Category Archives: Hotels

The Bengal Lounge – Fairmont Empress – Victoria – British Colombia

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Located within the walls of the beautiful Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Colombia

is hidden a jewel of the old world.

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The Bengal Lounge…….

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Drawing inspiration from Queen Victoria’s role as the Empress of India,

this colonial style lounge is known throughout Victoria for its authentic curry buffet and signature cocktail menu

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The hallway to the Bengal is adorned with beautiful fabric tapestries from India…

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Cocktail and martini aficionados will appreciate The Bengal Lounge’s extensive selection of signature drinks with such names as the Bengal Tiger, Ivory Hunter and Tiger’s Kiss, to name just a few!  

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For a meal, English Fish and Chips seemed appropriate….

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The Bengal Lounge is quite a proper sort of place to sip on a cocktail, not at all like the casual sports bars found in the U.S.

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The Beautiful Bengal Tiger Fur Hangs over the fireplace, a reminder of times gone by…

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Tin Man was reminded of Madonna’s song: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun when he spied these two…evidently a cocktail too many…hehehehhe

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Pure Delight at every turn inside this Grande Dame of a Hotel….

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The Empress Hotel – Victoria – British Colombia – Canada

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When it was time for Tin Man to celebrate his 60th Birthday there was no hesitation as to where the event would take place……..The Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Colombia.  After a brief stay in Seattle, it was time to take the ferry over to Victoria Island….

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Canada 072………and then after a peaceful voyage, we arrived and our beautiful Empress Hotel…..the Edwardian, château-style hotel was designed by Francis Rattenbury for Canadian Pacific Hotels as a terminus hotel for Canadian Pacific’s steamship line, whose main terminal was just a block away.   The hotel was to serve businesspeople and visitors to Victoria, but later as Canadian Pacific ceased its passenger services to the city, the hotel was successfully remarketed as a resort to tourists. Victoria emerged as a tourist destination beginning in the mid-to-late 1920s.

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The hotel was built between 1904 and 1908, opening for service in that year. Additional wings were added between 1909 and 1914, and in 1928.

During this time, The Empress (as it was known then) played hostess to kings, queens, movie stars and many famous people.

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In 1919, Edward, Prince of Wales waltzed into the dawn in its Crystal Ballroom – an event considered by Victorians to be of such importance that almost 50 years later, the obituaries of elderly ladies would appear under headlines such as, ‘Mrs. Thornley-Hall Dies. Prince of Wales Singled Her Out.’

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In the 1930s, Shirley Temple arrived accompanied by her parents amid rumors that she had fled from California because of kidnapping threats, a story borne from the presence of two huge bodyguards who took the room opposite hers and always left their door open.

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On May 30, 1939 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth attended a luncheon at the Empress, as guests of the Provincial Government.

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For many years the hotel did not have a sign above the front entrance. The strong emotions the hotel evoked in Victorians and its guests and protectors is exemplified in the statement made by an irate gentleman, as workers raised the sign above the front entrance:

‘Anyone who doesn’t know this is The Empress shouldn’t be staying here.’

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The hotel has received several accolades including Travel + Leisure Best Hotels of the World and recognized on Conde Nast Gold List. The hotel became Victoria’s first Five Green Key hotel as acknowledged by the Hotel Association of Canada for sustainability practices.

The Tin Man booked a Fairmont Gold Two Bedroom – Two Bath Suite at The Empress, as it was to be a grand celebration….

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The Suite faced the harbor and as it went around the corner also faced the Government Buildings…..Marvelous views….The Tin Man could often been seen at the window waving to tourists below as if he were English Royalty…

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The Gold Level Suite provided a lovely lounge in which Tin Man relaxed everyday and had a delightful breakfast…..

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With Beautiful Views of the Harbor…and occasionally a visitor…….. 

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In the Afternoon, Tin Man enjoyed Tea in the Lounge……never leaving the Gold Floor to explore for the first several days……

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The Morning of his 60th Birthday, Tin Man was awakened by the doorbell and a bellman delivered a most beautiful gift,  a Fairmont Robe, monogrammed in gold with Tin Man’s initials………….

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The Tin Man scampered down the hall to enjoy breakfast in the lounge

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…..upon return ……look at the most delightful gift left in his suite….

