Thursday, July 10, 2008

New York, November 2007

Strangely, we didn't take many photos on this trip, and those we did take could only be of interest to ourselves. Nevertheless . . . .

The FIRST thing you have to know about us and New York is that we go there to attend the opera and to visit friends. Appropriately, therefore, the first photo here (above) is of my dh on our first evening in NYC (and you really really don't want to hear about how long it took us to get there, what with computer breakdowns at the airports!) He is carrying a gift bottle of wine ('coals to Newcastle') to our dear friends, with whom we spent the evening.

A little early for our meeting with our friends, we went first to Bemelmans for a glass of wine AND to see the wonderful decor And to hear Chris Gillespie's performance! Fantastic!! (Expensive bar? Oh yes, but still a great experience one shouldn't miss - and there are people who travel a long way to go to New York just to hear Gillespie play!) We walked from there to our friends' apartment and then on to Candle 79 for arguably the best vegan cuisine in New York. Below we have a strange, almost 'candle-lit' snap of my dh with friend towards the end of dinner.

They look like a pretty shady pair!

Before I forget, I should add in the names of a couple of other restaurants we enjoyed and that might interest you:

Dawat, which is Madhur Jaffrey's restaurant, was a delight. It's not vegan or even vegetarian, but it has a good selection of vegetarian dishes and the staff were happy to help us with the ones which were vegan. We love Indian food and were especially pleased to visit the restaurant of one of our 'kitchen saints' - we've been cooking Madhur Jaffrey's recipes from her various cookbooks for something like 35 years now.

Another is Franchia (which is a sister restaurant to HanGawi we ate at on one of our previous visits). Both are Korean and completely vegan. We went to Franchia for a perfect lunch which lasted and lasted and lasted. We have made sure we will go again on our next visit.

And now, nods to our tummies and eating style properly dealt with, on with the rest of New York.

But where was I? Oh yes, we had just dined at Candle 79 - a superb meal. We were staying at a delightful Chelsea B & B called The Inn on 23rd and, the following morning headed for The Cloisters way up at the other end of Mamhattan. I do have a photo or two of that excursion:

Here we are at Fort Tryon Park, on the way to see the various medieval wonders.

The photo above was taken by a lovely honeymoon couple who had asked us to take their photo and then, somehow thinking that they should reciprocate, signalled that they would then take our photo on our camera. I think they did a very nice job!

It was a gorgeous day, as you can see from the snap I took (below), with the leaves showing their autumn colours just enough.

Next you will see The Cloisters as we saw it from our walk. Approaching this area by car just doesn't do it justice, I think. The walk from the metro is indescribably lovely and is an event in itself.

All this stone and the incredible things within tugged across the Atlantic!

Here is my dh, looking a little dour, inside a medieval chapel. These places don't inspire hilarity, do they.

But get the dh into the sunshine and, well, here he is around some old fruit trees and herbs, looking distinctly pleased to be in the light and warmth.

OK, that's me above, looking a little more sedate in the semi-confines of I-don't-remember-which cloister - no doubt I was imagining Heloise and Abelard.

And now outside in the clean fresh air again.

That night we attended the Metropolitan Opera's The Marriage of Figaro and the following night a performance by the Pennsylvania Ballet at the City Centre.

We also, of course (being indefatigable museum hounds), visited the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and three or four others of which I also have no photos (no photos mean it didn't happen, right? Right!). But wait, here's one of yours truly at MOMA - with 'friend'.

And that was mostly it for the three days. Nice trip - lousy travelogue! Hugs to all!!!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Vienna and Salzburg, September 2007

This wasn't exactly our first view of Vienna this trip (we'd been there a couple of times before), but our first view was of pouring rain which doesn't exactly photograph well! But here, on a nicer day, is the cafe into which we stumbled that first late morning on the Saturday when the clouds opened and the whole city (except for us) was agog over the visit of the Pope, so that traffic was banned from the central city and walking was restricted by police cordons.

Thoroughly soaked and a little bit disgruntled (couldn't get to our chosen lunch spot!), we ran to what turns out to have been a cafe frequented by the great Siggy Freud, the Cafe Griensteidl. Inside was calm, courtesy, good cups of tea and coffee and respite from the weather and crowds.

Here's my dh, rather damp and not in the best of moods, awaiting sunshine.

Another great place, if you're into indoor glamour (and the high prices that come with it) is the Cafe Central - where we once, some years ago, had a great Greek Salad (minus the fish and the cheese, thanks) at lunchtime on another rainy day! We seem to end up in some interesting or elegant places in the rain, such as the day in Venice when we . . . . Whoops, another time, eh?

We did stop in Cafe Central (above) following the opera one evening on this trip - although it was a tight fit timewise before they closed. (We'd been to the Volksoper that evening, not the State Opera, which is in quite a different direction from our pension.) State Opera? Very nice too, as we found out on another evening - see below.

And here's a snap of me, just for fun (since you already have one of the dh) - I'm pictured in our room at the Pension Pertschy, of which astoundingly I otherwise seem to have no photo. It's right in the middle of the old town and housed in an old palace. Fantastic place!

I'm looking rather pleased with myself.

And just in case you think we didn't eat in any real restaurants (yes we did - several!) here's a veggie restaurant we found in the centre of Vienna and where we ate about three times to my recollection.

The BioBar Von Antun (above) is organic and veggie and apart from a couple of things clearly marked, vegan. The food is fantastic.

Okay, moving on!

Here's the castle in Salzburg, our other venue on this trip!

Now this is a fabulous place - well worth the trouble of getting there (and yes you can take the funicular). I imagine it would have made for very draughty living, though.

And this is our hotel in Salzburg, where we will certainly stay again.

The Hotel Wolf (above) right in the middle of the Old Town, is soooo neat! We just loved it. It made it possible to be in reach of everything we wanted to see without having to hike for miles (we did that a bit anyway, but at least we had a good central homebase from which to start).

And on yes, above you see another photo of me in Salzburg this time. As you can see, in September the weather continued a little on the cool side, so jackets were mandatory.

Returning to Vienna, we made a quick trip out to Schonbrun to see again all the wonders of past royalty.

And of course, still having to eat, we stopped one day at the most unlikely place. The Cafe Stein (below) looked as if it only dealt with omnivores, but indeed they were able to give us an excellent vegan meal. We were delighted.

Okay enough - this was all a long time ago now, almost ancient history, right? So I'll do another couple of these 'catching up' posts, sparing you all the scenic and mostly cliche-type holiday snaps (although I don't promise to continue with this kind of consideration!)

Best to all!!!!

Getting Started Here

Hello Everyone - Friends, Family and Nodding Acquaintances:

It seems appropriate to have a special blog for all those ramblings in which I am known to indulge - whether meandering around town, travelling between North American destinations, venturing abroad, or simply taking off on flights of fancy (certainly easier on the patience, nerves and budget these days than the other kind).

So here I go: an unorthodox and largely unthought-out (dammit, I know myself too well on this kind of thing!) series of entries on what's what and where's where with 'River' and her (extended or otherwise) family. The nattering will be leavened somewhat by photos (tho' I'm not a great photog).

Still with me? Thanks a bunch!!!

Love and hugs to all, River