Posts By: Jenelle

Website

Jan 01 2013
2

Happy New Year!

So, it seems life got busy and my blog got quiet.

I am back for 2013. I have posts ready to go – finishing up our European vacation posts, telling you about some of the fun things we have been doing and some photo posts. Funnily enough, in this downtime, I have still been blogging but just not publishing. So content is ready to roll. Let’s see how this goes!

We can start off with today though.. we were asleep by 11.30 last night.

Our neighbors were having their usual insane NYE party. This is not just a few friends… it sounded like hundreds of people thumping around and seriously, the setup they have for music sounds like it is directly from a Vegas nightclub. We awoke to the front door of our building being smashed, cigarette ash in our hallway and lots of talk about just how late the party went and how loud the music was. I was wide awake from the yelling/screaming and craziness outside from about 2am – 3.30am. Bill slept without any disturbance. Considering we live in Brooklyn, we are lucky. They have their massive party every year and that is it, so we all just put up with it for the one night.

We couldn’t sleep in either as we had to get up early and go to Mass. Being a Tuesday, it was a real Holy Day of Obligation and it was great to see so many people there and share lots of New Year cheer. Here we are all ready to head out into the cold –

New Years Day

One of our fellow neighbors and Queen of All Saints parishioners also invited us to brunch. For those from Haiti, New Years Day is a BIG deal because it is their Independence Day, so there is double the cause for celebration. She made the traditional soup that everyone makes on New Years Day. It is called Joumou and it is absolutely delicious! Basically it was loads of squash and other chunky vegetables. She also baked a lovely ham and we sat around her dining table with some other guests all afternoon – it was so relaxing and a lovely way to experience customs from another country and just have some downtime for the craziness of the past few weeks.

So that was today. Let’s hope the blog stays alive a little longer this year. I’ve been doing this non-stop pretty much since 1996… so a little break wasn’t a bad thing I guess!

Happy New Year to you! Let’s make 2013 the year of excess love and hugs for others. 🙂

Nov 12 2012
2

The first day in Paris

Our first full day in Paris was full of adventure. We got up early and headed out to the Lourve.

On the train –

Paris

Ready to explore!

Paris

The Lourve

We ran around there quickly (Bill had to see the Mona Lisa – I had been beforehand) and back out before then, heading over to the Eiffel Tower for lunch. Tip – at the Eiffel Tour they serve the BEST hot dogs. Yeah here we are eating hotdogs and fries in Paris. But seriously they are awesome… and here they are –

Eiffel Tower Hot Dogs

No matter how many times you see it, the Tower is just awesome –

Paris

Paris

Here are some scenes that we enjoyed while in transit –

Paris

Paris

Paris

Paris

Paris

Paris

Paris

Paris

Paris

Paris

Paris

Bottle Brush!

Paris

I have a thing for police boats and this was a beauty!

Paris

After that, we jumped on a bus and headed up to Sacré-Cœur. The buses reminded me of the new Melbourne trams –

Paris

Once we got to Sacré-Cœur – which is quite a hike, the view was sensational from the top but, the hoards of tourists, not so much.

View from Sacre Couer

I really felt for the security who kept SHHHHHing everyone. Most frustrating part of travel? People who want to have a full conversation in church. UGH.

The Cable Car area and looking back up to Sacré-Cœur –

View from Sacre Couer

View from Sacre Couer

Getting the cable car down to the bottom of the hill was a super idea because I was over walking… so with that we went and checked out McDonalds. I KNOW… Maccas in Paris… not something that people want to admit. BUT it was on Bill’s list. They introduced a 7 week special meal only for France called The McBaguette. Bill wanted to try it desperately. It was a let down but, we got to check out these amazing self ordering machines there!

McDonalds Self Ordering Machines - Paris

Untitled

Paris

Then check this out –

Paris

Paris

We then jumped on another bus and headed back to the Eiffel Tower area for a cruise of the Seine. I annoyed Bill so much because all I wanted to do was chat and be all romantic while he actually wanted to listen to the headset tour information!

Because of our late McDonalds snack we were not hungry though, we were most definitely tired. Our full day in Paris was awesome just because we fitted so much in and saw so much of the city. We crawled back to La Villa on the bus, not knowing why there was so much traffic around the place. Little did we know, history was being made not far from where we were.

