Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Day Before

UPdate:  We have a ton of people visiting in and around Bellagio, northern Italy from May 22nd to June 5th.
Two groups, splitting one week each, and planning on a "dream vacation."
The volcano in Iceland, the one with the funny name, is creating a "poop" load of trepidation, leading most of the travelers to check hourly, and daily updates with the airlines they booked, to give them hope that the giant ash cloud will not ruin any plans.
Most of us have been packing bits and pieces of clothing, hoping not to over stock our wardrobe.  No matter how many short or long trips we take, looking back, they're either to many pants, jackets, shoes, etc. and we jog our mind to figure out how to cope with rain, wind, heat and undergarments.
Packing light, one small suitcase, and backpack or carry-on will be the order of the day in my book.
Gonna keep checking with the airlines, see if their are cancellations, delays, get to the airport three 3 hours early, and pray we get the first and second leg of our trip completed.
Hopefully, sleeping on the plane will take care of the glare and tired eyes that seem to be the result of jet lag.
Can't wait for a bowl of pasta and a nice glass of wine. 
Kathy, Rocco, Nick and Mike.....looking forward to a great time.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Beware of Mosquitoes-Bring Repellent!


My Friend currently visiting Italy reminds
When I arrived at home late last night, I threw open the doors to the deck for a last night cap when I was attacked by a battalion of those famed “no see um” Italian mosquitoes that take hunks out of every conceivable piece of flesh not covered by insect repellent, which, of couse, I forgot to put on.
These guys are different from their American counterparts: They appear last at night and just Kamikazee on you like crazy.
They are stealth mosquitoes too. Silent. Undetected. Two thousand years of evolution. They specialize in big American guys just returning from Naxos. They hit and run before the brain registers the bite.
Today I prepare. I will buy some netting and put it around my deck. If that doesn’t work, I will buy a blow torch, a hammer, maybe even a wet suit.
I am American you know from New England. Yankee ingenuity. I will teach them.

Euro Flight Update for Wednesday May 12

12 May 2010
As of 10.00 CET on 12 May 2010, EUROCONTROL has the following update to make with regard to the situation of air traffic in Europe:
Today EUROCONTROL expects normal amounts of traffic across Europe.
The areas of high ash concentration at high altitude which had caused major difficulties in recent days over the Atlantic and the Iberian Peninsula dispersed during the night.
Areas of high ash concentration at lower altitudes are still causing some difficulties for trans-Atlantic flights. They are also affecting Madeira and the Azores. Areas of high ash concentration at lower altitudes, which could result in airport closures, are currently found in the Mediterranean between the Spanish mainland and the Balearic Islands, and are moving north east. At the current time all airports are available, however with the Balearic Islands airports operating at reduced capacity.
According to the forecasts, the areas of higher ash concentration are expected to dissipate further during the day. The latest ‘Air Ash Concentration Charts’ describing those areas where no-fly zone proposals have been made to the EUROCONTROL Member States are attached.
On Tuesday 11 May, there were 27,807 flights within the EUROCONTROL CFMU area, which is approximately 500 below normal traffic levels.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Euro Flight Update for Tuesday

Update on European air traffic situation - 10.30 CET

11 May 2010
As of 10.30 CET on 11 May 2010, EUROCONTROL has the following update to make with regard to the situation of air traffic in Europe:
Today EUROCONTROL expects approximately 29,000 flights within the European area which is close to normal for a Tuesday at this time of year.
Areas of high ash concentration are this morning impacting southern and central Spain and Portugal including the Canary Islands and Madeira. The areas of high ash concentration on high altitudes in the middle of the North Atlantic is dispersing, easing the previously difficult situation for Trans Atlantic flights.
At the current time airports on the Canary Islands, some in south-west Spain and some in Morocco are closed. According to the forecasts, during the afternoon, areas of higher ash concentration could move in a north-easterly direction cutting across the Iberian Iberian Peninsula and into south east France. These areas are of high altitude and are not expected to impact airports. The latest ‘Air Ash Concentration Charts’, valid at 14.00CET describing those areas where no-fly zone proposals have been made to the EUROCONTROL Member States are attached.
On Monday 10 May, there were 29,155 flights within the EUROCONTROL CFMU area, which is not far from normal traffic levels.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Euro Plane Traffic Monday May 10

