Casanova – an Italian in Cardiff

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Wine of the day is from Puglia

We only did have one dinner time in Cardiff so we wanted to enjoy a nice dinner. In such days we almost always trust to Tripadvisor and choose a restarant in the first 10% of that city’s restaurants. There have been times that this disappointed us, however, Casanova for sure was not one of them.

Un exegerated decoration

Un exegerated decoration

We made our reservation, took a taxi and went to the restaurant. It is a very small family run place, where very few tables are set, some very simple pictures on the walls, a warm welcome and a warm atmosphere. But there isn’t much thing that reminds you of Italy.

Simple and tasty plates

Simple and tasty plates

Menu is just like the decoration, simple, all the prices are the same and have a wide range of wine list. Our choice was from Puglia, Di San Marzone, a wine of a small family enterprise.

Wine and dine was just right, however, the place needs some improvement.

 

Market Harborough – a day out from Leicester

Market Harborough streets

Market Harborough streets

Leicester – as I have written before, normally is not a tourism destination. A long Saturday was more than enough to go around the city, tell our son about our University days there and visit the “good old times” points of interest. So for our second day in Leicester, we needed to find something interesting around the city. Moreover, you know in UK, they drive from the wrong side, so we did not have a rental car to go around, which meant we needed somewhere to go by bus. Thanks to the lovely ladies at “visitleicester” office, they recommended us to go to Market Harborough – a historic small cute village, with the nice independent shops and local restaurants open on Sundays.

Market Harborough

Market Harborough

Just a few steps from our hotel in Leicester, in front of Leicester Train Station, we took the bus to Market Harborough and it took less that 1 hour to get there.

We did have a nice walk in town with many stops at some shops, especially the stationary and we did have a nice meal at Wildwood Restaurant (www.wildwoodrestaurants.co.uk) The restaurant is very child and baby friendly. I especially loved the cute stickers of the activity book they have given.

Our son's classic

Our son’s classic

My classic is sea food

My classic is sea food

With some pasta

With some pasta

And wine of the day

And wine of the day

On the way back from Market Harborough, we got off the bus at Victoria Park. This park, is a very large and very empty green grass area in Leicester and in our “Good old days” years, it used to be a center of many activities, with many British families coming here to relax for Sundays. However, in 16 years we saw that the profile of Victoria Park fans have changed a lot with an Arabic approach to the environment. We were surprised to see the scene. The toilets and all the amenities were closed indicating “bad use of premises”. Surely, not a nice park to come any more. But the real shock would come a week after, when we went to Hyde park in London, for Sunday, totally occupied by Arabic communities. Well, more to tell about it in the coming weeks.

Le Bistrot Pierre in Leicester

Pierre

Pierre

After a long day of visiting our “old times” places and shoving our son our memories, we needed a nice wine and dine restaurant to relax, write my memories and relax again. While walking around the streets of Leicester lazily, we passed by this restaurant of Pierre Le Bistro and thought of “maybe we can go for dinner”. Even though we lived in Leicester for a year, our most luxury restaurant to go was Pizza Hut-you know student days. So we did not have much idea about any wine and dine points here.

Wine of the day

Wine of the day, Pinot Noir from Australia

Well, we did not make any reservation and decided to give it a try at 19:00 pm. Sure it would be nice if we did make a reservation, because we just could have a table to sit for only 1 hour.

The good thing is, the staff were very friendly and the food were delicious. There was a children’s menu, plus if you asked for a half portion of any meal, it was possible to do so. This was a bonus I think, because I always tend to order lot’s of varieties and have many leftover.

Soup

Soup

Chef's salad

Chef’s salad

Sea bass was a good choice

Sea bass was a good choice

However, it did not take long for our 1 hour to end soon, so we had to drink our nice wine in fast food format. It wasn’t even dark yet when we were back on the streets of Leicester.

