People tend to take vacations and visit the wine areas of the world in summer & fall. We decided to tour the Tuscan countryside during the Christmas and New Years holiday season.  Our goal, besides gathering comments and opinions on the recent harvest, was to experience the holiday focus in Italy.  If you never considered a winter trip to Tuscany, you miss the chance of a much more up-close and truly personal visit. A winter trip versus a summer one offers several trade-offs.  On the plus side, the off-season has no crowds so driving the countryside is great.  In fact its possible to stop almost anywhere to capture that special photographic moment.  Local people are much more approachable and have time to chat, giving you the opportunity to really learn about local culture and customs.  Even waiters, cooks, and property owners seem more friendly and willing to spend extra time with you.  And that amazing villa you’ve dreamed of renting is truly affordable.

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Written on December 31st, 2014 , General, Lodging, Travel Tips

American travelers to Europe sometimes cannot figure out how to eat snacks and light meals.  Many lower cost hotels provide no means of storing perishable food items like cheese, meats, milk, etc.  Obviously they want you to eat in their restaurants, which can be pretty lousy and touristy.  So what did I do on a Venice visit for New Years celebration a few years ago?  And how could I preserve some excellent local sandwiches for a long train ride the next day?
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Written on December 21st, 2014 , Anicdotes, Food&Drink, Travel Tips

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