France was getting a new President! We quickly ran up the stairs to our room, got in our jammies and watched the news. We really did ‘watch’ as we couldn’t listen as I couldn’t understand a word!

Oct 29 2012
0

Le Bouche à Oreilles

After settling into our room, drying off and relaxing, we headed out for dinner and ended up at this hip, cute little bistro nearby called Le Bouche à Oreilles.

This place was so cool – a mix of locals, students and more locals. Old records were pinned to the walls and the place was loud, dark and so cool.

Le Bouche a Oreilles

Le Bouche a Oreilles

Here is the bar –

Le Bouche a Oreilles

Menu –

Le Bouche a Oreilles

Le Bouche a Oreilles

The food was fantastic and we slowly walked back to La Villa in the dark and holding hands. The reflection of the street lights on the shiny streets and the small lights that on in the houses around us – it was all so gorgeous. We felt very much like Parisians!

Oct 28 2012
0

So… getting back to Europe…

With the hurricane bearing down on New York, there is no time like the present to catch up on my blog posts. I really have to get Europe out of the way! We’ve had a busy couple of months so with all the housework done and no other choice than being inside, it is perfect to get blogging!

When we left off last time, we arrived at the Venice airport for our flight to Paris.

Venice Airport was really nice – very modern and clean and great food!

Venice Airport

Venice Airport

Now this is airport food! Our lunch –

Pumpkin gnocchi with butter and poppyseeds and pizza –

Venice Airport

Our flight to Paris allowed me to have a great nap and that is all I have to report on that leg of the trip! We landed at Charles de Gaulle and managed to get down to the train platform for our train ride to our bed and breakfast. The trains are great – clean, efficient and fast. We sat back and relaxed as the train slowly filled with workers and students on their way home. The one thing that always has me flabbergasted when travelling is it felt like one minute we were on the Grand Canal in Venice and in the blink of an eye, we are on a train in Paris!

Train platform in the airport. So clean and efficient!

Paris - Train from airport

In keeping with my obsession with public transport ticket machines, these ones were great –

Paris - Train from airport

Paris - Train from airport

Train from the airport –

Paris - Train from airport

We had a ten minute walk to our bed and breakfast from the station. Unfortunately, for us we got stuck in a torrential downpour. My umbrella barely made a difference and Bill was soaked through. Arriving at La Villa Paris and meeting Marie – all of our grumbles disappeared. Everything was so lovely!

La Villa Paris is located near the in between the Cité Universitaire train and Maison Blance Metro. It is a lovely little neighborhood with some shops, restaurants and bakeries. Our room was so lovely and Marie thoroughly deserves her first place rating on Trip Advisor!

The B&B is the light brown building –

La Villa Paris

Our room –

La Villa Paris

La Villa Paris

La Villa Paris

La Villa Paris

View from our room –

La Villa Paris

La Villa Paris

Aug 06 2012
1

At 7.05am without fail..

I am walking down the street on my way to work and no parking starts at 7am to allow traffic to have a clear run.

At this time in the morning, there is always a tow truck waiting to pounce. The NYPD waste no time whatsoever and I always try and pick the cars that will be towed first.

Towed!

I even saw them tow one a few weeks ago that had ‘FUNERAL’ on it. Obviously someone left their car there after a funeral at the nearby funeral parlor. I noticed the guy calling a few times to see if belonged to the funeral parlor and after that, a supervisor arrived and made the decision to tow.

In a nutshell, don’t mess with New York when it comes to parking. Traffic flow is serious business!

Aug 06 2012
1

San Marco and Burano

Piazza San Marco, Venice

Our final full day in Venice was spent with a leisurely morning walk to Piazza San Marco, a visit to the San Marco Basilica and then the ‘Secret Itineraries’ tour of the Doges Palace. We then were to hop back on the vaporetto and head out to the beautiful lace making island of Burano.