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The Afternoon of his Birthday, Tin Man decided it was time to leave the floor and explore the hotel…….but first….

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Yes, that is correct, time for the Formal Afternoon Tea, served in the Tea Room of the Hotel….

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 A time honoured tradition for over a century, the world renowned tea lobby of Fairmont Empress has served England’s most beloved ritual and Victoria’s grandest tradition of Afternoon Tea to famed royalty, celebrities and dignitaries alike.

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Surrounded by rich chintz fabrics, antiqued tapestries and rugs, elegant wing back chairs, vintage furnishings and hand-carved tables, the picturesque backdrop of the Inner Harbour provides the quintessential Victoria experience to all who grace Afternoon Tea.
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Chef and Team prepare house-made signature Empress scones, delectable pastries and tea sweets daily, reflecting locally sourced ingredients to ensure an authentically memorable experience.

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From the original blend of The Empress Tea created specifically for Fairmont Empress, served in dainty William Edwards china and sterling silver service to the enchanting ambiance of the live piano

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After Tea, a walk about the Hotel and Grounds….

Oh …….the most beautiful Flowers…..

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 Canada 132Canada 134Attached to The Empress is the Victoria Conference Center….oh beautiful architecture….

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The Empress holds many charms to behold….

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Pure Magical Delight…..a most marvelous adventure.

The Staff of The Empress was over-the-top attentive and worked to ensure that everything was perfect.

Duane LaChance, the Concierge Gold Manager, was absolutely incredible and made this a most memorable stay.

So, it was time to enjoy the last beautiful sunset from our suite and continue our adventure…..

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Camp Lucy – Supper Club

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We have the great pleasure of knowing Whit & Kimberly Hanks and have so been looking forward to attending the Supper Club at their most marvelous and enchanting ranch, Camp Lucy…

Camp Lucy, home to the Texas Hill Country’s premier wedding and special event venues, is nestled on a gorgeous Hill Country ranch in Dripping Springs, Texas.

The property, owned by Whit Hanks, is named for his mother, Lucy Hanks, and its history as an idyllic family getaway.

CLICK HERE  or HERE for more information about this great place..

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The property’s path from family ranch to wedding and special event destination began when Whit’s oldest son Ian moved to Asia several years ago – an odyssey that, quite unexpectedly, would marry this Texas property with French Colonial buildings from Vietnam and inspire Whit to open up the family’s land so others could experience the Hill Country dream.

Upon Ian’s suggestion, Whit visited Asia, including Hanoi in Vietnam, where he discovered a wealth of French-Colonial antiques. As an avid antiques dealer and collector, Whit is always on the hunt for the truly unique and special antique and, in Vietnam, he found what could be the ultimate antique – an 1880s Catholic church. On the brink of destruction to make way for a new church, the gorgeous 19th Century chapel, built from intricately carved ironwood, was available for purchase. Whit was sold.

The chapel was carefully disassembled and packed in sea-land containers, all of the timbers and tiles painstakingly photographed, labeled, and provided with a diagram and video to show how the church would go back together for its new life in Texas.

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After a long sea and land voyage, the chapel arrived in Dripping Springs where it was reassembled and a campanile added to hold a 19th Century French bell which, today, signals happy events at Camp Lucy. The original chapel was soon joined by a second French Colonial church from the 1930s, reconstructed at Camp Lucy and roofed with 1920s Ludowici tile repurposed from the Bexar County Courthouse in downtown San Antonio. The courthouse was getting a new roof and now the deep green glaze of these antique tiles is the crowning glory on the Camp Lucy pavilion.

 

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The next chapter in the Camp Lucy storybook was written in December 2011 when the doors opened to a magnificent events hall. This addition to Camp Lucy, created from a repurposed Amish barn originally built from hand-hewn white oak timbers in Ohio in the 1800s, continues the unique design aesthetic of Camp Lucy.

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Today, the original chapel, pavilion, and events hall, along with surrounding gardens, stone terrace, arch, and great lawn are collectively known as Ian’s Chapel to honor Whit’s son who not only sparked this grand adventure, but also left this world far too soon on December 23, 2011, shortly after marrying the love of his life, Sandra Hanks, at Camp Lucy.

