Wandering Milano With Caterina

This was my third trip to Milan.  I wanted to see and do some different things.  Airbnb experiences helped me make the most of my time for a very reasonable price.  I had arrived in Milan only 5 hours ago, found my Airbnb and was headed over to where our small group would meet to see some of the unique sights that are not always on a guided tour. As I was walking around, I got a text saying they were ready to start and where was I. Seems I did not read the start time but the end time ……MENO MALE. I was just a block away so I got there on time.  It was a small group with only 4 people and Caterina, the guide.  Two were from Belgium and one from Great Britain. Once again the only American.Caterina

Caterina, our guide.

We  met near the public gardens (Indro Montanelli) for what would be a 2 1/2 hour walk. We would go from the old to the new. And some of the most ultra modern architecture with prices that would make Manhattan look like a bargin.

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One of the classic residences.

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Amazing art decorates the outside of these residences.

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Our vintage tram a great way to see any city at a slower pace.

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Some of the modern building with high price tags.

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A Tesla showroom.  No price tags.

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Piazza XXV Aprile – Porta Garibaldi

 

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I have visited Eataly in Rome and New York City. No I had a chance to roam the one in Milano.

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If only my local Publix in Florida would have some of these delicacies. Ho fame. 

 

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Search out Catalonia’s walking photo tour of Milano on Airbnb Experiences. Here is part of her description “The Neoclassic and Art nouveau district of Porta Venezia. A residential area that represents the true everyday life of the Milanese. The brand new, sparkling and luxurious GARIBALDI’s area which is our ending point where you can easily take subway, tram, train or taxi. CUSTOM EXPERIENCE: If you would like to participate in the experience but on a different time or day, write to me and if I can I will try to organize one with your availability.”  

Here is a link 

https://www.airbnb.com/experiences/263117?euid=0af081a7-e582-7ee2-6cf1-0c7842fdc298

 

I Love Pasta And It Is Easy To Make

I was raised to love pasta. All kinds. I have never lost my taste and when I found a email from Airbnb about a pasta making class in Milano, I jumped on it. It was a 3 hour exploration of Italian cooking and a chance to make fresh pasta. Gianfranco holds the class in his apartment and it was a very relaxing setting. This was the second of my Airbnb activities that I have engaged in and it will not be my last. Gianfrano is a “personal chef from Palermo, Sicily, and the traditional Italian and Sicilian food is my speciality. I like making genuine homemade food, pasta, street food and dessert”.  He did not disappoint. Gianfranco served asiago   and parmesan cheese with olives and some Italian bread while we drank some delicious white wine by Corvo. He went over the process of make the pasta and discussed the two types of meals we would eat with it. 

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This is an easy relaxed time with everyone taking part in the pasta making.  Golden rule is 100 grams of flour and 1 egg.  You want a dry dough, not sticky.  When the dough is throughly mixed, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1/2 hour. 

Roll it a bit to make a flat sheet and divide it into 4 pieces, Then roll it out to fit the pasta maker. Insert at the widest opening and gradually decrease the thickness till you achieve the desired thickness of your pasta. After that we hang it to dry slightly. 

 

Here is a link to the video of my experience.    

 

Gianfranco

Gianfranco our host and chef. 

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Pasta making machine. ( available on Amzaon $26 to $200 plus)

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Gianfranco with Maria and Maria who were also in the class.

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Eggplant for the pasta alla Norma.

 

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The basic pomidoro sauce for pasta alla norma. IMG 1432

Pasta drying before cooking. 

Buon appetito 

Look for Milan activities and search for “The Secret of Italian Cuisine” under cooking classes. 

