March 23, 2015 – Sarah’s Birthday

Along with OMG can you believe that Nathan is 9 this month, the more startling fact is that Sarah is 35. She is a wonderful daughter with whom we have many great discussions and good laughs. We decide to head up to Sonoma for some wine tasting to celebrate the day.

After a brief stop at Jacuzzi Winery for some olive oil tasting we continue on for wine tasting at Kunde Winery, Chateau St. Jean, and Deerfield Ranch Winery.

It’s a fun day although at least two of us snooze a bit on the way home. (Not John who was the driver.)

Sarah outside of Kunde Winery

Sarah outside of Kunde Winery


Sarah in the Kunde tasting room

Sarah in the Kunde tasting room


Charcuterie plate at Chateau St. Jean

Charcuterie plate at Chateau St. Jean


Dad and Sarah at CSJ

Dad and Sarah at CSJ

The proud parents

The proud parents

March 18, 2015 – Tennis at Indian Wells

John and I go back to Indian Wells for the BNP Paribas Open again this year. We have tickets for four days and reservations at our favorite hotel, the Renaissance Esmeralda. Many of the players stay at the hotel and it is always fun to see them in person. This year I was brave enough to go up to Donald Young for a fist bump and a “Great job!” comment.

We get to see Roger Federer play twice and a lot of our other favorite players. Djokovic wins the tournament but Federer is at least in the final.

Andy Murray

Andy Murray


Serena Williams playing at Indian Wells for the first time in 14 years

Serena Williams playing at Indian Wells for the first time in 14 years


Our favorite player, Roger Federer

Our favorite player, Roger Federer


Feliciano Lopez is easy on the eye

Feliciano Lopez is easy on the eye

Record number of fans attend

Record number of fans attend

March 4, 2015 – Celebration of Nathan’s birthday

Can you believe it? Nathan is turning 9 years old! Wow, does time surely fly by. Since we are not going to be home when Nathan’s actual birthday date occurs, we are having a little early celebration with him. We bring some presents for both Nathan and Sam, some cupcakes, and lots of hugs.

Sarah reads a book to Nathan and Sam

Sarah reads a book to Nathan and Sam


A great hug from Nathan

A great hug from Nathan


One for Zayde too!

One for Zayde too!

Sarah and Jonathan

Sarah and Jonathan

February 26, 2015 – Sisters’ Weekend

Peggy and Phyllis join me in Las Vegas for the kickoff to Sisters’ Weekend. After meeting at the airport and picking up our rental car, we go to Caesar’s Palace for lunch at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill. The food is really excellent and we all enjoy our lunches.

Phyllis and Peg toasting the kickoff to our Sisters' Weekend

Phyllis and Peg toasting the kickoff to our Sisters’ Weekend


Peggy likes dessert!

Peggy likes dessert!


Then we jump in the car and head off for Utah where we will spend the next couple of days. Got to stop and say hello to Arizona along the way!
Hello from Arizona!

Hello from Arizona!


On Friday we visit Zion National Park. We take a walk up the Weeping Wall Trail, visit the Gift Shop, take a look at the Great Arch and travel through the tunnel to the upper portion of Zion. We even see a wild mountain goat. Then we head back into Springdale for lunch at Oscar’s and a little shopping.
Mary and Phyllis at Zion National Park

Mary and Phyllis at Zion National Park


Peggy on the trail to the Weeping Wall

Peggy on the trail to the Weeping Wall


Phyllis and Peg near the Great Arch of Zion

Phyllis and Peg near the Great Arch of Zion


An exciting encounter with a wild mountain goat along the road

An exciting encounter with a wild mountain goat along the road


One night we go to dinner at the Kokopelli Restaurant at Entrada. Amazingly the food was not too bad!
Peg and Phyllis at Entrada with Snow Canyon in background

Peg and Phyllis at Entrada with Snow Canyon in background


On Sunday we take the long way to Hoover Dam. We are all concerned about the low level of water and the fact that no one seems to be taking it seriously.
At Hoover Dam

At Hoover Dam


Our weekend winds up with dinner at B & B Ristorante, a Mario Batali venture. We have the pasta tasting menu which turns out to be disappointing. We also catch the show, LOVE, about the Beatles.
All dressed up for dinner and a show

All dressed up for dinner and a show


Too quickly our weekend is over and we all head home. I think, though, that we all would like to make a weekend get-together an annual occurrence.

