Top Ten Coffee Travel Moments

“This coffee falls into your stomach, and straightway there is a general commotion.  Ideas begin to move like the battalions of the Grand Army of the battlefield. Things remembered arrive at full gallop, ensuing to the wind.  The light cavalry of comparisons deliver a magnificent deploying charge, the artillery of logic hurry up with their train and ammunition.  Similes arise, the paper is covered with ink; for the struggle commences and is concluded with torrents of black water, just as a battle with gun powder. “

Honore de Balzac

Top Ten Coffee Travel Moments

I realized by writing this blog that I am addicted to caffeine. There are way too many references to coffee.  It is the only vice I have left.  I thought I would embrace it by writing my top ten coffee travel moments.

!. I am seventeen and in Europe for the first time.  We  are  in CERVINA in the Italian Alps. There is a cappuccino bar that we go to every morning and have fresh cappuccino before a day of skiing. It is pre cell phones and Starbucks.  The only cappuccino  you got in NY  was in the Italian restaurants  after dinner.  There was no decaf cap. Cappuccino every morning was as big a deal as skiing in the Alps for the first time.

2.   The island of SANTORINI in Greece is where i am spending my twenty third summer.   I am staying at my friend’s house on a mountain overlooking the sea.  It is one of those  Santorini white houses with blue tile.  We have to walk halfway down the mountain every morning to have coffee and fresh bread with butter and honey, at a café run by a family that doesn’t speak English. Santorini was  not the five-star  tourist destination it is now but it always had five-star views of the sea, volcano and black sand beaches. .  “kafe me gala  sketos parakalo” The grandmother always dressed in black would smile at my bad Greek pronunciation and bring me my coffee. They used condensed milk all the time with coffee and I love the taste.  I think they wear black  because someone in their family close to them has died – usually they are widows.

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3.  My daughter who is twelve and her tap company have performed at the Cuban Ballet Festival throughout Cuba.  We are driving back to HAVANA from Santa Clara.  Since Petrol is scarce, members of the Columbian Ballet Company are sharing the bus with us. We get back around five and I have a serious lack of  caffeine headache.  I invite the Columbian dancers who I have spoken to in bad Spanish  for a coffee at the hotel.  I order a double espresso and drink it down  like I am doing a shot of tequila.   First they stare at me and then they laugh and do the same.  We start by drinking espresso shots –we move on to Mojitos. No one slept that night. (Cuba,Jim Kane)

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4. We have arrived at the SACRED VALLEY in Urubumba, Peru.  We are spending the night at the beautiful Sol Y Luna  hotel and the altitude is 9000 feet. (2400 m)  It is our first night in the Andes.  I start to have this headache and feel dizzy. As we are going to our rooms someone says to me, “Be careful, the headache is the first sign of altitude sickness”.  I go right to the worst case scenario.  I remember my mindfulness training as I am going into high anxiety mode. I investigate the feeling in my body and think it isn’t that severe. It feels like a lack of caffeine headache.   I remember I didn’t have coffee that afternoon. I relax and go right to sleep. I wake up early and have a wonderful Peruvian breakfast  of yogurt , fruit, kikucha cereal ( grain like quinoa) and coffee. No more headache.

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5. I usually hate instant room coffee.  But in PANAMA it was really good. It is called Puro and I brought some home.   I have a confession. I kind of like non dairy creamer   Sometimes your diet needs a few chemicals.  I got up every morning in  Gamboa  to watch the sunrise over the rainforest and had a coffee while lying in a hammock on the terrace.

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6. Anna and I have spent the day on  the island of NAOSHIMA in Japan.  It is the island that Tadao Ando has designed and dedicated to art and nature.  There are museums, outdoor sculptures, galleries and installations in houses throughout the island.  It is a bit like a scavenger  hunt trying to see everything.  But we did it. We are at a small  ferry at the other end of the island that locals use to head back to the mainland . I am looking for coffee. We see something that looks like it might be open. We walk in. There is cool music and magazines and interesting furniture and art . It is  like a Japanese Greenwich village coffee-house  on this little island street.  We can’t believe our luck.  We have coffee and wait in this beautiful restaurant for the ferry and talk about our amazing day.

