’s name and get them!

Get the frog for your blog

She Dreamed of Africa

Tracy had no idea what her daughter would choose for their mother-daughter trip.  She should have known.  Sabrina had the travel bug ever since she saved all monies earned from baby-sitting and selling her necklaces to pay for her high school Guatemala trip.  Hers was a laser-beam focus when she had a goal.  No Cuba-style-butt-in-the-sand vacation for her!

“Africa?”

“Yes, Mom.  Tanzania.  Glamping Safari in the Serengeti! Then Zanzibar for the beach. We’ll learn how to surf.”

“Great white sharks in those waters, Sab.”

“So?  Can’t worry over stuff like that…”

“Can’t wait.  It’ll be a trip of a lifetime…”

Brooklyn, Brooklyn, Take Me In

I headed south, not north; was not running away from anything but towards; not planning to never return but stay for a few days… yet I still love this song and it resonates with me, so there.

Woodstock last July was a wonderful getaway so we decided to have another. Where to meet this time? Brooklyn became the number one choice and so it was booked. There were things on our list to do:  cross Brooklyn Bridge by foot, see Bohemian Rhapsody, eat authentic New York pizza pie, go out for a nice meal.  However, we didn’t have a firm schedule. Go with the flow is how we roll…

As I mentioned to David Kanigan, a little nod to his style (my favourites of his posts) is how I’m gonna go about this…

Heading south – Toll-Free on Taconic State Parkway

I set my car GPS to my destination AND my phone one too.  Because the one that comes with the car is a programme and not necessarily up to date – I know this cos I’ve taken Autoroute 30 West and when I hit the “new” part the highway, the GPS freaks out and thinks I’m in space…

As a result, I was amused when the two “argued” over which route to take, and I sided with the phone.  All good, the car one would recalculate. It kept trying to get me to change and I kept saying:  “Yo, give it up Car”.  Then I woke up. Shit!  I’ve driven to New York twice now and I had never taken this road… I dunno how but I had the “avoid tolls” button checked on the phone.  “Sonova…..” Taconic State Parkway is a lovely scenic route.  No use in being angry with myself at this point.  So I enjoyed the fact that the trees were still mighty colourful compared to back home and at my next gas stop, I texted my partner in crime to tell him I’d be later than planned…

It started to rain and finally, around 2:00 p.m., I was on the Brooklyn Bridge.  Woot!

(Shhhh I pointed and shot, hoping I’d catch something decent…was watching where I was going, not what I was shooting…)

We could not have access to our Airbnb until 5 pm instead of 3 (seriously??) so we looked for a place to have a late lunch.  Well, not true.  We didn’t look.  Said partner had had loads of time to scope out the area and we ended up in some nameless joint for forgettable chicken empañadas and shared a sorta Cuban sandwich we didn’t order.  No matter!  Groceries, parking, schlepping and settling in and a joint effort towards nachos, salsa and brewskies were on the menu.

Riding the Subway Trains R and A – Eventually Make it to Brooklyn Bridge

A late breakfast of coffee, bagels and frittata we made our way to the subway.  Before leaving, we did Google Map how to get there.  Problem is, neither of us is familiar with the subway system and while we consider ourselves relatively intelligent peeps, could not figure out exactly where to go.  So we asked a teller at the station.  Thought we got it straight.   Hopped onto the R train and realised we were going the wrong way!  Buddy could have told us to go on the other side to take it, no? Got off, hopped over to the other side and then continued on.  Then got off at the stop we were told to.  Could not see any connection to the A train.  Back to a teller who told us to go back on R, do two more stops and hop onto the A train and get off after three stops.  Sheesh.  Good thing we can laugh at ourselves… I was thinking, what would DK write? 🙂

Random Subway Station

Of course, they had called for rain.  But no matter.  We were going anyway. There is something about fall colours popping when the skies are grey.

There is something special about this bridge.  You see it in pictures, in countless movies and TV shows but it was still a thrill to walk it.  And I think I’ll do it again and again!  I must admit I fell in love with the Manhattan Bridge as well and am promising myself that on my next visit to New York, I shall try to get better pictures of both bridges!

