Travel Tips for Italy

Italy trip Fall 2008 260

Italy trip Fall 2008 260

Here are some travel tips that I always pass on to my clients.

  • Make 2 copies of your passport - take one with you and leave the other copy home with a family member.
  • I suggest everyone get a visa debit card - if you do not have please apply for one as soon as possible. Alert your bank that you will be using your visa debit card in Italy. Otherwise your account may be frozen and you will not be able to access euros.
  • Use the visa debit card to obtain euors while in Italy.
  • When making purchases use your credit card
  • Make two copies (both front and back) of your credit card and visa card. Bring one copy with you and leave the other copy home with a family member.
  • Expect cool mornings and evenings so be prepared to layer your clothing.
  • Always bring an umbrella. I cannot guarantee sunny weather.
  • Wear or bring comfortable shoes since we will be doing a lot of walking.
  • You may wish to buy ear plugs to use during the flight to Italy.
  • You may wish to go to your bank to obtain a few euros before you leave.
  • Travel insurance is highly recommended. Purchase Travel Guard here.
  • Verify your medical insurance coverage before you leave the states.
  • Leave copies of your itinerary and copies of your passport with responsible individuals at home.
  • Access the State Department website for current information concerning your proposed travel locations.

A Brief Stay in Puerto Rico

A little stressed out?  What do you do?  You go to Puerto Rico!  My daughter decided she needed a break and left me an email that read:  Wanna go? with the web link of El Conquistador, which is owned by  Waldorf Astoria and Hilton.  So we searched for flights and in less than a week we were sitting by the pool.

Pool at Conquistador

Between the sun, palm trees, a little breeze, and a cocktail it was easy to relax. It sure felt good!  Our time there was brief but we managed to do a lot:  Toured and hiked the Rain Forest ( well worth it), took the ferry to the beach, and booked the spa!

The rain forest was quite interesting and our guide was very informative.  The hike was about 2.5 miles so put on your hiking shoes if you plan to go!  The bus departed at 9am and we did not return until 2pm.  So I had my exercise for the day!


The next day we decided to take the ferry to the private beach.  What a location!  It comes equiped with a restaurant/bar, water sports, beach chairs and more.  Just bring your sunblock!



After relaxing in the sun we took the ferry ride back to the hotel and hiked to the spa for our treatments.  What to treat yourself on vacation?  Book a spa treatment at the Golden Door Spa.  After 80 minutes later we were refreshed and ready for the evening!

We both enjoyed our stay at this hotel of over 700 rooms.  We would be concerned if the entire complex would have been filled to capacity which it can be during certain weeks of the year.  Great place for families.

We definitely would go back to Puerto Rico again but stay in another hotel to get the chance to experience another part of the island.  Puerto Rico is a great 3.5 hour flight and a lush and green island. This island has so much to offer and some wonderful hotels.  Oh and let us not forget the golf courses!

A Fabulous meal at La Estacion in Puerto Rico.

While taking a short break this March my daughter, Elana, and I headed to Puerto Rico.  We stayed at El Conquistodor (more about that in another post) and decided to venture off the grounds and go to a fabulous small restaurant not far from the entrance to the hotel grounds. La Estacionis owned and operated by Kevin Roth, a Culinary Institute of America graduate and his wife.  Both have many years experience in the restaurant business.  After many years in NYC and vacationing in Puerto Rico they decided to move to Puerto Rico and open La Estacion.  This restaurant bar was once a gas station hence the name La Estacion.  The chef uses only the freshest and local  ingredients.  The menu may change a bit according to the season.

We took a chance and hired a taxi to take us to this restaurant.  It was crowded and they told us it would be a 2 hour wait.  That did not discourage us at all.  We sat at the bar and had a drink to pass the time.

We had the Jumbo Shrimp Pinchos and the Grilled Red Snapper which was enough for three people.

The food was so good we decided to go again the next night and again we had to wait a bit but who cares.  We were on vacation!  We sat at the bar and ordered each a Fajardo Sunrise (Tequila, Passoa (local passion fruit liquor), passion fruit juice and guava juice).



Before long we were seated and we decided to go local this time as both taxi drivers suggested we order Mofongo.  Elana had the mahi-mahi with shrimp and I ordered the BBQ chicken.  Mofongo is a garlic mashed plantains.  Of couse this evening we had a wonderful bananna dessert with ice cream.

We went back to the hotel full and happy!

Pinchos at La Estacion

Pinchos at La Estacion

Grilled Red Snapper

Grilled Red Snapper

If you happen to stay at El Conquistor Hotel I do highly recommend you dine at this unusual restaurant.  You will not be disappointed at all.

A Favorite Restaurant in Rome – L’Asino D’Oro

Whenever I go to Italy I always like to try new restaurants.  This fall when Gourmet Getaways brought 15 eager travelers to Italy I knew had to try some new restaurants when we arrived in Rome.  Br. Paul Diveny, from Delbarton School, and I knew that we would have some followers for dinner one evening.  I had been doing a lot of research before leaving the states and knew that I wanted to try L’Asino d’ Oro. There were six of us that evening.  Since we were staying at the Palazzo Manfredi it was not a difficult walk from the hotel but I would suggest you take a cab.

Lucio Sforza, the chef, is originally from Orvieto so his cuisine is Umbrian.  He is very adventurous in mixing his ingredients.  His creations are over the top.  There was so much to choose from that it was very difficult to make a decision.  We all decided that we were going to order as many different dishes as we could and none of us were disappointed!

He has an extensive wine list that will not break the bank.  Everyone had an appetizer and main dish.  Of course we were very thrilled with the entire meal, including desserts.

If you are going with a small group I suggest you make a reservation.  Go a little early as the locals will fill up the restaurant later in the evening.

As we were leaving the restaurant I noticed the jar of biscotti.  The manager offered me two which I gladly took.  I  never refuse biscotti.  They were delicious and I wish I could have had more!  Crunchy and full of flavor!

I highly recommend this restaurant.  When I return to Rome I will definitely go back here!  Go with an appetite and be daring in your selection.  You will not be disappointed.

L’Asino d’Oro on Via del  Boschetto – go there on your next visit.  Maybe I will see you there!

Take yourself to Salumeria Rosi in NYC!

A few weeks ago I ventured into the city for my hair appointment, of course.  Afterwards I met my daughter and we took a cab to Salumeria Rosi on Amsterdam Ave. 

We were lucky and we were seated outside.  We both ordered cocktails to celebrate the beautiful weather in hopes that it would continue for the rest of the summer.  Before long our order was before us.  I ordered a Porchetta Sandwich.  Delicious!  My daughter ordered a Poached egg served on top of creamy polenta. Bother were served with a small salad.  Of couse we were not leaving until we had dessert.  So we ordered a Semifreddo (translation - half cold) and  a plate of  Italian cookies.

See for yourself from the pictures.  You will not be disappointed.

And now for dessert!

So treat yourself.  Go to Salumeria Rosi located at 283 Amsterdam Ave.The chef, Cesare Casella did a wonderful job creating an appetizing menu !