Postcard from Voghera, Italy

Cathedral and Piazza del Duomo, Voghera, Italy @PennySadler 2103

Piazza del Duomo, Voghera, Italy

Surrounded by vineyards, set amidst rolling hills crowned with ancient castles, and steeped in history, Voghera is located in one of most beautiful regions of Italy and definitely worth a visit.

I chose Voghera as my base camp on a recent trip to Italy. The central location in Lombardia (on one of the main train arteries) allowed me to travel out for day trips to Milan, Pavia, Genoa, and many points in between. I enjoyed staying in a smaller town that was not overrun by tourists, and thus had plenty of opportunities to practice speaking Italian.

The Italian Lakes are an easy ninety minute drive from Voghera. You can get there by train, but it’s a bit of an ordeal, and luckily I didn’t need to do that. A car is definitely the transportation mode of choice around the lakes.

Because of its strategic position in northwest Italy, Voghera has been ruled by various countries and kingdoms – the Romans, the French, and Austrians have all occupied and influenced the history and landscape of Voghera. Napolean once made Voghera his base camp and stayed at Palazzo Dattilini on Via Emilia.

Cathedral del Duomo, Voghera, Italy @PennySadler 2013

Piazza del Duomo is the place to begin a visit to Voghera. Like most towns in Italy, it is the center of civic life. Here you can find shops, restaurants, bars, and of course gelaterias. It’s a wonderful place to sit in a small cafe like Barocco for an apertivo or take a gelato at Britz, and immerse yourself in the local culture and language.

I like the wide expansive feeling of this piazza, and the pastel and ochre colors of the old palazzos that make up the perimeter. Most of these buildings are now government offices, such as City Hall and the Mayor’s office.

I think the charm of Voghera can best be observed in the wide variety of architecture, from the tenth century Castello to the seventeenth century Cathedral del Duomo. Even the more modern buildings are colorful, and display window boxes with seasonal flowers and herbs. I think it’s a sign of a town that is proud of its heritage – and that feels like a nice place to me.

Piazza del Duomo, Voghera, Italy @PennySadler 2013

Related posts:

http://adventuresofacarryon.com/2013/07/08/hungry-top-gelato-spots-in-lombardia/

All material copyright PennySadler 2013. All rights reserved.

Advertisements

Hungry? Top Gelato Spots in Lombardia

gelato in Italy, @PennySadler 2013

A perennial favorite, gelato seems to taste so much better when I’m in Italy than anywhere else. I sometimes go to a shop in Dallas that was started by a family from northern Italy, but it’s just not the same. I was told by an Italian friend it’s because in Italy, gelato is made fresh from scratch every day.

I think it might be at least a little bit that when you’re on vacation, everything tastes better. Or maybe it was because it was unusually hot in Lombardia when I was there? There’s nothing quite as delicious as a fresh, cold gelato to revive you. Whatever the reason, I gave in to the urge to eat gelato almost every day while I was in Italy a few weeks ago. I wish I had eaten more!

Here’s the scoop (pun intended) on where I ate gelato:

Top Milan Gelaterias:

Vanilla specializes in traditional Italian flavors like hazelnut, pistachio, chocolate, and pinoli. During the summer, they offer local and unique fruit flavors, too, such as prickly pear, goji berry, pomegranate, and mango.

Another unique ingredient used at Vanilla that I’ve never seen anywhere else is olive oil. The olive oil replaces the dairy and so is great for those who are lactose intolerant and have other digestive ailments. And, it’s good for your heart – why not have gelato every day?

I spent several hours wandering around near the Duomo in Milano, and noticed that Vanilla always had a line. Plus they had some pretty little bistro tables set with lace and umbrellas, and I was ready to sit down. Most gelaterias have no seating inside or out – you simply stand around outside, or walk away with your gelato.

I tried the coconut and watermelon. I often order coconut, but this was my first watermelon gelato. If you can taste summer in a food, watermelon would be it for me, it’s sweet and refreshing, and watermelon gelato – yum!