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7. I had been  in the  incredible  city of VENICE for a few days with my daughter and a friend. My son arrived after traveling around Europe alone.  He had a lot to say and wanted to have  a coffee in Venice and talk about his travels. We sat in a café on the canal and he told me his stories. I was happy sitting there listening to him  and I could hear  that he loved to travel as much as I did.  Family travel moments are few and far between now. It was a beautiful trip.

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8.  It was my first day in ISTANBUL. I had shopped at the Grand Bazaar with my guide for the day Renan.  We stopped for lunch.  We met  carpet salesmen from Los Angeles.  Suddenly, it didn’t seem so far away.  This was my first experience with Turkish food. Hot yogurt soup and something with my favorite vegetable –eggplant.  – delicious. I had my first Turkish coffee. (a lot like Greek coffee) I loved the thickness and the feeling of the grounds in my mouth ( coffee that you can chew).  It isn’t bitter either so I am able to drink it without milk. She read the coffee grinds to me.  We used to do this in Greece. It was my first coffee fortune in a very long time.  It wasn’t bad. My next one wasn’t great. So I stopped doing it and just drank the coffee.

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9. I am in EDINBURGH, Scotland for the Fringe Festival. My daughter is performing there with her high school theatre group. In the summer, walking down the Royal Mile is crazy. Everyone is in costume and giving out flyers and performing and begging to get you to go their shows. The Starbucks is right at the beginning of the Royal Mile, next to the Fringe Ticket Office. I meet a friend for coffee after picking up some tickets. We are surrounded by Vikings and Elizabethans all having cappuccinos and lattes. In fact, only the barristers are   dressed in modern-day clothing.  I felt  a little underdressed.

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10.   A few weeks ago, I was walking down Portobello Road in LONDON with my college friend Suzie.  Suzie was the first person I traveled around Europe with . We were about eighteen. We lost touch after college but reconnected  a few years ago through the magic of facebook.  We were both going to be in London at the same time. We aren’t looking for vintage clothes like we used to  (and still do) but vintage housewares.  It is freezing out. We go into a coffee house and see a long queue. It is called the Coffee Planner. The girl in front of me says it is the best coffee on Portobello Road and worth waiting for. Suzie buys an unbelievably good sandwich from a vendor outside and we sit and drink our coffees eating this sandwich.   Jayne and Suzie together again in Europe. ( St. Paul’s Cathedral from the Millennium Bridge)

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Do you have any good coffee moments?

Fly safe,

JAZ

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Best Things To Do In London (With A Little Help From My Friends)

Best Things To Do In London  (with a little help from my friends)

” ‘The British really have everything in common with America nowadays except of course, language. “ Oscar Wilde

One of the nicest meals I had in London was at Square Pie in the basement food hall at Selfridges on Oxford Street. I had spent a week in London with my sister, and we had gone to restaurants like J Sheeky and The River Cafe, and had filled our days and evenings with sightseeing and theatre. One afternoon we were so tired from museums  and shopping that we collapsed at Square Pie, where we stood in line and had delicious and probably very un-PC lamb and kidney pies and mushy peas.    TN

I would recommend  taking in Hyde Park. Formerly one of King Henry VIII’s private hunting grounds, Hyde Park was the site of the triathlon at this years Olympics. Enjoy a spot of tea at the café on the river before you hop on a paddle boat and enjoy London on the river. Admire the Queen’s swans and gawk at the protesters at Speakers Corner. This  continues to become a part of recent history as there are monuments to Princess Diana and a shrine to the victims of the 7/7 attacks.  It’s a change to the outdoors if you get tired of being in museums all day. Enjoy the park and all its beauty.  AA

Anything in Covent Garden. i LOVE Covent garden.   HS

My favorite place to visit in London is the famed Silver Vaults.  These subterranean vaults, on Chancery Lane in the heart of the legal district, opened in the late 1800’s renting strong rooms to London’s wealthy elite to safeguard their household silver, jewelry and personal documents.  The strong rooms morphed over time into silver shops and since 1953 rapid expansion of the retail business has led to the present format.  The rooms range in size from elaborate and spacious to virtual closet and all manner of dealers are present offering their wares with the delightful addition of the “is that your best price” haggling element added to elevate the buying experience from conventional to enjoyable and delightful.  It’s a wonderful place to see  things silver from marrow spoons to salt cellars and everything in between.  HM

