Newport & Providence, Rhode Island – 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 Newport & Providence, Rhode Island .


Please share it with your friends, customers and associates. You can also access over 120 cities on our blog plus lots of other helpful travel tips at:


Newport & Providence, Rhode Island


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 Newport & Providence, Rhode Island you can see these species: Eurasian Wigeons, Peregrine Falcons, Horned Larks, Least Terns and Piping Plovers.



Check out Rhode Island Nature Trails ( to find the best places to see more than 300 species.

Fieldfare ( is another excellent resource for birding locations and timing.

At Save the Bay ( they offer birding tours on the water but more importantly they are actively involved in the ecological health of the Narragansett Bay area.


Beverages: Rhode Island has several great wineries (and since the state is small, you’re never more than an hour away from any of them).


PublicTransportation: This is your site for public transportation (


Business Information: Here is help in regard to your business: (


Day One: After dropping your bags off your first stop is a mansion tour. If you’re a first time visitor to Newport you will probably want to see the Mansions or Summer Cottages. The Preservation Society of Newport County offers tours for 11 properties located on 80 acres of gardens and parks.



Each property exudes elegance, inspiration, art, interior design and landscapes. Audio tours are available at Rosecliff, Marble House and the Breakers. Plan on spending between 1 and 1 ½ hours per mansion.


The Brick Alley Pub – L & D: Daily, 140 Thames St, 401-849-6334 is a popular choice for lunch.



The Brick Alley Pub is famous for clam chowder, steamed mussels and little necks, salads, pizza and lobster rolls. Your beverage is the sparkling blackberry sangria and dessert is Tina’s bread pudding with caramel rum sauce and whipped cream.


To get some back story on Newport visit the Brick Market Museum & Shop – Daily: 10-5, 127 Thames St, 401-841-8770



Their exhibits feature James Franklin’s printing press, the figurehead from the yacht Aloha, photographs, furniture, colonial silver, paintings and objects of daily life.
The Newport Historical Society’s Archives & Special Collections consists of merchants’ records from the 18th to the 20th century, an extensive African-American history collection and a unique collection of diaries and journals.


If you enjoy the game of tennis it’s fun to visit the International Tennis Hall of Fame – Daily: 9:30-5, 194 Bellevue Ave, 401- 849-3990




Occupying the Newport Casino, which was designed by the American architectural firm McKim, Mead & White, the buildings that house the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum are one of the world’s finest examples of Victorian shingle-style architecture.
The Newport Casino opened its doors in 1880 as a premier social club for the city’s wealthy summer residents featuring shops, a billiards room, a theatre, tennis courts and sweeping porches lined with intricate lattice work.
The Museum contains a diverse collection of memorabilia, art and fashion from the 12th century through present day. Items on display include trophies and attire belonging to the game’s biggest stars.


One of the most popular dining places in Newport is Bouchard Restaurant – D: W-M, 505 Thames St, 401- 846-0123



We suggest starting with one of their tartars (yellow fin tuna or salmon) or the asparagus and lobster in puff pastry. The Dover sole with sorrel sauce is a good choice for your entrée as is the lamb chops in a rosemary red wine sauce.
The wine is ’12 Rose Les Comaniers de Puits Mouret, Ott. For dessert go for the soufflés.


Day Two: Breakfast is at the Atlantic Grill – B,L,D: Daily, 91 Aquidneck Ave, 401-849-4440



Here we feast on omelets, short stacks, French toast with strawberries, toast, home fries and coffee.


For decades we have worked with several illustrators on our guides and other proprietary projects so we suggest visiting the National Museum of American Illustration – Th-Su: 11-5, 492 Bellevue Ave, 401-851-8949



The NMAI was founded in 1998 by Judy and Laurence Cutler to show their collection form the ‘Golden Age of American Illustration’. It is located in Vernon Court, an 18th century French chateau from the ‘Gilded Age of Architecture,’ designed by Carrére & Hastings.
The three-acre grounds were inspired by King Henry VIII’s gardens created for his ill-fated Queen Anne Boleyn at Hampton Court Palace. The adjacent three acres originally known as Stoneacre (1884) was designed by the first American landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted.


The Museum of Yachting in Newport – Th-M: 10-5, 449 Thames St, 401.848.5777 is a must see for sailors.



Here are collections of maritime reference materials, a library with 3,000 titles on yachting, yachting history, sailing and boatbuilding.


The Mooring Restaurant Seafood Kitchen & Bar – L & D: Daily, 1 Sayers Wharf, 401-846-2260 is our pick for lunch.



Like everybody else we come here for the view, the atmosphere and the raw bar. You can’t go wrong with any of their fish and seafood entrees.
A glass of the ’11 “Zios” Albarino by Pozos de Lusco is great with your oysters and the ’07 Riesling from Zind-Humbrecht with your mains is perfect.


At Sail Newport – Daily: 9-5, 60 Ft. Adams Dr, 401-846-1983 you can get your feet wet.



You can rent a boat to cruise around the harbor. In case you don’t have a sailor in your family they have sailing instructors to get you started.


Usually we avoid old historic dining places but the White Horse Tavern – L & D: Daily, 26 Marlborough St, 401-849-3600 was a pleasant exception. It dates from 1673 and claims to be America’s oldest tavern.



They are known for the lobster bisque and lobster mac and cheese. If you’re looking for a fish break the ribeye with fingerling hash, sautéed onions and chimichurri is very good as is the pork chop with sweet corn hash.


Day Three: The Corner Café – B & L: Daily, D: W-Sa, 110 Broadway, 401-846-0606 is your breakfast stop.



The usual French toast and omelets are available but they also have burritos and sandwiches to go with your coffee.


Our cousin Tracy suggests a visit to Providence to see the Rhode Island School of Design Museum – Tu-Su: 10-5, Th: till 9, 20 N Main, 401-454-6500


The permanent collection is categorized by department that includes:

The Decorative Arts and Design department’s collections encompass European and American furniture, silver, metalwork, wallpaper, ceramics, glass, and plastics from the medieval period to the present. The Charles L. Pendleton Collection includes furniture made in 18th-century Boston, New York, Philadelphia and by the Townsend-Goddard circle of Newport cabinetmakers.



Other highlights include Chinese export porcelain; French Empire furniture; European porcelain figures; 18th- and early 19th-century French wallpaper; 20th-century and contemporary design.


The Painting and Sculpture collection includes works of European and American art from the 12th through the mid-20th century. Highlights include Renaissance and Baroque works by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Lippo Memmi, Tilman Riemenschneider, Hendrick Goltzius and Salomon van Ruysdael.


17th- and 18th-century paintings by Nicolas Poussin, Angelica Kauffmann, and Joshua Reynolds; 18th- and 19th-century American paintings by John Singleton Copley, Gilbert Stuart, Thomas Cole, Winslow Homer, William Merritt Chase, Martin Johnson Heade, Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent.

19th and 20th century European paintings and sculpture by Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne, Auguste Rodin, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Henri Matisse, Fernand Léger and Oskar Kokoschka.
20th century American works by George Wesley Bellows, Robert Henri, Charles Sheeler, Maxfield Parrish, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Nancy Elizabeth Prophet; and a Latin American collection including paintings by Joaquín Torres-Garcia, Wifredo Lam and Roberto Matta Echuarren.


The Prints, Drawings, & Photographs collection comprises more than 25,000 works including prints, drawings, and photographs, and dating from the 15th century to the present.



The holdings include a large group of Old Master engravings and etchings, and particular strengths in prints and drawings of 18th-century Italy, 19th-century France, and 19th- and 20th-century America. The department also holds one of the largest collections of late 18th- and early 19th-century British watercolors in the United States.


The Asian Art collection spans a period of almost 5,000 years and covering the geographic areas of East Asia, South and Southeast Asia, and the Islamic world.



The Asian sculpture collection ranges from Indian Buddhist and Hindu materials to Chinese and Japanese including the later twelfth-century wooden Dainichi Nyorai Buddha, the largest (about nine feet tall) seated Japanese figural sculpture in the United States.


The Costume and Textile collection range from 1500 BC to the present. The earliest piece is an ancient Egyptian tomb fragment, and a major focus of the present collection is the acquisition of contemporary fashion and textiles from all over the world.



The richness of the Costume and Textiles collections extends from examples of Elizabethan needlework, Italian Renaissance textiles, French printed toiles de Jouey, Navajo chief’s blankets, and fashions from the most celebrated European and American designers of the 19th and 20th centuries to a world-renowned group of Japanese Noh theater robes and Buddhist priest robes donated by Lucy Truman Aldrich, the greatest single donor to the Museum’s textile collection.


The Ancient Art collection includes bronze figural sculpture and vessels, an exceptional collection of Greek coins, stone sculpture, Greek vases, paintings, and mosaics, as well as Roman jewelry and glass. Highlights include an Etruscan bronze situla (pail), a fifth-century B.C. Greek female head in marble, and a rare Hellenistic bronze Aphrodite.

The Egyptian collection includes a Ptolemaic period coffin and mummy of the priest Nesmin; a rare New Kingdom ceramic paint box; a relief fragment from the Temple at Karnak, and a collection of faience.


We spent several hours going through these and other collections at RISD.


Lunch is at Nick’s – B & L: W-Su, D: W-Sa, 500 Broadway, 404-421-0286.



We suggest sharing the charcuterie plate as a starter. A glass of the ’12 Gamay from the Loire Valley is perfect with it.  For your main the char-grilled lamb with mushrooms and smoked bacon is a good choice or the roasted black bass with potato fish-cake, capers, greens and a black olive aioli.
Your wine is the ’09 Nero d’Avola from Tenuta Rapitala Alto and for dessert the decadent rhubarb-blackberry-shortbread pudding with chocolate-orange ice cream and caramel.



The Providence Atheneum – M-Th: 9-7, F,Sa: 9-5, Su: 1-5, 251 Benefit St, 401-421-6970 provides you with an educational and artistic experience.



The Providence Atheneum is the 4th oldest library in the US. The Providence Atheneum is a period piece where Edgar Allen Poe was a regular visitor.  Its book collection numbers more than 150,000 with many books hundreds of years old. Their art collection has works by Gilbert Stuart, Giovanni Thompson and Edouard Monet.


Take a walk through the Roger Williams Park and Zoo – April-Sept: 10-5, Oct-Mar: 10-4, 1000 Elmwood, 401-941-4998.



The Park has more than 100 acres of ponds plus specimen trees, a rose garden and oodles of sculptures. The museum of Natural History, the Botanical Center and Carousel Village are here.  At the Zoo we visited the wild life of New Guinea, Indonesia and Australia. You can experience rock climbing and take a ride on a camel.



We love Peruvian cuisine and we love Los Andes – L: Sa,Su, D: Nightly, 963 Chalkstone Ave, 401-649-4911




At Los Andes your ceviche comes as a medley of diced tilapia, squid, shrimp, PEI mussels,tossed with a cilantro, rocoto and garlic leche de tigre. Another savory appetizer is the squid dusted with flour, fried and tossed with queso blanco, choclo, mint, tomatoes and garlic butter.
For your entrée the strips of chicken breast, sautéed with chorizo, cherry and banana peppers, onions, tomatoes is finished in a garlic-wine broth and served on a bed of steak fries topped with mozzarella cheese and scallions.
Another inspired dish is the pan seared strips of angus sirloin, and chorizo, sautéed with dijon mustard, deglazed in a marsala wine, finished with your choice of raw or sautéed onions, jalapenos, and tomato salsa, topped with hard boiled eggs, served on a bed of steak fries.
Your wine is the ’09 Nero d’Avola from Tenuta Rapitala Alto and dessert is the flan.


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 Any business use without permission forfeits your right to “lobster rolls”.

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Oslo & Helsinki – 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 Oslo & Helsinki.


Please share it with your friends, customers and associates.  You can also access over 120 cities on our blog plus lots of other helpful travel tips at:



Oslo & Helsinki


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 Oslo you can see these species:  Mountain Marsh Runner, Ring Ouzel, Bluethroats, Redstarts, Siberian Jays, Golden Eagle, Wood Sandpiper and Dotterel.


The Oslo Birder ( is a great all purpose guide.

Per Stensland ( site provides information on where to go and what you might see.

At the Fat Birder ( you get an overall birding appraisal for Norway.


Transportation This is your site for public transportation (


Business Information:  Here is help in regard to your business: (


Day One:  After dropping your bags off your first stop is The Vigeland Park – Nobels gate 32, 47 23 49 37 00



Vigelandsparken, also known as Frognerparken, is one of the most popular places to meet for people living in Oslo.  One of the most famous sculptures is the Monolith.



The column is over 14 meters tall and carved in one single stone. It consists of 121 human figures. There have been many interpretations of the Monolith: man’s resurrection, the struggle for existence, man’s yearning for spiritual relevance, the transcendence of everyday life and cyclic repetition.

Gustav Vigeland modeled all his sculptures in full size without any assistance. The carving in stone and the casting in bronze were left to craftsmen.

Vigeland also designed the architectural setting and the layout of the grounds with their far stretching lawns and long straight avenues bordered with maple trees. The construction of the park went on for several years.


A much lesser known museum is that of Gustav’s brother Emanuel Vigeland MusuemSu: 12-4, Grimelundsveien 8, 47 22 14 57 88


Emanuel Vigeland’s Museum at Slemdal is one of Oslo’s best kept secrets. The museum’s main attraction is a dark, barrel-vaulted room, completely covered with fresco paintings. The fresco Vita depicts human life from conception till death, in dramatic and often explicitly erotic scenes.

Large groups of bronze figures reiterate the dedication to the mystery of procreation. Entering the museum is a unique experience. The impression of the dimly lit frescoes with multitudes of naked figures is reinforced by the overwhelming acoustics of the room.

Emanuel Vigeland (1875-1948) erected the building in 1926, intended as a future museum for his sculptures and paintings. He eventually decided that the museum should also serve as a mausoleum.



All the windows were closed and his ashes were to rest in an urn above the entrance door. Influenced by Italian prototypes, he named his building Tomba Emmanuelle.


For lunch we suggest Tjuvholmen Sjomagasin – L & D: M-Sa, Tjuvholmen allé 14, 47 23 89 77 77



Start with oysters on the half shell and fish soup with onions and tarragon.   Then, the char-grilled langoustines or the grilled scallops with wonton and truffle.  Your wine is the ’11 Chablis 1.Cru Les Forets from Dauvisant.