February 22, 2015 – Hookslide performs at Angelica’s

It is a busy weekend for us. In addition to our wine tasting yesterday, we have a Hookslide concert tonight at Angelica’s in Redwood City. We arrive early and get a fine table near the stage. Dinner is a part of the show tonight and we order some so-so food and a couple of glasses of wine.

Of course the best part of the evening is listening to Hookslide. They sing a variety of songs – some oldies, some funk, and even some show tunes which they’ll be singing at their upcoming gala gig in Palm Springs. We enjoy it all and espcially love, as everybody else does, Jon’s beatbox solo.

Hookslide on stage at Angelica's

Hookslide on stage at Angelica’s

Jon performing his beatbox solo

Jon performing his beatbox solo

February 21, 2015 – A trip up to the Sonoma Valley

We have a notification that our wine club shipment needs to be picked up at Chateau St. Jean. In addition there is an open house at the Eighth Street Wineries where our friend, Philippe, will be pouring some of his fine Stone Edge Farm wines. As it turns out Chateau St. Jean is also having a pick-up party so we decide to make a day (and night) of it.

After doing a tasting at CSJ we head down to the Eighth Street Wineries Open House, purchase our tasting glass and have a great time wandering among the winery warehouses tasting wine and lots of food treats. No need to buy lunch or dinner today!

After the open house we head up to the Gaige House in Glen Ellen to see if there is still a room available for the night. Luckily they have one Zen Suite left. Then back to CSJ for the pick-up party and we crash for the night. It’s been quite a tasty day!

Our friend, Philippe, pours John a glass of Stone Edge Farm's "Surround"

Our friend, Philippe, pours John a glass of Stone Edge Farm’s “Surround”


Our Zen Suite at the Gaige House

Our Zen Suite at the Gaige House


Fancy Zen bathtub!

Fancy Zen bathtub!

February 17, 2015 – Occasio Wine Maker Dinner at Posada

A few weeks ago I got an email from Occasio Winery in Livermore. We joined their Wine Club last year. The gist of the email was that they were going to have a wine maker’s dinner hosted at Posada, a restaurant serving contemporary southwestern cuisine. The menu looked really good and the price was outstanding so John said go ahead and book it. That’s what I tried to do. However, even though it was only the day after I had gotten the email, it was completely sold out. They took my name and said maybe they would host another one on the following Tuesday. Luckily for us they did have a second dinner.

Posada on Murietta Blvd., Livermore

Posada on Murietta Blvd., Livermore

We arrive and are a little nervous since we know no one there. We are ushered to a table for two in the back. It is sort of like we are not the diners they want to be seen. But we are totally okay with this because now we can chat with each other and not have the pressure of talking to strangers. We are poured a glass of welcoming Chardonnay. Soon the chef comes over to chat with us and then, right before dinner starts, the chef’s wife moves us to a table towards the front with another couple. He is a web designer and she is a school teacher originally from Mexico. They are pleasant and interesting dinner companions.

Since there are other people I don’t know at the table I don’t take pictures of the food. Here is the menu –
Steamed PEI mussels with chorizo, tarragon and pasta paired with their 2013 Chardonnay
Braised beef cheeks with pickled beets, arugula in blue cheese dressing and apple dressing paired with a 2011 Merlot

Beef cheeks and Occasio wine

Beef cheeks and Occasio wine


Churrasco lamb ribs and huitlacoche taco with esquites with a 2012 Syrah
Blackened Prime rib cubes with grilled vegetables and Dijon balsamic reduction plus a 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
Lemon crepes and citrus ricotta with blueberry chutney with the Occasio port

Everything is very tasty. The winemaker explains the wines and tells humorous anecdotes and Eduardo Posada, the chef, talks about why he decided on the food pairing for each course.

