Pizzeria Tortuga (Venice, Italy) 🇮🇹

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Buongiorno! Venice is an island city in Italy that is surrounded by water. The only transportation visitors can take to get around the city is to travel by boat or walk through the cobblestone streets. Vehicles are not an option. Venice, is filled with a variety of delicious pizzeria and pasta restaurants. However, I recommend visiting the smaller local mom and pop restaurants, to experience the atmosphere with traditional Italian dishes.

My favorite mom and pop restaurant in Venice, is Pizzeria Tortuga, where many of the locals eat. Pizzeria Tortuga is a small Italian restaurant that is located on Salizada dei Spechieri, around the corner from the ferry to Murano Island. They serve a variety of pizza, pasta, and wine. When customers walk in, they will find a variety of seating throughout the dining room, bar, and outside. The food was very delicious from start to finish. A few of my favorites included the Lasagna with Bolognese Sauce, Cannelloni, and Gnocchi with red sauce. 

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Customers will find the food very fresh and reasonably priced, which makes it definitely worth it. Best pasta dishes I’ve had! The owner was very friendly and attentive to our needs. This restaurant was open extended hours between lunch and dinner, when all the other restaurants were closed, . Finally, customers who dine at Pizzeria Tortuga will find the atmosphere very relaxing in both the dining room and the bar, and full of activity outside. I look forward to coming back to this restaurant the next time I visit Venice.

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Ciao!

© 2018 Sundown Pointe

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A Day in Verona, Italy 🇮🇹

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Verona is a city located in northern Italy, which is well known for William Shakespeare’s story, Romeo and Juliet.

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In fact, one of the popular attractions in Verona is Casa di Giulietta, also known as Juliet’s house. It is best to go first thing in the morning before the crowd arrives. People still write notes to Juliet hoping she’ll answer. However, it’s Juliet’s club that respond to the letters. A good example of this is the movie Letter’s to Juliet. The movie, Letter’s to Juliet, is set in Verona, Italy where a girl named Sophie visits the wall where all the people write to Juliet, until she finds a letter in the wall that was written years ago by a girl named Claire. She then takes it upon herself to respond to that letter, until one day Claire’s grandson Charlie stops by the secretary of Juliet’s office asking which one of them wrote the letter to his grandmother. Sophie is surprised Claire received the letter, and in return follows Charlie to where his grandmother is waiting in front of the wall where the letters lay. Sophie then asks Claire if she can help her find her long lost lover Lorenzo. So, they travel all around Italy to find him until they find him on a wine vineyard farm right outside Siena, another beautiful town in Italy.

Today in Verona, people cannot stick the letters up on the wall outside Juliet’s balcony anymore because they have been damaging the structure. In fact, if a letter is found stuck to the wall, people can be fined 500 euros.

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Inside the museum, you will find each room has time period artifacts depicting their way of life as well as photos and writings from William Shakespeare.

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There are many piazzas throughout the city with wonderful restaurants including the historic area of Verona called Centro Storico.

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Piazza delle Erbe and the Torre Dei Lamberti which you can walk or take the elevator to the top to get a beautiful view of the city.

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I suggest wearing comfortable walking shoes on the cobblestone streets and piazzas. Finally, another popular attraction in Verona that gets used for a lot for performances is the Arena di Verona. Arena di Verona in Piazza Bra, is a Roman amphitheater that was built in the first century, and is used for Italian operas. I truly enjoyed my time in Verona, and look forward to visiting again someday.

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© 2018 Sundown Pointe

Bernina Express

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Wow!! Do you like trains? Do you like adventures? Do you love some of the most beautiful scenery in the world? Or perhaps the coolest thing ever, do you want 15 minutes to take a selfie knee deep in one of the highest peaks in the Swiss Alps? If so, then the Bernina Express is your ticket!!! Traveling through Europe, the Bernina Express is definitely a train ride that shouldn’t be missed. Viewers will experience a breathtaking view of the Swiss Alps covered in snow, making the trip one of the most unforgettable experiences of a lifetime. The train winds through the mountains of the Swiss Alps providing a beautiful view of the landscape. The engineering marvels of train travel are inspiring when the cars traverse through the difficult terrain of the mountainous region. The spectacular scenery of snowcapped mountains provides breathtaking views of the stunning landscape of steep glacial mountains with quaint villages in the valley. One of the things I loved about the Bernina Express were the very large side and top windows in the train that has a panoramic view with a first class ticket. This allowed viewers to get amazing pictures of the scenery as well as enjoying the scenery as you pass through the alps and tunnels. The train offers free WiFi that I used todownloaded their iPad app that provided an audio guide with great information that provides facts and stories of the region as the train travels through the mountains. Throughout the ride, the train passes through 55 tunnels, and 196 bridges while going 70 mph. Customers also have the option to purchase a glass or a bottle of wine, champagne or coffee as well as some local cheese platters, pear bread, nut bread. I would definitely recommend the Bernina Express to anyone who is interested in heading down to Italy through Switzerland. Tickets can be purchased directly or through eurail.com. Here are the links:

https://www.rhb.ch/en/home

https://www.eurail.com/en/get-inspired/trains-europe/scenic-train-routes/bernina-express

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© 2018 Sundown Pointe

Triberg, Germany 🇩🇪

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Triberg is a quaint town in Germany that is filled with many shops and cafés including the House of 1000 Clocks. The village of Triberg is in the mist of the Black Forest. It is home to the highest waterfall in Germany at 163 meters. The waterfall is definitely a must when visiting Triberg. Visitors can choose to go during the day or at night. On my recent visit to the waterfall, I went at night. I didn’t hike all the way to the top since it was dark. I went to the lower area of the waterfall, which had an amazing view of the waterfall all lit up. Although, I would recommend taking a flashlight if you visit the waterfall at night and plan on hiking up to the top. Next, the House of 1000 Clocks is a store that carries a variety of cuckoo clocks made in the Black Forest area and are available in a variety of sizes. The winding mechanisms on the cuckoo clocks are available in either daily or weekly winds. The smaller clocks require daily winds, and the larger clocks require weekly winds. This store also offers worldwide shipping to customers who buy a cuckoo clock that aren’t from Germany. Finally, some of the classic treats that are popular in the town of Triberg include Black Forest Cake and Pretzels. I went to Café Schäfer that isa small café that sells everything from pastries, pretzels, and cakes. On my recent visit, I decided to try the delicious looking Black Forest Cake. I wanted to share the piece of cake because it was so big, and the lady wasn’t very accommodating. She rudely said to me, “one cake, one fork.” The cake was good, but extremely heavy on the liquor which overpowered the flavor of the cake. I have also included the links of the Triberg Waterfall, the house of 1000 clocks and Café Schäferdown below.

Triberg Waterfall: http://www.triberg.de/index.php?id=159

House of 1000 clocks: https://www.hausder1000uhren.de/index.php?language=en

Café Schäfer: http://www.cafe-schaefer-triberg.de/englishversion/index.html

 

© 2018 Sundown Pointe

Amsterdam Favorites 🇳🇱

Top Five To Do in Amsterdam

  1. Stromma Dinner Cruise
  2. Xtracold Icebar
  3. Try DE NACHTWACHT’S
  4. Diamond museum
  5. Tulip museum

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My first time visiting Amsterdam was earlier this spring, I really enjoyed it. I was surprised with how nicely the city was laid out, and how easy it was to find the attractions that I wanted to see while I was there. I purchased an I Amsterdam city card that allowed access to all the public transport and many museums and attractions. It was very easy to walk around or take the public transportation of trams, buses, and metro. Also, the spring weather was amazing with all the tulips in bloom. It would often be hot and sunny during the day, and then a little cool at night. The things I enjoyed doing were the Stromma dinner cruise, Xtracold Icebar, Diamond Museum, Tulip Museum, and finally eating at DE NACHTWACHT’S. First, the Stromma dinner cruise is a fantastic way to see the city of Amsterdam at night. The cruise lasts a total of 2 ½ hours giving customers the opportunity to enjoy some of Amsterdam’s famous attractions from the canal while enjoying a four-course meal including drinks. Some of the attractions we viewed included the Anne Frank House, the Westerkerk Church, A’DAM LOOKOUT Tower, Maritime Museum, and the Nemo Science Museum. Secondly, a fun evening in Amsterdam was visiting the XtraCold Icebar. The icebar is an attraction that requires entry by reservations. When first entering the bar, customers will be given three tokens each. Two of the tokens are used for two free drinks inside the icebar itself, and the other is used for a complimentary drink in the lounge bar. Customers are given thermal coats and gloves when entering the ice bar to help keep warm since the temperature is -5 °C. When entering the icebar, customers are mesmerized by the ice room that is lit up in colorful lights. In fact, the mug was even made out of ice. It first looked like a frosty mug that was placed in the freezer, but it was actually an ice shaped mug. Gassan Diamond Factory and Museum is a jewelry store in Amsterdam that offers free tours of the factory. During the tour, customers learn all about the facets of grinding the diamond, as well as the history behind the diamonds. We also learn is the four C’s of a diamond. These include cut, color, carat, and clarity. They have their own patent on the Gassan 121 diamond cut that has 121 cuts in the stone allowing more light to pass through the stone giving the stone a brilliant and beautiful sparkle. Next, if you love tulips as much as I do, then the tulip museum is a must. The tulip museum is a great place to learn about the history of tulips. It is also a great place to take kids, especially with all of the different color tulips. The total time it takes to go through the museum is about 30-60 minutes. Also, I always thought tulips were native to Holland, but instead they are native to Central Asia. Finally, DE NACHTWACHT is a steakhouse in Amsterdam located within a four-minute walk from the Xtracold Icebar. It is the best steakhouse in Amsterdam. They also have a variety of seating throughout the dining room, the bar, and the outside patio. The food is a little expensive, but very fresh, which makes it truly worth it. The staff was very well trained, and they take very good care of their customers. I look forward to going back someday! Here is the link to the I Amsterdam city card: https://www.iamsterdam.com/en/i-am/i-amsterdam-city-card