You can learn a lot about Norway by visiting the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History – Daily: 10-6, Museumsveien 10, 22 12 37 00



The Norwegian Folk Museum is one of Europe’s largest open-air museums, with 155 houses from all parts of Norway and a Stave Church from the year 1200.

The museum’s indoor exhibits show traditional handicraft items, folk costumes, Sami culture, weapons, toys, pharmaceutical history and other historic artifacts.

In summer you can experience lefse baking, horse and carriage rides, feeding of the animals, guided tours, handicraft demonstrations and much more.

The museum hosts events such as folk dancing, exhibitions, baking, church services, markets, and arts and crafts activities.


Your next stop is the Astrup Fearney Museum – Tu-F: 12-5, Th: till 7, Sa, Su: 11-5, Strandpromenaden 2, 47 22 93 60 60



The Museum has concentrated intensively on American contemporary artists such as Paul Chan, Frank Benson, Nate Lowman and Dan Colen.

More recently, the focus has been on works by important European, Brazilian, Japanese, Chinese and Indian contemporary artists.

The museum’s aim is to collect and present major works by international contemporary artists in depth, but also in dialog with the Norwegian art scene and to have a real presence both in the city of Oslo and in the international art world.


For tonight’s repast our cousin suggests Restaurant Eik – D: Nightly, Universitetsgata 11, 47 22 36 07 10



The crab and rhubarb, seaweed, almond and dill or the snails with fennel and peas is a great way to start.  Then the cod with cucumber, horseradish and celeriac or the ox filet with garlic, thyme and cabbage.

Your wine is the ’11 Santenay Cru Clos de Tavannes.  Strawberries and a chocolate mousse is a treat.


Day Two:  Begin your day at Grilleriet – B,L,D: Daily, Storgata 21-23, 22 38 56 00



They have an organic breakfast buffet with breads, crackers, fruits, yogurt, salmon, meats, liver pate, an omelet station and a barista to make your espresso.


By visiting the Natural History Museum – Tu-Su: 11-4, Monrads gate, 47 228 55050 you hit a trifecta.  Included are the Geological Museum, the Zoo and the Botanical Gardens.


The Geological exhibition that features the geological evolution of Norway during 2.5 billion years that feature fossils, rock specimens and minerals.



The Zoological exhibitions take us through habitats and animal communities at increasing heights above the sea level by using dioramas.



The Botanical Garden shows us plant diversity through 7500 species.



It’s good to Munch – W-M: 11-5, Tøyengata 53, 47 23 49 35 00 before lunch.



The Munch Museum has more than half of the artist’s works and at least one copy of all of his prints.  This totals 1200 paintings and 18,000 prints, six sculptures, 500 plates 2,240 books and other memorabilia.

A version of the above painting “The Scream” was sold on May 2, 2012 for $119,922,600.


For lunch a good choice is De Fem Stuer – L: Daily, D: M-Sa, Kongeveien 26, 22 92 20 00



For your appetizer share the terrine of fois gras served with rhubarb and apple.  Then the veal steak with a rocket salad, parmesan and a Bordelaise sauce or the duck breast in a raspberry sauce with corn risotto.

Your wine is the ’08 Barolo Bricco Rocche Brunate.  And for desert it’s the pear with salted licorice, caramel and white chocolate.


At the Viking Ship Museum – Daily: 10-4, Huk Aveny 35, 47 22 85 19 00 you’ll learn how the Vikings became world travelers.



The Viking Ship Museum presents great Viking ship discoveries from Gokstad, Oseberg and Tune as well as other finds from Viking tombs around the Oslo Fjord.

The museum displays the world’s two best-preserved wooden Viking ships built in the 9th century, as well as small boats, sledges, a cart with exceptional ornamentation, implements, tools, harnesses, textiles and household utensils.
The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design – Tu-F: 10-6, Th: till 7, Sa,Su: 11-5, Universitetsgata 13, 47 21 98 20 00 is an umbrella for a collection of museums.


The National Gallery exhibits Norwegian art from Antiquities to 1950 and special exhibits.  Here you’ll find many of Edward Munch’s works.



The Museum of Contemporary Art contains 5,000 works by Norwegian and international artists from the years since 1945.



There are five permanent installations: the sculpture Shaft by Richard Serra, Per Inge Bjørlo’s Inner Room V, Ilya Kabakov’s The Garbage Man: The Man Who Never Threw Anything Away and Marianne Heier’s Promesse de Bonheur.


The National Museum – Architecture building is a juxtaposition of classicism and modernist architecture – collaboration between Grosch and Fehn, Norway’s most important architects of the 19th and 20th centuries respectively.



The museum’s exhibitions explore both contemporary architecture and historical themes. The architecture collection includes drawings and photographic material, in addition to models and other objects.


Solsidan Restaurant – D: Nightly, Akershusstranda 13, 47 22 33 36 30 is our suggestion for dinner.



Your first course is the King Crab confit with mango chutney and chili mayonnaise or the trout tartar with asparagus, quail egg and dill sauce.

For your main choose the sautéed trout with potato and horseradish puree in a lobster sauce or the hake and mussel risotto in parsley vinaigrette.

Your wine is the ’11 Chassagne-Montrachet 1.Cru Morgeot from Ramonet.  Dessert is the coconut mousse with lemon cream, baked pineapple and pineapple sorbet.


Day Three:  To complete your Mini-Holiday our cousin says go farther North to Helsinki, Finland, where your first visit is to the Ateneum Art Museum – Tu,F: 10-6, W,Th: 9-8, Sa,Su: 10-5, Kaivokatu 2, 358 9 61225510



The Ateneum has more than 4,300 paintings and 750 sculptures. Their collections showcase the development of Finnish art from 18th-century rococo portraiture to the experimental art movements of the 20th century.

Their international collection consists of over 650 works of art; paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints by artists that include Paul Cézanne, Marc Chagall, Eugène Delacroix, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Francisco de Goya, Amedeo Modigliani, Edvard Munch, Ilja Repin, Auguste Rodin and Anders Zorn.


Your next stop is The National Museum of Finland – Tu-Su: 11-6, Mannerheimintie 34, 358 40 128666469



The permanent exhibition is divided into six departments on four floors:

The Treasure Troves present the museum’s collections of coins, medals, orders, decorations, silver and weapons.

The Prehistory of Finland is Finland’s largest archaeological exhibition.

The Realm
tells of the history of Finnish culture and society from the Middle Ages until the beginning of the 20th century.

 A Land and Its People presents rural life in Finland before industrialization.

Suomi Finland 1900 the new permanent exhibition on 20th century Finland and Finns.

Workshop Vintti is an interactive exhibition.


Lunch is at the famous Savoy Ravintola – L: M-F, D: M-Sa, Eteläesplanadi 14, 358 96 128 53 00



Start with a glass of Champagne Larmandier-Bernier Latitude which goes beautifully with your salads composed from Savoy’s roof top garden.

Move on to the cold smoked Baltic herring with marinated cucumber and the white fish sautéed in sage butter with gnocchi and wild mushrooms.

Go for the wagyu beef BBQ with gremolata, seasoned French beans and a sorrel aioli or the sautéed reindeer with orzo and bourguignon sauce.

Your wine is the ’06 Amarone Capitel Monte Olmi from Tedeschi.  Dessert is Savoy’s fried waffles with wild strawberries and strawberry ice cream.


The Contemporary Art Center of Helsinki – Tu-Su: 10-5, W,Th: till 8:30, F: till 10, Sa: till 6, Mannerheiminaukio 2 0294 500 200 is an architectural delight.



Top names of Finnish contemporary art, design and fashion meet in the “Together” exhibition to produce a boundary-breaking exhibition into the world of art and design.

The exhibition provides an overview of Kiasma’s collections and at the same time depicts contemporary Finnish art history.


For your final meal on this Sites & Bites Mini-Holiday we recommend Chef & Sommelier – D: Tu-Sa, Huvilakatu 28, 358 400 959440



The neighborhood location for Chef & Sommelier is a visual treat. Their vegetables and herbs are from their garden and other specialties are from the nearby woods.

All of their ingredients are sourced locally from people they know.  The wine list is well chosen and fairly priced.

The menu changes frequently and is adapted to your tastes.  The choices vary but we suggest 4 courses from the 7 available.  Some of the selections are: nettle soup with pike and dill, wild rice with potatoes and porcini, pork with kohlrabi and seaweed and sorbet with kale.

Start with a Cava Vall Doine Brut and later enjoy the ’05 Barolo Arborina.



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  Any business use without permission forfeits your right to “pike”.





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Glasgow, Edinburgh & Cardiff – 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 Glasgow, Edinburgh & Cardiff .


Please share it with your friends, customers and associates.  You can also access over 120 cities on our blog plus lots of other helpful travel tips at:



Glasgow,  Edinburgh & Cardiff



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 Glasgow you can see these species:  Barn Owls, Hen Harriers, Sparrowhawks, Willow Warbler, Wood Warbler, Jack Snipr and Pied Wagtail.



The Bird Forum ( is a little dated but it has good suggestions on areas and transportation to them.

Dave’s Birding Blog ( offers tips on birding areas and ice cream.

 The Fat Birder ( offers information on sites and additional species.


Transportation:  This is your site for public transportation (


Business Information:  Here is help in regard to your business: (


Day One:  After dropping your bags your first stop is The Hunterian Museum – Tu-Sa: 10-5, Su: 11-4, University of Glasgow, University Ave, 440 141 330 4221



The Hunterian collections include scientific instruments used by James Watt, Joseph Lister, Lord Kelvin and Roman artifacts from the Antonine Wall.

Hunter’s own anatomical teaching collection, a large numismatic collection, ethnographic objects from Captain Cook’s Pacific voyages and a major art collection are on display.

The Hunterian is also home to the work of James McNeill Whistler.


Next we suggest seeing the St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art – Tu-Sa: 10-5, Su: 11-5, 2 Castle Street, 44 141 276 1629



It is described as the only public museum in the world devoted solely to this subject.  It has exhibits relating to all of the world’s major religions, including a Zen garden.

There are three galleries, representing religion as art, religious life and, on the top floor, religion in Scotland.


Our cousin suggests Number Sixteen – L & D: Daily, 16 Byres Rd, 44 141 339 2544 with a glowing recommendation.



For a starter  share the sautéed mackerel filets with grapefruit, broad beans, artichokes and asparagus. Then the lamb with new potatoes, red pepper, feta green beans and olives and the halibut with fennel, pickled onions, candied beets and cauliflower.

Our wine was the ’12 Percheroron Old Vine Cinsaullt and dessert was the vanilla rice pudding with cherry compote.


The People’s Palace – Tu,W,Th,Sa: 10-5, F,Su: 11-5, Glasgow Green, 0141 276 0788 is Glasgow’s social history museum.



It was opened in 1898 and it gave us a chance to see the story of the people and city of Glasgow from 1750 to the present.

Attached to the People’s Palace is the Winter Gardens, an elegant Victorian glasshouse where you can relax among the tropical plants and enjoy the café. There is a program of temporary exhibitions and events throughout the year.

The Doulton Fountain is the largest terracotta fountain in the world. The fountain has been beautifully restored and relocated to the front of the People’s Palace.


At Provand’s Lordship – Tu-Sa: 10-5, Su: 11-5, 3 Castle St, 0141 276 1625 you’ll discover a beautifully preserved medieval “auld hoose”.



It is furnished with a selection of 17th-century Scottish furniture donated by Sir William Burrell, and a series of historic royal portraits. Room settings show interiors from 1500 to 1700.

After touring the house make your way to the St. Nicholas Gardens that were created in the style of the 15th century featuring culinary and medicinal plantings.


The Two Fat Ladies – L: M-Sa, D: Nighlty, 118A Blythswood St, 44 141 847 0088 has an interesting menu.



Start with the smoked and poached Scottish salmon tian with a horseradish and lime dressing.  For your entrees it’s the whole grilled lemon sole with roasted almond and lemon butter, or the sautéed scallops and Thai style noodles with a sesame and peanut sauce.

Your wine isthe ’12 Chablis Domaine Geoffroy.  You’ll love what they call apricot & Cointreau fool with crush amaretto biscuits.


Day Two:  A good way to start your day is at The Epicure of Hyndland – B,L,D: Daily, 159 Hyndland Rd, 0 141 334 3599



The fresh fruit salad with yogurt drizzled with honey is a favorite  as is the smoked salmon, poached eggs and hollandaise on a toasted English muffin.  This is after coffee, of course.


Your first stop this morning isThe Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum – M-Sa: 10-5, Su: 11-5, Argyle St, 44 141 276 9599



The museum has 22 galleries displaying 8000 objects. The displays include: Dutch Masters, French Impressionists, Dali’s Christ of St. John Cross, dinosaurs, Arms & Armor, Scottish history and archaeology and significant objects from Egypt, the Americas, Africa, South Asia and Oceania.


Your next place to visit isthe Glasgow Botanic Gardens  – Daily: 7-5:30, 730 Great Western Rd, 44 141 276 1614



The topography of the Gardens is the result of glacial action during the ice ages. The Gardens currently cover an area 42.2 acres including a popular section of the Kelvin Walkway linking the City to the West Highland Way.

The arboretum, which opened in 1976, is now well established and displays natural groupings of tree species alongside the River Kelvin. Situated here is an area of plants introduced by David Douglas, the famous plant collector.

The wooded walkways of the River Kelvin provide an ideal habitat for wildlife. Within the grounds the mature native and exotic trees furnish an impressive background for the plant collections which are grouped according to their cultural requirements.

The herb garden and herbaceous borders are attractive in the spring and summer. The chronological beds, in which the plants are arranged in the order of their introduction to Britain, are a popular educational feature.

Rhododendrons grow very well in the Gardens giving a magnificent spring display and providing a background for the other collections during the rest of the year.


The Ubiquitous Chip – L & D: Daily, 12 Ashton Lane, 0 141 337 6417 is a unanimous choice for lunch.



There is only one way to start at the Chip and that’s the Venison Haggis, champit tattis with carrot crisp and turnip cream.  Then the char grilled asparagus with a mushroom fricassee, cheddar croutons and a rye and pumpkin seed crumble or the wild sea bass with aubergine and grilled cucumber.

Your wine is the ’11 Soli Pinot Noir, Thracian Valley and dessert was the lemon and pinenut parfait.


The Burrell Collection - M-F: 10-5, Su: 11-5, Pollok Country Park, 2060 Pollokshaws Rd,  44 141 287 2550 is an important art stop.



This eclectic collection was acquired over many years by Sir William Burrell, a shipping magnate and art collector.  It contains medieval art including tapestries, furniture, weapons and armor, Islamic art and artifacts from Egypt and China.