Vanilla Gelato, Milan Italy &#64:PennySadler 2013

I noticed most everyone took their gelato in a cone, but I always get it in a cup. I think I agree with the purists that the cone distracts you from the true flavor of the gelato. At Vanilla, the flavors are so crisp and true, I don’t want anything interfering.

The fellow in this photo knew what I was up to with my camera and gave me a clear shot. Thank you, kind stranger!

Vanilla Gelateria, Milan Italy @PennySadler 2013

Vanilla is located behind the Duomo di Milano.

Vanilla Gelateria
Via Pattari, 2 20122 Milano
vanilla-gelateria-italiani.it

Grom gelateria, Milan, Italy @PennySadler 2013

Grom has built its reputation on using only organic, fresh ingredients from around Italy: Sfusato lemon from Amalfi, and the Leonforte peach, for example. They have a central farm where all the raw ingredients are mixed, ensuring their high standards are met.

I did not eat gelato at Grom, but if the crowd of people outside is any indication, I’d give it a try next time. They started with one shop in Torino in 2003, and have since expanded all over the world. You can eat Grom gelato now in Paris, Tokyo, Malibu, and NYC. They must be doing something right!

There are seven locations in Milan alone, and of course there’s one near the Duomo di Milano. In case you’re wondering, Grom is the surname of one of the founders.

Grom
Via Santa Margherita, 16, 20121 Milano ‎
 grom.it

Britz gelateria, Voghera, Italy @PennySadler 2013

Gelato in Voghera:

Britz. We went to Britz one night when it seemed like the entire town was out for the evening. Within two blocks I saw more gelaterias than you can imagine! Apparently gelato is the thing in Voghera.

My friend had the chocolate and hazelnut (two typical Italian flavors) and pronounced it “Very good!” I tried the lemon sorbetto and found it a bit too tart and lacking the creamy texture I was seeking. What do I know? Perhaps I just ordered the wrong thing?

The location in Piazza del Duomo, however, is excellent. There is no seating inside, but it’s more fun to be outside and people watch anyway. In Italy everyone goes out in the evening to walk (passeggiata) and visit with friends, family, and neighbors. It’s an experience you cannot duplicate anywhere else in the world.

Do you think the folks in the photo are wondering if the people to their left are checking out what flavor they got? LOL

Britz Gelateria
Piazza del Duomo,Voghera

Mojito Cafe, gelato colors @PennySadler 2013

gelateria, San Giulio di Orta, Lake Orta, Italy @PennySadler 2013

Gelato in Orta San Giulio:

Mojito Cafe. Here I found the lemon sorbetto (limone) I craved. I don’t know how they do it, because I don’t think they add any dairy as it’s a fruit flavor, but it was creamy, yet light – sweet, but not too sweet. I adore lemon sorbetto in Italy. I should have taken a larger serving!
An Italian friend told me, “You are an Italian girl,” because limone is the most Italian of flavors. (Those Italian guys always know what to say)

The location in romantic Lake Orta didn’t hurt, either…probably made it taste even better. I’ll certainly never forget it.

This gelateria with the improbable name offers drinks and coffees as well as gelato, and there is seating outside. However, there is a minimum of 7 euros per person to sit at a table. When we were there it was raining and every table was taken. We found a doorstep on a tiny side street and sat under the awning.

Gelato flavors from Mojito Cafe @PennySadler 2013

I don’t have an address or website for Mojito Cafe, but there’s only one main street in Orta San Giulio – you can’t miss it.

Mojito Cafe
San Giulio di Orta, Lake Orta

All materials ©PennySadler 2013. All rights reserved.

Music Festivals From NYC to Budapest

Find accomodations for music festivals around the world

Welcome to the summer of 2013, the season where you can unleash your inner groupie at one of the thousands of music festivals around the world! Whether you want to travel to an exotic locale or are lucky enough to have one happening right in your community, the trick is to plan your strategy early so you’ll have all your ducks in a row when it’s time to rock and roll!

