Charleston, SC & Savannah, GA – A Sites & Bites Mini-Holiday Guide

 

Hello Fellow Travelers:

 

Welcome to our world of business information, adventure, birding, botanical gardens, good eating and fine wines.  This newsletter provides you with “A Sites & Bites Mini-Holiday Guide for Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA.

 

Please share it with your friends, customers and associates.  You can also access over 100 cities on our blog plus lots of other helpful travel tips at:  SitesandBites.com/blog/index.php

 

Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA

 

Events & Exhibitions

Announce your activity – here – now!   Ask us how you can list your event that includes a link to your site.  See our Advertising section for details.

 

Birding Opps:  Info for our birding friends.  In the Low Country you can see these species: Swallow-Tailed Kite, Painted and Indigo Buntings, Black-Necked Stilt, Purple Gallinule and Scarlet Tanager.

 

 

The Cape Romain Bird Observatory (crbo.net) – provides what, when and where for breeding, migrating and wintering seabirds.

Steve at the Charleston Audubon (charlestonaudubon.org) is continuing to work on an interactive birdsite providing timely tips.

The Carolina Bird Club (carolinabirdclub.org) generates a larger picture of birding in the Low Country.

 

Transportation:  Check out this site for local transport (charlestoncvb.com).

Amtrak (www.amtrak.com) – Your connection to more than 500 stations in 46 states. For online information and train schedules visit www.amtrak.com or call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245)

 

Business Information:  Here is help in regard to your business: (crda.org)

 

Day One:  After dropping your bags at your hotel our Cousin suggests seeing Ft. Sumter.

 

 

This is where the first shot of the American Civil War was fired.  If you have your own boat visiting Ft. Sumter is free and easy, but chances are you don’t have your own boat.  In that case you need a tour company, like we did, (http://fortsumtertours.com/) who will take you there and bring you back.

At the Fort the National Park Service Rangers will provide details about the pivotal roll it played in the American Civil War.

 

Next let’s visit the Charleston Museum – M-Sa: 9-5, Su: 1-5, 360 Meeting St, 843-722-2996

 

 

They claim to be America’s First Museum.  It was founded in 1773, and its mission is to preserve and interpret the cultural and natural history of Charleston and the South Carolina Low Country.

Here we see artifacts, slave badges, “Dave” jars, Civil War memorabilia, a Natural History gallery with contributions from Audubon, Michaux and Catesby, a Textiles gallery and the Loeblain Gallery of Charleston Silver.

 

If you haven’t heard about Husk – L & D: Daily, 76 Queen St, 843-577-2500 you should keep on going to Mickey D’s.

 

 

Sean presents tough choices, like the skillet of cornbread with Tennessee bacon and honey pork butter or the wood fired chicken wings, spicy honey BBQ with candied pecans for starters.

Follow this with the cornmeal fried oyster sandwich with malt vinegar, green tomato Chow Chow and scallion remoulade or the shrimp and Geechie Boy grits, smoky tomato broth, spring onions, sweet peas and HUSK cotechino.

Our wine is the ‘10, Sicily-Etna Rosso-Fattorie Romeo del Castello “Allegracore”.  Dessert is the heirloom Carolina gold rice pudding.

 

Shopping in Charleston includes a visit to the City Market – Daily: 9:30-5:30, 188 Meeting St, 843-937-0920.

 

 

The Market has been a central part of life in Charleston for over 200 years. The Greek Revival-style Market Hall building facing Meeting Street was completed in 1841, and today houses the Daughters of the Confederacy Museum.

In the Market you will find clothing, jewelry, souvenirs, food items, artwork, and crafts of all kinds – including the Low Country’s famous sweetgrass baskets.

 

A strong recommendation from Cousin Scott is a walk along The Battery.  It stretches along the shores of the Charleston peninsula and is bordered by the Ashley and Cooper Rivers.  The Battery is famous for its antebellum homes that include Louis DeSaussure House, Roper House, Villa Margherita and William Washington House.

From the High Battery you can see Fort Sumter, Castle Pinckney, the USS Yorktown, Fort Moultrie and Sullivan’s Island.  This area is also known as White Point Gardens named for the piles of bleached oyster shells.  The canons were installed here as a line of defense in the War of 1812.

 

Our last stop before dinner is the Magnolia Plantation – Daily: 8-5:30, 3550 Ashley River Rd, 843-571-1266

 

 

The Magnolia Plantation and Gardens were founded in 1676 by the Drayton family.  It is the oldest public tourist site in the Low Country and the oldest public gardens in America.

The plantation house provides a look at life in the 19th century.  Ten rooms are open to the public, furnished with early-American antiques, porcelain, quilts, and other Drayton family heirlooms.  The History Room provides more information on the current owners of the Plantation.  There is a guide here to answer your questions.

 

 

The gardens were opened to the public in the early 1870’s, but some sections are more than 325 years old.  Today there are various varieties of flowers from camellias, daffodils, to azalea’s and countless other species in bloom year round.

 

Let’s have dinner at Fig – D: M-Sa, 232 Meeting St, 843-805-5900 where “the food is good”.

 

 

Start with the marinated razor clams with fennel, golden raisins, pine nuts and preserved lemon or the salad of nine spring vegetables with ramp vinaigrette and brown bread croutons.

For our entrée we like the cornflour dusted jumbo flounder with Yukon gold puree, cauliflower and piquillo pepper piccata or the shrimp, squid, mussel and potato fish stew with rouille.

Our wine is the ’12 Alzinger Liebenberg Riesling.  For dessert it’s the sticky sorghum cake with calvados ice cream.

 

Day Two:  Cousin Scott recommends breakfast at the Hominy Grill – B,L,D: Daily, 207 Rutledge Ave, 843-937-0930.

 

 

We enjoy the pumpkin ginger bread, eggs, hominy grits and double-cut bacon.   They also have buttermilk pancakes and shrimps and grits with scallions, mushrooms and sausage.

 

Our Low Country journey to Savannah takes us to Beaufort (Byoo-furt) where the first meeting to draft the Ordinance of Secession took place.  The region is known as a center for the Gullah people who were brought here from West Africa to be sold as slaves.

 

A must stop is The Penn Center – M-Sa: 9-4, 16 Penn Center Cir W, St. Helena Island, 843-838-2432 that offers a historical perspective of the Gullah.

 

 

For more than 150 years the Penn Center has been the epicenter of African American education, historic preservation and social justice for tens of thousands of formerly enslaved West Africans living in the Sea Islands, known as the Gullah Geechee people.

The Gullah people have continued to survive to today and represent the most tangible living example of one of the outcomes of the Port Royal Experiment, a plan by the federal government to “test the capabilities of the Negro for freedom and self-support” during the Civil War.

 

The John Mark Verdier House – M-Sa: 10-4, 801 Bay St, 843-379-6335, also known as Lafayette Building, is an interesting place to visit.

 

 

This Federal-style mansion is one of the finest examples of 19th century architecture.  The kitchen, bathroom and closets were located outside.  It served as the HQ for Civil War Union soldiers, and it was the first telephone exchange in Beaufort.

 

Despite the name the Foolish Frog – L & D: M-Sa, 846 Sea Island Parkway, St. Helena, 843-838-9300 is our lunch spot.

 

 

We can’t say no to the hot oil fried pickle chips with garlic dill butter or the wok fried Vietnamese chicken wings that are tossed in lemon grass chili ginger.  Our main is Charlie’s crab cake sandwich on a toasted bun or the oyster Po boy.  Wash it down with a cold beer.

 

After arriving in Savannah we think that it’s fitting to visit the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist – Call for hours (The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist can be visited most days, with the exception of much of Sunday. When you approach the Cathedral you will notice if they have a sign out front. The sign will usually let you know if the Cathedral is closed to guests. Otherwise, head over to the far right door on the front of the Cathedral and go inside), 222 E. Harris Street, 912-233-4709

 

 

The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist was built in 1873. It was dedicated on April 30 1876, by the Most Reverend James Roosevelt Bayley, who was the Archbishop of Baltimore. The spires were added in 1896.

The interior of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is one of the most impressive interiors of any building in Savannah. The stained glass windows, executed by the Innsbruck Glassmakers in the Austrian Tyrol, were installed in the Cathedral around 1904. Christopher Murphy, an artist from Savannah directed a firm of artists in the painting of the murals.

 

Tonight we are dining at Local 11Ten – D: Nighlty, 1110 Bull St, 912-790-9000

 

 

For a relaxed beginning we like to share an order of the warm castelvetrano olives, roasted garlic, tomato, feta cheese, merlot vinegar and grilled bread or the chef’s selection charcuterie, pickled vegetables with house mustard and crackers.  Accompany this with at least one glass of the ‘08 Mont Marcal, Cava Reserva.

Or you might want to share one of the above and the local rabbit galantine, baby carrot, pink peppercorn granola, farm beans and white chocolate-celeriac puree.

For our entrees we like the seared sea scallops, baby apple, fingerling potatoes, black garlic bisque, buttermilk cream and sorrel or the milk-braised lamb belly, chive potato puree, peas, carrots napped with a black garlic veloute.

A nice wine with either is the ’09 Pinot Noir by Argyle, Willamette Valley.  For dessert we enjoy the chocolate torte.

 

Day Three: Breakfast is memorable at Narobia’s Gravy & Grits – B & L: M-Sa, 2019 Habersham St, 912-231-0563

 

 

Everything is really good.  Sausage gravy and biscuits, smothered shrimp with grits, French toast, hash browns, omelets and crab stew.  Let the good times roll.

 

Let’s start our day at the Telfair Museums of Art – Tu-Sa: 10-5, Su: 1-5, M: 12-5, 121 Barnard St, 912-790-8800

 

 

Their permanent collection of paintings, works on paper, photography, sculpture, and decorative arts contains over 4,500 objects from America, Europe, and Asia, dating primarily from the 18th-20th centuries.

Highlights include examples of American Impressionism, with major paintings by Childe Hassam, Frederick Frieseke, and Gari Melchers. Ashcan School paintings filled with strong colors and bravura brush strokes are represented with works by Robert Henri, George Bellows and George Luks. The collection also includes several works by European expatriate Julian Story.

 

The Jepson Center – Su,M: 12-5, Tu-Sa: 10-5, Th: till 8, 207 W.York Street, on the corner of Barnard and W. York, 912-790-8800

 

 

The Jepson Center is home to the Telfair’s Kirk Varnedoe Collection. The collection features works on paper by Jasper Johns, Chuck Close, Roy Lichtenstein, Jeff Koons, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella and Richard Avedon.

The museum’s contemporary collection also features works by William Christenberry, Helen Levitt, Sam Gilliam, James Brooks and many notable Georgia artists.

 

The Owens-Thomas House – Su,M: 1-5, Tu-Sa: 10-5, The house is on the northeast corner, at 124 Abercorn Street. Enter at the Carriage House on President St, 912-790-8800

 

 

The stately former residence is now a historic house museum. It boasts a decorative arts collection comprised primarily of Owens family furnishings, along with American and European objects dating from 1750-1830. The site also includes a beautiful English-inspired parterre garden and an original carriage house-which contains one of the earliest intact urban slave quarters in the South.

 

At lunch time in Savannah head for Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House – L: M-F, 107 W Jones St, 912-232-5997 and get in line.  They don’t take reservations or credit cards.

 

 

Find a seat at one of the large tables for ten and help yourself to platters of fried chicken and cornbread dressing, sweet potato souffle, black-eyed peas, okra gumbo, corn muffins and biscuits.  The menu changes daily so regulars can have something different every day.  We suggest the unsweetened ice tea for your beverage.

 

The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Museum – Sa,Su: 12-5, Tu-F: 10-5, Th: till 8, 601 Turner Blvd, 912-525-7191 is worth a stop.

 

 

The museum building, itself a work of art, was constructed in1853.  The original walls feature handmade Savannah gray bricks, and it is the oldest surviving antebellum railroad depot in the country. In 2011, this National Historic Landmark was transformed into an award-winning, modern museum building by architect Christian Sottile, a SCAD alumnus and dean of the SCAD School of Building Arts.

The museum’s permanent collection includes the Walter O. Evans Collection of African American Art, a Modern and Contemporary Art Collection, the Earle W. Newton Collection of British and American Art, the 19th- and 20th-century Photography Collection, and the SCAD Costume Collection.

 

Forsyth Park – Open Daily: Dawn to Dusk, is the largest park in the historic district of Savannah. The Park covers 30 acres of land just south of Gaston Street and north of Park Avenue. The east border of Forsyth Park is Drayton Street and on the west is Whitaker.

 

 

For locals and tourists Forsyth Park is a hub of social interaction. Concerts, recreation sports, people watching, sun bathing, reading, relaxing can all be seen going on. On Saturdays there is a great Farmers’ Market.  Our favorite place here is the large fountain at the north end of the Park. The fountain was built in 1858. It resembles a few other fountains found around the world, including fountains in Paris and Peru.

 

Our last gustatory indulgence in Savannah takes us to A.Lure Restaurant – D: M-Sa, 309 West Congress St, 912-233-2111

 

 

We suggest starting with the pork and mango pot stickers with jicama slaw in a mango jalapeno BBQ sauce or the gruyere and onion tart with a warm apple compote and balsamic gastrique.

For the next course the choice is the Low Country Boil of shrimp, crab cake, baby potatoes, smoked sausage, collards,a sweet corn soufflé in an Old Bay hollandaise or the pan seared sea scallops, sweet pea and baby carrot risotto, shiitake mushrooms, ginger-carrot reduction with sweet pea coulis.

