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Host Bonjour

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  1. I did this once on a visit (I loved it!) but I found a small market and stocked up on things to keep on hand like water (remember to check w/ or w/o gas, frizzante=sparkling), wine, cheese, fruit, bread, etc., and yoghurt (spelled different there) and some jams. It would be difficult to find cereals, but you might be able find eggs if you wanted. You could use speck or crudo to make an omelette with the eggs and cheese, though it might be a little too salty? Be sure to bring your own bag to shop, there are no bags at Italian stores, so if you're stocking in for a few days, be prepared. If you don't have anything to use, the markets might sell reusable bags to use for holding groceries. Have a great time!
  2. Exactly. And that's why it adds so much to the holiday experience because, well once in a while it's quite a thing to have an extraordinary experience, and more so if it occurs while in a place that is absolutely unforgettable, like Rome. What you described, with the finger tool, the measuring, after being escorted to be seated (in a sumptuously upholstered, cushioned chair in this salon, of course) well, it's not buying a scarf at Macy's. I'd say maybe they even offer a caffe, water or champagne but I'm thinking of the gloves and not wanting to see them risk being affected by moisture? Then again, they make the offer at Louis Vuitton, who knows. I did buy a Furla in Piazza di Spagna. For some reason, I can't even remember the experience! Probably because I was subsequently saddened because I ended up using the bag's dust cover later that day to try and quickly fashion a shoulder wrap in order to gain access to the Sistine Chapel. It was big enough, but it didn't work since my shirt didn't otherwise meet the requirements (in this I didn't plan right) and so I was out a dust cover for my new bag. Still have the bag... Frette? I can only dream except I did have a Frette bed skirt that I got at an interesting close out place in Brooklyn; they had luxury closeouts, but only piecemeal items so you couldn't ever count on getting a set of Frette sheets there or if it did happen (it didn't), they wouldn't have matched. I might not have cared, they feel so good! I kept that bed skirt a good long time... But yes, an excellent pair of gloves that will last plus a lovely shopping experience, well worth it. What a great way to preserve a memory.
  3. Welcome home Crystal and thanks for such an amazing journey you thoughtfully crafted for all of us as you and Nate visited the Greek Islands. So glad things went well, what a phenomenal itinerary you put together. It was lovely to see the tribute you received, well deserved. Sorry to hear your mom wasn't feeling well but hope she's on the mend and doing better each day. As you can clearly see, the topic was popular! Everyone has needed to have an escape, or know that it's possible again, if they're not able to go just yet. You helped do that for lots of us here where it seemed like it's been ages ago, and so far from possible now. Only it's not. Thanks for bringing that back into the now for us! 😍 Would you list the wine types/varietals, when you've got some time? It would be great to know which ones had which kind of taste or finish, i.e., dry, sweet, light or heavy. Won't ask for too much more than that, I know you mentioned a dessert wine so that's easy enough to figure out. Going for notes or which corner of the vineyard as on SOMM would be a bit much without going wayyyyy off topic for our purposes, and I'd get myself in trouble. 😂 They are hard to get as not enough shops devote shelf space to them (even upscale ones) but they're out there, and I've had them, they're really really good. Thanks again Crystal, it was incredible!! 👏👏👏 And welcome home, lots of luck with the move.
  4. All the time, you'll see. It's wonderful. Here's the current Picture-A-Week topic, Pics of ships in port topic, sunrise/sunsets, Galaxy vs iPhone, and this is where videos are posted. There are topics on gear as well, which can be helpful for planning on what to use when traveling to get the best shots (which you have!), or take them to an even higher level, protective gear etc etc. Not everyone is THAT into photography, but there are a few topics that are dedicated to certain types of photos which seemed worth sharing. 🙂
  5. Hurtigruten has cruises to Greenland, the CEO visited Cruise Critic last year for a Q&A and it was fascinating. If I could, I would go on a Greenland cruise tomorrow. We have two ports boards for Canada: Canada/Eastern New England Canada/Alaska/Pacific Coastal
  6. Airline pilot friend for major US carrier had T-Mobile specifically because he flew internationally and Barcelona was one of his favorite destinations. Phone worked well there and, I think, better internationally than domestically (at first) though I believe they've worked out a lot of their old service issues now. May sound utterly simple, but sometimes simply shutting down and restarting my phone (iPhone/Verizon) solves a myriad of problems. I don't know why, but it does. If you're android, I'm less adept at trouble shooting, so apologies. But I think your T-Mobile will serve you well in Spain. (Worked great in Madrid too!)
