Written by TianjinPaul on 31 Mar, 2012
This story actually begins in my office. My company was looking for a new manager to take charge of one of our offices on the Cote d’Azur. I conducted telephone interviews with a candidate in Ireland to whom we decided to offer the job. To…Read More
This story actually begins in my office. My company was looking for a new manager to take charge of one of our offices on the Cote d’Azur. I conducted telephone interviews with a candidate in Ireland to whom we decided to offer the job. To my complete surprise, he turned it down. I was astonished. I received the call on a Friday afternoon and could not really process the information. I constantly asked myself, "How can someone turn down the chance to come and work here?"This question was put into even starker contrast when I took a short trip with my girlfriend to the small town of Villefranche sur Mer, which is located a few kilometres outside Nice. We were sat at a small cafe on the quayside enjoying a frothy cappuccino and staring out to sea. It was a spectacular view that caused me to continue to question how anyone would turn down the chance to spend their Sundays in the manner we were.The view was wonderful. If we looked straight out to sea, we saw the beautiful coastline and delicately crafted villas on the peninsula of St Jean cap Ferrat. As it was a pleasant spring afternoon, the trees on the Cap were a wonderfully lush green and were only broken by the sight of some of the world’s most expensive real estate poking through the foliage. There was also a very nice and rather petite sandy beach running along the base of the Cap.Turning around and looking behind us, things were also pretty impressive. A well-known feature of the Cote d’Azur is the close proximity of mountains and sea. Nowhere is the better illustrated than in Villefranche. The mountains tower above the town and fall sharply towards the sea. As they reach Villefranche’s tiny beach, they are separated from the town and the sea by the train track. The mountains are so steep and fall so close to the sea that there is no room for the train, which, therefore, tunnels through the base of the mountain in spectacular style. The cafes along the quayside in Villefranche are a very nice place to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon, or any afternoon in fact. The views are fantastic and the blue of the blue of the sea is almost hypnotic. Anyone offered the opportunity to live and work in such an area should definitely take it.Close
Written by TianjinPaul on 17 Mar, 2012
Earlier this year, I read the truly fantastic 'Life', the autobiography of Keith Richards. It was a magnificently entertaining read full of rock and roll hijinks and some wonderful sentiment. No-one could fail to find the anecdotes of the early days of the Stones anything…Read More
Earlier this year, I read the truly fantastic 'Life', the autobiography of Keith Richards. It was a magnificently entertaining read full of rock and roll hijinks and some wonderful sentiment. No-one could fail to find the anecdotes of the early days of the Stones anything but entertaining. However, there was one aspect of the book that hit me on a different level. This was the account of the Stones' time on the Cote d'Azur. At this point, I must confess to some musical ignorance and admit that I had no idea that the classic album Exile On Main Street was recorded at Villa Nelle Cote on St Jean Cap Ferrat.The book details - this is perhaps the wrong verb as Richards' memory is undermined somewhat by his excessive drug use - the period the Stones spent in France making the album whilst in the company of legendary country-rock icon Gram Parsons. There are descriptions of drug-fuelled jam sessions and jaunts around the area including boat trips to Villefranch sur Mer just along the coast. There were also, as you might expect, some run-ins with the local gendarmerie.When my girlfriend and I took the bus to St Jean, I was very keen to soak up some of the musical history of the area. Sadly, this was not particularly easy to do. Nelle Cote is now a private residence and is not open to the public. There is not even a plaque to mark the spot. I actually found it a little disappointing that the musical significance is completely ignored and visitors can only stare at Nelle Cote from a distance. The villa is not even mentioned on any of the Cap's signs or maps.All of this meant that my rock and roll pilgrimage was a rather tame affair. Everything was left to my imagination. I took my Kindle and read the appropriate sections of Life whilst I wandered around the Cap. This at least allowed me to imagine the Stones taking a motor launch to Villefranche after days strung out on cocaine needing a break from recording. It also allowed me to imagine Richards scooting along in a convertible only to be stopped and searched - unjustly he claims - by the local police from the adjacent town of Beausoleil.St Jean Cap Ferrat might not quite be Graceland or Abbey Road, but it is home to rock and roll history. However, it also one of the most beautiful spots in the world, which probably compensates for the lack of direct historical sights.Close