  Sacred Oaks, opened on September 22, 2013. Named Sacred Oaks to honor the space’s remarkable setting, the venue expertly blends the impeccable design and enviable style that are the hallmarks of Camp Lucy with the natural surroundings and, as with all things Camp Lucy, celebrates life, family, and new beginnings. 

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As you enter the property and drive across a small bridge, you realize that you are entering a very special place…

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We decided to book a cottage for the evening

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The Cottages are nestled together in a peaceful community..

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Brian was wonderfully attentive upon our arrival and his excitement about the evening’s Supper Club was contagious..

We opened the door to our Cottage and were surrounded by Hill Country Elegance and Charm

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The Bath was simply outstanding…

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Each Tub and Sink were carved from single blocks of Limestone…

After a quick nap …..it is time to be off to Supper Club.

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The Evening began with Soy Lacquered Pork Belly on Crispy Wonton with Carrot Ginger Relish and Pulled Port Tostaditas with Granny Smith Pico and Cilantro Aioli

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Then we sat for Supper…

Mizuna, Shaved Carrot and Daikon with Crispy Rice Vermicelli and Ginger Sambal Vinaigrette and Shredded Iceberg, Ovendried Tomato and Pickled Red Onion with Crispy Tortillas and Jalapeno Ranch Dressing……….must have been the cocktails……….I forgot to photograph this course!

Then we moved on to Garlic and Soy Braised Short Ribs with Mirin Cabbage Slaw and Sriracha Aioli and Smoked Brisket with Cider Slaw, Cotija and Chipotle Crema

accompanied by Tempura Fried Root Vegetables with Ponzu and Fire Roasted Grilled Seasonal Vegetables

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Followed by……….I know, what a divine feast……

Lemongrass and Red Chile Poached Salmon with Creamy Sesame Black Soba Noodles and Coriander Seared Snapper with Tomatillo-Mango Arroz and Ancho Lime Broth

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……….and for Dessert……Coconut Fried Ice Cream and Summer Peach Cobbler…

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We had the most marvelous waiter who was more attentive than any 5 Star restaurant server ever dreamed

Our Hosts were so kind and gracious…….Whit and Kimberly…….inviting everyone back for the next Supper Club

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Brian, the Lodging Manager, attended the Supper Club and informed us that he had something special waiting back in our Cottage..

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What a delightful evening it was!

After a wonderful breakfast in the Cottage Offices, we took a peaceful stroll about the grounds of Camp Lucy..

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But, Alas, it is time to go…….we glanced back at the Beautiful Camp Lucy as we drove away…

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Lake Louise – Alberta – Canada

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Our Canadian Exploration with Uncommon Journeys has taken us to

Beautiful Lake Louise in Alberta

The hamlet is named for  Lake Louise

Which in turn was named after the Princess Louise Caroline Alberta (1848–1939)

The fourth daughter of Queen Victoria, and the wife of John Campbell, the 9th Duke of Argyll, who was the Governor General of Canada from 1878 to 1883.

Everyone was upset that the Lake was still frozen over; we found it quite amazing and wonderful…

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Of course the place to stay is the Chateau at Lake Louise

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The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is a Fairmont Hotel on the eastern shore of Lake Louise, near Banff, Alberta.

The original Chateau was gradually built up at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century by the Canadian Pacific Railway and was thus “kin” to its predecessors, the Banff Springs Hotel, and the Château Frontenac.

The hotel’s wooden Rattenbury Wing burned down on 3 July 1924, and was replaced by the current Barrot Wing one year later. The Painter Wing, built in 1913, is the oldest portion of the hotel still standing.

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Coming down her Grand Staircase, one is mesmerized by the grandeur and beauty

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The Lobby is large and magnificent

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Well off to the dining room……oh my, where to sit the views are spectacular..

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Oh…………YUM……..Breakfast is a pure delight…….

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Walking the grounds is very much like being inside a Fairy Tale.

The hotel was first conceived by the railway at the end of the 19th century, as a vacation destination to lure moneyed travellers into taking trains and heading West.

