My Earth Day Post: How Becoming a Vegetarian Can Help Our Planet

Retaurant-411940_960_720I took the above photo while I was in Oia on Santorini island in Greece eating a meatless dinner.

First of all I want to say I am not trying to talk down to people who eat meat or convince everyone who reads this to become a vegetarian tomorrow.  Maybe a few people will start thinking about becoming a vegetarian one day or eat less meat such as trying "Meatless Mondays".

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Why I Visited Florence Italy Two Times in One Year

Perhaps it seems a little silly that I would visit the same city in Italy in just a little more than a year I actually almost stayed in the exact hotel I had in 2014.  At the last minute I decided to stay in a different location that was closer to the train station as I knew that I would be taking several day trips

When I visited Florence last summer it was very crowded on the streets.  It was wall-to-wall people on some days in some areas.  I was told that November was a very slow time there.  I noticed a slight difference in the amount of people but it was very slight. 

The good thing about my trip was November the weather is quite unpredictable in northern Italy and it did not rain a single day of the ten days I was there.  There were many days that I walked around with short sleeves on as it was close to 70°F.  When you're doing a lot of walking as I do in Italy you warm up pretty quickly, 

I took day trips to Cinque Terre, Rome  as Tuscany .  I left a couple of days open to visit Venice .  The weather, however, in that area of the country looked quite chilly and rainy so I decided not to go.   Although I am glad I saw Rome I would never go on a day trip to such a large area again the same goes for Tuscany.

  If you have been following my blog you know that I have visited Italy a lot and been to several areas.  I would have to say that Tuscany is on the top of my list for places I want to revisit.   I felt my trip to Rome was quite rushed. I did not get to see much of anything.  I did learn that it is a place I would like to visit for a longer period of time and spend at least five days there.  I was afraid of going to Rome as it is such a big city, but I won't be in the future.

   Florence also has pretty easy access to areas such as Tuscany and Cinque Terre.  There are several museums and offers everything a very big city does, but is not nearly as big as Rome.  Here are some of the photos I captured during this visit it is tough to go wrong with the Arno River as the architecture is so beautiful and interesting on each side of it and the sunsets are lovely. 

The Arno River is such a beautiful scene and a great place to have dinner or coffee:

Wandering and searchingAt sunset:

Wandering and searchingHere is the Duomo which is way, way too big to capture in one shot, but it literally took my breath away the first time I saw it!
Wandering and searchingMy hotel had a great view of the Duomo.  Below is a self portrait otherwise known as a selfie:

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Below is a carousel in the middle of town and I was lucky enough to see a couple of princesses riding it!

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Below is a photo of the Santa Maria Novella Cathedral.  I was lucky enough to witness another lovely wedding.

Wandering and searchingThe interior of the cathedral:

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Here is the ceiling of the breakfast room at my hotel.  No wonder I love eating breakfast in Italy which is something I never do at home!
Wandering and searchingMy hotel had a lot of lovely antiques (another self portrait)
Wandering and searchingHere is a lovely coffee shop I stopped in on my last day for a cappuccino.  I was sitting there relaxing after walking for miles when the owner brought me these yummy confections:

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The hospitality never fails to surprise me in Italy!

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog.  Have you ever visited a far away city two times in a short period of time?  I love hearing and reading your comments!  Have a great week. 






The Magnificent Villa Cortine Hotel in Sirmione, Italy

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I have stayed at every star level hotel there is.  I even stayed at some guest houses and  hostels when I visited Tanzania in Africa.  This was my second trip to Italy and my first time visiting Lake Garda, Italy.  I have always been very impressed by the hospitality at the hotels I have stayed at in this country.  The Villa Cortine Palace is definitely in the top few hotels I have ever stayed anywhere. 

The photos I post and what I write can not do this little piece of heaven justice.  I truly felt like I was in paradise while I stayed there. They definitely provided the best service that I have ever encountered and the grounds are some of the nicest I have encountered.   The view is incredible as the hotel is set high up above the town of Sirmione.

Being a frequent traveler I have realized that I am pickier about my accommodations then I wanted to believe as I can usually find several things wrong even at the four and five star hotels I've been a guest at.  I cannot think of a single complaint regarding this hotel.  The food was amazing, the staff was extremely friendly, and the view was incredible throughout the hotel.  My bed was very comfortable and the property is very secure.  When you come through the gate you must be buzzed in either through the front or back of the property so one should feel very safe at this hotel. 

The location is also very central and just a few minutes from Scaliger Castle.  The price is quite reasonable for what you receive and if you book through the hotel's website they often have good prices available.  I stayed there in September and the rates were quite a bit less and if I had stayed there between June and August.  If you are someone who enjoys the finer things in life, this hotel could be the right one for you!  I really felt like I was in a museum when strolling through the hotel and around the beautiful and expansive grounds.

