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Penelope Witherspoon's Travel Thread

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Today, I realized why I generally travel alone. Sigh.

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Conflicting objectives?

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Conflicting objectives?
Kind of. Just people being completely inconsiderate (i.e. not cleaning up after themselves) and saying they do not have to because, "we are on vacation."

I am ok with a little clutter. I am not ok with cleaning up all your broken empties off the deck you forgot to bring in before leaving. A massive thunderstorm blew in, bringing 40-50 mph gusts of wind. It was fun trying to prevent the flying glass from going everywhere. No one seems to understand why I was upset. Especially since one of my travel companions made a point to tell people to bring their stuff off the deck last night. It was his empties amongst the broken hm ones. Hypocrisy is appalling in all forms.

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On 5/23/2018 at 7:28 AM, thunderlounge said:

 

I’ve considered in/out of Rome in December. As bad as I want to go back, I’m not a fan of how the flight schedules line up for the internals. :(

Looks like Brussels or Amsterdam is going to be the point of entry. 

While we await on the Italian/French updates, I finally got my Decmber trip booked. 

Had found a great deal through Delta Vacations, waited too lomg, and the flights went to shit. Like 22hr layover in ATL shit. That sucks as Brussels was the point of entry. It was $700 less than just airfare, and included 12 nights hotel to boot. Oh well.

Ended up booking through BA Holidays. Checked AA Vacations and they were way high.

Schedule is:

12/8 - Leave for Paris arrive on 12/9, staying at a partner hotel at Disney Paris (Dream Castle or something like that.)

12/11 - Direct train to Brussels. See the Christmas market, back to Paris 12/12.

12/13 - 12min train to CDG, foy over to Manchester, then make my way to Sheffield.

12/15 - Head to Manchester for the night. Christmas market.

12/16 - London

12/19 - Fly back to Paris

12/23 - Fly home

 

Including hotel in Paris for whole time, saved $400 over airfare on its own. Not as good as the DL deal, but good enough. Having the train station right there woth high-speed to CDG (and Brussels, etc) as well as being a Eurostar stop will work great.

 

 

 

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First dinner last night. At Mitch in Aix-en-Provence.

First was a mackeral lemon tart. Next was sea bream with seasonal vegetables. And last was a seasonal blancmange.e830bfdacafbf20cfddb539ea2f5c2d1.jpg9da97df61defe3f2d88717fa287a9276.jpgc421cb936597a1ea6b7a346f72190cb4.jpg

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Y u no drinking rosé?
Oh, I am. On the boat, we had a great Rose from Bandol. The captain gets it from a Coop, so no bottle to show. I've had Rose almost every afternoon.

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Rose all day!

Great pics and understandable about ditching travel mates, I've done a few excursion on my own and while its great being able to do exactly what you want when you want but I've found dining in nicer restaurants a bit uncomfortable if solo

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Rose all day!
Great pics and understandable about ditching travel mates, I've done a few excursion on my own and while its great being able to do exactly what you want when you want but I've found dining in nicer restaurants a bit uncomfortable if solo
I have zero trouble dining alone. Been doing it for years. Even in Michelin 3 star joints.

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I'm on a boat.

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Unfortunately, I have also been dealing with a bit of illness so I slept most of the day on the boat. It was amazingly restful. I will most other photos from my other device.

Fortunately, was able to sleep 12 hours last night and just relax today in preparation of going to Paris.

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Still feel like shit. Didn't think you could get this in the South of France. I must not have washed the outside of a melon properly. Sigh.

Boat day part 2. And yeah, was sick then, but the symptoms thankfully allowed me to enjoy the boat ride.6dcbcc0baebb3146e2d506131c857498.jpg8f602e9210950ee17e31ed02b2e6d845.jpg0c76d5924508d168028f1492639a361b.jpgbe280218553e88f7e3a387192c59368c.jpgcea5a87a0ffb1c7a182542584307d789.jpge594d4612855754758c909e3b25ec2d7.jpg98a910f3676030661711a50fbddc9908.jpgfde6520d587f8e41c2f053681649ec05.jpgc08855da945f01226f239c25b49c1f6f.jpg

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Breakfast this AM. First real food since lunch Sunday, though I did nibble on some bread on the boat. The views did not suck. Now I'm crashed in the AC trying to drink lots of water and hope I feel better for my train tomorrow afternoon.

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Thanks for posting everything! Been fun to follow since we have a very similar itinerary - we did 2 days in Rome, 3 in Florence, 4 in Nice, and now 4 in Paris. Just went to La Condesa tonight based on your post and WOW, it was amazing. We have a reservation at Seb'on tomorrow based on a co-workers recommendation and are debating between Montée and somewhere with traditional coq a vin for dinner Friday night - we fly out Saturday. 

