Travel With Bradley

TRAVEL WITH BRADLEY! Bradley has always put his clients first and his tours reflect just that. Making travel dreams a reality is his speciality. Follow this blog and he'll take you around the World!

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The Pioneer Woman Celebrates Her Nan

During my upcoming February 2019 Texas Tour we’ll travel into Oklahoma to visit the Pioneer Woman Mercantile which is owned by Ree and Ladd Drummond.  Chances are you have tried Ree’s recipes or have watched her hit television show on the Food Network.

Ree Drummond is a gem of a farm girl.  She is obsessed with butter, Basset Hounds and Ethel Merman.    Ree raises her family on a ranch outside of Pawhuska, Oklahoma.  

Her television show documents daily life as a ranch wife and mother.  This down home country gal’s blog attracts 22 million monthly views.  Ree’s television show and blog focuses on food, living on the ranch and family.  

A couple days ago Ree emailed a blog post to her loyal followers letting them know that her upcoming television show would be “A Different Kind of Show”…..

Although her Mother-In-Law’s situation with cancer was terminal the family did not expect her end to come so quickly.  They had just started filming a block of television shows at their ranch when she suddenly passed.   After much pondering they decided to continue with the television taping in order to “Celebrate Nan”.

This was a sad show to watch.  The “Celebrating Nan” episode shows us a loving family and friends struggling to get through a tough time.  We can all relate.  Country Folk came together to beautify the cemetery which is located on their ranch and Nan’s favourite food and recipes were prepared.  The show truly “Celebrated Nan” and even though I never met “Nan” I felt that I knew her a bit after watching the show.  

Ree wrote that her family could have filmed their television shows pretending this didn’t happen or they could show what was really going on in their lives.   She decided to take the real route and I admire her for that.

I’m sure you will agree that writing about this is an odd way for me to highlight an upcoming tour but after watching the “Celebrating Nan” television episode I am even more anxious to show you the community where the Pioneer Woman lives with her family.  

Ree’s children often work at the family-run Mercantile.  They are sometimes the ones that bring out the sticky buns (served in a coast iron skillet) or the Southern Mac and Cheese.  

Everyone has a story.  The Pioneer Woman has found a way to share her story with all of us.  

You’ll have a great time if you decide to join me on this Texas Tour February 13-20, 2019. 

See you aboard!

Details – Sunday Aug 26th Travel Shows!

Tomorrow many of you will be travelling to the Walters Theatre for the annual,  “Travel With Bradley” Travel shows. GPS Address – 836074 Hubbard Road, Blandford-Blenheim

The email confirmation that was sent to you last week confirms which showtime you booked –

10am

12:30pm

3pm

5:30pm

Your reserved tickets will be available at the theatre entrance under your last name.

If you didn’t RSVP in advance and would like to attend one of tomorrows travel shows there will be a handful of complimentary tickets available at the door for each show.  Over 700 people have RSVP’d.

Please try to arrive no sooner than 30 minutes before your scheduled show time in order for us to easily accommodate traffic flow and parking.

If you are wondering where you can grab a casual bite to eat either before or after the shows here are my recommendations –

6 minutes from the theatre

Innerkip Highlands Golf Club – the closest good option to the theatre – 805940 Oxford Road 29, Innerkip, ON – 519-469-3924 – offers a casual dining experience (burgers, fish n chips, sandwiches, salads)  in their restaurant – dining room offers a beautiful view overlooking the golf course

12 minutes from the theatre

Jims Lunch – 28 Oxford 2, Princeton, ON 519-458-4444 – small country diner that has been serving good home-made food for decades – when I was a young boy my Grandmother would give me handfuls of coins so I could treat myself to one of their freshly scooped butterscotch sundaes!

