Monday, March 30, 2009

Cycling in Italy - Part 3

For the last part of my cycling holiday, I thought I'd share the more relaxing photos. Well, they weren't that relaxing when I was running on the beach or through the streets but they CAN be relaxing in the early morning. Our hotel was situated one block from the beach. All along the water, the promenade was decorated with benches, plants, fountains, mosaics, etc. It was an impressive display of making a sidewalk look beautiful. Here the fountains and benches are in the shape of a ship.

Every block or two the stones were worked into a design or symbol. I can tell you that we don't take this much effort with our sidewalks in the U.S.

The view looking North up the coast of the Adriatic. I told you it was relaxing if you go early in the morning.....

There were many, many more to choose from but these were the closest to the hotel so they won by default. Next year, maybe I will branch out a little bit more. A good trip and one I would recommend. Who wants to join me next year? Or perhaps it should be Spring Break Spain 2010??!?!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cycling in Italy - Part 2

As promised, the second part of my cycling holiday...
The group at dinner. We had two long tables to accomodate everyone who joined the trip. At our peak on Tuesday evening we had 28 people. I think Jeeves was impressed so many people wanted to celebrate his birthday.

Moi, Gervase, Holly and Jane smiling despite the Grand Tour.

On our 'rest' day, we took it easy and rode up to one of the many castles.

Love this view with the countryside in the background.

Cobbled streets

What happens when 20 cyclists stop for coffee.
Me looking particularly dorky but with a great view of the sea behind me. Is my head really that tiny? And why am I hunched over? This is why I am usually behind the camera.

The view looking towards our hotel.

A lovely little cottage next to the coffee shop.

Who needs a clock when you have a sundial. It was spot on with the shadow pointing towards high noon.

Scary fountain man.

Stopping to regroup after another fun climb. And when I say 'fun', I don't really mean fun.

And lastly, just so you didn't think all we do is cycle and drink, here is everyone in line at the gelato shop. Yum!
Stayed tuned for the last of the photos.....

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Cycling in Italy - Part 1

For my own little spring break, I took a week off and headed to Italy with some friends for some cycling and fun. We stayed at this great bike hotel - Hotel Dory - and no, the she-man was not there.

My steed for the week. Brand new - fresh out of the box - never been ridden....

Therefore, it only took me one ride to scratch the paint job. I am never allowed to have anything new.

In the Riccione town square

It's not often you get to cycle through streets like these.

Stopping at the top for a well deserved coffee. Friends Julia and Michael relax in the sun.

At one of the lookouts with a view of the Adriatic Sea behind me.

A local's doorway

Beautifuly countryside

Stopping at the barbeque on day 2. Part of our group at the table. Take care not to be blinded by my translucent skin.

Lysandra and Louise with a view of the vineyards in the back.

At the barbeque, instructions for the next day's grand tour were given. Richard gave them in German, Michel in French, Stefano in English and Drelli in Italian. Then they corrected each other depending on the language. I must say, my French improved dramatically on the trip!

For our big ride day, we rode out from Rimini (that's 40km) and it was uphill almost all the way. Climb, climb, climb...

There's snow in them ther hills!

My bike doesn't come with snow tires.

Time to go down!

After a long day in the saddle, it was straight to the bar. We didn't even bother to change before celebrating.

Speaking of celebrating - grand tour day was also Jeeve's birthday. That's right. The man is British and his name is Jeeves.

This is how we roll. John gets waylaid on his way back from the hot tub to start celebrating Jeeve's birthday. I think my liver did more training this week than my legs. So ends day 3 - more photos when I've got a few more minutes.........

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Is it art? Or did someone just leave their bike outside too long?

I like it. I vote for beautiful however it came about.

By the way, I'm off on holiday next week (that's vacation to the Americans) so pictures, stories and locale will be shared when I get back......

Monday, March 9, 2009

Party Party

Along with my friend Jo (otherwise known as BTS Social Coordinator Extraordinaire) I hosted a wine and cheese party this weekend.

The table looked pretty good - before the rest of the food and festivities arrived. I should have really taken a picture of the aftermath.

Since the dining room table was put into service as a buffet, I pulled out my MacGuyer like skills once again to improvise. Poor Tucker had to give up his porch for a while. All in all, the party was very fun. I wonder what the bin men (garbage men) are going to say when they see my 24 empty bottles of wine in the recycling.....Maybe - 'it must have been one heck of a party!'?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Technology vs the Taco Truck

In California, your late night dining options generally involve a taco truck.

In the Netherlands, it's a giant vending machine for a store front. This one is aptly named Mike's Automatique. Is this the death of the taco truck?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Carnival - Day 2

For day 2 of Carnival, we decided to travel to a nearby city to check out their parade. We loaded up the girls, the dog and the strollers and headed to 's-Hertogenbosch. Yes, that is the city name -complete with leading apostrophe. It is somehow prounced "den-bosch" but I don't get that since it has way more letters in the name. How would Hooked On Phonics handle that?

You don't see this at the train station every day. Yep, everyone is still in costume.

The girls and I sitting nicely on the train. Notice how I've got about 10 more layers on then they do? Oh to be young and immune from the cold and be able to touch your toes...

The girls decide looking out the window is more fun.

Tucker thinks the same thing.

We arrive in town where it resembles Ronald MacDonald gone mad. Apparently the town colors of 's-Hertogenbosch are red, yellow and white.

Got my horse? check.
Got my horse dressed up like Ronald MacDonald? check.
Got my fancy doublet on? check.
Got my glasses on so I can see where I'm going? check.
Got my Heineken? check.

I love the narrow streets and brick housing. When it is pedestrians only of course. I couldn't imagine a car here. It just seems so wrong.

Some serious effort with the cobblestone streets. (Or else I accidentally took a photo with the camera pointed the wrong way. It's a 50-50 chance on that one)

Houses over water. Function and beauty.

And that's it. Back on the train for the ride back. There really was more to see but somehow I just didn't get the camera out enough for this parade. It might have been the search for the perfect french fries that kept me from prolific photos.

Tucker was a trooper and dealt very well with the large crowds. He's pooped and decides to stretch out. He got to ride for free on the train. Me,on the other hand, after losing my ticket I had to fork over 40 euros when the original ticket cost 5 euros. Note to self: don't lose your train ticket