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Also, La Condesa should have the same or very similar menu when you're there Saturday based on what they told us - if they do, I'd fully suggest getting the 6 course option instead of the 4 course. We loved every bit of the 6+ courses (there are some additional dishes that aren't considered actual courses)

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Also, La Condesa should have the same or very similar menu when you're there Saturday based on what they told us - if they do, I'd fully suggest getting the 6 course option instead of the 4 course. We loved every bit of the 6+ courses (there are some additional dishes that aren't considered actual courses)
I actually ended up cancelling La Condesa. I felt like I had overplanned, so I'm keeping Saturday open. I'll catch it on a return trip. Glad to know it was good though.

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Thanks for all the photos!  Despite the illness it looks like you had an amazing trip. We are 60 days out from two weeks in Italy.  Can’t wait. 

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4 hours ago, PenelopeWitherspoon said:

I'm back in Houston. Loading all my photos (I have over 3k), so I can do a whole trip report.

What did you bring me?

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Ok, so originally, this trip was supposed to start on June 13th, but due to my car accident, I moved my flight back a day to deal with some insurance issues.  Because of that, rather than spending a night in Chicago, I just spent a morning and afternoon.

Upon landing in Chicago, I dropped my bags off with my friend and headed out to walk around the city with plans to meet back up with my friend at lunch.  First place I headed was the State Street Macy's, former home of Marshall Fields.

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The ceiling in the building is a Louis Comfort Tiffany glass mosaic.

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And there are some other cool sites inside.

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Stopped by the Chicago Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  This is right along side the river.  It is very peaceful.

 

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Trump Tower is right there.  Obviously The Donald is compensating for something.

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And a few more sites while walking along the river.

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Lunch was held at Smith & Wollensky, on a terrace overlooking the river.  No photos from lunch, but it was pretty tasty.   Afterwards, I walked back towards my friend's office (she had dashed to take a call), and stopped at Goddess and the Baker.  Had a Nitro Cold Brew and a Purple Cupcake to celebrate Pride month.

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Afterwards, I went back, picked up my luggage, and headed to the airport to catch my flight.  To be continued....

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I had never flown Turkish Airlines, and this trip, I was. Fortunately, I was able to get a really good deal on business class, so that was nice.  The seats are actually pretty spacious.  And the fresh fruit juices to start the flight are a nice touch.  No photos from the flight, but I will say, the food on board is pretty good.  Definitely better than the US Carriers, not quite as good as my experience in Lufthansa International First Class.  All in all, a good product.

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Due to a delay at O'Hare (due to O'Hare ground operations), I missed my connection in Istanbul.  That meant I got to spent 4 hours in the Turkish Airlines Lounge with my friend who was on that late flight to Rome, which is an incredible lounge. Just well done.  I would consider Turkish Business for future flights just for the lounge alone.  Unfortunately, no photos.

We finally made it to Rome around midnight.  Out of group of 5, we were the last to arrive.  We had stayed at the Sheraton Parco Medici since we were going to depart the next morning for the Amalfi Coast.  There was a snag.  Because our flight arrived so late, the rental counter was closed.  As a result, they gave our car away.  The next morning we went in and picked up a sprinter van, which was necessary for the number of people and all our luggage.

We had rented a house in Praiano.  Praiano is halfway between Positano and Amalfi.  It is a sleepy little town of about 2,000 people, but it has some stunning views.

The drive to Praiano was interesting to say the least.  it afforded some amazing views, but some scary moments, like when the Sita bus almost took us off the road.  

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There are tons of little stands like this all along the road.  Yep, those are lemons.  The lady has lemon granita, which is tasty.  She also sells lemoncello, meloncello, and other tasty things.  We got a number of things and went on our way.

Here is the top part of Positano.

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Praiano.

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Our street.

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Our House.

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This evening was spent getting our sprinter van towed (there was a problem with the clutch and none of us felt safe driving it to Salerno) and then cooking dinner and drinking a LOT of wine.  Day 1 was in the books.

Edited by PenelopeWitherspoon

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Day 2 on the Amalfi Coast started very early as most of us could not sleep, even though we had all drank a ton the night before.

The views from my balcony were stunning as the sun rose.

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Once we finally got going, we headed down the street to find a place to grab a late lunch.  We found the Hotel Onda Verde and its restaurant Franchino.

