Thursday, October 13, 2011

Positano, Italy

This was our first trip to the Amalfi Coast. We found this lovely B&B (La Fenice) right on the outside of town. Positano accommodations can be grotesquely expensive and although this B&B is not right in the middle of town, the walk to town is gorgeous and takes 10-15 min. Here's our daughter taking the stroll to town...

The room rate was 180 euro per night (cash only) for 4 people and that included a fabulous breakfast made each morning by the hosts. I talked to many people who have visited Positano and this was a great deal. My favorite review of the property was this one:
"If you are looking for a 5 star luxury hotel experience with snowy white bed linen, fluffy towels, bathrobes and expensive toiletries then La Fenice is not a place for you. La Fenice is perfect for what I imagine Positano to be... perfect in its simplicity: basic amenities; very clean but mismatched towels and linen (adding to it's quirkiness); lovely, clean airy rooms with lovely tiles, old world furniture... ours had a huge balcony with full view of the Mediterranean Sea. Bliss." 
I could not agree more. What La Fenice lacked in luxury it made up for in charm. Here was the view from our room:

Afternoon snack time overlooking the Mediterranean. 

We decided to take a boat charter to the island of Capri for the day. You must do this if you are visiting the Amalfi Coast. Don't miss the Blue Grotto tour. You might feel like they are ripping off the tourists a bit here as each of the "boats" charge to take you into the Blue Grotto, but that is the only way you can get inside. It's a once in a lifetime experience, so go for it!

Take a dip in the Mediterranean afterwards... what could be better?

Constantino and his family were the hosts at La Fenice and he offered to make our dinner plans every night. Most of the restaurants in the area offer complimentary shuttle service, which is highly recommended. We tried one of his favorite restaurants called Constantino's (no relation, he insists). This was quite an experience. The food is fabulous and the family who runs the restaurant are extremely friendly and entertaining. The girls loved it, too.

Positano is a fabulous town. We spent 3 days here and thought that was the perfect amount of time for us. Others might want to extend their stay to 5-7 days and really embrace the laid back and relaxed feel of the Amalfi Coast.

Copyright 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011


This was our second trip to Paris with the girls. This was actually the "second chance" trip since our first visit there was underwhelming. I have so many friends who absolutely love Paris and I get it. It is a gorgeous city with fascinating history, art, food and culture. However, I always judge a place by its people. I have found that Parisians, in general, are just rather unpleasant. So, if you can look past that and carry on, you will have any amazing time. We did!
We stayed on the Left Bank at the Hotel Left Bank in St. Germain, which I highly recommend. Book the suite on the top floor. It is a bit more expensive than their other rooms, but it's so worth it. It is the perfect size for a family and you get a fabulous view of Notre Dame. Ooh, la la.

The Left Bank is not as touristy as other areas in Paris and the restaurants and hotels are generally less expensive. But, you can walk to almost all of the sights. If not, the subway system is great. We took the subway to the Eiffel Tower after dark with the girls and felt very safe.
Now, if you are in Paris and don't visit the Louvre, you are crazy. We booked a tour of the Louvre  through Paris Muse and it was fantastic. If you are visiting the Louvre for the first time, especially with kids, you should really book a personal tour. It's an "investment," but well worth it! Your guide will whisk you through the highlights and engage your children throughout the tour with a "scavenger hunt."

We absolutely loved our tour guide, Davinia and my opinion of Parisians was slowly turning around, except she was a Brit! Oh well.
If you want a more manageable museum, you should also visit the Orsay museum on the Left Bank. It is housed in a former train station... a bit odd, but a real gem.
Of course, you cannot leave Paris without a visit to the Eiffel tower. We decided to go at night to see it lit up. The girls loved it at the top of the hour when the lights starts to blink and everyone cheers. It's a celebration every hour!

The lines are much shorter late night, so make this visit on your 1st or 2nd night when your body clock is still confused. We traveled from NYC, so visiting the Eiffel tower on our 2nd night there at 11pm was no problem for the girls.
You must also visit Sacre Couer. You will get a great view of Paris from the highest point in the city.
One of my favorite sights was the "love bridge" that we crossed from the Left Bank every day... People have written their names on these locks and thrown the key into the Seine. There are hundreds of them and it just puts a smile on your face...
OK, I do love Paris!

Copyright 2011

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


We went on an incredible trip to Canada with my entire family in June. We started in Vancouver and travelled east by train on the Rocky Mountaineer. It was quite an amazing trip with stops in Whistler, Quesnel and Jasper. We rented vans and drove to Lake Louise from Jasper. I am embarrassed to admit that I never really thought much about visiting Canada, but this trip really opened my eyes. The scenery is gorgeous and the people are rather delightful. Whistler was probably our favorite spot. The girls loved doing the zip line with their grandparents and uncles... We will have to head back when it is a winter wonderland. Lake Louise is stunning. We were lucky enough to stay at the Fairmont, which is right next to the lake and has wonderful views.

Copyright 2011