Update on European air traffic situation - 10.00 CET

10 May 2010

As of 10.00 CET on 10 May 2010, EUROCONTROL has the following update to make with regard to the situation of air traffic in Europe:
Today EUROCONTROL expects approximately 28,500 flights within the European area which is about 500 below average for a Monday at this time of year.
Areas of high ash concentration have dispersed overnight over continental Europe. There is an area of ash cloud in the middle of the North Atlantic which is impacting transatlantic flights. While most of these flights are operating, many are having to make significant reroutings to avoid the area of ash cloud coverage, resulting in delays.
At the current time no airports are closed in Europe. According to the forecasts, during the afternoon, areas of higher ash concentration could move in a north-easterly direction from the Atlantic into the Iberian Peninsula. The latest ‘Air Ash Concentration Charts’, valid at 14.00CET describing those areas where no-fly zone proposals have been made to the EUROCONTROL Member States are attached.
On Sunday 9 May, there were 23,491 flights within the EUROCONTROL CFMU area, which is about 1,500 below normal traffic levels.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Euro could reach 1.20 soon

Sun May 9, 6:58 AM

BERLIN (AFP) - Battered by the Greek fiscal crisis, the euro could weaken to the point of parity with the US dollar, a top German economist said Sunday, as others warned of inflation in Europe's biggest economy.
"As long as uncertainty over Greece and other countries on the periphery of the euro area continues, the euro will remain under pressure," Thomas Mayer, chief economist at Deutsche Bank, told the Bild am Sonntag weekly.
"I think we could soon see 1.20 against the dollar and a further decline in the direction of parity is definitely possible," added Mayer.
On Friday, as volatile markets closed for the week, the euro fetched 1.2755 dollars as investors warned that failure to nail down a credible rescue plan at Sunday's meeting of EU finance ministers could pressure the euro even more.

Eurocontrol, latest news on Airtravel over Europe


http://www.eurocontrol.int/corporate/public/news/20100509_air_traffic_situation_1200.html

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Trip Planning Around Lake Como


http://www.travelplan.it/how_to_use.htm

Eating in Lombardy Region of Italy


Food and Wine The Lombardy Region

Lombard cuisine includes lots of rice, vegetables and cheese, with long cooking times and often single dishes. Polenta reigns in the kitchen. Risotto, such as the dish “Risotto alla Milanese” is also renowned, as are pasta with fillings, such as Casonsei from Bergamo and Brescia, Marubin from Cremona or pumpkin ravioli from Mantova. Valtellina is home to Pizzoccheri, pasta made from buckwheat. Meat dishes include the famous Milanese fillet (covered in breadcrumbs and fried), but stew and game are also traditional dishes. One of Lombardy’s most symbolic dishes has to be Casöla, a rich stew with cabbage and pork.
Cold cuts have ancient aromas and flavors: Cotechino, pork meat that requires some cooking, Brianza salami, Varzi salami, Cremona salami, goose salami from Mortara, Violino di Capra from Valchiavenna and the famous Bresaola from Valtellina, made from seasoned beef thigh.
Cheese produced in Lombardy is synonymous with high quality. Each area has its own little gem: Casera and Bitto from Valtellina, Provolone, Grana and fresh Crescenza from Valpadana, Quartirolo, Bagoss, Formai de Mut and Taleggio from the valleys around Bergamo and Brescia, not to mention one of the most famous Italian cheeses, Gorgonzola.
Wine from Lombardy boasts an ancient tradition and is produced in three main areas. Franciacorta, an area between Bergamo and Brescia, which produces excellent white and red wines, as well as the most famous Italian sparkling wine: Franciacorta DOCG. Oltrepò Pavese is a hillside area south of Pavia where 16 white and red DOC wines are produced, lying among the old villages and castles. Lastly, Valtellina produces great red wines such as Valtellina Superiore or vintage “Sfursat”. The area is famous for its cultivation of vineyards on terraced land supported by stones that cling to the steep slopes.