Casa San Miguel - Here's the description of this centrally located house for rent in Cozumel, Mexico.  The place is owned by an airline employee  For more information, feel free to access their Facebook page under Casa San Miguel.

Here's what they say if their Facebook page:

"...Our house was built in the early 60's by my grandfather ( not set up for air conditioning) and later split up into 2 separate homes. ( duplex) Both homes share the front and back yard/swimming pool. ( My mom, my daughter and I live on one side) The house you will be renting has 2 bedrooms each with its own private bath with shower & hammocks, one bedroom has 2 twin beds and the other bedroom has one full bed. There is a full kitchen, dining room with a table that sits 6, living room with TV & wi fi. Semi private front veranda with 2 tables and 8 chairs. It also has a private walkway to the back/pool area and access to the pool through the second bedroom. The house is completely furnished with sheets, towels, plates, pots, pans, etc.... we have pictures up on Facebook at: casasanmiguelcozumel@facebook.com We are located in the heart of Cozumel's downtown of San Miguel and only a block and a half from the ocean. Not the beach, but the ocean where yachts dock out at sea and where the sun sets. A 5 min walk to the pier with the ferry boats to Playa del Carmen. We are about 15 min walk to the closest beach. The house is surrounded with restaurants, fine dining and local cuisine, bars, live music, just around the corner from the main square, dive shops, car rentals, shops, local fresh market all within walking distance. To get to the house from CZM airport is easy. 8 min cab ride about $15 per person. To get here from CUN- there are airport buses that leave from Terminal 3 ( international terminal) to Playa del Carmen- about $15 and 1 hour. When you get to Playa del Carmen you take the ferry boat about $15 45 min ride and a 3 block walk through the beautiful main plaza of the island to the house! Prices- Low season 2012 Now- until the 3rd week of October we are renting at just $150 a week, you have to pay an additional $30 for cleaning (includes 1 light cleaning during your stay) and $5 for a 5 gallon jug of purified water. High season last week of October 2012- June 2013- $300 for the week, it includes 2 dinners at Plaza Leza restaurant, cleaning fee, 5 gallon jug of purified water, we can set up a trip around the island by a driver, to see ruins, lighthouse, and lots of beaches, snorkel & diving adventures, trips to isla de passion, a day trip to our national park chankanaab. All the information is here at your Casa! we will be charging around $400 for Holiday weeks. 2012-2013 we have a pay pal account set up, or I can send you my account info if that would be easier for you for the deposit, the deposit will be just $30usd to reserve your week. This fee is non refundable. The rest is paid in cash upon arrival. Again we thank you for your interest at staying at Casa San Miguel! Every little bit helps!Catherine Greenspan ( US Airways PHX based FA and yes CUN commuter!) please email me on facebook or at catgreenspan@gmail.com Cozumel (Mayan: Island of the Swallows) (Kùutsmil in Modern Maya) is an island in the Caribbean Sea off the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, opposite Playa del Carmen, and close to the Yucatan Channel. Cozumel is one of the ten municipalities (municipios) of the state of Quintana Roo. Cozumel is a tourist destination for its balnearios, scuba diving, and snorkeling. The main town on the island is San Miguel de Cozumel


ROME - Tours by Scooter


Want to see Rome like a true native, on the back of a scooter with your own Roman driver zipping around historical sites!  Visit www.bicibaci.com - They are a combination Tour Operator and Rental Office for Vespa scooters and bikes.

They will pick you up and drop you back off wherever you are, provide you with a driver, a helmet and four hours of city drives on the back of a Vespa (or on a bike or a Fiat car 500) in a group tour  around Rome.  Tons of entertainment Italian style.

Bici&Baci are open from 8am to 7pm everyday and they have two office locations in Rome:

-Via del Viminale 5,
  00185 Rome
  Phone - 06-48-28-443

- Via Cavour 302,
  00184 Rome
  Phone - 06-94-53-92-40

Book 24 hours in advance at www.vintagevespatours.com  or call the above mentioned phone number to reserve your spot and for up to date prices.

MUNICH - Gourmet Markets


Eating out in Munich, like in most European cities,  can be expensive.  I say explore instead some of Munich's Gourmet markets.  I found two on my last visit.  Both, located steps away from the Marien-Platz (the center of town) that serve up a mouthwatering cooked meals and a variety of drinks for a fraction of the price of nearby restaurants.

First, there's the Shrannenhalle Market, located on the south end of St. Peter's Square.  Look in you map and it's the square located almost south and cadi-corner with the Marien-Platz.  Walk to St. Peter's Square and you'll find the market on the opposite side of the square housed in a large, green industrial looking building enclosed in glass that is surrounded by awnings.

Walk inside this hall and you'll be surprised by the variety of luxurious offerings of prepared international food and upscale drinks (wine, champagne, beer, etc. ), all served (sold) inside this comfortably air conditioned, modern space.  Good you can either take out of for consume comfortably in eating areas inside or outside the premises.

