My beloved friend Patti shares my enthusiasm for taking on an assortment of different names. In Cuba, she was Que Lastima, while I retained my traditional Latino moniker ChiChi Fargo. In Rome, I am Svendita Totale, in Turkey, Ekmek Kadayif. She also goes by Chaka Cohen, Patrice Giselle, Jocelyn James, Miss Piatelli, and is currently featured on Facebook as Tapenade Roulet. (She wanted the single, mysterious one-word Tapenade, but Facebook, alas, required a last name.) I took this photo in the central market in Cannes as an homage.
May 30, 2014
When Jacques Pépin came to the US of A for the first time (to work at Manhattan’s Le Pavillon in 1959), he says he was shocked that he couldn’t find any mushrooms in the markets. Except for maybe some cultivated white button variety. Now, of course, it’s different. But back then, imagine his surprise, especially as he’d come from France where an assortment like this is an everyday thing.
May 29, 2014
Hey, when did all this happen? The last time I’d been in Monaco, in 1972, it was a somewhat sleepy beach town with tiny, family restaurants on quiet alleyways, a modest port, a walk-to public beach and a casino and fancy hotel up on one hill. I turn my back for one minute! (Actually almost 40 years.) And now it’s covered with skyscrapers, filled with yachts. I went looking for the charming train station of revered memory and found that it’s now underground (with skyscrapers built above it), the beach nowhere in sight. You forgot to say, “May I?”
May 28, 2014
Some traditions hold fast in spite of the encroaching digital age. Like these death notices, a frequent sight in Italy, especially in the South. In this case, a funeral home has its own board for postings. But it’s more common to find these broadsides pasted on walls across the city, letting friends and neighbors learn of a loved one’s passing. These are rather tame graphics compared to those I saw in Naples some 25 years ago.
May 27, 2014
On my morning run around this island neighbor of Capri, I encountered many Italians who were also here on vacation. And the morning fish market. And some lovely gardens and beach clubs, closed after the season. And while I ran out to this castello/fortress accessed by a small causeway, I declined to return later in the day to tour the torture museum. Non, grazie.
May 26, 2014
As luck would have it.... When I see the various talismanic items hanging from rear-view mirrors in the US of A -- rabbits’ feet, rosaries, red pepper/horn combos, fuzzy dice, etc. -- I remember the simpler approach seen here in this Italian coastal town, a request to Italy’s patron saint (a title he shares with St. Catherine of Siena): “St. Anthony of Padua, protect me.” So noted.
May 25, 2014
A lazy Sunday morning stroll to the top of the island of Milos (as in Venus de....) The streets were deserted. We encountered goats and other livestock, but no people. They were all in church. Or hiding and pretending to be in church. No one's fooling Dr. Blake.
May 24, 2014
May 23, 2014
As beautiful as it is by day, there’s something spooky and magical about this coast as darkness falls. Streetlights outline the few mountainous roads. Other lamps look almost volcanic. This was taken from our on-deck dinner table as we left Amalfi one evening and headed toward the island of Ischia.
May 22, 2014
May 21, 2014
May 20, 2014
May 19, 2014
May 18, 2014
Height is not the only challenge you face in climbing to the top of this island fortress. Signage is another. But that’s all part of the fun, I guess. Following what you think is the path, winding up in someone’s private courtyard, backtracking, taking a different (also wrong) route, until you finally reach the top. And when you look down, like this, well, not for those with acrophobia. Like Jay.
May 17, 2014
So many blues. The sky, the sea, the umbrellas. And Dr. Blake’s blue shirt, compliments of the Noise Reduction Technology Group at Bose, the most respected name in sound. I sometimes wonder why Dr. B is making this same face in so many of our photos. Could he be about to be saying “cheese”? It’s not working.
May 16, 2014
At the tippy top of the island fortress of the old town of Monemvasia, this church. At one time a mosque, then a church, then a mosque again, etc. All because this small island was conquered so many times by so many different cultures. It’s said that this building was modeled after Aya Sofya in Istanbul. Well, maybe. But what this one lacks in mosaics and other embellishments, it makes up for with sea views.
May 15, 2014
It’s exciting to be at sea, especially on Windstar Cruises, recommended to us by our pal David many years ago. Sailing with them has become a part of each autumn for us. And rough seas or calm ones, the craft is so stable we hardly feel a thing. But from time to time, we do see a thing. Like when a wave grows higher than our cabin’s portholes and our view takes on an almost-lunar, New England Aquarium perspective. Like this.
May 14, 2014
Because so many of the buildings on this small island are built along the steep cliffside, their windows (such as they are) give onto the sea. Like this one in the back of a small cafe we passed on our way up, up, up to the very top of the island.
May 13, 2014
May 12, 2014
May 11, 2014
May 10, 2014
Dr. Blake takes to pampering much better than I do. Seen here, dining on deck at the seafood restaurant Le Marché on board the Wind Surf between Santorini and Athens. The sailing yacht carries a maximum of 300 guests, and so the dining and the service can be very private and personal.
May 9, 2014
Even as a little kid, the Erechtheion was always my favorite building of the Acropolis. I liked that the columns were ladies. The porch of the caryatids. And so it was a real thrill to finally visit. The Parthenon, sure, mighty impressive. And copied in Nashville and evoked in so many other neoclassical buildings around the world. But where else do they have maidens holding up the place?
May 8, 2014
May 7, 2014
May 6, 2014
May 5, 2014
May 4, 2014
Just in case you don’t understand Greek, a handy English translation is provided. Though the streets of this island are so narrow, who could find a way to park anyway? (I love how the slash goes right through, rather than over, the P in this “forbidden” sign. Those Greeks.)
May 3, 2014
Our sailing yacht, the Wind Surf, seen from our perch by the windmills on Mykonos. When the ship is anchored offshore like this, the back opens up and becomes a sports deck. Kayaking, swimming, water skiing. Nice to sail the Aegean, warm weather, warm water.