#WeekendCoffeeShare – In Which I Played Tour Guide

Good evening my Blogger Friends!  It’s Sunday evening and I am in no mood for coffee.  Red wine for me!

First things first, however.  Thank you Emily from Nerd in the Brain for hosting our Coffee Talk!  For anyone wanting to join in on the fun, just click on the coffee cup above and you’ll be directed to her site where you can add your link or click on the link and read other stories.

Now, without further ado… My week.  Oy!  What a fantabulous week!  No, I shall not talk about my water woes other than to say that one issue has been fixed and one has been diagnosed – not in the manner in which I would prefer… Next subject!

If we were having coffee, or frankly, it is Sunday night, so, if you want that hot beverage spiked, just say so, I’ve got a lovely collection of liqueurs that could be added.  I might even be able to whip up some cream as a topping, should you wish!  I, on the other hand, shall go and get myself a nice glass of wine.  I also have white or rosé, should you prefer!

If we were sharing a nice beverage, I would tell you that I had a most wonderful week with Alison.  Who is Alison, you ask?  Would you imagine?  Last September, I went to Tuscany for almost three weeks.  The first week was a cooking week with Cook in Tuscany and where I met Alison.  I wrote part of my story  here.  (I’ve got a few posts still to go to bring it all up to speed – yeah, yeah, I know.  Way late!  Anyway.)  Well, as happens when you spend a full week with a group (we were 14 in all), friendships form.  We exchanged emails and quite a few of us are now Facebook friends.  Alison asked me if I was serious when I said, should you come to visit Montreal, let me know.  I responded absolutely!

She said cool… She’d be in Montreal from Tuesday, April 18th, till Saturday, April 22nd.  I offered my home for her to stay in but she is very allergic to cats and I’ve two of them.   She was very content to stay in an AirBnB in downtown Montreal and I was happy to go pick her up daily so we could do the tourist thing.

Alison really wanted to see our Montreal Symphony Orchestra and had asked me to look into buying tickets.  Then Punta Cana happened and I got all involved in the passport thing and the trip itself and…. When she texted me saying,  “So? Where are we sitting?”  I had to sheepishly admit I had failed at purchasing them.  I did manage to get us tickets for the first night but we’d not be sitting together.  She said what did it matter?  It’s not like we are going to talk while the music is playing… she had a point.  I had never been to our new Symphony House so I didn’t know what the seating was like.  There were some seats behind the musicians but I didn’t dare take them.  I should have.  It’s not like I could see the faces of anyone way up in the balcony!

Picked up Alison at the airport at 5pm, drove through the traffic to bring her to her apartment.  She changed and we made our way down to the “Quartier des Spectacles” in Montreal, parked and attempted to find something decent to eat.  Problem was it was also a hockey night so all restaurants were filled to the rim.  Ended up eating two steamies and greasy fries at Lafleur!  Sheesh.  Quite the beginning!

We made our way to the new (well, new to me, but open since 2011) MSO Symphony Hall to enjoy the concert Brel Symphonique.  Fans of Jacques Brel were treated to interpretation by mostly Québécois singers.  We were not disappointed.  Alison’s goal was to hear the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and she found the 81 members for this concert amazing.  I was not disappointed because I love Jacques Brel’s music and I found that the 10 artists did a wonderful job interpreting his songs along with the wonderful orchestration by the MSO.

As Alison had been up since very early, she was ready to hit the hay for the next day of adventures!

Wednesday morning, I picked her up and we made our way to St. Joseph’s Oratory.   We explored every floor, nook and cranny that we could.  Of course, once we were ready to go, it started to rain, so we didn’t take a picture of the oratory from the street!  Alison didn’t believe me when I told her that you could always find at least one person climbing the steps on their knees…

We worked up our hunger (it was near 2:00 pm!) so we made our way to Côte-des-Neiges Street and into McCarold’s Irish Pub for a delicious burger and fries.

