Friday, October 31, 2008

Smiles at Halloween

Imagination is the true magic carpet.
~Norman Vincent Peale
Picture and words courtesy of Country Living Magazine

May many smiles come your way on this Halloween Day!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Taormina and the Greek Theater

Yes, I said we would be on to Barcelona, but I almost missed Taormina. We wouldn't want to miss Taormina, on the Island of Sicily. It was a beautiful ancient town at the top of a bluff overlooking the Mediterranean. Beautiful! Now can't you just picture yourself sitting at this table looking at that view?
The main street of Taormina had many quaint shops and sights. Later there was a wedding taking place along this street and the women came down the street dressed in their finest, pushing their baby carriages. Oh I wish I had taken their pictures.
The stairs leading to more enchanting sights.
I love the colour of the pot.
And such sights to see in each shop window. Beautiful colours!
An antique shop with a teapot I would have loved to bring home. Alas, the price was more than I wanted to pay, but the picture was free.
At the far end of the main street through town we came to the Greek Theater. Oh what concerts must have been enjoyed here.
The Greek Theater from up above. There was a bookstore up here and we came home with a recipe book of Sicilian cooking. Now I must get started cooking.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gondola Ride in Venice

Welcome to Venice and the busy canals. They were full of gondolas.
Our gondolier was a bit grumpy. Can you imagine, he wouldn't even smile or sing. I took his unhappy face in a picture; but it doesn't make my heart sing, so I won't share it.
Oh well, we had a good time anyway.
Along the canal we loved seeing the painted posts. Another colour to add to our memories of our trip to Europe.

The Grand Canal from the gondola.
Now wouldn't that be a lovely place to stop and sip your tea. I thought so.

Just for fun, you can see Jim and myself from the gondola. Smiles were part of the day and we loved Venice. Now onto the next stop tomorrow, Barcelona. I hope you are not getting bored, but this is the easiest way for me to share our trip. We will get back to life somtime next week.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Murano and Burano

A glassblower on the Island of Murano.
I had hoped to see more of the glassblowing island, but the stop was short. The glass was beautiful. The glassblower made this horse in about 4 minutes.
From the moment we approached the Island of Burano, I was captivated. The tower was leaning too. The colours of the world were definitely a part of this beautiful little island. It is known for lacemaking and multi colored houses. The houses definitely caught my eye.

A lace maker.

Isn't the colour beautiful? Each house a different colour.

Colour even in the pastries. We stopped at this small bakery for a cookie and came out with a bag of cookies and a nice slice of nugget filled with pastichios and candied fruit. We nibbled the rest of the trip home. Perfect with a cup of tea.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Cafe Florian

A picture from Cafe Florian's brochure. Yes, the inside did look like this.
Cafe Florian was opened on December 29th, 1720 in St. Mark's Square in Venice.
Indeed the oldest tearoom I have ever had the pleasure of drinking tea in.

For tea I had a pot of Te Mosaico Veneziano, which was a black tea with orange
rind and lavender flowers. My sandwich was a shrimp sandwich with a little red cabbage.
The shrimp was held together with something that looked and tasted like french dressing mixed with mayonaise. It was quite good.
The presentation was lovely, brought out on a large silver tray and placed before us. My husband had a beautiful salad with shavings of ham. I thought even the little paper potholder for the teapot was cute.

We purchased a small box of tea to go, which came in a nice purse shaped box.

Now I don't know who these people are. They are tourists having tea outside. If you look closely inside the window you will see me sitting at the tea table.
Live music was being played out on the plaza. For the enjoyment of having tea at Cafe Florian, we were charged extra for the music. A once in a life time experience that I will never forget. Sometimes the price is worth it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Approaching Dubrovnik we saw many red roofs. After the last war people were requested to put red roofs on their buildings as a sign of the damage done.
Beautiful cliffs along the coast approaching Dubrovnik.

The old church of Old Dubrovnik. Recently it was discovered that there were two other churches below this one. They just build on top of each of them throughout the years.