By the time airplanes and automobiles had displaced the trains, it had gained sufficient renown to have a life of its own. In 1999, Canadian Pacific Hotels (a division of the Canadian Pacific Railway) acquired Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, and adopted the Fairmont name for all of its hotels, resulting the in the Chateau Lake Louise being operated as a Fairmont hotel.

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From the start, the goal was to exploit the stunning natural beauty of the emerald-green lake and of Victoria glacier which rose above it. 

Here is a photo of Lake Louise when she is not frozen…

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We never saw the emerald-green lake, but the glacier was most impressive. 

The surrounding mountains were so spectacular…

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We had such a grand time visiting this grand dame and were so pleased to see her covered with such lovely ice and snow

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We hope you have enjoyed visiting this most incredible place with us…

Look over your shoulder one last time for a glimpse of her beauty…

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Syracuse – Sicily

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Syracuse  is a historic city in Sicily, the capital of the province of Syracuse.

The city is notable for its rich Greek history, culture, amphitheatres, architecture, and as the birthplace of the preeminent mathematician and engineer Archimedes.

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This 2,700-year-old city played a key role in ancient times,

when it was one of the major powers of the Mediterranean world.

Syracuse is located in the southeast corner of the island of Sicily, right by the Gulf of Syracuse next to the Ionian Sea.

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The city was founded by Ancient Greek Corinthians and Teneans and became a very powerful city-state.

Syracuse was allied with Sparta and Corinth, exerting influence over the entire Magna Graecia area of which it was the most important city.

Once described by Cicero as “the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of them all”, it later became part of the Roman Republic and Byzantine Empire.

Our trek to Malta took us to this enchanted city for only a brief time…

on our way we passed by Mount Etna,  the tallest active volcano on the European continent, 10,922 feet high.

It is the highest mountain in Italy south of the Alps.

Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity, which was quite amazing to watch…

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We had met a lovely couple in Messina, who suggested a stop in Syracusa to visit the Piazza Duomo

We stayed in the Hotel Roma which is actually part of the Temple of Athena, now the Syracuse Cathedral….

We arrived at night and the city was magical……with all sorts of promises for daybreak….

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We stayed in the Hotel Roma…….which was once part of the Temple of Athena..

in one section of the hotel you could look though the glass floor and gaze upon the Altar of Atena….quite literally walking on history!

Our room had a marvelous balcony with views of the Piazza Duomo …

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In the morning we dashed off around the corner to see what treasures were hidden at the back of the hotel…

There it was the Temple of Athena, now the Syracusa Cathedral…..

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The charm of this construction of a modern place of worship upon a much more  ancient one is heightened by the fact that some of the columns “trapped” within  the walls have been tilted and twisted by earthquakes that the cathedral has endured  during its history.

In these deformities one can see “frozen” in time the awesome  force of nature that shook Syracuse in its ancient history.

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The temple of Athena in Doric style was erected in the fifth century BC the tyrant Gelo after the victory against the Carthaginians in the Battle of Imera.

The Athenaion had six columns in front, with 14 columns along the sides. Part of the temple is currently visible on the left side of the cathedral…

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In the seventh century the temple was converted into a church by the bishop of the city Zos.

The church, of Byzantine style, was dedicated to the Nativity of Mary.

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The floor dates from the fifteenth century and in 1518 the nave was covered with the wooden ceiling still preserved.

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In the sixteenth century was also erected the bell tower. In 1728 the façade was reconstructed.

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We found being in this structure that survived so many years and served so many people in different capacities so very interesting…

Now off to the markets……..

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The city is brimming with beauty….

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We come upon the Fountain of Diana……

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……so this Siracusa, known to English speakers as Syracuse, was a wonder to behold…..

One of the great ancient capitals of Western civilization, founded in 734 BC by Greek colonists from Corinth which soon grew to rival, and even surpass, Athens in splendor and power.

This magical place became the largest, wealthiest city-state in the West and a bulwark of Greek civilization.

Rulers such as Dionysius filled the courts with Greeks of the highest cultural stature—among them the playwrights Aeschylus and Euripides, and the philosopher Plato

We are left, sitting on the Piazza Duomo, sipping our cappuccino, preparing for the next leg of our journey……

…..suddenly the air if filled with beautiful music…..and there he is…

a young boy sitting on the steps of the Temple of Athena with his accordion….