Welcoming atmosphere

Welcoming atmosphere

Rich menu

Rich menu

Until we’ve been to Cardiff a few days later, we did not know that Le Bistrot Pierre was a chain restaurant in UK. So you can try this place in about 15 locations throughout the country.

 

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island beach

Hilton Head Island beach

Hilton head island is an island at the very South part of South Carolina, connected to mainland by a nice road. People who have been to Mediterranean  for some sun and sea holidays, would not dare to come here for such a holiday, but in US, it seemed like it is a very popular island for family fun and golf lovers. For us, it was just the right place for our final night of mini road trip.

Bistro 17

Bistro 17

At the very center of the island, there is a very calm marina, with nice cafes and some shops. So our first stop was there at Bistro 17, to have lunch and to use Wi fi for a hotel. Yes we did have a nice lunch, but no there were no wi fi so we still did not have a place to stay.

Bistro 17 menu

Bistro 17 menu

Nice coctails

Nice cocktails

Inside of Bistro 17

Inside of Bistro 17

The slow motion of the staff reminded me the Greek islands. I suppose, islanders were the same all over the world. So we finished our lunch a bit late and looked for a welcome center, but no, there were no welcome center around here. Just than we saw the Tourism center and popped in. Unfortunately, they were not doing any reservations, but luckily they allowed us to use their wi fi, so that thanks to once again to booking.com, we made our reservation at Hilton Head Marriott Resort, a classical chain hotel, nothing special but comfortable.

It was already almost 5 o’clock, when we finally took our seats on the beach with our books. However, a staff came by just a few minutes later and told us that the chairs to be collected at 5 o’clock. For me the best time of the day to have sunbath is after 5. What a pity. Well, so we did a small walk on the beach and decided to relax ourselves by the pool, where I found a lovely hammock to finally read my book.

A walk by the beach

A walk by the beach

Another nice thing of the hotel was the nice lady at the concierge. She found us a lovely restaurant by the sea at the other side of the island and made reservation from a lovely table, just across the sunset.

Old Fort Pub

Old Fort Pub

Old Fort Pub is an island tradition since 1973. Very nice service and lovely food.

Boosted Beet Salad

Boosted Beet Salad

Grouper

Grouper

Once more my favorite, yes mussels and crabs

Once more my favorite, yes mussels and crabs

An wine of the evening

And wine of the evening, Pinot Noir from Santa Lucia, Hahn Estates.

When we got back to the hotel, we decided to take walk again by the beach and we were so surprised to see so many people doing shell hunting at the low tides of the sea, with lights in their hands. Such a lovely view it was, like dozens of fireflies around. So we took our time, sitting on the sand and watching children cheering, when they find something interesting.

Next day, we did have a long way to drive back to Athens, more than 4 hours. So we just did a quick tour of the island next morning to some beach area and some beach shops.

Nice and calm, beach shopping

Nice and calm, beach shopping

 

Nice to watch the kids

Nice to watch the kids

We very much love to come back here for a longer time not for the sea but for golf. Who knows, maybe one day.

So this is the end of our 2 weeks US tour in and around Athens, Georgia. Our son loved to take the course at University of Georgia, so maybe one day there is possibility that he may want to come back here for the University. Of course I would prefer him to choose a more fancy city, but let’s do not think about it now, as we still have another 6 years to go.

Next: Don’t know, I remember, I did not finish my Japan trip, maybe I can go on with it, as once more it is time to make plans for Sakura (Cherry Blossom) season. What do you think?

 

 

Savannah in 24 hours

The Olde Pink House

The Olde Pink House

On our 3 days road trip from Athens to Georgia coast, our first stay was in Savannah. For people coming from so far away, Savannah is only famous with the film Forest Gump. However, there is so much more to see in and around Savannah. The town is very well planned to square grids, with tiny parks in the center of each squares. The architecture is more French influence than American, and also the food is more based on sea food.

