These are a few of my favorite things


Part of the reason I am passionate about food has to do with connections. Actually, I’d say it’s the main reason. One of my favorite things is to meet people and learn about their passions and what makes them tick. And one of my favorite ways to do this is through travel.

Travel was something I dreamed about as a child. My family did not venture out of our town too often; mainly we drove Continue reading

Sunday, June 26, 2011: Modena; Bologna; Firenze

Fun times today!!! We left Verona toward Firenze (Florence) and made a side trip to Modena to visit the Ferrarri museum. A voluptuous woman greeted us as we parked the car, asking my husband, “Would you like to drive a Ferrarri?” Grin upon his face, he replied, “Yes…”

Next thing I knew he was signed up to test drive the ‘California’…the one that has room for 4. In a short time he was driving off for a 30 minute test drive, our two boys (grins upon their faces, too) and one of the drivers in tow…That drive was supposed to include time to come back and switch out one of the boys for me, but the car representative somehow misunderstood and they did not return for me at all…so I got to go out with one of their other drivers (he drove) for a ride. All’s well that ends well!!

The ride over, we headed to the museum to check out the cars on display there (and yes, have a bite to eat…), thus ending the ‘drinking and driving’ portion of our travels! From here on out there should be no more car museums!! WooHoo!!!

Firenze was our next stop…and what an adventure trying to drive to the hotel we had! Our GPS had us going all sorts of ways: down one cobblestone street, up another, through this alley, out that one…we were so lost! We finally called the hotel and they told us to stay right where we were. They sent someone to find us/drive our car to the hotel. Then they took our car info so they could send it in to the city to make sure we didn’t receive any fines for driving places we shouldn’t have – and we drove into a lot of areas we shouldn’t have while searching for the hotel!

Paoli was the restaurant recommendation from our hotel concierge, and it did not disappoint. It even offered a snooty Italian waiter who really didn’t want to wait on tourists. But wait on us he did, and our meal was wonderful. We finished, walked back to the hotel (right around the corner), and enjoyed watching a street performance by a Charlie Chan-esque type man before heading to bed…

Audi Factory Tour/Arriving in Stuttgart

We had a nice drive to Stuttgart today…the German countryside is lush this time of year. I feel as if I have been transported back to a former time and place with all of the older farmhouses and barns and other older architectural buildings we pass…Of course it would be wonderful to see this gorgeous countryside at a slower speed…ah, just love the autobahn!

Stuttgart itself doesn’t seem all that remarkable compared to other European towns we have visited/passed through; however, our hotel has a wonderful restaurant and is located right next to a beautiful park. As we arrive there is some sort of commotion going on in the streets. We ask our waitress what it is all about, and she informs us it is the typical ‘Monday protests’…apparently every Monday the crowds gather to protest the proposed changes to the city, changes which include cutting down several trees over 300 years old to make way for this progress. She says it has divided the city in half, but it will give an updated look to the town. She seems to have mixed feelings about the whole thing. I felt sad thinking about all those fabulous trees being taken down in the name of progress.

As I mentioned, the restaurant here is wonderful…we sat down for our complimentary welcome drinks (LOVE this – why don’t more hotels do this?) and perused the menu. The desserts looked fabulous, so we quickly made the executive decision to return for dessert after eating dinner and strolling around town. Upon serving us our drinks we were informed that particular restaurant in the hotel closed early, and the desserts we wanted were not offered in the other section of the hotel. What’s a family to do in this situation??? We – of course – made a second executive decision to have dessert first…hey, isn’t there some sort of expression about that? The desserts came, and we ate…they were all we had been imagining. My husband and I ordered pastries from their delectable counter, and both boys chose ice-cream concoctions which were quite a sight to behold. One was a black forest Sunday. It had chocolate ice-cream, cherries (REAL ones), chocolate sauce, a shot of Kirsch liqueur, and a dollop of whipped cream. The other was a ‘nutty’ sundae: Vanilla ice-cream, walnut ice-cream, caramel, candied walnuts, chocolate and caramel sauces, and whipped cream. I took liberties with my ‘parent tax’, having a couple of bites of each.  My husband chose a cherry pie unlike any other cherry pie I have experienced…and finally, my dessert was a torte layered with cream and pastry. I should have taken a picture of these, but we were way to busy enjoying them to remember to take a photo. 😉 The pastries are made fresh each day in the hotel, and the two women we met who baked them took such pride in their works of art. They had huge smiles as they described each pastry…I am hungry all over again just thinking about it!!

It was time to walk off some of those dessert calories…we wandered about the outside mall for a bit, taking in the sights offered.