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……….like a dream, I say…………..like a dream…….

ciao

Napoli – Italy

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100PX-~1Naples is one of the oldest continuously-inhabited cities in the world.

Bronze Age Greek settlements were established in the Naples area in the second millennium BC.

The city was refounded as Neápolis in the sixth century BC and became a lynchpin of Magna Graecia, playing a key role in the merging of Greek culture into Roman society and eventually becoming a cultural center of the Roman Republic.

Naples remained influential after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, serving as the capital city of the Kingdom of Naples between 1282 and 1816.

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 Naples became the capital of the Two Sicilies until the unification of Italy in 1861. During the Neapolitan War of 1815, Naples strongly promoted Italian unification.

Naples was the most-bombed Italian city during World War II.

As the train neared Napoli, the sights became more beautiful…

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We had booked a room at the Hotel Mecure while we were in route…

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….we never expected these views……..

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…my goodness a Castle with excavation in progress with much older sites…..and that with just from the bathroom balcony!!!

As the sun began to set we looked down and saw this marvelous restaurant ….

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Off we went to find some of the most delightful food…Mussels, Squid, Octopus….

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followed by the most marvelous pizza…

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just delightful………….

In the morning we found breakfast on the hotel roof…..

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……we dined looking out at this marvelous view…

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Layer upon layer of history…….

It was a short visit to Napoli this time around, but she continued to delight and inspire us.

Grab A Beer – Shiner, Texas

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The Flying Monkeys were restless and wanted to explore some new place, so off we went to Shiner, Texas

Shiner is located in Lavaca County.

It all began in 1887 when Henry B. Shiner donated 250 acres of land for a railroad right of way.

As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 2,069.

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To our amazement there are no hotels in Shiner!  So we booked a room at the Shiner Country Inn..

Not the lap of luxury, but clean

Shiner is the home of the Spoetzl Brewery,  the oldest independent brewery in Texas.  The brewery is most well known for producing Shiner Bock,  a dark German/Czech-style beer that is now distributed in 41 states.

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………..but more about that later.

We explored the entire town to plan our itinerary………okay that took 10 minutes,

so we went to Snowflake Donuts for breakfast…

 

Upon entering we found a table of about 20 locals, all of whom ceased conversation and stared at us the entire time we were in the place…….okay weird!

………..now back the the Spotzl Brewery……

A group of businessmen incorporated Shiner Brewing Association

and placed Herman Weiss in as the company’s first brewmaster.  

In 1914 a German immigrant brewer named Kosmos Spoetzl co-leased with Oswald Petzold

with an option to buy in 1915.  

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Spoetzl had attended brewmaster’s school and apprenticed for three years in Germany, worked for eight years at the Pyramids Brewery in Cairo, Egypt, and then worked in Canada.   He moved to San Antonio in search of a better climate for his health, bringing with him a family recipe for a Bavarian beer made from malted barley and hops.

During Prohibition in the United States,  Kosmos Spoetzl kept the brewery afloat by selling ice and making Low-alcohol beer  “near beer.”   After Prohibition only five of the original 13 Texas breweries were still intact.   When the Prohibition laws were repealed, larger beer plants, such as Anheuser-Busch, moved to Texas making life harder on the smaller independent breweries,  but Spoetzl kept things small and simple,  never going more than 70 miles for business.

The owner’s daugher, Miss Cecelie took over operations in 1922

and became the only woman in the United States to be a sole owner of a brewery in 1950.

In the 1970s and 1980s the brewery’s ”Shiner Beer” and ”Shiner Bock”  had less than 1 percent of the Texas market.   In 1983 Spoetzl produced 60,000 barrels of beer;  in 1990 only 36,000.   Sales improved after Carlos Alvarez of San Antonio acquired the brewery in 1989:   Production grew to 100,000 barrels in 1994,  and over the next ten years,  production nearly tripled.

As of 2012,  it was the fourth-largest craft brewery and tenth-largest overall brewery in the United States.  Spoetzl currently produces eight beers year round and four seasonal brews per year.

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We were so lucky to have the Brewmaster, Jimmy Mauric, conduct a personal tour!