My favorites are the sauce from the mussel dish, the wonderfully tender beef cheeks, the terrific pickled beets, and the fabulous sauce accompanying the lamb ribs. But really it is all very delicious and I know we will be calling right away for the next wine dinner!

February 9, 2015 – A Visit with the Kendalls

Today we drive over to Corte Madera in Marin for a visit with Eileen and Jim, Ali and Eli and Vea. Eileen and Jim have rented a small house right on the bay with views of San Quentin and the Richmond bridge. It is pretty idyllic. Of course Eli and Vea occupy most of our attention as they are super cute. We’ve brought over a truck and some books that Nathan and Sam have outgrown and Eli really enjoys them and plays with the truck for quite a while. He also enjoys the little book with the different textures. He tries to show to Vea. It is sweet.

Eileen prepares a delicious lunch of various meats and salads. One thing she has is Affi’s aubergine spread. It is so delicious. I shall have to find it some place closer to home. (Later I buy it at Whole Foods) We have a little wine and do a little talking. Later we head down to Tiburon to see Ali and Van’s new place. The view is outstanding. They can see the San Francisco skyline and Angel Island from their kitchen and Van can ride his bike down to the commuter ferry to San Francisco. What a commute!

Time flies by and we have to beat the rush hour traffic so we leave mid-afternoon. They will be back in May in their little house by the bay but I am hoping that some day they will make the move permanently.

Adorable Eli

Adorable Eli


More Eli

More Eli


Ali and Vea

Ali and Vea

January, 2015

While it might seem like we did not do anything during January, it’s not true. I have just been procrastinating about writing my blog.

Sam turns 6 on January 11! We go to his after party party. His first party has been with his friends at the Legos store. Auntie Leigh makes him another incredible cake. This time it is of an Enderman from the Minecraft game. He opens our presents and we all eat cake!

Sam with his Enderman cake

Sam with his Enderman cake


The eatable cake is behind the Enderman

The eatable cake is behind the Enderman


Sam with Auntie Leigh looking pretty tired

Sam with Auntie Leigh looking pretty tired


Sam playing with his kinetic sand from Aunt Peg and Uncle Ted

Sam playing with his kinetic sand from Aunt Peg and Uncle Ted

On January 16 we host a dinner for our friends, Diana and Peter. I make some pretty killer hors d’ouevres, potatoes, and green beans and John seares some scallops. We have sherbet and strawberries for dessert. I think the dinner is a success!

Salmon on rye and egg salad on carrot and radish rounds

Salmon on rye and egg salad on carrot and radish rounds


Diana, Peter and John

Diana, Peter and John

Later this weekend, Jonathan, Nathan, and Sam come over. In addition to playing tennis all together and going out to lunch, we take Nathan and Sam for haircuts. The kids seem pleased by their new shorter locks!

Nathan before

Nathan before


Nathan after

Nathan after


Sam before

Sam before


Sam after

Sam after


The next weekend, January 24, Sarah moves back home. Jonathan, John, and I help with the move. Before long she is looking pretty settled in her upstaris apartment although there are still pictures to be hung and John and I need to finish clearing out one of the closets. This move is good for us too as we are forced to deal with a lot of accumulated junk.
Sarah's living room

Sarah’s living room


Sarah's bedroom

Sarah’s bedroom


Finally after quite a long time due to John’s hip surgery, we make it back to Utah. Mostly I want to get the house clean and ready for my sisters’ visit at the end of February. We have a couple of rainy days but the temperatures are springlike and we visit Zion while there.
Rainy day out our back window

Rainy day out our back window


Beautiful Zion

Beautiful Zion


On a trip to the ABC store to buy some wine we notice a new sign!

On a trip to the ABC store to buy some wine we notice a new sign!


In addition to all these activities John pays his last visit to the doctor and gets the go ahead to resume normal activities, we have a lot of workers in to take care of plumbing, cable and gutters, I take Jonathan shopping for his birthday, and we have dinner out with Karen and George.