French impressionist works of Degas and Cezanne and modern sculpture are also featured.  It is home to one of the greatest collections of medieval stained glass in the world.  There are more than 700 Gothic, Renaissance and Romanesque stained glass panels displayed.


Nearby is the Pollock House – Daily: 10-5, 2060 Pollokshaws Rd, 44 844 493 2202



The Pollok House, designed by William Adam and built in 1752, is regarded as one of Scotland’s grandest Edwardian country homes.  It contains Spanish paintings by El Greco, Goya and Murillo plus paintings by William Blake.

There are also collections of glass, silverware, porcelain and antique furniture. The Parterre Garden has more than 1,000 species of rhododendrons


High on our list of places to dine is Stravaigin – B,L,D: Daily,  28 Gibson St, Kelvinbridge, 44 141 334 2665



Starters are the pan-fried cuttlefish and chorizo with ginger relish and toasted almonds and the duck spring roll with grilled pineapple, coconut salted cashews and soy pak choi.

Our suggestion is to share the grilled Angus steak with chimichurri sauce, chips and roasted mushrooms.  Your wine was the ’12 Barbera d’Asti, Frem and for dessert it’s the parsnip ginger cake.


Day Three:  Today check out Edinburgh and the best place to start is Edinburgh Castle – Daily: 9:30-6, Castlehill, 44 131 225 9846



This famous Scottish castle has a complex building history. The oldest part, St Margaret’s Chapel, dates from the 12th century; the Great Hall was erected by James IV around 1510.  The Half Moon Battery by the Regent Morton was added in the late 16th century and the Scottish National War Memorial after the First World War.

The castle houses the Honors (Crown Jewels) of Scotland, the Stone of Destiny, the famous 15th century gun Mons Meg, the One O’ Clock Gun and the National War Museum of Scotland.

We enjoyed the fantastic views from the castle’s ramparts.  There are several itineraries, guided tours, gift shops, restaurants and cafes.


Next visit The Scottish National Gallery – Daily: 10-5, Th: till 7, The Mound, 44 131 624 6200



The Scottish National Gallery is in the heart of Edinburgh and houses one of the best collections of fine art in the world featuring art from the early Renaissance to the end of the nineteenth century.

There are masterpieces from Vermeer, Raphael, El Greco, Velázquez and Rubens to Van Gogh, Monet, Cézanne, Degas and Gauguin.

The most comprehensive part of the collection covers the history of Scottish painting. All the major names, including Ramsay, Raeburn, Wilkie and McTaggart, are represented in depth. Works on display include Raeburn’s much-loved The Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch or, as it has become known, the ‘Skating Minister’.


After this indulgence it is very pleasant to walk through the Princes Street Gardens – Daily: 7 AM-7:30 PM, Princes St, 44 131 529 7921



The Gardens are the best known park in Edinburgh.  Various concerts and other events are held at the Ross Bandstand.  Within the gardens and running along the south side of Princes Street are many statues and monuments


Lunch today is a treat at Angels with Bagpipes – L & D: Daily, 343 High St, Royal Mile, 44 131 220 1111



Share the smoked salmon with cucumber, mustard, caviar and dill.  Then the pork belly with black pudding, carrots and tarragon risotto or the duck breast with pickled pears and duck liver ravioli.

Your wine was the ’10 Ripasso Valpolicella and to finish we suggest the cheesecake with passion fruit and lime sorbet.


The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art – Daily: 10-5, 75 Belford Rd, 44 131 624 6200 is an entertaining indulgence.



The early part of the collection features French and Russian art from the beginning of the twentieth century that includes cubist paintings, expressionists and modern British art. Special highlights are paintings by Matisse and Picasso.

The Gallery also has an outstanding collection of international post-war work and an extensive collection of modern Scottish art. The post-war collection features art by Francis Bacon, David Hockney, Andy Warhol and Lucian Freud, with more recent works by artists including Antony Gormley, Gilbert & George, Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin.

The gallery is in an extensive parkland, where visitors can discover sculpture works by important artists like Ian Hamilton Finlay, Henry Moore, Rachel Whiteread, Richard Long and Nathan Coley.



The lawn in front of Modern One was re-landscaped in 2002 by Charles Jencks. This dramatic work, or ‘landform’, comprises a stepped, serpentine mound reflected in three crescent-shaped pools of water. The façade of Modern One is home to Martin Creed’s prescient work No. 975, Everything’s Going to be Alright.


To continue this horticultural bent visit the Royal Botanic Garden- Open Daily: Mar-Sept: 10-6, Nov-Jan: 10-4, Feb,Oct: 10-5, one mile north of the city centre, with entrances on Inverleith Row (East Gate) and Arboretum Place (West Gate and John Hope Gateway), 44 (0) 131 248 2909



It encompasses 70 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds.  Four gardens provide a collection of plants and a center for plants science and education.


For your final Scottish dining experience we suggest The Kitchin – D: Tu-Sa, 78 Commercial St, 44 131 555 1755



Start with the seared scallops wrapped in pancetta with an asparagus sauce or the razor clams with chorizo, herbs and vegetables. Enjoy a glass of ’11 Leflaive Montagny Premier Cru.

For your mains the saddle of lamb with crispy leg pastille, potato cake and carrot is excellent or one of my favorites the crispy veal sweetbreads with mushrooms and radishes.  Your wine isthe ’11 Combariolles “Terrasses du Larzac”.  Desert is the rhurb crumble soufflé.


Before leaving the UK Father Prosser insists that you visit Wales.  The following is a lagniappe for Cardiff.  Visit  Cardiff CastleDaily: 9-5, Castle Street, 44 029 2087 8100



Cardiff Castle is a medieval castle built in the late 11th century.  Over the centuries several ownership changes and remodeling efforts have taken place.  In 1947 the castle was given to the City of Cardiff.

Today the castle and grounds are a very popular tourist destination. A don’t miss feature is the “Firing Line”, a regimental museum.  It’s also a venue for events that include musical performances and festivals.


Next visit  St. Fagans National History Museum – Daily: 10-5, Cardiff CF5 6XB, 44 29 2057 3500



The museum was modeled on Skansen which is near Stockholm (see Stockholm A Sites & Bites Mini-Holiday Guide). St. Fagans includes more than 40 buildings representing the architecture of Wales.  Some of the buildings are: a Unitarian Chapel, a schoolhouse, a toll booth, a pigsty and a tannery.

It has displays of traditional crafts such as:  blacksmithing, pottery making, milling, farming and breeding livestock.

There is a row of workers cottages with period furniture from 1800-1985 and includes several buildings that depict the industrial working life.


You will  love a restaurant called The Potted Pig – L: Tu-Su, D: Tu-Sa, 27 High St, 029 2022 4817



Start with the smoked Haddock and poached egg or their famous potted pig with toast and pickles.

Then the Moroccan style lamb with cauliflower couscous and an aubergine salad or the braised ox cheek with mashed potatoes, kale and roasted shallots.  For dessert share a poached pear pudding.

The Pig has a great bar, especially for a gin drinker.  They have London Dry Gins, Floral Gins, Fruity Gins, Aromatic and Spicy Gins, Fresh and Crisp Gins, Sweet Gins and After Dinner Gins.  We suggest the ’09 Chateauneuf-du-Pape from Domain Pere d’Eglise.


Time to visit the National Museum CardiffTu-Su: 10-5, Cathays Park, 029 2057 3000.  It’s  entertaining and educational.



Located in the heart of Cardiff’s elegant civic centre, it houses Wales’s national archaeology, art, geology and natural history collections as well as major touring and temporary exhibitions.

The art collection has five hundred years of paintings, drawings, sculpture, silver and ceramics from Wales and around the world.  A highlight is their Impressionist collection.

Their archeological area took us on a 4,600 million-year journey beginning with the “Big Bang” and brought us face-to-face with dinosaurs and wooly mammoths.


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  Any business use without permission forfeits your right to “potted meats”.




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Dublin, Ireland – 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 Dublin, Ireland“.


Please share it with your friends, customers and associates.  You can also access over 120 cities on our blog plus lots of other helpful travel tips at:


Dublin, Ireland


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 Dublin you can see these species: Hen Harrier, Red Grouse, Cuckoo, Chiffchaffs, Chaffinches, Song Thrush and Blackcap.



At Dublin Birding ( we meet friendly people for good advice.

Irish Birding ( provides a list of sightings and their location.

Here are your Birding Pals ( for Dublin.


Beverages:  This is Ireland and the Pub experience is not to be missed.


Transportation:  To explore the Dublin region we like the Transport maps and pass.  This is our site for public transportation (


ShoppingCheck out Grafton Street and Temple Bar.  Our foodie travelers will enjoy Kitchen Complements – M-Sa: 10-6, Th: till 7, Su: 12:30-5:30, South Anne St S, 016 770 734


Business Information:  Here is help in regard to your business: (


Day One:  After dropping our bags at our lodging our first stop is the Guiness Storehouse – Daily: 9:30-5, St James’s Gate, 353 1 408 4800



The Storehouse is laid out over seven floors surrounding a glass atrium shaped in the form of a pint of Guinness.The ground floor introduces the beer’s four ingredients (water, barley, hops and yeast), and the brewery’s founder, Arthur Guinness.

The Guinness Storehouse story is told through various interactive exhibition areas including ingredients, brewing, transport, cooperage and sponsorship.

Other floors feature the history of Guinness advertising and include an interactive exhibit on responsible drinking. The seventh floor houses the Gravity Bar with views of Dublin where visitors may drink a pint.

The Brewery Bar on the fifth floor offers Irish cuisine, using Guinness both in the cooking and as an accompaniment to food.



We feel that lunch at L’Ecrivain – L: M-F, D: M-Sa, 109a Baggot Street Lower, 353 1 661 1919 is a good value.



Dee enjoys the rabbit loin with a bacon and leek farce and wild garlic, parsley, salisify puree, and I like the scallops with black olive gnocchi in a basil, tomato emulsion.

A glass of ‘12 Domaine Schulmberger Pinot Blanc works well with both.

Then our choice is the hake with smoked tomato butterbeans, red chicory and chorizo and the braised daube of beef with horseradish cream, roasted turnip and radish in a garlic herb puree.   We enjoy the ’11 Domaine Henri Naudin-Ferrand Hautes-Cotes de Nuits for this course.

Dessert is the chocolate tart with cinnamon sable, saffron mousse, coffee ice cream and chocolate couscous.



To further experience Ireland’s culture we visit the National Gallery of Ireland – M-Sa: 9:30-5:30, Su: 12-5:30, Merrion Square W, 353 1 661 5133



Here we see their collection of European art spanning the 14th to the 20th-century.  The collection includes 14,000 artworks, including 2,500 oil paintings, 5,000 drawings, 5,000 prints and some sculpture, furniture and the world’s most comprehensive collection of Irish art.


We sought a bit of exercise and decided to visit Phoenix Park – Daily: 24/7, 353 1 820 5800



The park has 1,750 acres and features 351 plant species, grasslands, woodlands, wetlands, trees, streams, a deer herd and at least 72 bird species.


It also has the Dublin Zoo – Daily: 9:30-5, that is home to 400 animals and is focused on education and conservation.



We were looking for someplace with a local feel for dinner and found The Winding Stair – L: M-F, D: Nightly, 40 Lower Ormond Quay, 353 1 8727320



We started with the potted Dingle Bay crab with toasted soda bread and the smoked haddock with cherry tomato, spring onion, St. Gall cheese and toast.

For our main we had the steamed cockles and mussels with crab and shrimp mayo and white cheddar mash.

Our wine was ’04 Clearwater Chardonnay from Walpara.  Dessert was the rhubarb and blood orange mess.



Day Two:  We start our day at the Queen of Tarts – B,L: Daily, Cows Ln, Dame St, 353 1 633 4681 for espresso and cappuccino.



They have wonderful baked goods and we like the chocolate scone with raspberry preserve.  Other good choices are smoked bacon or salmon and potato cakes and poached eggs with potato and leek cakes.


As avid gardeners an important stop for us is the National Botanic Gardens – Oct-Feb: M-F: 9-4:30, Sa,Su: 10-4:30, Mar-Oct: M-F: 9-5, Sa,Su: 10-6, Glasnevin, 353 1 804 0300.



The gardens were founded in 1795 by the Dublin Society, and today they hold more than 20,000 living plants and millions of dried plant specimens.  There are several architecturally notable greenhouses and large areas with formal gardens and naturalistic settings.

The Gardens’ purpose is to explore, understand, conserve, and share the importance of plants where leisure, recreation and education are combined for our enjoyment.


A favorite lunch place is Fallon & Byrne – L & D: Daily, 11-17 Exchequer St, 353 1 472 1010



The set lunch offers a good value with selections that we enjoy.  Our choices for a first course are the poached free-range chicken with orange chutney, herb focaccia and lamb’s leaf salad and the poached Irish salmon plated with apple, fennel salad, whipped avocado and green tea mousse.

And for our second course the pan-fried Goatsbridge sea trout, garlic and thyme infused potato, tomberries in a red pepper vinaigrette and ricotta and spinach tortellini, chive oil, red onion and Parmesan shavings.

Our wine is the ‘12 Ripasso, Torre del Falasco, Veneto.  Dessert is the cherry and pistachio Bakewell tart, cherry ice cream with vanilla crème anglaise.


What is it that makes jailhouses rock?   Kilmainham Gaol – M-Sa: 9:30-6, Su: 10-6,  Inchicore Road, Kilmainham  353 1 453 5984 rocks.



At Kilmainham Gaol we saw what it was like to have been confined in a bastion of punishment and correction. It offers a profound  insight into some of the most disturbing and inspirational themes of modern Irish history.

Leaders of the rebellions of 1798, 1803, 1848, 1867 and 1916 were detained here. Such names as Robert Emmet, Charles Stewart Parnell, leaders of the 1916 Rising and DeValera are associated with the Gaol.

The visit includes a guided tour and exhibition. Access is by guided tour only.


After our jail visit we thought it was a good idea to tour the Old Jameson Distillery – M-Sa: 9-6, Su: 10-6, Bow St, Smithfield Village, 353 1 807 2355



We let our guide take us back in time to lead us through the story of Jameson and learn how three ingredients make Irish whiskey.  Guided tours last one hour and include a signature Jameson drink.  Volunteers are selected to partake in a tutored whiskey tasting.


