Thursday, October 27, 2011

Haunted destinations

In Halloween spirit I received an e-mail from Tripadvisor listing 10 haunted travel destinations. Sounds fascinating to me and once I would like to visit them. Listing them here so I can find them again when planning my trip...

1. The Tower of London
London, England
- Site of torture, execution, and murder for more than 1,000 years.

Here I have been but unfortunately did not see any ghosts. Maybe it is necessary to go back at night. Wonder if that is even possible? 

2. Dracula's Castle (Bran Castle)
Brasov, Romania
- Former home to Vlad the Impaler, widely thought to have inspired Bram Stoker's Dracula.

3. The Colosseum
Rome, Italy
- Bloody gladiator shows and gory animal fights. Some hear the sounds of battle by night.

Must say, that during daytime there is no sign of this place being haunted. 

4. Charles Bridge
Prague, Czech Republic
- Said to be haunted by ten decapitated lords who roam the bridge by night.

5. Ballygally Castle
Ballygally, Northern Ireland
- Home to the ghost of Lady Isobel Shaw, whose husband let her starve to death in a locked room.

6. The Queen Mary
Long Beach, California
- More than a dozen apparitions have been recorded aboard this celebrated luxury liner.

7. Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh, Scotland
- A phantom piper, a headless drummer, and a dog are among its ghostly inhabitants.

8. Salem, Massachusetts
- Best known for witch trials in 1692. Tourists come to see the Witch Trial Memorial and Old Burying Point Cemetery.

Ahhh, now it makes sense why the cat was named Salem in "Sabrina the teenage witch" TV show. People put so much thought into the little details and it was completely lost on me. Better late than never. At least now I appreciate it.

9. Catacombs of the Capuchins
Palermo, Italy
- Meet the mummified dead of Palermo in these spooky underground passages.

10. Rose Hall Great House
Rose Hall, Jamaica
- Said to be haunted by former owner Annie Palmer, who murdered three husbands and a succession of lovers.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Prohibition party 1920


You've got to love the British and their love for dress-up parties. Which in why in October we went to the 1920s Prohibition Party. This time it was held in a house close to King's Cross Station and I just wish I had written down the name. You always think you remember, and never do, right? That's me all right! Nevertheless - it was phenomenal.

We were late. But as we entered we were transported back into a time where guys wore suits and girls fancy dresses and headbands to party. A time when the dress was not tight, or short, but oh-so-sexy, and people did not dance in circles but in couples, with actual dance moves. Had it been allowed to smoke inside we would have believed that we were in 1920. Everyone had made a huge effort and I felt an itch of regret for times we live in now as people looked amazingly better in 1920s clothing.

The location was chosen wisely as the main party room was a large exquisite hall with parquet floors, a stage and an overall ballroom feel. There was a roulette table at one side of the hall, which looked like fun but was unfortunately not so well organised as you never got a chance to use your "make-believe" gambling cash due to too many people around the table. On the other side, at the bar, there were drinks served out of tea cups and with names you would not know what you are ordering. The better the surprise when they turned out to be delicious. The best part, however, was the entertainment - a live band, a burlesque show and professional dancers on the dance floor. I must admit, I did not read up on this party before going and therefore did not know about the professional dancers. I thought that some ballroom dancers had decided to come to the party to show off their skills. How petty of me! They were dancing in a way that made everyone want to go and take ballroom dance courses. In the end, I found out, that they were part of the planned entertainment...very well planned and very entertaining. Lovely to watch!

I recommend going early - maybe it was the location - but the party started dying down at around 1am. It was incredibly hot inside which might have something to do with it. Amazing music that got everyone on the dance floor did not help with the heat (and, admittedly, lack of ventilation). However, the parties are supposed to be held in a new location every time so do not let this comment hold you back! It is good fun and definitely worth trying. Make an effort dressing up - from the shoes to to the hair, it's got to be perfect. Everyone else is!

For the next location and time of party check this out: Website .

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Trabucco al Mimi

This summer we had the pleasure to enjoy french and italian cuisine. I have not had time to write about it so I try to amend that.

There are restaurants where you go for the food. Some, where you go for the atmosphere. Some others, where the location is suitable and then there are some, that are fully booked each evening as you go there for the view and the sunset...well, and a little bit for the food too. I am talking about Al Trabucco da Mimi, in Italy, Peschici. (Website)

It is located in an amazing national park in south of Italy, called Gargano. Granted, it is not so easy to get there as the highway stops around 2 hours before getting to any seaside location but the drive on the small roads it well worth choosing this as your vacation spot. Most people stay in camping grounds either with their caravans or in little rented houses. You usually spend your day on the beach and the evening outside and you cook yourself. But there are some very good restaurants also in the area. One of these is Trabucco. 

10 years ago, when I first went to Trabucco (during my first vacation with my now husband, then boyfriend) it was a small booth selling 'catch of the day'. You stayed in line, paid for your meal and then sat at home-made wooden tables and enjoyed the view and the food. Because the food is good, but the view... well, that is just amazing. You can see why. It is on a tip of a peninsula and on top of a cliff. Does is get any better than that?

Now, 10 years later, you go to the booth, you order your food and you sit at wooden tables and enjoy the food and the view. However, sadly, instead of 10 tables you have 25 tables and 2 settings during the evening. They are immensely popular and completely booked for most nights, so call ahead! The view is still the same and even with the popularity they have maintained an unbeatable atmosphere. With the two settings now, you should be careful to choose the time when you can see the sunset. Because it is worth going there to see the sunset. It is just magical. Perfect place to propose, for example...

View to nearby beach

The restaurant

Now, the FOOD. Well, to tell you the is good. But not excellent. You must be really bad to ruin fresh fish and the restaurant has the freshest of the fish. They used to do their own fishing. Now I do not know. With the amount of visitors I doubt they can only survive on their own catch. 

But the seafood is fresh and well prepared and true to any real italian restaurant run by italians, you will not be disappointed, if you have reasonable expectations. Would I return there just for the food? I doubt. There are so many so good seafood restaurants in Italy that I have yet to try. But combine the food with the atmosphere and the view (and the fact that it is very child friendly, being outdoors) then at the moment, it is one of my top restaurants.

Choosing the food - only daily menu

My starter. ricci! Delish!

My main. Good but a bit bland.

Resto inside

Complimentary digestif. I think it was orange and lychee liquor.
Not limoncello, as one might expect.

My dessert. Very good 'home made' style