St Jean Cap Ferrat is a wonderful part of the world. It blends a magnificent coastline with some beautiful architecture. On a pleasant afternoon, there are few places that are better to visit. The majority of tourists head to the very edge of the peninsula…Read More
St Jean Cap Ferrat is a wonderful part of the world. It blends a magnificent coastline with some beautiful architecture. On a pleasant afternoon, there are few places that are better to visit. The majority of tourists head to the very edge of the peninsula where a footpath that is just a few metres above the sea leads all the way around the outcrop. This is by far the best way see the area as it offers a fantastci blend of natural scenery and wonderful architecture. It is, though, also possible to explore the peninsula from the inside. However, after doing just that, I would not really recommend it. The bus (number 81) from Nice to St Jean drops you at the tourist office, which is at the top of the peninsula, close to the village of Beausoleil. We got off there and decided to head along up the hill and into the heart of the peninsula. We were entertaining notions of experiencing wonderful architecture and rubbing shoulders with a few celebrities. We knew that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie had a residence somewhere on the peninsula and that there was a beautiful modern villa designed by Lord Norman Foster. I also wanted to get a good look at Villa Nelle Cote, where the Rolling Stones recorded Exile on Main Street.Sadly, none of this actually transpired. The interior proved to be massively disappointing as there was nothing to see. Everything was obscured from view by large fences and walls - it seemed the residents of St Jean valued their privacy to an alarming extent. We found ourselves constantly trying to peer over large hedges or to peek through the slats in wooden fences to see what lay beyond. This generated a couple of strange feelings. The first one, which was not entirely unpleasant, was of being a child again trying to peer into the neighbours garden. The second feeling, which I really did not care for, was of being a pauper unable to even glimpse the exquisite houses of the rich.The one building we could view easily was the Hotel de Cap Ferrat, which sat behind a low fence and was on a slight incline. This meant it was easily visible. It was a beautiful building that was bursting with turn of the previous century style. It seemed a truly magnificent place to stay. Sadly, its beauty served only to emphasize how much was hidden from view and how frustrating the interior of Cap Ferrat is.After taking a few snaps of the hotel, we took a small wooden path down to the sea where we would follow the path around the edge of the peninsula. This is by far the best way to see St Jean Cap Ferrat. Anyone planning a trip should eschew the interior.Close
Written by Cantin2 on 29 Nov, 2008
Many folks cruise to get a "taste" of a new area. It's amazing to do this by river cruising.....a floating hotel with excursions included in the price. Ships are small since they have to fit through locks or under bridges and usually carry fewer passengers…Read More
Many folks cruise to get a "taste" of a new area. It's amazing to do this by river cruising.....a floating hotel with excursions included in the price. Ships are small since they have to fit through locks or under bridges and usually carry fewer passengers because of their size - this translates - usually into quiet night life.The itineraries are usually great - European rivers wind through wonderful villages and past vineyards and orchards......Each port has an excursion included. I'll highlight two of my favorite during our seven cruise.....CHALON-SUR-SOANE:.......We boarded a motorcoach here for a short drive past Burgundy vineyards on our way to Beaune. We were given free time to walk along the narrow streets lined with shops and cafes for an hour or so. We then met our local guide for a tour of "L'Hotel Dieu" a hospice for the poor that were in need of medical care. This splendid building was established in 1443 by Nicholas Rolin - a politician. He erected a monument to his own wealth and importance - lots of gables and glazed wiles - you feel as though you wouldn't have minded being poor and ill to be taken here......until you hear that two or three patients occupied each bed.A little more free time and a short walk to a storefront for wine tasting - lovely shop. We are taken downstairs into a brick walled - cave-like basement. We are given glasses for a few sips of white - a few sips of red and morsels of fresh baked bread in between. Just what we needed to prompt us to return upstairs and purchase a bottle or two to take aboard. You are allowed to take wines to the dining room for corkage or to enjoy on deck. We return to our home on the river for lunch and a pleasant afternoon of sailing.....a very pleasant day.LYON: The third largest city in France - known for it's Michelin star chefs....We started the day with a motorcoach tour to the cathedral on the mountain for an hour or so and then through "vieux Lyon" for a quick overview and over the river to the new convention area. This short tour gave us a more comfortable feeling for venturing out that evening for our nightime escapade. Since we were going, as