TRAVEL GEAR - Tiny Laptop


I just purchased this Asus - Eee Pc Series laptop from Target and I love it - It's about the size of a book (8 inches x 5 inches ) and it comes loaded with Microsoft Vista, Norton Security, a built in camera and Skype - It's ready to use almost immediately, from the box!

I purchased mine in black, but it is also available in white and the pricing starts at a mere $245.00 dollars, incredible! A neoprene protection sleeve will set you back an additional $12 dollars. Surely, for the price and the size, it can't be beat for a traveling/layover pc.

It does have limited hard drive space, so it would not do for a main pc, but for a traveling gadget, to check schedules and mail while on the road, it works like a dream. To find it, either visit your local Target Store and head for the electronics department, or check the web at www.target.com , in the electronics plus the laptop tab.

Let me know what you think!

ROME - Tea Time


I found this cozy Tea House in one of my favorite streets in Rome - Caffe Novecento, in Via Del Governo Vechio 12 - It's located just a few blocks away from the Castelo San't Angelo, after crossing the bridge that leaves the Castelo.

I wandered into this tiny cafe by accident, as I was searching for a place to kick my feet up, for a badly needed break, after walking for hours! You can see (from the picture) how the cafe looks from a street view - really quaint and inviting don't you think? Once inside, I found a tempting display of desserts along the left wall and a series of cafe-style, small tables in several tiny rooms, most, filled by locals... (humm, a good sign).

So, I chose to stay and indulge in some tea. The service was personable and prompt and the owner was helpful in his broken English, with my tea selection. I followed his suggestion, and ordered a pot of Lapsang Souchong "smoked tea" (sounded very exotique) with a salmon tart.

The tea was delicious and memorable, really smoky in taste and smell (thus the smoky description). Drinking it, made me feel like I was in some far away, exotic locale in the mountains of Tibet...hard to describe, but the tart...ahhh the tart... well, lets just say, that in my next visit, I'll stick to the sweets instead.

If you're in the area, give them a try. It's a relaxing atmosphere where you can have tea, coffee, wine by the glass, salads, tarts and desserts. Stay away from the salmon tart and when you're done, stroll down the Via Del Governo Vechio - It is a beautiful, old winding narrow street, lined with interesting shops along both sides. Enough to keep you entertained for a nice afternoon walk.


...and let me know what you think if you go...

DID U KNOW? - Feathers make me Sneeze...


Are you allergic to feathers, like me? did you know that if your hotel bed-set has feather covers and pillows, you can request a "non-allergenic" replacement from the hotel's Housekeeping department at no extra cost?

So next time you find "feathers" in your bed, don't suffer in silence. Call Housekeeping immediately and have them change it, so you can have a good night sleep.

Sweet Dreams!

DID U KNOW? - Dirty Hotel Room?


Do you know the areas in your hotel room, that can be the dirtiest, most contaminated?

Well, believe it or not, one of these, is not the bathroom. The most "contaminated" item in your hotel room, more than likely is the TV remote control (Yuc!), followed closely by the bed cover (which seldom gets changed or cleaned). Then you have the cups and glasses left for your drinks (which only get washed or changed once in a while) followed by the phone receivers, dialing pads, door knobs and light switches (which get tons of use, but never get disinfected).

Last, lets not forget the furniture - the chair and sofa "seat areas" , often test positive to traces of fecal matter - eew!!! I think you can figure that one out with out my help.

So what can you do? Well, you can wipe all these surfaces with disinfecting, disposable towelettes (like Sani-Hands - which kill 99.9% germs) that can be found in most super market or pharmacy cleaning sections. Don't ever, if you can help it, use the bed cover. Better ask for an extra blanket if you feel cold. For that "suspect" furniture, just to be on the safe side, throw a clean towel over the sitting areas, before you sit.

Happy Trails!


ROME - Roman Dish - Pasta all'a Matriciana


A recipe, courtesy of Luisa Messina - A Flight Attendant native of Rome.