My son’s friend was coming to do some of the plumbing – no, we’re not talking about my water woes! – and I wanted to be there when he did so we made our way to my house.  A tour of the mess and then we just sat and chitchatted.  And eventually got hungry so I made a vegetable & tortellini “Stoup” and heated up a frozen baguette.  Voilà!  Supper is served.  Alison was my expert stirrer…

On Thursday, we drove around the different boroughs of Montreal so I could show Alison the “Stairs of Montreal” and we wound up in Little Italy and the Jean-Talon Market.  It is such a fabulous place in summer but does remain open year-round (maybe 1/5 to 1/4 of it?)  We then made our way to Outremont, which has a totally different vibe, drove up Mount Royal, walked around Beaver Lake then made our way to the Camilien Houde Promontory to see a view of Montreal.  Though not raining, it was sort of clear…  Oh!  And as I drove around to the front of the entrance of Mount Royal where there are statues and, in the summer, the Tam-Tam players, I kept wondering why there were so many cops!  I sent Alison out to take some pics while I stayed in the car, illegally parked, and she came back stating there was quite the scent around the place.  D’oh!  It was 420 – Weed Day!

All that walking around made us hungry, so we made our way to Old Montreal.  We had a show at the Notre Dame Basilica (Aura) at 6 pm so we figured we’d have time to walk around and admire the old buildings and whatnot after lunch.  We ate outside in a heated terrasse (yes, I spell it the French way because we say it the French way!)  I wanted to bring Alison to the Jardin Nelson but it was closed for the day. Grrr.  So we went to Le Fripon.  No regrets!  After a delicious pizza, we made our way to the Basilica and enjoyed the Aura light show.  Truly beautiful.  A tad pricey for the amount of time we spent there, I have to admit but there was still no regret at having watched the light show.

I had never seen these two statues and the plaque explaining them….  They are so representative of the English-French thing that we have going on in our province!

Not yet hungry, we decided to go have a drink.  I decided we should go to Crescent Street where there are so many happening places.  I was telling her about Winnie’s and Margo and how she was THE bartender for years, knowing many Montreal writers and such but that she had taken her retirement and… bloody hell!  Who is at Winnie’s?  Margo!  Unknowingly, it was the 50th anniversary of the club and it was Bartenders Alumni Night!  Score!  What a perfect ending to a perfect day.  We decided to stay and have a late supper.  Introduced Alison to poutine, to boot…

So now it is Friday.  Our last full day to do stuff.   And I’m expecting a plumber to come and check out the mess – but we’re not talking about that, right?  As well, I have an 80th birthday cake to make for a friend of mine so my time is kinda wack.  I pick up Alison at 10:30 and off we go to the Biodome or Biosphere.  This was originally the American pavilion during Expo 67.  It was a spectacular sight then and in 1976, the outside walls (or membrane) caught fire but the original structure remained intact.  The Biodome became a natural museum and is most interesting.  I figured it was close enough to my house so we would be able to get to my house quickly should said plumber call.  There are a few halls closed for preparation of Montreal’s 375 birthday celebration so price is cut in half.  I’m jiggy wid it…   We enter one of the rooms for a 360º presentation but 2/3 of the screens are blank.  Not good.  I go out and advise the people in charge and they come and fix it.  In the meantime, we go to see other interesting things on the planet, global warming and such and make our way back to the original hall for the next presentation in English.  Very interesting and as we leave, my phone rings and it’s my son telling me the plumber is there.  Sigh. So much for him calling first…

We decided to lunch on my leftover stoup and, once the plumbing done, made our way back to Montreal.  It was a bleary day.  (Seriously, Alison was so not lucky weather-wise!)  We decide to take in the Chagall exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.  Park the car, make our way there and I find it weird there is no one at the reception.  Wait in line at the VIP line only to be told that the museum closes at 5 pm.  It was 4:50.  Ugh.  Only on Wednesdays is the museum open until 9 PM.  Dammit.   A lovely woman tells us, hey, if you want to, across the street at the Bourgie Hall, you can have a concert and a private tour of the exhibition.  Well.   We immediately crossed over and paid the fee.  Oh my goodness!  What a score!  We had the most wonderful guide Elena (Elaina? Elayna?) who knew her stuff.  It was a speedy tour, to be sure, and just whetted my appetite to return before it is gone.