It was later than we thought so we skipped the movie and opted for a small pie at Grimaldi’s Under the Brooklyn Bridge.  It was a short walk away and boy was it worth it!  We decided to get a small plain pie as we were planning on my chicken parm for dinner.  It was rather late.  Don’t ask me why… I forgot to take a picture of the pizza!!  The waiter delivered it and – in heavy Brooklyn accent, please, said:  “Sorry, I made a mistake and you got a large instead…”  We forced ourselves NOT to eat the last two slices.  But we coulda… easily.

Leftovers packed away and most generously given to me, we made our way to the subway and back “home” like a couple of pros who knew where they were going!

A Date with Freddie and a Steak in Coney Island

Wednesday brought beautiful blue skies and warmer weather.  So, of course, we decided to go to an afternoon viewing of Bohemian Rhapsody!  A shortish drive brought us to Cobble Hill Theater to enjoy this fabulous movie.  It doesn’t matter that timelines were played with and certain events were fudged.  Rami Malek inhabited Freddie Mercury’s spirit and a shy bravado that no one else could have mastered.  Everyone has been talking about Rami looking so much like Freddie…. Did anyone not notice how Gwilym Lee is the spitting image of Brian May?  Holy smokes…  (Roger Talyor, played by Ben Hardy and John Deacon, played by Joseph Mazzello were no slouches, either…)

Dinner was a most delicious steak on Coney Island at the lovely Atlas Steakhouse.

Time to go – But First, A Walk

All good things must come to an end and we had to leave the Airbnb by noon.  After a good breakfast using up all the leftovers we had, we packed up our cars and went for one last walk.  Down 52nd Street to 1st and then right towards about 40th, give or take (I wanna say direction North but frankly, my sense of direction there was zero).   We were hoping to find access to the water’s edge for some nice pics of Manhattan.  A bunch of warehouses of all sorts and no access.  We did go down towards the “Bush Terminal Piers Park” (have no clue what they do) and was able to take these pics.

We turned around and walked past 52nd towards 58th and discovered the Sunset Park/Brooklyn Army Terminal Pier.  Score!

Walking back to our cars, I had to snap a couple of streets.  I love the look of Brooklyn.  It actually has a similar feel to our Plateau Mont Royal area with the staircases.  Not the same as ours go up to second and third floors but still.

Driving on I-87 North – Homeward Bound

Now it was truly time to say good-bye and wish each other a safe trip home.  Set that GPS for home and oh my GAWD… It took me one and a half hours to get from 52nd street to and over the Brooklyn Bridge, to and over the George Washington Bridge!

Traffic not moving. Cool church

However, as soon as I hit the I-97 North, it was relatively smooth sailing.  Must say New Yorkers like to drive fast – and I have zero problems setting my cruise control to 130 km/hr (80 mph) to keep up!

Things were going great till I hit that dead zone in the Adirondacks where no radio stations come in.  Reminder again that my iPad was left on my bed!  Aaargh.  It’s 7:00 pm and I’ve got one station that is scratchy.  I press search and the numbers go all the way ’round.  Ain’t nothing coming in.  Turn off the radio.  Try again fifteen minutes later.  Same thing.  Try periodically.  Get some gospel station.  I ain’t that desperate.   Try again.  Talk, talk, talk, Trump, talk.  Ugh.  I’m not old enough to be into that stuff.  Try again.  Get some talk radio where a son and his mother are talking to the host, about the process of being transgender and how everyone deals with it.  Nope.

Signs for Whiteface Mountain but construction.  Ugh.  Down to 50 mph.  Good grief!  Spot a motorcycle ahead of me.  It’s 6 degrees Celsius! (43ºF)  The guy is wearing army-style pants, boots and a jacket.  His face is red from the cold as he has nothing protecting it and is holding the bike with one hand while the other is tucked into himself… I feel for the poor bugger.  I imagine he is riding a motorcycle at this time of the year because he has no other option.  Or he’s an idiot.

Sign says Montreal 98 miles.  Woot!  Try the radio again and I get Delilah!  Oh my goodness!   She is still on the air?  Not listening to her but now have options.  Get to the border around 8 pm-ish, sail on through and am home by 9.