Sziget Festival, Budapest, Hungary, August 5-12

For the past twenty years, the usually quiet Old Buda Island on the Danube has been rocking Budapest with an ever-growing party that now boasting 60 stages hosting over 1,000 performances! Once simply a student event, the seven-day festival has grown exponentially as the city has embraced it, offering concert-goers special Szuget Budapest CityPasses with hassle- free access to public transportation, the Sziget boat service and deep discounts on local dining, shopping and favorite attractions. This year the popular Sziget Eye Ferris wheel will be back and bigger than ever (65-meter high) and even more “party trains” will have cars dedicated to festival attendees complete with resident DJs and an “Absolut” bar. Since Sziget vendors won’t accept cash, you’ll need to get a Metapay Festivalcard which reduces theft and simplifies all transactions.


Electric Zoo
, Manhattan Island, NYC, August 30-September 1

Dance like everybody’s watching over the Labor Day weekend at Randall’s Island Park located along the East River in the heart of New York City. This highly acclaimed electronic dance-lights-music festival, now boasts 5 stages and open-air pavilions featuring multi-genre live acts and international DJs. Along with the festival, the park will host FLOW.13, a free art event featuring interactive art works. The easiest way to get to the concert is via the ferries that travel from East 35th Street (at FDR Drive) every 15 minutes, for a 25-minute traffic-free ride. Choose general admission tickets (over 18 with a valid ID) for all three days or a single day. Over 21s can opt for the Platinum Experience Pass that includes an open bar and VIP seating. No minors, pets or liquor allowed.

Soundwave, Zadar, Croatia, July 18-22

Chill way out in the tiny fishing village south of Zadar for the “summer’s most beautiful festival,” set on a forested peninsula along the Dalmatian Coast. Besides the innovative music presented on the big Main Stage and the more intimate Beach Stage, patrons of this relatively new three day event, can also join the Boat Party to go island-hopping and dance the night away at the open-air nightclub, Barbarella’s Discotheque. Excellent camping facilities as well as fully furnished apartments keep you close to the action while giving you a sweet little space to call your own.

Wireless Festival
London, England, July 12-14

This year’s star-studded festival featuring Justin Timberlake and Jay Z (separately and together on Sunday for the “Legends of the Summer” show) has been moved to the
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford because of curfew issues at the old Hyde Park location. Sponsored by Yahoo!, the venue offers top-tier facilities complete with champagne stations and sushi bars! Tickets are selling out fast and ticketholders are urged to arrive at the shows early since no one is admitted after the headliners start their performance. Since there is no camping at this festival, out-of-town participants need to find their own lodgings and transportation to the event.

Are you looking for cool, yet affordable quarters near one of these, or other summer of 2013 events? Check out the Festival Accommodation page on Hostelbookers.com 

Postcard: Old Spanish Days, Santa Barbara

Mariachis in the Fiesta Santa Barbara, parade, @PennySadler 2013

Old Spanish Days, Santa Barbara, also known simply as Fiesta, is a week long celebration of the Spanish and Mexican cultural heritage of Santa Barbara, California.

Everyone loves a good parade and I am no exception. I return to Santa Barbara year after year for the Fiesta Historical Parade, one of the largest equestrian parades in the country.

There are rodeos, mercados, folklorico dance,traditional music, and of course, food, wine, and fun for the whole family.

If you happen to be in Santa Barbara before the official week begins, check out the website for pre Fiesta events.

For some more ideas on what to do in the area, read Explore Santa Barbara.

All materials copyright Penny Sadler 2012-2013. All rights reserved.

5 Great Places for Jazz Music in Dallas

One of the true tests of a city is, in my opinion, great jazz. Along with excellent markets, fabulous architecture, and great food, jazz is a marker of a city I’ll return to again and again.

Luckily, I live in Dallas, where excellent jazz venues abound. Here are my five favorite places to listen to jazz.

Adam Nyugen Quintent &364;PennySadler 2013


Cafe des Artistes
– Beautiful little cafe designed after the Brasseries of the La Belle Epoque. Located in One Arts Plaza, it’s right in the middle of the Dallas Arts District. There’s a terrific jazz ensemble lead by Adam Nguyen, that plays every Saturday night, adding to the Parisian ambiance. If smoking were still allowed, I think you just might feel as though you’d stepped into a time machine.