 

After that, we settled into our seats in the converted church and enjoyed – well, I cannot lie, I am not a fan of Stravinsky but still.  The first half was a Stravinsky piano piece for four hands and the second was a piano duet for two pianos by Francis Poulenc.  The pianists were James Anagnoson and Leslie Kinton, celebrating 40 years of playing together!

They did a bang-up job!  By the end of the concert, it was almost 8 PM so we were hungry and I brought Alison to the Gay Village and my most favourite restaurant, Mozza Pâtes et Passions.  There is no place like it.  I told Alison she must go to the bathroom.  And to bring her phone with her… 😉

Bathroom at Mozza

The next morning I had to go to a work meeting from 9:30 till 11:00, rush home to meet the foundation guy – no, we’re still not talking water woes – then finish the cake for my friend Martin B.  I picked up Alison around 1:30 and drove her to the airport.  Our five-day-extravaganza had come to an end already.

I cannot believe how many things we did in such a short time!  It was a blast and I was told I was a good tour guide.  Phew!

I hope I’ve not rambled on way too long.  It took me almost three days to write this thing as the weather has finally turned (doesn’t that figure, Alison?) so I did come in and out of the house between raking and stuff to write this!

Oh. My bad.  I almost forgot all the goodies Alison brought me as a thank you.  Sheesh.  She spoiled me with Louisiana hot sauces, an apron and a bottle of wine!  All products from her home State of Louisiana.  Spoiled rotten, I tell ya!

Thanks to any of you who stuck it out and read the whole shebang!

See you next week!  I can promise you it will be way less exciting!

Lotsa love,

Dale

xoxo

 

 

#WeekendCoffeeShare – Spring Walk, Paperwork, Breakfasts & More Snow?

Hello my friends and welcome.  Please do come in.  You’ll have to stamp your feet to remove the snow.  Yes. Curse, cuss, swear, sigh.  We got more snow last night.  Hello?  First day of Spring was Monday?  Remember, Ma Nature?  Oh well, welcome to Spring in Quebec!

So, if we were having coffee, or tea, or some other beverage, we would complain a bit about yesterday’s snowfall.  It is what one does when one is done with it.  I, for one, am done with it.  No, no, don’t try. You can’t convince me how pretty it is.  It really is, isn’t?  I don’t care.  Come back next Winter.

OK… getting ahead of myself.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you what an absolutely beautifully, gorgeous day we had on Monday!  Oh my!  First day of spring and the sky was blue, the clouds were white, the sun was shining, the birds were chirping, the snow was melting!  Zeke and I were way overdue for one of our super long walks and man… oh man… did we ever take one!

That 10.9 km is 6.8 miles… just sayin’…

I had decided I wanted to make my way to the St. Lawrence River so we could watch the ice pieces float by and hopefully catch some wildlife.  We did so and we ended up all the way into the Old Boucherville section.  What a walk!  Leaving my house, we walked along Industrial Boulevard to Fort St-Louis.  Those who are on Instagram got pretty much a play-by-play of my walk!

And there were honest-to-goodness buds on the trees.  Really!  Considering last Wednesday’s snowstorm, who’d a thunk?

Crossing the tracks, we walked along a road that runs parallel to the highway until we reached the overpass to the river’s edge.  I always stop and admire this house.  It speaks to me!

We continued on, past the ever-present construction until we reached Marie-Victorin.  This street/boulevard goes through at least six towns (I will have to verify that one!) running the length of the St.Lawrence River.  Boucherville, Varennes, Verchères each have their special cachet that I shall have to share with you further!