The following four photos were taken from the balcony in my room:
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Below is the lovely breakfast room:


Untitled (1 of 1)-97I am not a breakfast eater unless I'm in Italy.  Omelets were prepared fresh.  One can order fresh coffee or cappuccino.
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This beautiful structure and garden were on the grounds of the hotel:
Untitled (1 of 1)-6Here are a few other photos I took on the hotel grounds:


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I found this beautiful garden on the walkway down to the hotel's private beach:
Untitled (1 of 1)-6The pool has a beautiful view of Lake Garda
Untitled (1 of 1)-6Guests can eat breakfast or dinner in this area:
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The two photos below were taken in the hotel bar/lounge where you can have dinner and snacks throughout the day.
Lake-garda-941859I am practicing using a tripod and timer to take photos.  I decided to take photos of myself in some of the beautiful rooms around the hotel which is full of gorgeous antiques.
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I was hesitant to post a photo of my nice big room as it was a little messy, but I loved the chandelier over the bed!

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The following two photos are of the hotel's private beach and restaurant:
I will leave you with just one of the lovely sunrises I saw:

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Thank you for much for visiting my blog!  Have you stayed at any hotels that you absolutely loved?  I really appreciate comments and treasure every one I receive.  I hope you are having a fantastic week.


Scenes from the Charming Town of Sirmione on Lake Garda, Italy


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I visited Italy for the second time in September 2015 I loved it the second time as much as I did the first time.  It really just made me want to visit a third time!  My first trip was to Florence, Venice, and Cinque Terre.  This last visit was to Lake Garda.  

To get to Lake Garda I flew into Verona and then went to my hotel in Sirmione.  I loved this little medieval town. I thought it was so charming and colorful with the flowers everywhere.  This was one of very few places that I have visited on my own that I felt safe going out at night alone. 

Lake Garda is very large and the only thing I would do differently visiting again, which I might do, is to spend time in other areas around the lake.  I will say that I am very happy to have stayed in Sirmione.  Everyone was very friendly and the food was excellent as always. I am also very happy to say that I didn't see any stray cats or dogs during my stay!

I was a little worried that visiting in September might be a little chilly, but it was actually quite warm during the day it was usually in the 80's (Fahrenheit).  At night it would get cool but not until very late.  There is a ferry that runs all around the lake which stops running at some point in October.  Otherwise I think October would be a fine time to visit Lake Garda as well.  

Wherever you walked in town the castle was usually in view:

Untitled (1 of 1)-49I loved the colorful flowers and architecture:

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 I found this pink villa when I walked off the beaten path that I thought was lovely!

Untitled (1 of 1)-49There were grapes, lemons and lime growing all over as soon as you got out of the town:



 A garden I found not too far from the beach which is just a short walk from the town


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 Here is the pathway beside the beach which makes for a nice walk:

I had heard that glass washes up on the shore of Lake Garda and I didn't believe it until I saw it for myself!
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As with most areas of Italy there are gelato and pastry shops on every corner:
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There were also many beautiful churches:
Untitled (1 of 1)-67There were many fun shops and restaurants around town.  The prices were very reasonable!
Untitled (1 of 1)-67The sunsets and sunrises were nice every night I was there as it only rained for a few hours during the ten days I was there:

Sunset-959168_640Thank you so much for visiting.   Please feel free to leave any comments or questions as I value all of them.  Have a great week everyone.




"No matter where I've been overseas, the food stinks, except in Italy" ~ Carmen Electra

 I have to agree with Carmen Electra.  I would almost say that it's worth visiting Italy just to sample the food :)!

I decided to break my posts on Florence into a few separate postings.  It seems everyone likes to hear about and see photos of food so I decided to write an entire post on it.  People joke that Italians would be a lot larger than they are if they had places like McDonald's and Burger King in their country which they don't.  As you can see they have plenty of other irresistable temptations! 

  Florence was everything I hoped it would be!  Every day when I walked outside my mouth just fell open with the beauty I saw everywhere.  It's not a very large city - there are a lot of tourists, but it's very clean and it felt very safe.  Everyone was friendly overall. 

I am not a breakfast eater but every morning I got up at six and couldn't wait for the breakfast room to open at seven. I really loved my hotel!  The hotel I stayed at, the hotel Berchielli, is pictured at the very end of this post. The location could not of been better and the service was excellent.  I would definitely stay there again. 

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I didn't even give them my name and they brought me my personalized cappuccino on my first day at the Hotel Berchielli.  They always had some cute little design on my coffee.

Fl (1 of 1)-57 Fl (1 of 1)-12It seems like there are gelato shops on almost every street corner.  Fortunately, I waited until my last day to try this amazing dessert.  If I had not waited until the last day, I probably would've stopped by one of these shops everyday.

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Fl (1 of 1)-16I Can NOT believe I didn't give into the flourless cake which is ONE of my many huge weaknesses.
Fl (1 of 1)-16Something for every taste bud:

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Fl (1 of 1)-15No lack of carbs AT ALL

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Fl1 (3 of 206)They do have lots of healthy food too - if you can resist all of the temptations :)
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Thank you so much for stopping by.  Until next time.


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