16 minutes from the theatre

Quehl’s Restaurant – 33 Woodstock Street S., Tavistock ON 519-655-2835 – Quehl’s is our official caterer at the “Walters Theatre” – they will be serving their delicious brunch and dinner buffets at their restaurant in Tavistock tomorrow  – there is Main Street road construction in Tavistock so just follow their restaurant signs which will guide you to their restaurants back entrance

17 minutes from the theatre

Adam Brenner’s “The Garden Stand” – 90 Wilmot St, New Hamburg – 519-390-0808 – This is a “To Go” Gourmet Food Shop – where you can purchase fresh and frozen gourmet meals, wonderful dips, dressings, salads – I always leave with an armful of goodies – Sundays hours are 10am – 4pm

27 minutes from the theatre

Camp 31 – 22 Paris Rd, Paris, ON – 519-442-3560 – they serve the best BBQ around

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I look forward to seeing you tomorrow at one of the shows!

I can’t wait for you to see my NEW, “Travel With Bradley” brochure – it looks GREAT!

If you are unable to attend the show tomorrow the NEW travel itineraries will be upload to the “Travel With Bradley” website sometime later in the week – some journeys will only accommodate a small number of passengers so I expect they will sell-out quickly. www.travelwithbradley.com

Drive safe.

 

 

Your Grandkids Will LOVE It!

I promised my nephew Schyler that I would take him out for dinner tonight.

I drove him to, “Louie’s Pizza and Pasta” which is located in Ingersoll, ON.

When we arrived their very large parking lot was PACKED and the restaurant entrance was full of patrons hoping to nab a table.  We waited 40 minutes to be seated and during that time there was a steady stream of customers arriving to pick-up take out orders.  This sort of “out-of-the-way” restaurant has a big following.

You may recall the Canadian television show, “You Gotta Eat Here” – this restaurant was featured on that Food Network show.  Host, “John Calucci” ate their signature giant panzerotti.   Schyler and I noticed that a good majority of those eating in the restaurant tonight ordered them too.

Schyler enjoyed the “Grilled Dagwood” – salami, ham and turkey with cheddar and garlic chive cheese – grilled on marble rye bread – topped with chipotle mayo.  I was happy to see a “Baked” and not fried Chicken Parmesan choice on the menu.  They hand pound the chicken breast and bread it – topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella – served on a bed of spaghetti with even more parmesan – yes, a pile of carbs!

Portions are massive.  I noticed at least 80 percent of the patrons request take-out containers.  I needed one too – only ate 1/2 of what was on my plate and I was stuffed.  Schyler had no problem finishing the large sandwich and fresh cut fries!

I asked Schyler if he would order the same thing again.  He said “yes” but added that he would try something different first because there are a number of items on the menu that appeal to him.

Service was attentive and friendly.

My entree tasted ok and that was fine because I picked this restaurant knowing it would appeal to my nephew and I was right.  I’m sure if you take your Grandchildren to “Louis’s Pizza and Pasta” they will be just as pleased as Schyler.

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Sailing Back to Rome

This weekend they are calling for record breaking temperatures in much of Europe – into the mid 40’sC.  Many homes don’t have AC so locals will head to the water and there is a fear of increased drownings.  We set up heat shelters in Canada but although I am not positive I don’t believe they are set up in Europe – at least nothing is mentioned on the news.

I prefer the European newscast because you learn what is going on throughout the world – at home US news makes the headlines and International News is very secondary.   On the ship they air BBC and SkyNews.  This morning there was not a mention of American politics – a refreshing change.

 

Today we visited the sleepy town of Katakolon.  This is the Gateway to Olympia, the location of the original Olympic Games.  It was a very hot temp day so most of my passengers enjoyed roaming around the town where there are 2 main streets of shops and a variety of tavernas on the sea shore.  The population here is only around 600 people.  My Canadian Greek friend tells me this area produces excellent olive oil.

A few of my passengers said this was their favourite port because its so laid back and they would like to come back and for a week stay.

Tomorrow is a day at sea and we will arrive back in Rome on Sunday.  We’ll gather for a farewell group luncheon in the dining room and its the final Chefs Table Dinner for my passengers that haven’t experienced it yet.