  7. Fixing the menu for the next night? Shots during the tagliatelle? Bring another bottle....
  8. I laughed out loud when I had my young niece in the backseat one day and she talked about visiting the bayou, and talked about hogs, like it was nothing (and not pigs either). I think water came out of my nose or something. That kid is growing up Texan.
  9. Thanks Hank, it's fine! All we need when linking to the story is attribution to the source material and the name of the writer 🙂 The New York Post story by Kathianne Boniello is something I'd have shared if I saw it. Especially now, as everyone isn't able to travel, seeking connections to places we love and long to return to, and not to mention we could certainly use the lighter moments! (Is it wrong that I thought of, um, the culinary section when I saw this? Probably 😱) It's hard for me to imagine a wild anything running around... I still can't believe it when I see a deer or chipmunk, but then the only "wildlife" I was accustomed to was usually squished in the street before anyone saw it, or a pet in someone's home. Or pigeons. So yes, do post the wild boars invade a major capitol city, I have walked in, I am here for it. As long as it says where it came from and who wrote it, we're good! 👏👏
  10. You can't go wrong to follow Cruisemom's advice, in addition to some of the solid, confirmed hotel recommendations from folks in the thread. Two days isn't much, but you can see a decent amount on foot if you study the map and grid it out by section, to cover some of the important sites of historic Rome. Of course what's important is different to all of us, but if you are thinking in terms of traditional landmarks and history, well, there's no shortage of them in centro historico, where you'll be, and so factoring in time for meals etc., you'd have enough time if you plan to walk in the right area for two days. As someone said, definitely walk through the forum as well as the colosseum, and that will take up some time. The forum may not seem appealing on the map, but it really is. So is the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps - Piazza di Spagna, some folks like to visit the Trevi Fountain, I liked Piazza del Popolo. Agree with Cruisemom about not going on foot to the Vatican on foot as that is further away and would require too much time. Also, mind the time and day, and if you want to go inside the Vatican/Sistine Chapel, you need tickets, otherwise you can just wander outside in St. Peter's Square, which itself is quite something, and then walk along to Castel Sant'Angelo, then cross over the Tiber to take in the views, to maybe pick up a ride back to your hotel or whatever your plans might be next depending on the time of day/night. (I personally love the view of the Castle at night, but that's just my photographic eye view). There are small city guides (Lonely Planet, Rough Guide, etc., and yes, a favorite of community members, Rick Steves; don't bog yourself down with an entire country guide unless you're doing a land trip) with maps that are easy to follow and helpful in planning out the two day itinerary. The city is laid out in such a way that it will be convenient and easy to follow the plan once you familiarize yourself a little bit with the area around your hotel, if you've decided where you'd like to be. For a short visited, being in centro historico will maximize your available time. Download google maps to your phone not long before you depart, you won't need wifi to work the map. Trust me, the streets of historical Rome aren't changing, you can believe everything on the maps will be where the map says it is. When you need to check if whichever gelateria is open or closed, look for a wifi signal or check before you leave the hotel that day, or, we have a thread for that. 😛. Just ask! Add the gelaterie to your reminders app and you'll be prepared. (Why take the risk??) May is a prime travel month of course so if you are able to find a reliable place for $200 or a bit over, it's worth booking, especially if there are extras included like a breakfast or wifi or whatever it might be. At that price, in the heart of the old town, a decent room (so, 2 or 3 star, which isn't about a rating, but amenities) at that price is totally worth it in May. Good luck, let us know what you decide to do, and then once you're back, how it all went, with photos!
  11. It's not the same as shopping in the Piazza di Spagna but browsing is always nice: Sermoneta, before you know it, it's time to get on the plane, embark, and then you're in the shop deciding on styles and colors. What's even nicer is usually the items you find in the shop aren't the same as what's available online or even on this side of the ocean (depending on which side one is on) so that continues to make it a special purchase, aside from the sentimental value that instantly attaches with the purchase. It may be a food category but these gloves are smooth and wonderful as butter, so they qualify, in a metaphorical way 😉 🙂
  12. That looks like it's worth a trek. Maybe there are cooking classes in the vicinity, or an agriturismo type place where it's possible to do a late lunch where guests are involved in the preparation, because I mean, the setting? This works. Bennybear you always have these 🤩 persuasive images!