As soon as we arrived in Savannah, we popped into the welcome center, to book a hotel and to learn things to do around. Unfortunately our mobile telephone package, did not include US 3G service, so we did need these traditional ways of finding our way, to be able to make the most out of our day. Thanks to USA’s “size does matter” approach to everything, unlike Europe, the welcome centers are huge, convenient and without any hassle or queues. So after a half an hour stop at Welcome Center, we made our reservation from Double Tree By Hilton, and planned our next day.

For dinner, we chose to go one of the top 10 Tripadvisor restaurant in  Savannah, The Olde Pink House, was absolutely a good choice and was just a 10 minutes walking distance from our hotel. We did not make any reservations, which I suppose was a mistake, so we only could find a small corner of a bar and ordered our meals, sitting on the stools. However, it did not take long, for the very welcoming staff, to arrange a table for us, upstairs, at the very best corner of the grand saloon. As always, we were lucky again. So we enjoyed our lovely dinner of lots of sea food and a fine wine.

The next day, we planned only a half day at Savannah, so we decided to get on one of the many old Savannah Tour buses, a kind of hop-on-hop-off bus, with open windows on all sides and a historic look. So we did have chance to understand some bit of history and lovely green streets and parks.

A walk around

A walk around

We got off the bus, at a nice street by the Savannah River, to explore some shops and enjoy the sun by walking. So did some shopping and have some lunch at Belford’s Savannah.

Belford's Savannah

Belford’s Savannah

The building and ambiance looked nice from outside, so we just popped in. Well, nothing much to write about, maybe because of time of the day, not much people around and the menu was quite ordinary I can say.

Crab cakes

Crab cakes

While you are in this area, I recommend to taste crab cake as much as you can. Every restaurant has it in their menu, and claim to be their signature dish. Some has so much fat in it, but some are really nice.

Next: Further north to Charleston.

Another restaurant in Athens: Etienne

Etienne, a relaxed French Restaurant

Etienne, a relaxed French Restaurant

After a golf trial with very hot weather and rented clubs, we thought a relaxed cool restaurant with some fine wine would very much fit to our day so we headed to the center of Athens and found this nice restaurant at the very center of Broad Street.

Wine of the day, a red from France

Wine of the day, a red from France

My dear followers probably already know that I am a great fan of sea food and crabs. Etienne was a very nice place to taste these with wine.

Some starters

Some starters

And some sea food

And some sea food

We preferred to sit inside but a tiny table outside corner is also cute for our favorite “people watch” activity.

Outside corner table

Outside corner table

And to finish the day, a Ben&Jerry just round the corner, yummmyyy.

Ben & Jerry for a final touch to the day

Ben & Jerry for a final touch to the day

Next: A visit to Atlanta with children.

Georgia on my mind with children

One of the finest restaurants in Athens

One of the finest restaurants in Athens

I know most of my followers are from Europe and quite a lot from Brasil. Well, here is a destination where a normal European tourist would not dare to go. We wouldn’t! Unless our son did attend a summer course in Athens. I mean Athens, Georgia. I mean Athens, Georgia in USA. I studied many travel magazines beforehand, and almost nothing touristic is written in them about Georgia. Maybe some about Atlanta, which I will write about in the following weeks. But a road trip from Atlanta to East Coast-Savannah is a nice and fun trip with a stopover in Athens. And when you stop in Athens, 5&10 is one of the finest restaurants, where you can enjoy a dinner with children. Just make sure to make a reservation.

Wine and dine

Wine and dine

Wine of the day is a Pinor Noir of Lange

Wine of the day is a Pinor Noir of Lange

This is a nice restaurant, on a nice green road, beautifully restored historic house with private parking. Opened in 2000 by Hugh Acheson and has a very Southern Menu with seafood, chicken, lamb, pork and nice fresh vegetables. The decoration is simple, with some touch of 19th century furniture.

Mixed Greens

Mixed Greens

Frogmore Stew

Frogmore Stew

Local Vegetable Plate

Local Vegetable Plate

More to come in the coming weeks about Athens and further East.

But I also want to write about a summer in the UK. Let’s follow and see.