I’m very impressed with the “Jewel of the Seas”.  I picked this cruise mainly because of the itinerary.  Although I expected the ship to be very good it has exceeded my expectations.

I chatted with a couple that have been on 90 cruises and this is their favourite ship.  I can best describe it as a small ship with a big attitude – it can stand on its own.  The balcony staterooms are a little smaller than most of the newer ships but there is more than enough room.  The staff has been excellent.  It’s one of the friendliest crews I have ever experienced.  I saw that Royal Caribbean awarded them with a “Best Staff Fleet Wide” award which is quite an honor as Royal Caribbean has a large number of ships in their fleet.  The staff is a happy one so they must be treated well.

The menus in the main dining room are extensive – with so many excellent choices its hard to decide what to order. 

Today on the lunch buffet there were a number of seafood choices including jumbo fried shrimp,scallops and a variety of shell fish – you don’t often see buffet items like these on cruise ships.

Its easy to navigate around this vessel and everyone liked that.  Its much smaller than the new norm but it still has much to offer – certainly enough for any travelers needs.  There are so many activities offered throughout the day and  there is a cinema (don’t find them on newer ships).  There is plenty of entertainment choices in the evenings –  many music styles  – even heard country music last night.   While soaking in the pool you can enjoy a movie on the big outdoor screen.  

Three speciality restaurants are plenty for this size of ship – and there is the Chefs Table for very special events.  

WIFI connection is expensive but it works better than any other ship I have been on.  This new system is now found on all the Royal Caribbean ships.  I purchased the upgraded faster plan so I could upload pictures to my blog.  It worked 85% of the time which is a huge improvement to past cruises.  I expect other cruise lines will now be upgrading their systems.  On this cruise the younger generation are all on their mobile devices and they are going to pay the cost  no matter how much it is to be connected.

Toiletries in the staterooms are very basic.  Expect a bar of soap and a dispenser of liquid soap in the shower – no hair conditioner etc – next time I sail on Royal Caribbean I’ll pack my own product.  

There is a fee if you order room service.  Due to cost you won’t find lobster on the menu in the main dining room. 

I found the shops on board to be pretty dismal but typically I don’t find the shops on cruise ships to be very good.

This sailing has attracted many multi-generation family groups.  The dining room can easily accommodate families with large tables.  Europeans like to travel with extended family members – I think that is terrific.  I was concerned when I saw how many children are on this cruise but there is ample security and lifeguards at the pools to keep a watch on them.

I don’t think we’ll forget the 2 senior aged sisters that we all thought were twins.  They are American living in 2 different States.  They dress identical when they are together.  Every time I see them they are wearing new outlets – everything matches right down to the accessories (hats, purses, jewelry)

My passengers have been wonderful and we’ve enjoyed time together.  I’d like to thank them for Traveling With Bradley.  Having to split my passengers  into 3 intimate groups for the Chefs Table gave me the opportunity to spend quality time with everyone.  The Chef Table was certainly a great surprise that everyone has really enjoyed – its a culinary experience that would be hard to replicate at home.  

With so many families on board they have stuck together so I haven’t met as many travelers as I usually do on cruises but I enjoyed some conversations with a friendly couple from Sydney, Australia.  There are very few singles on board this sailing.  The itinerary has attracted passengers from all over the World.  Its a nice change being on a cruise that isn’t filled with North American passengers.

We are currently sailing back to Rome.  A driver and coach will transfer us to the Rome airport and we’ll fly Air Canada back to Toronto.  Many of my passengers will overnight at the Airport Hilton on our arrival but I’ll head home. 

Monday I’ll be back at the Walters Theatre to welcome our patrons.  I’m looking forward to the Kenny Rogers Tribute Show.  It’ll be another busy sold out week.

Don’t forget August 26th is my annual travel show.  Hoping to see you there!

Athens – Chefs Dinner – Mykonos – WOW!

I just arrived on the Island of Mykonos, Greece.  I took the first tender from the ship.  Its just 8am so none of the stores are open yet.  It’s windy as usual on this island But that makes it comfortable for roaming around on a summer day.