At first I was going to write that January was a slow month – but I guess it wasn’t!!

January 7, 2015 – A belated Happy New Year

I have finally caught up with my December blog entries and now it is time to move on to 2015. We celebrated New Year’s Eve pretty quietly with our friends, Karen and George. We made a dinner which could have been a lot more successful and wished each other happy new year at 9:30. We finished by cleaning up the kitchen and going to bed by 10:30 PM. Woo hoo.

John and I are in the midst of trying to lose weight AGAIN!!! Our injuries and surgeries led to a pretty couch-potato-ish existence in 2014. I know we’ve done the diet thing before and I know we can do it again. Towards that end along with eating correctly and doing some exercise, I’ve started writing in my Dining Lite blog - https://dininglite.wordpress.com/

Here’s to a healthier 2015!

December 25, 2014 – Christmas Day

This morning is pretty low-key. Sarah, John and I get up late. First thing, we prepare our traditional Christmas breakfast. Our breakfast of bagels and lox is long standing but having a breakfast beer with it is fairly new but has quickly become part of the Christmas routine.

Christmas breakfast

Christmas breakfast


During breakfast we unwrap the presents we have given to each other.
Sarah attempts to figure out a Christmas clue

Sarah attempts to figure out a Christmas clue


Sarah has given us a beautiful book of early California photography

Sarah has given us a beautiful book of early California photography


After breakfast and present opening, we prepare the dishes we will bring to Jonathan’s for Christmas dinner. Then we are on our way to Palo Alto.

Jonathan has prepared a wonderful Christms dinner of prime rib, mashed potatoes and green beans. John has brought the gravy and I’ve brought along some smoked salmon spread and Indian pudding for dessert. The kids are mostly engrossed in their gifts. Unfortunately I forgot to take any pictures.

December 24, 2014 – Pilat Eve

Although John is still a little shaky on his feet, we decide to go ahead and host Pilat Eve (known to other folks as Christmas Eve.) When I was teenager Christmas Eve was always celebrated by my friends at our house. There would be tree decorating and lots of munchies. When we got older there were also adult beverages. And so the tradition continues.

This year we have pigs in blankets, chicken liver mousse, bean and cheese dip with tortilla chips, vegetables with dip, salmon spread on bagel chips, egg nog, mini-cupcakes, cookies, wine, and rum cake. Rose, John and Leigh Henderson and the Pilat contingent are here.

We exchange some presents. We eat a bunch and drink a bunch. John lights the Hanukkah candles. Sarah has made up a YouTube play list of “follow the bouncing ball” Christmas songs and we sing to the best of our abilities. It is a really nice evening.

Living room awaits Pilat Eve guests

Living room awaits Pilat Eve guests


Hard to believe but I made a dessert that everyone likes

Hard to believe but I made a dessert that everyone likes


Jonathan gathering up some hors d'oeuvres

Jonathan gathering up some hors d’oeuvres


John lights the Hanukkah candles

John lights the Hanukkah candles


Nathan unwraps a Lego treat from us with Ryan's help

Nathan unwraps a Lego treat from us with Ryan’s help


Ryan and Sam look at his new book

Ryan and Sam look at his new book


Nathan loves his new Spooner from Aunt Peggy and Uncle Ted

Nathan loves his new Spooner from Aunt Peggy and Uncle Ted

So does Sam!

So does Sam!

Nathan looks through "The New How Things Work"

Nathan looks through “The New How Things Work”

Nathan and Sam help Zayde unwrap a new blender

Nathan and Sam help Zayde unwrap a new blender

Santa has not forgotten Jonathan

Santa has not forgotten Jonathan

or Ryan!

or Ryan!

Ryan and Nathan look through Sam's "Book with No Words"

Ryan and Nathan look through Sam’s “Book with No Words”

December 10, 2014 – John is just so hip

Today is John’s left hip replacement surgery. Having had his right one done in June, he is eager to complete his set. The surgery is scheduled for early in the morning and we and then I are staying at the Hampton Inn in Brentwood.