A good wine choice is the ‘09 Château Génot-Boulanger – Meursault.  Dessert is the pineapple polenta upside down cake with a blueberry ginger compote and caramel lime ice cream.

 

Until next time, best wishes and happy travels,

Dick & Dee Welge aka Mr. & Mrs. Sites & Bites

© 2014 R.E. Welge All Rights Reserved. Use of this website constitutes acceptance of the of sitesandbites.com Any business use without permission forfeits your right to “shrimp boil”.

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Jerusalem – A Sites & Bites Mini-Holiday Guide

 

Hello Fellow Travelers:

 

Welcome to our world of business information, adventure, birding, botanical gardens, good eating and fine wines.  This newsletter provides you with “A Sites & Bites Mini-Holiday Guide for Jerusalem

 

Please share it with your friends, customers and associates.  You can also access over 140 cities on our blog plus lots of other helpful travel tips at:  SitesandBites.com/blog/index.php

 

Jerusalem

 

Events & Exhibitions

Announce your activity – here – now!   Ask us how you can list your event that includes a link to your site.  See our Advertising section for details.

 

Birding Opps:  Info for our birding friends.

 

 

The Jerusalem Bird Observatory (http://natureisrael.org/JBO) is centrally located and a magnet for migratory and wintering birds that include: Wrynecks, Palenstine Sunbirds, Spectacled Bulbuls, and the Israel National Bird, the Hoopoe.

 

Birding Israel ( birdingisrael.com) brings you migration reports plus common and not so common birding sites.

 Israel Hotspots is a site (camacdonald.com/) that list facts and is a reference for other birding sites.

 

Transportation This is your site for getting around on public transportation –  (goisrael.com goisrael.com)

 

Business Information:  Here is help in regard to your business: (ourcrowd.com)

 

Day One:  After dropping your bags at your hotel our cousin suggest that our first stop be the Temple Mount.

 

 

The Temple Mount is the most important historical and archeological site in the State of Israel. The site is where King Solomon built the First Temple.  The Second Temple was built on the site of the first, at first by the Jews, and then later, in grandeur and splendor, by Herod the Great.

The Temple Mount is sacred to Christianity because it is the site of the Holy Temple. In the southeast corner of the Temple Mount compound is the spot known as “The Cradle of Jesus” or Kursi Issa in Arabic, where Jesus’ mother put down the baby Jesus when she came to the Temple to offer a sacrifice following the birth of the baby.

The Temple Mount is the third most sacred site in Islam, following Mecca and Medina. Islam recognized the earlier traditions of Judaism and Christianity regarding the Temple Mount, adding traditions of its own.

The Temple Mount is an ancient site of religious ritual of the greatest historic importance in the annals of human culture, and of the Jewish people in particular.

 

The Western Wall, Wailing Wall, our next stop is located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount.

 

 

The Western Wall refers to the exposed section facing a large plaza in the Jewish Quarter, and to the sections concealed behind structures running along the whole length of the Temple Mount.

With the rise of the Zionist movement in the early 20th century, the wall became a source of friction between the Jewish community and the Muslim religious leadership, who were worried that the wall was being used to further Jewish nationalistic claims to the Temple Mount and Jerusalem. Outbreaks of violence at the foot of the wall became commonplace and an international commission was convened in 1930 to determine the rights and claims of Muslims and Jews in connection with the wall.

After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War the wall came under Jordanian control and Jews were barred from the site for 19 years until Israel captured the Old City in 1967 and three days later bulldozed the adjacent 770-year old Moroccan Quarter.

 

It’s almost a must that we stop at the Mehane Yahuda Market Su-Th: 8-7, F: 8-3, Bounded by Jaffa Road  to the north, Agrippa Street to the south, Beit Yaakov Street to the west, and Klach Street  to the east.

 

 

After a stroll through the market we suggest a lunch stop at Azura – B & L: Su-F, 8 Mehane Yehuda St.

 

 

Specialties include meatballs in a fresh tomato sauce, freshly prepared hummus, Sephardi chicken stew, Kubbeh soup (ground meat and semolina dumplings in a lemony broth) and many other Middle Eastern delicacies.

 

Next let’s visit the Tower of David Museum located near the Jaffa Gate in the Old City, Su-Th: 9-4, F,Sa: 9-2

 

 

The Tower of David Museum depicts the city’s history in a chronological sequence beginning in the 2nd millennia BC to the present.

 

It’s important to visit Yad Vashem – Su-W: 9-5, Th: (-8, F: 9-2, The Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority Har Hazikaron

 

 

As the Jewish people’s living memorial to the Holocaust, Yad Vashem safeguards the memory of the past, and imparts its meaning for future generations. Established in 1953, as the world center for documentation, research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust, Yad Vashem is today a dynamic and vital place of intergenerational and international encounter.

 

Dinner is at Chakra – L: Sa, D: Nightly, King George 41, 972 2 625 2733

 

 

For our first course we share a plate of Syrian olives, chopped liver and lemon garlic cauliflower while enjoying the local Vitkin Rielsing.  Our main is the sardine pasta and lamb gnocchi or the mushroom risotto and the sea bream.  Our wine choice is the Flam Superiore Syrah.  Dessert is the Tahini ice cream, honey and pine nuts.

 

Day Two: Breakfast is at Aroma – B,L,D: Su-Th, B,L: F, King George 14, 026 25 9102

 

 

They have a great coffee selection and our Power breakfast comes with eggs, a big salad that includes feta, a cream cheese and avocado spread plus baked bread and butter.  French toast, croissants and muesli are also available.

 

Today we start our tour at the The Church of the Holy Sepulchre where it is said Jesus was crucified and buried.

 

 

It has been a pilgrimage destination since the 4th century and the site of the resurrection of Jesus. Today it serves as the headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem.  The control of the building is shared among several Christian churches and secular entities in complicated arrangements unchanged for centuries.

It is home to Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, Anglican and Protestant Christians.

 

Our cousin wants us to see the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo – Su-Th: 9-6, F: 9-4:30, Sa: 10-6, Derech Aharon Shulov 1, 02-6750111

 

 

The Zoo is set on 62 acres in a valley surrounded by green hills, and it encircles a small lake that is fed by pools and waterfalls.  Its mission is to preserve rare animals from the land of Israel with a special emphasis in species mentioned in the Bible. The zoo exists thanks to the generosity of Tisch family of New York.

 

At Darna – L & D: Su-Th, 3 Horkanos St, 02 624 5406 we enjoy a Moroccan feast.

 

 

It begins with phyllo pastry filled with Cornish hen and almonds decorated with powdered sugar and cinnamon or the Moroccan soup with coriander, chickpeas, lentils and veal served with dates and lemon.

For our main we like the veal tagine with red peppers and barley or the couscous with lamb, prunes and raisins.  Our wine is the ’97 Barkan Merlot Reserve.  Desserts are indescribable and decadent.

 

The Western Wall Tunnel is located under the buildings of the Old City Jerusalem and was constructed by King Herod in 19 BC.

 

 

After the destruction of the Temple it was the closest area to the Temple’s Holy of Holies and a place of Jewish prayer for millennia.  Today it is possible to enter the tunnel’s southern entrance near the Western Wall, tour the tunnel and exit from the Northern end.

 

From below the city to above where we get another perspective, is the Ramparts Walk – Su- Th: 9-4, F: 9-2, 972 2 6277550, The Walk can be accessed from Jaffa, Damascus, Lion’s and Zion Gates.

 

 

It’s about 2 ½ miles long with lots of ups and downs and it offers no facilities.  It was built by Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th Century.  The view from the walk does offer a look at everyday life, wash on the lines and soccer playing.  Special sightings include: the Christian and Moslem quarters, the Rockefeller Museum and the Mount of Olives cemetery.

 

In 1868 the first stones were laid outside of the Old City walls establishing the new city of Jerusalem. The building that houses our restaurant this evening was one of the first to be built outside the Old City walls. 1868 Restaurant – L & D: Su-Th, 10 King David St, 02 622 2312

 

 

You can start with the salad composed of endive and lettuce leaf with vegetable roots, cherry tomatoes, smoked bread in raspberry vinaigrette or the sea fish tartar with pickled spring vegetables and peas.  With this course enjoy a glass of the ’05 Yarden Blanc de Blancs.

For our main course we like the lamb ragout with purple potatoes, roasted carrots and eucalyptus oil or the pasta with duck confit, green olives and tomato fondue with a garlic and lemon vinaigrette.  Our wine choice is the ’08 Recanti Special Reserve.  Dessert is their chocolate soup that is poured over fruit, berries and cookies.

 

Day Three Breakfast at the Coffee Bean – B: Daily, 34 Yafo St, 02 6320289

 

 

Not only do they have lots of coffee choices, they have pastries, yogurt and granola, smoked salmon, frittatas, and eggs with assorted sides.

 

A visit to the Herodion National Park makes for an interesting excursion this morning.

 

 

Herod the Great built a fortress, a palace and a small town and named it after himself between 23 and 15 BC.  It is on the highest peak in the Judah desert.  The palace had extravagant living quarters that included a bath house, a Roman theater, banquet rooms and an impressive dome that is still in good condition.  Booking a tour for this site is strongly recommended.

 

The Rockefeller Archeological Museum – Su,M,W,Th: 10-3, Sa: 10-2, The Old City, 972 2 670 8074

 

 

The Rockefeller Archeological Museum opened in 1938 consolidating collections of the Brits and a Franciscan Biblical Museum.  After a few more conflicts and territorial juggling it has been jointly managed by the Israel Museum and the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Artifacts are arranged chronologically from 2 million years ago to 1700 AD.  The 8th century wooden panels from the al-Aqsa Mosque and the 12th century lintels from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre are memorable.

 

Lunch is at Adom – L & D: Daily, First Station, David Remez 4, 02 624 6242

 

 

Our starter is the Drum fish sashimi with artichoke, grapes and pickled beet root topped with yogurt or the sautéed sweetbreads, artichoke, cherry tomatoes and garlic on cauliflower puree.

For our main we like the black risotto with seafood in red curry sauce topped with coriander or the baked sea bream stuffed with mushrooms, ginger, mozzarella and basil with mashed potatoes.  The ’11 Flan Classico is a good match.   Dessert is the seasonal fruit tart or the chocolate and peanut butter mousse.

 

The Bible Lands Museum – Su,M,Tu,Th: 9:30-5;30, W: 9:30-9:30, F,Sa: 10-2, 21 Stefan Wise Street, Museum Row, 972 2-561-1066

 

 

The Bible Lands Museum explores the culture of the peoples mentioned in the Bible, among them the ancient Egyptians, Canaanites, Philistines, Arameans, Hittites, Elamites, Phoenicians and Persians.

The permanent collection invites you to embark on a journey through the ancient lands of the Bible, tracing history from the dawn of civilization to the early Christian era. The treasures on display represent the physical evidence of civilizations and events described in the Bible.

Traditions, rituals, religions, and cultures are revealed through ancient ivories, mosaics, jewelry, seals, terra cotta and stone sculptures. The cultures of ancient Egypt, Sumer, Assyria and Babylon come to life before you.

 

Close by is the Israel Museum – Su,M,W,Th: 10-5, Tu: 4-9, F: 10-2, Sa: 10-5, Located on Ruppin Boulevard, near the Knesset,  02-6708811

 

 

Among the highlights of the Museum’s original campus is the Shrine of the Book, designed by Armand Bartos and Frederick Kiesler, which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest biblical manuscripts in the world, as well as rare early medieval biblical manuscripts.

Adjacent to the Shrine is the Model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period, which reconstructs the topography and architectural character of the city as it was prior to its destruction by the Romans in 66 CE, and provides historical context to the Shrine’s presentation of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The Museum’s Billy Rose Art Garden, designed for the original campus by Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi, is among the finest outdoor sculpture settings of the 20th century. The garden serves as the backdrop for the Israel Museum’s display of the evolution of the modern western sculptural tradition.

On view are works by modern masters including Jacques Lipchitz, Henry Moore, Claes Oldenburg, Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin, and David Smith, together with more recent site-specific commissions by such artists as Magdalena Abakanowicz, Mark Dion, James Turrell, and Micha Ullman.

 

Our final meal on this Sites & Bites Mini-Holiday is at The Eucalyptus Restaurant – D: Sa-Th, Felt, 14 Hativat Yerushalayim St, 972 2-624-4331

 

 

Our starters include figs stuffed with chicken in tamarind sauce or the eggplant stuffed with meat and homemade tahini.  For our mains we have veal meatballs with okra and tomato sauce or the lamb and vegetables baked over night in a clay pot.

The seared Mallard in red wine with sweet dates is another specialty.  Try the Nes Harim by Katlav as your wine choice.  Dessert is Ice from Paradise.

 

Until next time, best wishes and happy travels,

Dick & Dee Welge aka Mr. & Mrs. Sites & Bites

© 2014 R.E. Welge All Rights Reserved. Use of this website constitutes acceptance of the Web Site Rules and Regulations of sitesandbites.com.  Any business use without permission forfeits your right to “Hummus”

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Costa Rica – A Sites & Bites Adventure

Welcome Fellow Travelers:

In 1502 Christopher Columbus visited the area and named it “rich coast” or Costa Rica.  Coffee was introduced in 1808.  In 1838 Costa Rica became fully independent.  Bananas and the United Fruit Company arrived in 1874.