This is my favourite Greece cruise port because its so authentic.  This morning around the harbour the local gentleman are sitting enjoying their strong coffee while overlooking the sea.  They will be getting together before the tourists appear.  I’m sure they have solved some of the World problems today.

The locals are so friendly here.  I have already chatted with a couple of them.  The tender boat assistant told me where his favourite Greek restaurant is located.  They all have their favourites – probably owned by friends.

Yesterday my group spent the afternoon touring Athens.  We we in awe with all the tourist sites.  There are 5 million people living in Athens. 

Mykonos is the exact opposite – few residence and a very peaceful atmosphere.

Some of you emailed me wondering  if we saw any of the damage caused by the recent fires near Athens.  We were a distance from that area so no.  The air quality is back to normal too.  They claim those fires that killed many were deliberately set – very sad.

I’m good friends with an older Greek man who lives in Toronto.  His World revolves around Greece.  In his book everything is the best in Greece.  I always get a kick out of him.  He is not unusual.  Greeks love their country.

I warned my passengers that they would get lost walking around Mykonos.  I’ve already got confused a few times and I’ve visited here many times.  The town is a maze of narrow passageways and  all look the same – white washed buildings are everywhere with blue and red accents.  First thing in the morning the ladies are busy washing everything  – streets, buildings, floors, clothes – this island sparkles because of them.  Miniature delivery trucks can get down the streets with just a couple inches to spare.  Tourists need to get out of the way as there is not room for both.

I did eventually arrive at the famous windmills.  Some of them are under repair but they are truly the symbol of Mykonos.  I have already walked into 8 churches – there are so many of them in the town core.  They are all tiny and unique.  Some would only hold a couple people.

As I was walking around I must have looked like I knew what I was doing because other travelers started following me hoping I would lead them around the right corner.

The fun thing about Mykonos is by walking through this maze you get to see how the locals live. 

This is a very special destination in my books.  I love it more every time I visit.

I came across the same bench that Mom and I sat on the last time the two of us were here.  If she was here it would have been a perfect day!

Typically when on a cruise I don’t dine in the ports of call but I had a craving for Greek food today.  A trustworthy shop owner (wife is from Barrie ON) told me to eat at Niko’s Taverna so I took his advise.  It doesn’t offer a sea view but its a very traditional Greek taverna which has been in business for over 50 years.  You can walk into the kitchen and see todays specials.

I started with a traditional Greek Salad (cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, olives, green peppers with a thick slice of feta cheese and oregano on top).  The typical Greek Salad has no lettuce.  My waiter recommended one of the daily specials – direct from the oven – chicken stuffed with mykonos cheese accompanied by roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes.  The chicken was so tender and moist.  The vegetables – pepper, eggplant, carrots, potatoes etc were so hot I had to let them cool down a bit before eating them.  Very delicious.  I highly recommend you try this restaurant when you visit Mykonos.  Price wise its more reasonable than one on the water – with a large bottle of water my bill was around $36.00 Canadian.

Shopping – its a mixed bag on Mykonos – certainly some very expensive things – a store owner tried to sell me a 1600 Euro pair of running shoes….  I did find some well priced items too.

Soon it will be time for my 2nd group of passengers to enjoy the “Jewel of The Seas Chef Dinner”.  What an amazing experience we had last night – a welcome glass of champagne – 6 courses – 6 glasses of wine – a dessert martini – 3 hour culinary event.  I’m treated them all – with service fee tip etc it works out to around 100. USD – in comparison to what you would pay at home its certainly a fair price for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

You should be here!

Santorini, Greece = Romance

Santorini, Greece = Romance

For most of us we started our day on the “Jewel of the Seas” with “Tuesday Brunch” in the Tides Dining Room.  The chefs put out quite the spread.  When we walked in the dining room the wait staff surprised us with a glass of champagne.  There was a number of shrimp choices so I was very happy – garlic, chilled, even shrimp with scrambled eggs.  With so many entree choices  it was impossible to sample a portion of what they prepared –  there were also many desserts and a chocolate fountain…. Everything was delicious – we were all so impressed!