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The brew house was so very beautiful with the copper brew tanks…

The view of the bottling room was amazing……..many thousands of bottles whirling around…..

The tour over it was time for a late lunch……….where should we go…..oh yes the only restaurant in town….

The Shiner Restaurant and Bar..

The place was empty!  The bar was quite beautiful and ornate

The dining room sported wonderful old cabinets…

The food was great….we began with the Shiner Beer Bread and Shiner Black Butter

…..then on to the Pulled Pork Sandwich and the “World’s Best Sandwich”……that was really the name!

It was a Club Style BLT with a Chicken Fried Steak thrown in for Good Measure…….don’t tell my Cardiologist about this post!

Well that was Shiner a quiet, quiet, quiet little Texas Town

So until next time…………PROST!

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Savannah, Georgia

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Since the day “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” was published and throughout the movie ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midnight_in_the_Garden_of_Good_and_Evil ), I have been in LOVE with Savannah! Being an early fan I was able to meet many of the real people involved in the story and hear all the details …………. oh my, I just looooooooovvvvvvvvvveeeeee Southern Intrigue! The people of Savannah are the most kind, gracious, genteel, elegant and eccentric on the third rock from the sun. I have sooooooooo many stories about Savannah, I could fill this entire blog with just those. But, as with the reason that Dorothy misses the Scarecrow the most, they would blow your mind! suffice it to say that if you have not visited Savannah and walked the parks and visited with the lovely people of this city, you have missed a wonderful, incredible, marvelous time. You MUST go to visit! I suggest the Hampton Inn in the Historic District ( http://www.hotelsavannah.com/ ). The staff is marvelous, the hotel comfortable and fun and so well located that most things to do will not involve a car.

Our most recent trip was with our great friends, Larry and Margo, we were there for the Christmas Season. We had promised them a very interesting trip and told them to be ready to be invited into homes as we strolled the park…………..it wasn’t 30 minutes and a lovely lady invited us to tour her beautiful mansion and have some tea.

I tell you the people of Savannah are MARVELOUS!

We so enjoyed the fountain in Forsythe Park with the Christmas decorations.

So I find out that the most famous, lovely and wonderful Lady Chablis  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aT_BxSuSVVU ) is going to be performing while we are visiting. We make plans to attend, it is a fund-raising event for underprivileged children and we must bring presents for them. Off we go shopping and arrive at the club early to get a good seat……….FRONT ROW CENTER!!! I can’t wait. I have not seen Chablis in several years. Well the girl can still put on the show. We had such a grand time!

We took wonderful walks along the beach and picked up sea shells. Oh, how easy it is to get lost in this charming place. It does not take but an hour and one forgets about the rest of the world.
I love to just sit around the Waving Girl Statue and relax.

We ALWAYS go to the Pink House (  http://www.plantersinnsavannah.com/menu.htm ) and sit in the basement bar and listen to the piano player. He was the piano play at Jim’s (you know the main character from “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”) parties and can tell you many a great story! The Pink House is another “must” when visiting. Make sure you go to the basement bar and have dinner there……..the piano man is wonderful!

Of course we had to run off to Hilton Head. While we were in the Pink House bar a young man began to sing and he had the voice of an angel……….turns out he was in a production of “My Fair Lady” at the theatre in Hilton Head and gave us GREAT comp tickets. We made a day of it and went to see the beautiful wet lands.

 

Of course we HAD to stop and eat at The Crab Shack  ( www.thecrabshack.com ) on Tybee Island


Well Larry and Margo fell in love with the beautiful, elegant lady of the South, Miss Savannah. I have a funny feeling we will all be going back some day!

Munich, Germany

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We are on the train to Munich!  This is probably our last train trip on this voyage.  We are  still so amazed at how comfortable and efficient the transportation system is here in Europe.  We are mesmerized by the beauty as we travel through the mountains — may with snow!  This has been one of the most beautiful places on the planet.  The homes all have the typical German architecture and the forest is dense tall pine trees.  So lush and green as compared to our parched Texas.  We pass through village after village of quaint gingerbread houses surrounding a grand church whose steeple towers over the village, all nestled in the mountains of pine trees with clouds tucked in the crevices and clear pristine rivers running by.

