Rome-around Part 2

More rested then the jet lag tinged day one, I was ready to over-fill my mind with as much visual stimulus as possible in Rome.  We enjoyed a quick breakfast at our tiny hotel before our daily adventure, our only plan for the day, being a private tour of the Vatican…more on that later. Oh, by the way, when I say tiny hotel I totally mean it. I felt like I was tucked into a pocket of time in a Harry Potter hide away spot. It was a perfect it-will-do spot, but most likely not a do-over stay. We utilized our hop-on & hop-off bus passes as a way to get the highlight reel of this beautifully historic city. While enjoying the opportunity to hop off for closer views then allow ourselves the coach to later whisk us away to keep us on schedule for our mid-afternoon plans.

There is a majesty held in visions seen that instantly become emblazed as your memories. While you look around every day hustle then turn left or right as instant heart quickening history unfolds around you. The detail in art wraps into the ancient held within the grasp of the new, all intermingle in such a way that I intend to share visually. As I stated the day started with a bus tour that we could hop on or off at our pace and here are some highlights.

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After feeling like a conquering, Rocky Balboa, from the many long winded flights of stairs we stood for a moment in observation of our scenery. We happened upon a photo shoot with a lovely Italian model dressed all in white with a large sunny day hat to shade her. While later, in front of horse carts I chuckled as a lady dressed in a puffy black jacket was scolding her black poodle that shared a panache for matching red bows with her owners red boots. People watching is the best and Rome did not disappoint!

We felt the need for a quick snack on our way to the Vatican City and found ourselves stumbling into the Mercato Trionfale where I found extra things too purchase. I indulged in a delicious focaccia style pizza that I asked the lovely lady to only cut off just a few inches for me. Not too sure what the others had, but I know I always lose the husband at some point to gelato. I wish we had this market style in Sonoma County so we could grab our desires for dinner or quick purchase needs while visiting farmers and butchers. I loved this place with all the hunger I could muster while I wished we could stay longer in a home environment where I could cook with the ingredients I found.

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I feel that the Vatican is its own story that you could live in for months without discovering it all so after many hours with a lovely gentleman named, Luca, we were hungry and a slightly parched. We intended to stop for a glass of wine and whiskey, but nothing happens simply in Rome. I made sure to not over fill because I knew I wanted to wash up, wait for the evening to darken the skies while the lights caressed our path to a last supper in Rome. I greatly enjoyed a leisurely stroll past the lovely fountains while listening to music, looking at beautiful art from lovely street vendors and taking in all the joy of laughter in those wining and dining around us.

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In a breath I cannot believe all we fit into two days and then I look at the schedule I push onto myself at home and think I know exactly how we got so much done.  I sure would have enjoyed a few more days to languish in this buzzing city of history, art and food. 

Cheers!

2011 Korta Katrina Posip

While traveling to Croatia a few years back, my husband and I decided to travel the town less like tourists and more like locals. So after our grocery stops and mall romping we discovered a lovely wine and cheese bar called Paradox. If you happen to be in Split, this tasty stop is located in the heart of town by the theater. I had been in a mood to discover white varietals from the old world so I ordered Posip, pronounced (po-ship) from Korta Katarina Winery. From the menu notes the wine comes from the island of Korcula (kor-chu-la) in southern Dalmatia.
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The wine hints to the beautiful Mediterranean climate around it with a lively golden sun-kissed hue with a slight green hint. Upon my aromatic indulgence I was whisked to visions of sunflowers against the back drop of a cloudless blue sky, yet my environment was more blue sky and white beaches. There was a beautiful nuance of grapefruit that danced from nose to brain and palate to bliss intermingled with citrus blossoms.
I tasted a slight kefir lime flavor with a mix of white nectarine as it opened, that drew me to another sip. There was a lovely balance of the brightness in the wine with the notion a enjoying beautifully juicy citrus on a warm day. Juicy in flavor of citrus ripeness, but dry on the palate with a lively zeal for a spring day. Though this was enjoyed at a cheese and wine shop this would’ve been a lovely accompaniment to crab dishes or a beautiful mussel dish with garlic and lemon.
I’ll discuss my husband sweet choice later!
Cheers!

 

Babic – Grocery Store find in Croatia

When I travel I am a big fan of hitting up the grocery store for goodies to enjoy during the down times and to see what is available to locals. This is a wine I grabbed blind, for random taste education. It had a beautiful ruby color in the glass.  This may be a poor example of the grape, as the first scent pounces on me like a city cat that was mangy.  Upon opening the aromas of wet tar come to mind and an astringent palate.
Always a lady…this wine shall be reacquainted after a chance to breath.
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At 48 Kuna this wasn’t pricey…under 10 US. Finally with some air I found hints of white fleshed plumbs (sour and sweet) and forest fruits, as they say in Croatia. Forest fruits, aka blackberry with boysenberry hints peek through the glass with glee.  This is growing on me, but I will look for a better example in the future.
I also tried a Teran from Dešković that had a beautiful bramble berry nose and was a pleasant easy drinker. I fully enjoyed the red berry fruit and light, airy dance this plays still in my memory. Traveling through glass to memories keeps a journey alive.
Cheers!