ISCHIA, a small Island Off the Coast of Napoli, a must visit location

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CASTELLO ARAGONESE

My wife Angela suggested a visit to the island of Ischia, which is a short ferry ride from Napoli. At first I did not know what to think about this. Having never heard of it I began to do some research. The online photos looked good and we have always liked islands.  Getting there was an adventure for us as we have to drive from Napoli to the suburb of Pozzuli. We were bring our rental car as this is a good size Island.  There were no problems and a pleasant voyage with a quick stop at the island of Procida. This is also a place Iw Ould like to visit when we return to Napoli.  Spend time at the beaches and enjoy the warm waters. Find a spa with hot springs feeding it. Walk or take the bus. This island is doable. Scenes from the movie, “the Talented Mr. Ripley” were filmed in Ischia. Also “While We Were Here” with Kate Bosworth.  See all the films that used ischia as a location https://www.ischiareview.com/ischia-in-the-movies.html

PROCIDA

 

THE ISLAND OF PROCIDA

ISCHIA ISLAND

ISCHIA MAP IN CERAMIC TILE 

Once on the Island we started to explore.  At  on time we were on a small dirt road when it got narrower and narrower. Eventually had to back up and work our way into town, 

MINERAL POOL

HOT SPRING MINERAL POOL

Ischia is know for its hot spring fed mineral  pools.  The springs feed the pools and they are drained out each night and left to fill overnight. At least in the case of our hotel.

HOT SPRINGS FEED POOL

HOT SPRINGS FEEDING THE POOL

 

SAPORI MOZZARELLA BUFALA

The Old Butcher Shop Selling Everyting

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Ristorante Lo Scoglio, Sant’ Angelo d’Ischia 

We headed out to dinner and found Lo Scoglio. It is located in Sant’Angelo and proved to be an excellent choice.  The name translated to THE ROCK.

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Photo from the restaurant  web site.

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View from the dining room 

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My wife’s choice,  fruit dal mare.   

 

 

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Lo Scolgio in the daylight.

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Il centro

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Peperoni

 

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The teenagers had no problem diving off the rocks. 

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View from our hotel. 

 Here is the link to the Wikipedia description of Ischia. It is definitely a destination not to miss  in Italy   https://wikitravel.org/en/Ischia

CELL PHONE BARGAINS IN ITALY

In September I will be returning to Italy and taking a bike tour from Bolzano through Lake Garda and on to Venice.  I began thinking about my cell phone. I had used all the credits and in the past had to renew through recharge my sim. de but alas they are no longer in business.  So lets look at your options.   TIM has a very simple plan called TIM FOR VISITORS. Google the link and click on the English Flag to change language. TIM FOR VISITORSit  is not a bad deal. For 30 Euro you get 4 GIG data, and 100 min of talk.  You can purchase the voucher in the US an bring it to any TIM store. I used the one at Fiumicino, Leonardo da Vinci,  Rome;s main airport.  It took less than 15 minutes to get me up and running and have the attendant set up my phone. You can purchase the voucher using your US credit card. TIM FOR VISITORS WHAT YOU GET

BUY TIM FOR VISITORS

 

OK, now it  is time to take about recharging your card.  You can go through your minutes quickly and until recently you could not recharge your sim with an foreign credit card.    First go to https://www.tim.it

You will get the Italian language screen, best thing is to use Google Chrome or install the translate extension in Safari.  Right click and you will get the English  language translation. Keep in mind TEXT MESSAGES ARE NOT FREE. You can use iMessage or other apps that will allow you to text for free on the data. Also consider installing Skype for calls back to the US. I have had excellent results with Skype. 

 

TIM IT ITALIAN

ITALIAN, Ricaica means recharge.

TIM IT ENGLISH

English translation. Click recharge after you use pull down to select amount.

TIM RECHARGE SELECT AMMOUNT

MAKE SURE YOU CHECK THE BOX MARKED FOREIGN CREDIT CARD

SEND TEST MESSAGE TO CONFIRM

 

At the bottom, you can select the receive email notification. It will come to your email account of choice. There os also a box to insert a TEXT which will be sent to your cell to confirm all is working. 

 

Here is my email confirmation.