  13. Mexican Coca Cola has more sugar and comes in different size bottles (still glass) here in the metro area. Very popular! I didn't know there were cokes from other countries other than it's produced elsewhere and thus maybe tastes different due to maybe, different water? But if you start with purified water, it'll sort of level the playing field, but still palates will vary. Love the photos! They're beautiful, loving all the crafts and the blues 💙. What's happening with them when you post? I can try to look around for an answer, but these look amazing. Did you know we also have a digital photography forum too?
  14. The rolling is amazing, I wish I'd known about this from the first time I ever packed a bag. I do the plastic only for certain items though, since it would add too much bulk to the bag, but it's effective at keeping things smooth. 🤩
  15. Thank you, I'm grateful to be feeling much better 🙂 Yep cancel that restraint, it's go time! Lock the house, grab the bags, mask up, grab those test and travel documents and have a very wonderful, fun, safe journey. Stay hydrated on the plane, catch some zzz if you can, we'll be here looking forward to whatever you've got for us. We're going on a virtual trip everyone!! 🔭👓
  16. Right? It's Italy. This is how they do. This is everything. 😍🤩 I'd like to think the masters would approve, albeit at first maybe a bit taken aback but then like, si... si... si... si!!!! Thanks for sharing this, it made my eyeballs and my heart happy 🙂
  17. This is all that really matters. And even there, now that the curse is lifted, and how they gave such respect to the Captain and Mariana when they were retiring, which we reciprocated when Big Papi retired, it sort of eased things a little. But not that much. My friend goes now to watch Tigers games at new Yankee stadium; last time they got swept, but he had fun. So the rules in soccer still stymie me quite a bit too (it's hard to see everything happening) but I'm enjoying what all is going on, kind of how it does with hockey though I started with that when I was really young and in some ways it's similar only fewer players, ice, and I was going to say less drama but not really. They just can't throw down in soccer. And I don't think yellow/red cards would work in hockey; a few weeks in and most of the team, or a good portion of it, would be disqualified for a season. I think if she likes Jason Sudeikis, and kind of gets what soccer is, that's basically all you need to know, they tell you the rest as you go, cause the premise of the show is, Ted Lasso, aka Jason, takes the job to coach as an american football coach and doesn't know much about football, turns out, he doesn't need to, he's got his own special magic for the team, Coach Beard, the players, including Dani Rojas "football is life" and the guy who plays him was a football player! (And there are real football stars in the show too. Thierry Henry was on two weeks ago. Pep Guardiola another week.) She sounds way cool. Shopping can be dull, but it can be really interesting in Rome 😉 And now you've got the Antique Book store hook up thanks to cruisemom42. Who doesn't love a classic book shop? I'll tell you who would, Ted Lasso. (Sorry, I had too.) As to the aggressiveness of the Rome/Lazio game, well, you won't be there for it but that could be all on scale of what's out of hand? For Ranger fans, who are a tough crowd any night, it would definitely be the blue seats (nosebleed section), they're even memorialized (not sure it's the right word, but noted in the halls) in MSG. Though it's not like things are much calmer down lower, they may be slightly better dressed and drinking better but otherwise.... then everyone spills out onto the same streets afterward so depending on how things went? Being a fan in this town is not calm. Soccer fans are not calm but that's relative too, I know. I mean, don't carry a scarf supporting either team (if a visitor) and one should come out relatively unscathed. And thanks for the kind words about NYC fans. It's a true representation, yep, everyone just likes to chat, will help you get where you're going, even invite you to hang out (maybe have a drink) if you're going their way. So many people living here come from somewhere else so that's kind of front and center in a lot of people's minds, that not so long ago, they were new here too. Not as many of us lifers around here, but we feel the same way, folks coming to the city, whether visiting or relocating from everywhere, is part of what makes it sooo amazing. And Houston was an amazing choice for all those reasons! I have some people down there, I love it. Buc-ees when I first saw it, was a sight to behold. I visit Whataburger when in town, love my Torchy's. Love driving out to Galveston, going into the city, for museums and such. It's world class and has so much going for it, everything you said +. A great place to be departing and returning to for your Italy trip. I found a fish joint in Galveston I won't tell people about because