Monday, January 25, 2010

In Search of Snow

I am 38 (give or take a year) and have lived a great life but have never, ever seen snow. In answer the the obvious question, if I am going to spend money on a holiday I go where there is sun and sand and heat. I hate the cold.

Then I found myself in New York. In January. And it is COLD. So in for a penny in for a pound. Stef and I did a small amount of research and decided to go to Rhinebeck, New York in search of snow. We found our way to the station and jumped on the train to Rhinebeck.

The conductor clipped our tickets and I (making conversation) asked him if there was snow on the ground in Rhinebeck, he couldn't remember so he went off to ask his partner. Meanwhile Stef started to tell me a story about how on a trip she had to arm herself with a pair of scissors on a train for protection, she demonstrated how she could have used them and unfortunately made violent contact with the seat in front of us terrifying the life out of the poor lady in front (who I'm sure just heard the words stab and scissors).

The conductor came back with the dreaded words, no snow in Rhinebck and suggested we go a bit further to Albany. After he left a nice young gentleman with the prettiest pink, pearly lipstick and a full face of make-up suggested we get off in Hudson as there was snow there.

So out plans changed. We decided to go a bit further to Hudson. The train was traveling past the Hudson River and as we got further and further the river started to ice up and then there were huge chunks of ice and I went into great raptures, the conductor came back and we paid the extra money to change the tickets. The lady in front of us (who Stef had demonstrated the stabbing with the scissors on) turned around and said that she live just out of Hudson and, in fact, her son had just become a Chef at a restaurant up on a mountain and she would be very happy to call her son and find out if there was snow up there. I said that would be awesome and would be a great place to have lunch.

To cut a long story short she offered us a lift up the mountain to this place and within 2 hours found ourselves in the Catskill Mountains in a place straight out of the 80's having lunch overlooking 5 of the US states and surrounded by snow. I got to step in it, lie in it and fall on it, well actually I fell on the ice not the snow. I need to add here that Stef was unable to help me up as she was laughing so hard she was doubled over. I was not so amused.

We were picked up by the ladies son and driven back to the station, they would not hear of us catching a taxi as it would have cost us at least $60.

It was the most surreal and amazing adventure, Stef and I just kept laughing and wondering how the hell we ended up in the middle of the snow filled Catskills mountains in the most random little restaurant. Right place, right time and the ability to change our plans without stress.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

More Photos in Rome

More to come

I still have some photo's to post so keep checking back and stay tuned for..............

In Search of Italian Gelato in New York.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

In Search of Italian Gelato

Every single day we have spent in Italy has been jam packed from early in the morning till late at night. Today, our last day in Italy, was spent doing the complete opposite. We did nothing, actually that's not particularly accurate. We lay by the pool, with a view of Mt Vesuvius in the background, we spent the day reading, eating, sun baking and just relaxing. We have had our fill.
Our view from the pool. Not bad.

Last night we went for dinner with the nice Italian soon to be husband of Sue but she unfortunatly (and selfishly) didn't take to him. I refuse (thank you Ingrid) to believe it was a ploy.

Scarily enough, really actually, quite scary, I haven't had a gelato today, I was SO sick after yesterday's pig out that the thought of gelato today makes me feel, well sick! What a perfect ending.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Master Plan in Sorrento

Before I tell you my master plan allow me to tell you about our day. Today was Pompeii day. The weather was looking particularly ominous so we packed the umbrella's we bought at Lucca for 4 euros each (I bargained Sues down from 5 - go me). As we arrive at Pompeii we congratulated ourselves on choosing a day that was overcast and not 40 degrees.

We had been walking for a short time when the rain started, not too bad we found shelter and hid for a while, then decided that it was only rain, continue.
I love this photo taken from the forum. It is Mount Vesuvius in the background. If you draw a triangle upwards from both tips you get what Vesuvius was like before it erupted.

Then it started to rain again, then it started to REALLY rain and I mean REALLY rain. (note the beautiful 4 euro umbrella I got for Sue. Magnificent I can find her anywhere.

We ended up jumping a barrier to seek shelter, bit naughty but I wouldn't let anybody stand on the mosaics. Truly.

The tour groups in Pompeii are a complete nightmare and you need to run when you see the, We were trying to squeeze through a tiny doorway and waited till about 50 of one group went through then another one turned up. I put my hand up and said stop and they wouldn't be able to go through until they let us through. Sometimes it's good to be bossy.

The streets had turned into a waterfall. Thankfully somebody had the sense 2000 years ago to build stepping stones across the street, they came in very handy today.

This picture is my foot in a rut that was made by the wheels on a horse and carriage 2000 years ago.

I love this next picture, it is a welcome mat that actually stands for beware of the Dog.

The most important part of the day was discovering that Sorrento has the best Gelato in the whole of Italy. Seriously. I had two scoops from one Gelateria and it was so good I ended up breaking my record and had a second cone at another shop, it was chocolate mousse and Bacci, I'm sure there will be a few of you that will be pleased to know I felt dreadfully sick after the second cone. It was worth it though. *sigh*

This is the view from our balcony, it is so beautiful (well as long as that Volcano keeps quiet).

We were meant to go to Rome tomorrow for our last night, but we loving Sorrento so much (and the Gelato and the breakfast her, OMG cake again and if you want there is French champagne, just sitting there ready to be drunk) so we are staying put. Our last full day tomorrow :(

Now onto the Master plan. Late this afternoon I was out wandering the streets of Sorrento when I happened upon an interesting shop (in Sorrento you don't find a shop you happen upon it) that sold local wine, it was also a bar/restaurant. I went in to look at the wine and a very nice 'older gentlemen' asked me if I needed some help. I asked his opinion on a bottle and we got to talking. He told me that he spent 14 years of his life in Melbourne and made his fortune there in a nightclub, I asked why he came back and the conversation went on from there, he left a great love in Australia, I told him how in love with Italy I was yadda, yadda, yadda. THEN he said to me, (imagine Italian accent here) tonight you come back and we drink wine and talk. I told him quite delightedly that would be lovely and I would bring my sister. He said (accent again) no just you. So I am sending Susan. He will fall in love with Sue, being the very rich man he is (and he is) he will set her up here in great style and I GET TO VISIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

On To Sorrento

Very, very sad to leave Venezia.

We have arrived in Sorrento tired, weary and wet. A quick dinner and beds are now looking very tempting. There was torrential rain just after we arrived and somehting happened just around the corner from where we were having dinner as many police cars and a fire engine all came screaming along. It was very entertaining, also the Italian waiter told me he wanted to marry me next.

The train trip from Naples to Sorrento was one I will not forget in a hurry. I will be going back to Naples by boat and not by train I dont care how many steps I have to climb! The train was S.C.A.R.Y with people you only ever see in the movies, scary people, VERY scary people.

If it has stopped raining tomorrow we are going to go to Pompeii and Herculaneum (I can't even say that properly so I am reasonable confident it isn't spelt correctly.

Leaving you with a picture of a beautiful flower arrangment, except it isn't a flower arrangement it is a candle.