 

 

Gentile Cliente,
Ti confermiamo la presa in carico dell’ordine nº xxxxxxxxx del 08/04/2018 23:07:16

 

DETTAGLI ORDINE

User:
Numero: xxxxxxxxx Data e ora: 08/04/2018 23:07:16
Metodo di pagamento utilizzato: CDC
Costo a pagare: 10.00 Euro

 

Ricarica:

Importo ricarica: 10.00 Euro
Numero ricaricato: 339xxxxxxx

N.B. La ricarica sara’ immediatamente resa disponibile come credito telefonico e comunque non oltre le 48 ore dal momento della richiesta.

Ti ricordiamo che sul sito tim.it puoi attivare altre offerte o servizi, acquistare prodotti e Ricaricare. Inoltre, accedendo alla sezione MyTIM Mobile del sito potrai:

verificare il tuo credito residuo
verificare lo stato delle offerte attive sulla tua linea
modificare il tuo profilo tariffario
consultare lo stato dei tuoi acquisti online

There are other options, Vodafone  has a similar plan.  Google Vodafone Holiday for information.VODAFONE HOLIDAUY

 

Keep in mind none of the plans have everything you may need. You need an unlocked cell phone with GSM capabilities.    You will always need your passport when purchasing from a Tim or Vodafone store. 

 

Testaccio Market, Rome. Food, clothing, relaxation.

We strayed from our Campo dei Fiore market to seek out the Testaccio Market. It has moved from a covered stall environment to a new modern clean building. It proved to be a great day trip. Google maps gave us the correct bus line to make and after that is was a short walk.

 

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This is a large comfortable space with many vendors, both food and clothing. We enjoyed looking and eating at the market.

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Fresh seafood is abundant. 

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Fresh vegetables with very affordable prices.

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My favorite porchetta! Delicious.

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Tripe is a favorite of many people, ma non io.

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Bring your own bottle, look at the prices. 2.40 E for a liter. 

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Arancini or supple are a favorite of mine.

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We enjoyed lunch from this stall

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It was a great lunch.

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Clothing is also sold.

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The market is well worth the visit. Lots has been written about it and there are no exaggerations. Enjoy the many markets of Rome. I am back in Florida and our weekend markets do not come close to the Rome markets.

 

At the beach La spiaggia 

Knowing that we would most likely be in an August heat wave, we have tried to stay  close to the water. 

We are about 50 feet above the sea and 50 feet away. The views are stunning. Temps have been in the upper 80s and the sun is intense. Really intense. Fa caldo.

This is the perfect spot for diving and snorkeling. When we were in the water yesterday small fish kept checking out our legs.

Access to the beach is free, but if you wish the comforts on a lounge chair, and umbrella you must pay. In this case it was 25 euro for the day, and well worth it. Today we will bring an umbrella from our apartment and give it a try on the cheap side. Means no fresh water shower and sitting on the rocky shore on a borrowed towel. We will see. The water is so clear you can see the bottom  in 6 ft depths.  Fish swim by and not plastic or pollution is in evidence. A note about the beach lounge chairs. They are far superior to the ones found in the US. If you wish to lean back, there is a line with a hook that releases the chair to find a comfortable position. What I really like is the folding sun screen to keep the sun our of your face. Wish they were available in Florida. 

Some scenes from last night as the sun set.

I love the middle photo my wife took took through the window last night.

Below shows where we are in relation to the town of Siracusa in Sicily. 

The money saving word of the day Ridotto

OK this is to all you seniors out there.  In the past senior discounts were restricted to EU residents.  Recently more places are extending the discounts to everyone.  It never hurts to ask, may not work in the Uffizi or other major attractions. Worked in Castelbuono, and in Tindari both in Sicily.   Text from my UltraLingua dictionary.