We were not disappointed with our dinner choice at Chapter One – L: Tu-F, D: Tu-Sa, 18-19 Parnell Sq, 353 1 873 2266



With our Four Course menu selections we started with the summer vegetable and leaf salad and the marinated artichokes.

For our second course Dee had the smoked haddock with cockles, mussels and a celeriac puree.  I had the spiced beef with onions, pickled quail eggs, marinated mushrooms and vegetables.

For our wine with these delights we split a ½ bottle of ’10 L’Abeille de Fieuzal Bordeau Blanc.

Our mains were the loin of rabbit stuffed with parma ham farce and the duck breast with lemon puree and spinach.  The ’07 Jean Michel Stephen Cote Rotie was a good match.

Our dessert choice was the morello cherries and orange syrup and Irish coffee (see photo).  We took away the raspberries with crème fraiche.


Day Three:  Breakfast is at KC Peaches – B & L: Daily, Unit 10A Trinity Enterprise Centre, Pearse Street, 353 1 677 0333



Endless varieties of muffins, pastries and scones are on the menu to accompany our tea and coffee.


At Trinity College – M-Sa: 9:30-5, Su: 9:30-4:30, Oct-April: 12-4:30, College Green, 353 1 896 1000 we visited the Old Library and the Book of Kells exhibition.



The main chamber of the Old Library is the Long Room.  It is filled with 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books. When built (between 1712 and 1732) it had a flat plaster ceiling and shelving for books was on the lower level only, with an open gallery. By the 1850s these shelves were completely full.

Since 1801 the Library had been given the right to claim a free copy of every book published in Britain and Ireland. In 1860 the roof was raised to allow construction of the present barrel-vaulted ceiling and upper gallery bookcases.

Marble busts line the Long Room, a collection that began in 1743 when 14 busts were commissioned from sculptor Peter Scheemakers. The busts are of the great philosophers and writers of the western world and also of men connected with Trinity College. The finest bust in the collection is of the writer Jonathan Swift by Louis Francois Roubiliac.


The Book of Kells exhibited at Trinity College was written around the year 800 AD, and is one of the most beautifully illuminated manuscripts in the world.



Its 680 pages of vellum contain the Latin texts of the Four Gospels. Written around 800 AD by Irish monks, probably begun at a monastery in Iona an island off Scotland, and finished at Kells, Co. Meath.

It was later buried in the ground for fear of the Vikings.  After being rediscovered it was deposited for safe keeping in Trinity around 1653

It has been on display in the Old Library at Trinity College Dublin from the mid 19th century, and attracts over 500,000 visitors a year. Since 1953 it has been bound in four volumes.

Two volumes are on public view, one opened to display a major decorated page, and one to show two pages of script. The volumes are changed at regular intervals.

The Book of Kells is housed in the Old Library building.
We decided on a light lunch at Chez Max-L&D: Daily, 1 Palace St, 01 633 7215



For a starter we shared the duck foie gras terrine with fig chutney.  Then Dee had the warm goat’s cheese salad with shallot confit, honey and cherry tomatoes, and I enjoyed the wild mushroom & sundried tomato tartlet.

Our wine was the ‘11 Côtes de Duras Domaine des Allegrets Rosé.


The National Museum of Ireland – Tu-Sa: 10-5, Su: 2-5, Collins Barracks, Benburb St, 353 1  677 7444 is another important site.



The Archaeology section has displays on prehistoric Ireland that includes treasures from the Viking and medieval periods plus items from Egypt, Cyprus and the Roman world.  Metal work from Ireland has the Ardagh Chalice, Tara Brooch and the Derrynaflan Hoard.

The Decorative Arts and History section has the Great Seal of the Irish Free State, displays of furniture, silver, ceramics and glassware.  The Soldiers and Chiefs exhibition has military artifacts and memorabilia from 1550 to present.


The Dublin Castle – Dame St, 353 1 645 8800 offers a peek into Irelands heritage.



The Dublin Castle was originally built as a fortification, then it was used as a royal residence, then offices and a courthouse.

Now it is a tourist attraction.  We enjoyed seeing the State Apartments that are beautifully decorated rooms that are used by the Irish Government for official engagements, heads of state visits and the inauguration of the President every seven years in St. Patrick’s Hall.

The ceiling was painted by Vincenzo Valdre and consists of three panels that show the coronation of King George III, Saint Patrick introducing Christianity to Ireland and King Henry II receiving the submission of Irish Chieftains.


It’s time for some fun and in Dublin that means we are going to Grafton Street.  Cousin Jim insists a must see opportunity at the top of Grafton St. is St. Stephen’s Green – Gardens open: M-Sa: 7:30 to Dusk and Su: 9:30-Dusk.



At St. Stephen’s Greens, Ireland’s popular Victorian public park, we enjoy the waterfall and Pullham rock.  The ornamental lake gives us birding opps and the sculptures are impressive.


Continuing our walk on Grafton we found the shopping to be great as is the historic atmosphere.  We found the atmosphere that we were looking for at the Boxty House – L & D: Daily, 20-21 Temple Bar, 353 1 677 2762



They are famous for seafood chowder with smoked fish in a potato broth and their liver pate served with apple chutney and toasted potato bread.

We like the Shepard’s Pie made with minced lamb and steamed greens, but we had to have their famous Garlic Boxty that is beef medallions in a whiskey mushroom sauce wrapped in a Boxty pancake.

Dessert is the apple and basil crumble.  You’re on your own for a beverage.


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  Any business use without permission forfeits your right to “potato cakes”.







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Krakow, Poland – 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 Krakow, Poland.


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


Krakow, Poland


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 Krakow, Poland you can see these species: Collared Flycatcher, Short-toed Treecreeper, Icterine Warbler, Hawfinch, Golden Oriole, Wood Warbler and Tree Sparrow.




The Fat Birder offers these Anytime Tours at (

Here’s where you can catch up with your Birding Pals (


Beverages – Black tea and coffee are very popular.  Tap water is safe but not very tasty.  Vodka comes in many different varieties.  Local beer is good.  Wines are imported from all over the world with the majority coming from Italy and Spain.


Transportation:  This is your site for public transportation (


ShoppingThe Cloth Hall and the Kazimierz District are the best bets, but Poland is not known for shopping.


Business Information:  Here is help in regard to your business: (


Day One:  After dropping your bags at your lodging our first stop is at Wawel Castle – T-Sa: 9:30-4, Su: 10-4, Wawel Hill, 48 12 422 5155



Wawel was first inhabited in the 7th century, and became a royal enclave in the 11th century.  Its history includes several periods of expansion and the usual political turmoil.

While visiting the castle we can see several rooms that contain: woodcarvings, friezes, Belgian tapestries, paintings, Italian furniture and royal portraits.


The Wawel Cathedral is also found on the hill noted for its alter painting “Crucified Christ” and the silver coffin for St. Stanislaus.



At Kogel Mogel – L & D: Daily, Sienna 12, 31-002, 48 12 426 49 68 we begin our Polish dining experience.



The goose liver pate with pistachios, fig preserve and a crispy baguette or the salmon tartar with onions and capers topped with black caviar is our way to start lunch.

We follow this with the pork chop, potatoes and fried cabbage and the cod with spinach, celeriac, walnuts and apricots.  Our wine is the ’12 Fumin Valle D’Aosta.  Dessert is hot chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream.


The Czartoryski Museum and Library – Tu-Su: 10-4, św. Jana 19, 48 12 370 54 60



The Czartoryski Museum was founded in 1796 by Princess Izabela Czartoryska  to preserve Polish heritage in keeping with the Princess’ motto: “The Past to the Future”. The first objects in her “Temple of Memory” were trophies commemorating the victory against the Turks at the siege of Vienna in 1683.

The collection experienced upheavals, confiscation and theft of many of their holdings during wars and occupation.  Many of their treasures were recovered by the Allies Commission for the Retrieval of Works of Art, however, a Raphael and 843 other artifacts are missing.

Its holdings still include a treasure house for regal jewels, war and crown trophies, as well as objets d’art: paintings, decorative works, arms, armor, and celebrity memorabilia.


The 12 apostles in front of the Church of Saints Peter & Paul - Grodzka 52a, 31-044, 48 12 350 63 65



was commissioned for the Jesuit order of Sts. Peter and Paul. It is modeled on the architecture of the famous Gesu Church in Rome that features a Baroque facade and great dome.

The stone statues of the 12 Apostles on the fence are larger-than-life-size replicas of the 18th-century late Baroque originals.  It is said that the Jesuits spent so much money on the ornate white facade and the sculptures that they ran out of money to finish the rest of the building.


Tonight we are at Szara Kazimierz – L & D: Daily, Szeroka 39, 48 12 429 12 19



Our appetizers are the frog legs with mixed salad and the Swedish style marinated herring with potatoes, egg and a glass of vodka.  Our main is the beef cheeks with horseradish and dumplings and the salmon and perch duet with a caper, ginger, lime butter sauce.

Our wine is the ’11 Valploicella Superiore and dessert is the passion fruit Panna Cotta with a cherry sauce.


Day Two:  We start our day at Nowa Prowincja – B,L,D: Daily, ul. Bracka 3-5, 48 12 430 59 59



This morning skip the coffee and enjoy the best chocolate in Krakow.  It’s dense, sweet, dark and comes with whipped cream on top.  The décor is quirky but the cakes are excellent.


First stop today is The Wieliczka Salt Mine – Daily: 8-5, Daniłowicza 10, 32-020, 48 12 278 73 02



The Wieliczka Salt Mine produced table salt until 2007, and was one of the world’s oldest salt mines in operation, however, commercial mining was discontinued in 1996 due to a soft salt market.

This mine has been a tourist attraction for decades with multiple sculptures, three chapels and a cathedral carved out of the rock salt.  Other features include an underground lake, exhibits on the history of salt mining and a 2+ mile touring route.


Cousin Zbigniew suggests that we see St. Mary’s Church and Alter.  The 262 foot tall wooden alter piece was carved by Veit Stoss.  On the hour a trumpet plays a tune called Heinal Mariacki that breaks off abruptly to recognize a famous 13th century trumpeter who was shot while sounding an alarm before a Mongol attack.



The Veit Stoss altar piece is the largest in the world.  The sculptured figures are more than 12 feet high, and were carved out of a lime tree trunk.  The carving at the bottom shows the death of Jesus’ mother Mary in the presence of the Apostles.



At the top is the coronation of Mary flanked by St. Stanislaus and St. Adalbert of Prague.  The panels show the six scenes of the Joys of Mary: the annunciation, the resurrection, a nativity scene, the ascension of Jesus, the three wise men and the descent of the Holy Ghost.


We found a great local spot called Kuchnia u Doroty – ul. Augustianska 4,  48 517 945 338



It’s a little out of the way but well worth the effort to find.  Menu favorites are potato pancakes, of course, and goulash, cucumbers topped with sour cream, pierogis, almond chicken and beetroot soup.  Beer is our drink here.


We think that it’s necessary to visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial & Museum – Open Daily: Dec-Feb: 8-3, Mar,Nov: 8-4, April,Oct: 8-5, May,Sept: 8-6, June-Aug: 8-7, Tours are available in several languages.



The Museum is located on the outskirts of the city of Oświęcim on national road 933, There are PKS and minibus stops adjacent to the Museum, with service to Krakow and Katowice. 48 33 844 81 00

Plan to spend about 90 minutes for the Auschwitz site and the same amount of time for Auschwitz II-Birkenau.

It is essential to visit both parts of the camp, Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau  to acquire a proper sense of the place that has become the symbol of the Holocaust as well as Nazi crimes against Poles, Romas and other groups.


Back to Krakow for a leisurely walk along the Wisla River.



This is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.  The boulevards  stretch from one end of Krakow to the other, and  offer photo opportunities of Wawel Hill as well as a pleasant stroll.

There are barges and boat stops on the way giving us the opportunity to take a boat ride or have a meal on the water.


Dinner at Cyrano de Bergerac – L & D: Daily, ul. Slawkowska 26, 48 12 411 72 88 is special.



Our starters are the scallops with dumplings and the ravioli with truffles, foie gras and artichoke mousse.  Our mains are the venison medallions with chestnuts and apricots or veal cordon bleu with chanterelles.

Our wine is the ‘’11 Faiveley Mercury Rouge and dessert is the pear and apple strudel with vanilla ice cream.


Day Three:  Breakfast today at Dynia Resto Bar – B,L,D: Daily, Krupnicza 20, 31-123, 48 12 430 08 38



Lots of choices at Dynia.  We like the grilled sausages with smoked cheese, bacon, pickled cucumber, bread, butter and coffee.  For the more adventuresome, try the pasta with sardine paste and chives.  It comes with bread, butter, coffee or tea and juice.


This morning we’ll visit Oscar Schindler’s Enamel Factory – Nov-Mar: M: 10-2, Tu-Su: 10-6, April-Oct: M: 10-4, Tu-Su: 10-8, 4 Lipowa St, 48 12 257 10 17



This museum tells us about World War 2, the people who lived in Krakow during that time and what came after the war.  It tells us about oppression, resilience, heroism and deceit.

It tells us about the choices people had to make to survive.  It is a story that you don’t want to miss.


Located in the same building is the Museum of Contemporary Art Karkow – Tu-Su: 12-8, ul Lipova 4, 48 226 34000



Here the concentration is on temporary shows that favor photography, video and installations.

Since opening in May, 2011 its own collection is still embryonic consisting  of miscellaneous works by Polish and foreign artists that date from the late 20th century through recent times, but it gives a glimpse into the trends cherished by art critics over the last thirty years, notably in Poland.


Farina Restaurant – L & D: Daily, sw. Marta 16 st, 48 12 422 16 80 is our choice for lunch today.



For our first course we like the beetroot soup with crayfish or the chicken livers with cherry vodka.  Our main is the halibut with morels and asparagus baked in a parsley garlic sauce and the tagliatelle with baby cauliflower, Kohlrabi and spinach.

Our wine is the ’10 Grand Regnerd de Chablis and dessert is strawberries with meringue and schnapps.


Cloth HallGrand Square  has been the hub of Krakow since the 13th century.  It’s where you meet, do business, shop and dine.



But shopping isn’t the only reason to visit Cloth Hall.  The National Museum’s collection is here, and since 2008 it is known as the Sukiennice gallery.



The Gallery holds the largest permanent exhibit of the 19th-century Polish painting and sculpture in four grand rooms.


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  Any business use without permission forfeits your right to “pierogis”.




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Cairo & Alexandria, Egypt – 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 Cairo & Alexandria, Egypt.


