St. John’s Terrace

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St. John’s Terrace
http://www.stjterrace.it/
street: Via Gabi 7, Appio Latino, 00183 Rome
email: info @ stjterrace.it
phone: +39 335 63 96 671

View from St. John's TerraceWe were in Rome for the first time last month and it left quite an impression. Actually, it started leaving an impression before we even got there – shopping for accommodations took my breath away. I knew that it would be expensive, but the types of places that I usually look for were well beyond what I will spend per night. It quickly became clear that hotels were out of the question, so I started sifting through B&Bs and vacation rentals. That’s how I found St. John’s Terrace. Continue reading St. John’s Terrace

Ca’ de Memi

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Agriturismo Ca’ de Memi de Scquizzato Ottorino
via Roma 4/B
35017 Piombino Dese PD

Tel.: +39 049 93 66 516
Mobile: +39 349 69 87 953
Email: info@cadememi.it
Web: http://www.cadememi.it

For our last minute trip to the Veneto, we stayed at Ca’ de Memi, which I found in a rather roundabout way. I knew we wanted to stay near Roncade in order to pick up wine from Castello di Roncade. But I didn’t want to stay there; we stayed there last time and, while we enjoyed it, I wanted to sample some other offerings of the region. Continue reading Ca’ de Memi

Casa Pepe de la Judería

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Casa Pepe de la Judería
Taberna — Restaurante
Calle Romero: 3
14001 Córdoba
España

Reservas: 957 200 744
Reserva de Grupos: 957200 766
Web: http://www.casapepejuderia.com/

Frommer’s steered us toward this restaurant. Well, that, and our tendency to roll iconoclastic, food-wise. I mean on Christmas and Easter, we typically go to an Indian or Kurdish food restaurant (or visit Turkey). So in a city famous for its Islamic and Catholic influences, we had lunch in the Jewish Quarter.

I wouldn’t say that it’s out of our price range, but we did decided to make our lunch here the priciest meal of the visit. It was certainly fancier than any other restaurant we visited in Spain, and I felt kind of underdressed in a tee shirt with cartoon characters on it, even though the rest of the clientele were in jeans and sweaters (no ties or suits or anything like that) for lunch. When we arrived and asked for a table (instead of a seat at the bar, which he also offered us), the maître d’ snorted a bit. Sorry bud, you’re in a tourist zone, recommended in a tourist guide book, and I am…a tourist. With money to give you. If you let me.

But that was really absolutely the only hint (and it was nothing more than that) of unpleasantry. Everything else about this place was lovely. Even the waiter. We negotiated languages first:

¿Habla Vd. ingles?

No, por desgracia.

OK, no hay problema. Geht das mit deutsch?

Lo siento — ¿frances?

¡Ay, qué lástima! OK, probamos nuestro español…una botella del Paso a Paso, por favor.

And we got this lovely wine. So far, so good. Really good. Pretty darn tasty good. And it was the second cheapest one on the wine list at 12€.

I started off with a fantastic gazpacho, mixed on the table in the bowl in front of me from stuff our waiter poured from a champagne flute, a whole cherry tomato, chopped onions, and green peppers. Positively delicious — even the cherry tomato, and for me, that’s saying a lot. My main course was some bonless cut of Sephardic Lamb with sweet & sour sauce, dried fruit and nuts. Very tender and flavorful. Also loved the baby asparagus and the sweet fruit chutney on the side, hiding under my roasted potato.

Sarah started off with a salmonejo — a tangy, tomato-based thick soup with hard-boiled eggs and chopped jamón in it. It was actually too much flavor for an appetizer. She had to call me in to bat clean-up on it. For the main course, she went with Iberian pork in a mushroom sauce.

Dessert was lovely tiramisu and profiterols.


Summing it up: if you’re in Córdoba for lunch, this is a great place to splash out a little. The “Wintergarten” room we ate it was very pleasant — both rustic- and modern-feeling at the same time. Thanks to Frommer’s for the tip on this one.

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Hotel Löwen

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Klosterhof 41, Ulm-Söflingen, Germany, 89077
+49 (0) 731 388 588 0

Heading further South and East from Burg Hohenzollern towards, we stopped in Ulm for the night at Hotel Restaurant Löwen. Sarah found it through booking.com. Our expectations were rather low, since we just wanted a place to sleep, and initially didn’t plan on eating there or exploring Ulm (native Franks and Bavarians had warned us that Ulm is not worth exploring), but I guess we were just lucky because this place was super. The price, at 112€ a night for a double with breakfast the next morning, was a little more than we like to spend, but just having cheaped out at Hôtel Aux Trois Roses, we could afford it. And it seemed like it was worth more than 112€ anyway.