I especially like the bartender here and feel comfortable being on my own. There are always lots of folks stopping by on their way to the theater, opera or symphony.

You can check the website for hours and directions, but there is no information on the performers.

Cafe Des Artistes, Dallas, Texas @PennySadler 2013

Cafe des Artiste
One Arts Plaza
1722 Routh St. Dallas, Texas
cafedadallas.com
214.217.6888

Chocolate Secrets, Dallas, Texas @PennySadler 2013

Chocolate Secrets, located in the Oak Lawn neighborhood, is a cozy little cafe offering wine by the glass or bottle, handmade Belgian chocolates, coffees, and desserts. It’s a romantic spot for a date night, or a small intimate group.

There is live jazz Wednesday through Saturday nights. Saturday is my favorite night, as friends Jason Bucklin and Terry Hankins play jazz guitar. Ask them to play some Beatles tunes for you.

Chocolate Secrets does have a full event calendar on their website, so check it out.

Chocolate Secrets
3926 Oak Lawn
Dallas, Texas
mychocolatesecrets.com
214.252.9801

Gourmet chocolates at Chocolate Secrets, Dallas, Texas @PennySadler 2013

@PennySadler 2013, Chocolate Secrets, Dallas, Texas

The Amsterdam Bar is located near Fair Park and has a very casual and young vibe.
There’s a nice outdoor patio, and I hear the beer selection is amazing.

Monday night is jazz night, and you can often find legendary sax player Shelley Carrol there, with other great musicians. Definitely worth stopping in.

The Amsterdam Bar
831 Exposition Ave.
Dallas, Texas
theamsterdambar.com
214.827.3433

Craft Beer @PennySadler 2013

Buzzbrews is a tiny coffee shop that is a surprising venue for great jazz.
Sunday nights, you can catch the Rebel Alliance Jazz Ensemble, an 18 piece big band, packed into this unexpected Deep Ellum location. The place is tiny so if you are sound sensitive, you may want to sit in the back or take some ear plugs – you’ll still be able to hear, believe me! This music is fun and energetic – you’ll probably want to dance, and I’m pretty sure if you can find a spot, no one would mind. At the very least, you’ll be bouncing in your seats.

Buzzbrews Kitchen
Deep Ellum
2801 Commerce St.
Dallas, Texas
buzzbrews.com
214.741.2801

Jason Bucklin on jazz guitar Dallas, Texas @PennySadler 2013

The Balcony Club , located above the Lakewood Theater in east Dallas, is a long time favorite, attracting an all ages crowd. On weekends there’s usually a bridal party or two, and always plenty of neighborhood locals. It attracts the famous and the not so famous, but it’s always friendly.

The website posts a calendar, but seriously, just go. It’s one of the coolest venues in Dallas, and they are open seven nights a week. Any night at the Balcony Club is a good night.

The Balcony Club
1825 Abrams (look for the art deco Lakewood Theater marquee)
Dallas, Texas
214.826.8104
thebalconyclub.com

Do you have anything to add? What have I missed? And, if you’re in Dallas, let me know – we can go on a photowalk, and then listen to some jazz!

Adam Nyugen Quintet at Cafe des Artistes @PennySadler 2103

All materials ©PennySadler 2012-2013. All rights reserved.

Historic Los Angeles: An Architecture Walk

The Million Dollar Theater, Broadway St. Los Angeles, Ca. @PennySadler 2013

The Million Dollar Theater

On my recent trip to Los Angeles I walked the historic downtown area – a fascinating neighborhood packed with interesting old buildings that tell the history of Los Angeles from 1890’s to the present.

I was surprised to learn that there is a huge theater district built mostly in the 1920s and 30s and it contains the largest concentration of theaters located within on city block in the nation. Take a walk down Broadway St. – from beaux arts to art deco, it’s an architects dream come true.