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:


Cairo & Alexandria, Egypt


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 Cairo, Egypt you can see these species: Yellow Wagtail, Great Honker, Wigeons, Shovellers, Pochards, Boots and Whiskered Terns.



Tour Egypt ( has interesting historical information such as early Egyptian birds that were depicted as Gods.


The Fat Birder ( reports that 470 species have been recorded of which 2/3 are migrants.  Birding is good year round with peaks in the spring and fall.


At Egypt Hotspots ( they call it a birders paradise.


Transportation:  This is your site for public transportation such as Cairo Metro, Buses, Taxis, no camels (


Shopping: Khan el-Khalili, known simply as Khan, is a huge market (souk) that offers something for everyone.



Business Information:  Here is help in regard to your business: (


Day One:  After dropping your bags at your hotel our first stop is the Egyptian Museum – Daily: 9-7, Midan al-Tahrir, Downtown Cairo, 02 5794596



The Egyptian Museum in Cairo contains the world’s most extensive collection of pharaonic antiquities.  It has 107 halls filled with artifacts dating from the prehistoric through the Roman periods. The museum houses approximately 160,000 objects covering 5,000 years of Egypt’s past.


The ground floor takes the visitor on a chronological tour through the collections, while the objects on the upper floor are grouped according to tomb or category.


Exhibits include the treasures of Tutankhamun, wooden models of daily life, statuettes of divinities, and a rare group of Faiyum Portraits. On display on the second floor are also many of the New Kingdom royal mummies.


Lunch is a special treat at Abou El Sid – L & D: Daily, 157,26th of July St, Zamalek,  02-7497326



We start with a mezze of fava and coriander spread, stuffed grape leaves, spicy oriental sausages and a chicken liver paste.  For our main we like the stuffed pigeon with rice or pan fried chicken with onions and peppers or the Egyptian stew with spicy lentils.


Their signature dish is Circasin chicken in walnut sauce.  They have a full bar.  Dessert is the Oriental pancake with honey and mixed nuts.


Our Cousin Raoul suggests we visit the Coptic Museum – Daily: 9-5, 3 Sharia Mar Girgis, Old Cairo, 23639742



The Museum is located within the walls of the fortress of Babylon, part of the old city walls built by Emperor Trajan in 98 A.D. It also houses the old churches of Cairo: St. Sergius and St. Barbara of the 4th century and the Hanging Church “El Muallaqa” of the 6th century.


The sculptures of the 4th and 5th centuries show subjects borrowed from Greco-Roman mythology endowed with Christian symbolism.  From the 6th century onwards reliefs inspired by scripture increase.


We can see this in the three Hebrews in the furnace, the Virgin nursing the infant Jesus and angels holding aloft a medallion displaying a bust of Christ.


The Museum holds a collection of 16,000 works of art, of which 1,200 are exhibited to the public. It owns 6,000 papyrus manuscripts of which the most important are the Psalms of David and the manuscripts of Nag Hammadi.



Our next stop was to be the Museum of Islamic Art – Daily: 9-4, Bab El Khalk Square, 3901520




Closed because of severe damage by a truck bomb blast on January 24, 2014.


The Citadel and the Mohammed Ali Mosque



At the Citadel we learn that Egypt was ruled from this hill for 700 years, but nothing remains of the original mediaeval fortress except a part of the walls and Bir Yusuf, the well that supplied the Citadel with water.


We see the Mosque of al-Nasir Muhammad with its beautifully crafted masonry and ornate minarets indicating that the building is a Mamluk work of art.


The conquering Ottomans carried much of the original interior decoration off to Istanbul, but the space is nevertheless impressive. The supporting columns around the courtyard were collected from various sources including ancient Egyptian structures.



Dinner is at the famous Moghul Room – D: Nightly, Mena House, El Haram St, Giza, 0233773222





Although we are not well versed in Indian cuisine, we listen to our Cousin’s suggestion to try the Moghul Room.  The dining room is beautiful complete with sitar music.


We start with samosas and popadoms with tamarind, mint, chutney and pickled lemon sauces.  Our butter chicken is in a creamy curry sauce and the lamb curry with red chilies and spices is served with chick peas, potatoes, onions and ginger.


There is also a small portion of saffron rice with almonds, raisins, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom.  Dessert is pista kulfi – Indian ice cream.


Day Two:  Breakfast Is at Zooba – B,L,D: Daily, Zamalek : 16, 26th of July Street, 0233453980





We like the scrambled eggs and pastrami or the scrambled eggs with peppers, tomatoes, parsley and onions.  Juices include orange, strawberry, lemon with mint and mango with rosemary.  Several different teas are available.


We’re in Egypt to see the Giza Pyramids that were built by Pharaoh Khufu in 2550 BC.





Egyptologists may differ on the number of workers involved, where the doors were and how long construction took, but no one denies that Giza is big.  For 3800 years Giza was the tallest man-made structure on earth.


Khufu’s son, Pharaoh Khafre, built the 2nd pyramid at Giza and also the Sphinx which is a sentinel for the tomb complex.



The interior of the pyramids provide a history of the Pharaomic civilization through the art, inscriptions and texts visible in the tombs.



Nearby is the Solar Boat Museum – Daily: 9-4





Ancient Egyptians used to bury a “solar barge” near the tomb of their pharaoh because they believed that their ruler needed transportation in the afterlife.


In 1954 the parts of a cedar-wood barge were found in five pits near the Great Pyramid of Khufu. The barge was restored and assembled out of 1200 pieces of wood, and it is displayed in a glass museum near the Great Pyramid in Giza.



We are in for a fun lunch at the Fish Market – L & D: Daily, Americana Boat, 26 El Nil St., Giza, 20 2 35709693





We’re on a boat on the Nile, and first we pick out our fish and then how we want the chef to prepare it.  Our favorite is the sea bream – grilled.  If you’re with a group we suggest the Appetizer Tower as a starter while they are preparing your fish.


If that’s too much try their mezze or a salad.  Dessert is their profiterole.


The stories attributed to the The Gayer-Anderson Museum – Ahmed Ibn Tolon As Sayedah Zeinab, 20 2 23647822, are too good not to be included.





The Gayer-Anderson Museum was founded in 1937 in two ancient residences, the Beit el-Kiridiliya from 1632 and the Beit Amna Bent Salim from 1540. The museum includes the private collection of Major Gayer-Anderson as well as furniture, glassware, crystal, carpets, silks and embroidered Arab costumes.

Legends in regard to this site include:


The house was built on the the grounds of an ancient mountain called Gebel Yashkur where Noah’s ark (possibly the first zoo?) came to rest after the deluge and the last of the flood water drained through the well in the courtyard.


God spoke to Moses on this spot.


A lover gazing into the well water (see above) would see the face of his/her lover instead of his/her own.


In 1984 Aga Khan created the Al-Azher Park on Al-Darassa by converting a municipal dump into a much needed urban refuge.





We enjoy leisurely walking about the park checking out the water features, the  great views of the city and restaurants.  During the rehab process a 12th century Ayyubid wall was found and excavated.


In addition to the 655,000 plantings there are three landmark buildings, the 14th Century Umm Sultan Shaban Mosque, the Khayrbek complex (encompassing a 13th century palace, a mosque and an Ottoman house), and the Darb Shoughlan School.



Have your hotel book a felucca cruise to see Cairo from the water.





Our captain was probably trained by his father on how to maneuver the boat and sails, so all we have to do is enjoy the ride.



A dietary change is in order for us so we head for Tabla Luna – D: Nighlty, 41 Road 218 Degla, Maadi, 0225198403





The Latin American menu is perfect for us.  We start with the shrimp ceviche with lime juice, cilantro, onions, tomatoes and parsley and the spicy empanadas.


Then we have the beef sirloin with a salad and sautéed potatoes.  The roasted duck with papaya and apple sauce is tempting also.  Dessert is the chocolate flan.


Day Three:  Breakfast is at El Fishawi – B,L,D: Daily, El-Fishawi; El-Fishawi Alley; Khan al-Khalili, 20 2 25906755, the most famous café in the Arab world since 1773.





We have coffee but the most popular beverage is tea, especially karkaday – a deep red hibiscus tea.  Water pipes packed with tobacco and molasses are very popular.  Try the falafel.



Cousin Hadj is taking us to Alexandria to see the Bibliotheca





The Bibliotheca Alexandrina is a wonderful reincarnation of the famed ancient library of Alexandria. The original library held the largest collection of manuscripts in the world, and was a great center of learning for 600 years until it burned down in the 3rd century.


The dramatic new library, resembling an angled discus or a great sundial, was designed by a Norwegian architect and cost about $200 million.


The Library of Alexandria is of religious significance because of its original role as a temple, its historical association with such Christian theologians as Origen of Alexandria, and its collection of many religious manuscripts (including rare copies of the Qur’an).


Alexandria was selected by Alexander the Great as the capital of his empire in 320 BC, and it was the most powerful and influential city in the region. The original Library of Alexandria was founded in 288 BC by Ptolemy I under the guidance of Demetrius of Phaleron.


It was a temple that functioned as an academy, research center, and library. The great thinkers of the age flocked to Alexandria to study and exchange ideas.



The Antiquities Museum within the Biblioteca Alexandrina displays the artifacts discovered at the construction site. The collection consists of 1,100 pieces and documents of various epochs of Egyptian civilization dating from the Pharaonic era up to the Islamic period, including the Greek civilization that arrived with the conquest of Alexander the Great and the Roman and Coptic civilizations.





We like The Alexandria National Museum – 110 El Horreya Rd, 20 3 4835519, it is located in a restored Italian style palace.





Here we see artifacts from the four main ages of Egypt: Ancient, Greco-Roman, Coptic, and Islamic.  There are also modern items such as royal jewels and an interesting collection of antique coins.


There is a replica of a tomb similar to those in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor and Coptic Christian items include icons of Jesus and the Virgin Mary and the Last Supper.


There is a collection of 162 gold and silver coins that were minted in Alexandria and a collection of jewelry, watches, vases and handbags from the former royal family.



Our choice for our meal in Alexandria is Samakmak – L &  D: Daily, As Sayalah Gharb, Qesm Al Gomrok, Alexandria Governorate, 20 3 4809523





It’s not fancy but it’s fresh and it’s all good.  We’ll start with the mezze, of course.  Then we like the grilled calamari with green peppers, onions and tomato.  The butterflied shrimp and the spaghetti with clams are keepers.  Beer is available.



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  Any business use without permission forfeits your right to “mezze”.



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Copenhagen – 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 Copenhagen


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:




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 Copenhagen you can see these species: Common Crane, Spoonbill, Pale-bellied Brent Geese, Solitary Kingfisher and the Black-necked Grebe.



The DOF Kobenhaven ( is a good reference site.

The Fat Birder ( has a list of good birding sites.

A list of Denmark birding Hot Spots can be found at (


BeveragesBeer is one of the most popular alcoholic drinks in Denmark, and the country has more breweries per capita than any other country in Europe. The most popular type of beer is Pilsner.


Transportation:  This is your site for public transportation (


Business Information:  Here is help in regard to your business: (


Day One After dropping your bags at your hotel let’s visit The National Museum Of Denmark – Tu-Su: 10-5,  Ny Vestergade 10, 45 33 13 44 11 to see Denmark’s largest museum of cultural history.



The museum’s main site is a classical 18th century mansion in which you can follow the history of the Danes to the present day.

The Stone Age in Denmark lasted from 12,500 to 3,900 BC. The National Museum has a large collection of antiquities from this period.

In Denmark the term Middle Ages is used for the period from around the year 1000, when Denmark first became a Christian kingdom, until 1536, when the Lutheran Reformation defeated and replaced the Roman Catholic Church controlled by the Pope.

The word renaissance in its original Italian form means ”rebirth” and is the term for the period in which interest in classical Greek and Roman antiquity awoke again after the Middle Ages.  The Reformation meant that the Danish Church became Protestant with the king as its supreme protector.

During this time there was no violent destruction of altars, figures and paintings, but rather a gradual removal of the numerous images of saints and side altars from the Catholic period.

The Danish absolute monarchy was introduced by Frederik III with a coup in 1660 and was abolished in 1848 with a peaceful revolution after the death of Christian VIII.  On June 5, 1849 Denmark gained its first free constitution, known as “Grundloven” in Danish. With this event the absolute monarchy was abolished.

In 1901 a change of political system was introduced in the form of parliamentarianism.  The state built up a social system that looked after the less advantaged groups in society, and with the emergence of a large new working class  Denmark became a class society


Nearby is Stroget – a car free area that is one of the world’s finest shopping venues.



It is bounded on the West by The City Hall Square (Danish: Radhuspladsen) and on the East by The King’s New Square (Kongens Nytorv).  This is a little misleading as the area is a collection of streets.  It’s fun to just wander a bit, window shop or visit some of the world-class stores.


Aamanns – L: M-Sa, D: M-F,  Øster Farimagsgade 10, 45 35 55 33 44 is our choice for herring.



Our first choice is the herring in browned butter, chives, horseradish, shallots and rye crumbs or the apple marinated herring with buckwheat, crème fraiche, licorice and pearl onions.

A really good Smorrebrod choice is the smoked salmon, smoked cheese, cucumbers and radish.  Another is the shrimps, cabbage, preserved green tomatoes and buttermilk.  Our wine is the ’09 Amara Viognier.  Dessert is rhubarb, white chocolate and licorice.


This afternoon we are going to school to see the Botanical Garden & Museum – May-Sept: 8:30-6, Oct-April: Tu-Su: 8:30-4, University of Copenhagen, Gothersgade 128, 45 35322222



The gardens have more than 13,000 species arranged in different sections.  Danish plants number 600 species, perennials have 1,100 species and annuals have 1,100.  Additional features include rock gardens, a conifer hill and a rhododendron garden.

There are 27 greenhouses.  The Palm House is the largest, and it boasts an 1824 Palm plus a collection of cycads and cacti.  Other greenhouses contain orchids and begonias.


Let’s walk over to see the Little Mermaid – Langelinie on the harbor,



She is based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen.  She is the most popular tourist attraction in Denmark, and one of the most photographed sculptures in the world.

Carl Jacobson, a son of the founder of Carlsberg, commissioned Edvard Eriksen to create a bronze statue in 1909 of the ballerina Ellen Price.  She has been guarding the harbor since 1913.


Dinner is at Kiin Kiin – D: M-Sa, Guldbergsgade 21, 45 35 35 75 55



We like the spicy salad with lobster and mint or the white asparagus with red curry and shrimps followed by the calf with tamarind and lemon grass or the beef with oyster sauce and Thai ginger.  Our wine is the ’11 Riesling by Alfer Holle.  Dessert is the banana with caramel.


