Posts Tagged ‘art’

This is a video I made for my trip to Sicily.   I am very happy with the results!


You never know what a sentence can lead to…. and I mean that on several accounts.  Way back during my ailment of I miss Italy, I had a thread “my Italian scarf intervention” little did I know at the time what some friendly posts were going to start, a ball of thread was starting to unravel and roll with red thread and soon that thread was going to start connecting us and pulling us together no matter where we actually were, friendships started brewing and really it goes back even further than that – I realize now that same ball was bouncing thru trip reports, discussions, Orvieto, Florence the beautiful, Venice, you name it— till one fine day you all wake up, see a thread about life being too short and go to Rome, so that’s what we did.

Here is the original post we saw that spurred us into action:

The Traveling Scarves of Italy began…………word of warning for those who may not know me from my other reports, they can be long, personal, I don’t give a hoot about spelling and grammar I just write….. so today that’s what I’m doing, buy the ticket…take the ride 🙂

Why you have to love Italian men.

Why you have to love Italian men. More about that later and Life.

and I did…….than there was blessed Katina sitting in the land of Oz at 2 a.m. , finger on the trigger, hearts were racing, palms sweating and before you could say hop, skip and jump the tickets were bought…….I was anxious about this, did I have any business going to Rome in February?  I was going to Greece in May.  I had made a deal with myself….Italy every other year a new country in-between, well deals are made to be broken it seems, so far this is my third straight year with the affliction, I blame Michelangelo for it, I love him and Italy .

Katina says…….well I can go in February, how about February?  I stare at it SO HARD and  because of her, I pushed that button, than buttons started pushing from everywhere, some quickly, some slowly after much thought, two more from Australia, one from Ireland, one from England, one from California, one from Utah, two from New York and my tiny little state of Maryland.

Who are these scarves who went to Rome you may be thinking?  Well I’m going to tell you about them.

Katina – lives in Australia but is Greek as well, one thing I know if I ever meet him, I’m going to love her pop.  Anybody who wants’ to tell me what Greek word came from such and such came from is allright in my book !  Windex is for movies!  He is real.   Kat went to Italy with her daughter last year, they met up with Melissa,  TA’s aussie girl–Melissa and I had talked yes we are traveling together,  I believe she told Katina one day we are going to Italy with Jeannette and Katina being reserved and cautious of course thinks  I am not doing any such thing with a stranger !  Never say never ……..Katina looks like Jennifer Aniston to me, dresses in such nice fashions that she could show the Italian ladies a thing or two and that’s saying something because we all know Italian women know how to dress.   Beautiful outside…beautiful inside, that’s Katina.

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Katina 🙂

Lilly – aussie two!

We have nicknamed Luscious Lilly and she is – I am sentimental and emotional it comes with being Cancer the crab.  LL is my partner in crime in that department, we like to touch everything to really feel it, sounds cause emotion, music can make tears – not unhappy ones – the ones that mean your alive and you know you blessed and lucky to see or hear what you just witnessed.   I think booking this trip was a big emotional step for Lilly, she hasn’t traveled without her husband before Henry.  We are not just talking about a few hours flight, this is the real McCoy.  All the way around the world for some 24 hours but she did it !  She can be on the quiet side at times but when she opens her mouth watch out for the zinger because your sides will be splitting with laughter.  A dead-on sense of humor!   I won’t ever hear the words “Ciao Bella” without thinking of Lilly ….ever.

Lilly :)

Lilly 🙂

Yvonne –  aussie three

Yvonne led me to this discovery of the red thread…….she realized it and described it to me.  It hit me so strong that she was right that I even tied a small piece of red thread inside a purse on a zipper.  Me and my Yvonne (yes I have claimed her as my own)  began our red-thread in Orvieto.  We were looking to stay in the same place last year but were going at different times. Yvonne made it there first….same place, same bed, when I arrived I got angels.  Yvonne left me a note on a postcard with angels.  She told me to take care of Aramo our B&B manager and after that – our destiny was sealed and that postcard has been at my bedside ever since – even to this trip in Rome.  Yvonne “has it goinn on as I like to say.”   She is smart as a whip, stunning I say and I had to tell her, ” dear Yvonne,  I don’t know if u ever noticed but you are built like nobody’s business”  Women half your age would die for a figure like that.  How the *ell do you do it?  Seriously guys, tall, thin, legs from here to Ethiopia, dresses smart, loves my man Michelangelo.  She used to be a nurse before she retired and somehow has been given an injection from the fountain of youth.  Her whole face smiles… that is Yvonne !   And she is still there now as I write…

The Red thread from Yvonne

The Red thread from Yvonne

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So that’s our aussies including Melissa who couldn’t be with us.