From my home town, we get to see the various Boucherville Islands that are now a Provincial Park and we can access via mini ferry (holding bicycles and people only) during the summer season.

I started taking a bunch of pictures of many of the old houses and realised that I shall share them with you on another post.  They deserve to be front and centre!   However, I do think it worthwhile to share our big Paroisse Ste-Famille, where I was baptised many a moon ago…

We walked around the little streets, snapping pictures of old houses and I was struck by the gold of the hedge that seemed to pop out of nowhere.

By now I’m wishing I had someone I could call to pick us up and take us the rest of the way home!  We were both pooped and decided our evening was going to be one of vegging on the couch!

Tuesday was paperwork day.  I realised my passport was due to expire by June of this year and decided to bring it in directly to the passport office.  I mean, come on, what if someone comes into my life, sweeps me off my feet and wants to take my on a trip of a lifetime!  I must be ready!  Of course, reading all about Cady Luck Leedy’s story about HER passport woes is what really made me look at mine in the first place!  The whole sweeping off my feet thing is more of a, well, okay, I’ll admit it, a girl can dream, right?   I was shocked and pleasantly surprised that the whole thing took a mere one hour and fifteen minutes from beginning to end.  How do you like them apples?  To think I was going to set my alarm at stupid o’clock to wait in line for the doors to open at 7:30 am.  Pfft…. I got there at 11:30 and was in my car by 1:00 pm.  And that’s because I did some window-shopping on my way back to my car.  Pretty darn good, let me tell you!

As I had sold my car for scrap, I also had to go the S.A.A.Q. (DMV for ya’all) to register the transaction to no longer be liable for the hunk-a-junk.  And, lucky me, I got $165 back for the registration!  Woot!

On Wednesday, I had breakfast with my youngest sister.  Always nice to break the fast with her.  Actually, am overdue for breakfast with second sister as well… Hmmm… will have to make arrangements.  My mom, Yvon and their grandson arrived at 1:00 pm to visit the apartment my sisters had found for them.  It was a big moment and we all (sisters) hoped that Mom and Yvon would fall in love with it (or at least in good like) and agree that it was the place to move to.  For those of you who read my Friday Fictioneers this week, you will note it was totally based on this happening!  They not only liked it, they signed the lease for June 1st!  Wonderful.  Now we will all be within 15 minutes of each other.  It will definitely take a load off my mother’s shoulders.  Of course now we have the lovely prospect of moving them from a house to a 3 1/2 apartment.  That will be so much fun.  Not.

Nothing much I feel the need to share for Thursday but Friday – yesterday.  Well.  We’ve come full circle to the beginning of this tale.  I must repeat.  What in the name of hell is up with Mother Nature?  Oh man!  That snow is pretty.  To be sure.  If it were elsewhere.  I will admit that Zeke and I enjoyed taking a walk in it and of course I had to take a couple of pictures.  Cool the different effects of no flash and flash and a little fun with PicMonkey…

I would have sent this out earlier but this afternoon we all went bowling for my niece’s volleyball team.  What is it about bowling that is so much fun?  Almost the whole family participated and a good laugh was had by all.  Now, I’m not one to toot my own horn but I did have to ask for a printout of my scores because man oh  man… I was on fire!

I think I have gone on long enough.  We must have gone from coffee to water to wine by now, eh?  I hope you enjoyed my little tour of Boucherville and my sharing of my week’s stuff.  Now, it’s your turn.  Tell me how your week was!

Thank you to our lovely hostess Emily of Nerd in the Brain for hosting this weekly coffee gig.  You can click on her name to make your way to her blog where you can find the link to add your coffee talk, should you like!  (I haven’t figure out yet how to get the link working on my blog as yet.  Mostly because I’ve not really tried!)

Have a marvellous week and see ya’all next week!