a group, to a Paull Bocuse "fun night" at his catering restaurant - "L'Abbaye" the following night, we chose to explore the pedestrian area, with all of it's parks and fountains, to find a "bouchon" that offers simple local food. You can read about our evening in another of my reviews in this journal. We ended the evening with a cocktail overlooking Lyon "all lit up" at night.....Memorable......The next morning, was a wallking tour of the market - and what a market.....the best I've seen anywhere. Fruits, veggies, flowers, fish, rotisserie chickens, herbs, lotions, soaps - I wish I were staying longer and had cooking facilities....If only I had a market like this in my home town.......That evening we set sail for an hour or so to reach "L'Abbaye" for dinner....no....we did not meet Paul Bocuse, but we did have a great time - free flowing drinkns, funky organ music, a tour of the original kitchen that his mother cooked in and great food......No extra charge for this great evening.On to another port and more excursions.......that's what river Cruising is all about.......Close
Written by Cantin2 on 27 May, 2007
We've been sailing up the Saone River for two days - now we're back in Lyon where we boarded the ship. On embarkation day we were too exhausted to see much of Lyon, now it's time to "do it right". Today we had a three…Read More
We've been sailing up the Saone River for two days - now we're back in Lyon where we boarded the ship. On embarkation day we were too exhausted to see much of Lyon, now it's time to "do it right". Today we had a three hour city tour - a "must do" anywhere for a good orientation.We decided to opt out of dinner on board to stroll the pedestrian district on Saturday evening and experience a "typicale" Lyon meal in a "petit buchon". We asked a few of the Uniworld staff for a recommendation for a casual type Lyon meal since a "Paul Bocuse" restaurant experience was included in our cruise for the next evening. Oh yes - go to "Le Petit Buchon" on Meronnier St or Mercier St - we were told. Attempting to get a more specific address, we realized the "le petit buchon" is not the name of a specific restaurant, but rather describes the type of restaurant - much like a bistro or brasserie, as we know them...we would have walked for hours trying to find a restaurant by this name!As the sun is setting - off we go in our comfiest shoes - over the bridge and to the right. Streets are crowded with happy people. Moms pushing carriages, young lovers hand in hand , families finishing their meals, older folks perusing each menu - lots of energy...We walked on through Meronnier St. with all its outdoor cafes - uneven cobblestones, menus to entice you, tables filled with animated people, and continued on to Mercer St., a newer version of Meronnier, still pedestrian, and decide on "Le Bleu" an unassuming small "buchon" with indoor and outdoor seating - serving only mussels and tuna...they must be quite good at this!Only nine rustic wooden tables on the street and about 20 more inside - partially air-conditioned with open shuttered doors overlooking the street. It's pleasant, upbeat and all about people-watching. Most everyone has huge pots of mussels and a large plastic bowl to discard shells. Service is really quick. Our pitcher of wine arrives - a limited menu - tuna, tartare, or pan fried and mussels prepared either Parisienne, curry, a la creme, mushrooms, or wine. We chose the mussels that come with a salad and frites. Salad is served first - delicious, fresh, crisp with a tangy mustardy dressing that we enjoy so much in France. Now for the "moules"...so many...so small...so delicious with a baguette to soak up the juices and accompanied by fresh made all you can eat frites - not frozen and reheated as many of us are used to...these are firm, crisp, and salty. Wow! Sitting elbow to elbow, everyone enjoying, eyeing the parade of endless strollers and inevitably exchanging a few words or more with our neighbor diners...so much fun.We leave Mercier St. and Le Bleu - satiated...onto the next experience. We walk a few blocks toward the Rhone River to the Sofitel Hotel's panoramic top floor restaurant/cocktail lounge. From the busy crowded street to a quiet air-conditioned comfortable cocktail lounge overlooking Lyon with all its lights at night. A beautiful view, very romantic. Specialty cocktails, each served in a differently designed glass. The lounge has about 10 tables - mostly couples - tuxedoed waiters and quiet music - very romantic. A nice finale to our evening. Don't forget your credit card - two drinks here set us back more than two dinners and a liter of house wine at Le Bleu.Close
Written by haslo04 on 16 Jan, 2007
Tour de France is incredible. I have long wanted to experience the Tour and think it is the best thing about summer in France. Our whole trip was timed so we can see the race in the Pyrenees, which arguably contain the most exciting stages…Read More
