Entries in ‘What a Trip’ Journal

Palazzo del Governatore, Bracciano, Italy

Wednesday August 20, 2014 at 10:10 AM | 1 Comment

The Palazzo del Governatore B&B, Bracciono, Italy

The Palazzo del Governatore B&B, Bracciano, Italy

My friend Milos invited me to visit the magical little town in Italy where he grew up. He promised to introduce me to the locals, show me around, and help me find places to stay while I produced a travel website about the area. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

Everything Milos told me about Lake Bracciano, Italy, was completely true. If you’re looking for authentic Italia, the Lake Bracciano area is the place. I barely heard English or any other language beside Italian spoken during the 10 days I was there. The people are warm, the food outstanding, and the beauty staggering.

Thirty miles north of Rome, (an easy train ride from the Eternal City), lies the gorgeous, clear, azure Lake Bracciano, surrounded by three small cities—Bracciano, Anguillara, and Trevignano each 11 miles apart around the lake. The area is surrounded by “slow food” farms, vineyards, and family artisans. I was fortunate to meet some of these fine folks including Giancarlo Gentili, a pecorino cheesemaker and the winemaker from the beautiful Tenuta Tre Cancelli vineyard.

The city of Bracciano is built around the majestic 15th century Orsini-Odescalchi castle, an amazing and formidable presence and one of the most well preserved feudal castles in Europe. It’s open for public tours and I highly recommend wandering through this architectural masterpiece with a storied history. The ghost of Isabella de Medici who disposed her “low-born” lovers via a trap door in her bedroom is said to haunt the halls draped in white veils. It’s also the location of the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes wedding.

Again fortune smiled on us and we were invited to stay right beyond the castle wall at the Palazzo del Governatore B&B. The location could not be better. Our suite looked across at the castle garden and the medieval cobblestone streets. Church bells around the corner chimed the hours. It was a fairytale. Our hosts Vittoria and Ennio were incredibly gracious (Ennio even took my suitcase up the hill with him on his motorbike) and we were served breakfast in the great room with prints of ancient Roman maps and early Papal contest documents on the walls. It was like  something out of a dream.

This post was contributed by Lisa Dion of FriscoMama.com. I was a guest of the Palazzo del Governatore.

 

Whobert’s Path — A Traveler’s Treasure

Wednesday June 4, 2014 at 8:08 AM | 0 Comments

Whobert's Path, free from Grio Games, is a great traveling companion.

Whobert’s Path, free from Grio Games, is a great traveling companion.

Parents traveling with kids — picture this scenario: You’re at a crowded airport gate. The flight attendant just announced that your flight is delayed, again. Your kids are bickering over what to play on the iPad. He wants Angry Birds. She wants Candy Crush. You’re sick of them playing these mindless games over and over. You reach for the iPad and open Whobert’s Path. Moments later they are playing the challenging memory/concentration game and your guilt is assuaged.

Whobert’s Path, developed by Grio Games is a free, exciting new memory game with gorgeous graphics and pleasant music (seriously), focuses on matching tiles to help Whobert, a lost wizard, regain his memory and get home.

It’s not just for kids either. Casual gamers bored with gem-swapping and runner games will find Whobert’s Path thrilling, challenging and addictive. Why not give your brain a workout while playing a beautifully designed game.

Whobert's Path develops concentration and memory.

Whobert’s Path develops concentration and memory.

Whobert’s Path has 10 themed episodes (like nautical and mystical adventures) with constantly changing obstacles on 126 increasing levels!  It’s fast-paced, fun, and tricky.

Let’s face it, there’s a lot of downtime when it comes to traveling — long car, train, and plane rides, lines, and delays. And when traveling with kids, wouldn’t it be put to better use feeding those cerebral cells?

It’s a free download at the App Store for iOS and Google Play for Android. Check out the rave reviews!

This post was contributed by Lisa Crovo Dion or Friscomama. I work with Grio Games to get the word out on Whobert’s Path (and play it myself!).

Photos courtesy of Grio Games.

Whobert's Path is challenging and beautiful to look at.

Whobert’s Path is challenging and beautiful to look at.

 

 

Book Review: Don’t Cook the Planet by Emily Abrams

Tuesday March 25, 2014 at 11:11 PM | 0 Comments

The exterior of Alice Waters' Chez Panisse, considered the birthplace of California cuisine.

The exterior of Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse, considered the birthplace of California cuisine.

Last week I had the pleasure of representing What a Trip at a special event at Chez Panisse, hosted by Alice Waters and a young eco-activist/author named Emily Abrams.

The occasion was the book release of Don’t Cook the Planet by 19-year-old Abrams. Waters contributed to this beautiful volume of recipes, photographs, and snippets of wisdom from world-renowned chefs, activists and luminaries including Michael Pollan, Tom Colicchio, Robert Redford, and Paul Simon.

The menu was no frills — a simple though perfectly dressed salad of greens and thin-crust pizza topped with more greens and Parmesan.

Alice, who contributed her (you guessed it, simple) garlic vinaigrette recipe to the book, spoke a few words and graciously posed for numerous selfies with guests. The murmurs around my table were that Abrams’ parents paid for both the event and Waters’ participation in the project. Who knows? And really, who cares? Abrams is a delightful young high school senior and 100% of the proceeds from her book’s sale will be donated to non-profits committed to sustainable efforts.

The gist of the book is that small, conscious choices — like drinking tap water, shopping for local produce at farmers’ markets, and composting among other things — can impact climate control which Abrams considers her generation’s “defining issue.”

The colorful volume (with extraordinary food photography) is peppered with tips for finding easy ways to turn our culinary choices into environmental actions.

Alice Waters and guests at the pizza party for 'Don't Cook the Planet'

Alice Waters and guests at the pizza party for ‘Don’t Cook the Planet’

With a forward written by the still incredibly handsome Robert Kennedy Jr., Don’t Cook the Planet features a collection of more than 70 recipes from Richard Branson’s Spring shepard’s pie and Rahm Emmanuel’s homemade challah to Chevy Chase’s veggie chili and Ethel Kennedy’s Deviled Eggs.

Many of the recipes look straightforward and simple enough. In fact, this book could spur me on to get into the kitchen and fire up some quinoa cakes, beef risotto, or an apple pandowdy.

We’ll see…

Contributed by Lisa Dion of Friscomama.com. Photos by Lisa Dion

pizza