Lotsa love,

Dale

xo

 

 

 

 

#Weekend Coffee Share – Overdue and Yet Timely

weekendcoffeesharelogo

It has been eons since my last coffee share (I’m even afraid to look, it’s been so long…) but let us not let that stop us, righty?  After all, it is the last day of 2016 and a brand-new, unblemished New Year starts at Midnight tonight!  Click on the image above to be taken to Diana’s blog “Part-Time Monster” for more weekend shares, and maybe add your own.  Thank you for accepting my contribution, Diana!

If we were having coffee, I’d suggest we splurge and add a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to it… Bailey’s? Grand Marnier?  Name it, I’ll add it.  Allow it to warm our tummies so we can feel all cozy and warm on the inside as well as the outside.  Don’t worry, I’ve lit the fire to keep us toasty warm.

If we were having coffee, I’d first say happy birthday to my friend Leslie Gadoury.  What a thing to have a birthday on the last day of the year!  It’s always a celebration in double!  I just wish we could see each other face-to-face sometime soon.  It’s been way too long, hasn’t it?  Thank goodness for Facebook (cuss it all you like, folks.  For me, it is one way of keeping in touch!)

If we were having coffee… oh, did you prefer tea?  Skip the caffeine and move right to wine or a cocktail?  Please, no worries!  I might even have a bit of eggnog left over!

img_20161224_154233_434

Anyway, I would tell you that Zeke got a good walk yesterday.  Also a first in a long time.  Somehow I was letting my lethargy take over and not going on our long jaunts of yore.  A situation to be remedied, I assure you!  Zeke and I were both very happy and the weather was perfect.  Almost too warm (or is it that my jacket and boots are just too efficient?).  We went to our favourite park des Brouages where “my” river flows…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It felt so good to get out there and enjoy the fresh air.  Made me wonder why the heck I hadn’t been finding the time… oh yeah, between ice storms, rain, holidays… I may have been a tad busy!

If we were having coffee with a hint of spirits, I would say that I am ever so glad that I signed up at the gym at the same time as I did my son.  It was his Christmas gift but at two for one… why the heck not?  I have gotten my program from the very helpful Mathieu so will have no excuses on what to do and how (not that I really did, but you know, it had been a long time since my last subscription…whatever it takes to give me the oomph to go!)

We had a lovely Christmas between the sisters’ houses.  Always fun to end up at Tracy and Sébastien’s on Christmas Eve and play our silly game of steal the present.  There is always that one present that everyone covets… Plus Tracy introduced us to a fun Chinese gambling game that made us all run and laugh… Darn Stéphanie who one three out of four games!  Lucky her!  Everyone brought food, me my eggnog and a marzipan cake inspired by Sarah Potter – I’m positive hers was not dangerous to the teeth!  Next time I follow the recipe and use cherries and NOT dried fruit… sigh…)

The next morning, after opening our presents and me picking up my mother-in-law, it was brunch at my house where Iain, for the second year, has taken up his father’s position as head chef and omelette maker!  Basically the same crowd (save Sébastien’s sister and brother and family) and, normally I invite friends but somehow this year, that didn’t happen… Christmas, though arrives at every time, every year, somehow crept up on me…) Still, we stuffed ourselves big time on sausages, bacon, omelettes, croissants, chocolate-buttermilk pancakes, pâtés, etc.  Lisa brought her famous kourabiedes cookies (Greek butter, powder sugar cookies) – sooo delicious!

Time to relax/clean up/nap/do whatever we pleased to then find out way at Lisa and Chris’ for Christmas dinner.  Chris’ bird was delicious and we almost ate my salad that I brought – totally forgot it in the fridge!  That and my cranberry sauce… What up wit dat?  Like there wasn’t already enough food to fill our bellies with… It’s always a nice relaxed end of the holidays evening and we, though we were sure we would not be able to eat after Iain’s brunch, stuffed ourselves once more.