Unpacked the car and was very pleased to see my gift had remained undamaged…

 

Cook in Tuscany – La Chiusa, A Surprise, Innocenti and Farewell

*** EIGHT – yes, EIGHT!!  months have gone by since I returned from Tuscany.  I had so many issues with my computer that I had put this aside to finish later and later never seemed to come.  I am now, if you don’t mind, ready to finish the telling of this fabulous life-changing (for me) trip! ***

♣♣♣TWO YEARS – yes, officially TWO YEARS have, as of today, gone by since I started my Cook in Tuscany Trip.  I am not counting my day in Zug because that would have made yesterday the official two-year mark.  Though I am not pro-resoution, I have promised myself to finish every project I have started and that includes this one.♣♣♣

Now where was I….

Sigh, the last full day in Montefollonico, at La Costa with this fabulous group that made the start of my trip so wonderful. The next morning most would be hopping the van to Chiusi-Chianciano Station to continue their adventures elsewhere or return home.  But till then, we had a full day of wonderful stuff!

As per usual, we had our breakfast in the closed-in veranda before making our way to our last cooking class.  It is kinda funny that we had the van, considering how close we were!  We could easily have walked there and back but hey, why not?  And it’s not like any of us knew where we were going anyway.

This time we made our way to the restaurant La Chiusa, run by Michelin-star chef Dania, a woman who is somewhere in her 70’s but does not dress “accordingly” (whatever that is supposed to be)!  She is one sexy lady!  Though divorced, her husband still works with her.  How very European, eh?

Dania is very artistic and she showed us how to decorate plates with zucchini and beet purées.  We made stuffed zucchini flowers, pesto risotto, chicken stew, caramel nests, fig and caramel ice cream.  The colour of the egg yolks… I have no words.  And this standard for them!

Once most of the mains were started, Dania brought us through to her gardens, which were still amazing in September.  Huge kale, leeks, rows and rows of rosemary, basil, eggplants, peppers, fig trees, zucchini with their blossoms – it was amazing to walk through, while Dania chattered away, occasionally translated by the lovely Geraldine – same who had translated on truffle-hunting day.  I think I would spend hours on this bench, dreaming of what to pick next…

Group photo!

We then went into the “pasta” kitchen where Antonietta had us making ravioli stuffed with ricotta and lovely gnocchi.

All that hard work meant we got to eat al fresco on the terrace.

To return “home”, we decided to walk this time.  It was just up a hill, less than a kilometre and let’s face it, walking was not a bad idea.  As we entered the gates of Montefollonico, we were chattering and laughing when I heard “Dale?”.

What the… I spun around and there was Pierre.  One of Mick’s close friends and former clients.  Oh. Em. Gee.  You cannot make this stuff up!  I mean, come ON!  This is not THE rocking place of Tuscany.  This tiny village is tucked away in the middle of nowhere!  I can still hear Donna saying:  “You turned French Canadian in front of my eyes!”  Speaking of eyes, the whole gang got all misty-eyed at seeing us hug.  Pierre looked at me, then up at the sky and let out a “Mick, tabarnac!”  He said he was a little bit of a believer but now was full-fledged.  I had no idea he and his wife, Geneviève, were there on vacation.  And it was his in-laws who wanted to go visit there.  What were the chances?

Pierre and Me

We exchanged emails and made arrangements to hook up in two days.  So. Very. Cool.

We had a few hours to kill before our next adventure and Sandy wanted to deliver an apron to Dania in thanks.  So I joined Donna and her for a walk back to La Chiusa and Dania.

Our last excursion was down the street from LaCosta to Innocenti Wines.

We were greeted by Vino, Vittorio Innocenti’s sweet dog.  We entered and a few feet in, found ourselves in a fairly dark and musty wine cellar with the big casks.  Vittorio and Laura (Geraldine’s mum) were waiting for us to give us a tour.  Not a very big one!  The place is quite small and feels very intimate.

It was our last night together! How quickly it passed.  How much fun we had.  The memories created will remain forever, of that I am certain.  Friendships created and with the magic of Facebook, maintained.

Our last supper was at La Costa in the closed veranda as the evening was quite cool.  We had a lovely feast of pork chops and the lemon roasted potatoes and balsamic roasted cipollini, three types of crostini (mushroom, roasted tomato and olive), salad and a birthday cake for Cindi and Alison!  A perfect ending to a perfect week in perfect company.  Linda and George gave us each a lovely ceramic plate as a memento.  We would save our good-byes for the morrow.

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Part 7