Now we jump over to England with Julie.  She is luckiest woman alive, she can get those Ryan airfares dirt cheap and be over in Italy so fas.  Me and Julie love Italian romance and man stories.  Way back she was telling me, I’ve got some stories to you know and it starts with a smooch on a bridge in Venice.  Well after that our red thread is tied and glued. Her accent sounds just like the Beatles and I could listen to her talk forever.  I love the stories about her and her mom traveling, especially when she got her mom paranoid about the suitcase weight and her Mom wore two bras on the plane.  That is just the thing my mom would do.

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Julie talking with Yvonne in the red coat

Kathleen is from England but lives in Ireland –  I got to know her much later but better late than never.  If anyone can become a saint for the love of cats, dear Kathleen will be a saint.  She donates part of her salary to them, feeds many strays and pays to get them fixed.  She wakes at the crack of dawn to start this process.  Julie and Kathleen met in Venice so I got to know her thru Julie.  We didn’t get many days in Rome but I’m grateful for the time she could spend with us.  She’s as sweet as sugar pie !

Kathleen sitting next to Yvonne

Kathleen sitting next to Yvonne

The USA contingent – consists of some ladies who went and others who couldn’t but who were there in spirit and seeing us on a webcam by the Pantheon.  I will tell you about them next than onto Rome.  Big intro yes but it had to be done so you can understand why this trip is unique and special.

The American’s –

Ellen is from NY and we got to meet last year actually due to my trip report with me and Kelly’s mothers.  She somehow  found it and sent me a PM.  Of course I write back and to this day we have never stopped writing, thru good times and bad,  we got to meet in here in America and now in Italy.  Frank Sinatra was called “old blue eyes” so Ellen should be called  Ms. blue eyes because they are pretty and expressive.  Ellen has been to Italy many times and knows Rome very well.  She was a very good sport about seeing things she has already done before on previous trips.  She speaks Italian very well and saved us a many a time with her language skills.  She loves Italian romance as well and can tell you her own stories.

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Ellen 🙂

Trish is a retired school teacher and has a great love of Italy.  I always admire Trish’s life so much because not only does she travel there for pleasure but she also stays a good bit and goes to school learning the language.  She stays in real Italian towns.  She gets to know real Italian people and you sense that appreciation about her which is contagious.  We got to meet in orvieto last year and she introduced me to some of Orvieto’s delights as well as dinner at one of her favorite places.  Trish is very organized and saved the day a few times with advise.  I think she is home now and probably in that I’m heartsick without Italy mode.  She also drives in all countries one thing I have never been able to do.

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Trish 🙂

Laura has a great love of Venice.  She does a good bit of traveling on her own because her husband it not of fan of travel in Europe.  For the longest time, she wasn’t going because she didn’t feel it would be right to leave him when she had so much other stuff going on but somehow she got it done with a surprise hey I can come four nights.  She is the virgin and thru her you get excited remembering your first time , (heyyy not that first time)  of your first Rome.  She is excellent with the maps.  I was proud of her.  She got around better than me and I have already been there!  I know Venice has her heart but I think Rome should get a little piece of it as well.

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me and Laura

Barb – I met thru Laura, I did not get to spend a lot of time with her.  She’s a classy lady and funny too!  She has a sense of humor like Lilly.  Barb we needed more time!

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Barb blue scarf on

Jeannette –  I do not know what or why but sometimes I feel like I was just born, maybe it was because I was busy raising my two children on my own, school, suffering and heartache to ever pay attention properly but in the last ten years, especially the last five, I think life is beautiful so I am looking at the world and people with brand new eyes.  I appreciate small things, big things, birds, sounds, sights, smells, stories, history, art, my list doesn’t end and I can’t STOP traveling.  Out of all the countries I’ve been to (still lots more to go) none of them has a hold on me like Italy.  None!  Why is that?  I keep asking which makes me keep going seeking answers.  I love everything about it , the people I meet along the way and trust me I attract the good and the bizarre but I think I figured out why?  Me and puppies are just about the same.  We will charge onto something or someone happily, giddy, wanting to play and explore ALL DAY.  People sense that and get your energy.

singing………..I’m leaving on a jet plane !  next…..

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me (Jeannette)

My flight is from Baltimore to Atlanta, than Atlanta to Rome, I go down the East Coast later watch myself go right back up it on plane #2, for the price I got hey who care’s !


