Showing posts from March, 2015

Off to the Caribbean on MSC Cruises

I have been on many different cruises on various cruise lines. I have to admit, however, that I knew nothing about MSC Cruises . As soon as I did, I was immediately intrigued at the concept of this European line who had one ship in the U.S. I was also fascinated with their Yacht Club idea which gives a luxury “ship within a ship” experience. It didn’t take me long to say “yes” and before long Mom and I were off packing to head off on the MSC Divina. The ship leaves out of Miami for the Caribbean, while the other ships of this Italian owned line travel throughout the world. ( MSC is in the process of bringing two additional ships to Miami in the next few years.) It’s a fairly large vessel with 1,637 cabins that can hold nearly 4,000 passengers. I’d like to say that the check-in process was all quick and easy, but there was a bit of confusion as to where the MSC Divina Yacht Club passengers were to go. Once that was settled and we were in the right place, we had ch

Tastes of Chicago from Eataly to Godfrey

I enjoy attending events in Chicago whenever possible and I’ve learned to stuff my trips to get in as much as possible each time I go. When I received an invitation to a wine pairing luncheon I had just the excuse I needed to plan what would be a delicious trip. The first stop of the day was for the luncheon. It was at Baffo, the Mario Batali restaurant that’s a part of the Eataly plaza in Chicago.  The meal was being paired with Consorzio Carignano del Sulcis wines. I didn’t know much about this region on the island of Sardinia, nor had I tasted this red grape. It sounded like a perfect accompaniment to Batali’s Italian specialties and it certainly was. I brought my friend Lisa along and it was a fun event as we learned about the region and tasted some incredible food at  Baffo : Salumi Misti with Gnocco Fritto with 2011 Calasetta Tupei This antipasto and fried bread worked well with this rich wine. Farfalle con Gambieri (without the shrimp for me

Leaving Nevis for St. Kitts

I had fallen in love with the Nisbet Plantation on Nevis and was going to make the most of my final day here. Friend and fellow travel writer Sue Campbell, who was going to be heading back to snowy Montreal when she left, was right alongside me – on the beach. Fortunately, we did have a little more sun time, even when we left here. The first thing that excited me when I was reading about Nisbet Plantation was the hammocks on the beach. Ironically, I had been here four days and hadn’t made it to the hammocks. After we had our last beachside breakfast at Coconuts, Sue and I went right down to those hammocks. I actually finished a book for the first time in months. All too soon it came time for our driver to pick us up and take us to the boat launch to St. Kitts .  We said goodbye to the staff, especially our very gracious host, General Manager, Alistair Forrest. We waved goodbye to Nevis as our boat docked in St. Kitts after a very short six minute ride.

Monkeys, Beaches, and More Touring Nevis

I slept well after a full day that had included an amazing snorkeling trip on a catamaran . After dressing casually I took a stroll down to the beach to meet my friend and fellow travel writer, Sue Campbell, for breakfast at Nisbet Plantation in Nevis. Coconuts is the name of the beachfront restaurant at the resort. It was once again a beautiful day to enjoy the view of the turquoise sea while we ate.  I had some tasty banana coconut pancakes with fresh juice and yogurt. We didn’t have much time to admire the view as we were being picked up soon for a tour of Nevis with a representative of the island’s tourism board. Our first stop was to look at the remains of the last sugar plantation on the island. It was here we also started talking about the monkeys. We were told the green monkeys in Nevis outnumber the people, yet we hadn’t seen any in the three days we had been there.  There were none to be seen at the old plantation, so our hopes were on the n