Luckily, getting to San Marco early meant the piazza was somewhat quiet compared to the usual commotion. The pigeons were in full force but luckily we were ushed inside the basiclica right at opening time. The basilica is beautiful inside but there were so many people there it was hard to appreciate it. Much like how it was at the Vatican museums. That is why I find walking into smaller churches to be a lot more enjoyable. We wandered through the basilica and back out, missing the serenity of the other local churches we had visited and gritting our teeth at the way so many tourists behave in groups.

Packs of tourists in the ‘quiet time’.

Piazza San Marco, Venice

Then –

Piazza San Marco

San Marco Basilica

San Marco Basilica

Piazza San Marco, Venice

Piazza San Marco, Venice

We were then fortunate that we only had to go next door to join our tour of the Doge’s Palace. I had read about the Secret Itineraries tour as it grants access to the Palace that you cannot see normally – it was well worth it and very interesting! We got to see where prisoners were kept, where Casanova tried to escape from and the secret offices that were kept from the people of Venice where there was a whole lot of people working in secret. If you are ever in Venice, you defintiely should take the tour!

Outside Doge’s Palace –

Piazza San Marco, Venice

My favorite – the Mouth of Truth. These were basically a little mailbox for what they call secret denunciations. Basically, you could dob on somebody doing something wrong anonymously. Back in the day there were many of these around Venice. The accusations were taken very seriously and if you made a false accusation, you could be killed for doing so!

Doges Palace, Venice

I found a translation for the Latin. It says “”Put down here your secrets, against those who oppressed you, freely and officially. Have faith, for those who hide the truth will answer for it.”

The ornate ceilings –

Doges Palace, Venice

The staircase –

Doges Palace, Venice

View from the top ‘hidden’ areas of the palace –

Doges Palace, Venice

Doges Palace, Venice

We then wandered around the whole palace a bit more, when and visited the prisoner cells that the public knew of and walked over the bridge of sighs.

Bridge of Sighs, Venice

Then, we went and took our touristy photo with the bridge in the background. Awww!

Bridge of Sighs

It was then time to get on the vaporetto and head out to Burano with a stop for lunch along the way. When we got off at at our transfer point we found a little dodgy place down a side lane that seemed touristy by the look but there was hardly anyone there. It seems to be more of a late night place. There, we had a great meal that looked TERRIBLE when photographing it. Yes, my risotto looks like a plate of vomit. But it tasted SO good. It was a really good mushroom risotto that was cooked perfectly. Bill went for pizza and it was delicious as well!

Venice

Venice

Burano was so lovely. The shops were awesome and had a great range of scarves, doilies and other crafts. We bought some scarfs to bring back and also a few small doilies for the lounge room. Here we loved the colorful exteriors and again, the peace and quiet. Enjoy these photos!

Untitled

Burano, Venice

Burano, Venice

Burano, Venice

Burano, Venice

Burano, Venice

Burano, Venice

Burano, Venice

Burano, Venice

Burano, Venice

Burano, Venice

Burano, Venice

We wandered into the local church there and their choir was rehearsing. They were singing beautifully so we took some time to stop and listen before slowly making our way back to the vaporetto. It was also a warm day so a small cup of gelato was a welcome treat as we walked around.

Burano, Venice

Vaporetto

The ride back to the main island was long and I had a little nap – we really were in vacation mode now! The only thing that faced us was packing our cases as that was our last night in Venice. So we got back to our room and without any distractions of TV, we packed up our things and freshened up before heading to dinner. Bill also went back to the supermarket where we saw the horse meat, to pick up some goodies for our trip to Paris.

We wanted to stay close by so went to the La Rivista, a little restaurant and wine bar that was just a short walk away. It was a strange mix of food but it was just what we wanted. The service was great and our waitress was so friendly – it was a nice way to end our time in Venice.

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

We walked along the water one last time and this is what we saw –

Venice

We were up with the bells again in the morning, had a quick breakfast and checked out of Don Orione. I was quite confident that if I had to return to Venice, I would stay there without hesitation. The area and the facilities were exceptional. Bill was not quite as confident as he really likes the creature comforts of a TV and plush surrounds but for me, staying at Don Orione made sure Venice was as relaxing as possible.

To get to Venice airport hopped on the vaporetto and opted for the extra long trip to the airport as we had time to spare. This gave us one last tour of Venice from the water and I was excited as it was the first time I have ever travelled by water to an airport!