Update:  I’ve got reports all over the place and am slowly trying to collect them here in my new blog.  It will be something for my grandchildren to read when I’m hairless and toothless sitting on my rocking chair so they know their grandmother or great grandmother LIVED!!!  I’ll label them “travel flashback.”

Day one – I work ten-hours and we have a 9:30 p.m. flight to London, I got my prized J16 seat, though I almost changed it, Kelly tried to get next to me, k16 and she called British air, they said no that’s for a mom and infant, well I called them right up, am I next to an infant? Please change me, the man says well its usually available for that but it has not been taken, BA lets u check-in 24 hours before the flight, for fifteen minutes ahead I’m manning the website, I have to check-in for Kelly her computer is broke, I’m bound and determined to get k16, the instant it’s on I dash off to k16 and place Kelly there, ahhhhhhhhhh relief,

We don’t sleep, always too excited plus I need the right conditions to sleep, sitting upright in a plane is not one of them, even reclining some, isn’t going to cut it, we’ve got a layover in London than off to Rome for one-night, this time we did the Leonardo express which I had never done, worked well except just missed the train, so had to wait, no biggie but by this time me and Kelly’s eyes are out on our cheeks delirious with sleep deprivation, I booked near termini, lug those cases to our street, we were in hotels same street, but different she checks in and I do, we are also starving to death, a great surprise waiting for us is a note from our friend Max who lives in Rome, he gave us the address where he was and a phone number, we couldn’t get him on the phone and no energy to find where he was, he nicknamed us the terror twins and I don’t even know if he would have recognized us, we were that tired and out of it , have u had that when u can’t even form a sentence with your mouth ? we eat dinner down the street, I will find the name, something with Angelina and we really liked it, we had a nice waiter who took good care of us, plus told me I talk with my hands and my eyes which is a mafia trait, thanks buddy !! off to bed, there’s a note on my pillow, max came there, oh lord, that means we missed him and he practically had to walk or ride right by us? This happened in New York too with max, max I promise I will buy a phone for Italy next time, I’m an anti-cell phone user but I’ll do it for you

I stayed at hotel Katty, had single but a double-bed put my sound machine on and slept the good sleep, I had a plan to meet Kelly at 1030 am, I was up earlier so I dress and head out for coffee, I find a place down the street with tables and coffee, no one is at the outside tables but I’m in Rome darn it and I want to hear Rome, I have three-cups, go into my usual shakes after, an older man walks by gives me a look, no smile, than proceeds to walk back and forth and back and forth the whole darn time, I decide I’m not speaking to him which I would usually do, no smile, no talk, I say

I go meet Kelly and tell her about where I was and we go there and eat breakfast, she had waffles with chocolate, yuckkk and I had Panini, we get to the train station and get our fast ticket to Naples, I paid a guy 3 Euros to get my stuff on the train worth every penny!

In an hour and 15 minutes, we are in Naples, that was a good ride, now to find the next train to Sorrento, we are by the big doors that go outside so I tell Kelly, well lets go out and look at Naples for a minute, so we step out look around than go back inside, I have a hard time remembering Italian names to things and if its close to a name I know I’ll memorize that, its easier, well I had already named the circum whatever train with its new name, circumcision, which I told Kelly … right off she spots a sign, see I told u I tell her, she will always recognize that train sign now, we head to down, it’s a bit crowded, we are at the right bin and a train pulls up, we go to get on and a bum says to Kelly, noooo Sorrento, nooo Sorrento, she’s asking me why is he saying that and I have no ideal either but we get on, well he is right, it does not go to Sorrento, we hop off in some town, get on an outside train station, I watched the stuff and Kelly goes to find out from someone what we need to do, she comes up on another side, I said how did u get over there? She said I don’t know???  How u getting back? I don’t know, well ask I yell, a man directs her , says next train, we sit smoke and see the train coming , Kelly gets my back pack on me, we roll to the edge and the bugger kept on going, didn’t stop, we both yell at the same time, awww *** !!!! two-workers from the office are out smoking watching they see and hear us and start chuckling, next one comes they come out again, yes this one, this one !!!! thank god,

like the ride into Sorrento, I like looking in people’s yards, buildings u name it, I see water and a shipyard, yahooooo this is it, we are on our way aren’t we? I love that,

Once we get to the Sorrento stop, there’s a man and wife who are kind of paying attention to us in that they got ohh lord can we find an elevator conversation, the man says in very little English and lots of hand movements to walk to the end kind of a box it will be easier, grazieeee we yell, after getting out of the train station and heading down the hill we see them again, he says “WHERE YOU GO?” hotel nice, he motions go left at intersection, we do, we go right on by hotel nice, he sees that and they come fast walking to us and turn us around and show us it, ahhhhh grazie I say, Italians sweet people for sure,

Rome tidbits :

Hotel Katty –…

The restaurant we really liked

Mamma Angela’s via palestro 53…

found it here !

