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Vibrant Summer Views of Venice

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Two years ago this week, I experienced a wonderful couple of days in this amazing city. The atmosphere, architecture and gondola ride along the Grand Canal left an incredible impression and feeling of satisfaction to have the experience of visiting a truly grand city. Here are a few lovely views of Venice. \

Scenes from San Diego - A Small Sampling of Things to Do and See

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This week marks a full year since setting foot on an airplane, and I am so grateful to have been able to go.  I am hoping to resume my travel plans later this year, as the list of places I want to see is building up. My last trip was a great choice, a brief but beautiful visit to a wonderful West Coast city. I have great memories of spending several winter days in (mostly) sunny San Diego . The crisp, cool but pleasant air was comforting. The waterfront views wonderful. Spending time in different areas of the city and and a short train ride North brought a variety of experiences - including an energetic Glorious Sons concert at the Music Box, sampling a variety of excellent craft beers, coffee and of course tacos!, touring the grand USS Midway aircraft carrier museum, admiring the architecture and history of the Gaslight District, and the reflective moments taking in the sea air at the Oceanside Pier.  There is so much more to see and explore in San Diego and I look forward to spending

Lunch in Lovely Lucca, Italy

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Lucca was one of my favorite smaller city stops on the highly recommended Wonders of Italy Trafalgar tour last year. This delightful Tuscan town is easy to explore on foot where you randomly can come across charming places like Piazza Cittadella where you can find a very cool bronze statue of the great composer Puccini who was born in Lucca in 1858.  A leisurely lunch at charming Osteria Tosca with a view of the piazza where you can dine al fresco on classic Italian dishes like pizza, pasta, herbed roast potatoes and fresh simple salads was a highlight of our short tour stop in this beautiful renaissance city.                                                                                       Buon appetito!

Coffee Break in Seville, Spain - La Campana

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Though it's been just six months, it seems like a long time ago when I was last on a plane, and I look forward to the day of exploring more distant coffee shops again soon. I fondly look back upon this past winter's trip to Seville  Spain and checking out the landmark Confiteria La Campana . This atmospheric cake shop has been here since 1885. The building's design is striking and inviting.  Before an afternoon of exploring the sights of Seville, thanks to a recommendation from the hotel concierge, we headed in to stand at the bar to enjoy a coffee and a delicious sweet bun called 'bollo de leche'. There were many tasty artisan treats on display that were enticing, and I wish I had sampled more. The service here is professional and friendly and the location is in the main bustling shopping district of Calle Sierpes.  Highly recommended stop for design and coffee lovers exploring Seville. 

Hotel Haven - Moxy San Diego

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Cool and clever Moxy San Diego During a five day trip to San Diego this month, I decided to use points for part of the trip for a two night stay in the heart of downtown at Moxy San Diego . This was my first stay at a Moxy hotel, the innovative brand from the Marriott chain that combines style, fun and function at a decent price (in this case free, but a great use of points) I really enjoyed the community atmosphere, the stylish colorful lobby and compact but functional and well-designed rooms. The hotel was welcoming and unique, and has a cool but also laid back vibe. You efficiently check in at the bar area and are offered a welcome cocktail in the form of a poker chip (which can be turned in for a drink at any point during your stay) The bar has plenty of seating that surrounds it, to encourage guests to enjoy time out of their rooms and to strike up conversations with others. I had several over the course of the few times I sat to relax and enjoy some wine, tacos, an

Weekend in Toronto - Hotel Haven, Kimpton St George

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Earlier this winter I had an opportunity to stay at what is becoming a favorite hotel in the Annex/ Bloor-Yorkville area of Toronto. The Kimpton St George is an elegant boutique hotel which offers class and comfort in a stylish but unpretentious setting. Kimpton St George  Kimpton St George - Living Room Lobby area The living room lobby is well designed and welcoming, featuring original pieces by local artists and offers the complimentary wine hour (with snacks) from 5 to 6 pm and coffee in the morning. This is a feature at other Kimpton hotels as well. For more hearty comfort food, check out the adjacent pub The Fortunate Fox or for Italian, Bar Mercurio. The rooms are a good size and well appointed, with luxurious Frette linens on the comfortable bed and Atelier Bloem amenities in the bathroom with walk in shower. A few design features of the well appointed room Especially during the winter months, if relaxation and chilling out is the goal, the comfortable r

5 Winter Walks in Guelph

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As the winter has arrived early this year, it is time to slowly embrace the season and get outdoors for some fresh air, a brief stroll, or some swift exercise amongst the nice scenery we have in Guelph There are several places to enjoy some scenic walks in the area. As long as you dress warm, wear proper boots and the weather isn't too extreme - get out and enjoy the wonderful winter days. Here are 5 sites in the Royal City where you can get in some steps and or simply enjoy the wintry scene. Royal City Park - located very close to downtown this is a large park with nice walking paths to get in a brisk walk. The scenery looking out onto the river can be lovely and awesome in winter. Check out the nearby Boathouse to enjoy the tea room after your walk. https://www.theboathouseguelph.com/ Donald Forster Sculpture Park at the Art Gallery of Guelph - by the University of Guelph campus located right by the Art Gallery of Guelph there are several unique sculptures that loo