John’s surgery goes smoothly except for the spinal block which for some reason does not take effect. So unfortunately he has to have general anesthesia and the whole procedure takes a little longer. I am somewhat concerned as I sit and wait. It is taking longer than the doctor said it would. Finally his doctor appears and says that everything has gone well and explains about the anesthesia problem. I am relieved.

After what seems like forever in Recovery, John is taken to his room. He looks pale but is in pretty good spirits probably due to the abundance of painkillers in his system. He’ll have two nights in the hospital and then we will go home for rest and recovery.

John after his surgery

John after his surgery

Update: After almost 4 weeks John is doing well with his recovery. He can walk about unassisted although often brings his cane along for extra stability. Although I promised I would be nice during his recovery, I had some breaks in composure probably due to lack of sleep. I guess I am just not cut out for being a TLC nurse. My bad!

December 6-7, 2014 The Birthdays

Gosh, we are getting old! But that means a lot of birthdays and a lot of birthday celebrations. This year George and I decide to indulge in some wine tasting in Sonoma Valley and then dinner and overnight in Guerneville at the Applewood Inn and Restaurant. As usual we let John and Karen come along.

The best wine tasting of the day is at Chateau St. Jean. Since it is too chilly and wet to sit outside on the porch, we are ushered into their Vineyard Room and served many, many fine wines by a knowledgeable employee.

Chateau St. Jean

Chateau St. Jean


After fumbling around trying to find some place open for lunch on Sunday, we opt for some fast food, try tasting at a couple more wineries and make our way up to Guerneville for our stay at the Applewood Inn. We take a little rest until it is time for dinner.
Applewood Inn

Applewood Inn

Our room

Our room


We decide on the tasting menu at the restaurant. It is all really excellent. The picture is of the lamb chop which is almost always on the menu.
Lamb chop at the Applewood Inn Restaurant

Lamb chop at the Applewood Inn Restaurant


After a fine breakfast which is included in the room rate, we head for home. Another year behind us, we begin talking about what to do next year.

November 27, 2014 – Thanksgiving

John has come down with a bad cold and I have banned him from the kitchen. Sarah and I will man all the stations today. It is very helpful that everyone is bringing something. Our Thanksgiving dinner consists of Autumn soup (Sarah), deconstucted turkey with stuffed thighs (M & J), stuffing (Mary), gravy (John), chipotle sweet potatoes (Sarah), mashed potatoes (Jonathan), Brussels sprouts (Mary), roasted creamed cipollini onions (Mary), green beans (Jonathan), cranberry relish (Ryan), crescent rolls (Leigh, Nathan and Sam) and three pies for dessert made by Rose. The pies are cranberry-apple, mincemeat, and pumpkin.

Dinner is delicious and everyone leaves full and happy. Now there’s just the billions of dishes and glasses to clean up.

The table is set

The table is set


Everyone gathered around the table

Everyone gathered around the table


This time including me!

This time including me!


Everyone looking good in this picture

Everyone looking good in this picture


Jonathan and Sarah zonk out after dinner

Jonathan and Sarah zonk out after dinner

November 23, 2014 – A visit with Nathan and Sam

It is so wonderful to see Nathan and Sam (and Jonathan, too!) after our long trip. We stop over after I have my haircut and all go out to lunch and then to Target for some Legos. Nathan suggests we watch Strip this City. They have recorded an episode about Venice. It is really interesting and we learn many new facts. Nathan and Sam watch the episode while putting together their Legos. Jonathan takes a little nap.

Next family gathering – Thanksgiving!

Sam works intently on his Lego creation

Sam works intently on his Lego creation

Nathan and Zayde

Nathan and Zayde

November 16-17, 2014 – The return trip

Upon waking in Udine we find a beautiful day with the sun shining. We decide to find something to see and an interesting place to eat on our way to our hotel near the Marco Polo airport.

Our first stop is at Castello Sassoldo not too far from Aquileia. It is a fortified town from the 11th century founded by a Lombard family. It has been turned in to a B & B and event center. Although everything seems locked up tight, it is a pretty walk through a charming village.