Of course, wine was on the agenda.  We all agreed to try and stick to local wines, or at least wines from Campania if we could not get Amalfi Coast wines.  We started with a Rose.

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The next wine we went to was a white wine.  Both wines were very enjoyable.

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We started out sharing a number of different appetizers.  We ordered coconut flavoured octopus, laid on ginger potatoes and “scapece” style zucchini, with oil, garlic and mint, gratin baby squids filled with cheese and aromatic herbs, and burrata cheese from our Monti Lattari laid on tomato sauce, served with Cetara anchovies oil flavoured croutons (it looked like fried bread).

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The coconut octopus was absolutely amazing.  I had never had it prepared like that.  The squid was very good, though it would have been better without the cheese.  The Burrata was really good, but no one ate the fried bread.

Next, came the main courses.  I ordered the Amalfi Coast risotto, with shrimps and lemon.  My travel companions ordered seared seabass fillet on slab of salt, served with mint vinegar flavoured broccoli, swordfish fillet stuffed with lemon compote, pistachio and Corbara cherry tomatoes salad, black angus filet mignon cooked in red beer, served with baked potatoes and sweet and sour onion, and the lobster special.

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My dish was absolutely fantastic.  Everyone else was pleased with their choices.  All in all, I recommend a meal at Franchino.  The food is good and the views are hard to beat.  Here are a few of the views from our table.

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After lunch, we decided to head down towards the Marina (seen in the photo above).  We ended up having drinks at Il Pirata.

To be continued...

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Il Pirata is a restaurant, bar, and beach club right below where we had lunch.  We went down there and drank, a lot.

We are also right near the Praia Marina, and there are a lot of small boats anchored there.

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Eventually, we realized we needed to grab something else to eat to soak up all the booze.  We went to Bar Mare Donna Clelia and grabbed some Pasta with Red Shrimp and Pasta with Calamari (sorry for the blurry quality on the last one).

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This was our view at dinner.

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As our night was over, we headed back up a significant climb, but got some great views as we went.

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On arriving back at the house, we all crashed as we had an early morning the next day as we had rented a boat for the day.  Thus ended Day 2.

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Day 3 we had chartered a boat with Amalfi Marine for the day.  We met the boat at Praia Marina, and then headed east along the coast.

Heading away from Praiano.

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Coming into Furore.  Later in the summer, they do diving competitions off this bridge.

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Furore.  This beach only gets sun for a couple of hours in the afternoon.

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So, this is the Grand Hotel Il Saraceno.  It is a hotel that incorporates a 12th century fortress.  It is currently under renovation, reopening in 2019.  I might look at staying here on a return trip.  I just thought it was very dramatic.

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Coming into Amalfi.

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Coming into Amalfi.

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Closer still of Amalfi.  We actually disembarked here and grabbed breakfast and some more drinks for the boat.

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The Duomo di Amalfi.

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Just east of Minori.

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Once we got within site of Salerno, we turned around and headed back west, following the coast.  

We are on a boat!

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The boat in a cave.

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This cave...

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More amazing views...

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Day 3 to be continued...

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After cruising along the coast for most of the day, we had a late lunch at Ristorante Il Catuccio a Nerano.  

On offer, fresh calamari and fresh, grilled seabass (all the same for everyone).

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There might have been dancing on the table and a lot more booze involved.  :D

Here is the view while we were eating.  

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It was an absolutely great lunch.  Afterwards, we headed back to the boat and back to Praiano.  We popped back into Il Pirata for some drinks, then it was time for a late dinner at Kasai, which was really close to our house (down a flight of stairs from the road our house was on).

Next post will cover Kasai.

 

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Day 3 dinner - Kasai

This is a great little restaurant, and if you are in Praiano, I recommend it.

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Grab a table outside for good views.

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Nero D'Avola is quickly becoming one of my favorite wines.

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A mixture of fried goodies to start.

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Then we had the truffle pasta, the shrimp pasta, the mixed grill of seafood (with salad), and a steak (shared amongst two).

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The food was great, and the setting was stunning.  Day 3 is complete.  Another early morning the next day to head to Naples for some of us.

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Day 4, we were up early on the SITA bus to Sorrento from Praiano.  It is about an hour on the bus.  Then we headed to the harbor to grab some breakfast and then head to Naples.  Breakfast was coffee with melon and ham (I love that as breakfast!).  

Here is a photo of Sorrento

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On arriving in Naples, you are greeted with the back of Castel Nuovo, the former royal seat of the King of Naples.

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Here are some street scenes from Naples.

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Here is a gypsy lady playing the accordion.  She was really good.

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Pizza in Naples up next...

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