 

In 1949 Costa Rica adopted a new constitution that abolished their armed forces and began an ambitious socialist program that included a social security system and potable water –important for tourism.  Like politics everywhere there have been clinkers along the way.

 

Oscar Arias has been a central figure in recent Costa Rican development.  He served as President of Costa Rica from 1986 to 1990 and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his efforts to end the Central American crisis.  He also served as President from 2006 to 2010.

 

He is credited with the transformation of Costa Rica’s economy from coffee and bananas to flowers, fruits and tourism.

 

Our journey provides you with an overview of Costa Rica plus useful information about cultural activities and, of course, dining.  Visiting Costa Rica was a lifelong ambition for us for one primary reason.  We have become intrigued and involved with flora and fauna.

 

Specifically, Dee’s involvement with the Narberth Garden Tour, her garden club and lastly our joint involvement with the Philadelphia Horticultural Society via the Philadelphia Flower Show have served as impetuses.

 

In addition, I have been adding a Birding component to our Sites & Bites Mini-Holiday Guides.  

 

Birding Opps:  Info for our birding friends.  Costa Rica is a birders’ paradise. Here you can see Montezuma Oropendola, Wood Storks, Toucans, Northern Jacanas and many other birds including several endangered species.

 

 

 

 

Business Info:  Here’s a good place to start your Costa Rica business education (costarica.net/features/business.htm)

 

Transportation: This site provides a complete listing of all schedules for public buses, ferries, and international transfers from Costa Rica – (anywherecostarica.com/transportation/bus).

For your trip through Costa Rica we suggest using a tour company, or hiring a guide and driver.

 

Tour Company Recommendation:  After several decades of independent travel around our world researching, designing and publishing our promotional Sites & Bites maps and guides, we are using a tour company and letting them make our travel arrangements including air and hotel.

 

There are numerous reasons that we are using GCT/OAT.  Foremost, we feel they give us great value.  The on location guides we have experienced have been local and knowledgeable.  It’s very important to my research that there is balance between “on your own time” and group activity.  The “on your own time” allows us to search out sites & bites that might be more sophisticated and lesser known for our visitors and readers at Sitesandbites.com.

 

Mr. Sites & Bites endorses GCT/OAT, and suggests that you check out the offerings at gct.com. As an incentive they will give you $100 per person off any of their vacations if you mention my name Richard Welge, my customer number 001062784E, and Service Code VAB1012.  Complete disclosure: we receive $100 for your participation, and you will too when recommending travelers after your first trip.

 

We hope to meet you on our next GCT/OAT journey.  Much of the R & D for our Costa Rica Sites & Bites Mini-Holiday Guide was done during an OAT trip.

 

After arriving in San Jose and checking in to our hotel, we headed out for dinner at La Esquina de Buenos Aires – B,L,D: Daily, Calle 11 esquina Av 4, Tel: 506 2223 1909 where I had made a reservation online from my office and they had confirmed.  It was one of our guide Liza’s favorites, and now it’s one of ours.

 

 

This was definitely our kind of place.  We started with an order of shrimp ajillo (garlic), bread and a bottle of Portillo Malbec.  Then Dee had the papperadelle with a veal sauce, and I had the lomito al Malbec – tenderloin beef in a Malbec wine and rosemary sauce with au gratin potatoes.

 

 

Our waitress was a good sport and very efficient.  Our taxi driver gave us an overview of San Jose going to and from the restaurant.

 

In San Jose we enjoyed a walk through the National Park where we visited the National Theater – Tu-Su: 9-4, Second Ave. and Fifth St, 506 221 1329.  The building’s interior is quite spectacular—the marble staircases, golden ceilings, and patterned wood floors alone are worth the visit.

Below our guide Liza is giving us background information.  The scaffolding on the left is a part of the preparation for the next show.

 

 

 

Below is the room where dignitaries are welcomed.  While visiting we were treated to a rehearsal by 2 musicians that are barely visible in the rear of the room.

 

 

On our drive through the Central Valley to Alajuela we stopped to see the La Paz Waterfall.

 

 

Almost across the highway in Sinchona was a secluded area where we saw hundreds of humming birds at Elizabeth’s Hummingbird soda, as well as many other bird varieties.  Cousin Jackie contributed this photogenic violet-sabre wing.

 

 

At the Doka Estate – Alajuela, Poas & the Airport Area, 506 2449 5152, a 100 year old coffee finca, we learned how the bean from the coffee plant becomes a fabulous cup of coffee (very labor intensive). We walked through the plantations and the roasting factory where we enjoyed the aroma of 8 different roasts of coffee.

 

 

Our coffee guide explained the roasting process which was followed by a tasting and lots of purchases.

 

 

We enjoyed a Costa Rican lunch at their restaurant “La Cajuela” – B & L: Daily.

 

 

We traveled on to Ara Ambigua, where our eco-friendly lodgings were alongside the Tirimbina Biological Reserve, a lush tropical rain forest teeming with native fauna.  The land varies in altitude from 112 to 9,500 feet, which is a big reason so many migratory birds are here – more than 300 species of them.

 

After breakfast we drove to the Rio Sarapiqui that flows into the San Juan River and the Lake of Nicaragua.  Here we enjoyed a 2 hour rafting trip (class 2) that was beautiful and fun.

 

 

After lunch Liza took most of us on a tour of an organic pineapple finca, Corsicana in Sarapiqui,  where we learned about pineapple cultivation and how the regions fertile volcanic soil nurtures the “Fruit of Kings”.  The pineapple was delicious.

 

 

Our guide Michael, who called himself Michael Rockefeller, was very entertaining.  His continual reference to Michael Rockefeller was strange.  Michael Rockefeller, the son of Nelson, was dismembered and cannibalized at age 23 in 1961 by the Asmat in what was then the Dutch West Indies.  You can read the full story in the March, 2014 Edition of the Smithsonian.

At any rate Michael Pineapple taught us how to select the perfect pineapple – green top, good shape, big uniform eyes and a golden bottom, sounds and was delicious.  At the end of the tour we enjoyed a Pina Colada.

 

 

After dinner at our hotel we were treated to an enlighting presentation on Costa Rica’s bats, which represent more than 50% of the country’s mammal population.  There are 113 species.

 

 

 

The next day after breakfast we boarded our bus and Olman, our driver, drove us to the Tirimbina Biological Reserve.  Here we saw many varieties of birds such as the Montezuma Oropendola.  An exciting part of our visit was walking across the 860 foot suspension bridge high above the Rio Sarapiqui.  Cousin Bonnie of Estes Park provided this photo.

 

 

We enjoyed a wonderful exhibition of pottery making by Johnny Sanchez who made a bowl while explaining his process.  Johnny’s ancestors were the Chorotegas, a group who migrated from Southern Mexico.  Their women were known for their beautifully crafted ceramic vessels.  Johnny is re-introducing this craft.   Again thanks to Cousin Bonnie for this photo.  I managed to lose all my pics on this day.

 

 

We also met his French wife who met Johnny while taking a tour of Costa Rica.  We purchased a small serving dish which Johnny signed.  Lunch was on their terrace.

Olman drove us to Chachagua stopping at a market along the way to purchase wine, insect spray and gifts for the school and a hostess gift for our local lunch providers.

 

Our next lodging was at the Bosques de Chachaqua – San Rafael de Penas Blancas, San Ramon, Alajuela, 011 506 2468 1010.  This is a spectacular setting.  Each couple had their own cottage, really good wifi, fans, bathroom with rain shower, etc.  The road to the lodge was long and rocky providing its own protection.

 

After breakfast we visited an entrepreneurial woman, Rocio,  and her 5 children.  Here our group participated in making empanadas with materials that she provided.   Dee is helping one of the children to prepare the empanada mixture.

 

 

Everybody prepared his own empanada which was cooked on the wood-fired grill shown below.  It was very successful event.

 

 

On the way back into town we dropped our hostess off at her empanada stand where her son was on duty.

 

 

Her stand (Antojitos de Gail, shown above) was financed by an OAT traveler and locals on her promise of repayment.  Chachagua is a town of 3000 people.

Then we visited the San Antonio School where GCT is supportive.  We met lots of the children who took us on individual tours of their school.  We all joined in local dancing and sang our national anthems.  Here they are resting.

 

 

Our home hosted lunch included fruit juice, black beans and rice, chicken, tortillas and a hearts of palm salad at the home of one of the students.

 

 

Their house was attractively furnished with local woodwork.  The oldest boy had been born in the US and also attended high school there.  Although communication is sometimes difficult this home visit personalizes the journey.

 

 

Later Liza had 4 different hors d’ oeuvres (bocas) that she and Olman prepared.

 

 

We all had a drink while learning about the next day’s activities.

 

After breakfast we were off to visit the organic farm of Don Juan Battista, a retired school principal.  The farm is an idyllic model of sustainability, where they grow the foods of Costa Rica – coffee, sugar cane, peppers, spices, etc.   They also had methane gas as a byproduct of their cow.

 

 

A highlight was the extraction of sugar cane juice by our guide whose nickname was “Jack Daniels”.  Jack provided Costa Rican moonshine to go with the cane juice.   We enjoyed lunch on their terrace, dining on many of their farm products.

 

 

The next stop was the town of La Fortuna, the front yard of the Arenal Volcano.  This photo from Bonnie was taken from their hotel room.

 

 

After checking into the Hotel Los Lagos, we were off on a chocolate tour that included a hike in the rain forest to see where the cacao beans used to make chocolate are grown, harvested and processed.  We tasted the cacao bean in different stages as it moved through the process of becoming chocolate.

 

 

Above we see the stages of the cacao bean as it goes through the chocolate making process.  This tour was presented by the Amazilia del Caribe Women’s Association operated to benefit the local community.

 

After breakfast we enjoyed a short nature walk. Onward to Rio Frio where we boarded a small boat that is also used by National Geographic to photograph wildlife on the river. Our pilot was a real river and nature man.

 

 

 

 

We saw Turtles, Butterflys, Howler Monkees including a baby albino, Caimans, Wood Storks, Toucans, Northern Jacanas and many other birds including several endangered species.  We had lunch in a small town next to the river of arroz con pollo and sides.

 

We had dinner with our fellow travelers Bonnie and Chris at Don Rufino – La Fortuna, 506 2479 9997.  Dee and I started with chorizo and scallops.

 

 

Dee had the grilled grouper and I had the lasagna with roasted mushrooms that had been suggested by Liza.  Our wine was Terra Andina Carmenere.

 

On our journey to Guanacaste Liza had a lovely surprise for us.  We stopped at the Restaurante el Establo Arenal – for the usual drill, but this turned out to be a personal experience with a long time friend of Liza’s family, Alexander Cravajal,  who is a horse whisperer.  His daughter, Alexandra,  provided freshly brewed coffee for us and wonderful biscotti.

 

 

After visiting for a while we moved to his horse ring where his 3 year old grand-daughter mounted a white Costa Rican walking horse and gave us a show.  She was a great entertainer.  Thanks to Jackie for this photo.

 

 

 

Grandpa then explained how he got this horse and rehabbed it.  In the process the horse bit his arm (48 stitches) and kicked him, breaking his leg.  His message to the horse and to us was: “Love conquers all!”

 

 

On to Guanacaste Province where the Buena Vista Lodge is in the primary forest of Rincon de la Vieja National Park.  This area has a dry tropical climate and it is famous for its thermal pools. On our orientation walk we saw Peccaries, Armadillos, Motmots, Capuchin and Howler Monkeys, White-fronted Amazon Parrots, Speckled Owls and much more.

Next we were in for a great adventure, a thrilling Forest Canopy Ride.

 

 

After a strenuous up-the-mountain walk, we were strapped into our harnesses, donned our thick leather gloves and soared above the tree tops on a zip-line where we could enjoy fantastic panoramic views.  The survivors are shown above.

And that’s not all.

 

 

Next we were introduced to our horses, climbed aboard and rode through the jungle to a thermal bath area that had a fumarola, a thermal vent in the earth’s crust.

 

 

There were seven different pools with varying temperatures and the prerequisite mud bath.  They even had a bar.

 

The next we day we trekked south to the Pacific Coast and the province of Puntarenas where we checked in to the Terrazas del Pacifico.

 

 

 

This was a long journey so Dee and I enjoyed the Pacific view, the swimming pool, wifi and a bottle of Malbec followed by dinner at the hotel.

 

Our jungle adventure was at the Manuel Antonio National Park.  It was very popular for good reasons.  It has four beaches, island bird sanctuaries, coral reefs and a rain forest.  The trails are hilly but other than that they are easy to walk.  Manuel Antonio is one of two habitats for the endangered Squirrel Monkey.  We saw Sloths, Squirrel Monkeys, Raccoons, Toucans, Capuchin Monkeys and many other species.

 

 

After some water activity we boarded the bus to go to Ronny’s for lunch and excellent rum and tonics featuring Bacardi Anejo, lime and Inverness tonic.

 

 

Ronny’s had a great view of the Pacific.  Dee and Bonnie are enjoying it.

 

 

After returning to our hotel, we relaxed and then went to Juco Beach for dinner at El Hicaco – L & D: Daily, Calle Hicaco, 506 2643 3226

 

 

El Hicaco is in a beautiful setting with a great view and live music.  Dee and I shared the ceviche with fish, shrimp and fried plantains.  Dee had a curried shrimp dish, and I enjoyed the whole fried red snapper with plantains and a mango sauce.   We shared a bottle of the ’00 R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia.