Our room was very modern in design — lots of ultra-euro shapes and angles and surfaces, including a solid glass sliding door for entry into the bathroom, a fixed glass sprayguard half enclosing the shower cabin. When we asked about the WiFi network, the reception clerk apologetically handed us an ethernet cable (haven’t seen one of those in awhile!), because the signal wasn’t strong enough in our room. I thought that was a nice touch; usually you just get “well, it works in our Lobby…”

We ended up eating there that night and were very impressed with the atmosphere and attitude of the staff and quality and value of the food. This was my favorite breakfast spread of the road trip; a waitress came around to ask if we were sure we wouldn’t like some individually prepared eggs. And when I said “yes, thanks, one over-medium for me please,” she whispered in a mock-conspiratorial tone “Two is customary…are you sure you wouldn’t you like two?”

I like that. I’d stay there again for sure.

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Hôtel Aux Trois Roses

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7 Rue De Zurich
67000 Strasbourg
France

http://www.hotel3roses-strasbourg.com/

The location of this hotel is pretty great – right across one of the myriad bridges leading into the heart of the old town. The gentleman at reception was very patient with our questions and even let us check in early, as our rooms were already prepared. I find in French city hotels, the rooms tend to be very small, and Trois Roses lived up to my expectation. Our double room was dominated by the double bed. Affixed the wall at the foot of the bed was a set of two large shelves – one high for the TV and one low for a small suitcase. Given the tightness of the room, the suitcase shelf was an absolute necessity. My brother’s single room down the hall was similarly cramped. When I walked in, he said “It feels like an airplane.” He wasn’t wrong. Here’s the kicker – the bathrooms were of normal size!

The stay was comfortable enough and the breakfast and parking were NOT included in the room rate (69€ for the double, 51€ for the single). Which was fine – what fun is it to stay in France and not go croissant hunting? I would consider staying there again if we go back to Strasbourg due to the price – but a little more elbow room might be worth a little more cash.

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Hotel & Boarding House Deutscher Kaiser

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Hotel & Boarding House Deutscher Kaiser
Mühltalstr. 41
69121 Heidelberg
Germany
+49 (0)6221 71495 00

We were immediately intrigued by the logo. Who wouldn’t want to sleep over at Snidely Whiplash’s grampa’s house? As we rolled up into the Innenhof, the innkeeper, greeted us warmly from smoke break porch perch. She was extremely friendly — the kind of friendly that normally makes me suspicious, but this was genuine — and helped us out with some tips for getting to the Hbf to meet CN&D. There was apparently a SNAFU regarding our booking.com request for a third bed; she was only aware of two guests, but it all worked out swell in the end. I think we even got a sort-of-free room upgrade out of it.

The room itself was spacious and comfortable. I noticed it could have used a touch-up paint job in a few places, but for 120€ total for three adults per night, I can overlook that. The breakfast spread the next morning was nice. I’d stay there again the next time we arrive in the Heidelberg area by car (kind of out of the way for a train trip, but it’s still doable with the #5 or #23 trams out to Handschuhsheim).

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Volksboutique Microresidence

Some friends in Berlin passed on an ad they’d seen for a rental apartment in Prenzlauerberg — a part of town that intrigued us and we’d liked before in November 2005, when we stayed near Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz. The landlady was helpful and informative via email as we were finalizing our plans, and we were pretty worn out when we arrived in Berlin, so we were thankful that her directions from Tegel Airport to the apartment were spot-on.

The first impression the apartment makes is a good one — just like the pictures she’d sent us via email upon our request. But that’s about where the satisfaction stopped.

We saw short and curlies in the tub greeting us upon our arrival (so they couldn’t have been ours…). The WLAN connection was extremely weak — so unreliable that it really shouldn’t be counted as an amenity. The bed — something typical from IKEA — would have been fine, had it had a normal mattress. I suspect it was Jaren. This was the hardest surface I have ever paid to sleep on.

Speaking of paying — when you book accommodations somewhere, do you expect to pay by day or by night? The Volksboutique Microresidence charged us by the day:

  1. arrival late Thursday night (as planned and communicated well in advance)
  2. Friday
  3. Saturday
  4. check out Sunday

…at 40€ per day, not per night, that meant 160€. Well, the price was still pretty good (by normal accouting it would work out to 53€ per night for Thursday night to Sunday morning), so we didn’t complain about that part.

