MY LAST TRIP TO ITALY IN MAY 2015
Johannesburg to florence with swiss Air.
I recently spent ten days in Italy and as it was my second visit, I wanted to explore the less well-known part of central Italy.
In Florence I met up with my wife who had flown in from Brussels.
From the hotel, close to the airport, we wanted to catch a bus to go into Florence, but it rained so hard that we had to go back to the hotel. Nice start to the holidays!
The next day we left Florence in our cute black Fiat 500 ( my wife’s suitcase took up all the space in the boot, so my small suitcase had to go to the backseat) and we arrived in Castiglione del Lago on the shore of lake Trasimeno. Beautiful, green, quite place and very friendly people running the hotel.
Next day we took off to Assisi and visited the town and from there we drove to Norcia reowned for its produnction of black truffle. We spent two days in Norcia and drove around to explore the countryside.
We travelled further South to a less known region called Maremma. We visited a town called porto Santo Stefano and landed in Piombino, where we again spent two days. Napoleon Bonaparte spent some time in this city before being forced into exile on the island of Elba. We took the ferry to Elba where we spent one day.
From the coast we could see several islands, one of which was Corsica!
Next day on the road, direction of Livorno. We stayed one day in Castiglioncello and as we wanted to visit San Gimignano we spent one night there, in a beautiful hotel called La Collegiata. ( We finally managed to find it after our GPS directed us to the local cemetery!)
End of the holidays and back fo Florence where we each took our flights back home.
As Italy is full of Tourist traps here are few addresses in Florence that i visited with my wife:
Brown sugar Lounge Bar – Piazza San Firenze (?)
Perfect for a drink in the afternoon or before dinner. The staff is extremely professional and friendly. And they have a good selection of wines.
Antica Trattoria II Barrino – 71 via Gioberti
A real Florence Trattoria serving geniune tuscan food. I sampled their rabbit as well as Bistecca alla Fiorentina. ( Starter, main and dessert ar 35€ per person)
Enoteca Pinchiorri – 87 via Ghibellina
One of the most famous restaurants in Italy and number one of my holidays. ( Price around 200€ per person for an eight course meal, without wine – heavy price but unforgettable meal)
Vivoli Gelateria – 71 via Isola delle Stinche
Ah gelati! No trip to Italy without sampling gelati and this one is very famous and has the most incredible flavours like peanut and honey. Not bubble gum flavour like in pretoria but a to die for pear and caramel flavour.
Mercato Centrale – Piazza del Mercato Centrale
Food market in a huge hall where you can sample all the specialities of Toscana. Fresh produce at very reasonable price and perfect for lunch. I was impressed with their Mozzarella and Burrata.
If la Dolce Vita is your dream, try the Cafè la Dolce Vita owned by the famous designer Roberto Cavalli, where you can see his top model having drink.
Castiglione Del Lago
One of the nicest villages in Italy, on the shore of the lake Trasimeno, with a beautiful viez of the lake from the ramparts of the 14th century castle.
Hotel Aganoor – 91 Via Vittorio Emanuele
We spent two nights in that three stars hotel at 80€ for a double room, furnished in an old fashioned refreshing style. Lounge with facilities for tea and coffee which one can sip comfortably seated on the couch in full view of the lake.
Breakfast is included and is exceptional for Italy, where breakfast consists of espresso and a pastry. Lunch and dinner equally enjoyable to be sampled on the shaded lakeview terrace.
Umbria – Valnerina
The Capital town of the black truffle and salami in Italy. For our two days stay we had truffle breakfast, lunch and dinner. This truffle is more subtle in flavour than the French truffle but of excellent quality.
Taverna Dei Massari 13 Via Roma
Sample their ravioli with mushrooms and truffles.
Excellent professional service
DETOX DRINKS & FOOD BY DANIEL
After the cold months of winter Daniel suggests you to try what he drinks every morning before he takes one hour walk
- 1 apple ( Golden delicious apples )
- 1/4 pineapple
- 1 banana
- 2 oranges
- ice cubes
Peel the apple, pineapple, banana cut them in pieces put them in the blender, extract the juice of the two oranges & pour the juice on the fruits and mix, add four ice cubes if you want.
Here are a few of Daniel’s favorite eating places in Paris, unknown by tourist therefore guaranteeing a real French experience.
Rue de la Folie Méricourt 106
+33 01 43 57 33 78
Here you can sample a giant Cassoulet of extremely high quality, absolutely brilliant!
Restaurant La Grille:
Rue du Faubourg Poissonnière 80
+33 1 47 70 89 73
For a true bistro ambiance and décor! Daniel returns here every time he is in Paris. You can sample excellent turbot and double thick rib eye steaks.
