Category Archives: Travels

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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Athabasca Glacier – Columbia Icefield – Canada

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Canada 422As part of our Uncommon Journeys Train Adventure across Canada, we disembarked the train after four days in Jasper, Alberta, Canada for marvelous ride through the Colombia Icefield.

Our destination was the Athabasca Glacier in the midst of the Columbia Icefield.

What a marvelous ride it was..

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The Athabasca Glacier is one of the six principal ‘toes’ of the Columbia Icefield, located in the Canadian Rockies.

In the photo below you can see the Glacier just behind our heads…

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The glacier currently recedes at a rate of about 5 metres (16 ft) per year and has receded more than 1.5 km (0.93 mi) in the past 125 years and lost over half of its volume.

The glacier moves down from the Icefield at a rate of several centimeters per day, leaving behind mounds of crushed rock…

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 The leading edge of the glacier is within easy walking distance; however, travel onto the glacier is not recommended unless properly equipped.

Hidden crevasses have led to the deaths of unprepared tourists.

YIKERS………….we best take the bus!

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We went to the Icefield Interpretive Centre, and purchase tickets to take the Terra Bus out onto the Glacier.

These are fantastic vehicles and the only ones in existence are here on the Icefield and in the Antarctica.

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The Athabasca Glacier is surveyed each day in order to ensure that it is safe for our excursion onto its surface….

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No matter the age of the individual, once upon the Glacier, we all become curious youngsters…..

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We had a grand time visiting the Glacier and will have those marvelous memories for all time…

 

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As I write this post we are back at home in Texas and it is 103 degrees and the memories are most wonderful!

Thank you for taking the time to join us.

Here is a parting shot of us at Portage Glacier  on the Kenai Peninsula of the U.S. state of Alaska taken in the 1990s….

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St. Lawrence Market – Toronto – Canada

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After our marvelous morning at Clafouti’s Patisserie it was time to explore more of Toronto

We are just in day two of our two week journey across Canada with Uncommon Journeys train exploration known as Canadian Panorama..

We hopped the Trolley to head back downtown……we exited the trolley early to walk about a bit and enjoy the sights…

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Our destination was the Famed St. Lawrence Market

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This market has achieved the status of Number One Food Market in the WORLD

……..well you know the Tin Man…..if it is about food, it must be explored…..

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We enter the Market and the World of all Culinary Delights embraces us….

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Okay…..Okay…..Okay…enough temptation……..time to eat (again)

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Oink……….Oink……….it was good!!

Time to explore some more….

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 ….and then before us …….. WHAT….THEY ARE GRILLING OCTOPUS…..my favorite….

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We find a table out on the patio and place our order….

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Soon the Delights of the Sea are before us……the aromas exotic and marvelous…

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Oh, Pure Heaven, this is the place to visit when in Toronto……but it is time to take to the streets again…

We do need to meet our Tour Group for Dinner Tonite…………ha….

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A quick stop at the hotel to freshen up and have a cocktail….

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Then it is off for our last meal on solid ground for the next four days…….so excited about getting on the train…

Excited about Dinner at Joe Badali’s Italian Restaurant…..

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We are a large group, so an Italian Restaurant is the perfect place…..the service is great and the food fantastic…

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Now that Dinner is done……we being the train trip…..stay tuned for that exciting adventure…

Hope you enjoyed our stay in Toronto…

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CLAFOUTI : Toronto – Canada

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It began by a chance meeting in the virtual world of Blogging….and so the journey continues…

We booked passage on Uncommon Journeys Canadian Panorama cross country Train Excursion……..two weeks…yikers I thought….

Our Second Day was to be spent in Toronto….not caring for Large Cities….I saw her looming before us…construction cranes everywhere..

You see, in Canada,  there are two seasons:  Winter and Construction

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Virginia of BEL OCCHIO’S BLOG had already told us of Queen’s Street and Clafouti…home of the BEST croissants outside of Paris…….off we went

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Pure Victorian Delight……….peace, tranquility and not one construction crane in sight…..only the rumble of quaint street cars going by….

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Then we turned the corner and there it was…………Clafouti….mecca of the Croissant and the Crookie………….more about that later…….

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We came to the well worn steps leading to her front door….

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Inside………the aroma of fresh baked goods and coffee….

Clafouti reaches out and throws a Parisian Wrap around us….

