Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sherlock Holmes

If we stayed inside on rainy days, we would never see anything in London! So, "brollies" up and "wellies" on girls!
Another great "London Walks" tour was the Sherlock Holmes walk through the Charing Cross and Covent Gardens area. Our guide was dramatic in his quest for proof that the fictional characters of Holmes and Watson were actually real.

The Scottish author, Sir Authur Doyle's classic literary character was best known for "drawing large conclusions from small observations"....ha! any Mother of teenagers can do that! Were Holmes and Watson more than friends? Did his genius come from his constant drug use? Did he eat fish and chips at this Pub?

Was the character in HOUSE M.D. based on the legendary character Sherlock Holmes? Think about it!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Blessing!

Assisi, the Basilica di San Francesco is the burial place of St. Francis, the revered saint who stood for poverty, chastity, and obedience. This tremendous structure was begun in 1228, two years after the saint's death and houses frescoes by Roman artists depicting the life of St. Francis. We visited at least three other beautiful churches on this mountain top, some conducting Sunday services. You just couldn't help but feel spiritual in this town so based in Christian history and Italian beauty.

Siena's Duomo is one of Italy's greatest and most spectacular cathedrals. Striped black and white marble pillars surrounded by carved busts of the Popes support the vaulted ceiling, painted a deep blue with gold stars to resemble the night sky. With works by Pisano, Michelangelo, and Donatelo, anyone who has been there would agree that the opulence is breathtaking.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dove posso comprare Farragamo's?

No translation needed...Outlet Mall is universal!
At 70 % off, I could not resist these Farragamo leather riding boots and a silk tie for Rick.
I'm still thinking about a brown leather bag (purse) I saw at Tod's and the print with purple awnings I didn't buy at
Piazzale Michelangelo overlooking Florence..... oh well trip!

Our lunch time radar took us to our favorite trattoria in Florence, Za-Za's for nourishment. They have really expanded in one year. Christy introduced us to this place several years ago and we always order the three soup platter. It just looks like baby food!

We were so disappointed when we walked into our special leather shop, Por Santa Maria, to find that Filippo was on holiday in Barbados but his "cousin" Gnardo was very attentive. No one has the character and charm of Filippo but he poured us each a glass of wine and "treated us like family"! As soon as he saw the pocket on my coat he called the tailor and 20 minutes later my coat was back - all fixed. In the meantime, Mary and Steve found the perfect leather coats to compliment London and California weather and our shopping day was almost over.......

We ended the day strolling by the gold shops on the Ponte Vecchio and taking in the sunset over the river. Arrivederci Florence!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

IL Borro, a Tuscan Estate

Tucked among the sun drenched Tuscan hillsides of vineyards, olive trees, pastures and steep ridges, just south of Florence is IL Borro, a beautiful estate with an enchanting medieval hamlet, a majestic villa and Italian gardens, stables and a wine cellar lined with oak barrels for aging wine all lovingly and authentically restored by the current owner, the Ferragamo family. We were fortunate enough to share this experience with Steve and Mary who bid on this experience through a charity auction - lucky us! It was a magical place and the perfect get away for Valentine's Weekend.

We stayed in the medieval village in one of the apartments, number 16 for future reference. The stone houses are snuggled along steep narrow streets high on a hill and have been restored in the traditional style, with trussed ceilings, fireplaces and sturdy Tuscan furniture.....the atmosphere was so peaceful. Tucked among the houses is the village church used for weddings and several old craftsmen's shops with master artisans skilled in pottery, jewelry, glass, and wood. We enjoyed breakfast every morning and two special dinners at the IL Borro Osteria where Maurcio took very good care of us! He worked hard trying to translate all the ingredients for us but sometimes you just have to enjoy the experience - even if it taste like soap! Maybe it was lavender on the pork!

Wine is taken very seriously in Tuscany and in 1995, Sallvatore Ferragamo's passion for wine led to the rebirth of it's production. We enjoyed a few bottles during our stay and had some shipped to London to remind us of our enchanted weekend in IL Borro!


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

STRAWBS - Plan 'B'

Due to the winter blast and the small, (but very good-looking) number of members able to attend, this month's meeting of the STRAWBS was held at The Builder's Arms on Britten Street in Chelsea at 2:00 p.m.. It is a gastro pub tucked away from the bustle of Kings Road. We enjoyed a great Bloody Mary at the bar while waiting for a table at the busiest time - no reservations here! Our Sunday roast beef was medium rare and delicious followed by warm sticky toffee pudding. I love this tradition!

We will have to reschedule our walk through Hampstead Heath and brunch at The Bull and Last for another month.
Cheers and meeting adjourned!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Got your attention.....

It's snowing in London....again!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A magic carpet ride....

I will be the first to admit that my knowledge of the world of carpets is lacking...uh, "shag" and "wall to wall" seem to have dropped from the designers vocabulary! So I signed up for the Carpet Warehouse tour and I was overwhelmed with the choices. We saw a selection of hand-made carpets and rugs - both old and new from Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, China, and Tibet. The brothers who own and import these beautiful rugs showed us the difference in tribal rugs and those made with only the finest silk and gold thread. Some of the rugs are woven so tightly that they could smother a fire and not burn.
I learned the difference between a Zeigler, a Shirvan, and a aren't you impressed?!

Our contact there was Claudia Watson and she would be happy to visit your home, take measurements, and use your color schemes to present you with a selection of carpets that will "harmonize perfectly" with your style. Here in London or in Boston!