Venice

Here is Bill after we disembarked and heading to the departures area.

Venice

Ciao Venezia, addio Italia and bonjour Paris! We really loved Italy so much it was sad to leave. Note – not a day goes by since we left Italy that we haven’t talked about Italy. Our time there was magical. We are now going back to Rome in February. We cannot wait!

Aug 05 2012
0

Wandering around and Murano

To try and keep Venice as relaxing as possible, we woke up with the church bells, had breakfast and then went back to bed for a later sleep in!

We hopped on the vaporetto and headed out on our adventure for the day. Through different neighborhoods, you see Venice change along the way.

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

When we got there, we decided to grab some lunch.

First we had lunch and this touristy place – it was just ok with MTV blaring. We shared this pizza and left straight away –

Venice

We then got on a vaporetto and headed out to one of the most interesting places I have visited. The cemetery!

The main cemetery for Venice is located on an island that is just one whole cemetary. There is a church there and a caretakers cottage but that was it. We were not permitted to take photos which is understandable – but this place was unbelievable to visit. From the number of graves of religious to the serenity of the grounds. Of course, if you visit any cemetary you will see that many Italian graves will have a photo of the person. This is what kept us at the cemetary for so long – rather than just seeing names you are seeing the faces of the people that have died – young, old – it didn’t matter. There was always a story to read. Some graves were amazing. There was one girl who was a dancer, there were amazing family chapels and rosary beads left hanging over so many tombstones. If you are ever in Venice, you really must visit it. I couldn’t wait to visit the church but unfortunately, it is only open for a short time in the morning. As we spent way longer there than we envisaged, we quickly jumped back on the vaporetto and headed to the glassmaking island, Murano. Here we wandered around in the afternoon sun.

This is the view looking back to il cimetero

Il cimetero

Il cimetero

When we got to Murano, it was so peaceful and idyllic and we wandered into another church –

Murano, Venice

Murano, Venice

Murano, Venice

Murano, Venice

Murano, Venice

Murano, Venice

Murano, Venice

Murano, Venice

Shopping wise, I bought a pair of earrings and Bill got a pair of cufflinks. Here are some other photos from the beautiful island –

Murano, Venice

Murano, Venice

Murano, Venice

Murano, Venice

Murano, Venice

Murano, Venice

Murano, Venice

Murano, Venice

We then got on the vaporetto again to go back to Venice proper. We walked for what seemed like miles. First, I took Bill to San Geremia, where the relics of St Lucy are. It was a busier than usual church because of St Lucy, but still a peaceful retreat from outside.

San Geremia

Across from the church is the place where I stayed when Fiona and I were backpacking in Venice, Alloggi Gerotto Calderan.

Alloggi Gerotto Calderan

I quickly emailed Fiona with a picture of where we spent our time – it is awesome being able to share things instantly with friends and family while away!

By this time we were hungry and it was time to search for dinner. I suggested we just walk until we found something. We did and we found nothing appealing – we wanted to find some small. Something that didn’t have an English menu… just somewhere cute. I pulled out my guide and it had a recommendation for a place that served basic fare but had a good atmosphere for locals. I can’t even remember what it was called now. So we walked. And walked. And walked. We got lost in a myriad of little walkways. Somehow we were stuck in a neighbourhood and kept walking around in circles. I ended up stomping my foot and threw some kind of “Let’s just forget getting dinner and go back!” tantrum when we decided to give it another go. Eventually, we found it and getting lost was actually fun because we saw so much of the lovely neighbourhood in that district!

While wandering, here was some of what we saw.

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venetian Fire Engine –

Venice

Tobacco vending machines in the street –

Venice

NYC Crispy at a McDonalds!

Venice

A casino –

Venice

Most random product I saw on the trip was… Australian Kraft Block Cheddar (my favorite cheese in the entire world) for sale in a speciality store. Strange!

Venice

Dinner though – oh my gosh. It was terrible. We were so hungry we would’ve eaten anything. But check out this… blah. This was reheated in a microwave. So much for guidebook recommendations. Sigh.