Day Two:  We like the breakfast at Bang & Jensen – B & L: Daily, Istedgade 130, 45 3325 5318



It has a cozy, relaxed atmosphere and outside tables.  After our coffee we have several choices including cereal, croissants, Danish specialties, eggs and so forth.


Cousin Ingrid insists that we visit The Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (Glypto-, from the Greek root glyphein, to carve and theke, a storing-place) – Tu-Su: 11-5, Dantes Plads 7,  45 33 41 81 41




On March 8, 1888 Carl Jacobsen donated his collection to the Danish State and the City of Copenhagen on the condition that they provided a suitable building for its exhibition.  The Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek’s collections comprise more than 10,000 works of art.

The museum is known for its antique sculpture from Egypt, Rome and Greece plus more recent works by Rodin and Degas.  Several pieces by the Norwegian-Danish sculptor Stephan Sinding are scattered throughout the museum.

It is also noted for it’s collection of French impressionists and Post impressionists with works by Jacques-Louis David, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Pissarro Cezanne, van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec and Bonnard.


Lunch is at Restaurant Amalie – L: M-Sa, Amaliegade 11, 33 12 8810



We love this place because its sooo Danish.  For instance, order the pickled herring served with onions, capers and fresh dill and they suggest a pairing of FUR ale and Braunstein Golden Aquavit.

With the fried plaice fillet, tartar sauce and lemon the suggestion is a FUR draft and Bornholmer aquavit.  Their homemade liver pate comes with boiled beef and onions on rye.

Dessert is homemade chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream.  Their beverage recommendation is the FUR barley wine and Schumacher’s cinnamon/vanilla schnapps.


We start our afternoon with a visit to Rosenborg Castle & Gardens – Feb-April: Tu-Su: 10-4, May: 10-4, June-August: 10-5, Sept-Oct: 10-4, Nov-Dec: 10-2, Øster Voldgade 4A, 45 33 15 32 86



Rosenborg Castle was inhabited by the royal family until 1720. Since 1838 the castle and its contents have been a historical museum.   The main attraction at Rosenborg is the Great Hall with the coronation throne which is guarded by three silver lions.

In the Great Hall you will also find the famous Rosenborg tapestries which have hung here since 1693. In the castle’s cellar you will find three treasuries that include crowns and the crown jewels.

The Rosenborg Castle Garden, also know as “The King’s Garden”, is Denmark’s oldest royal garden built in the Renaissance style by Christian IV.


Let’s walk with the Royal Guards to Amalienborg Palace – Amalienborg, 1257 København K, 45 33 12 21 86, the winter home of the Danish royal family.



The changing of the guard takes place at 12:00 noon. The route varies. There are three types of watches: King’s watch, lieutenant watch and palace watch.


Amalienborg Palace is made up of four identical buildings, and we can visit Christian VIII’s Palace which houses the Amalienborg Museum of the Royal Glücksburg family. In the middle of the palace square there is a statue of King Frederik V from 1771.


After all of these noble visits we are going to Tivoli Gardens – April-Sept: Daily: 11-11, Vesterbrogade 3, 45 33 15 10 01



The 169 year-old amusement garden is an oasis in the heart of Copenhagen – a mixture of new and old, amusements and culture that include performing artists, fireworks, live music, pantomime theatre and the Tivoli Boys Guard.

Tivoli was conceived by Georg Carstensen who said “Tivoli will never be completed”, meaning Tivoli is constantly changing. Old buildings are replaced or modernized, new rides are introduced, new entertainment concepts are presented to meet the ever-changing demands of the public.

Many think that Tivoli was the inspiration for Disney’s parks.

As we enjoy this wonderful park let’s make a stop at the Apollo Brewery, Denmark’s first microbrewery.


Dinner is at the Kødbyens Fiskebar – D: Nightly, Flæsketorvet 100, 45 32155656



Dee loves oysters on the half shell, and here they have a great selection from four different seas.  A glass of ’12 Chablis is a nice pairing.  They also have Scottish razor clams served with fennel, hazelnuts and tarragon.

The mussels are steamed in apple cider and herbs.  The brill is seared and presented with shrimp, celeriac, hazelnuts and lovage, and the Pollack is fried in seaweed butter.  We enjoyed the ’06 Piedmonte Barberesco with this course.  Dessert is the white chocolate with lavender and pinenuts.


Day ThreeDag H – B,L,D: Daily, Dag Hammarskjold Alle 38, 35 27 63 00 is our breakfast choice.



The barista is here at 8 AM.  They have blue berries, hazelnuts and almonds to top our muesli.  The scrambled eggs come with bacon and the organic omelets have spring onions, dates, tomato, parmesan and chives.


This morning our Cousin Long John is taking us to Kronborg Castle also known as Elsinor Castle – Jan-Mar: Tu-Su: 11-4, April-May: 11-4, June-Aug: 10-5:30, Sept,, Oct: 11-4, Nov, Dec: Tu-su: 11-4, Kronborg 2C, 3000 Helsingør, 45 49 21 30 78



Kronborg Castle is located on a strategically important site commanding the Sund, the stretch of water between Denmark and Sweden.  The Royal castle of Kronborg at Helsingør (Elsinore) is of immense symbolic value to the Danish people, and played a key role in the history of northern Europe in the 16th -18th centuries.

The castle itself is a Renaissance building with four wings surrounding a spacious courtyard. The bright sandstone facades are characterized by horizontal bands, and the front walls are balanced by towers and spires.

The castle is extensively and richly decorated with sandstone ornaments in unique and imaginative designs. The Great Hall (the banqueting hall) is one of the most exquisite rooms from this time – and the largest of its kind in Northern Europe.

Kronborg is known worldwide as Elsinore Castle and the scene of William Shakespeare’s tragedy of Hamlet providing the setting where the story would unfold.


Café Europa – B,L,D: Daily, 1160 Kobenhavn  K, 45 33 14 28 89 is our place for a light lunch.



We love their open faced sandwiches on light or dark bread.  Our favorites are the chicken salad with asparagus & bacon, the fish fillet with rémoulade and the egg and hand-peeled shrimps with dill mayonnaise.

Another popular choice is the steak tartare with mustard and cognac served with potato rösti, poached egg & tarragon dressing.  A Tuborg or two will aid digestion.


Back to the Arken Musuem of Art – Tu-Su: 10-5, W: till 9, Skovvej 100, 2635 Ishøj, 45 43 54 02 22



The Arken Museum of Modern Art is one of the recent Danish cultural investments.  Arken has worked hard at enhancing the quality of its appeal and it is firmly established among its peers in the national and international circle of museums.

The Arken’s acquisitions include a wide variety of photographic and graphic holdings from the 1980s and onwards by Danish and international artists.  Painting and sculpture are well represented with works by Jean Arp, Tito Baungartel, Peter Bonde, Damien Hirst, Andreas Golder and many others.


Finally we visit the Thorvaldsens Museum – Tu-Su: 10-5, 2 Bertel Thorvaldsens Plads,  45 33 32 15 32



Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844) is one of Denmark’s best known artists. For more than 40 years he lived in Rome where he was an important European representative of Neo-Classicist sculptural art.

The Museum opened on September 18, 1848. It houses nearly all of the sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen’s original models for the sculptures he created. His collection of antiques and his large international collection of contemporary art are on the museum’s first floor.


Our final Danish dining experience on this Mini-Holiday is at Host – D: Nightly, North Farimagsgade 41, 45 89 93 84 09



Dee chooses the Norwegian lobster, seabuckthorn, juniper cream, roasted hazelnuts and browned butter and I prefer the lamb tounge, sweet breads, pickled beech mushrooms and mushroom sauce for a starter.

For our mains we both like the rib eye with mustard mayonnaise, fried baby gem lettuce, North-sea cheese and watercress.  Our wine is the ‘12 Savigny Les Beaune Les Gollardes.  And dessert is the Birch bark ice cream with chestnut and vanilla caramel.


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  Any business use without permission forfeits your right to “Smörgåsbord”.

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Sicily – A Sites & Bites Journey


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 Sicily.

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:




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.  Birding in Sicily is primarily done on your dinner plate next to your glass of Nero D’Avola.   However, in and near Sicily you can see these species: Pallas’s Gulls, Bonelli’s Eagles, Lanner Falcons, Sicilian rock Partridge and Long-tailed tit.



At Barrow Boy (  we find an interesting dialogue on Sicilian birding.

Eben Italia ( provides info on what birds to see.

The Fat Birder ( has useful geographic birding info.


Grape Experience – According to legend, Dionysus (aka Bacchus) was the God who brought pleasure to mankind, and wine to Sicily.



Legend aside, it is certain that wine has been made in Sicily for millennia. There is evidence that Mycenaean traders cultivated grapes in the Aeolian Islands  as early at 1,500 BC, and when the Greeks began to settle in Sicily in the 8th century BC, they too were unable forgo their favorite libation, “oinos”, and introduced several varieties of vines.

Sicilian red wines include:

Nero D’Avola: Nero D’Avola is one of the oldest indigenous grapes and Sicilian wine-makers are justifiably proud of the recognition that this variety is now receiving.

Syrah: anyone familiar with the southern hemisphere wines (or indeed French wines) will have tasted plenty of Syrah and the climate and soil of Sicily are particularly suited to this tasty grape.

Etna Rosso: a blend of Nerello Mascalese (95%) and Nerello Mantellato (5%) this is the wine born on the rich, fertile volcanic slopes of Mount Etna.

Cerasuolo di Vittoria: a blend of Frappato (min 40%) and Nero d’Avola (max 60%) with the possible addition of some Grossonero or Nerello Mascalese, this is the most famous wine of the province of Ragusa.

Sicilian white wines include:

Bianco D’Alcamo: a blend of Cataratto (min 80%), Grecanico, Damaschino and Trebbiano, this excellent white can be found all over Sicily, but can only be produced in the rich area between Alcamo and Trapani

Wines made from Grillo, Inzolia, Cataratto, Grecanico and Chardonnay are produced “in purezza” or blended together by all the big wine producers, and some are truly excellent.


Public Transportation:  This is your site for public transportation: (


Business Information:  Here is help in regard to your business: (


Day One: We arrived in Palermo without our luggage, however, we were met by our guide, Francesca, who took us to our hotel where we promptly took a shower and a nap.

Then we went out to find an ATM, closely followed by finding a wine shop where we bought two bottles of local wine.

We saw lots of chic shops and enjoyed a beer at a sidewalk café named Ruvolo Rosario –  Via Bara All’Olivella, 121, 39 091 585919, on the Plaza Verdi.  At our orientation we learned about our forth coming journey through Sicily from Francesca, a Sicilian who was born in Ocean City, MD.


In the evening we had a very festive welcoming dinner at Trattoria Primavera – L & D: Daily, Piazza Bologni, 4, 39 091 329408



that included several courses served family style: eggplant caponata, stuffed sardines, bucatini with broccoli, pasta with swordfish, almond parfait and lemon sorbet and lots of local vino blanco and rosso.


After breakfast at our hotel we visited the Norman Cathedral of Monreale – Daily: 8-6, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele Monreale, 091 640 4413



ordered  by William II and built by Arabic, Byzantine and Norman craftsmen in 1174-1182 “creating a fascinating fusion of architectural styles, artistic tradition and religious symbolism.”



The undisputed highlight of Monreale Cathedral is it’s richly mosaic interior.


Lunch was at Spinnato – B,L,D: Daily, Via Principe di Belmonte, 111, 39 091 329220



Wonderful outdoor dining for great people watching.  It’s set among several high fashion boutiques.  We shared the braciola (cured beef slices) served on a bed of fresh endive and arugula, with slices of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and seasoned with olive oil and lemon and a cheeseless Sicilian pizza.  The ’10 Principe di Corleone was a perfect match.


Then we toured Teatro di Massimo (Opera House) – Tu-Su: 9:30-5, Piazza Verdi, 00262030828



Teatro di Massimo was designed by Giovanni Battista Filippo Basile and it is the largest teatro in Italy.   It was dedicated to King Victor Emanuel II. While we were touring there was a rehearsal in progress providing us an appreciation of the wonderful acoustics.


After the opera tour we went to a puppet makers den Puppet Theater of Palermo – Via Bara All’Olivella, 95, 39 091 323400



where the puppets were a minimum of one meter tall dressed in historic costumes and created in great detail.  We were treated to a performance featuring Sicily’s history showing the struggle between good and evil in the 16th century.


For dinner we went to Ristoranate Buon Gusto – Via C Columbo 27 Porto Empedocle, 535 037 0922



For starters we shared the antipasto with charcuterie, cheese and olives.  Dee had the risotto di mare and I had the tortellini with veal. We enjoyed a bottle of the ’10 Nanfro Frappato.


After breakfast we visited the Oratorio del Rosario di Santa Zia – M-Sa: 9-6, Via Valverde, 3, 39 091 332779



The oratory was built in the 16th century in gratitude for the Virgin’s miraculous intervention at the Battle of Lepanto (1571) against the Turks.  The stucco relief decoration is the work of Giacomo Serpotta who made 3 dimensional screens in stucco covered with liquid porcelain.

The stucco panel on the rear wall depicts the Battle of Lepanto, and other reliefs show scenes from the New Testament. All are portrayed with extravagant realism.


Lunch was at the Antica Focacceria San Francesco – L & D: Daily, Via Alessandro Paternostro, 58, 39 091 320264



Dee had the sardines filled with fennel, saffron, raisins and pine nuts.   I had the buccatini and broccoli with pine nuts and cauliflower.  Then we shared a salad of mixed lettuce, cherry tomatoes, bufala mozzarella and smoked swordfish.  A ’10 Corvo Bianco hit the spot.


On to Cefalu, a famed seaside resort and important cultural center due to The Cathedral-Basilica of Cefalù - Piazza del Duomo, 39 0921 922021



The Cathedral of Cefalu’s origins was in part from Romanesque northern Europe and imported by the Augustinian monks in Sicily, but the design was completed according to Islamic architecture and influenced by Byzantine liturgical needs.

The Cathedral has Romanesque sculptures that are the work of two different artists plus other artistic works of the Norman era such as the baptismal font decorated with four lions.

The interior is illuminated by 42 stained glass windows depicting the themes of ‘ Esamerone , of the ‘ Book of the Gospels and of the ‘ Apocalypse of John, made by the artist Michele Canzoneri Palermo between 1985 and 2001.