The whole area was once the center of art and culture in Los Angeles, but was mostly abandoned by the 1990’s. However there is a movement to revitalize the area, and funding has been approved to install a downtown streetcar. There are rumours of big name retailers like Urban Outfitters moving into the area as well. Many of the buildings are already being converted into lofts, however there are still a lot of buildings that look only partially refurbished – it looks like a very long term project.

@PennySadler 2013 Detail of the facade on the Million Dollar Theater

Detail, Million Dollar Theater

A great place to start your walk is at the corner of Broadway and 3rd. On one side is the Million Dollar Theater and the Grand Central Market, and across the street is the famous Bradbury Building. The Bradbury is the oldest commercial building in Los Angeles, and it is working building so you can only visit the first floor. The beautiful French wrought iron, five story atrium, and wood and terra cotta details of the interior, were inspired by a futuristic novel from 1887 called, “Looking Backward,” by Edward Bellamy. Interesting anecdote, parts of the building were used in the science fiction film, Blade Runner.

The Bradbury Building, Los Angeles, @PennySadler 2013

Interior: The Bradbury Building

Adjacent to the Million Dollar Theater is Grand Central Market, the oldest open air market in Los Angeles and it’s still a hopping place. You can find everything from tacos to fresh fruit smoothies here.

Grand Central Market, Broadway, St. Los Angeles CA @PennySadler 2013

Grand Central Market

Walk through Grand Central Market to the other side and across the street you will see the world’s shortest railroad, the Angel’s Flight funicular built in 1901. Ride it to the top for just 50 cents and experience a bit of L.A. history.

Angels Flight @PennySadler 2013

Angels Flight

Go back to Broadway to continue your tour of the amazing theater district.

The Los Angeles Theater, LA. California @PennySadler 2013

The Los Angeles Theater was built in 1931 at a cost of 2,000,000 dollars! The owner went in the hole pretty quickly and Fox took over the theater until the 1980’s. Check out this link for photographs of the interior which is magnificent!

The Tower Theater, Los Angeles @PennySadler 2013

The Tower Theater

exterior the Palace Theater, LA. Cal. @PennySadler 2013

The Palace Theater

The Palace Theater was built in 1911 and was one of the first of the Orpheum Vaudeville Theaters.

There are many other buildings of historical significance aside from the theaters. If you can plan in advance (I did not), the Los Angeles Conservancy offers tours of the various neighborhoods and styles of architecture for only $10.00. Some include the interiors which I’d love to see!

The Chester Williams Building @PennySadler 2013

The Chester Williams Building

For more information on theater district visit Bringing Back Broadway

Farmers Merchant National Bank @PennySadler 2013
theater Broadway St. Los Angeles, CA. @PennySadler 2013

All materials ©PennySadler 2013

Postcard: Sant’ Ignazio, Rome

Sant’Ignazio, or Saint Ignatius of Loyola, is a beautiful little church in Piazza Sant’Ignazio, Rome. I passed it about a thousand times before I ever went inside.

Chiesa Sant' Iganzio, Rome, Italy @PennySadler 2013

Piazza Sant’Ignazio was designed to resemble a stage ,with exits on either side. It’s a quiet and pretty piazza, situated between the Pantheon and Via del Corso. Every time I see it, I always feel a little like I’ve entered another time or place. It has a very distinct atmosphere that speaks of something old world and elegant.

The interior ceiling frescoes, painted by Jesuit Andrea Pozzo in 1685, are a masterful optical illusion, creating the effect of a dome – when in fact the ceiling is flat!

The exterior, designed by architect Orazio Grassi in a baroque style, holds no clues to the beauty of the interior, nor do these photographs do it justice. Yet another place I will have to add to my list of things to see and do – again, in Rome.

Ceiling of St. Ignazio by Andrea Pozzo
There are usually notices posted here about upcoming concerts of classical music, so if that’s your thing, keep your eyes open when you are in the area.

Sant’Ignazio
Via del Caravita, 8a, 00186 Roma, Italy

All materials ©PennySadler 2013. All rights reserved.