Pasta all'a Matriciana

Ingredients -

150 grams Pancetta Dolce (Italian Bacon)
300 grams Pasta (Buccattini or any pasta, ok)
1/2 onion
300 grams chopped tomatoes (canned)
40 grams Pecorino Romano Cheese (grated)
3 Tbs Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Pepperoncino (red pepper)

Preparation -

chop onion - heat oil in medium heat and saute pancetta until trans lucid - lower the flame and let it cook for a few minutes - add the onion, and let it cook at low heat for a few more minutes, until the onion becomes light "blond" in color. Don't burn the onions, because it will affect the taste! Add the tomatoes and mix well. Let it cook for a few minutes in low heat - don't add too much salt, because the pancetta is salty - season - with salt and pepper and pepperoncino (get in Rome or use red pepper flakes). Cook the pasta in water with some salt until it is cooked "al dente" - discard the water from the pasta and add the pasta in the pot with the tomato sauce. Mix and cook for one or two minutes add Pecorino Romano grated cheese - mix and serve!


Thank you Luisa! We love Italian food. Please, send us more of your family's recipes!!

ROME - Coffee, Pasta or ..?


In Rome for a day? Here are some of my faves. Enjoy!!

- For the "best coffee" in Rome try Cafe San't Eustachio or Tazza d'Oro - both, near the Pantheon and Piazza de la Rotonda - and ask for a "caffe doppio" or a "granita de caffe" (iced coffee) yum, yum!

-For the "best gelatto", try Old Bridge gelateria - Via Bastioni de Michel Angelo 5, near the entrance of the Vatican or San Crispino - Via de la Panetteria 42 (near the Fontana de Trevi). And for an "weird and wonderful" ice cream, head for Gelateria Fata Morgana (via Ostiense 36e; Via Lago di Lesina 9/11)- they have odd flavors like celery and lime, tobacco, etc...so, sample away before buying!

-For a memorable view of Rome at sunset, head for the top of Castle St. Angelo (fee) or to the top of the Capitoline Hill (free). Also, you can climb to the top of the Spanish Steps and then, turn left on Viale Trinita Dei Monti - a street that hugs the hill and overlooks the city - continue walking to the left, until you reach the view of the Piazza del Poppolo from above - this view is magic at sunset, and best of all, it's free.

-Quaint, charming Roman streets? , try strolling through Via Margutta (left of the Spanish Steps); Via Giulia (lined with palaces and elegant shops) and Via Del Governo Vechio (lined with tiny trattorias, fashionable boutiques, bars, bookstores, etc).

- Ferragamo, Gucci, Cartier and Bulgari Shops? head for Via Condotti- right at the base of the Spanish Steps. Don't forget the parallel streets, like Via della Croce, Via Borgognona, and Via Fratina for more $$$$ window shopping.

-For the best trattorias, try Hostaria Romana (for an awesome antipasto) near Piazza Barberini - Via Baccaccio 1 - 25Euros/person; DaI2 Ciccionni - Vicolo delCedra 3 in Trastevere (order rigattoni all'a mattriciana - a specialty of Rome) for 20 Euros/person and Osteria Qui Se Magna for Sicilian fare at Via del Pigneto 307A - 20Euros/person. In addition, there is Antica Birreria Peroni near the Fontana di Trevi - Via San Marcello 19- for northern Italian dishes for about 19Euros/person.

-On Sundays? do as the Romans do, and head for The Pincio (one of Rome's large, city parks) for an afternoon stroll. In the park, you can rent bikes, tricycles or just walk. You can also head to the Piazzale Napoleone or to the Casina Valadier Restaurant & Cafe , right at the edge of the park where you can have a cup of coffee and take in the sunset over Rome, in their outdoor cafe.

Interested in some late night, live music venues? Like Jazz, Blues, folk and alternative music? try Big Mama in Trastevere - (Vicolo di San Francesco a Ripa 18) - and check the schedule of events on their website www.bigmama.it - entrance fee is approximately 8 to 13 Euros for a "membership card" valid for a month.

-FYI - Some Roman specialties you may want to sample : Pasta a La Carbonara, Pasta all'a Matricciana and artichokes.

Enjoy!! and let me know if you like these places and if you have some others to recommend!

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