We stopped at the Museum Mandralisca – Daily: 9-7, Via Mandralisca, 13, 39 0921 421547



The museums holdings include an archaeological collection, furniture and precious objects.  The most notable work of art here is the Portrait of a Man by Antonella Ga Messiana circa 15th century.

Lunch was at the museum which was quite good amidst their very interesting modern art.  We had pasta with swordfish and rockfish in an orange sauce with their house wine.

Then we walked along the sea and had a beer at a small café overlooking the Med where Dee put her feet in the sea.  On the way back to the bus we bought a funky puppet waiter.


We decided to visit the Galleria d’Arte Moderna di PalermoTu-Su: 9:30-6:30, Via Sant’Anna, 21, 39 091 843 1605



The museum has three floors with sculptures as well as paintings by Sicilian artists from the 19th and 20th centuries.  They also show special exhibits.


Lunch was nearby at the Il Maestro del Brodo – L: Tu-Su, D: F,Sa, Via Vittorio Emanuele 175, 39 091 321655



Another couple was looking at the menu and we convinced them to try it.  They ended up taking the table of our choice, but we got a nice table and a great waitress.

We shared the calamari and Dee had the tortellini with veal ragout and I had the risotto de mare that was filled with tiny seafood specialties in the shell.  Don’t miss Brodo.


The next day we were on the bus to visit Corleone to learn about the mafia or Cosa Nostra.  We had a very interesting lecture about the mafia by Gino Felicetti who was educated in England but his parents were from Corleone.



Gino gave us a thumbnail picture of the Mafia from 1800 to present including the assassinations of local Judges Falcone and Borsselino who were prosecuting the family.  Falcone had gone to the US to learn how we used witness protection and the RICO act to bring down the New York City mafia.

When in New York he stayed with Rudy Giuliani whose family was from Sicily near Corleone.  Rudy helped Falcone put together a plan to dismantle the Mafia.  They were partially successful.

One important event occurred that changed the world of terrorism.  Falcone was killed by the Mafia who used a car bomb for the first time in history.


Then we had lunch at Al Capriccio – Via S. Agostino, 39,  Corleone,  0918467938



We had bruschetta, local ricotta, ravioli, chickpea wafers, a salad, pasta and homemade wine.


The next stop on our docket was Agrigento – known as the bread basket of Italy and more importantly the Valley of the Temples.  Our hotel was situated on the water and we enjoyed a beautiful sunset while sitting on our balcony enjoying a glass of ’09 Fond Filara Frappato.  Dinner at the hotel was a disaster.

But the night was saved by our tour leader with an after dinner surprise.  We boarded our bus and drove back to the Temple area where we got off to see a splendid lighted view of the Temple of Concordia as our favorite tour guide Francesca poured a limoncello for each of us.




The next morning we visited the Valley of the Temples that were built by the Greeks in the 6th Century BC.  The site high above the sea is breathtaking.  Our local guide Enzo took us on a Greek journey that included contemporary statues by Igor which were there as a special temporary exhibit.


This is a UNESCO world heritage site.  There were many temples with the best preserved being Concordia.  Its longevity is credited to having been converted to a Christian Church in the 6th century.

The largest temple here was Zeus which had been cannibalized to build the harbor.



Our next stop was Giardini-Naxos where we had a fun dinner at Café Sikelia – Via Jannuzzo 12,  0039094254208



One of our waiters was Alfred Zappala who was from Boston.  Alfred was involved in a language project to get Sicilian kids more proficient in English to become competitive in the world market.

I started with the bruschetta and Dee had tomatoes and mozzarella (salad capese), then we had a chicken cutlet with a mixed salad.  We were supposed to get one glass of wine but Alfred lost count.  The dessert plate was lovely, gelato, fruit and cake.

Giardini-Naxos was the first Greek colony in Sicily.  Francesca took us to the spot where the first Greek landing took place and provided us with cookies and wine for the occasion.


Following this event we motored along the seaside going through several small towns and enjoying a magnificent view of Mt Etna before reaching Taormina.



To enter Taormina we took a lift up 7 stories.  Taormina is a walled town that is described as Sicily’s center of international tourism.  I think that means that it has the prerequisite number of shops, cafes and churches.



We had lunch at one of those cafes named La Botte – L & D: Daily, Piazza Santa Domenica, 4, 39 0942 24198



We shared an excellent calamari fritti and a pizza Della Napolitano and a bottle of the house Nero D’Avola.


Our next stop was Naxos where Francesca treated us to a gelato.  After a short rest at our hotel we drove back to Taormina for dinner at La Piazzetta – D: Nightly, C. PALADINI 5/7, 0942 626317



Our dinner was a fixed meal consisting of a timbale of mozzarella in zucchini flowers, a risotto with pumpkin and smoked cheese and the grilled entrecote bordelaise.  Our wine was the Donna Fugata Cataratto and dessert was the semifreddo with orange.

After dinner I walked outside while our group was finishing dinner and a live jazz band was playing featuring a dynamite vocalist.  For ardent jazz fans, like Dee and me, this was quite a topper.


After breakfast we drove along the coast to Messina located between Sicily and the Italian peninsula.  Lots of photo opportunities.   We drove into Messina to visit the Cathedral of Messina - Piazza Duomo, 39 090 774895



One of their attractions is reliquaries, but the main attraction is the bell tower presentation at noon.  The bell tower was built by two brothers from Strasbourg.


Lunch was at Anselmo -  L & D: Daily, Via Palazzo 2, 39 090321674



This is a very good fish and seafood restaurant.  Dee had the seafood risotto and I had the swordfish steak.  Our wine was the ’09 Inzoliz Arancio.  The site is near the proposed bridge from Sicily to Calabria.


At our hotel we were treated to an informative lecture on Mt. Etna by Dr. Boris.  His photos of underwater volcanic eruptions were spectacular as was the recent activity on Mt. Etna.


Our next excursion took us to Siracusa where our local guide Rosa led us through the Archealogical Park.  Here we saw the 2nd largest Greek theater in the world hewn from the mountain.  It seated 11,400 which was only 1000 fewer than the largest Greek theater.



At the site we entered an artificial cave called the ear of Dionysius known for its excellent acoustics.   Rosa did a demo singing “Amazing Grace” while explaining there is a competition among the guides for singing there.


We then went by bus and taxi to the Island of Ortiga where we visited the church of Santa Lucia made famous by the recent return of Caravaggio’s painting “The Burial of Santa Lucia” dated 1608.



We were told that Caravaggio was the first artist not to include angels because he said “I don’t know what they look like”.  His paintings were widely admired and accepted but he was never paid because of his angel stance.  He went to Malta and disappeared at age 39.

Rosa then guided us to the Duomo, the earliest church in Western Christendom, built inside a Greek temple to Athena.  Its colorful history explains the hybrid style of its architecture.  Rosa made it really come alive for us.


Lunch was at Osteria La Gazza LadroaL & D: Daily, via Cavour 8, 39 340 0602428



This is a great wine bar that also has velvety soups, caponata, charcuterie, homemade pastas and it’s very reasonable.  For a white wine we suggest the ’01 Feudo dei Fiori and for a red the Eloro.

On the way up Mt. Etna it’s a steep climb, fortunately we were in a bus and Valerio was doing the driving.  We went through several micro-climates and saw unusual terrain featuring thousands of years of lava layers, chestnut trees, vineyards, lemon trees and then the moonscape.  Suddenly there was a big temperature drop and strong winds.


Mt. Etna hasn’t given up smoking and it has a formidable presence.   We saw one person riding a bike near the summit and several other people who made the long climb.  We were content to look over the souvenir shops and have tea at the chalet.

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Giardini Naxos and would consider returning.  It’s a tourist town for sure, but it was the end of their season.  The merchants seemed happy to be winding down and some had closed.

Café Sikelia became our commissary and Roberto took good care of us.  We were told that one of the bar/cafes nearby had an opera singer but not the night we were there, however, the owner and his right hand man did a few songs for us.


Our balcony overlooked the Med and we saw several fishermen in their boats looking for their next meal.  Our last excursion was to Savoca, where the wedding scene from the Godfather was filmed.  Valerio did a great job driving around the switchbacks and we loved the fabulous views.



We walked about Savoca and met the mother of the bride in the Godfather who brought out photos of the event.  We visited the church where the wedding was filmed and another older church where they recently discovered two Byzantine frescoes.  Coppola financed a lot of infrastructure for the town and the Bar Vitelli has a lot memorabilia.



After returning to our hotel Francesca had a farewell drink and some snacks for us.  Dee and I went across the street to Café Sikelia for our farewell dinner.  Roberto seated us at our table and suggested that we have a bottle of ’09 Terre de Trente, Nerello Mascalese, Rosso Sicily.

We shared the antipasti and Dee had fish and I had Bolognese ziti.  Francesca came in and joined us stating that we were having her favorite wine.  It was a nice evening to a great journey.  We highly recommend visiting Sicily.


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  Any business use without permission forfeits your right to “Nero D’Avola”.

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San Miguel de Allende – 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 Miguel de Allende.


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:


San Miguel de Allende


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 San Miguel de Allende you can see these species: Caracaras, Cowbirds, Common Grackles, Meadowlarks, Larksparrows, Kestrels, Loggerhead Shrikes, Vermillion Flycatchers, Killdeer, Brown Towhees and Cassin’s Kingbirds.



Check out the birdwalks at Audubon Mexico (


Here’s a great report on Birds of Passage ( that includes amazing photos.

El Charco del Ingenio ( offers lots of birding opps.  Our Cousin Renate recommends the Tuesday tour.

Shopping:  San Miguel offer a mix of art galleries, souvenir shops and boutiques.  In the following blog we suggest a few places to find the next thing you can’t live without.


Day One:  After dropping your bags at your lodging head for the Museo Historico de la San Miguel de Allende – Tu-Su: 9-5, Cuna de Allende 1, Centro, 52 415 152 2499



Here Ignacio Allende was born who was one of the most renowned heroes of the Independence of Mexico.  The museum has two levels.  On the ground floor, we see the features of the region since the Pliocene and the pre-Hispanic first settlements.

The top floor rooms show aspects of social and cultural life of San Miguel including trade, crafts, education and training of militias.  The ground floor rooms are a reproduction of Allende’s home.


Nearby is the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel - North side of El Jardin,



The original parish was built in 1555, rebuilt in 1690 and in 1880 Don Zeferino Gutierrez built the neo-gothic façade that we see today.  The Parroquia is not a cathedral. It is a parish church and the location for many of the town’s fiestas. It is the  symbol of San Miguel.

Inside is the notable image of the Lord of Conquest created from corn, bulbs and other materials.


Lunch is at El Pegasso – B,L,D: M-Sa,  Corregidora 6, 415-152-1351



Mexican, American and Asian cuisine are all offered here.  The Kung Pao chicken has lots of veggies, peanuts and hot peppers.  Poblanos are stuffed with fruit and spices in a creamy walnut sauce.  The Aztec soup is excellent as are the fish tacos and chicken mole.

The beer is cold.  Save room for the raspberry cheesecake and the pecan pie.


To appease our artistic side we’ll visit Fabrica La Aurora – M-Sa: 10-6, Su: 11-3, Calz de la Aurora SN, Aurora, 52 415 152 1312



Fabrica La Aurora is home to over forty galleries, studios, shops, and restaurants.  The large warehouses that housed spinning machines, cotton and maintenance equipment now have artists busy at work in their studios.


Globally recognized artists have found a place to develop their creativity and exhibit their works. Large walls, plenty of natural light, and inviting open spaces create the perfect environment for artistic inspiration.


New exhibits, contemporary art galleries, furniture, interior design stores, antiques, jewelry, linens and home accessories co-exist in this wonderful space.


For some reason the Zocalo in San Miguel is called El Jardin or the Main Garden.  At any rate it’s a great spot to hang out and do some serious people watching.



In addition to the people watching there are the ubiquitous vendors selling balloons, ice cream, and fresh-roasted-corn-on-the-cob slathered with mayo, white cheese and chili powder.  On the North side there is a public Wi Fi “hot spot” where we can check our email.


Note:  Our Cousin Renate highly recommends the Walking Tour at 10 AM on M, W, F. It benefits – Patronato Pro Niños - a non-profit foundation that has provided medical and dental care for the needy children of San Miguel and its surrounding villages since 1970.



Nearby is an interesting gallery – Casa Diana – Recreo #48, 011 52 415 152 0885



This B & B has been featured in Architectural Digest and the gallery offers a variety of paintings, sculpture and photos.


Tonight we have reservations at 1826 Restaurant –B,L,D: Daily, Rosewood Hotel, Nemesio Diez, Zona Centro, 52 415 152 9700



A good starter is the octopus dusted with chicharone served with a panela cheese or the tuna ceviche and apple wrapped in avocado.  Our main is the pan-roasted snapper with caramelized onions.

Our wine is the Montefiori Chardonnay.  For dessert we like the banana cake with chocolate and peanut brittle.


Day Two:  A very popular spot for breakfast is the Café Rama – B,L,D: Daily, Calle Nueva 7, Centro, 52 415 154 9655



The juice selection is impressive as is the fruit bar with granola and yogurt, my favorite.  The eggs Florentine are poached and served on a bed of crispy potatoes.  The chilaquiles are tortilla chips with red or green salsa, chicken, a poached egg and hollandaise.


A visit to El Centro Culturál Ignacio Ramírez “El Nigromante”—Bellas Artes- M-Sa: 10-6, Su: 10-2, ernández 75, Centro, 52 415 152 0936 will knock your socks off.



This place is very special.  The building was originally constructed in 1755-65 as the cloister area of the Convent of the Immaculate Conception (Las Monjas).  This former place of prayer and contemplation is now a “Church of Art”.


Classes in drawing, painting, ceramics, weaving, photography, printmaking, music and dance, gallery exhibitions, concerts and other arts-related activities go on all year.


It’s also been called the most ambitiously landscaped cloister in all Mexico.  In the 1960s, the lovely convent cloister became Bellas Artes, the San Miguel outpost of the national arts and culture institute.


On the ground floor of Bellas Artes you’ll find exhibit galleries, the dance studio, the ceramics studio and the Café Las Musas.  Along the north wall of the cloister is a mural by Davíd Alfaro Siqueiros. The Siqueiros mural is a powerful abstract that makes a strong impression as soon as you walk into the room.