it was so good, just locals, away from the beaches. You probably know it, so fresh. PM me people. They have some stuff available for free, and others are subscription. Maybe you could do a limited subscription to practice? It definitely helps and makes a difference in the personal experience. Then, once you get going, there are other podcasts you can try like the News in Slow Italian w/3-4 minute snippets, "Mammia Mia: Che Italiano" also 3-4 minute snippets, and Let's Speak Italian, which at the introductory level in about 20-25 minute segments, with some grammar and vocabulary that would be relatable for travel. If you get to changing verb tenses, stop. No need to worry about that! Italians will not correct you and you wouldn't have much need for this at any rate. Looks like Apple podcasts has others I should try that Spotify doesn't have and I'll give them a go next time I'm up for it. And I'll chime in once more for Ted Lasso for your girl. If only for Roy Kent. (It's a nice ditty that I can't really all of here except, Roy Kent, Roy Kent, he's here, he's there, he's every-....) And tell her I said Be A Goldfish. It's a good Lasso-ism for everyone 🙂 (She'll be asking you for a jersey. And more books!) Keep well, and posting questions for the community as they arise. It's an amazing group you have here. Cruisemom could probably give you titles to look for! 🙂
  18. Maybe a floating cello or double bass? They permitted the floating violin. The New York Times piece by Elisabette Povoledo, and I still can't figure out exactly what the point of it is, each time I see it on the news or in print, I'm flummoxed. Culture and partial transit on the canal? I'd like to see the gondoliers steer one of them down the back canals but then they are sooooo good at manoeuvering the gondolas, they probably could pivot a 3/4 violin to just about anywhere in Venice. While there's a particular scene from a two episode arc in the Amazon Prime series, Mozart in the Jungle, wherein Monica Belluci and Placido Domingo duet on two floating platforms that join together near Accademia Bridge, they looked much more stable while performing a piece from Don Giovanni (maybe lip synching) than these musicians do while playing on the curved floating instrument. Maybe classical instrument transit from port could be a thing. Violin or vaporetto? And I don't mean to make light of the situation. Hopefully, updates and information will be shared when travel starts to look clearer again. Perhaps this additional time (we can hope) to sort out a solution (??) for travelers and Venetians alike, many of whom depend upon tourism for the local economy. Italy isn't renowned for it's rapid bureaucratic actions, but most countries will be eager for the tourist euro/dollar/sterling/yen etc. and quick(er) to act. We hope.
  19. Apologies for the late reply, I got hung up with the flu (in spite of all this hand washing and sanitizer!) but a negative covid test so the vax is holding up, thankfully. (<---Does not equal any stance or endorsement on the vax, just my own status is all. 🙂 ) They generally are only made here with cow's milk you're right, of course. I've had on a few rare occasions some bufala made with sheep's milk but it's ridiculously expensive. Some artisans in the US, in California and a few in Wisconsin (small), and then locally there'd be a restaurant or fresh pasta store (usually this) that might do a special around the holidays. Water buffalo, as you said, weren't easy to come by and the cows milk didn't quite taste the same. Some try mixtures, artisans are still working on finding alternatives but it's one of those things that just is what it is: national delicacy. I read every New York Times piece that comes out on bufala or mozzarella hoping for progress. You never know.
  20. Hi Singingalot! Yay, it's here!! You're on your cruise and I'm sorry to be late to the party, I had the flu. Thank you for sharing your pre-trip, looking forward to following along once you arrive! I can see how everyone has been enjoying it here and I KNOW that our community (and hosts are looking forward to it too) will also enjoy following your journey. I've shared it with Laura and privately with our hosts, it should appear soon in the Live from topic. Thanks so much, enjoy, and we'll look forward to further updates! Safe travels 🙂 🛳️ ✈️
  21. This is never a bad thing, in anything. Sometimes it means making adjustments or waiting for things, but you seem to get that (which is a different kind of compromise) and so all respect for knowing the way you want to go. I also thought of using the ferry system as Hank suggested, (I would) and outside hiring your own boat, probably one of the few ways to see islands that big ships won't call at, and I also have a friend who takes Mediterranean cruises similar to the Crosi which they absolutely loved, and looked amazing from the daily posts. But if you're willing to wait for exactly what you want, then that's probably the best way to go. Good things are worth the wait.