The second option, the Alois Dallmayr Market.   This is a historic (since 1700) authentic Gourmet Market. Locals shop for high end hams, wines, world coffees and teas, canapés, tobacco,  baked goods, caviar, etc. It also houses an exquisite restaurant and a very pretty Cafe on the second floor.  They also sells some prepared foods, but not much of it and unlike the previous market, they don't provide tables to consume the prepared foods they sell.  It's more a buy and take out kind of place.

Alois Dallmayr Market is well worth a visit, even if you don't plan on buying a thing.  The Cafe on the second floor (which one enters via the main floor of the market), serves nice, fresh food and drink for reasonable prices. They also use the best quality ingredients and offer a lovely view of historic Munich from it's second floor windows.   I visited this cafe and had a delicious cappuccino.  The service was impeccable,  the coffee service, beautiful (photo enclosed),

the lavatories were plush (a treat in Europe), and the price, not outrageous for a cup of joe.  It was a perfect spot to get some peace from the crowds and the intense summer heat of summer days in Munich.  All this, only steps away from the Marien-Platz.

Alois Dallmayr Market
Dienerstr 14-15
Munich, Bavaria,

ROME - Take a Walk Around Monti


Next time you're in Rome, visit the picturesque neighborhood of Monti.  It is one of the last remaining authentic Roman neighborhoods, mostly untouched by tourism.  Monti, is centrally located and small enough to cover by foot in just one afternoon.  Of course one can visit more than once to simply get lost in its 's quiet, upscale, residential winding streets. Monti is located in the quadrant contained between Via Nazionale, Via de Serpenti, Via de Pretis and Via Cavour.  Ask your concierge to point this area out in your map before you head out for your walk.

What will you see in Monti?  a series of attractive wine bars and neighborhood restaurants, tinny hotels with scenic roof cafe's or bars.  Small Italian designer boutiques, gourmet bakeries and a variety of other interesting shops.  All this, can be found, a short walk away from Piazza Barberini and the Colosseum.

Avoid visiting the area on Sundays.  Most commercial spaces in Monti will be closed and you will miss the neighborhood feel of the area, more visible during the week.  When you go, peak inside the Santa Maria Maggiore Church - a gorgeous Roman Church with amazing history and impressive gold painted ceilings.  Its located on the edge of this neighborhood, next to the Piazza Esquilino and at the end of  Via delle Quattro Fontane.


ROME - Dining at Ristorante Pizzeria "Il Ponetino"


Welcome to Rome!  Are you ready to eat yet?  Well, when you are,  there are many reasonably priced, wonderful mom and pop Italian restaurants worth a visit in the Trastevere area of Rome.  Look at your map. It's the area right across the river past the Tiber Island.  From the Spanish steps, it should be no more than a brisk twenty minute walk.

I you decide to venture into this neighborhood for an authentic Italian dinner, keep Il Ponetino Restaurant in your thoughts.  It's a  picturesque, small sized "ristorante-pizzeria"that has indoor and outdoor seating areas located near the Tiber river.  The restaurant is owned by Anna, a friendly Italian mama with a soft spot for United crews.  When you go, be sure to tell her you're from United airlines and she will take good care of you.  Her manner will be friendly, her food, fresh and her portions generous.  She's also easy on the wallet.

Il Ponetino is a small family restaurant, so please, no raucous behavior or extra large groups.

Also, Il Ponetino does not require a reservation for dinner or lunch. It's first come, first serve.  However, if you feel more comfortable calling before you go, here's their phone number and address:

Piazza del Drago 10
Trastevere, Rome

Bon appetite!

DUBAI - Breakfast at HEDIARD


For a tasty and hearty breakfast in Dubai, visit Hediard in the Festival City Mall (the IKEA mall).  It's a really nice French cafe with welcoming friendly service and reasonable prices. 

During my visit, I ordered scrambled eggs with salmon and a cappuccino (photo enclosed).

When my order arrived,  I was surprised to receive along with the eggs a glass of fresh orange juice, a bowl of cereal,  two slices of toasted bread, jam and some fruit.  All this was included in the price of the scrambled eggs. It was enough food to feed two adults.  

Hediard is a French import to Dubai.  It's an old Tea Importer that specializes in gourmet teas, delicious coffees and European pastries.  They also offer free wifi to their customers.  So bring your iPad or smart phone to catch up on any news and/or email from home while dining in peace and comfort.

Here are more pictures from my visit to Hediard in Dubai.


ROME - Sunday Flea Market at Porta Portesa


If you're ever in Rome on a Sunday, when most businesses are closed for the day, don't despair, take a cab from your hotel and head for the Porta Portese Flea Market in Trastevere.  Supposedly, this is the biggest flea market in Europe!

Take a city map with you. You will need it to find your way back to your hotel.  Be careful with your valuables. The market has a reputation for pick-pocketers. Take cash if you intend to shop. Wear a hat and bring some water.  It get's crowded and very hot in the summer months. Go early. There will be less people in the market.  Don't get discouraged by the junk at the start of the market. The best stuff will be further in.

Here are some photos of what I found:

By the way, a one way taxi to Porta Portesa in Trastevere from the area of The Spanish Steps and/Piazza Barberini will run you about 8 Euros.

Enjoy and don't forget the sunscreen!

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