Venice

Venice

Venice

After that meal, we hopped on the vaporetto, cruising down the Grand Canal in the dark – the lights from the restaurants and homes along the water were sparkling on the water. It was such a full day, but so great to just take in Venice at night.

We grabbed some gelato (which was not just any gelato… it was KIT KAT GELATO) and headed back to Don Orione in the peace and quiet of the surrounding neighborhood. Gorgeous!

Venice

Aug 05 2012
0

Oh Venezia!

Venice was everything I loved and remembered!

It was great to have it as our rest stop after such a crazy time in Rome. We were able to just wander around and really take it easy and have as much of a r est – we were exhausted when we got there. The only disappointing aspect was the food. Venetian food just cannot compare after the wonderful meals we had in Rome.

After we checked in to Don Orione and had a rest, we decided to head out and wander around the vicinity of Don Orione to get our bearings and get some dinner. In typical Venetian fashion, we walked so far out of our way but it was so peaceful and enjoyable – you can just walk and walk and walk.

Firstly, we checked our the church that was next to Don Orione, Santa Maria del Rosario. Oh my goodness – it was absolutely spectacular. Remember – this is a normal everyday parish for people. Can you imagine going here for Mass? I know!

Santa Maria del Rosario, Venice

Santa Maria del Rosario, Venice

Santa Maria del Rosario, Venice

Santa Maria del Rosario, Venice

View from the front door, looking out –

Santa Maria del Rosario, Venice

We hadn’t got far when we arrived at the BILLA supermarket. The name alone drew us in! Visiting another supermarket was fun… but then we reached the meat area. Ewww. They sell horse. We had to take some photos. Here are horse burgers –

Equine for dinner?

Shredded horse –

Equine for dinner?

Horse steak –

Equine for dinner?

Sliced horse –

Equine for dinner?

We kept walking, down little walkways, over tiny bridges and started to look for a restaurant. We then stumbled upon a place called Osteria 1518.

Bill and I are so alike… we both do not like al fresco dining at restaurants but for this, we took a chance. It was just near a cute little square in a quiet walkway.

Here was the view from our table –

View from Osteria 1518

View from Osteria 1518

Our first Venetian dinner –

Osteria 1518

Osteria 1518

Osteria 1518

While we were eating, the weather changed drastically and the wind picked up substantially. There were a few drops of rain but then a huge gust of wind blew away chairs from a nearby restaurant. All of a sudden we were getting covered in a dusty dirt/sand mix. It was awful! Luckily, we had just taken our last bite of dinner so we retreated inside. The service at this restaurant was pretty bad so we hung out there for a while until the storm passed and then quickly left.

We walked around the back canal area and it had some gorgeous views –

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Gondola repairs –

Venice

Of course, we also had to try some gelato!

Venice

Venice

We slowly meandered back for an early night and thankfully the storm that night was the only bout of bad weather we had while in Venice!

Aug 04 2012
0

4th of July Parade in Brooklyn

A month late but let’s go!

This year, our 4th of July started early. On the Saturday before the 4th, we headed to 13th Avenue in Dyker Heights in Brooklyn for the 107th 4th of July parade that is organized by the Knights of Columbus. Because of MTA trackwork this involved 3 trains and two buses to get to the area where the parade was being held. It was also oppressively hot. The kind of heat where you cannot bear to be in direct sunlight and you cross the street to walk in the shade. Because of the detours, we got there right on time and we were near the start of the parade. There was NO-ONE watching from our area. We got a spot under what I think was the only tree on the street and waved our little flags. Before long we met our State Senator, Marty Golden and a few other politicians and those running in local elections. What was hilarious was because we were the only ones standing on this block, they were all running up to us like we were guests of honor because there was no-one else to shake hands with!

The main street was cleared and ready for the parade. It was blazing hot and uncomfortable –

2012 4th of July Parade - Dyker Heights

Some of the businesses decorated where they could –

2012 4th of July Parade - Dyker Heights

The roar of these bikes got things going –

2012 4th of July Parade - Dyker Heights

At every local parade you can count on police on horses being there –

2012 4th of July Parade - Dyker Heights

Here are some of the representatives of the Knights of Columbus. I don’t know how could handle the heat in their uniform.

