Italy 2015; Tuscany, Amalfi Coast & Rome

Italy 2015; Tuscany, Amalfi Coast & Rome

Italy 2015; Tuscany, Amalfi Coast & Rome Italy 2015; Tuscany, Amalfi Coast & Rome

Hong Kong & Shanghai 2015

Hong Kong and Shanghai 2015

Hong Kong & Shanghai 2015 Hong Kong & Shanghai 2015

London 2014

London in Winter 2014

London 2014 London 2014

Cambodia and Burma 2014

Cambodia and Burma July 2014

Cambodia and Burma 2014 Cambodia and Burma 2014

Peru 2014

Peru - Cusco, Machu Picchu, and Lima 2014

Peru 2014 Peru 2014

Puglia and Basilicata Italy 2013

Puglia and Basilicata Italy 2013

Puglia and Basilicata Italy 2013 Puglia and Basilicata Italy 2013

Tips and Resources for Planning a Trip to Paris

Going to Paris? Here are my tips and resources for planning a trip

Tips and Resources for Planning a Trip to Paris Tips and Resources for Planning a Trip to Paris

We did something not many people do when visiting Pompeii and Herculaneum; we stayed in the town of Pompeii itself. Many, if not most, visitors to Pompeii come just for the day from places like Sorrento, Naples, or even Rome. They arrive by bus and train and are gone before the sun sets on the Bay of Naples. I’ve even done this myself, visiting Herculaneum by train from Naples on a day trip.

This time was different, as we drove to the area all the way from Pienza. Our plan was to drive down, visit Herculaneum in the afternoon, sleep in the town of Pompeii, visit the ruins of Pompeii the next morning and then heading to the Amalfi coast. It was jam-packed, but it worked, even though we had to spend the night in Pompeii to do it.

Hotel Forum, Pompeii

Hotel Forum Pompeii

Hotel Forum Pompeii

The Hotel Forum Pompeii (booking.com link) is probably one of the best options in a town without a lot of choices. We booked a refurbished “garden view” room. It was nice enough, but on the ground floor so we felt like we needed to keep the drapes shut at all times for privacy.

The room was interesting. It was a good size, quite large, with a nice big bed and a good TV. The bathroom design was a bit odd. The sink was in the bedroom and it’s styled like a sloping trough (see photo below). The “faucet” is a chrome square pipe fixture which hangs down from the ceiling over the sink and splashes everywhere when turned on. That’s just poor design. The shower is a big walk-in type with a rain shower head and like most rain showers,  does not put out enough water pressure to rinse one’s hair of shampoo. Also, there are rotating disco lights in the shower, I kid you not. The modern design extends to the uncomfortable, too high toilet.

Hotel Forum Pompeii

Hotel Forum Pompeii

The next morning we visited Pompeii, getting there when they opened at 9am and leaving the site around noon (this was not our first visit and it was ungodly hot and crowded). We’d asked for a late checkout when checking in and were told no but I asked again the next morning and we were told we could check out at 1pm which was much appreciated.

Hotel Forum Pompeii

Hotel Forum Pompeii

That said, the hotel is conveniently close to the back entrance of the ruins of Pompeii. They have a little happy hour in the lobby bar area where they put out some snacks and you can order a drink from the bar, though I would recommend against the Negroni. Breakfast is served in the downstairs restaurant and has a decent choice of items in a buffet set up.

For dinner, we ate a place right down the street called Add ‘u’ Mimi, which is right down the street from the hotel. Get the house red, it’s excellent, and at the time was only about 5 euro for a nondescript unlabeled bottle. The octopus salad was fresh and perfectly cooked with a squeeze of lemon. The fried calamari (top photo of post) was outstanding as were our plates of pasta. If you have to stay in Pompeii overnight you can’t go wrong here.

Ristorante Add u' Mimi

Ristorante Add u’ Mimi

Ristorante Add u' Mimi

Ristorante Add u’ Mimi

Next post, the ruins of Herculaneum and Pompeii and tips for visiting them.

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Siena; Osteria da Trombicche and Sightseeing

October 23, 2017
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The sign said “No Pizza, No Cappuccino, Si Miale, Si Vino”. My translation; If you want pizza and cappuccino, you tourist, go away. If you want pork and wine, we’ve got it, come on in! With a sign like that, how could we not go in? What we found was unexpected. There were a tiny […]

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Exploring Tuscany; Podere Il Casale Organic Farm

October 14, 2017
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Right outside Pienza is a working farm with a small restaurant called Podere Il Casale. This place puts all others claiming “farm-to-table” to shame and is what true “farm-to-table” is all about. The farm raises goats and sheep for milk and makes their own cheese (several kinds). They raise bees for honey and grapes for wine. […]

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Exploring Tuscany; Máté Winery, Montalcino, and Montepulciano

October 8, 2017
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During our four days in Pienza, we took several day trips in the car out to the surrounding towns. The nice people at La Bandita helped us set up several things including a private visit to Máté Winery and a visit to a working farm (covered in a later post). Máté winery is near the town of Montalcino so […]

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Exploring Pienza Italy; Restaurants and Sightseeing

October 5, 2017
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The first four days of our trip were spent in Tuscany, where we stayed in the tiny hilltop town of Pienza. Our hotel, La Bandita Townhouse, was right in the center of things and we loved every minute there. It gave us plenty of time to explore the village, where many tourists visit on day trips, […]

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La Bandita Townhouse and Restaurant, Pienza Italy

October 1, 2017
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The first stop of our 20th-anniversary trip was the tiny hilltop town of Pienza, in Tuscany.  We arrived, jet-lagged and sweaty in the 100-degree heat, after getting directly off the plane in Rome and into a rental car at the airport. The drive to Pienza was easy enough and we even stopped at my favorite AutoGrill. La […]

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Shanghai Street Scenes

July 20, 2017

Wandering around Shanghai, I could not help but be fascinated by the colorful and varied scenes from everyday life in the city. As in many cosmopolitan cities, there are places which are still more “developing” than others. In those neighborhoods, as you will see below, many people live partially outside, preparing food, practicing hygiene, and exercising. Transportation can be […]

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Old City Shanghai

July 15, 2017
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In among all the skyscrapers and apartment buildings, a tiny part of “Old Shanghai” remains. In it there are remnants of the old city wall dating back to the Ming Dynasty (1553) as well as pavilions, temples, and markets. On one of our days in Shanghai, we had the opportunity to explore a small part […]

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