We arrive in the city of Munich with the weather clearing and the sun shining!  Our Hotel Ibis is located near the old section of Munich and all that lies between us is the botanical garden — not a bad walk!  We just finished dining on schnitzle and spatzel with mushrooms and gravy.  We sit and review our plans regarding the sites to visit while we are here.  Our room at the hotel was rather small, so we met with the manager Karina Nolle, who moved us to the top floor of the hotel in a lovely room overlooking the entire city……what a wonder person she is!

We had a grand breakfast at the hotel of some of the most wonderful smoked salmon I have ever tasted with horseradish and sour cream with chives and onion —— ooohhhh my!  Of course I visited my new friend — the European coffee machine — several times for wonderful rich cappuccino.  We then ventured out to the subway and off to Marionplatz, home of the famous glockenspiel.  The glockenspiel is basically a life-sized coo-coo clock in the tower of the town hall built in the 1500s.  The figures that spin and dance re-enact some royal wedding and they are all life-sized and carved of wood.  It is a marvel to behold.  unfortunately it is Sunday and all the shops are closed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have dinner at a wonderful German Restaurant, Rechthaler-Hof.

We sit near a beautiful harvest crown make of wheat.

Our first course is beef broth with a large liver dumpling– oh delights this is so very good!

The main course is a pig leg baked to crispy perfection, served with fresh sauerkraut and a huge potato dumpling. I am reminded of Botin’s Restaurant in Madrid and the Cochino al Horno.

The meal was so marvelous. The skin of the pork was crispy and the dumpling was so very, very good. We had to skip the beer and desert, the meal was so rich and filling.

We walked back to the Hotel Ibis, the temperature is below 40 degrees and there is a slight rain and strong wind. We discussed what an adaptation we will have to make when we return home to Texas.

It is time to visit a traditional Beer Garden and enjoy one of the true gifts of German society. We pick the Augustiner-Keller, which was established in 1812.

It is a very large beer garden nestled under dense trees. When we left we found out how dense the trees were…..it had been and continued to rain! We remained dry the entire time we ate our meal under those trees! I would estimate a half an acre of food and beer. We enjoy a plate of assorted Bavarian sausages with the most delicious sauerkraut and potatoes. We drink the beer that is brewed on site and served out of ancient wooden barrels — another amazing treat.

We have such fun spending a day in the ourdoor market and marveling in the sounds, smells, sights and tastes of this wonderful city.

When we awake to leave for the United States, we find a beautiful moon over Munich and almost decide to stay………..

Salzburg, Austria

Standard

A very comfortable train ride through the Austrian countryside.  I keep hearing Julie Andrews singing “The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Music”  We are on a train that will continue off to Zürich and I think of the families that escaped the Nazis by traveling through these very hills.  We are hungry upon our arrival in Salzburg and run directly to the Restaurant Mundenhamer, one of the oldest and very typical Austrian restaurants. 

Our first course is white asparagus soup with a breadstick wrapped in crisp prosciutto.  It is asparagus season in Austria and special menus and dishes appear everywhere.  The soup was creamy and silky –ssooooooo good!

The second course was a typical Austrian Goulash with spicy sausages and potatoes — so wonderful. The people here are so friendly and smiling all the time, such a difference from Prague where they were so sullen and unfriendly.

We just toured Mozart’s home — how incredible to walk the same floors as the Master himself. Many of his original works were on display along with his instruments. The steps going into the home were red marble and worn down through the years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We walk the streets of the old city and gaze in amazement at the castle on the hill overlooking us. How grand life must have been during the height of the courts.

We walk about the town square and enjoy the open air market and stop here and there for a snack of weiss wurst and coffee. The surrounding architecture is so beautiful and everyone seems to have a smile on their face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking across the bridge over the Danube affords such majestic views!

It is raining fairly heavy now so we decide to relax in the Hotel Ibis, dining on wonderful breads, meats, cheeses, yogurt and granola. The hotels all have the most wonderful coffee machines that by the push of a button make espresso, cappuccino, hot foaming milk and all sorts of various assortments of coffees, all made to perfection.

We ponder our next stop …………….Munich!