2012 4th of July Parade - Dyker Heights

Old NYPD police car –

2012 4th of July Parade - Dyker Heights

A local politician in a vintage firetruck –

2012 4th of July Parade - Dyker Heights

Another parade certainty – bagpipers!

2012 4th of July Parade - Dyker Heights

… and marching bands!

2012 4th of July Parade - Dyker Heights

It was great seeing a vintage NYC cab!

2012 4th of July Parade - Dyker Heights

The Girl Guides were so cute –

2012 4th of July Parade - Dyker Heights

Then, a corvette club made their presence known!

2012 4th of July Parade - Dyker Heights

Then, for some reason, the SIKK (Staten Island Kar Club – yes really!) made an appearance. Even though we were in Brooklyn?!

2012 4th of July Parade - Dyker Heights

That was basically it..! If I was voting on parades, the Castleton Memorial Day Parade wins hands down. It would be good to see this 4th of July parade in cooler weather though and to also attend the ceremony in the park afterwards and see what that is like. Maybe next year!

When the parade was over we decided to see what the food was like in Dyker Heights. Right near where we were standing AND our bus stop, there was a pizza place called Frank’s Pizza. Their pizza was AWESOME for grandma slices. I can thoroughly recommend them!

We split an arancini and got a slice each. Both were spectacular!

2012 4th of July Parade - Dyker Heights

Photo from Flickr –

Frank's Pizza on 13th Avenue

So it was hot, uncomfortable and we had a hard time getting there but, we discovered a neighborhood that we had not previously visited and found a great slice at the same time!

I should note, the actual 4th of July day was spent in front of the AC and having a lovely lobster and salad lunch as an ‘indoor picnic’. We did our usual routine of watching the 4th of July concert from Washington DC and Boston while flicking back to the New York ones. Nothing beats DC in my opinion and I hope that one day we can go there and see it live.

So that was the 4th of July… a month late. Next up, back to Venice!

Looking back –

4th of July 2011
4th of July 2010
4th July 2009

Jul 19 2012
0

AALL Boston – I am there! #aall12

I know it has been ages since my last update – I really have to get on to documenting the rest of Europe. This is even more of a priority since last week we booked to return to Rome in February next year. Oops! We couldn’t help ourselves. We love Rome so much – we are already counting down until we get there!

But in other news of a more library nature, a few months ago, I was awarded an LLAGNY Travel Grant to attend the AALL Annual Conference in Boston. Yes, I know… OHMYGOSH! I screamed when I got the email.. I am SO excited!

AALL Boston

This is my first big American conference. I have been to LegalTech twice but to me, that was almost more of a sales conference and it didn’t have a library focus. The AALL is HUGE and time has flown by so quickly, I cannot believe that we leave for Boston on Saturday!

You can see my conference schedule here. Hopefully the WiFi will be exceptional and I will have no trouble securing a powerpoint so I can live blog away.

No doubt I will be also thinking about all the amazing NLS conferences back in Australia and all the happy memories there. I hope that I manage to make some wonderful contacts… I was so lucky that my involvement in ALIA was the basis of so many friendships I still hold today.

AALL being in Boston is a big time bonus. I love Boston SO much. When I moved over here, I always envisaged that I would stay in New York for a year and then head to Boston. Well little did I know that Bill would make me an offer I could not refuse! 😉 Instead of organizing my things for the conference, I’ve been reminiscing about Boston memories. The first time I visited Faneuil Hall, eating clam chowder at Legal Seafoods, my first Nantucket Nectar, riding the T, the Freedom Trail, my first visit to Fenway, when I spent St Patrick’s Day 2006 at a Dropkick Murphys concert with Amy… I love it all!! I am really looking forward to being at such a great event in a great city! Now.. some flashbacks!

Here I am on my first visit to Boston in 1999 where I fell in love with all things Beantown!

Harvard

Then again in 2002..

Salem

Then again in 2005..

Jenelle the Celtic

Then again in 2006.. where I spent time behind the scenes at the JFK Library and Museum and also the Harvard Law Library. It was an AMAZING visit!

JFK Library & Museum

Then again in 2009..

Boston

Boston

Then again in 2011.. this time in North Cambridge!

North Cambridge