Tour de France is incredible. I have long wanted to experience the Tour and think it is the best thing about summer in France. Our whole trip was timed so we can see the race in the Pyrenees, which arguably contain the most exciting stages of the whole event. In order to plan things properly, I used the official Le Tour de France website to get detailed maps and approximate timing of Stage 16 of the race, which was held on July 19. The route of the race is usually very diverse and includes both major highways and minor roads. All of these roads close the day before and thus in order to see the bikers up close, one needs to find a small town in the middle of nowhere that has an alternative access road. Pick a town that is too big or too close to the finish and you will stand in the crowd of Americans. Pick right and you will get in the middle of the local French spirit, lining the road to have the bikers pass several feet from your nose.Looking at such a map and schedule (both obtained from www.letour.fr), we chose a small Pyrenee village as our base for the day and drove there in our rented car. When we arrived at our destination, we were pleased to see no barricades to obstruct the direct access to the racers and no crowds to block our view. The bikers were preceded by a colorful collection of mobile advertisements, who sped through the route hurling free stuff at the eager fans. Before long, my wife was smiling from ear to ear as a proud new owner of a yellow umbrella hat and a French Telecom key chain. It turns out that this is what seeing the Tour is all about. You find your spot hours in advance, have a picnic and have fun watching the caravan, as the mobile advertisements are called. After several hours, you begin to hear a host of TV helicopters hovering over the horizon. As they come closer, you know the race is near and the caravan gives way to the team cars with the spare bikes on their roofs. The anticipation grows, as everyone along the road tenses up. Then come the bikers. There are about a hundred of them and you immediately get blown away at how fast they are going. We saw them on the 5th hour of the 16th day of a grueling race, and they passed by us with an incredible speed. It was all over in less than a minute, but Ana never doubted my travel judgment again. The race is as exhilarating as a sports event can get and being so close to it makes all the difference. Originally, we intended to see the Tour once and move on, but we liked it so much that we decided to chase it. What followed was an awesome day in the Pyrenees, when we raced our GPS-guided Citroen through some backroad mountain shortcuts in order to get ahead of the bikers. We succeeded to see them two more times, enjoying every encounter. And although standing in an excited crowd close to the finish line was interesting as well, we strongly recommend getting to a quite village, where you can sit on grass with a baugette in your hand and soak in the local spirit.Close
Written by jim on 14 Oct, 2003
Cross-Mountain Trip from Winery
We were in a little bit of a hurry when we left Domain Marchon, so it seemed like a good idea to take the dirt road when we saw the wooden sign to Suzette. At first it seemed like a stroke…Read More
Cross-Mountain Trip from Winery
We were in a little bit of a hurry when we left Domain Marchon, so it seemed like a good idea to take the dirt road when we saw the wooden sign to Suzette. At first it seemed like a stroke of genius. The total distance was about 10 kilometers (six miles) as opposed to about 25 if we took the long way around (on the real roads). We were flying along, the views were great, and the signs were clearly marked. That is when things got a little interesting.
We came to a fork in the road that had no sign. Undaunted, we chose left. Things seemed a little strange because suddenly everything was fenced in. We felt like we were heading into private property. More disconcerting, the road took a drastic turn for the worse. It was definitely touch and go and after a mile we decided to turn around and try the other way. Most alarming, all of the signs kept warning about "savage animals"--not a good place to get stuck.
When we took the other fork, the roads were even worse. The group in the car was definitely ready to turn back, but I am the eternal optimist and felt like forward was better. Along the way, something large caught our eye. It was a wild animal behind the massive fenced in area beside the road. So I stopped the car and ran over in the direction of the animal to the protestations of my fellow passengers. I did keep the car running with the door open in case I had to make a 100-meter mad dash.
As I crept up to the point I saw the wild animal, and all of sudden I heard the sound of several animals running through the bush. I jumped a few feet in the air and prayed they were behind the fence. The grunting grew louder and in a few seconds I was face to face with three wild boars. Fortunately, they were all behind the fence. The grunting was very loud and funny and they seemed a little less menacing. My companions joined me, we all had a good laugh, and headed back down the road. In a few years, the story may change so that the fence gets omitted, but I’ll have to be a bit older before I start embellishing my travel stories.
Back on the road, we went through some treacherous trails and only after scouting out the area on foot did I find a somewhat passable trail. It got us back on track and we headed out of the valley with a nice memory of a shortcut gone awry.