© 2018 Sundown Pointe

 

New England Aquarium (Boston)

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If you’re in Boston looking for a kid friendly activity, I highly recommend the New England aquarium. The New England aquarium is located across from Faneuil Hall on the harbor on State Street and is one of Boston’s popular attractions. It houses up to more than a thousand aquatic animals.Some of the animals include African penguin, American lobster, Atlantic harbor seal, Sea lions, Sea turtle, Horseshoecrab, Leafy seadragon, Starfish, Sea urchin, electric eel, green moray eel, and a variety of fish. As visitors walk in, they will find a touching tank exhibit allowing kids to touch three different types of stingrays including Haller’s round rays, yellow round rays, and cownose rays as well as zebra sharks. My favorite was the sea lion exhibit. The sea lions loved showing off to the crowd by swimming towards us as we watched them through the glass. I remember as I was taking a picture, one of the sea lions turned its head away as if they were saying they didn’t want their picture taken. On the other hand, another sea lion spotted a group of young kids and excitedly waddled over to the kids to put on a display. I added a short video below for your enjoyment. If you are interested in checking out the New England aquarium online, click here: http://www.neaq.org

© 2018 Sundown Pointe

 

 

 

Stromma Dinner Cruise in Amsterdam

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An amazing way to see the city of Amsterdam at night is taking a dinner cruise. Customers can choose between two different cruise lines which include Lovers Canal Cruises and Stromma Canal Tours. Lovers Canal Cruises is a little more expensive than the Stromma Canal Tours. I went on the Stromma cruise, which lasted 2 ½ hours giving customers the opportunity to enjoy Amsterdam’s famous attractions from the canal, while enjoying a four-course meal including drinks. The food that was served was very delicious from start to finish. The appetizers, second course, and dessert were all a set menu except the main course, which customers were allowed to choose between veal, salmon, or vegetable lasagna. For my main meal, I enjoyed the veal served with a potato and bok choy. I enjoyed the variety selection of desserts that included light and airy vanilla curds served with rhubarb, chocolate mousse, and a macaroon. Some of the attractions we passed on the tour included the Anne Frank House, the Westerkerk Church, A’DAM LOOKOUT Tower, Maritime Museum, and the Nemo Science Museum. The atmosphere was very calming and romantic with candlelight in the background and the rope lighting on the arched bridges. I didn’t like that the tables were crammed up next to each other on the cruise because I felt like I was eating with another couple. The customers didn’t have any privacy to talk to their loved ones, especially when the neighboring table would overhear our conversation and interrupt or join into the conversation uninvited. I would definitely do the dinner cruise again the next time I visit Amsterdam.  I have also included the links to the Lover’s dinner cruise and the Stromma dinner cruise if any of you are interested in enjoying an evening dinner cruise on the canal in Amsterdam.

Stromma: https://www.stromma.nl/amsterdam/dining-cruises/rondvaart-diner/amsterdam-dinner-cruise/

Lovers Canal Cruise: https://www.lovers.nl

© 2018 Sundown Pointe