Rome – The First Encounter

I want to break down a vacation I took on a day by day style of writing. Feel free to let me know what you think. Hope you enjoy!

Travel is always fun, quirky, and for me, as long as the arrival part happens I don’t really care how the rest unfolds. I am unable to sleep on a plane, no matter how long the flight is. So when I land I usually like to go to bed early on, so the rest of my vacation is not tainted by fatigue. The sleeplessness has not a glimmer of cause in fear, it is purely the excitement of uninterrupted time. Time for stillness to read a book or to have a movie binge fest…best day ever! So while people decide to be fast friends and sleep on me and snore, thank God for headphones, I enjoy all the moments that I get to relax.

Getting off the plane we headed to the train station for a quick trip toward our hotel. Note to self, leaving through the back gives a total different view then the front. The front doors would have led to a view of busy streets and a quick few blocks to the hotel to drop off our luggage. The back, well, that shows you the other side of the coin. After walking through an eternity of back allied cobblestone streets, people laughing and shaking their heads, homeless resting where they can, we finally arrived at the hotel. Weary and desiring to off load the baggage I was carrying, pun intended, we discovered that we were 4 hours too early for check in. Without rest I was not my usual quick witted self and learning rapidly why I usually am the person that handles directions. We left our bags with the attendant and stumbled our way around the streets of Rome in quest for nourishment, until we turned a corner to go into a church (they truly are amazing works of art) and spied the Colosseum. Interwoven with my thoughts of awe, historic intrigue and delight, I knew there had to be food near and this girl was in need of a glass of wine!

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Back to the church real quick, I’m going to share a photo that I took after saying play that funky music white boy (enormous organ, to say the least). Fed and watered, I felt slightly more energetic. I knew we had a dinner idea for the future and I knew that is where the wine would happen. I had a moment glancing upon a decaying old stone wall that had wisteria climbing through the iron with graffiti tags that I knew this city was for me. The idea of people trying to rush about in there every day life, quick and hurried, while every turn showed a piece of history, of artistry, of  screams of the past standing triumphant over time, was engaging for all senses. I loved the dirty parts intermingled with the beautiful parts, the fresh new fun interwoven into old tales. I love that about humanity in general though, so this was normal times 100.

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Viewing the majesty of the city briefly from a hop on/hop off bus, gave us an idea of where we wanted to revisit the next day after some rest. After checking into the hotel and washing up we enjoyed walking around hither and yon, stumbling upon ideas as fast as relics. Our first evening, a member of our party wanted us to enjoy a roof top dining experience that she had enjoyed with her late husband. So in honor of their time we headed to find it from her memories vault. We arrived early enough to watch the sun set over St Peters Basilica. Thinking of fine dining restaurant portions in California wine country I talked everyone into trying a tasting menu per person. Silly me, as someone very familiar with Italian families, I forgot about the portion size. At the end of our meal I remember being grateful for the amount of walking we were going to do the next day. Mentally preparing myself for smaller meals, got to love Mercato Trionfale take away! Blessed with a belly full of hearty, wonderful food and the Montepulciano shared around the table, I was very ready to rest my head after checking in on my home front. Next will be day 2 with the Vatican highlight reel.

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Enjoy every moment you can travel, even if it is in a glass or in your own neighborhood. Every day withholds moments in need of discovery.

Cheers!

Vinakoper Sparkling

So when I finished the tour of Vinakoper winery I found myself surrounded by bottles of temptation. If you want to read about the tour check out the link: http://gotchabythegrapes.com/?p=450 . These are the tasting notes from the sparkling I bought blind i.e. not tasted at the winery. Consider a blind purchase like a trust them experience or an adventure in a glass. As someone that loves the playful nature of discovery, I found these wines elating as city lights erupting after dusk.

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The first bottle I opened post bath on a relaxing evening in Opatija, Croatia. I would go back just to spend a few days in this beautiful city. The Capris Classic Brut is comprised of 70% Chardonnay & 30% Malvasia. It has aromas of tangerine and citrus blossoms with light honey hues in the glass. The sip finishes cleaned up from the appearance of sweetness and lends a sense of crispness with hints of richness that is perfect for your truffle salted popcorn comedy movie nights. I perfectly enjoyed it with the hillside backdrop of the town alight with occasional house lights and a gentle coastal breeze whispering of relaxation in luxury.

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The second bottle I opened was a week later when the tour guide, my husband and I decided to slip into our hotels lounge in Split, Croatia. We wanted an evening, tasting unique wines we procured on our adventure that we had yet to taste. The Capris Classic Brut Refosk is comprised of 100% Refosk, aka Refosco, and is visually a dark vixen red. It was rich with strong influence of sour cherries that would have tasted amazing with a fabulous Rib-Eye Steak in balsamic reduction. I think I would even enjoy this sparkling with grilled wild duck breast or simply in conclusion of a rich meal.

Cheers to travels through glasses!