Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Rome, Italy

Having been to Rome before we were just able to relax and enjoy the city at our leisure this time. While disappointed that the Trevi Fountain was under construction we were happy to have seen it in its original splendor on our last visit. Combining shopping and viewing the many beautiful free sites the city has to offer filled our two days with ease. A visit to the Pantheon, Vittorio Emmanuel ll Monument and Rome's Church of the Santa Maria Maddelena left us as awestruck as our visit to the Vatican and Sistine Chapel two years prior.

As with any European city nothing beats walking around the main attractions at night and listening to the local music.

The CD purchased from Betty Candelieri, a street performer with the most angelic voice, who played in front of the Pantheon. With Europe over 3,000 miles behind us the music continues to remind us of the astounding architecture, wealth and romance reflected in the streets of Rome.
July 2014

Italy, Rome, Betty Candelieri, VittorioEmmanuelllMonument, Pantheon, ChurchoftheSantaMariaMaddelena, architecture, city, TreviFountain

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Detroit, Michigan

While our summer has been relatively quiet following our fun-filled, fast-paced trip through Croatia and Italy in June we planned to end our summer with an outdoor concert in Detroit. Having never been there before and warned by many to be careful we were somewhat apprehensive as we set off to the motor city. With my two kindred souls with me I saw no reason for concern as long as we were street smart and stayed in populated areas.
Back home safe and sound I reflect on our very short trip to the US I must admit this is the first place I have ever been where having a free spirited nature was not in my best interest. As we drove to our hotel the area around our hotel was run down, graffiti laden and void of many on the streets. We were encouraged by hotel staff to get a cab down to Comerica Park despite the fact it was less than a mile away and daylight. As we arrived at the stadium we enjoyed the lively pre-concert surroundings, Detroit landscape, the company of the friendly staff from radio 107. 5 and a fantastic show to follow. The next day we stopped at a popular diner with local cuisine, home cooked meals and an affordable menu before making our way to the Motown Museum. Sadly we were turned away at the museum as the wait was almost two hours long so if planning to add this to the many things you can do in Detroit be aware that the museum has guided tours only and be sure to reserve. Yet the trip to this area of the city gave us a sampling of its culture with local food, aesthetic buildings and a glimpse at music history. This visit was only a microscopic view of Detroit yet at the same time it was also a humbling experience and vivid reminder that tourism can come at a price if you are not aware of your surroundings and that the best travel plans should always include input from 'the locals'.
August 2014

USA, Detroit, Motown, Eminem, ComericaPark

Monday, 11 August 2014

Civita, Italy

And so we saved the best for last!!!

Before making our way to Rome for the flight home we stopped at the Orvieto train station, boarded a bus to Bagnoregia and climbed the hill to Civita. This UNESCO World site literally stands apart from any other we have ever visited in Europe, as a medieval town with a population under 10,  Civita is as enchanting as they come. While virtually no one we spoke to in our travels had ever heard of this village our anticipation grew as we waited to see if it was as magical as Rick Steeves described it in his Europe Through the Back Door DVD series.
The tastefully decorated rooms, kindness of the staff, palate pleasing meals and local wine, (D.O.C. ORVIETO CLASSICO "BELLORO"), from Cantina Custodi Winery and Vineyard, made the Civita B & B one of our favorite accommodations over the 26 day trek. The staff Fiorella, Nina and Giorgia created a wonderful atmosphere and was very attentive to traveller's needs providing complimentary wine and water when we arrived and ensuring our stay was perfect...and it was! To book accommodations or just enjoy a lovely meal search and don't forget to try the tiramisu. We had the pleasure of meeting the owner, Franco, who shared stories about the town, his business, and his long term friendship with Rick Steeves (whose travel advice we have embraced over the past two years). As he often describes the 'off the beaten path' locations as some of the most special we would have to agree that Civita is every bit the peaceful, romantic place it was described to be and with it being so accessible from Rome and Florence it is definitely worth the side trip. Sitting at the bottom of the hill and embracing the silence and solitude, while waiting for the sun to come up over top this majestic town, is one of the memories I will cherish for years to come.
July 2014

Italy, Bagoregia, Civita, CantinaCustodiWineryandVineyard. CivitaB&B, RickSteeves, scenic, medieval, tiramisu, romanticgetaway