One of the main streets through Old Dubrovnik.

Street madrigals.

Dried figs strung on string at the market place. We bought figs and dried orange peel. They were both very good and would have been lovely with a cup of tea.

A typical dress of Old Dubrovnik.

Just off the coast of Dubrovnik was a little island, which we also visited. It supposedly had a curse on it; so no one lived there anymore. The beach was beautiful and it had a botanical gardens. The botanical gardens had a collection of citrus and cactus plants.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


The entrance to a private home with garden in the back.
Looking down one of the streets. Mt. Vesuvius in the background.
Wouldn't you love to soak in this bathtub?
How about tea at an aristocrats home? We could sit in the garden.
Leaving Pompeii
Our first stop after joining the cruise was Pompeii. I had read and heard so much of Pompeii in history it was a thrill to finally see it. There were many facsinating stories showing the way people lived during that time. They actually used lead pipes for their water system. There were stepping stones to cross roads, as the roads were built for sewage to run down them. The roofs on their homes were slanted to drain into shallow ponds near the inside entrance. You can see the pond in the first picture above. In the aristocrats home we saw where the slaves lived at the back of the garden. There were ridges in the stone roads where chariots had traveled. The city was so well preserved that they have been able to determine what day the volcano erupted and buried Pompeii. What a treat to see Pompeii.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Autumn Diversion

Autumn is a time for pumpkins and chrysanthemums. This group is on my front porch.
Portland's Japanese Garden in the Autumn

The Japanese Gardens were celebrating the Festival of the Chrysanthemum this weekend.

It was the perfect crisp day to visit the colours of autumn this past Saturday.
Chrysanthemum's are so beautiful this time of year. We can see them everywhere.
I have vivid memories of traveling through the northeastern part of the U.S. several
years ago and seeing them at every farm stand along the roads.
My autumn diversion was a walk through the gardens with my camera.
Today it is cloudy and the leaves are falling like rain; so I am
happy I took the autumn diversion. The leaves will soon be gone and we
will be traveling through winter. Take joy in the autumn colours.
Tomorrow we will return to travels through Europe.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Up on the Roof Top

The roof top at Domus Carmelitana in Rome
The view from the roof top garden.
See the angel flying over?

Awww! Tea anyone on the garden roof top?
What a view, that is the Basilica in the background.

Sunset from the roof top.
We were only at the Domus Carmelitana the night before we left for our cruise.
The roof top was beautiful. The hotel was an old convent with a quaint chapel and austere rooms. But the experience of the roof top was lovely.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Autumn in Florence

Deena over at Can I Be Pretty in Pink
is celebrating Autumn this week.
Right now I don't have autumn pictures around my home,
but as our trip was coming to a close I began to think of autumn
at home and saw this cart of autumn colours in the market place in Florence.
Enjoy the colours of autumn where ever we are.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Welcome to Babington's Tea Rooms

On the back of the menu there is a quote:
..."(he) who with tea amuses the evening,
with tea solaces the midnight,
and with tea welcomes the morning"
Samuel Johnson
Literary Magazine, 1757
The gift shop, where I purchased one tin of Babington's Special Blend.
It is a combination of Ceylon, Darjeeling, and China teas.

Our waitress. All the wait staff wore the same dress with the Babington kitty all over it.

Teapots, one for hot water and one for tea.
Note the kitties on the top and also the pot holder that looped over the kitty.

We had the Babington's Special High Tea.
The sandwiches were salmon, egg cream, cucumber, and tuna.
They were very nice, but I think I would order one of their salads if
I were to visit again. The salads looked beautiful.
The Hot Buttered Crumpets were delicious with Canadian maple syrup.
We met two ladies at the next table from Great Britain and had a lovely chat about tea.
They had come to Rome for the day and were celebrating the beginning of their day with tea at Babington's. Tea seems to bring about celebrations of beginnings and endings.

Tea at Babington's was the ending celebration on our trip of many colours.