Castello Sassoldo

Castello Sassoldo

Working water wheel at Castello Sassoldo

Working water wheel at Castello Sassoldo


After our drive and walk we stop for lunch. I have found a place near Treviso that serves regional food, Ponte Ottavi Trattoria. It looks like an unassuming family place and has its own parking lot, always a plus.
Ponte Ottavi Trattoria

Ponte Ottavi Trattoria


We walk in and ask in our best Italian for Pranzo per due? Mostly everything we say is a question because then they can answer si or no and we will understand them. Some consternation ensues. What’s this? English speaking people? What are they doing here? Who can wait on them? A charming, smiling lady comes to help us. She apologizes for her English which is tons better than our Italian. They have also helpfully set us down next to a local who speaks English that he learned listening to British TV and radio.

Since everyone is being so nice and trying so hard, we decide on their specialties for lunch. They have made an onion soup which they say is just like French onion soup. (Except it’s not) Their real specialty is grilled meats and tripe (guts). I order the meat and John eats the guts.


So I eat my very not cooked enough onions in the onion soup and John loves his snails (of course). My plate of grilled meat seems like it has been boiled first and then grilled. I give a lot of to John. He loves his tripe. Everyone is so happy that the American likes snails and guts. We are a great success.

Here’s distrubing picture that they have over the bar.

Breast spigots?!

Breast spigots?!


We say our arrividercis and make our way to the agriturismo where we are staying for the night. It is highly rated on Booking.com. Who writes these reviews? At 9.6 I expect something pretty terrific. This is not but it’s only one night.

The next morning we make our way to the airport a short distance away. We fly from Venice to Frankfurt to Toronto to San Francisco. I would write more about these flights but I don’t want to relive them.

Although the weather did not cooperate we have had a wonderful trip. It is always so much fun to visit old and new places and always such a pleasure to come home.

November 15, 2014 – Udine

The people at the Astoria Hotel have upgraded us to a suite for some unknown reason. It’s nice to have the extra room but the windows, which have to be open since it is too hot in the room otherwise (the A/C doesn’t work this time of year), is right on the market square. At least until past 2 AM there are drunken louts yelling in the street and cars with yelling occupants blowing their horns plus shortly before 6 AM the city recycling truck picks up the bin of empty bottles which sounds even louder than when our recyclables are dumped at home. Add to this the crying baby across the hall and you have a bad night’s sleep.

It’s raining today but we have places to go and things to see. We start at the Udine Duomo, the Cathedral of St. Mary. Construction of the building started in 1236 and if you look hard you can still see vestiges of the early church.

The church of St. Mary (Udine Duomo) stock photo

The church of St. Mary (Udine Duomo) stock photo


Above the door is a carving from the 1300's of the birth, death and resurrection of Christ

Above the door a is carving from the 1300’s of the birth, death and resurrection of Christ


The interior shows much of the fashionable update from the 18th century. Old frescoes have a been covered with romantic visions and even some of the things that still exist have been gussied up.
Perfectly good Madonna and Child now wear crowns and jewelry

Perfectly good Madonna and Child now wear crowns and jewelry


Next door at the Museo del Duomo there are still some of the early works including wonderful frescoes and paintings of St. Nicholas and a sarcophagus of Blessed Bertrand, a bishop who died at the age of 90 in 1350. The sarcophagus carvings do not leave out the grisly details.
The bodies of Sts. Ermagora and Fortunatus without their heads. A man holds the two heads in a drape.

The bodies of Sts. Ermagora and Fortunatus without their heads. A man holds the two heads in a drape.


There is a lady docent here who follows us around. She is very nice but she doesn’t speak any English and doesn’t really know much about any of the artworks. She does, however, keep me from taking pictures.

Next stop, the Patriarchal Palace which now functions as an art museum. We have only 45 minutes to see this as we are reminded that the blessed Italian lunch must be observed for three hours. We get the audio tour and start with woodcarvings from the Middle Ages. The lady from downstairs comes rushing up to us. “No,no, time is short! Tiepolo upstairs!” Seriously, I would much rather look at the woodcarvings but we follow her upstairs since trying to explain would be pointless. We look at the Tiepolos. Yes, very nice. Then we hurry downstairs again to see the woodcarvings.