We get to our room, two-single beds, decent size, not too small or big,, I open the window, view is of a garden and a small-pond, it has gold fish in it, there’s a pretty ash tray, Kelly says that’s not an ashtray, yes it is I said, feel the grooves, we can smoke in here !! well we do but mostly at the window, plus I asked the at the lobby because Kelly didn’t believe me, I go about unpacking, I like to feel like I’m living where I’m visiting, I like my stuff sorted, Kelly has never rolled her clothes for the suitcase, she called me before the trip to ask me about it, I said yes go for it, I do it all the time, well I was proud of her, she surely rolled and fit a lot of clothes in her bag, took her some work to do though, lot of good that did her because now that it fits and is rolled so perfectly, she didn’t want to unroll anything and wear it, I swear she only used the top layer ! LOLLL

the plan was when we got to Sorrento was to do the open-air bus to get an overview of Sorrento, since arriving later than planned we can’t and now go out onto the street to decide what, now Julie and Chris from England who were joining us for this trip had arrived the day before, Kathleen coming from Ireland was arriving the same day as us, all the sudden from about on a balcony, I hear “Jeannetteeeee” I look up and it’s the girls, Chris has a balcony on her room, yeahhhhh we yell ! they come down, we hug hard and catch up, so so happy to see the scarves, (our nickname) now ladies, chime in, u know I have the memory of a gnat, so if I forget something we did, my notes are all gone from the checked bag home, so I’m winging it,

next we go to dinner, this was to a place that Julie had been to a few years ago with her mother, actually I believe the night before they ate there too, the name of the restaurant is Largo Sedil Dominova, it’s on the little lanes that go off of Piazza Tasso, here is their website, , this place has great prices, good food and most of all live music, a fellow comes and sings with a piano player and for the life of me, I don’t know why he’s singing there and not in a concert hall because he is THAT GOOD ! he sang Bocelli, absolutely beautiful and many more artists, the restaurant also has a host of characters who work there who make it lively and fun, one little man never says a word, he just walks by, looks at you, pulls your pony tail, moves your wine, takes the parmesan, gives it back, a silent personality with gusto,

made some friends here, by the end of the night leaving I got big hugs from all and was told they were my family which was funny because a week later, walking by they all yell JEANNETTAAAA, btw all Italians say my name their way, it’s not Jeannette, it’s jeannetta, and I like it

We are headed back to the hotel, me and Julie got a beer, I was giddy happy to be back in Italy and in a special new place, I stayed out, smoked etc, Kelly went to bed, she wasn’t asleep yet and told me the sink was stopped up, filled with water, well I have to use it so decide I most go down to the desk and tell them, it’s the night guy and he is talking to some friends at the doorway, (one of which is cute ) he says he can send someone in the morning to fix it, his friend who we have nicknamed the plumber, says he will look at it, so up we go, Kelly is in the bed, he’s got a plunger, he gets that sink going in no time, Kelly’s still awake but pretending she’s asleep, somehow while saying goodbye and the Italian kiss a real one comes along, don’t ask me why, I’m vacation and don’t give a hoot, I can see Kelly’s body shaking under the sheets, she is laughing, well this can’t happen so I see him off, she has such joy telling the girls the next day about the “plumber” and you THOUGHT THE NIGHT WAS OVER ?? we had fun joking about it, it was “excEllent” and i asked Julie if she had any blockage in the room if so i knew the man to fix it,


I saw a documentary on the Alhambra palace which sealed my fate in making a visiting to this exquisite place.  I will definitely need more time in Granada.  One night is just not enough but if that is all you have than go!  We were lucky enough to go to the Cathedral and the Royal Chapel.  We had a nice walk back from Alhambra with a smashing dinner and explored the Alcaicería.    I don’t agree with those who say see The Alhambra and then go because there is nothing much else to do in Granada.  I saw many things that need to be explored.

Here is my reflection photo from the Alhambra Palace that I am very proud of since I am not a professional photographer at all just a point & click kind of girl.    Sometimes you click in just the right way.  I’m sure thousands of others have taken this same shot but here’s mine!

my favorite reflection

my favorite reflection

Enjoy Granada, below is the gallery.


Maybe it was my cool room which I loved with all the Spanish touches that shot me with such a Spanish feeling.    This place evoked what I had always imagined.  It’s crazy but I felt Spanish.  In my own mind, I could start speaking it fluently at any moment.  Now to be fair, that is in my own mind.   In reality, I know maybe five things.