At 12:30pm my passengers gathered in the Baltic Conference Room where 2 wonderful reps from the cruise staff met us.  They made things so easy for us.  We were escorted through the crews quarters (always interesting to see) and directly on a tender boat to the shore of the island of Santorini.  This was a huge bonus for my passengers.  There was a long line of passengers waiting to pick up tender tickets first thing in the morning but we didn’t need to be concerned about that.  The biggest complaint I heard from “other” passengers was they had a LONG wait to get off the ship – not us – we were the first ones off – for sure this was a major “Travel With Bradley” perk.

There were a number of cruise ships in port today – Costa, MSC, Celebrity Constellation plus our ship so we were lucky that we only had a 15 minute wait before getting on the cable car (6 Euro each way – terrific money maker)  that took us to a famous Santorini village situated on the side of the cliff.   There are 2 other options to reach the top – 597 stairs or a donkey – the ships staff discouraged both but I still saw many people doing both.   Once we arrived in the beautiful, unique white washed building town my passengers scattered.  Some found a taverna and admired the scenery while others including me “shopped”!  The majority of the store owners told me that although cruise traffic is on the increase, overall the cruise passengers aren’t spending so they aren’t having a great year but a few of the shop owners were happy to see me and some of my passengers!

Since the town is built on a cliff, if you are staying in one of the many hotels you’ll need to be careful which one you choose or you could be transiting up and down a number of steep steps.  For those of us visiting for the day the shopping and restaurant district has next to no stairs – its simple to navigate.  A cruise is the perfect and most economical way to visit Santorini.  

The view from the island of Santorini looking over the sea is indescribable – just spectacular – very romantic!  I’ve visited Santorini a number of times and the view continues to amaze me every time.

Tonight, I decided to try one of the Speciality Restaurants on board called Izumi.  It specializes in Japanese Food.  I was the first customer of the evening so I was showered with great service.  The food they prepare is delicious.   I enjoyed grilling seafood on a 575F hot plate.  This restaurant menu is al la carte.  Its a nice alternative to other restaurants on board but I feel the cost is just too expensive for me to recommend to my passengers.

Hope you enjoy my Santorini pictures!

The World Passes By – It’s A Sea Day

My passengers enjoyed a very relaxing day at sea.  I was awake good and early – enjoyed the views from my stateroom balcony and then met a number of my passengers in the Tides dining room for a delicious breakfast.

We were all taking pictures during the very scenic transit of the Messina Strait (Sicily).  A pilot was brought on board to guide the “Jewel of the Seas” as this narrow passage is loaded with Ferry Boats.  I was wishing we could have docked in Sicily so we could have  ordered some Italian pizzas to go!  

The majority of my passengers gathered for lunch in the Ships Main Dining Room – Tides.  They sat us at a couple prime large tables with sea views.  I made a new friends when one of our waiters learned that I bring groups to Bali as its his home.  He has extended his work contract so he can perfecting time a very special Bali ceremony that takes place every 100 years.  Ceremonies are an important way of life in Bali.

I’m a fan of the massive salad bar that Royal Caribbean sets up in their main dining room during lunch.  You let the  chef know the items you wish in your salad and he puts them in a stainless bowl – he then chops all of your selected ingredients into smaller pieces and mixes in your dressing choice.  He then plates the salad in a bowl.  They also offer a luncheon pasta bar and there were a large variety of cupcakes to pick from for dessert.  A large selection menu was also available.

The outdoor decks were packed with sun worshipers – it was a spectacular weather day – 84F.  

We gathered late in the day for my hosted group cocktail party in a panoramic lounge with a spectacular view of the open decks.  Everyone arrived dressed up – looked terrific. My passengers enjoy mingling with one another so this was certainly a social event.  Its Grace’s 85th Birthday so my cocktail party turned into her birthday party.