Lunch is at La Parada – L & D: W-Su, Recreo 94, 415-152-0473



For a starter we share the octopus stuffed with black olives and avocado and a potato dumpling with pepper lemon mayo.  Then we have the sautéed chicken livers with a chili soy sauce, a small salad and potatoes or sautéed beef tenderloin tips with an onion, tomato soy sauce, potatoes and corn.


They have great pisco sours and mojitos.


Earlier we called up  Bill LeVasseur to make an appointment to see The Masked Museum that Bill calls The Other Face of Mexico -  Cuesta de San Jose #32 | Cuesta de San Jose #32, 415 154 4324



The Casa de la Cuesta is a B & B with a gallery that offers a unique look at Mexican culture through its crafts. Items for sale include paintings, indigenous textiles, hand made paper, masks, handcrafted toys, Milagros and more.


It’s time for a walk in the Jardin Botanico El Charco del Ingenio – Paloma S.N., Las Colonias, 52 415 154 8838



The Botanical Garden of El Charco del Ingenio is a unique and open space with points of interest for everyone. It is a natural monument, a wildlife habitat, a botanical collection, a historical site, a center of environmental education, and a recreational space for all the community.


The botanical collection represents the richness and biodiversity in Mexico  exhibited in different areas of the garden that include:  the Conservatory of Mexican Plants (the spacious original greenhouse that also houses aquatic plant species and fish native to this region) and the Area of Rescued Plants on the western side of the garden.


The succulent collection is made up primarily of Cactaceae, along with other families of succulent plants, mainly Crassulaceae, Bromeliaceae and Aqavaceae.



Back to San Miguel for dinner at the Berlin Bar & BistroD: Nightly, Umaran 19, 52 415 154 9432



This is a neighborhood hangout that’s into the art scene.   They feature one of our favorite local artists Peter Leventhal plus emerging artists.



Their menu includes coconut crusted prawns, grilled asparagus with Serrano ham, salmon cakes and bratwurst with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes.  They have a fun bar and wine list.


Day Three:  Many call Cumpanio Restaurante y Panderia – B,L,D: Daily, Correo 29, Centro, 52 415 152 2327 the best bakery in San Miguel.



The coffee is exceptional, but it’s all good.  We like the chilaquiles almost as much as their pastries and breads.  If you have a meal here other than breakfast try the chocolate truffles.


An important place to visit is the Casa de Cultura Banamex who restored the Casa del Mayorazgo – M-F: 9-2, 4 calle Canal, 52 415 152 1004



This is one of San Miguel’s grandest colonial palaces and the former home of the wealthy Canal family.  Inside the carved wooden doors are displays of black pottery from Oaxaca, Huichol masks, Guanajuato ceramics, and other collector-quality folk art. The courtyard porticos and fine stone-and-wood carvings are gorgeous examples of colonial-era San Miguel.


The next stop on our docket is the handicrafts market located near the Mercado Ignacio Ramirez, along Andador Lucas Balderas between Calle Colegio and Calle Loreto.



This market takes up three city blocks and is full of stalls selling regional products.


Since San Miguel de Allende is such a special destination we decided to make our last dining experience here a special event and we chose Nirvana – B,L,D: Daily,  Camino Del Cortijo a Montecillo de Nieto, 52 1852194



We begin with their almost famous watermelon gazpacho or the Thai soup with curry, cream and coconut milk.  Our red snapper is assertive,  but our favorite is the stuffed chicken breast with a mole sauce.


If you’re a lamb chop lover theirs is very good with a toasted garlic sauce.  A very compatible wine is the ’13 Uriel Adobe de Guadalupe Rose.  For dessert you must order the Nirvana sorbet made with oranges and basil.


As a lagniappe we suggest a horseback ride at the Xotolar Ranch – 415 154 6275



The Morin family provides a horse riding adventure through the country side where we see breath taking views.  After the ride we enjoy a ranch lunch and a cold 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  Any business use without permission forfeits your right to “chilaquiles”.


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Florence, Italy – 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 Florence, Italy.

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:


Florence, Italy


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 Florence, Italy you can see these species: Skylarks, Hoopoe, Bee-eaters, Sub-Alpine Warblers, and a Short-toed Eagle.



Check out the Fat Birder ( for the top birding sites in Italy.

Guided Bird Watching ( is a good contact, especially Menotti Passarella in Tuscany.

Another name to check out is Marco Valtriani at Birding in Italy (


BeveragesFlorence has remarkable wines, most notably the deep red wine Chianti Classico. You’ll also find fine wines like the Brunello di Montalcino, Pomino Vin Santo and other trebiano white wines, and moscadello varieties for sweet wines.

You’ll find wine festivals in Florence more often than in any European city, and during the summer they run almost every week. In addition, every restaurant, every cafe, sometimes every vendor on the street sells Florence’s best wines.


Transportation:  This is your site for public transportation (


Shopping:  For the well known Italian designers check out the Santa Maria Novella district.  Smaller budgets need to look at the Piazza della Republica.  Foodies can check out the Mercado Centrale in the San Lorenzo district.

Florence is known for its leather goods, perfumes and marbled stationery.


Day One:  After dropping your bags at your hotel our cousin suggests a visit to the Piazza Duomo where we find Il Duomo –  Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore  M-Sa: 10-5, Su: 1:30-4:45, 055 215380, Giotto’s Campanile and the Baptistery.




Construction on Il Duomo began in 1296 and was completed in 1887.  Needless to say some authorized alterations took place. The austere Gothic interior is credited to the preaching of Girolamo Savonarola.

However, there are many important works of art to view.  Notables include: busts of Giotto by Benedetto da Majano and Brunelleschi by Buggiano.

The church is notable for its 44 stained glass windows. The windows in the aisles and in the transept depict saints from the Old and the New Testaments, while the circular windows in the drum of the dome or above the entrance depict Christ and Mary. They are the work of the greatest Florentine artists of their time, such as Donatello, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Paolo Uccello and Andrea del Castagno.

The frescoes of the Last Judgement were designed by Giorgio Vasari and painted by Frederico Zuccari.


Part of this complex is Giotto’s Campanile or Bell Tower.  Giotto, Brunelleschi and Alberti were the fathers of Renaissance architecture.  The art in the Campanile are copies.  The originals are in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.



Another part of this complex is the Baptistry of St. John.  Its Florentine style provided the basis for Renaissance architecture.  The Baptistry is known for its three sets of bronze doors featuring relief sculptures named the “Gates of Paradise” by Michaelangelo.



Today we lunch at Osteria Santo Spirito – L & D: Daily,  Piazza Santo Spirito, 19 r, 39 055 238 2383



The antipasti is a favorite and also the bruschetta with artichokes.  Share the pasta with mussels and peppers.  The gnocchi with truffle cream sauce could be shared also.  Go for the house wine.  Dessert is their tiramisu.


Time for a garden walk in the Bardini Gardens – Daily: 8:45-5, da Costa San Giorgio 2, 39 055 2006 6206



The Bardini Gardens have three areas of interest:  a flight of steps that is fringed with irises that ascends to a hilltop has great views of Florence, an English garden with a water feature titled “Channel of the Dragon” and a farming area with terraces that are planted with olive trees.  Sculptures are scattered throughout the property.

The Bardini Museum dates from the 16th century and has two galleries.  One has dresses and drawings and the other 120 paintings by Pietro Annigoni.  There is a charming café.


After all of this walking it’s the perfect time to visit Il Gelato Vivoli – M-Sa: 7:30-12 AM, Su: 9-9, Via Dell’Isola delle Stinche, 7r, 39 055 292334



This is the best gelato on our planet in our opinion.  We favor either the stracciatella or the pistachio.  Alas no cones!


Our choice for dinner is Il Santo Bevitore – L: M-Sa, D: Tu-Su, Via di Santo Spirito, 64/66, 39 055 211264



We’ll start with a glass of prosecco to enhance our chicken liver crostini.  Sharing is a good idea here, and the first choice is a burrata served on sautéed spinach followed by the octopus with sunchokes, hazelnuts and turnips.

Then the duck in a red wine sauce with foie gras mousse and radicchio.  An ’03 Chianti Classico Riserva by Villa DiGeggiano will compliment these choices.  The chocolate mousse with bananas is dessert.


Day Two:  Breakfast is at the Café Le Giubbe Rosa – B,L,D: Daily, Piazza della Repubblica, 13/14r, 39 055 212280



Coffee and pastries to go with poets and authors amidst a treasure of art and books.  This is Florence’s answer to the Café de Flore in Paris.


Our second stop this morning is The Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze – Tu-Su: 8-6:30, Via Bettino Ricasoli, 60, 055 294883



The Galleria dell’Accademia has housed the original David by Michelangelo since 1873.  The gallery’s small collection of Michelangelo’s work includes his four unfinished Prisoners, intended for the tomb of Pope Julius II and a statue of Saint Matthew, also unfinished.

Other works on display are Florentine paintings from the 15th and 16th centuries, including works by Paolo Uccello, Domenico, Sandro Botticelli and Andrea del Sarto.   From the High Renaissance is Giambologna’s original plaster for the Rape of the Sabine Women.


Let’s do lunch at ‘Ino – B & L: Daily, 7r via de’ Georgofili, 055.219208



Sandwiches are the main choices here.  The panino with gorgonzola and fig mustard or the ciabatta with grilled zuchinni, robiola and sausage spread are tasty and filling.

But the panini with Tuscan salami, sheep cheese and tangy mustard looks oh, so good.  A glass of house wine adds the final touch.


Our plan takes us to the The Brancacci Chapel - Piazza del Carmine, located in the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine, however, access is gained through a neighboring convent.



The chapel is famous for the pictorials commissioned by Felice Brancacci, who first hired Masolino da Penicale and his assistant Masaccio.  Masaccio’s skills far out paced his mentor’s, but he died at age 27.  Portions of the frescoes were then completed by Filippino Lippi.

Masaccio’s frescoes are famous for furthering the Renaissance painting movement.  Michelangelo was one of many students who learned his craft by copying Masaccios work in this chapel.


The Pitti Palace – Tu-Su: 8:15-6:50,  Piazza de Pitti, 1, 39 055 294883



Is comprised of several museums and a garden.  They include: The Palatine Gallery – that features the Medici Collection with works by Raphael, Titian, Correggio, Rubens, Pietro da Cortona and other Italian and European masters of the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

The Gallery of Modern Art – has a collection of paintings and sculpture dating from the late 18th century to World War I plus works by artists of the Macchiaioli movement and of other Italian schools of the later 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Costume Gallery has six thousand items including costumes dating from the 16th to the 20th centuries, theatre costumes and accessories.  A selection is exhibited in rotation every two years and it’s constantly renewing its installations thanks to donations from private owners and State acquisitions.

In the Porcelain Museum we see the most beautiful porcelain of Europe, owned by Pietro Leopoldo and Ferdinand III.  This collection was enriched by the arrival of other porcelain from the historical palaces of Parma, Piacenza and Sala Baganza.

The Medici Treasury houses the semi precious stone vases of Lorenzo the Magnificent, the cameos of Cosimo I, the rock crystal objects of Francesco I, the ambers of Maria Maddalena d’Austria, the ivory vases of Mattia de Medici and the jewelry collection that belonged to Anna Maria Luisa, the last member of the Medici Family.

Just behind behind the Pitti Palace are the Boboli Gardens. They were originally designed for the Medici and are one of the earliest examples of an Italian Garden. The gardens extend over a large area creating an open-air museum with Renaissance statues, grottoes and large fountains.


Tonight we have a special dinner at L’Osteria di Giovanni – L: Sa,Su, D: Nightly, Via del Moro, 22, 39 055 284897



For our starter we’ll share Giovanni’s antipasto with prosciutto and a selection of home-cured salami, crostini with liver paté, tomato bruschetta and fresh ricotta cheese.  A glass or two of ’10 Spumante Brut from Punta Crena will be fine.

Then it’s the tortelli stuffed with mozzarella and basil served with cream of zucchini and zucchini blossoms or the rabbit braised in local red wine with green olives served with sautéed greens.

Let’s order the ’08 Colleoni Brunello di Montalcino for our wine. For dessert it’s an adventure of pineapple carpaccio – pineapple shavings served with lemon sorbet and red peppers


Day Three:  Breakfast is targeted for Robiglio – B,L,D: Daily, Via de’ Tosinghi 11/r | Via de’ Medici 16/r, 39 055 215013



It’s not only pastries, biscuits and coffee, but great people watching.  We predict that you will return for lunch or dinner.


This morning we head for the Uffizi Gallery – Tu-Su: 8:15-6:30, Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 39 055 238 8651



The Uffizi is one of the most popular attractions in Florence.  In high season the waiting time can be five hours.  You can reserve in advance.  Tickets can also be purchased from a lesser-used ticket window at the Orasanmichele that serves multiple museums.

Artists whose works are here include: Duccio, Giotto, Ucello, Lippi, Botticelli, da Vinci, Durer, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Bellini and many more.


Here’s an experience – lunch at Antica Trattoria da Tito – L & D: M-Sa, Via San Gallo, 112r, 39 055 472475



Be prepared for large portions, noise and a lot of fun.  Share the antipasti and proceed to the kale pesto pasta or the burrata mozzarella on spinach.  Then to the very rare (the only way they prepare it) Bestecca Florentine.

Wash it down with the house chianti.  The tiramisu comes with a bottle of lemoncello that you share with the staff.


The Bargello National Musuem – Daily: 8:15-2, Via del Proconsolo, 4, 39 055 238 8606



The National Museum has its setting in one of the oldest buildings in Florence that dates back to 1255.  The building’s use as National Museum began in the mid-19th century. Today it is the setting for works of sculpture and for many examples of “minor” Gothic decorative arts.

The rooms on the ground floor exhibit 16th century Tuscan works, focusing in particular on four masterpieces by Michelangelo: Bacchus, the relief representing a Madonna with Child, Brutus and David-Apollo.

This is followed by works of Andrea Sansovino, Jacopo Sansovino, Baccio Bandinelli, Bartolomeo Ammannati, Benvenuto Cellini  and Giambologna with his Mercury. The bronze animals that were originally placed in the grotto of the Medici villa of Castello are now displayed on the staircases.


Although there are many more sites to visit in Florence one special view is from the Piazzale Michelangelo.  Here we have Florence with the Tuscan hills providing a back drop.



For a suitable finish to our Mini-Holiday in Florence let’s have a gelato at Gron – Daily: 10:30 AM – Midnight, Via del Campanile, 2, 39 055 216158



Grom also could be the best gelato in Florence.  You can make your decision, but let us know.


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 Any business use without permission forfeits your right to “gelato”.

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