Seville oozes a charm.  It has the most orange trees I have ever seen in my life.   Thousands.  It’s a bittersweet thing because from what the locals told me you can’t eat them because they are very bitter.  Luckily someone told me that or I would tried to make my own juice in the morning.   They are beautiful and decorate the city in a magnificent way.

Not to take anything away from the other places I have visited in Spain but somewhere in my heart where I was feeling Spanish I have decided I am Andalusian Spanish.  It must be the case.   It has everything I want to see and feel….small tiny lanes, adorned balconies, siesta, yes God grant me siesta, I could do that in life.   There are bells, the tapas, animated conversations and a vibe I can’t almost describe but it’s there.  My friends felt it too!

Strangely enough I didn’t have a whole lot planned for Seville.  I usually have big ol list but for here I did not, I did have a few things but really left it to let’s see where the Spanish winds take me.  The winds first brought us to the Cathedral with the lane full of outside cafes which is extremely up my alley.   I am a huge fan of cafe life and people watching.  I found out that old saying from my mom “your eyes are bigger than your stomach” is true since I always ordered too many tapas.   I like the smiles in Seville.   I like the history as well.  One of my papers, I did bring along was on a free walking tour with Pancho.  It was a kind of spur of the moment thing.  We met the others at the fountain by the Cathedral and were off for a walk and a bit of history.  We learned of girl who snitched on her father in the Jewish quarter.  She had a boyfriend she wasn’t supposed to have and with that a great many tragedies were endured and deaths.  Roads of sorrow. See it’s not ALL beautiful oranges thru the lanes of Seville.   We learned of father and sons battles and King Alphonso’s gratitude for Seville’s loyalty.  The eternally grateful symbol is stamped all over Seville.     Look for it!  We know why several crosses were placed in areas to keep down the partying at residential squares.   We know what the local word  is for tourist girls and romance.  We saw a beautiful balcony that’s in a movie and up to that point I was thinking that needs to be my Juliette balcony but alas someone else already stole the idea for Don Juan.  We saw where the Romans have been and what they left as in columns.   Our guide was a lively bright girl from Poland.  I think her name was Anna.  I’m not going to tell you everything about the walk so you can experience this on your own.  One thing I do not recommend with Pancho Tours is the meetup later to go see the Flamenco.  I didn’t care for it or the location but I highly recommend the walking tour and DO TIP!!!

I recommend the following:

Do climb the Giraldo tower.  I had the bad knee from a spill in Barcelona and just took my time going up and made sure to stop at all the windows for views.  I spent so much time here I missed the entry for the Alcazar.  I thought I would be able to fit it in later in the trip but could not, big regret but something for next time right?  My friends did see it and absolutely loved it!

Do visit the Cathedral and the tomb of Christopher Columbus.  Will any of us especially in America ever forget the year 1492?   It’s been tattooed in my brain since I was a child.

I did not get to lots of things in Seville.  There just wasn’t the time on this trip but I am extremely happy and grateful with all that I did get to see and do along with cafe life.    I sacrificed a night to go to Granada for the Alhambra palace.  That was no mistake but I surely wish I would could have had more time for my  Andalusian Sevillian Spanish life I was leading.   It was incredible and that was just Seville!  Imagine visiting all the others?  I will!

Granada’s  post is next and the best reflection photo I have ever taken in my LIFE!!!  I’m so proud of that photo!

ciao for now,

my mom, kelly, me , and Kelly’s mom

This 2007 trip to Italy saved me.  Here’s my story how I got my groove back.  I haven’t looked back since. 

After ten million hours of research, I come up with this, …………….and a Mom,  background on us – two friends , we are in our 40’s, both just experienced a nasty split with our significant others, (pure coincidence ) during our deep suffering we decide we need a trip, a big one, it will help our new found freedom, see amazing sights and to live it up a bit, so I told my momma about the plan, was ready to book it the next day, so what does she say? I want to go too !! , it’s something I should see before I die, DON’T YOU THINK??

I love Mom I do – but I didn’t expect to take her plus she is very frightened of planes, so she has to be drugged and she’s a slow walker, she’s 62— young still… but walks in that “stroll” mode, me— i’m like road runner, one mile ahead of her, so she puts the guilt on me and i have to take her plus call my friend tell her my mom’s joining , if she doesn’t mind?  I call Kelly and well she laughs hysterically , not the reaction I anticipated low & behold she tells me, i didn’t know how to tell you this but my mom wants to go too, so we are off in September, us and the momma’s.

Rome – Day One

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