When I found the door to the “tea kitchen” padlocked shut though, I managed to send her an email inquiring and the response was

I’m sorry for the misunderstanding…and that I forgot that was still listed in the Berlin Scholars posting. A small kitchenette is planned, but we’ve had so many guests that I haven’t been able to install it! I had been making interested parties aware of this fact, but in reviewing our correspondence, I realize I forgot to address it with you both. My apologies. I hope your stay is enjoyable all the same.

A place to eat donuts or something and have coffee in morning and — especially during the heat wave they’d been having in Northern Germany at the time — keep some cool bottled water at the ready was a big part of the reason we opted for a vacation apartment instead of a hotel stay.

Unfortunately, that’s not all that was wrong. The tub didn’t drain properly, so soap and shampoo scum (and aforementioned hairs) always await the next user. The bathroom had some bare wiring in place of a lamp over the mirror.

The price would have been great had it not been for all the the above points. The area is trendy and there is good access via the M2 tram line.

But I will be looking elsewhere for our next Berlin trip.

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Urban Angel

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Urban Angelhttp://www.urban-angel.co.uk/
121 Hanover Street
Edinburgh
EH2 1DJ
0131 225 6215

Cliff

This was a cute little restaurant on the outside restaurant half a flight of stairs down from the street level in the New Town section of Edinburgh, along our daily path downtown. The white paint job on the outside in contrast to the mostly gray buildings surrounding it made it seem extra “cloudy” — because that’s where the angels hang out (presumably). The inside had a much more rustic flair to it, with exposed beams and big, old, heavy looking cast iron hardware. The menu seemed focused on organics, a theme we saw repeatedly in Edinburgh. They even had free-range bacon! I’d not heard of that before. (Tasted good, too.) It seemed kind of expensive though, at £7.90 for just french toast and bacon. Lots of seafood items offered in the non-breakfast specials.

Sarah

I love how vertical space is used in Edinburgh. This place was a few steps below street level, but it didn’t feel subterranean. The decor used the old elements (exposed stone walls, beams, old-fashioned stove/fireplace), but kept it light and airy. As Cliff said, there was a serious organic bent to the place and that was reflected in the prices. But my french toast and bacon was really well prepared and the quality was very high. Maybe not high enough to warrant that kind of pricing, but I’m not much a breakfast person. The service was super-friendly , but the coffee was nothing to write home about.

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Restaurant Colosseum

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Restaurant Colosseum
Inh. Teixeira Pinto
StadtamHof 5
93059 Regensburg
Tel. +49 941 28 00 74 65

Cliff

Restaurant Colosseum
Restaurant Colosseum
This seems like one of those locations that has a hard time staying in business. Maybe it’s cursed (not a big surprise, owing to its history), or just had a string of unlucky proprietors since we’ve been here in Regensburg observing it. But I really hope this iteration sticks around, despite the odds facing it. The location is ideal for us and food quality was, by our estimations, very high. I like that the owner comes around to check on his guests while they are eating. But I’m troubled by what seem big threats to his livelihood.

  • Trattoria Marina is just a few meters away and has a much flashier location, setup, and is well established as the Italian restaurant on this part of the island.
  • They seem to have much more capacity for seating than necessary. Of course, they just opened this spring.
  • It’s hard to know what the place is actually called . The building is labelled “Colosseum”. Is that the name of the restaurant? Cursory google searches about the restaurant yielded nothing useful. What about carry-out business? Phone number on the door? All of that was missing or not obvious. Seems like the owner is relying on walk-in/by business. Hope that’s enough.

Here’s what it does have going for it: homemade pastas (excellent!), decent pizzas, a great bruschetta, and a Buy 10 Get 2 Free deal on carry-out pizza. I just hope they can stick it out against the odds.

Sarah

Locals already know this, but for those just visiting, Regensburg suffers from a glut of Italian restaurants. Most of them are fair-to-middling with a few standouts. Colosseum is on track to be counted among the standouts. Service is friendly and attentive. The food is fresh and well-priced. They don’t seem to have the flair that Marina has, but they’re far more pleasant to deal with – just try ordering a pizza from both places and see which experience is better.

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Ramada Sibiu

Ramada Sibiu Hotel
Emil Cioran Str, No 2
550025 Sibiu
Romania

This is a pretty snazzy place! Nice room with a great bathroom and a classy design. My only complaint: the breakfast options were pretty meager (plenty of horrid coffee though, if that’s your thing) and although they offered to pack us a snack to compensate for our early departure, there was no coffee available at all that morning. Here are some pictures from the room:

PA134750 PA134749

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