In my opinion, Gordes is one of the prettiest small towns in Provence. The town is perched among a beautiful set of cliffs and has all of the charm you could ask for. We went on a weekend and enjoyed strolling through the…Read More
In my opinion, Gordes is one of the prettiest small towns in Provence. The town is perched among a beautiful set of cliffs and has all of the charm you could ask for. We went on a weekend and enjoyed strolling through the city market. You will find all kinds of local crafts, produce, lavender products, and an odd assortment of other random items. The market ends at noon so make sure you plan accordingly.
All told, we spent about four hours in Gordes. There are some great shops, nice restaurants, and amazing photo opportunities. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant we chose, but we had some nice food and sat outside on the patio. You don’t have to go more than 100 meters in any direction to find plenty of places to eat, and I didn’t talk to anyone who had a bad meal.
Although the town of Gordes itself needs nothing else to get my full recommendation, I have to mention the ride between Gordes and Venasque. You go through some amazing cliffs and pass beautiful vistas looking out over Provence. There is also a very nice monastery on the way. Stop at the monastery and enjoy a quick tour inside and the lavender fields outside. The monastery is about three kilometers outside of Gordes.
The south of France is a beautiful place to visit. So when I looked at the map and realized we were only two hours from Marseilles and Cassis, we planned a day trip. Cassis has been called a poor man’s St. Tropez.…Read More
The south of France is a beautiful place to visit. So when I looked at the map and realized we were only two hours from Marseilles and Cassis, we planned a day trip. Cassis has been called a poor man’s St. Tropez. I haven’t been to St. Tropez, but I wouldn’t call Cassis a poor man’s anything.
The town was absolutely breathtaking. The sea was an amazing blue. The city was surrounded by massive cliffs and the laid back atmosphere made for a great day. We didn’t really have an agenda other than to get some good seafood, rent a boat, and hang out on the beach. We walked around the town a bit and soaked in the scene.
Our first priority was to find a place to eat. Our guidebook recommended a place called Nino in the marina. Unfortunately, we waited until 2pm to get lunch and they were no longer accepting diners. So we walked around the marina and found a different place called El Sol. It was the worst food I have had in many years. Avoid this restaurant and definitely avoid the bouillabaisse if you are foolish enough to disregard my advice. It became a bit of debate at the table as to who had the worst meal. The octopus was a close second. After the meal, I immediately ran to a crepe shop a few buildings down to clean my palette.
Undaunted by our bad dining experience, we went to rent a boat. Another roadblock--the sea was too rough for a private rental. We had to go on the group tour. It was a "three cove" tour that lasted 45 minutes (six euros per person). The ride was a bit rough. In fact, we got a little wet but had a few laughs. But the funniest part of the ride was watching the rest of the people on the boat. The average age was around 75, so the big waves created a few gasps. Having said all of that, the cliffs, coves, and the amazing blue sea were well worth the trip. In fact, the cliffs are the highest seaside cliffs in all of Europe.
To top off the day, we headed to the beach. I’m used to the white sand beaches of the Caribbean, so this beach was a unique experience. The beach is pretty rocky, but feels kind of nice on the bottom of your feet. . .except when you are coming out of the cold water quickly! I thought the water was going to be pretty warm, but it was definitely a gut check. Finally I just took the plunge. I swam out to the end of the beach area and really felt great and refreshed. Afterwards, the warm sea breeze felt fantastic. We stayed there for about an hour and then finally went back to the car.
It may sound like we had a less than ideal experience, but I really did have an enjoyable day. I highly recommend the town of Cassis because even under less than optimal conditions we had a great time.
A couple of suggestions:
- Park above the town. The area down by the marina is pretty crowded and parking is limited. There are a few lots, but they are usually full.
- Check out the casino. If you have never gambled in Europe, the casinos are fun to check out.
- If you rent a boat, take a picnic and hang out in the coves. It is super romantic and an experience you will remember for a long time.
- Avoid the restaurants right on the marina. They tend to be tourist traps and the food is not particularly good, at least not at the restaurants we tried.
- Don’t wait until late in the afternoon to grab lunch. Most of the best restaurants close at 2pm.
- Take the scenic road along the coast. Taking the most direct route is faster, but the scenic roads wind along the cliffs and provide some amazing scenery.