A lovely holiday season for sure and it is culminating tonight with a party at Linda and Nicola’s – they have an annual New Year’s Eve party and it is my first time attending.  I was blessed to be invited to three parties this year!  Three!  And me, who spent last NYE in my tub…

Giselle and Dany’s party had to be cancelled for flu.  I think they would benefit from one of my special coffees… or maybe some home-made chicken soup.  Shall  see what I can do for them!  Get well love birds!

I wish for you all a most wonderful 2017, filled with love, laughter, good health, general happiness, friendships and smiles for no reason… oh and of course, good fortune!

Lotsa love!

Dale

xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flooding the Internet With Gratitude

50 Happy Things I’m Grateful For in 2016

I follow Rochelle Wisoff-Fields and her blog Addicted to Purple and she took on Dawn Landau from Tales of the Motherland’s challenge that she took on from… well, you get the picture.  Actually, it was originally a “50 Things That Make You Happy” that evolved into a “50 Things that Make you Grateful” because, as those of us Gratitude Practitioners know, being grateful brings happiness and vice-versa. As I write this… I realize that I participated in a happy challenge in 2015!  Seriously, Dude.. where is YOUR memory? (she says to herself…)

OK… Enough blah, blah!  If you want the official rules and regs, I would click on Dawn’s link as she gets into the nitty-gritty.  But basically, get ready, put a timer on for 15 minutes and write away 50 things for which you are grateful and/or that make you happy.

To join us for this project: 1) Write your post and publish it (please copy and paste the instructions from this post, into yours) 2) Click on the blue frog. 3) That will take you to another window, where you can past the URL to your post. (folks have trouble with this, but it’s not that hard. 4)Follow the prompts, and your post will be added to the Blog Party List. The inLinkz will be open until January 3, 2017

Get the inLinkz code

50 Things I’m Thankful/Grateful For That Make me Happy, in no particular order…

  1. My children Iain and Aidanimg_2223
  2. Snow at Christmas
  3. Having a roof over my house
  4. My dog Zekeimg_2666
  5. Friday Fictioneers
  6. My sisters Lisa and Tracysisters
  7. The blogosphere and the friends that I have made.
  8. Mom, who is always there when we need hermom
  9. Running water
  10. Being able to drive to where I want to go
  11. Tuscany – and me finally getting to go there!2016-09-06-09-17-43
  12. Milena from L’Albero Gameli for making my first night in Tuscany so memorable20160904_104102-2
  13. Linda and George for creating Cook in Tuscany
  14. Facebook which has allowed me to not only find people but keep in touch with them
  15. Sunflowers!20160905_092511
  16. My almost 20 years with Mick which has given me so many stories to write aboutmick&dale
  17. Living in a place that enjoys all four seasons
  18. Summerimg_20160710_180901
  19. Springimg_2608
  20. Winterimg_1920
  21. Fallimg_20161102_144642
  22. My eyes, for allowing me to be able to read and see the world
  23. Running into an old friend in the middle of Montefollonico20160909_150608
  24. My job that I never thought I’d like, much less be good at
  25. The fact I don’t have to work this winter, unless I really want to
  26. Flannel sheets in winter
  27. Air conditioning in Summer
  28. Heating in Winter
  29. Boucherville – home town and where I find much blissimg_20161230_104959_451
  30. Frank – because he is going to ask me why is not on the list
  31. My smile – I have to accept it as good as it is always commented on!dale-2016
  32. The fact my boys are starting to do things on their own just because and not because I asked!
  33. My lack of allergies.
  34. My cooking skillsimg_20161106_173503
  35. Circle of friends
  36. Photography, which allows me to express myselfimg_20161230_104523_294
  37. Resilience – to overcome obstacles
  38. Laughter – the best sound ever
  39. My independence
  40. Coffeeimg_20161230_123709_669
  41. Brothers-in-law for all the ways they help me out
  42. Smell of fresh cut grass
  43. Scent of petrichor
  44. Summer rain
  45. Big fluffy snowfall any time in winterimg_20161230_101837_054
  46. Warm clothes to be able to play in the snow
  47. Pools and lakes and oceans in hot weather2016-03-08-13-21-30
  48. Good glass of wineEverything is better with wine
  49. Fireplaceimg_20161211_010246
  50. Love – the possibilities of it