 

Our last jungle adventure was on a small boat drifting down the Rio Tarcoles, a partial tidal estuary and Costa Rica’s largest habitat for crocodiles.

 

 

Bird watching is prime and we saw Scarlet Macaws, Osprey, Frigate Birds, Roseate Spoonbills and White Ibises.

 

 

We continued on toward San Jose stopping for lunch at a local wood shop and factory (Senor y Senora ESE in Alajuela) where we made some purchases.

 

 

Our next shopping activity was at the home/factory (Marroquinerias Yenory) of a woman who created one-of-a-kind handbags.  She told a great personal story about courage and perseverance.  She did very well with our group.  Michele Obama has several of her bags.

 

 

We had a farewell dinner at a local restaurant that included fortified punch and a glass of tempranillo.  This is the chef/owner.

 

 

After dinner we had our goodbyes.

 

 

We had returned to the Tryp Sabana which is an excellent hotel.  I had a health issue and after a call to the desk at 3 AM, they had a medical emergency team come to our room and they gave me a shot and a prescription.  This service was prompt, efficient, courteous and effective.  The medical service is part of the hotels protocol.

 

Costa Rica was an unusual journey for us but one that we will never forget.  If you have the slightest interest in flora and fauna we highly recommend that you place Costa Rica on your bucket list.

 

Until next time, best wishes and happy travels,

 

Dick & Dee Welge aka Mr. & Mrs. Sites & Bites

 

© 2014 R.E. Welge All Rights Reserved. Use of this website constitutes acceptance of the Web Site Rules and Regulations of sitesandbites.com.  Any business use without permission forfeits your right to “palmito”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Guatemala – A Sites & Bites Adventure

 

Hello Fellow Travelers:

This journey provides you with an overview of Guatemala plus useful information about cultural activities and, of course, dining.  Visiting Guatemala was a lifelong ambition for Dee for several reasons.

 

The Mayan Civilization and Culture was a permanent part of her Spanish teaching program, and more recently we have become involved with flora and fauna.  Specifically, Dee’s involvement with the Narberth Garden Tour, her garden club and lastly our joint involvement with the Philadelphia Horticultural Society via the Philadelphia Flower Show.

 

In addition, I have been adding a birding component to our Sites & Bites Mini-Holiday Guides.

 

Birding Opps:  Info for our birding friends.  Guatemala is a birders’ paradise.  Here you will see hundreds of species including macaws, toucans and wild turkeys.

 

Business Info: This is a good site to start (doingbusiness.org/data/exploreeconomies/guatemala/).

 

Chances are you will enter Guatemala via Guatemala City. Guatemala City is the capital of the country. All the main highways start at Kilómetro 0, located inside the National Palace (see below) in the Historic Center. Guatemala City became the capital after Antigua had been destroyed by an earthquake in 1773.

With a population of around 3 million people, Guatemala City is the largest and most modern city in Guatemala, however, it is not a tourist destination.

 

 

After driving by the National Palace (shown above) we suggest making a beeline for Antigua.

 

Transportation:  In almost any town in Guatemala, you will find a bus that eventually will take you to Guatemala City. The second-class extra-urbanos are often crowded and uncomfortable but cheap. They are known as Chicken Buses as they are used to carry everybody and everything including live chickens going to market and were once American school buses.

 

 

The photo above is our group inspecting a chicken bus.  To learn more about the Chicken Buses or Las Camionetas as they are called in Guatemala we suggest that you check out a documentary video by Mark Kendall titled La Camioneta – The Journey of One American School BusFor your trip through Guatemala we suggest using a tour company or hiring a guide and driver.

 

Tour Company Recommendation:  After several decades of independent travel around our world researching, designing and publishing our promotional Sites & Bites maps and guides, we are using a tour company and letting them make our travel arrangements including air and hotel.

 

There are numerous reasons that we are using GCT/OAT.  Foremost, we feel they give us great value.  The on location guides we have experienced have been local and knowledgeable.  It’s very important to my research that there is balance between “on your own time” and group activity.  The “on your own time” allows us to search out sites & bites that might be more sophisticated and lesser known for our visitors and readers at Sitesandbites.com.

 

Mr. Sites & Bites endorses GCT/OAT, and suggests that you check out the offerings at gct.com. As an incentive they will give you $100 per person off any of their vacations if you mention my name Richard Welge, my customer number 001062784E, and Service Code VAB1012.  Complete disclosure: we receive $100 for your participation, and you will too when recommending travelers after your first trip.

 

We hope to meet you on our next GCT/OAT journey.

 

Much of the R & D for our Guatemala- A Sites & Bites Mini-Holiday Guide was done during an OAT trip.

 

Antigua was founded in 1542 and has a strong Spanish aura, partly because everyone is speaking Spanish and partly a result of the architecture.  It’s a comfortable town.  There are lots of mom and pop grocery stores, (it seems like 2 on every block) street vendors and local artisans.

 

 

Churches dominate the scene.  Lots of Catholic churches.

 

 

We found a nice place for lunch at La Fonda de la Calle Real – B,L,D: Daily, 5 Avenida Norte #12, Tel: 50278320507 located very close to the Zocalo.

 

 

Dee had the Pupusas which were tortillas with cheese, chicken and salsa, and I had the Lomito al carbon or grilled steak with black beans and rice and a salad.  We shared a Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile.  We enjoyed La Fonda so much that we returned for lunch again, and shared a charcuterie platter and a bottle of chardonnay from Argentina.

 

After lunch we had a little time to visit the local craft market located on the main street a few minutes’ walk from the restaurant.

 

 

Dee found a few things that she couldn’t resist.

 

We then visited the Casa Santo Domingo – 3a. Calle “A” 8-38, Zona 10, Tel: 2339 3794,  which is a cultural complex that has a stunning hotel, beautiful grounds with loads of parrots, macaws, toucans and other birds and wildlife.  This is where you should stay in Antigua.

 

 

Casa Santo Domingo is restoring this colonial monument to preserve and highlight its artistic manifestations.  The Museums Promenade is a cultural route created by an agreement between San Carlos de Guatemala University and Hotel Casa Santo Domingo.  The route makes it possible to visit the museums installed in what was the church and convent of Santo Domingo and Santo Tomás de Aquino (Saint Thomas Aquinas) College. Every step is a visual adventure.

 

 

Our favorite museum was The Museum of Pre-Columbian Art and Modern Glass that has classic Mayan art displayed along side with modern glass art sculptures by several different artisans from countries that include Sweden, France, Italy, U.S. and others.

 

We found a great place for dinner at Sobremesa – L & D: W-M, 4 ta Calle Poniente, 502 7832 3231

 

 

It was small and the draw for us was the art.  Alex Ferrar, the owner, chef and principal artist (shown above) is a spirit.  We split a charcuterie plate and a bottle of Aliwen Carmenere.  Dee started with a mojito that she deemed excellent.

 

At breakfast, we witnessed a smoking volcano.  What a great backdrop.

 

 

One of our activities included a stop at a tile yard.

 

 

The bricks and tiles were made individually by hand.  The volcanic clay was brought down from the mountain; water was added then worked with their feet to get the correct consistency.  After molding and resting they were fired in a wood kilm and sold for about $1 each.

 

A lot of travelers visiting Guatemala go to Lake Atitlan, the deepest lake in the western hemisphere, considered by the Maya as the home of the gods. It is surrounded by volcanoes. On our trip the lake was not happy.  Boarding was very tricky, and the crossing was a “why am I here?” event .  We were lashed with water from above and below before it calmed.

 

 

Santiago was a part of this excursion where we saw vendors and churches as was San Antonio where we stopped to buy a chenille scarf from a local artisan.

 

 

The main reason we came to Guatemala was to visit Tikal.  Tikal is the largest known Mayan site whose population at one point exceeded 100,000 inhabitants.  At the very start we spotted a Toucan which our guide Pablo got a great photo.

 

 

About 15% of the area is excavated and restored, including Temples, palaces, an observatory, a ball court and housing for the upper class.  The temples were created for the Mayan Kings and Queens.

 

 

The Mayan calendars were explained to us by Pablo, our guide.  The calendars were accurate and complex. The Mayan Calendar consists of three separate corresponding calendars, the Long Count, the Tzolkin (divine calendar) and the Haab (civil calendar). Time is cyclical in the calendars and a set number of days must occur before a new cycle can begin.

 

 

The Tikal site comprises 6 square miles with about 3,000 structures and flourished between 300 and 900 AD.  Now its home to howler monkeys, macaws, toucans and wild turkeys.

 

 

At the completion of our tour we enjoyed a nice lunch at Tikal consisting of soup, lomo with grilled vegetables, tortillas, salsa and a local beer.

Until next time, best wishes and happy travels,

Dick & Dee Welge aka Mr. & Mrs. Sites & Bites

© 2014 R.E. Welge All Rights Reserved. Use of this website constitutes acceptance of the Web Site Rules and Regulations of sitesandbites.com.  Any business use without permission forfeits your right to “lomo”.

 

 

 

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Jacksonville & Saint Augustine, FL – A Sites & Bites Mini-Holiday Guide

 

Hello Fellow Travelers:

 

Welcome to our world of adventure, birding, botanical gardens, good eating and fine wines.  This newsletter provides you with “A Sites & Bites Mini-Holiday Guide for Jacksonville & Saint Augustine, FL.

 

Please share it with your friends, customers and associates.  You can also access over 100 cities on our blog plus lots of other helpful travel tips at:  SitesandBites.com/blog/index.php

 

Jacksonville & Saint Augustine, FL

 

Events & Exhibitions

Announce your activity – here – now!   Ask us how you can list your event that includes a link to your site.  See our Advertising section for details.

 

Birding Opps:  Info for our birding friends.  In and near Jacksonville we’ll see ring-billed herring, great black-backed gulls, warblers and royal terns.

 

 

At Visit Jacksonville (visitjacksonville.com/things-to-do/outdoors/birding/) you’ll learn about the “Great Florida Birding Trail” and more specifically about birding at Amelia Island’s Fort Clinch State Park and Huguenot Memorial Park.

Trails.com (trails.com/) has specific information on birding trails in the Greater Jacksonville area.

You might think that birding at the Jacksonville Zoo (jacksonvillezoo.org/things/bird_watching_at_the_zoo/) is akin to going to a restaurant instead of cooking, but they have created a very inviting habitat for our feathered friends.

 

Transportation:  This is the site for information on public transportation for the Jacksonville area (jtafla.com).

 

Amtrak (www.amtrak.com) – Your connection to more than 500 stations in 46 states. For online information and train schedules visit www.amtrak.com or call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245)

 

Business Information:  Here is help in regard to your business: (coj.net/about-jacksonville.aspx)

 

Day One:  After dropping your luggage at your hotel head to the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens – Tu-Sa: 10-4, Tu: till 9, Su: 12-4, 829 Riverside Ave, Jacksonville, 904-356-6857

 

 

At the Cummer there is a strong emphasis on educational opportunities through work shops, concerts, films and lectures.  Their collection includes early Meissen Porcelain and masterpieces created by Camille Pissarro, Gilbert Stuart, John Twachtman, Norman Rockwell, and Romare Bearden.

 

Next let’s visit the Ritz Theatre and Museum – Tu-F: 10-4, Sa: 12-4, 829 North Davis Street, Jacksonville, 904-632-5555

 

 

The Permanent exhibit features a salute to LaVilla’s native sons, James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamond Johnson, and the voices of the late renowned actor Ossie Davis, educator Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, and singer/actor Harry Burney.

This original exhibition explores a little-known aspect of history which reveals the shared strength of African-American communities in Florida prior to desegregation, urban renewal and the Civil Rights era.

Photographs depicting community life in the historic La Villa neighborhood, once known as “the Harlem of the South” in the 1940s and 1950s, were taken by the late Jacksonville African-American professional photographer Ellie Weems and were obtained from the archives of the Ritz Theatre and Museum.

 

Lunch today is at b b’s – L & D: M-Sa, 1019 Hendricks Ave, Jacksonville, 904-306-0100 is a fun place for lunch that specializes in small plates.

 

 

The stuffed mozzarella bruschetta baked in sourdough with marinated tomato, pinenuts and fresh basil is addictive and so is the meze platter of hummus with toasted pita, jalapeno chips, artichoke guacamole, olives and roasted garlic, but they are both fun starters.

Several signature pizzas are available, but we like the crispy crab cake sandwich on focaccia with roasted tomato remoulade and napa cabbage-peanut slaw or the ancho spiced turkey on ciabatta bread with avocado mayo, smoked bacon and havarti cheese.  The “11 Grenache Blanc/Roussane from Perin is a good wine choice.  Don’t miss the coconut cake.

 

Our cousin suggests that we take a walk around the Riverside District, since 1985 it’s been a historic area.  From March to December it’s home to the Riverside Arts Market held on Saturdays from 10-4 featuring music, street performers, arts and crafts and, of course, local food.

 

 

Memorial Park offers a walking track and spots where you can throw a fishing line in the water.  Around Five Points you will find an eclectic collection of shops and bars.

 

Our cousin Ted suggests a visit to Peterbrook Chocolatier – 3552 St. Johns Ave. for their divine gelato.

