Bar Avignon: Wonderful dinner in this SE Portland neighborhood restaurant


We live in Southern Oregon but do make it up to Portland fairly frequently.  Biggest question is always whether to eat at some of our old favorites (Cafe Mingo, Toro Bravo, St. Jack’s) or try something new.  Lately, when we have been trying something new it’s been a bit of a disappointment – but this trip we found a fabulous neighborhood restaurant in SE – Bar Avignon (2138 SE Division St).  We arrived when they opened at 5pm on a Sunday because we had to eat an early dinner.  We were the only diners until about 6pm and then the place really began to fill up.  I loved the simple atmosphere of the wooden tables, a few booths and the red bar. Read More →

Favorite restaurants in Sorrento (Inn Bufalito and Il Buco)


We spent 4 nights in Sorrento and our two favorite meals were in at Inn Bufalito and Il Buco.

Inn Bufalito is a casual but modern setting with handsome young waiters who were also very willing to provide assistance in navigating the menu and answer any questions we might have. Read More →

When is it ok to be woken up at 3am on vacation? When it’s Easter in Sorrento!


Easter in Sorrento is a great time to be there!  There are two Easter processions that happen Easter week.  They are deeply rooted in history, and began as simple as a few religious monks walking the streets in the 1500’s.  In the 1700’s the processions started to become a more elaborate affair.  In the still of the night between Maundy Thursday and  Good Friday, about 3am, we were woken by the dirge like music and singing as hundreds of people dressed in white walked right below our balcony. Read More →

A day exploring the Amalfi Coast – Positano, Ravello and Amalfi in March


There are several ways to explore the Amalfi Coast in a day.  By bus, ferry or car.  We were there in late March when the ferries are not running or running sporadically, so we decided not to go that route.  Not being big bus tour people we opted to hire a private driver to take us exploring the Amalfi Coast for a day.  After reading great reviews on TripAdvisor I contacted Gerry at Sorrento First Choice.  He provides car service but really does so much more than that as he knew where to stop to see great views, told us history and culture of the area and also recommended restaurants for lunch.  He came to pick us up at 9am and since there were six of us he brought a nice, comfortable Mercedes minivan.  Sadly, the weather this day was not ideal – overcast with clouds and chilly. Read More →

Fabulous day trip to Capri with private guide, Michele, of Blue Grotto Tours



We were in Sorrento for four nights in late March.  When traveling with six people sometimes it just makes sense to hire a guide to take us around. So after reading great reviews of Blue Grotto Tours I decided to hire a private guide from them for our daytrip to Capri.  It was a fabulous idea!!  We were supposed to meet our guide, Michele, at our hotel at 8am but we were running a bit late.  This made us miss the 8:35am ferry, but had no problem making the 8:55am ferry.  Not a big problem for us due to the time of year, but if traveling in high season would make it a priority to be on the earlier ferry and beat more of the crowds.  We loved Michele.  He was young, friendly, funny and enjoyable. Read More →

Wonderful hotel in Sorrento – Review of Grand Hotel La Favorita, Sorrento, Italy


We stayed at Grand Hotel La Favorita in Sorrento for four nights.  We chose to stay in Sorrento for the Amalfi Coast portion of our trip because we were there in late March, a bit early for the true season, so not really beach weather and it was a good central location to see much of the Amalfi Coast.  Grand Hotel La Favorita is very well located, just a quick walk from the main center of town and definitely quieter than staying on the main piazza.  It is a beautiful hotel, with very large common areas, Read More →

Murano and Burano – visiting the islands of Venice


This was our second trip to Venice and we had been to Murano before.  I would have skipped it this time, but my parents were here for their first visit and I knew they would enjoy seeing the glass blowing on Murano.  We decided to have the glass blowing factory the hotel worked with pick us up in their boat and take us there as it is free and a bit quicker than the vaporetto. Read More →