I enjoyed being at “Ye Old Cheshire Cheese Pub”, a historic literary pub on Fleet Street. There has been a pub in that location since the sixteenth century.  The famous people who have drunk in Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese include Sir Arthur Conon Doyle, Charles Dickens, Samuel Johnson, Mark Twain, Oliver Goldsmith and Alfred Tennyson. It is one of the 5000 pubs in London LS

I absolutely adore the British Museum. I can take any ages there and there are pieces of ambient Greek, Roman, Egyptian history (and more). Architecturally, the building is a marvel. Free admission. I will sometimes go on my own. It is a short walk to Soho and Covent Garden. I like the Southbank as well as I love the National Film Theatre to watch films on the Thames. Also, I enjoy going to the Buddhist temple In Wimbledon.  DZ

Loved going to Notting Hill flea market  and seeing where  the Notting Hill movie took place!   EW

A couple of absolutes. First the half price ticket office on Leicester Square in the theater district. From 2-6 day of performance, most theater at half off and potentially great seats. Second on Jermyn St. which is the men’s street for clothes and shirts. Turnbull-Asser. The best dress shirts for men in the world. Expensive but worth it.  A few nights at Cliveden, in Maidenhead about 45 min. from the airport. One of the great estates in England. Formerly the Prince of Wales, the Astors, where the Profumo affair rocked England 50 years ago. This magnificent estate sits on 500 acres and on the Thames. Have them pack a lunch and take their boat for a trip up the Thames. The experience is right out of the Great Gatsby. Expensive but something you will never forget.  SG

I went to see the Cecil Beaton exhibit at the War Museum – a place i have never been to. They had some interesting other exhibits and it a great place to take the kids on a Sunday – a lot of large tanks and planes from WWI and II.  I always visit the Tate Modern as well. This time they had a really fun performance art piece going on in the large entry hall. It was fun to have a coffee on the second level and watch everyone’s reaction as they walked in. Museums in London are free but you do have to pay admission to the special exhibits.   This time I stayed at the Charlotte St Hotel.  it is one of those boutique hotels where every room is different. It is really cool and everyone knows you .  i would stay there any time I am in London.  This is a big recommendation coming from me because I love to try different hotels.     JAZ

Take in a show at The National Theatre.  Make an evening of it by walking on the Southbank of the River Thames and dining there before taking in one of the critically acclaimed show that have some of Britain’s brightest and rising stars. Get a ticket early, because the best shows sell out every night of the week. We have big Hollywood movies, they have big budget Theatre.  AA

We enjoyed  going to the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea. They had a really good Karl Lagerfeld  exhibit.  We loved  eating and shopping on Portobello Road in Notting Hill.   SF

I think one of the things I like best (aside from all the usual) about London is all the ethnic food.  British food is awful, but you can find fabulous Indian, Italian, Chinese…all over.  AR

I love the taxi cabs in London.  Cab drivers in London must memorize 320 different routes, 25,000 streets, and 20,000 landmarks to be certified as drivers. It is called “The Knowledge” and takes two to four years to complete. A study of their brain scans show that their part of the brain that deals with memory has become enlarged.  It is the opposite training procedure of taxis in NY where I grew up. The only requirement seems to be that you have a taxi license  with a picture and have been in NY for five minutes.   JAZ

I  always go for the tour of Buckingham Palace when it’s open.  I love tea/cocktails at Claridges, I always go to the flagship store of Manolo Blahnik, I always visit a funky little boutique called Egg, I love dinner at River Cafe, J Sheekey & The Woolsey, I love the theatre, I always visit the Victoria & Albert Museum & I know there’s other stuff I love because I love, love, love London! CL

For more info go to things I have Learned In the UK

https://havefunflysafe.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/things-i-learned-in-the-u-k/

Fly Safe,

JAZ