 

 

Tonight we’ll enjoy dinner at Restaurant Orsay – D: Daily, Br: Su, 3630 Park St, Jacksonville, 904-381-0909

 

 

For your starter they have a great oyster bar or maybe the sea scallop tartar with cucumber, jalapeno and a lime vinaigrette.  Have a glass of the ’11 Adelsheim Pinot Gris with either.  Your entrée is the pan roasted fish with Anson Mills grits, bacon and lobster butter or the pork shank with roasted vegetables and jus.

We suggest the ’07 Peay “La Bruma” Syrah for your wine.  Dessert has to be the carrot cake with blond chocolate, mascarpone icing, carrot coulis and sugared walnuts.

 

Day Two Breakfast today is at the Maple Street Biscuit Company – B & L: M-Sa, 2004 San Marco Blvd, Jacksonville, 904-398-1004

 

 

Their menu includes the “Loaded Goat” which is a combination of fried chicken and a fried goat cheese medallion on a fluffy biscuit.  “The Five” is crispy fried chicken, bacon, cheese covered in sausage gravy on a flakey biscuit.  Additional items are “Smokey Mountain Mac-N-Cheese”, “Hash Ups” and “Sweet Potato Fries”.

 

The Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve – 12713 Ft Caroline Rd, Jacksonville, 904-641-7155 is a must visit, see and explore experience.

 

 

Allow as much time as you possibly can to see literally thousands of years of history.  It is named for the Timucua Indians who lived in northern Florida and South Georgia during the Spanish colonization.  Pottery remnants found in the area date to 2500 BC.  This is one of the last coastal wetlands on the Atlantic.

The Timucuan visitor center is located at Fort Caroline National Memorial and hosts the exhibit “Where the Waters Meet”, Open daily: 9-5.  Another “don’t miss” site is the Kingsley Plantation that provides a look at plantation life in the 1800’s, Open daily: 9-5.

 

Lunch today is at Bistro Aix – L: M-F, D: Nightly, 1440 San Marco Blvd, Jacksonville, 904-398-1949

 

 

We just can’t resist the crispy calamari with the red pepper feta sauce or the sesame tuna tartar with chilis, cabbage, scallions and wonton crackers.  They have wonderful salads, a quiche du jour and the proverbial pizza selection.

We like the traditional bistro choices of steak/frites or mussel/frites, decadent but delicious.  Your wine is the ’08 “Laguna Ranch Vineyard” Chardonnay.  Top it off with the warm Belgium chocolate cake.

 

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens – Daily: 9-5, 370 Jacksonville Zoo Train, Jacksonville, 904-757-4463 vision is, “to inspire discovery and appreciation of the Earth’s wildlife through innovative experiences in a caring environment.”

 

 

In addition to the 2000 animals we saw hundreds of bird species that included the wood stork, black crowned night heron, green heron, blue-winged and green-winged teal. (tip to birders: get to the parking lot an hour or two before the Zoo opens.)  We also enjoyed the beautiful gardens and the view of the Trout River.

 

 

Dinner is an event at Matthew’s Restaurant – D: M-Sa, 2107 Hendricks Ave, Jacksonville, 904-396-9922

 

 

Our cousin suggests the escargot with roasted garlic-spinach and shiitake in a prosciutto cream emulsion or the veal and short rib meatball in a shaved pecorino-black pepper marinara for openers.

A glass of the ’09 Conumdrum will work.  Then the veal scaloppini with pine nut pesto-black pepper fettuccini and sweet onions or the halibut with morels, fava beans and a sweet corn dill broth.  Go for the ’07 Peju Merlot.  Dessert is the baked Meyer lemon soufflé with raspberry anglaise.

 

Day Three: Breakfast is at the The Yard Bird Café – B & L: Tu-Su, 117 King St, St Augustine, 904-217-3777

 

 

Your menu options include: a large burrito, Blue Crab quiche, chicken biscuits, fried green tomato tacos and maybe a side of rice, black beans, black eyed peas, diced tomatoes and onions.  We’re pretty sure this is a good start to our day.

 

For a fun start to our day let’s do the Saint Augustine Pirates & Treasure Museum – Daily 9-8, 12 S Castillo Dr, St Augustine, 877-467-5863

 

 

The St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum is the ultimate pirate adventure. Here you’ll experience an interactive journey through 300 years of high seas adventure and a collection of rare pirate artifacts.

 

The Lightner Museum – Daily: 9-5, 75 King St, St Augustine, 904-824-2874 is our next stop.

 

 

Relics of America’s Gilded Age are elegantly exhibited on the museum’s three floors. Costumes, furnishings, mechanical musical instruments and other artifacts give you a glimpse into 19th century daily life. The Lightner collection includes beautiful examples of cut glass, Victorian art glass and the stained glass work of Louis Comfort Tiffany.

 

The name for this place is all you need to know, South Beach GrillL & D: Daily, 45 Cubbedge Rd, St Augustine, 904-471-8700

 

 

The Grill has PDG platter dining with a water view.  For instance, the fried shrimp platter comes with fries, cole slaw and corn bread.  The crab cakes have a remoulade sauce.  The fish sandwich – fries and a salad.  The burgers and sandwiches include lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and fries.  It’s all good!

The bar has good beers.  The wine list has vintners that include: K.J., J. Lohr, Kenwood, Guenoc and Cline, so we’re ok.  Dee likes their mojitos.  The margaritas are on the rocks or frozen.  Dessert could be the key lime pie or the root beer float.

 

Next let’s visit The Castillo de San Marcos – Daily: 8:45-5:15, 1 S Castillo Dr, St Augustine, 904-829-6506

 

 

The Monument site consists of 20.5 acres and includes a reconstructed section of the walled defense line surrounding the city of St. Augustine.  It is the oldest masonry and only 17th century fort in North America. It was designated as a National Monument by President Calvin Coolidge on October 15, 1924.  The fort offers an interesting historical perspective and great views.

 

Its cousin Ted again with a cold tip on The Hyppo – Daily: 11-9, 48 Charlotte St, for popsicles, especially popsicles dipped in chocolate.

 

 

As a golfer we enjoyed our visit to the World Golf Hall of Fame – M-Sa: 10-6, Su: 12-6, One World Golf Place St, St. Augustine, 904-940-4000

 

 

Much like the 19th hole we enjoyed the story telling and also the memorabilia and videos.

 

We all go to really good restaurants, so get ready, Collage is one of them – D: Nightly, 60 Hypolita St, St Augustine, 904-829-0055

 

 

Our appetizer choice is the Gambas Al Ajillo,that means shrimp sautéed in spicy garlic and red pepper served with a sherry sauce or the baked brie for two in phylo pastry with caramelized onion and apple chutney.  Let’s spring for a peach bellini with on of these.

For us if it’s Florida that means fish and seafood, and that makes our choices a lot easier.  The black grouper is lightly coated with parmesan, pecan, brown sugar then baked and served with a beurre blanc sauce.  The mixed grill contains Maine lobster, shrimp, scallops and catch of the day in a roasted poblano, tomatillo in a chardonnay sauce.  The ’10 Heitz Chardonnay is perfect.

 

Until next time, best wishes and happy travels,

 

Dick & Dee Welge aka Mr. & Mrs. Sites & Bites

 

© 2014 R.E. Welge All Rights Reserved. Use of this website constitutes acceptance of the Web Site Rules and Regulations of sitesandbites.com.  Any business use without permission forfeits your right to “Local diver scallops”.

 

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Zurich – A Sites & Bites Mini-Holiday Guide

 

Hello Fellow Travelers:

 

Welcome to our world of business information, adventure, birding, botanical gardens, good eating and fine wines.  This newsletter provides you with “A Sites & Bites Mini-Holiday Guide for Zurich

 

Please share it with your friends, customers and associates.  You can also access over 100 cities on our blog plus lots of other helpful travel tips at:  SitesandBites.com/blog/index.php

 

Zurich

 

Events & Exhibitions

Announce your activity – here – now!   Ask us how you can list your event that includes a link to your site.  See our Advertising section for details.

 

Birding Opps:  Info for our birding friends.  In and near Zurich you can see these species:  black kite, alpine swift, red-crested pochard, great bittern and yellow-legged gull.

 

 

The Bird Forum (birdforum.net/opus/Zurich) has helpful information on birding sites and species to look for.

Here are your Birding Pals (birdingpal.org/Switzerland.htm) to help you find the best birding areas in and near Zurich as well as other Swiss areas.

 

Grape ExperienceThe primary grape grown for Swiss wine is chasselas which is a little like Riesling, neither sweet nor dry.  Most of the vineyards are located in the Lake Geneva area.  Production is low and very little is exported.

 

Transportation:  This is the site for all of your public transit info (stadt-zuerich.ch/vbz/en/index.secure.html).

 

Shopping:  We recommend the Schweizer Heimatwerk Genossenschaft, Industriestrasse 6, for handicrafts that are made mainly in Swiss workshops and studios and feature the highest quality, functionality and outstanding design.

 

Business Information:  Here is help in regard to your business: (zuerich.ch/content/zh/en/index.html).  A bit strange, but there isn’t a banking museum in Zurich, or it’s a secret.

 

Day One: The best place to begin our Mini-Holiday tour of Zurich is the Swiss National Museum – Tu-Su: 10-5, Th: till 7, Schweizerisches Nationalmuseum Landesmuseum Zürich Museumstrasse 2, 41 (0)44 218 65 11

 

 

Three museums – the National Museum Zurich, the Castle of Prangins and the Forum of Swiss History Schwyz – as well as the collections centre in Affoltern am Albis – are united under the umbrella of the Swiss National Museum (SNM). The permanent exhibitions at the museums present Swiss history from its beginnings to the present, and give an insight into Swiss identities and the rich tapestry of the country’s history and culture.

 

Another way to look at the Swiss psyche is a visit to the Museum of Design – Tu_Su: 10-5, W: till 8, Ausstellungsstrasse 60, 41 43 446 44 67

 

 

The museum is the sole institution in Switzerland that, from 1875 onwards, has collected posters, graphic design, and objects that represent every day design alongside more artistically ambitious design culture.

The four collections—Poster Collection, Design Collection, Applied Art Collection and Graphics Collection—boast a number of significant works from the history of aesthetic and technical development of the industrialized age. The collection of models, teaching materials, and manuals for craft and design education that the museum developed over the years culminated in 1987 with the establishment of the Design Collection.

 

Lunch is at Veltliner Keller – L & D: M-F, Schlüsselgasse 8, 41 44 225 40 40

 

 

Start with the cream of mushroom soup or the salad.  Then the scallop of veal with calvados, pasta and broccoli or the sea bass filet with potatoes and spinach.  The Domaine Laroche, Saint Martin Chablis is a perfect match.

 

Let’s take time to smell the flowers at the Botanical Garden – Mar-Sept: M-F: 7-7, Sa, Su: 8-6, Oct-Feb: M-F: 8-6, Sa,Su: 8-5, Botanical Garden University of Zurich Zollikerstr. 107, 044 634 84 61

 

 

The Botanical Garden was opened in 1977 in the park of the former Villa “Schönau”.  Its show houses and various plant areas are now a laboratory for science, a refuse for some endangered plant species and a green oasis of tranquility at the heart of Zurich.  In the botanical garden they maintain about 9,000 different species of plants from different climatic zones of the world.

 

Our final stop before dinner is the Zurich Toy Museum – M-F: 2-5, Sa: 1-5, Sammlung Franz Carl Weber Fortunagasse 15, 044 211 9305

 

 

This collection of European playthings from the 18th to the beginning of the 20th century is found in one of the oldest corners of Zurich. Toys that mirror in miniature the life of the respective eras: trains and steam engines bear witness to the technical revolution, dolls and their costumes illustrate fashion trends and doll houses show the domestic life of earlier generations.

Pewter figures, antique games, wooden toys, children’s books and stoves – everything that belongs to the theme of toys is found in this museum.

 

The Alpenrose – L: W-F, D: W-Su, Fabrikstrasse 12, 41 44 271 39 19 is our choice for dinner because they are all about local markets and ingredients.

 

 

This is Swiss home-style cooking.  The duck mousse with pickled apricot is a good starter.  Then the pan seared perch filet with a dill butter sauce or rabbit and pasta. Other specialties include maronni ravioli and the Alpine macaroni.  Your wine is the ’10 Schloss Salenegg Mayenfelder.  Dessert is the apple strudel with vanilla bourbon sauce.

 

Day Two:  Breakfast is at Loft Five – B,L,D: Daily, Europa Allee 15, 41 0 44 755 5050

 

 

Here we get our fuel for our day of coffee, tea, freshly squeezed juices, pastries and much more.

 

Today’s first stop is the Kunsthaus Zürich – Tu-Su: 10-6, Th,F: till 8, Heimplatz 1, 41 44 253 84 84

 

 

The Kunsthaus has an unusually high-quality collection of paintings from the golden age of Dutch painting, the Flemish and Italian baroque and the Venetian Settecento.

Their collection includes works by  Ferdinand Hodler, Segantini, Vallotton, Amiet, Giovanni and Augusto Giacometti and French paintings that range from Géricault to Manet to the Impressionists and the Nabis, and works by the trail-blazing Post-Impressionists Cézanne and van Gogh.

 

The ETH has a vast collection of Prints and Drawings – M-Su: 10-4:45, ETH Zurich Rämistrasse 101, 41 44 632 40 46 that is worth a visit.