Just look at the Delectable Delights……….

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We grab the table next to the window……….Virginia’s favorite, so we could look out at the beautiful Trinity Bellwoods Park across the street….

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Our Croissants so flaky and delicious………the coffee, rich and fragrant…..

We did not try the Crookie……a Croissant with an Oreo Cookie baked inside…..Clafouti created this masterpiece…

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The Bell on the Door was always a-tinkle with customers coming and going…..

The Bohemian Interior of Clafouti so enchanting….

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Alas, time to go explore the Park and seek out those mysterious albino squirrels, Good Husband of Virginia has spoken of…..

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We look back at our Clafouti……..and think of all the times our friend Virginia sat here gathering strength…..

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The Park is full of Flowers………but not one albino squirrel to be seen…..

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Time to hop the streetcar and head back for dinner…….What a treat is was to escape to Paris for a couple of hours……..

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Until next time…………

Niagara Falls – Ontario – Canada

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We began our Two Week Trek by Train across Canada in Niagara Falls

It was May; however, the Falls were still partially frozen…….Check Out Those Large Ice Chunks

This was the View from our Hotel Room. The Sheraton on the Falls…….Just Amazing

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Niagara Falls is the collective name for three waterfalls that straddle the international border between Canada and the United States

Here is a Photo of the Falls Completely Frozen over in 2014

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…….and one from 1911…

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From largest to smallest, the three waterfalls are the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls.

The Horseshoe Falls lie mostly on the Canadian side and the American Falls entirely on the American side, separated by Goat Island.

The smaller Bridal Veil Falls are also located on the American side, separated from the other waterfalls by Luna Island.

The Views were Spectacular…

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The Rainbow Bridge at Niagara Falls is an international steel arch bridge across the Niagara River gorge, and is a world-famous tourist site. It connects the cities of Niagara Falls, New York, United States (to the east), and Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada (west).

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In the Mornings the Falls and River are Shrouded in Mist and Fog…….Enchanting….

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Strolling about the Park we found the Dogwoods beginning to Bloom…our Hotel is the building behind the Tree

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Of course, all that exercise worked up an appetite….Lobster Roll and Caesar Salad

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Back to the Falls for one more look………perhaps to sing a song……

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A Little Wine Tasting before Bed………

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Well off to bed…..this vacation is just starting…….

Thanks for coming to visit Niagara Falls with us…..hope you enjoyed!

 

The Yellow Brick Road

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Though it has been said time and time again, it must be said again:

Oh you are the best friends anybody ever had, and its funny,

but I feel if as if I’d known you all the time, but I couldn’t have, could I ?”

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We’re off to see Virginia, The Wonderful Virginia of Bel’ Occhio’s Blog.
You’ll find she is a whiz of a Wiz! If ever a Wiz! there was.
If ever oh ever a Wiz! there was Virginia of Bel’ Occhio’s Blog is one because,
Because, because, because, because, because.
Because of the wonderful things she does and creates and writes and paints and plants and cooks……….oh my!

We’re off to see Virginia. The Wonderful Wizard of Bel’ Occhio’s Blog……… Also known as The Goddess of the Rainbow…..The Iris Goddess

Recently The Tin Man and his Spouse ventured off on a two week train trip across beautiful Canada.

Their trip began in Niagara Falls and they trekked across the woodlands and plains, then over and through the majestic Rocky Mountains..

as they traveled each day brought them closer and closer to Virginia.

Virginia, known only through her most amazing blog: BEL’ OCCHIO’S – The Beautiful Eye

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Tin Man and Spouse were all a dither when they finally arrived in Vancouver to Meet Virginia and the Good Husband

The day arrived ………..the elevator door opened and so it was begun…

…the Friendship of a Lifetime……..Hugs that did not want to be released…..

Arms tucked together like lost lovers in the side streets of Paris….

Giggles and Whispers……..Eyes Moist with Emotion…

so it began….

Here is the Story in Virginia’s Words…..CLICK ME

After a delightful respite with coffee on the patio of the hotel, we ventured off to the Center of Oz

FINALLY, I enter into the magical world I have seen on Virginia’s Blog…..

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Oh, to be surrounded by Paris……every nook, every detail……a personal touch…..creations all by the hand of Virginia….marvelous

The Good Husband has built Ships………ships on which we can carry our dreams and desires….

