The Howard - A Winter Break in Edinburgh, January, 2006.
There's nothing better than a holiday, be it a short break or a long haul. Although our longest haul has been just as far as Canada, which I've visited quite often as my sister and her family live in Oakville, near Toronto. It is very easy to travel from Glasgow to Toronto with regular flights between the cities and it is even easier to choose to visit (any day of the week) wonderful European destinations like Paris or Venice.
However, one of the very best things about Glasgow is that you can drive or travel by coach or train to some beautiful locations.
You can be at Loch Lomond in under an hour, drive east to Scotland's wonderful capital city, Edinburgh, or up through the glens and lochs to Glen Coe, Oban or my favourite Wester Ross.
Our recent trip to Tuscany - June 2005.
Well within reach with the new Ryanair flights from Glasgow (Prestwick) to Pisa
Over the past year or so Jim and I have been lucky enough to visit Italy. We had a brilliant wintry week in Venice and then last September (2004) we went to Lake Maggiore, to Stresa, where we had a very relaxing holiday. Our trips have contributed to our growing interest in Italy and our next destination will be Tuscany. An area which some of my friends have visited a lot and commended highly.
I have been fascinated by tales of their trips to medieval castles, mountain top villages, vine clad hills, villas with pools and views and wonderful towns and cities with squares, cathedrals, restaurants, art and culture.
In Glasgow there is a large Italian community and there are close links between our City and Tuscany; with many Italian Glaswegians hailing from towns such as Barga. I have heard on good authority (from Ian R. Mitchell, mountaineer, historian and writer) that the Glasgow twang can often be identified when locals are conversing.(Read his article Chianti, Culture and Chips). Ex Glasgow City Council Provost Alex Mosson is a regular visitor there - and recently joined in the celebrations for Ryanair's inaugural flight to Pisa. Read all about this in Barga News
Benito Casci, born in Barga and resident of Glasgow for a number of years has established a business in Tuscany http://www.housesintuscany.net. This summer we will be heading off for a holiday at one his lovely villas, just north of Lucca, at Castiglione Garfagnana.
"Thought I would let you know about a wonderful B&B in Barga Tuscany, after reading the article about Barga on your site. It is called Casa Fontana and is run by Ron and Susi Gauld from Aberdeenshire, They started 4years ago after renovating . Everything has been done beautifully, Ron being an architect and is most comfortable. They are the most wonderful hosts and so knowledgeable about everything in Barga and surrounding areas. They have a great web site, telling you about the house, restaurants, walks etc and also if you go onto Trip Advisor you will find great reviews." Helen Adam
Situated on a great spot overlooking Loch Linnhe, near Onich, this is a lovely, well managed hotel and Jamie and Jackie could not make you more welcome. You will enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and the fabulous menu. Included in the 2003 Taste of Scotland Guide.
Jim and I spent great week-end the hotel in 2002 and can highly recommend it.
You can see some photographs of our Highland Trip in Jim's April Photo Diary
Trip Advisor: best travel information on the web with independent reviews
Written by Barry Paton
Run by Barry Paton and Fiona Alderman (both Scots from Glasgow) simple and comfortable bed and breakfast is offered in a small 12th Century - Maison de Ville - located in the mediaeval village of Salignac Eyvigues in the Dordogne, SW France. This is our home and has two double rooms that we let out all year round when not in use by students of The Salignac Foundation, which we also run.
Daily rates per room from 30 Euros in the low season, with breakfast from 5 Euros per person. Weekly rates from 200 Euros per room. Breakfast can be either continental or cooked and occasional simple evening meals may be had on request.
Salignac is located 18 kms from Sarlat (the ancient capital of Perigord Noir) with the caves at Lascaux and the gardens at the Manoir d'Eyrignac are all within easy reach. We also have a Chateau as a next door neighbour!
Contact Barry or Fiona on for further details - Tel: +33 (0)5 53 29 94 06- Fax: +33 (0)8 25 17 60 28. E-mail: [email protected] Web: www.salignacfoundation.com
Jim and I spent a fabulous few days in Venice in January, 2003. Our pensione was delightful and we can highly recommend La Calcina situated at Zattere in the Dorsoduro area. It is conveniently situated near many attractions, only five minutes from the Peggy Guggenheim Gallery and the Accademia di San Rocco - a stroll away from the Grand Canal. Our room was beautifully furnished and spacious. The staff were very courteous and we enjoyed leisurely breakfasts before setting off to take in all the splendour that Venice has to offer. La Calcina can only get better as a new terrace will be completed for the summer of 2003. Apparently Ruskin enjoyed staying at the La Calcina too.
You can see some photographs of our trip to Venice in Jim's February Photo Diary
We had a great trip to Lake Maggiore, where we stayed at Hotel Primavera, Via Cavour, 39 Stresa, 28838. Phone: +39.0323 31286. Fax: +39.0323 33458. Opening: 01.03.04 - 31.12.04. High season: 10.08 - 15.09.
Extract from Pat's Diary September, 04.
"...we had a brilliant trip to Italy, to Lake Maggiore, you can see some of the photos on Jim's September Photo Diary. We stayed in Stresa in a simple little hotel, Primavera, which was clean and friendly with Alberto and the rest of the staff making you feel very welcome. It is very conveniently situated next to restaurants, shops and most of all the imbarcadero, where you could catch a boat to various destinations on Lake Maggiore. We spent lots of our time sailing on the Lake and visited the Borromeo islands, Isola Bella, Isola Madre and Pescatore. We spent a day in Pallanza, where there was a festival and visited slow-paced Baveno. Our most ambitious trip was on the the centovalli (the small mountain train) from Domodossola through the mountains to Locarno in Switzerland then home to Stresa by boat - a two and a half hour sail down the Lake. The scenery was lovely and I enjoyed Locarno with its huge squares where cafe culture is an art form.
Stresa was a great base and seemed somehow quiet staid and tranquil despite the tourist bustle. It has some super restaurants and we particularly enjoyed La Botte, where Titiano, the chef produced some wonderful Piedomtese dishes (truffled this and that, hare, boar, wild mushrooms etc) and Tatiana, the waitress perfected a combination of glamour and efficiency. I also loved the Ostia Piazza San Michele, which had the best (albeit the only) pumpkin ravioli I have ever tasted.