Then there is a great altarpiece with 10 carvings. The upper tier are all lady saints. It seems like there was only one model.
Altarpiece

Altarpiece


Here are close-ups of the lady saints –

These are the Stepford wives of the New Testament.

Obviously we have seen a lot of stuff so far today. Our plan for the rest of the day is to have a late lunch, stop at the store to buy something to eat later in the room, and watch the ATP Tour World Finals.

One last picture to epitomize much of our vacation.

Old churches and rain

Old churches and rain

November 14, 2014 – Cividale del Friuli

Today is the long awaited day of no rain. We pack up and get on the road from Ljubljana, Slovenia to Udine, Italy. Along the way we plan to stop at Cividale del Friuli, a town known for its Roman and Longobardo artifacts.

First we stop for some gas. Our diesel Peugeot has been getting really great mileage. Mostly I take this picture to show that there is actually blue sky.

Blue skies as John fills up the car

Blue skies as John fills up the car


We make our way across the border into Italy. There are no stern-looking crossing guards here. Just an EU Italia sign. Cividale del Friuli is not far over the border and we plan to see three sites – Tempietto Longobardo, the National Archaeological Museum and the Museo Cristiano. First up, the Tempietto Longobardo.

This small chapel from the 6th century has a few frescoes but is mostly known for the six enigmatic female figures high above the altar surrounding a window. The figures, slightly taller than life size, all have halos. The two next to the window point to it, a reference to Christ being the light. The other four hold the crown of martyrdom and the cross in their hands.

Tempietto Longobardo

Tempietto Longobardo


Female figures in the Tempietto Longobardo

Female figures in the Tempietto Longobardo

Moving along we visit the Christian Museum and Treasury of the Duomo. Here we see the striking altar of Ratchis built in the mid 8th century by the Lombard king to commemorate his father. The bas-relief carving is amazing.

Ratchis altar

Ratchis altar


Detail of Mary (with cross on her forehead) visitng Elizabeth

Detail of Mary (with cross on her forehead) visitng Elizabeth


Lunchtime!

Thus fortified we tackle the National Archaeological Museum. This museum features mostly Roman grave goods and relics.

We’ve had a good visit to Cividale del Friuli and now make our way to Udine where we will spend the next two nights.

November 13, 2014 – Walking tour of Ljubljana, Slovenia

We don’t have a big agenda today. There are no old churches with frescoes or even much in the way of Roman ruins in Ljubljana so we decide to do a walking tour of the city. It’s a very pretty city with lots of 18th and 19th century buildings.

At the tourist information office we are able to rent iPhones with a tour loaded on them. All we have to do is following the walking directions from the guides and we will see it all. As it turns out, following the directions in real time is nearly impossible as the narrators assume that you are an Olympic race walker. So we have to keep stopping to figure out where we are, but in the end, we see most of the old part of the city.

Here’s some of what we saw –


I have to give a shout out to a place we stopped for cappucini. It is the best cappucino that I have ever had. Anyone who reads this and goes to Ljubljana should definitely stop there.
Cafe 13 - best cappucino ever!

Cafe 13 – best cappucino ever!

On the rampart wall of the castle we meet a young man from Turkmenistan named Guy who is living in Ukraine and visiting Ljubljana. He has visited New York and is going back. He asks us to take his picture. He has an iPad and a fancy camera. We oblige. He takes our picture. It’s all so “it’s a small world.”

Mary and John in Ljubljana (Picture taken by Guy of Turkmenistan)

Mary and John in Ljubljana (Picture taken by Guy of Turkmenistan)


It’s past 2 PM so we find a restaurant and have our usually main meal lunch.

We walk around a little more. It’s not actively raining. We stop at a store and buy some bread and salami for tonight’s dinner and head back to the hotel as it begins to get dark.
Ironic sign seen in a store window

Ironic sign seen in a store window