Now, this is quite the random list, and that’s okay.  It’s what it is supposed to be!  I could have cheated and changed some of my answers but I followed the rules and added the pics later… days later.  I wanted this out before midnight and I’ve got three minutes to post!

 

 

What I Know For Sure – Friday Fictioneers

After a looooooong break, here I am, back at Friday Fictioneers.  I so missed you all and I missed coming up with 100-word stories for these past six months!  I could not seem to find balance.  The hours were long and weird so any time off was spent, well, off!  It would not be fair to write a story and not be able to read yours and respond to any comments appropriately.  I felt it best to come back when I could fully participate.  Now is the time.  The golf club I work at closes in 25 days, the hours we work are much reduced (thank GAWD!) and some semblance of normal is returning. For those of you who have not given up on me, I give thanks; for those who have, I totally understand!

So, without further ado, here is my rusty return! Thank you c.e.ayr for this photo.  It sure got me thinking!  For those of you who wish to join in with your 100-word story, please click on the blue frog to add your link.  To find out the hows and whats, just click here for Rochelle’s instructions.  She’s been hosting this here shindig for quite some time and is a fair leader!

Get the inLinkz code

What I Know For Sure

Word count:  100

Genre:  Fiction (sorta)

 

ceayr

©c.e. ayr

 

She sat, quietly, on the empty terrace, looking out at the water before her.  “It’s good to just sit still now and again,” she thought.

Her mind turned to the future.  “I wish I had plans as clear as the reflections before me.  Not a ripple, not a blur,”, she thought.  “No wondering what was next, knowing exactly what needed to be done.”

Then again, how dull!  What excitement was there in that?  If everything was planned out to the last detail, there would be no room for spontaneity, for surprises.

“That, I know for sure, is just not me.

Just Before Cook in Tuscany

Well. So much for that!

I was positive I would be blogging daily, keeping you all up to speed on the happenings of the moment.  Didn’t take into account the 13th century walls being too thick for adequate WiFi!  As my Facebook friends told me:  “Don’t stress, enjoy each moment and tell us about it later!”

Guess what? Now is later 🙂  I have an hour to kill at the Firenze airport so…

*** Note:  it has taken me days to write this!***

The plane ride from Zurich to Florence was a mere hour and we still got a snack and a piece of chocolate.  No complaints here…

Got my bag, found a taxi and 22€ later, was at the Firenze Treno Terme where I got a ticket to the Chiusi-Chianciano Terme.  Having no access to WiFi and not being able to find the document Linda from Cook in Tuscany sent us, I had to rely on my memory for the ‘how-to’.  Well, somehow, I chose an open ticket with the milk-run operation instead of the direct one.  Ugh.  Almost two hours later….

I was so late, my hostess from l’Albero di Gameli called my cell to find out where I was.  No way I was answering that one!  I didn’t bother getting a plan for my phone since all the places I’m staying at have WiFi so I can reach and be reached.   Anyhow… A 10€ taxi ride later, I arrived in Chiusi.

The very beautiful Milena Mazzella greeted me by telling me that, had she known what time I was arriving, she would have picked me up… dang. 2nd time I could have saved a buck!

She showed me my room and made me a sandwich with a glass of wine which I had on their little balcony.  Her partner, Marco, then came out and kept me company, soon joined by Milena and her youngest, Iliana.  She then got the classic Tuscan duo of contucci (cookies) and vin santo (sweet wine).  Dip, bite, drink… yum!