Written by nik-nak on 30 Mar, 2005
Let me preface by saying that I’d never had a hankering to go to the South of France. For me, Paris was the end-all; however, I was lured by a week-long travel writing course under the tutelage of reknowned travel writer/author James Sturz, taking place…Read More
Let me preface by saying that I’d never had a hankering to go to the South of France. For me, Paris was the end-all; however, I was lured by a week-long travel writing course under the tutelage of reknowned travel writer/author James Sturz, taking place in L’isle Sur La Sorgue. At the time, I technically had no home—thus, I had no bills either, so can you blame me for throwing caution to the wind for a chance of a lifetime?
My friend Rhonda and I met Provençe in May and settled into its charm. It is literally the image you see as you daydream of lavender fields or an old man shuffling down a country road with a basket full of baguettes.
The people were very friendly, and it was quite noticeable that we were the main population of African-Americans in the area. Yet we weren’t met with stares of "what are you doing here?" It was more like pleasant glances of "oh, black people."
Nevertheless, I have full understanding of why Americans escape to their little chateaus in the South of France. Provençe is truly a place to exhale and has its way of cohersing any American to bring it down a notch. They definitely bring new meaning to the phrase, "taking a long lunch". Lunch is a three hour stint at which time most retailers close up shop and scatter to the local eateries. Good for bonding, but a slightly frustrating interruption for me, a power shopper.
We got the long version of dinner, as well. The food was much better than I expected, and although I appreciate the art of dining, after ending a full day with two to three hours of dinner, some of us were on the verge of cranky. It was like, "let’s go already!" If there’s nothing else I learned, it’s that the French (and Europe in general) understand what it means to be relational and enjoy the simple pleasures of life.
As anyone would assume, the wine supply was plentiful--so much so that after walking around in a sleepy haze for about 4 days, everyone in our clique declared a "no-wine day". Even though we hit two vineyards (Cave de Cairanne and Maison Arnouc & Fils) for wine-tasting sessions, no, I did not acquire the delight of drinking wine as the French do. Rhonda and I did, however, discover a nice dessert wine that we really liked called Kir.
Our tour-guided excursions ranged from sightseeing in Avignon (Palais des Papes) to village-hopping (Gordes, Menerbes, Luberon, Rousillon, and Venasque). Think picturesque views and quaint cottages with floral-adorned doorways and colored shutters lining the winding cobblestoned streets. Think winding around unrailed mountain roads in a big tour bus! One of the highlights of the trip was spending a day at one of the culinary schools, cooking a multi-course meal with a French chef.
Then there was class with James every day, the reason for my going on the trip in the first place — to find my voice as a travel writer. We only had three writing assignments, but after full days of class, the open-air market, and lots of wine, would you feel like doing homework? I didn’t.
Slacker that I was, I didn’t get inspired until it was down to the wire - the wire meaning, during class the day that it was due. After scribbling out my thoughts and rewriting three or four times, I was ready to present by the time everyone else had read theirs.
I learned a few things about myself as a writer: one being the fact that I do my best work under tight deadlines. I’ve come to terms with the fact that my name is Nikki, and I am not a planner.
Secondly, it’s been a long time since I’ve had my writing critiqued, so I admit that I felt a bit vulnerable sitting among 23 editors, copywriters, and the like with only the knowledge that I’m a writer to the core. It was quite encouraging to receive the accolades of my peers and instructor.
Lastly, I believe I discovered that my niche of writing is for all things cultural, fashion, or arts-oriented. When I travel, I go to experience the food, music, culture, of course the shopping, and to hang out with the natives. Naturally, these are the things I would be inspired to write about.
Despite almost getting left in Avignon one night and awaking one morning to a Frenchman who mistakenly thought he was in the right villa, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience in Provençe. I’ll fondly recollect the new people I met (shout-outs to Traci, Philana, Rochelle, and Denise!) and how Rhonda’s comedic witticisms kept us howling with laughter, the breathe-easy feeling of being safe, and the mixed aromas of strawberries, lavender, and soap in the open-air market.
After bidding adieu to L’Isle Sur La Sorgue and our newfound friends, Rhonda and I were shuttled off to catch a train to Milan, Italy. (I mean, really, could I be so close to the fashion mecca and not go?)
So there you have it: my trip in retrospect. To see more pics, go to .
Stay tuned for the next adventure...