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carving above the door of Sant Felix in Vilac, Val d'Aran, Spain

Medieval Churches in the Val d’Aran, Spain

There’s something special about the medieval churches in the Val d’Aran, Spain. All are quite small, stone-built in Romanesque style, and date from the 11th to the 15th century. Disclosure: I went to the Val d’Aran as part of a discounted package provided by Pyrenees Experience. I’ve already written about what to do in the Val…

I think this was the mezzano, at the Italian Days Food Tour

Italian Days Food Tour: A review

Our tour guide from Italian Days Food and Wine Tours was far too cheerful for such an early start. We had been picked up at seven in the morning—before sunrise in mid-January—and denied even a cup of coffee before leaving. Our hotel’s breakfast only started at seven, so we had run downstairs and grabbed a…

The entry hall of Osteria de Poeti in Bologna, Italy

Osteria dè Poeti: Classic Bolognese Food

On my recent trip to Bologna, my friend Shobha (of Just Go Places) and I were fortunate enough to be hosted by Hotel Touring, which I reviewed in an earlier post. The hotel also arranged for us to eat one evening at a nearby restaurant, Osteria dè Poeti (site in Italian only). This was particularly…

San Luca Portico in Bologna

Walking the Portico di San Luca in Bologna

For centuries, in the city of Bologna, Italy, a byzantine image of the Madonna and Child was carried ceremoniously from the Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca every year during Ascension week down to the Cathedral of San Pietro in the city center. It stayed there overnight, then was carried back up. The problem…

Only one part of the breakfast on offer at the Hotel Touring

Hotel Touring: quality in a great Bologna location

When I met Manuela Stagni at the World Travel Market in London and saw her enthusiasm in describing her hotel, the Hotel Touring in Bologna, Italy, I made a note to keep her in mind if I ever traveled in Italy again. A couple of months later, when she mailed me an offer to stay…

The Valor factory's sign, reflected in the factory building

Visiting Valor in Villajoyosa

Last spring in Guadeloupe I visited an archeological park where I got to sample the pulp from a fresh-picked cacao pod. I heard more about chocolate cultivation at two coffee plantations. Given my obsession with chocolate, I decided to take the process a step further on my short visit to the Costa Blanca in Spain,…

The entrance tunnel to the bomb shelter at Refugio de Cervantes in Alcoy, Costa Blanca, Spain

Alcoy: My Too-Brief Visit

After a gorgeous, winding drive through the mountains from where I was staying in the Costa Blanca, finding the Refugio de Cervantes Bomb Shelter Museum in Alcoy took me another hour or so. The delay was due to its humble signposting, and by “humble” I mean a simple sign on a gate next to a…

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