 

 

The Collection of Prints and Drawings ETH Zurich comprises approximately 150,000 prints and drawings that contains artwork on paper from the 15th century to the present and includes works by Dürer, Rembrandt, Goya, Picasso, Warhol and many others. An area of special interest is prints and drawings by Swiss artists of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Today emphasis is placed on contemporary works on paper by national and international artists (Bernhard Luginbühl, Dieter Roth, Franz Gertsch, Urs Lüthi, among others).

 

Lunch is at Caduff’s Wine Loft – L: M-F, D: M-Sa, Kanzleistrasse 126, 41 44 240 22 55

 

 

Our cousin suggests the salmon with ginger, tarragon and an herb salad or the halibut saltimbocca, fennel confit and peas as a first course.  The braised veal shoulder with morels, carrots and risotto or the beef Bourgogne with noodles and root vegetables is your main.

The ’07 Piodella Rocca, Adriano Kaufmann is a good wine choice here.  Dessert is the hazelnut crème brulee with Madagascar vanilla.

 

Our cousin suggests that we visit the The Fraumünster Church – Stadthausquai 19, 41 (0)44 211 41 00

 

 

The Fraumunster Church was founded in 853 by King Louis the German.  The church and its convent were inhabited by the female members of the aristocracy of Europe.

In addition to the largest organ in the canton of Zürich (5,793 pipes), its most stunning jewels are the stained glass windows.  The windows in the north transept are by Alberto Giacometti’s cousin, Augusto (1945).

The five-part cycle in the choir (1970) and the rosette in the southern transept (1978) are by Marc Chagall. There is a series of frescoes by Paul Bodmer in the cloister to mark the founding of the Fraumünster.

 

To really bring out your inner animal instincts let’s visit the Zurich Zoo-Daily: 9-5, Zürichbergstrasse 221, 41 848 966 983

 

 

Here they have 2200 specimens of 300 species, but the major attraction is The Masoala Rainforest. It is the centerpiece of the zoo’s nature conservation strategy. In the Masoala Rainforest you can find out about why the forests are disappearing as well as learn about projects with the aim of conserving the forests.

 

Dining at Widder – B,L,D: Daily, Rennweg 7, 41 44 224 25 26 is a wonder-full experience.

 

 

For starters the galatine of quail and goose liver with Kenya beans and truffle vinaigrette or the tartar of venison, pickled forest mushrooms, crisp onions and tarragon are awesome.

The filet of pike-pearch, beet root and horseradish or the mountain lamb cooked in fresh herbs, ratatouille puree and goat cheese fondue is over the top.  The wine is ’10 Cayas Syrah Valais DOC.  Dessert is the cherry strudel, sherbet and kirsch mascarpone.

 

Day Three:  For our start today we are at Z am Park – B,L,D: Daily, Zurlindenstrasse 275, 043 931 73 74

 

 

Great coffee!  We like the mixed bread basket with 2 mini croissants, butter, jam, honey, nutella and their homemade bread spread.  Another favorite is 2 eggs any style, salmon, capers and horseradish cream cheese.

 

Our first cultural experience today is the Rietberg Museum  – Tu-Su: 10-5, Gablerstrasse 15, 41 44 415 31 31

 

 

The Rietberg Museum is the only art museum for non-European cultures in Switzerland. It possesses an internationally renowned collection of works from Asia, Africa, America and Oceania.

The collection of Indian paintings includes some 1700 artifacts. Pigment paintings on multilayered paper (wasli) account for the largest part of the collection which also includes bound books, painted textiles and stained palm-leaf paper.

Canopies for the Goddess’ is the name given to large-scale illustrated textiles in Gujarat which mark a sacred place for the veneration of goddesses. These printed or painted textiles tell of the deeds of the twenty-armed goddess.

 

Our final meal on this Mini-Holiday is at The guild house Muensterhof built in 1315 named Zumfthaus aur Waag – L & D: Daily, Münsterhof 8, 41 44 216 99 66

 

 

A great starter is the almond crusted king prawns with an avocado tartar or the roasted duck liver with vanilla plum crumble and brioche.  With this course a glass of the ’12 Ursus Blsnc would be nice.

For our main the veal cordon bleu stuffed with ham and cheese served with potatoes and vegetables or the herb crusted rack of lamb au gratin with rosemary potatoes and vegetables.  Our wine is the ’11 Johanniterkellerei syrah.  Dessert is the caramelized pear with chocolate truffle cake.

 

Our final stop on this Mini-Holiday is the Migros Museum – Tu-F: 12-6, Th: till 8, Sa, Su: 11-5, Limmatstrasse 270, 41 44 277 20 50

 

 

The Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst sees itself as a museum with a high-quality art collection, and at the same time, as a center of contemporary art production. Since its foundation in 1996, the museum has been a place for reflection and production.

The exhibits of the museum do not show art history as something rigid, but rather as an open process. That is why the collection is integrated into a lively environment and thereby promotes an active exchange between contemporary art production and the public.

The museum presents four to five annual exhibitions and changing presentations of the collection, accompanied by a diverse program that includes lectures, film, performances and symposia.

 

Until next time, best wishes and happy travels,

 

Dick & Dee Welge aka Mr. & Mrs. Sites & Bites

 

© 2014 R.E. Welge All Rights Reserved. Use of this website constitutes acceptance of the Web Site Rules and Regulations of sitesandbites.com.  Any business use without permission forfeits your right to “rosti potatoes”.

 

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San Antonio – A Sites & Bites Mini-Holiday Guide

 

Hello Fellow Travelers:

 

Welcome to our world of business information, adventure, birding, botanical gardens, good eating and fine wines.  This newsletter provides you with “A Sites & Bites Mini-Holiday Guide for San Antonio

 

Please share it with your friends, customers and associates.  You can also access over 100 cities on our blog plus lots of other helpful travel tips at:  SitesandBites.com/blog/index.php

 

San Antonio

 

Events & Exhibitions

Announce your activity – here – now!   Ask us how you can list your event that includes a link to your site.  See our Advertising section for details.

 

Birding OppsInfo for our birding friends.  In and near San Antonio you can see these species: Long billed thrasher, verdin, Bell’s vireos, green heron, Carolina chickadee and the cactus wren.

 

 

The go to what, where and when birding site is the San Antonio Audubon Society (saaudubon.org/).

The Birding the San Antonio Area (texasbirding.net/) by Steve Hawkins is an interesting and educational report.

Here’s where to find your local Birding Pals (birdingpal.org/tx.htm).

 

Grape ExperienceTexas currently has over 275 bonded commercial wineries and ranks fifth in the United States of America in wine production.   Texas is the site of the first vineyard established in North America by Franciscan priests circa 1662.

As European settlers followed the development of mission outposts, they brought more grapevine cuttings, further developing the industry through the 1800s.   Most of the noble varieties are grown here.  Today Texas boasts approximately 3,700 acres of producing vineyard farmland.

 

Transportation:  Here’s where to find info on public transportation (viainfo.net).

Amtrak (www.amtrak.com) – Your connection to more than 500 stations in 46 states. For online information and train schedules visit www.amtrak.com or call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245)

 

Business Information:  Here is help in regard to your business: (sanantonio.gov/business).

 

Day One:  Let’s start our exploration of San Antonio with a visit to the Witte Museum – M-Sa: 10-5, Tu: till 8, Su: 12-5, 3801 Broadway St, 210-357-1900

 

 

Located on the banks of the San Antonio River, it’s dedicated to natural history, science and South Texas heritage. The permanent collection features historic artifacts and photographs, Texas art, textiles, the world-renowned Hertzberg Circus Collection, dinosaur bones, cave drawings, Texas wildlife dioramas and the four-story H-E-B Science Treehouse.

 

You can’t visit San Antonio without seeing the Alamo – Daily: 9-5:30, 300 Alamo Plaza, 210-225-1391

 

 

The Alamo was originally a Roman Catholic mission and fortress named San Antonio de Valero.

The facts surrounding the siege of the Alamo continue to be debated, but there is no doubt about what the battle has come to symbolize. People worldwide continue to remember the Alamo as a heroic struggle against impossible odds — a place where men made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. For this reason, the Alamo remains hallowed ground and the Shrine of Texas Liberty.

 

Lunch at Rosario’s Mexican Café y Cantina – L & D: Daily, 910 S Alamo St, 210-223-1806 is as good as it gets.

 

 

We are addicted to the tortilla soup with chicken, avocado, cilantro and queso fresco.  The fried shishito peppers with sea salt and jalapeno oil is also a favorite.  Dee’s favorite main is the chicken breast with peanut mole sauce and toasted sesame seeds or the diced pork in a chile cascabel sauce with corn or flour tortillas.  Wash it down with a Dos Equis or two.

 

It’s inspirational for us to visit The Japanese Tea Garden – M-F: 9-5, Brackenridge Park, 400 N St. Mary’s St, 210-735-4824

 

 

The Japanese Tea Garden is a public park with more than 90 years of rich history. It contains a large open-air pagoda, sprawling koi ponds, and a waterfall.

 

Next our cousin suggests that we see the McNay Art Museum – Tu-F: 10-4, Th: till 9, Sa: 10-5, Su: 12-5, 6000 N New Braunfels Ave, 210-824-5368

 

 

The museum focuses on 19th and 20th century European and American art by artists such as: Cezanne, Picasso, Gauguin, Matisse, O’Keeffe, Diego Rivera, Cassatt and Edward Hopper.  Today the collection includes more that 14,000 objects making it one of the finest collections of contemporary art and sculpture in the Southern US.

 

Let’s take advantage of the # 1 attraction The River Walk – easily accessed and crammed with restaurants and people.

 

 

Of course our walk has a purpose and that’s to have dinner along the walk at Il Sogno Italian Osteria – B,L,D: Tu-Sa, L & D: Su, 200 E Grayson St, 210-223-3900

 

 

My favorite antipasti is the octopus salad or the eggplant with lemon caviar.  The lardo focaccia goes well with this.  The pizzas are tasty but we prefer the pappardelle with the duck ragout or the whole roasted branzino with potatoes, olives, capers, celery and onions.  Dessert is the hazel cream napoleon.

 

Day Two:  Breakfast is at the Guenther House Restaurant B & L: Daily, 205 E Guenther St, 210-227-1061

 

 

Today your breakfast comes with a museum that features stained glass, antique brass and Flemish style chandeliers.  Their breakfast platter includes buttermilk biscuits, country gravy with crumbled sausage, River Mill preserves and your choice of bacon or sausage patties.  Other specialties are breakfast tacos, waffles, fruit plates and pastries.

 

This morning let’s visit the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum – Th-Su: 12-6, Th: till 8, 116 Blue Star, 210-227-6960

 

 

The center is a primary destination for new art in South Texas and the center has over 20 exhibitions annually, having showcased artists including Hiroshi Sugimoto, Ryan McGinness, Zane Lewis, Mike Bidlo, Oliver Herring, Chuck Ramirez, Sky Patterson, Julia Landois, John Mata, Kimberly Aubuchon, Vincent Valdez, Alex Rubio, Thomas Cummins, Linda Pace, Ed Saavedra, James Surls, Larry Leisner, Dayna De Hoyos, Jason Willome, Ron Binks, Justin Parr, Chris Sauter, Richie Budd, and Dario Robleto.

 

On your way to the Tower of America make sure you see the Confluence of Culturas mural by Juan O’Gorman on the Henry Gonzalez Convention Center – 200 E Market St.

 

 

For a great view of San Antonio take a ride to the top of the Tower of America Daily: 11-10, 739 East Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard,  210-223-3101

 

 

And since we’re here let’s do lunch at the Chart House – L & D: Daily, your starter could be the coconut crunchy shrimp with a citrus chili sauce or the chopped spinach salad with chopped egg, bacon, radishes and mushrooms.

Next the Cajun spiced mahi fish tacos with pico de gallo are a favorite but so is the prime rib French dip with carmelized onions and Monterey Jack.  The ’10 MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir will compliment your menu choices and might enhance the view.  Dessert is the hot chocolate lava cake.

 

Next we’re going to the San Antonio Museum of Art – Tu,F,Sa: 10-9, W,Th,Su: 10-5, Su: till 6, 200 W Jones Ave, 210-978-8100

 

 

The museum has an important collection of pre-Columbian, Spanish colonial and Latin American folk art.  It also has eighteenth-, nineteenth- and twentieth-century American and European paintings, photography, sculpture and decorative arts.

In the 1990’s through donations it established a collection of Egyptian, Greek and Roman art and Chinese ceramics plus other Asian objects.

 

Dinner tonight is at the acclaimed Biga on the Banks – D: Nightly, 203 S St Mary’s, 210-225-0722

 

 

Our favorite starters are the smoked salmon nachos with chipotle cream cheese and escabeche vegetables or the chicken-fried oysters with Swiss chard, pancetta and a whole grain mustard hollandaise.  Enjoy a glass of the ’09 Gustave Lorentz Pinot Blanc with either.

We love the boudin stuffed quail with pears and zucchini cake or the lobster ravioli on arugula with fennel.  Our wine is the ’04 Marques de Grinon Petit Verdot.   Order the Gran Marnier Souffle early.

 

Day Three: The Magnolia Pancake Haus – B & L: Daily, 606 Embassy Oaks #100, 210-496-0828 is our spot for breakfast.

 

 

Their homemade syrups are perfect toppings for your pancakes, waffles and French toast to go with the applewood or Canadian bacon and ham.  The Benedicts are here with the Omelets.  Fruit, oatmeal and just about any breakfast item you can think of is on their menu.