Tomorrow we arrive in Santorini.  There will be FIVE cruise ships visiting this small island so I expect it will be a very lively spot!

Farewell Rome – Hello “Jewel of the Seas”

My passengers reported that they slept really well last night.  

Our checked luggage was ready for pick-up at 7am and then we enjoyed breakfast on the hotels comfortable outdoor patio overlooking beautiful garden.  We were offered an European breakfast buffet (cheese, bread, cold meats, cereal, fruit) with a few North American selections (eggs/bacon).   I chuckled when I saw the many self-serve coffee machines we could use – they were lined up one after another – strong Italian coffee is the norm.  Our local guide explained that an American coffee chain could never survive in Italy so they don’t even attempt to open them.

At 830am we started our city tour of Rome.

Our guide told us that her home has air conditioning but she has to decide what is most important because she can only run one thing at a time or will trip the breakers.  So if she is going to iron or turn on the oven, the AC needs to be turned off.  She said this is typical for most Italian homeowners.  

I estimate that 90% of the vehicles on the road are sub-compact.  A “Smart” car is one of the most expensive small cars you can buy and is considered a “status symbol”.  

We enjoyed seeing the most impressive Rome tourist attractions.  

I treated everyone to the Italian delicacy – Gelato as a “morning” treat!

We arrived at the cruise pier in decent time.  The check-in procedure was well organized and quick.  The staff was friendly.  There were a number of ships in port – NCL Spirit and European line cruise ships represented by MSC and P&O.  

When we boarded the Royal Caribbean, “Jewel of the Seas” around 1pm our staterooms were ready so we were able to drop off our carry-on luggage (nice bonus).  We didn’t need to wait very long for our checked luggage to arrive at our balcony stateroom door.  I was impressed!

I spent a great deal of the afternoon in meetings with ship staff.  In turn I was able to arrange a few more perks for my passengers – I’m excited that we’ll skip the passenger lines as we won’t need tender tickets for Santorini.    I even surprised myself when I was able to arrange that!  In a couple of days we’ll arrive in Santorini early in the afternoon – almost everyone on the ship is going to want to get off as soon as possible.   My passengers don’t need to worry at all – we will be meeting in the conference room and we will be ushered to a tender boat – VIP treatment!

As another perk I’ve included the “Chef Table” experience for all of my passengers.  This is the most exclusive dining evening on-board the Jewel of the Seas (85pp + 18% service) for a 6-course gourmet experience.    The Chef’s Table is a very intimate affair so I needed to split my passengers into 3 smaller groups and they’ll dine over 3 evenings.

I arrived at the ships welcome luncheon buffet a few minutes before close but had  enjoy enough time to enjoy the salad bar with some “Jack Daniels” chicken.  The chef was slicing Prime Rib and for those who enjoy a bit of spice there was a massive pan of jambalaya – looked impressive.  There was certainly a big choice of quality items to choose from.  

Its summer holidays so there are a number of family’s on board.  The majority of the guests are from the UK – there are 255 Canadians amongst us so we are in good company.

Before the sail-away there was the mandatory life boat drill.  It was also very well organized.

The maitre-de in the Tides dining room did a great job organizing my passengers at tables of 6 and 4.  The waiters will therefore quickly learn everyone’s preferences.  Tonights main dining dinner menu offered an excellent choice of selections.  Most of my passengers ordered the prime rib as their main course.

The NCL Spirit is sailing next to us.  During the night her lights glistened off the water.  The seas are so calm so it feels like we aren’t moving….

Tomorrow we can look forward to a relaxing day at sea as we continue to sail towards Greece.