  22. You can book flowing dress shoots and they sell the dresses in bold colors. Again, I'll say take a good look at the images you see on the website. I am seeing many with creases that are visible in the long flowing train of the dress, since it was taken from a folded package and put on. Perhaps some are able to steam it and others are able to photoshop the creases right out of the dress. It may not always be practical to steam the dress! The dresses, there are a few variations on the dress flowy-ness and colors (some have a cloud dress which has lots of tulle and does sort of look like puffs of clouds, again with the right re-touching, would really look fluffy) and prices though it's fairly consistent. And so there it also is, it's fairly consistent. You can book one that is similar to what most people get, the flowy dress photoshoot package or, you can select an individual photographer and your own dress, pick the island with an assist on the location from the photographer, for a truly one of a kind, unforgettable shoot. If you do bring your own dress, to keep it as wrinkle-free as possible, lay it flat with dry cleaner plastic on top and bottom, and roll it to pack in your luggage. You might even be able to get a dress that has a long flowy piece that is detachable (hooks, buttons, or velcro) so that once the shoot is done, you may take off the flowy part, keep the dress on and go for lunch or dinner, then use again at home, with special memories attached for some time. One of my favorite things to bring home (or purchase for) from trips are things that I know will endure and/or I can reuse. Might not be forever, but being able to use for awhile means probably not just photos from the travels, but many more so that adds dimension to something that might otherwise just be that thing. That said, you can definitely book a package an avoid any need to bring anything but yourselves and simply appear at the agreed upon place at the agreed upon time. Google or Duck Duck away for options. Viator is only a tour aggregator, they do not sell tours, it's where tour sellers list their tours for sale. If you want to work directly with someone who provides the actual service, you'd want to work around Viator. It's not a diss to Viator, just explaining how they operate and so you know what to expect. And it's always good to vet a tour operator before paying for any package; read reviews, or come back here to ask questions, and again, read reviews on their Instagram or Facebook page, or, take note of a lack of reviews. Sometimes no words tell you all you need to know. We hope you'll find the right photographer, dress, and location for your shoot. Keep us posted 🙂
  23. I love Houston, amazing city! I thought they played in Minute Maid Park (or they used to?) my niece has gone to see them with her dad and had a lot of fun, a friend sometimes give them his season tickets (there are only two tix or my sister would go, maybe?) but tailgating is fun too. The fandom in soccer/football is something to behold. Wait until (I really hope you do) you experience in Italy. It could change everything for your girlfriend, it had a lasting impact on me. After all those changes and things ultimately working out fairly well, YAYYYY, it's most important to hit the places on both of your lists and there are definitely no shortage of places to see in Roma, it's almost endless but don't overwhelm yourselves either. Find a balance. I could get lost the Forum, wander along the Tiber (I'm kind of obsessed with Castel Sant'Angelo at night) or Trastevere, Condotti, Pantheon (except conscious of how many people are waiting to get in) and spend more time seeing ancient sites, and of course shopping. It's as endless as it is ancient, the possibilities. But balance and absorbing everything is what matters most, to bring home the most meaningful experience and memories. That *could* include a football match. Let's see what happens in May. And yes, thank you for the support, the Subway series has become a special experience, but the one in 2001 was positively out of body, like a salve for the city, I get goose bumps writing about it now. It didn't fix anything, but it was just what we needed at the time, because you know how uplifting sports can be, it's not just the actual game itself in the moment, but what the teamwork symbolizes, what can be accomplished together, in winning and/or "losing" and if you lose, the resilience, never giving up or quitting. You probably know how NYC fans can be (little rough sometimes?? but loyal!!!!) but in that series, the bonds were like the iron in the bridges all around the boroughs: unbreakable. So that spirit meant everything to us locally, and became a symbol of strength and unity, even to people who aren't so much into baseball, but how even in rivalries, there's strength in continuing to do something fairly simple for each other and the community. I'll keep rooting for some Italian football on your cruise. Be subtle. Has she seen Ted Lasso yet? No need to know what soccer is about, Ted Lasso went to be a soccer coach in London from Kansas and he didn't know either. That's the premise of the show. That could do the trick. 😉 And point out that Italy won the World Cup? Or just accidentally leave out Forza Italia or Azzurri, which could inevitably lead to "what's this?" Otherwise, maybe you just need to head to Via Condotti, stop in at Coccinelle or Furla, at get a nice present. Keep us posted 🙂
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