 

It’s time to smell the flowers at The San Antonio Botanical Garden – Daily: 9-5,  555 Funston Pl, 210-207-3250

 

 

Here we can focus on three distinct areas.  The first is the Formal and Display Gardens - The formal beds are comprised of four large rectangular display areas which are changed seasonally to display a variety of fun colors and textures.

Next is the Lucile Halsell Conservatory – where we have plants from desert regions to equatorial rainforests that are housed in individual glass buildings tucked into the earth. These buildings surround a sunken courtyard and tropical lagoon filled with aquatic plants. Specialty collections include epiphytic plants display, desert cacti and succulents, equatorial tropicals, palms and cycads, tropical fruits, ferns and aroids, insectivores and aquatic plants.

And then we’ll see the Texas Native Trail – that consists of plant communities characteristic of the Hill Country (Edwards Plateau), East Texas Pineywoods and South Texas.   The setting is enhanced by several early Texas houses which have been reconstructed on the site to help illustrate and interpret the regional theme.

 

For a real change of pace our final meal on this Mini-Holiday is at Bite – D: W-Sa, Br: Su, 1012 S Presa, 210-532-2551

 

 

This is the place to have the Gruet Brut Rose from New Mexico, the Muga Rose from Spain, the Fleur du Cap Chardonnay from South Africa and the Bouchard Pinot Noir from France.

Think small plates.  Instead of half a duck it’s a quarter duck, instead of three lamb chops, it’s one really juicy nice one!  It’s a full lobster tail in your spring roll! Or maybe the grilled salmon over spinach risotto and the lamb stew over rice.  For dessert we like the chocolate blob cake.

 

Our lagniappe site is the Natural Bridge Wildlife Center – Daily: 9-5, located between San Antonio and New Braunfels, Texas, 830-438-7400.

 

 

The Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch is one of Texas’ most recognized family entertainment attractions.  You can meander through 400 acres of rolling hills, creek beds, oak trees and witness the behavior of over 500 animals from 40 exotic, native and endangered animal species worldwide.

For over 28 years, Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch has taken to heart the care of animals from all over the world. A drive through the park brings zebras, llamas, antelope and rheas and a host of others to you in a natural setting.

 

Until next time, best wishes and happy travels,

 

Dick & Dee Welge aka Mr. & Mrs. Sites & Bites

 

© 2014 R.E. Welge All Rights Reserved. Use of this website constitutes acceptance of the Web Site Rules and Regulations of sitesandbites.com.  Any business use without permission forfeits your right to “tortilla soup”.

 

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Warsaw – A Sites & Bites Mini-Holiday Guide

 

Hello Fellow Travelers:

 

Welcome to our world of business information, adventure, birding, botanical gardens, good eating and fine wines.  This newsletter provides you with “A Sites & Bites Mini-Holiday Guide for Warsaw.

 

Please share it with your friends, customers and associates.  You can also access over 100 cities on our blog plus lots of other helpful travel tips at:  SitesandBites.com/blog/index.php

 

Warsaw

 

Events & Exhibitions

Announce your activity – here – now!   Ask us how you can list your event that includes a link to your site.  See our Advertising section for details.

 

Birding Opps - Info for our birding friends.  In and near Warsaw you can see white-backed woodpeckers, white-tailed eagles, corncakes and the aquatic warbler.

 

 

Your friends at Birding Pal (birdingpal.org/Poland.htm) are ready to show you the good birding areas in and around Warsaw.

The Pro Birder (probirder.com/destinations_poland.html) offers valuable information as well as tours.

 

Transportation:  This is your site for public transportation (ztm.waw.pl/).

 

Business Information:  Here is help in regard to your business: (wbj.pl/)

 

Day One:  After dropping your bags at your hotel we’re on our way to the Warsaw Uprising Museum – W-M: 8-6, Th: till 8, Grzybowska 79, 48 22 539 79 05

 

 

The Warsaw Uprising Museum is one of the most visited places in Warsaw. Opened on the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of fighting in the city, it is a tribute to those who fought and died for a free Poland and its capital.

The exhibition shows the struggle of everyday life before and during the Warsaw Uprising and the horror of occupation – which was a complex international situation – to the post-war communist terror and the fate of insurgents in the PRL. Images and sounds present the days prior to the outbreak of the Uprising, its subsequent phases, as well as the insurgents’ exit and their subsequent fate.

The heart of the Museum is a steel monument, passing through all the floors of the building. On its walls is engraved the Uprising’s calendar of events, and the sound of a heartbeat which can be heard from inside symbolizes the life of Warsaw in 1944.

A special attraction is the Museum tower offering a beautiful view of Warsaw and Freedom Park with the Memorial Wall, on which are engraved the names of more than 10,000 insurgents who died during battle. In the central part of the wall the ‘Monter’ bell is hung: weighing 230 kg, it is dedicated to General Antoni Chruściel.

 

Time to tune in to the Fryderyh Chopin Museum – Tu-Su: 11-8, Ostrogski Palace, 1 Okolnik St 00-368, 48 22 44 16 251

 

 

Here we see a collection of items related to Frederic Chopin that includes  musical manuscripts, printed scores, Chopin correspondence, personal items (cufflinks, diaries etc.), iconography, as well as biographical works about him and critical commentaries on his compositions and his reception as a composer.

The exhibition is on all four levels of the palace. Each floor’s exhibition is devoted to the life and work of the composer from a different perspective.

 

Let’s do lunch at Między Nami Café – M-Th: 10-11, F,Sa: 10-12, Su: 2-11, Bracka 20 street, 48 22 828 5417

 

 

They are famous for their pirozhkis, but everything is good here.  Favorites include the potato pancakes with mushroom sauce, stuffed cabbage with tomato sauce, chicken livers with apples and onions and the penne with baked pumpkin, spinach and feta cheese.  You wine choice is a Chilean red or white.

 

Next let’s visit the Copernicus Science Center – Tu-F: 9-6, Sa,Su: 10-7, Wybrzeże Kościuszkowskie 20, 00-390, 48 22 596 41 00

 

 

Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw is a unique place that encourages you to engage in discovering and understanding the world, and to take responsibility for changes taking place around you.

The Copernicus Centre is a state-of-the-art interactive museum where you can see for yourself how a tornado develops, fly a magic carpet or play a laser harp. Hundreds of exhibits await visitors with a taste for experiments. There is the electrifying High Voltage Theatre and the world’s first Robotic Theatre.

During lab classes you can feel like a true scientist, while the Heavens of Copernicus Planetarium will immerse you in pictures that are shown on a spherical screen. Around the building there is the Discovery Park featuring art that produces sound effects, an open air gallery and a summer stage.

 

U Fukiera – L & D: Daily, Rynek Starego Miasta 27, 48 22 831 10 13 is our choice for dinner this evening.

 

 

For starters they have a steak tartar or a smoked salmon with red caviar.  Enjoy a glass of Bollinger with either.  Then move on to the marinated whole trout with dill or the veal cutlet with quail egg and cucumber salad.  The leg of lamb with rosemary, thyme and white wine is also excellent. Your wine is the ’08 Barbara d’Alba.  Dessert is Gundel pancakes with walnuts and hot chocolate.

 

Day Two:  Breakfast is at Leniviec – B,L,D: Daily, ul. Poznańska 7, 22 350 77 77

 

 

They are known for coffee and culture, but since we’re hungry we will go with the homemade cakes and pastries or their croissants.  The omelet with bananas and cinnamon looks pretty good.

 

The Wilanow Palace – W-M: 9:30-4, Su: 10:30-4, Stanisława Kostki Potockiego 10/16, 02-958, 48 801 011 779 is beyond spectacular.

 

 

The palace, its decorations, works of art, gardens and sculptures in the park originated here beginning in 1677, and over time the collection was assembled from all over the world, from ancient Rome through 17th-century Japan to ateliers of the French masters.

On the first floor is the Galley of the Polish Portraits where we can see the likenesses of Polish monarchs collected over the centuries.

Then we will see the royal apartments of the palace, rooms where parties took place and chambers where the royal couples listened to music and met their friends and guests.

 

The Zachęta National Gallery of Art – Tu-Su: 11-8, pl. Małachowskiego 3, 22 556 96 00

 

 

The Zachęta National Gallery of Art is the largest and most well-known gallery of contemporary art in Poland.  The collection consists of over 3,600 objects, including over 700 paintings, 80 video works, 100 sculptures and installations, and a large collection of works on paper (prints, drawings and photographs).

The gallery is located in the city center in a beautiful eclectic building that survived the Second World War. In addition to inspiring exhibitions it offers a rich program of accompanying events, including meetings with artists, film screenings, concerts, tours and workshops.

 

The Po Prostu Art Bistro – M-F: 10-10, Sa,Su: 11-10, en. Małachowskiego 3, 22 5569677

 

 

In addition to a kitchen that presents a combination of Danish, Italian and Polish cooking, Po Prostu features art exhibitions and chamber music.  If you’re here to enjoy the art, they have small plates of olives, herring, salmon tartar or parma ham with melon to enjoy with your wine.

Heartier fare includes lots of pastas and salads, liver and onions, roast duck with beets, apples, oranges and noodles or a Thai seafood stew.  A local wine that will work well is the ’11 Adiria Chardonnay.  For dessert we like the sticky toffee pudding.

 

The National Museum in Warsaw – Tu-Su: 10-6, Th: till 9, Al. Jerozolimskie 3, 48 22 621 10 31 is another must see.

 

 

The National Museum in Warsaw is home to over 800,000 exhibits of both Polish and worldwide art. They represent all epochs from antiquity to contemporary times, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, illustrations, photographs, numismatic items and objects of applied arts.

The most unique are the Faras Gallery (the largest European collection of artefacts of the Nubian culture and art from the early-Christian period), the Medieval Art Gallery (unique sculptures, panel paintings and gold smithery from all regions historically related to Poland in medieval times completed with medieval works of art created in other regions of Europe) and the largest Polish painting “Battle of Grunwald” by Jan Matejko.

 

Dinner is at the renown Restaurant Stary Dom – L & D: Daily, Puławska 104/106, 02-001, 48 22 646 42 08

 

 

Should we start with the steak tartar, the roasted peppers stuffed with goat cheese or the medley of Polish sausages?  For our entrée we’ll have the rabbit in mustard sauce with homemade dumplings or the roasted chicken with vegetables.  Our wine is the ’10 Adoria Pinot Noir and dessert is the almond meringue cake.

 

Day Three:  Restaurant 99 - B,LD: Daily, al Jana Paula 11 23, 48 22 620 19 99 is our place for breakfast

 

 

Lots of choices that include ggs with grilled mushrooms and bacon or sausage, vanilla pancakes and mini croissants or a charcuterie  and cheese plate.

 

One of the most historic and important places to see in Warsaw is the Royal Lazienki Museum and Gardens –  Gardens Open Daily: Dawn to Dusk, Museum and other buildings open: Summer hours: M: 11-4,  Tu-Su: 9-6, Aleje Ujazdowskie, Warsaw 99-200, 48 504 243 783

 

 

The Royal Łazienki Museum consists of a palace and garden complex.  The origins of Łazienki date back to the 17th century. In 1764 Ujazdów became the property of Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski - the last king of Poland, who established his summer residence here and gave it its general appearance. Today, the Royal Łazienki Residence fulfils the functions of a museum: a place of cultural, scientific and entertainment events

The park was created in the 18th century becoming the most beautiful planned area in Warsaw and one of the most beautiful in Europe.  It is a favorite place for walks and also an important place for music lovers.

The Gardens are made up of three parts: The Royal Garden, The Belvedere Garden and The Modernist Garden. 18th, 19th and 20th century sculptures, palace edifices and garden pavilions adorn the grounds.

 

Let’s do a change of pace and visit the Museum of Modern Art – Tu-Su: 12-8
ul. Pańska 3, 00-124, 48 22 596 40 10

 

 

Since its inception in 2005, the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw has collected over 200 works of art by contemporary Polish and foreign artists.

The Museum enhances its collection through the acquisition of works of art by purchase, and also numerous works of art in the collection were created during the exhibitions and public projects.

 

For our final Mini-Holiday dining experience we are going to Dom Polski – L & D: Daily, Francuska 11, 48 22 616 24 32

 

 

Let’s start with the goose liver mousse with fruit and a hot black berry sauce or the Polish snail stew with mushrooms and sour cream, and let’s enjoy a glass of the Taittinger Prestige rose with it.

For our entrée the choice is difficult.  The halibut in lemon sauce with spinach dumplings is one choice, and the other is the wild boar filet in an aromatic forest sauce with fried beet roots.  The ’05 Haut-Brion Clarendale is our wine.  Dessert is the pear sorbet. 

 

Museum of Technology and Industry NOT Palace of Culture and Science – Tu-F: 8:30-4:30, Sa,Su: 10-5, Pl. Parade 1, 690-900-746

 

 

The Museum of Technology collections focus on the history of Polish art and products.  They include a collection of motorcycles featuring the “Falcon”, a collection of locally produced radios, survey instruments, office equipment and recording devices.  The planetarium can restore the image of the sky visible from the Northern Hemisphere at any time of day and year.

 

As a farewell let’s take a walk around Old Town Warsaw –  It is bounded by the Wybrzeże Gdańskie, along with the bank of Vistula river, Grodzka, Mostowa and Podwale Streets.