A Terrific Day In ROME

Yesterday I arrived at Toronto Pearson way ahead of when I was to meet my passengers but to my surprise many of them were already waiting for me!   The lead Air Canada staff member I dealt with was exceptional to work with.  The airport was crazy busy – reminded me of the Christmas holiday season.  Luckily my passengers were given priority over those who were waiting in ridiculous long lines to check in for their flights.  I was able to usher my passengers past those lines and right up to the counters.  In no time we were all checked in!  My passengers were very happy,

I then worried when we arrived at the Premium Lounge (a Travel With Bradley perk) as they were filled to capacity and there was a long line of people waiting to get in (I had never experienced that before).  Their staff knew to expect us so they had “reserved” seats arranged for us – we avoided another line!  My passengers all enjoy delicious entrees and a variety of beverages before boarding the flight to Rome.

There was a weight balance problem with the Air Canada 777 aircraft  so it was an hour late taking off.  The plane was filled to capacity.  Service was very good.  In flight food was mediocre at best.  We ran across sone turbulence during the dinner service so they had to wait until the skies calmed down before they could continue.  One of the flight attendants children were on the flight.  It was the first time they had flown so it was fun watching their interactions with their Dad who was so proud.

Most of my passengers enjoyed a decent rest during the flight.

By the time we cleared customs in Rome and retrieved our luggage we were way behind schedule.

The quaint luncheon restaurant management (just a 2 minute walk from the Vatican) luckily agreed to hold our reservation and serve us quickly.  Their staff did a wonderful job.  We enjoyed a delicious meal – nice appetizer plate, pasta in a scrumptious tomato sauce, fresh salad, flaky delicate dessert all washed down with included local wine.

Luckily the crowds at the Vatican Museum were smaller than I have ever seen so although we were forced to walk along with the masses of people it was possible to actually stop to take pictures.

The highlight for most of my passengers was spending time in the Sistine Chapel – just amazing,

Our overnight hotel is very grand.  The chandeliers in the ornate hotel rooms certainly add to the special atmosphere,

The beautiful setting for my “Welcome To Rome” dinner was perfect and the meal exceptional – peppered pasta, lemon chicken cutlets, perfectly cooked potatoes and melt in your mouth tiramisu,  The Italian wines were tasty too!

Sadly almost all of the local shops were closed by the time we finished our meal but the gelato stands are open and they are doing a brisk business this evening,  I just couldn’t resist a small pistachio – so good – so much better than what we find at home.

Its 1045pm so after this full day I’m off to bed!  I’m probably as zonked as my passengers.

We have enjoyed a terrific first day.  Tomorrow we will continue to tour around Rome before boarding a Royal Caribbean Cruise ship enroute to Greece.

Can’t wait!

 

 

 

Sunday ”Ontario Mennonite Country” Drive

Yesterdays rain didn’t stop Mom and I.  We were anxious to head out on our Sunday morning drive no matter what the weather was like.

We decided to travel to Wellesley and then continued to Arthur, Ontario.

Our 9:30am – 10:00am timing in the heart of Mennonite Country was perfect.  There were so many Old Order Mennonite buggies on the road, it was almost parade like.   We saw at least 50 of them!   Most of the covered buggies (probably they were using the covered ones because of the rain) were pulled by a 2 horse hitch.  The majority of these buggies were large with at least 3 rows of seating.

We also passed a couple very Conservative Mennonite churches where members are allowed to drive cars but they must be black so every vehicle in these church parking lots were black.

Early in the 20th century these Old Order/Conservative Mennonites began using automobiles instead of horses and buggies.  As you can imagine that caused a great deal of tension within the Old Order congregations.

It is estimated that there are approx 4000 Old Order Mennonite and 1000 Old Order Amish living in this area.  The first language among members is Pennsylvania German.

Unfortunately we were unable to purchase any of their farm products because it was Sunday so their businesses are closed.  In this beautiful,  rural area you can find Blacksmith Shops, Buggy Repair Shops, Home Baking/Bulk Food Stores, Shoe Repair and Furniture Shops.

You can easily spot an Old Order Mennonite home because often the roofs on these homes are painted green.  This time of year their pristine gardens are filled with colourful flowers.

The next time you start out on a Sunday drive consider visiting the Mennonite/Amish communities of Ontario.  Just make sure you time it as well as we did in order to see the Sunday “Parade of Horses and Buggies”!

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