La tour d’Argent:
+33 1 43 54 23 31
If you want to try a top deluxe restaurant and budget isn’t a problem, try this restaurant. It is one of the oldest restaurant in Paris. Close to metro Notre Dame
L’as du Falafel
Rue des Rosiers 34
Don’t miss the Jewish Quarter in the 4th arrondissement where you will find L’as du Falafel, in my opinion the best falafel in the world. Their Jewish cousins in New York should visit this establishment for cooking lessons.
Rue des Messageries 10
+33 1 48 00 08 36
Good value for money at +- €110 for the room. Double rooms with en-suite bathrooms. This hotel is walking distance from the restaurant La Grille. Extremely well situated and close to a metro station.
Hotel du Brabant:
If you are travelling on a budget, this hotel is excellent value for money at +- €70 per room. Small rooms with en suite bathrooms.
If you are not on a budget and really want to spoil yourself, spend a night at the George V. This is the ultimate“Art de vivre à la française.” A short walk from the Champs-Elysées.
Izrael épicerie fine:
Rue François Miron 30
+33 1 42 72 66 23
The Mecca of spices in Paris where many of the 3 starred Michelin chefs buy their spices.
La Pomme d’eve:
Rue Laplace 1
+33 1 43 25 86 18
If you are feeling a little home sick and craving a “Castle”, try this South African bar. It’s near the latin quarter where you can then go bar hopping.
FRANCE (North of Bretagne Region)
1. Mont Saint Michel
Don’t bother to go inside the Mont Saint Michel, it is magic to watch it from the outside. One of the marvels of the world, (must be seen before you die).
2. Cancale:(extremely well situated to visit the area on the north coast of Bretagne)
Hotel le Querrien Quai Duguay-Trouin,7 Tel. 02 9989 6456
A room is around €100 per night in a large room with seaview. There is also a chic brasserie in the hotel.
La table Breizh Café
Quai Thomas,7 (1st floor) Tel. 02 99 89 5646 www.breizhcafé.com
Small restaurant (around 20 seats) run by a Japanese chef who has obtained one Michelin star. Fusion cooking French-Japanese, very zen with superb service and view on the Mont Saint Michel bay.
Ferme des Nielles
Saint Méloir des Ondes. About 10km from Cancale on the way to Mont St Michel. Great for extremely fresh seafood- excellent value for money. R60,- for 12 oysters – R30,- for fresh grilled lobster R60,- for a bottle of white wine (Muscadet). To give you an idea, in Pretoria my cost price is R6,- exc vat for one oyster!
The old walled city with its imposing walls is one of the launching places for formidable sea-faring expeditions, I had a very pleasant stay here. If you want to have a taste of England (and open a bank account off-shore J), take a day trip to Jersey/Guernesey with Condorferries from St. Malo. Terminal ferry du Naye www.condorferries.fr Tel 08 25 13 51 35 it takes about 1h20 for the crossing.
Appartment Angèle Cahué
If you don’t want to spend too much on accommodation go to this 1 bedroom, fully equipped apartment at €55 per night with a seaview.
4. Between Cancale and Mont St Michel, a must see is Odile et Bernard Moubèche. They are duck foie gras producers of high quality. A 250g jar is sold for €29– 35610 Roz sur Couesnon – 02 99 80 22 05 firstname.lastname@example.org
Brittanyis well known for their seafood
If you choose to eat at Michelin starred restaurants, it is often cheaper to have lunch rather than dinner.
When in Brussels, don’t hesitate to speak Afrikaans, in some places you will have VIP treatment. There is no direct flight from South Africa to Brussels so I always use Swissair when I fly to Belgium, they are always on time and the connecting flight to Brussels is easy and convenient. I have put together a few of my favourite places to go to in Brussels, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do…
Rue Montagne aux Herbes Potagères,7 – 1000 Bruxelles Tel. +32 (0)2 513 1318
A typical Brussels brasserie with decor that hasn’t changed in 2 centuries, the ideal place to sample some of the best beers in the world. Try Gueuze, Kriek or Faro and very appetizing “tartines”.
Rue des Dominicains, 8-10 Bruxelles – tel. +32 (0)2 511 2303
My favourite restaurant in Brussels for classical Belgian cooking, décor and ambiance.
La Paix 1892
Rue Ropsy-Chaudron, 49- 1070 Bruxelles Tel. +32 (0) 2 523 0958
My daughter, Anne’s favourite restaurant in Brussels. In an establishment that was formerly a café frequented by butchers, the French chef explores and reinvents bistro cuisine in a typical Brussels ambience. Diners have a view over the kitchens, where the meat is cooked in a wood-fired oven.
Rue de l’amigo Tel. +32 (0) 2 547 4747
This hotel is very well situated to visit the above mentioned places.