 

 

During the Warsaw Uprising in August 1944, more than 85% of Warsaw’s historic centre was destroyed by Nazi troops. After the war, a five-year reconstruction campaign by its citizens resulted in today’s meticulous restoration of the Old Town, with its churches, palaces and market-place. It is an outstanding example of a near-total reconstruction of a span of history covering the 13th to the 20th century.

 

Until next time, best wishes and happy travels,

 

Dick & Dee Welge aka Mr. & Mrs. Sites & Bites

 

© 2014 R.E. Welge All Rights Reserved. Use of this website constitutes acceptance of the Web Site Rules and Regulations of sitesandbites.com.  Any business use without permission forfeits your right to “pirozhkis”.

 

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Response to two frequent questions

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Hello Fellow Travelers:

 

We are responding to two questions that we are frequently asked.

 

1.)  How can we help sitesandbites.com?

Our stock answer is to keep passing along sitesandbites.com to your friends and business associates.  Our Sites & Bites Mini-Holiday Guides are well received and are increasingly popular.  After reflecting on the connective possibilities of “six degrees of separation” we decided to ask for your help.

Sites & Bites needs to partner with a media company, such as VOX Media or a similar company to bring our guides to a larger audience.  Contact information that includes a name at travel related companies and news outlets is also helpful.

In other words: do you know someone who knows someone who is interested in a relationship with a world-wide, upscale destination information company – namely sitesandbites.com?

 

2.)  Does Sitesandbites.com have archives?

We get this question a lot.  Our travelers and visitors receive our latest Mini-Holiday Guides on Word Press via Mail Chimp which many read, but they don’t visit sitesandbites.com.  Here’s how easy it is to find our archives which contain 130+ guides.

Activate your search engine (the most popular is Google), and type in or “copy and paste” sitesandbites.com on the search bar.  Click on it.  Sitesandbites.com will miraculously appear.

Click on Mini-Holiday Guides and seven continent categories will appear, we know one really isn’t a continent and few travelers go to Antartica, so we didn’t include it.  Scroll down to find your city of interest.  Click on it.  Now you will be able to access all of the important places to see and where to dine in that city.

As always we would appreciate your help and comments.

Cordially,

 

Dick & Dee Welge   aka  Mr. & Mrs. Sites & Bites

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Lisbon, Portugal– A Sites & Bites Mini-Holiday Guide

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Hello Fellow Travelers:

 

Welcome to our world of adventure, birding, botanical gardens, good eating and fine wines.

 

This newsletter provides you with “A Sites & Bites Mini-Holiday Guide for Lisbon, Portugal

 

Please share it with your friends, customers and associates.  You can also access over 100 cities on our blog plus lots of other helpful travel tips at:  SitesandBites.com/blog/index.php

 

 

Lisbon, Portugal

 

 

Events & Exhibitions

Announce your activity – here – now!   Ask us how you can list your event that includes a link to your site.  See our Advertising section for details.

 

Birding Opps:  Info for our birding friends.  In and near Lisbon you can see greater flamingos, great spotted cuckoos, nightingales and avocets.

 

 

Birding Lisbon (http://lisbon.avesdeportugal.info/index.html) shows you where and what.

The Urban Birder (birdwatching.co.uk/Articles/The-Urban-Birder/The-Urban-Birder-in-Lisbon) David Lindo explains why you need to visit the Tagus Estuary.

Here’s your Birding Pal contact info (birdingpal.org/Portugal.htm)

 

Transportation:  The first thing you want to do is buy the tourism office’s Lisboa Card that grants access to all public transportation (buses, trams, metro, and even CP trains to Sintra  and Cascais  plus free entrances or discounts on most attractions.)

 

Shopping:  Lisbon is known for its artisanal boutiques such as Caza das Vellas Loreto dating from 1789.  If you are looking for something to take home our cousin suggest a visit to A Vida Portuguesa in the Chiado area would be helpful.

 

Business Information:  Here is help in regard to your business: (http://lisbon.angloinfo.com/)

 

Day One:  Drop you bags at your hotel and start your holiday with a visit to the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian – Tu-Su: 10-5:30, Avenida Berna 45 A, 1067-001 Lisboa, 351 21 782 3000

 

 

The Gulbenkian Museum is one of the world’s great museums and one of Europe’s unsung treasures.  It houses a magnificent collection of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Islamic, Asian and European art.  In the European art section are pieces by Rembrandt (Potrait of an Old Man, and Alexander the Great), Peter Paul Rubens (Portrait of Helene Fourment), Claude Monet, Van Dyck, Ghirlandaio (15th century Portrait of a girl), Rogier Van der Weyden (St. Catherine), and Pierre-Ausguste Renoir (Potrait of Madame Claude Monet), along with French furniture and textiles.

 

While here let’s visit the Modern Art Center(Centro de Arte Moderna Jose de Azeredo Perdigão) – Tu-Su: 10-6, Rua Doutor Nicolau Bettencourt, 1050-078 Lisboa, 351 21 782 3483 A joint ticket for both museums is available.

 

 

Here we see works by Amadeo Souza Cardoso, Almada Negreiros, and Paula Rego, Portugal’s best known contemporary artist. Modernism is represented by key artists, such as surrealists António Pedro and António Dacosta. There are also works by British artists such as David Hockney, Anthony Gormley, and Bill Woodrow and a Henry Moore sculpture in the garden.

 

Our cousin Rebecca suggests that we lunch at Restaurante A Floresta De Belem – L: Tu-Su, D: Tu-Sa, Praça Afonso de Albuquerque, 1300-004 Belém, 351 21 363 6307

 

 

The grilled sardines and the house white wine from Douro are an excellent match.  Additional specialties include: Feijoada and Portuguese stew.

 

Time for the Museum of Ancient Art – Tu: 2-6, W-Su: 10-6, Rua Janelas Verdes, 1249 – 017 Lisboa, 351 21 391 2800

 

 

The most revered of the Portuguese paintings is the “Veneration of St. Vincent,” regarded as an important historical document, portraying some prominent 15th century personalities such as Henry the Navigator.   There is collection of decorative art and silverware, including the Monstrance of Belem, which was made from the first shipment of gold brought home by Vasco da Gama.

It also has 14th to 20th century European works by artists such as Bosch (whose “Temptation of St. Anthony” is one of the museum’s most valuable treasures) plus Dürer, and Raphael.

 

For a change of pace let’s go to the Musuem of Design and Fashion – Tu_Su: 10-8, F,Sa: till 10, Rua Augusta, 24,

 

 

The collection consists of works by some 230 designers representing trends in design from around the world. There are works by design icons such as Phillipe Starck, Charles Eames, George Nelson, Arne Jacobsen, Paul Henningsen, Vener Panton, Masanori Umeda, Henning Koppel and Tom Dixon, and includes almost 200 design classics embracing innovative furnishings, glass and jewelry from 1937 to the present.

 

In order to really get into the spirit of Lisbon, our cousin suggests a fado experience and the best one by acclamation is Senhor Vinho - Rua Meio-Lapa 18 1200-723, 213 977 456

 

 

You’re here for the Fado music.  The menu is basic Portuguese such as fish (prawns, codfish, shell fish or octopus) plus roasted lamb or pork with rice.  The Duas Quintas from Douro is a good wine choice.  Dessert is Pudin Flan or the Queijadas.

 

Day Two:  Breakfast is at A Brasileira – B,L,D: Daily,  Rua Garrett 120, 351 21 346 9541

 

 

This is a famous café and tourist magnet that we think is worth a visit to see the decorative and fine art.  Have an expresso and one of their excellent pastries.

 

The Jeronimos Monastery – Tu-Su: 10-6, Praça do Império, Belem, is a World Heritage Site, and the most impressive symbol of Portugal’s power and wealth during the Age of Discovery.

 

 

King Manuel I built it in 1502 on a site founded by Prince Henry the Navigator.  Vasco da Gama and his crew spent their last night in Portugal in prayer here before leaving for India. Vasco da Gama’s tomb was placed inside by the entrance. The cloisters are magnificent.  Each column is uniquely carved with coils of rope, sea monsters, coral, and other sea motifs. At the entrance to the former refectory is beautiful vaulting and tile decoration on the walls depicting the Biblical story of Joseph.

 

It’s a fun visit to Belem Tower – Tu-Su: 10-5, Avenida Brasília, 1400-038 Lisboa, 351 21 362 0034

 

 

Built in 1515 as a fortress to guard the entrance to Lisbon’s harbor, the Belem Tower was the starting point for many of the voyages of discovery, and for the sailors it was the last sight of their homeland.  Facing the river are arcaded windows, delicate Venetian-style loggias, and a statue of Our Lady of Safe Homecoming who provides a symbol of protection for sailors on their voyages.

 

Lunch is at Café Lisboa – L & D: Daily, Largo de Sao Carlos 23 (National Theater of Sao Carlos), Chiado District, 351 211 914 498

 

 

The beef steak can be ordered with Portobello mushrooms and a cream sauce or with a foie gras and truffle sauce.  A dry cured ham entrée is served with cherry gazpacho, basil and cottage cheese.  The Bras style cod comes with “exploding” olives.  Our wine is the Quinta de Bacalhoa from Palmela.

 

The Sao Roque Church – Tu-Su: 10-5, Largo Trindade Coelho, Bairro Alto,  is definitely worth a visit.

 

 

Each of the chapels is a masterpiece of Baroque art, but the showpiece is the fourth one on the left, the “world’s most expensive chapel.”   It was designed in Rome using the most costly materials available, including ivory, agate, porphyry, lapis lazulli, gold and silver and was blessed by the Pope, then shipped to Lisbon in 1747.   The mosaics and the ceiling are considered a masterpiece of European art.

 

Our cousin feels the Jardin Botanical – Daily: 9-6, Rua da Escola Politécnica, 58, is worth a visit.

 

 

Its 10 acres has one of the largest collections of subtropical vegetation in Europe with over 18,000 species from all over the world (each one is neatly labeled) that include a large number of cycads, weird Australian trees with twisting colossal trunks and ancient palm-ferns that have been around since the time of the dinosaurs.

 

Good news!  Close by is the Port Wine House (Solar do Vinho de Porto) – M-Sa: 4-10, 45 Rue de Sao Pedro de Alcantra

 

 

Here they have over 150 different port wines at a wide range of price points.  Cheese and meat plates are available.  It has a nice atmosphere with a great view.

 

Tonight we are headed for the Clube de Fado – D: Nightly, Rua São João da Praça 86 – 94, 351 21 885 2704

 

 

Let’s start with the mixed platter of bread, olive oil, red sausage, olives, vegetables and small fried fish, and wash it down with a glass of Esporao from Alentejo.  Then the grouper with a lobster sauce or the duck magret with an oporto wine sauce.  The Duas Quintas from the Douro is a good match.  Dessert is the homemade chocolate mousse.

 

Day Three:  Breakfast is at Pasteis de Belem – B,L,D: Daily, Rua de Belem 84,
21 363 74 23

 

 

They are famous for their pastels and pasties.  Four menus give us lots of choices including juice, coffee, croissants, quiches and jams.

 

Let’s start today with a visit to the Tile Museum that is in the Madre de Deus Convent – Tu: 2-6, W-Su: 10-6, Rua Madre de Deus, 4

 

 

Here we’ll see five centuries of decorative ceramic tiles or azuleios including a blue and white composition of 1300 tiles created in 1738 depicting Lisbon’s cityscape.  Our bonus with this visit is the rich decoration in the Madre de Deus Convent.   The panels in the ceiling contain paintings of King João III and his queen, Catherine of Austria. Several other paintings in the church depict the life of saints, and in the main vault are scenes from the Life of the Virgin.

 

The Colecao Berardo Museum – Tu-Su: 10-7, Praça do Império, 1449-003 Lisboa, is a must see if you like modern and contemporary art.

 

 

The collection includes pieces by Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, René Magritte, Joan Miró, Francis Bacon and Andy Warhol.  Women are represented by Helena Almeida, Ana Mendieta, Cindy Sherman, Francesca Woodman and Nan Goldin.  This Museum is known for its creativity, innovation and dynamism.

 

Today’s meal is a culinary and visual extravaganza at Restaurante Amarra O Tejo – Tu: B,L, D, W-Su: L & D, Jardim do Castelo 2800-046 Almada, 351 21 273 0621

 

 

It’s a ferry trip across the Tagus river to reach this restaurant but trust us, it’s worth the effort.  The chef is a genius serving dishes such as a pork loin stuffed with crab and a celery puree and drizzled with a spicy sauce or the sausage stuffed with asparagus and quail egg.  Fish is a specialty here.

 

The reason we are visiting St. George Castle – Nov-Feb: 9-6, Mar-Oct: 9-9, Rua de Santa Cruz do Castelo, 1100-129 Lisboa, is for the magnificent view of Lisbon.

 

 

It dates from the 6th century when it was fortified by the Romans, Visigoths, and eventually the Moors. It served as a Moorish royal residence until Portugal’s first king, Afonso Henriques, captured it in 1147.  We can climb the towers and walk along the ramparts for great views of Lisbon.  The gardens have an array of peacocks, geese and ducks.

 

Until next time, best wishes and happy travels,

 

Dick & Dee Welge aka Mr. & Mrs. Sites & Bites

 

© 2014 R.E. Welge All Rights Reserved. Use of this website constitutes acceptance of the Web Site Rules and Regulations of sitesandbites.com.  Any business use without permission forfeits your right to “feijoada”.

 

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