My room was beautiful with my own private bathroom.  Truly a gorgeous place to stay.  Kinda wished I had a few more days with them.  Ah well, la prossima volta!

As if their welcome wasn’t enough, Milena and Marco like to to give a gift of jewellery made by Marco.  All the rings were too small or too big and they insisted I choose this lovely pair of earrings.  So very generous of them.  Milena and I have become fast friends and I know that if ever I want to come back, there is a place for me!

Lovely gift!

Lovely gift!

Tomorrow… I tell you about Cook in Tuscany!

Ciao!

A Day in Zug, Switzerland

Hello my friends!  Day two of my trip and I’ve yet to sleep… I tried. Lord knows I tried on the flight to Zurich.  Sleep or no sleep, I can tell you that I shall be choosing Swiss International for all future European trips (and there will be more)!

I paid a premium for extra leg room and boy did I get it! (I shall be working on getting upgraded to Biz Class in the future… Wow!  What a setup they had!)  Anyhoo… I had Seat 40D, which is an aisle seat in the middle section next to the Emergency Exit. A gentleman was sitting in my spot so I had him scoot over.  The lady in the aisle seat next to the Emergency Exit (with waaaaayyyyy more leg room) did not want to sit there as there was no pouch in front of her to put her paraphernalia.  I gladly took her spot and the gentleman managed to convince her to sit in his seat so he got mine!  Musical seats and all were happy and that’s what mattered.

So, once settled and in the air, we were given some rosemary-flavoured crunchy things and a drink.  An hour or so later, supper was delivered.  In hard, reusable plastic dishes with real cutlery.  Salad, chicken curry with rice and string beans, bread, cheese, chocolate cake… deelish!

Everyone has their own screen to watch whatever movie or show or listen to music or play games.  I chose to watch “The Boss” with Melissa McCarthy (what a hoot).  This is when dinner was served.  I started to watch “A Bigger Splash” with Ralph Fiennes, and Tilda Swinton then told myself to smarten up and get some sleep.  Yeah… No.  I “may” have dozed but frankly, don’t think so. By 5-ish a.m. local time, breakfast was served! Mini croissant with butter and jam, orange juice, yogurt and a coffee.  Did I mention how impressed I was with Swiss?

Getting off was a breeze.  Once you collect your bag – and in my case, I had none as it was making its way to Firenze – you can choose between the entrance that says: nothing to declare or the one that says:  something to declare. Trust and no paperwork.  I like that.  I stopped off t get some Euros from the ATM (as was suggested to me by a few people) and found Urs waiting for me.

20160903_021231

Big smiles, hugs and kisses and we were off.  He showed me where he lives (very nice) and then we made our way to Zug (pronounced Soog) the city just past Zurich.  I don’t know if it has a more modern side to it, but we went to the older section with the classic “Swiss” look.  There was also an organic market complete with two llamas making the rounds!

There were dancers and musicians and I so loved hearing the quintet of men playing a lovely song.  The attached video is the same tune they played!

20160903_062944

We had lunch in a lovely little outside terrasse – a tapas meal with a glass of white wine and resumed our walk.

*** ran out of juice – both me and the computer! It was 1:00 a.m.! ***

Walking along, we came upon the fountain of Gret Schell (I Googled it, seems there is missing an ‘h’); a woman who had to carry her drunken husband home as he is wearing a jester’s hat and bearing a rod – apparently this was statue-worthy and is celebrated yearly.

I love the cobblestone streets and various buildings

Urs wanted to introduce me to the local renowned dessert called the Treicher Zuger Kirschtorte.  A cherry schnapps loaded sponge cake… yum!

20160903_072558

My feet were pretty much done and we had an hour to kill before I had to be back at the airport so we sat by the Zug Lake and watched the ducks and swans and enjoyed the shade.

My visit with Urs was over and it was back to the Airport to wait for my next plane. Sitting on the floor as there were no more seats!

IMG_20160903_163241