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This Parisian Refuge is tucked in the Canadian Countryside…..lush and green, a place where human sustenance begins….

On the Back Patio…..a Garden Bed, in which to lounge and read as Oswald The Gentleman Rabbit comes to visit….pure magic, I say, pure magic lives here….

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We began on the Front Patio…..with fresh baked scones, prepared by The Good Husbands….

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We spoke of Theadora Wizard of the magic kingdom of PARIS: PEOPLE, PLACES AND BLING!

 and our friend Goddess of the Beach THE COASTAL CRONE

There were even Poppies…..not the Poison Kind, after all this is real life – not the movie!

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Story after Story……..Laugh after Laugh……..Introspection after Introspection….the bond was formed

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but………..it was time…….The Culinary Goddess began her Magic…..

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She pulled out her Magic Wand and we were under her spell….

Silence and Let the Magic Work…

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It was if The Good Husband and Virginia entered into a beautiful Viennese Waltz….and allowed us to join them….

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The Magical Elixir was produced….a Grand Cru ’81 Margaux….oh my…

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The Rooms filled with the Fragrances of the Culinary Magic and the air felt as if it was filled with Fairy Dust…

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Check out the menu and recipes CLICK HERE

The enchanting table inviting us to sit……..we, hesitant knowing that the day was coming to an end….

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Then The Magical Culinary Goddess produced Humming Bird Cake……baked especially for the Tin Man because Virginia remembered that Mother of Tin Man made this when he was a wee tot…such love….

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We lingered as long as we could …..our embraces new again….one last look back and there was the faithful Buddha holding a flower in his lap for our safe travel, as always…

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Never, Ever, Ever…….in my wildest dreams did I ever think that a blog would lead me down The Yellow Brick Road of Life to find soul mates waiting at the end!

Never turn away from the gifts that life brings you, for they are abundant..

To Virginia and The Good Husband……..our Most Dear and Marvelous New Friends,

Thank You for Such Beautiful Memories!

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If you want to read more about this day, here are Virginia’s Stories….

SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW

DINNER WITH THE TIN MAN

DINNER WITH THE TIN MAN……TALES OF THE EMERALD CITY

 

Geneva – Switzerland

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The train leaves our beautiful Berne (click HERE to see that trip)  behind and we begin the last leg of our journey across Switzerland…

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Our final stop in this beautiful country will be Geneva ………

Geneva was a border town, fortified against the Celtic tribe Helvetii, when the Romans took it in 121 BC. It became Christian under the Late Roman Empire, and acquired its first bishop in the 5th century, having been connected to the bishopric of Vienne in the 4th.

In the Middle Ages, Geneva was ruled by a count under the Holy Roman Empire until the late 14th century, when it was granted a charter giving it a high degree of self-governance. Around this time the House of Savoy came to dominate the city. In the 15th century, an oligarchic republican government emerged with the creation of the Grand Council.  In the first half of the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation reached the city, causing religious strife during which Savoy rule was thrown off and Geneva allied itself with the Swiss Confederacy.

In 1541, with Protestantism in the ascendancy, John Calvin, the founder of Calvinism, became the spiritual leader of the city. By the 18th century, however, Geneva had come under the influence of Catholic France, which cultivated the city as its own, who tended to be at odds with the ordinary townsfolk – to the point that an abortive revolution took place in 1782.

In 1798, revolutionary France under the Directory annexed Geneva. At the end of the Napoleonic Wars, in 1815, Geneva was admitted to the Swiss Confederation.

In 1907, the separation of Church and State was adopted. Geneva flourished in the 19th and 20th centuries, becoming the seat of many international organizations.

Situated where the Rhône exits Lake Geneva, it is the capital of the Republic and Canton of Geneva.

We know we have arrived as we see the beautiful Lake Geneva over the mountain tops…

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Geneva is a global city, a financial center, and worldwide center for diplomacy due to the presence of numerous international organizations, including the headquarters of many of the agencies of the United Nations and the Red Cross.   Geneva is the city that hosts the highest number of international organisations in the world.    It is also the place where the Geneva Conventions were signed, which chiefly concern the treatment of wartime non-combatants and prisoners of war.  As such,  one immediately misses the charm and quaintness of the beautiful city of Berne.

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The is beautiful art throughout the city……..

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The markets are bursting forth with marvelous goodies….