Saving Money On Car Rentals

Car rental rates have soared in the last several years.  Even using  sites like Kayak and Priceline you tend to get some high rates.  Some time ago I saw a reference in the New York Times to a site called Autoslash.com.   I tried it earlier this summer and was able to get a very reasonable rate for the July 4th week in Hartford, Connecticut.   previously my best rate for the week was about $400. I ended up paying $241 and got the car from Hertz. That was a substantial savings thanks to AutoSlash.

I have booked a 21 day rental in Sicily and did quite a bit of shopping.  I searched Hertz, Auto Europe, and Avis.  Each gave me rates that were in the  $800 range. AUTOSLASH 2 2017-08-11 at 4.04.39 PM.jpgAUTO SLASH SAVINGS.jpg Hertz got down to about $760 and it was looking better. I got a quote from AutoSlash and found that they could get me a $747 rate for the same period and they would continue to search for updates to the rate. Hertz is the provider.

Now  for the really good news! We leave on Tuesday and today I got an email saying they checked rates and it went from $765.51 to $305.89.  This is a substantial savings.  Note the original quote I got was $747 but Hertz raised it. When I brought this to the attention of AutoSlash they contacted Hertz and got the rate reduced.

Give AutoSlash a try and compare with other search engines. Hotwire, Hotels.com, Kayak have been helpful to me in the past, but not have reduced the rates after booking.

You do not pay up front!  Also keep in mind many credit card companies will cover your CDW which can save you several hundred dollars on a rental.

I have no affiliation with any site mentioned above. P1010826.jpg

Always good to have some tape. In Palermo a driver strayed into my land and hit the mirror. He then continued as if nothing had happened.  Luckily I had some tape and we survived.  I rented with Europcar and got it through InItaly.com.  They covered the damage  but still charged me $100.   That is why credit card CDW is better. BUT read your credit card agreement throughly.

 

Papal Audience Tickets

After searching and searching  I found the following site which will allow you to get tickets to a Papal Audience. I hope you find this of use if you are going to be in Rome this year.

On most Wednesday you can attend the public audience in St Peters Square in front of St Peters Basilica.  You can request the tickets  by email and there is no charge. You will be directed to the web site to St Patrick’s American Community in Rome.  All the information you will need can be found on this page.

Saint Patrick’s American Community in Rome

Once you are on the page, the ticket link is on the right side  of the page. Allow two to three weeks for a response. You must pick up your tickets in Rome the day before the audience.

 

Here is a copy of the reply I received for my request:

The St. Patrick’s Catholic American Community of Rome is happy to assist you with 2 tickets for the Pope’s General Audience on Wednesday  September 13,  2017 at 10:00 AM in St. Peter’s Square – Vatican City. While the Pope begins his presentation at 10:00, the gates open at 8:00 and the seating fills up quickly.  We strongly recommend arriving early.  The audience usually lasts for one hour. Please check  www.vatican.va  under info/Prefecture for any change in the program.

 

Reserved Tickets can be picked up on Tuesday afternoon, September 12,  2017 between 4:30 and 6:30 PM ONLY in the Foyer/Sacristy of the Church of St. Patrick (San Patrizio a Villa Ludovisi), Via Boncompagni, N. 31 (near the corner of Via Boncompagni and Via Piemonte) near the US Embassy and the Via Veneto. The Church itself will open at 4:00 PM, and you are welcome to come inside.  However, we do not begin the distribution of tickets until 4:30 PM. And if you would like to stay and join us, our weekday Mass in English at St. Patrick’s is at 6:00 PM.

 

If you are unable to pick up your tickets on Tuesday afternoon, on Wednesday morning between 7:30 and 8:30 AM you can go to the Bronze Doors – St. Peter’s  Square – Vatican City –  and ask the Swiss Guards for tickets to attend the General Audience.  

 

Please Note:   The tickets are Free of Charge, but we ask you to consider making a free will offering of 5 Euros or 5 U.S. Dollars per ticket so that we can continue to offer this service.

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Saint Peters Basilica, Rome

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