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Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

I met a few friends on my walk this morning.

Happy Halloween to you and yours. 


Saturday, October 25, 2014

It's the weekend.

And it's great to be back.

Jet lag is a thing of the past. 

It's time to celebrate with what is left in the garden.

Mon Bouquet du Jour.  

Have a wonderful weekend my dear friends.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Chateaus and Villas II

Driving in Italy and France

Part II

adapted from Villa Toscana website

La Locanda di Villa Toscana is located in the small town of Bibbona, Tuscany, Italy, just south of Livorno.  

The Villa is located in the middle of town.  A note was attached to the front door when we arrived. We were to call the number listed on the note.  The only problem; we didn't have a telephone.  Our rental car had a phone but we didn't know how to use it.  

I found a group of young workers taking a lunch break, who were only too happy to dial the number for me.  

The housekeeper arrived a few minutes later.  

We didn't see anyone until the next morning when a beautiful breakfast was waiting for us.  

The big surprise was the upper part of Bibbona.  An Etruscian Stronghold.  

We almost missed it.  

These two charming ladies meet every evening, and have done so for the past 30 years, and sit on this very bench.  

We had been occupying the same bench earlier.  I noticed that several people were dropped off near a very steep street.  They would walk up and disappear.

I had to see what was up there.  Gene wanted to stay put. 

Not only did I discover a beautiful Etruscan village but also a fine looking restaurant, which turned out to be well known in the area.   

Restaurant Osteria De Messeri

When I came back with the exciting news, the ladies and Gene were having a spirited conversation.  He had given up his seat on the bench. 

 By now Gene knew all about the restaurant and the rest of their story.  How, I don't know.  They didn't speak English and Gene doesn't speak Italian.   They all had big smiles on their faces. 

There is another Bibbona about a 15 minute drive to the west and by the sea.  
Marina Bibbona looks promising, We will save it for next time. 

This Bibbona also deserves another visit.

 While in the area, Relais-Sant-Elena is nearby. 
If you want to spend a few days relaxing and enjoying the peaceful country side, then this is the place.

Next stop Montelupo Fiorentino and Villa Vannucci.

Have a great remainder of the week my dear 
Blogging Friends.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Chateaus and Villas

By Car through France and Italy.

Part I

Chateau De Chesne
Nohant En Gracay, Le Chesne, France.

Day one.  About 3 hours South of Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Perfect distance to get acquainted with our new rental car. 

Chateau De Chesne is located in a beautiful country setting.  The perfect stopover for the first night in France.

Here is a tribute to the longevity of hand made ceramic tiles.  

Owned by a charming and handsome French Aristocrat. 

A beautiful breakfast awaited us the next morning.  

On to La Pouyette.

Yes, the charming Karin we know from the blog with the same name. 

Karin and Mr R welcomed us like old friends.  

We stayed at La Pouyette in 2012. 
La Pouyette is located near the town of Perigueux.   

This very special spot is the perfect guest house from which to explore the very interesting and unique Dordogne region.

When we arrived Karin was shelling walnuts which she had gathered from her ancient tree.  

I joined in.  It reminded me of my younger days when I would sit in a circle with the older village women shelling peas, listening to the newest gossip.


As before, Karin prepared for us a most delicious French dinner.  

No one does it better, it is always a feast for the eyes and the palate.

La Pouyette is about a 6 to 7 hour drive from Paris.  The drive is  beautiful with many interesting sites and ancient villages to admire along the way.  

On to Arles, our longest drive, with many side trips.

By now I had figured out how to program our Mercedes Benz navigation system.  Much superior to my hand held GPS I brought from home.  

The Jules Cesar, is part of the "Small Luxury Hotel of the World".

We stayed at the Cesar more than forty years ago.  

Some of it looked familiar.

Some did not.

Don't remember these colorful tiles in our bathroom floor. 

Bright greenish yellow walls and colorful upholstered pieces in public spaces.   

No wonder, all recently designed by famous French fashion designer Christian Lacroix.

On to the French Riviera and to 

 the Hotel Le Roquebrune Cap Martin, France

Not even the  GPS could find this place clinging to the side of the Mountain and overlooking the Mediterranean, near Monaco and Monte Carlo.

Ah,  the Cinque Terre and Monterosso al Mare.

We stayed at the La Serra Sul Mare 


The La Serra Sul Mare B & B  is located above Monterosso.  It has easy parking and reliable and frequent bus service into town. 

Excellent views, super friendly staff and some of the finest breakfasts in Europe.  

From the center of Monterosso it is only a short and picturesque walk to the train station. 

Once on the train you can visit the other famous Cinque Terre towns.  My favorite town is Vernazza.  Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore are also on the same line.  

Next stop. 

The lovely Etruscan town of Bibbona in Tuscany.

And one of the loveliest Hotels in all of Italy.  

More to come in a day or two. 

Have a great Sunday my dear friends.


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