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Swiss Charm still surrounds you…….

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The hustle and bustle is so different from the feeling of the rest of this beautiful country……

The Grand Cathedral seems as if she has been caught in a spider’s web…

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As we leave the downtown area………a charming tune catches our attention…….

…..there he is a Hurdy Gurdy Man….

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….just when we thought all was lost…..

We enjoy our final days in this beautiful country……a nice Swiss Breakfast….

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……and then off to the train……looking out at our last views of the beautiful Alps as we cross into France…

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I hope you have enjoyed our journey ……….

Lisboa – Lisbon – Portugal

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Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world, and the oldest city in Western Europe, predating other modern European capitals such as London, Paris and Rome by hundreds of years.

Julius Caesar made it a municipium called Felicitas Julia, adding to the name Olissipo. Ruled by a series of Germanic tribes from the 5th century, it was captured by the Moors in the 8th century.

In 1147, the Crusaders under Afonso Henriques reconquered the city and since then it has been a major political, economic and cultural centre of Portugal.

Unlike most capital cities, Lisbon’s status as the capital of Portugal has never been granted or confirmed officially – by statute or in written form. Its position as the capital has formed through constitutional convention, making its position as de facto capital a part of the Constitution of Portugal.

We began our journey to this beautiful place on an overnight train from Madrid…

Filled with charm and old world experiences…

A Marvelous Multi-Course Meal…

 

Marvelous Views zipping by………We had a Private Cabin with Full Bath

……and there she is, Lisboa, waiting for us to explore her beauty…..

We stayed in the Hotel Ibis (our fav European chain), just steps from the center of all the action…

Lisboa……….filled with Charm……

 

Glorious Art……….

Unique Inventions……….an Elevator in the Street to take you to the Higher Neighborhoods……

Wherever you turn, Beauty ……….. The Castle of St. George, always watching over you….

If you want to read more about this Beautiful Place………..CLICK HERE

The Streets filled with Delightful Cafes…..

 

Who could resist these delights…………..certainly not I……..everyday, my favorite place for coffee and a goodie!!

The Beauty of Lisboa is only outdone by the Kindness of Her People…

We, of course visited The Tower of Belem….CLICK HERE…

What Wonders You can find in the Streets…….

How we loved our time in Beautiful Lisboa…….and look forward to our return someday….

Marsala – Sicily

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Marsala  (Lilybaeum in Latin) is an Italian town located in the Province of Trapani in the westernmost part of Sicily. Marsala is the most populous town in Trapani, and the fifth-highest in Sicily.

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The town is famous for the landing of Garibaldi on 11 May 1860 (the Expedition of the Thousand) and for its Marsala wine.

A feature of the area is the natural reserve of Stagnone Lagoon—a marine area with salt ponds.

The Salt Ponds and the Ancient Windmills used to pump the sea water out are so very beautiful…

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Marsala is built on the ruins of the ancient Carthaginian city Lilybaion, and includes the archaeological site of Motya island, an ancient Phoenician town.  See our visit to that marvelous place by clicking HERE.

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As we traveled to Sicily from Malta it was exciting to see the island coming into view…

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We stayed in our favorite hotel in Marsala, The New Palace Hotel

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We love walking the old city of Marsala, so filled with history and beauty..

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As with any ancient city in Europe, one must visit the Cathedral…

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We dart up the steps and enter the enormous doors …….what do we see…….. a wedding in progress…

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….up the side aisle we sneak, in order to obtain a better view of the goings on….

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What fun to observe this very formal event…we hurry to wait outside to see the newlyweds exit…

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What fun that was!

We had walked into the old town and on our way back we found the most marvelous restaurant…. Bucanieri

Look at the view from our table……..marvelous!!

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What a delightful meal we enjoyed, sitting and watching the chefs in the open kitchen….

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Crostini with Lardo and Fresh Tomato..

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Arancini di Riso and Sundried Tomato stuffed with Sardine…

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Octopus Salad

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Wild Boar Meatballs in a Rich Hunter’s Broth

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Delightful Frutti di Mari

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Tuna Steak in an Incredible Parsley Sauce

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Delightful cup of Rich Minestrone Soup

Then a walk back to the New Palace for some pastries..

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Nothing beats Sicilian Pastries…

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We so love Sicily and Marsala is always a delight to visit…..we hope you enjoyed spending some time here with us….

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