Category Archives: Travel

Great adventure in Italy

I finally visited Italy this year. It was an amazing trip. I spent 3 days in Venice, 4 in Florence, and 5 in Rome. Florence and Rome could have used a week or more on their own. Florence was really cool, especially because I watched Davinci’s Demons.


Many of the historical names and facts were interesting to see in context. The Medici Palace was very largest and ornate. It amazes me how much effort Italians make to blend the historical architecture with new buildings. I also found that the pizza somehow tastes better there and there is a gelato shop on every street corner.


How do you define a word?

Ask a dozen people what “market” means and you’ll get several different answers.  But where do you draw the line between advertising liberty and just plain exaggeration.  I arrived in Boston last night for a week of training.  I’m staying at the Courtyard Marriott on Tremont Street.  I was excited to see they listed a 24-hour market in the lobby when I made my reservation.  Having stayed in Toronto, San Francisco, and Philadelphia that have urban markets like DiBruno Brothers Deli, a market would be a great feature.

After checking in and getting to my room I had some time to relax.  The room is very nice; wonderfully decorated and very clean.  The parking garage out the window isn’t very exciting, but I’m not planning to sit by the window and watch the sunset.  The bathroom is very large with a walk in shower and steamy hot water, mostly steam all the way to the “H”.

Feeling refreshed after the drive from Rochester to Boston, I decided to go down and get some dinner and pick up some breakfast items at the market.  As I stepped off the elevator I saw a sign for the “Market” but there wasn’t an arrow in either direction. I quickly realized that the “Market” was a closet next to the sign.  As it turns out they took a small closet, installed shelves on two walls, and a bottle cooler on the third.

Most of the items didn’t have prices on them, but I wasn’t really prepared to explore the neighborhood at 9pm, looking for a grocery store, so I picked up a couple minimal items to get me by until the next day.  As it turns out, there are several stores within 3 blocks of the hotel.  I suggest that the Marriott marketing folks should be required to do all their shopping at the “Market” and see if they realize where they went wrong.

The Conservatory in Golden Gate Park

The Conservatory has a special holiday display of San Francisco buildings as models with running trains and great tropical plants.  The de Young Museum has a few interesting exhibits but the Academy of Science offered far more interesting displays about nature and science.

Golden Gate Park Conservatory

Alamo Square happened to be along my walk and I stumbled across the houses that seem to depict San Fancisco in numerous TV shows and other media.

Houses on the hill

Houses on the hill

Muir Woods National Park

The North Bay is a very vibrant and quaint collection of communities.  Mill Valley has an amazing mix of local shops.  The hot chocolate at The Depot was delicious but the chocolate brownie was more chocolate than flour and melts in your mouth.  There is a great comedy club to check out on Tuesday night. The Bay Model in Sausalito is a great way to get the birds eye view of the pacific, bays, and watershed.  There is a great little restaurant in Tiburon called Sam’s that sits right on the water with a gorgeous view of the boats and San Francisco in the background.  Hiking in the redwoods at Muir Woods would be a great way to spend any Saturday.  I would have liked to go all the way to the beach but I had other things to see.  Maybe next time I’ll take the whole day: breakfast in Tiburon, hiking in Muir Woods, and lunch at Mill Valley.  I have a number of pictures from the walk to the Marina district and the North Bay on SmugMug.


Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge