Sunday, June 3, 2012

Good Company and Good Food

I was introduced to Paella by my good friend Conchita and her cousins when we traveled through Spain as college students.  Her cousins took us to Los Caracolas in Barcellona’s Barri Gótic (Barrio Gotico).    We started out with snails and the advanced to the Paella Mista which is a symphony of rice, chicken and seafood.  

Planiol Restaurant in Lloret de Mar
Each time we have come to Spain we have indulged in Paella at least once this trip was no exception.  The scent of a restaurant where they are preparing paella is enough to calm the spirit and make your mouth water.  When it finally arrives at the table all hands commence spooning this marriage of meat and fish on to their plates.

This year we were treated to Paella in a restaurant on the beach in Lloret de Mar by our friends Lluis and Mercedes Pujades.  They decided ordered to select Paella Mariscos and Paella Langosta.  The favors of both were spectacular with the Lobster Paella having a stronger seafood flavor.  A semi-dry tinto (red) wine selected by out host enhanced the experience.

Paella Langosta

Paella Mariscos

Monday was a holiday for the city of Barcelona.  Our host, Antonio Villasenior, in Barcelona,  planned a splendid walking tour. In the afternoon we met his girl friend Adelaida at Ristorante La Fonda.  They enjoyed Paella Mista,  I tried something new, Fideus,  a Catalan specialty which used fine noodles with a stew of shrimp, clams, and mussles and various vegetables.    Bob had the bacallà (cod) with a finely chopped vegetable sauce.   Each dish was superb and we enjoyed a traditional Catalan lunch hour filled with delicious food and entertaining conversation.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Visiting Lloret de Mare

Back  in the day when travelers made the grand tours of Europe I would hope they stopped in the beautiful city of Barcelona.   Although, I have lived in Madrid, Barcelona with its mountains and sea is my favorite city in Spain.  Very cosmopolitan it is known for its unique architecture and fabulous food.  But, what impressed me most is the lovely people I have met.  This trip we were able to visit with some old friends and with some new.  Our old friends were Lluis and Mercedes Pujades.  With the Pujades we traveled last Saturday from Barcelona to Lloret de Mar to their weekend apartment.  There we hiked the rocky coast for breathtaking views along the Costa Brava.  Here are a few photos from that trip:

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Twins at 9 mos.

Avery in hat

Twins Drummin
This summer’s blog is starting out in New Jersey, where I had the opportunity to play grandma with my twin grand-daughters Quinn and Avery.  At nine month they are full of energy and crawling every which-way.   They are connoisseurs of mother’s milk and yogurt with applesauce.   Of course they both want to play with the same toy at the same time…which often causes vocal disputes.   But, nap times aren’t always at the same time which lets the awake twin demand “only child” status for an hour.  Walks to the park and swinging on the swings are their main entertainment.  They also love to bang on Great-Grandma Herrmann’s cookie tin.   I’ll miss all those hugs and kisses as I go off to meet Bob in Barcelona.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Roman Cooking Class

Bob and I adore Italian food. Each trip to Roman I would say "I'm going to take a cooking class!"
This year I was finally able to book a class with Daniela Del Balzo. We shopped at the Testaccio Market and then we were invited into her lovely home on the Aventine Hill to cook and dine. The full meal included Antipasto, Primi, Secundi and Dessert. Wine accompanied each course. Of course cafe ended the meal.

It was a glorious afternoon. This "Smilebox" gives a hint of the fun we had.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Making Waves with Mimi

Water Exercise in Rome!!

Last year I was privileged to meet Mimi Adami, a water exercise instructor extraordinary. Her classes are taught at the C. S. Aventino on Via Marmorata. This year I fortunate to join her classes again. Mimi loves to use music with her classes and she varies the routine each day. Classes are Monday through Friday so the variation keeps the class motivated. The other day we were working through our routine to the sounds of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah, and Carmen by Georges Bizet. Other days Mimi plies us with more popular hits like "Downtown", "New York, New York", or "Grease". Besides working on our range of motion and core balance we are all having fun shouting the lyrics to the songs we know. Nothing has been so much fun since singing in the shower.

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Ode to a Bus System

(or Riding Buses in Rome)

Over the years I have avoided riding buses in Rome. It might be my Midwest upbringing or just stubbornness that I can walk faster to where I want to go. Besides, unlike men, I never get lost! However, this year, age and a broken toe have encourage me to look for other modes of transportation than my aching feet.

Rome has a very efficient bus and metro system. The Metro has always been my first choice but my current apartment is not convenient to a Metro stop. So today, 3 days before I leave Rome…I capitulate and take the bus.

The first bus I took was the 117 bus. This is a micro-bus with only ten seats and standing room. On previous trips I have used it. It and its sister Bus 116 navigate the small narrow streets of old Rome. They pass through narrow walls sometimes only inches away from their side mirrors. (I know I was once almost knocked over by one of those side mirrors.) These buses are fun to ride. If you are unfortunate enough to occupy a standing room only spot, they are almost like riding a standing roller coaster. But, I digress.

Today, Bus 117 was only slight occupied and I was able to observe, in comfort, its meandering route though old Rome. We started a San Giovanni en Laterno, then up to the Celio, down to the Colesso, up again on the Esquiline, through a tunnel under the Quirinale, past Piazza Spagna and around Piazza del Popolo. For a patient, unhurried tourist it gives a great view of prominent city sites. I chose to depart this bus at Piazza del Popolo and walk the length of the Via del Corso because shopping was on my agenda. If I had chosen to stay on the bus it would have gone the length of Via del Corso, to Piazza Venezia then it turn up Via Nationale, take a jog around the Mercati Traiane, then Via Cavour and Via Imperiali, and past the Colesso again and finally up Via San Giovani en Laterno and the end of the bus route.

In an adventurous mood, I decided to try Bus 628. Over the last 4 weeks, I had seen it numerous places as I walked through the city. But in a city with various one way streets and street names that change every few blocks, it was hard to determine what was the actual route from the bus stop signs. Fortified with the mind set I had nothing to lose, I got on Bus 628 near the Piazza Colonna on the Corso. Off we went: First through the Piazza Venezia; down past the Teatro Marcello; past Tempio di Ercole Vincitora and Tempio Portunous; up Via del Circo Massimo with a view of the Circus and the Palatine Hill; down the Viale del Terme di Caracalla and a view of the bathes; up Via Druso; through the Roman Walls at Porta Metronia; down Via Panonia and right to my front door in Piazza Epiro.

For 2 euros I traversed all the seven hills of Rome and viewed most of the major sites of Rome. I still love to walk but it is nice to travel like rest of the Romans for the short time I get to pretend I am one.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Getting my bearings in Rome

May 26 was my first full day in Rome. I thought it would be a good idea to get my bearings and determine how long it would take to get to my water exercise class each morning. On the suggestion of my husband (not exactly the best idea) I took two different buses at rush hour to the pool location. The circuitous route took 1 hours and 1 minutes. I took Bus 218 to St. John Lateran and then Bus 3 past the Coloseo (Coliseum), Circo Massimo (Circus Maximus) and over the Aventine Hill. After arriving at my destination I found the nearest bar for a cappuccino! I decided to try and walk back to the apartment. That took 45 minutes, saved a Euro and gave me great exercise. I have been walking back and forth most of the time since. The view is a little different: I walk past the Roman Walls, the Terme di Caracalla, the Circo Massimo.

Below are the sites I walk by everyday: