Saturday, April 19, 2014

Dublin Eats - La Maison

It was a cold, rainy weeknight in Dublin when we decided to peek into La Maison in the city centre for a spot of dinner.  We practically had the place to ourselves.
Bread and tapenade started things off.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dublin International Film Festival - Playing Paparazzi on the Red Carpet for 'The Stag'

We love the annual Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (#JDIFF).  A wide array of locally sourced and international movies come to town over a two week period.  We're always spoiled for choice.  We had the chance to play paparazzi and attend the Irish premiere of 'The Stag', a movie about a metro-sexual groom-to-be and his rag tag band of friends who decide to go against tradition and host his stag party in the wilds of the Wicklow Mountains.  Hilarity ensues when the bride's brother, aka 'The Machine' invites himself along.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dublin - Science Gallery - A Fail on the Way to 'Fail Better'

We love visiting the Science Gallery.  The exhibits add a liberal dash of art to works of science and make for a fascinating visit.  It's also free (donations appreciated) which is a nice bonus.  Recently, an exhibition called 'Fail Better' was on and my team at work decided to plan an excursion to see the exhibit to learn more about how to embrace failure and how it ultimately can help achieve wild success.  We planned the visit for a Monday.  Hmm...FAIL...the Science Gallery is closed on a Monday.  We were not off to an auspicious start.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Blame It On the Rain - Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and Capuchin Crypts

We finished our quick (and soggy!) tour of Rome by hitting a few popular tourist attractions.  the Trevi fountain drew a decent crowd despite the rain.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Rome Eats - Gelato and Lunch

The weather was getting steadily worse with each step with took in Rome.  We stood for a moment and looked out past the fountain in Piazza del Popolo, deciding what to do next.
We set our sights on Via del Corso, a pedestrian friendly street lined with shops.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Rome - Villa Borghese and Around

We'd heard really good things about Villa Borghese, an art and sculpture museum set in an Italian villa in the heart of Rome.  We walked through the gates of the park and wound our way to the villa.
It was a significant walk through tree-lined terrain.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Rome - Campo di Fiori and Around by Day and Night

Campo di Fiori in Rome hosts a lovely fresh foods market by day.  We arrived just as the market was closing up and the neon lights of evening were beginning to fire up.
A number of charming shops line the square.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Rome Eats - Aperitivo Time!

Early evening in Italy is a time for a drink, some free food, and some merriment.  It's Aperitivo Time!  We chanced upon Caffè Parione.  
We bought ourselves a spritz and were treated to a large platter of nibbles for free.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Castel Sant'Angelo and Rome After Dark

We looked out across the Tiber in Rome.  The river was swollen and rushing past us.  
The water seemed to be almost lapping against the bridge above.
Walking along, we spotted Castel Sant'Angelo.  We debated for a good few minutes on whether we should spend the 7 EUR to enter.  We ultimately decided to go for it (you only live once!) and we're so glad we did.
We made our way across the river to the fortress.  We noted St. Peter's Basilica and Vatican City in the distance.  It was still light out when we entered but was quite close to sunset.
We paid our admission fee and had a look around.  Castel Sant'Angelo features a number of museum exhibits with pieces from antiquity.
It was evident that this place was once a defensive fortress as rows of cannons faced outward and stacks of cannonballs stood at the ready nearby.
We looked up at the round walls above us - it was an impressive structure.
We circled the structure once, dancing between the raindrops.
We eyed the platform above and set our sights on it.
We could look down and out at people milling about on the bridge leading over the river.
Eventually, the sun set and we were treated to spectacular twinkling views of Vatican City.
We also looked out over various other landmarks like the Vittorio Emanuele II Monument.
Once again, we looked down on the bridge over the Tiber below us.
Lights illuminated the far bank.
The fortress walls were even more imposing at night.
We inspected the fortifications one last time before winding our way through the sloped stone passageway to the exit.
We looked back on Castel Sant'Angelo as we crossed the river to return to the cobbled streets of Rome.
We passed a number of other ruins and modern day monuments that evening which made our walk extremely atmospheric despite the rain.
Now to find something to eat!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Rome - Hotel Montreal

We spent our weekend in Rome at the conveniently located and affordable (less than 60 Euro a night including breakfast) Hotel Montreal.  The hotel was conveniently located about a 10 minute walk from the Rome Termini train station.
 
The place had a no-frills but comfortable and homey vibe.
I particularly liked this display case of goldfish in the breakfast room.  Bellisima!