Italy Now, Safely

15026028087_7579e4411f_z

sunny vineyard in Italy (photo courtesy of Yosika @ happy holiday.travel )

Picture yourself sitting outside in a balmy breeze…ever so slightly buzzed with a glass of wine from a small Italian vineyard, of which only the cognoscenti have heard.

jeep in vineyard

under-the-radar vineyard in Tuscany (photo courtesy of Poggio Rubino Winery)

Wine from the Gods

You have cleverly chosen a bottle from Poggio Rubino, a winery in Tuscany recommended by Mary Ervolina, my friend who goes to Italy every year to find the best food, wine and hotels. It’s her business! More about Mary in our next post.

Montalcino second

Montalcino, Italy (photo courtesy of Poggio Rubino)

Basking in the warmth of the sun, you are contemplating…Montalcino…ancient, hilltop town, with big green views of Tuscany. Can you see the vineyard that produced your wine?

Music Transports You

Gently playing in the background is lilting, Italian music. You are transported to those heady post-WWII days made for dancing, when Italian consumption boomed and life was beautiful.

Domenico-Modugno2

Domenico Modugno sings, “Volare!” (photo courtesy of issimoissimo.com)

“After exiting the war in shambles and starting from that moment, Italy boomed…mothers decided that each kitchen needed a refrigerator, fathers lined up in front of the Fiat dealers…an age made for dancing, playing pinball, drinking Coca-Cola and listening to music in the jukebox. This is the soundtrack of the miracolo italiano (Italian miracle).” (from issimoissimo.com)

Tuscany Food Bliss

Montalcino’s hills are alive with vineyards, cheese makers and olive groves, owned by families who’ve been lovingly perfecting their products for generations.

d0627dd870b29970909639dc77ceb12c

Tuscany’s hills (photo courtesy of Travel Across Italy)

Cheese from Heaven

A second glass of the Poggio Rubino? Certo! Who can resist? A little cheese would taste sooo good with this. How about some Pecorino from Fior di Montalcino?

I wonder how they make cheese, you muse. After watching this lovely, short video, you now know, and are inspired. “I want to go meet the goat from whence this glorious Pecorino was produced!” Surrounded by sunflowers, Fior di Montalcino is near “your” winery. No wonder they go so well together!

girasoli

Sunflowers surrounding our Pecorino cheese producer (photo courtesy of Fior di Montalcino)

Olive Oil with Clout

Homemade bread and olive oil would be perfect right now. The Frantoio Franci family has been producing olive oil in these hills for generations. And won over 500 awards!

rolling olive hills

olive groves in Tuscany (photo courtesy of Frantoio Franci)

Saffron and Pasta

By now, you’re contemplating your third glass of wine.

Basta!” It’s time for pasta…with saffron, of course! Why saffron? Because it’s a product of Tuscany.  You’re going to have trofie with saffron and zucchini, a recipe from Pura Crocus, a saffron producer in nearby Val d’Orcia.

Buy the Best 

And this is how we go to Italy now, safely: We buy the best wine, olive oil, cheese and saffron from the best small producers in Italy! We create a little bit of Italy in our homes now, after downloading that great playlist

small food shop in Tuscany

Because it’s a whole lot more fun to buy from a small producer in Italy than Whole Foods (photo courtesy of Discover Italy)

Click here to buy, buy, buy! And, remember, Mimi’s Travel File makes nothing on your orders…although, I would be happy to come over for dinner.

Italy Later, Safely

My next post will feature a great itinerary by Mary Ervolina for our in person trip to Italy!

VP132r

 

 

Mimi’s Travel File: Pourquoi?

Several friends have asked me why I blog. Because I love to travel and I love to talk about it, be it in real life or in the life of my mind…accompanied by beautiful accessories, of course, like this great looking SteamLine Luggage, below.

vintage travel

(photo courtesy of SteamLine Luggage)

luggage on sailboat

Despite this goofy, impractical premise of hard luggage on a sailboat, you’ve got to admit: it’s GORGEOUS! (photo courtesy of SteamLine Luggage)

train luggage

The Ghan? (photo courtesy of SteamLine Luggage)

I love to learn and be transported. I bet you do, too.

Like, right now, you’re wondering: What’s The Ghan? Where is it and where’s it going? Click here to find out and be transported to this stylish train traveling from north to south Australia…in 2021, of course (darn that corona virus). In 2019, The Ghan marked 90 years of outback crossings. Swoon!

SF2

I wonder where she is? (photo courtesy of SteamLine Luggage)

Bonus: SteamLine was founded and is owned by this cute woman, above. Click here to read about her in Forbes.

Great Quote from her: “I want our children to know how special this world is, to see how other people live, experience how they go to school, eat what they eat…I really feel that the more we can bridge these cultural gaps, the more empathetic and compassionate we will be to others. More than anything, I feel that this is what we need a little more of in this world now.” Yes!

P.S.: Much as I am raving about this luggage (and I secretly want a complete set for my birthday), I take no compensation from any of the places or things about which I write, allowing me to be completely frank.

So now we’ve been transported and learned a little something along the way. And we had a great time doing it! That’s why I blog.

Why do you like to travel?

pink Mexico luggage

(photo  courtesy of SteamLine Luggage)

Elvis, Resilience & the Garden Club

This is the story of resilience, of making something out of nothing, of rising out of the bad times.

From Nothing

Elvis Presley was born

  • in the poorest state (Mississippi)
  • during the poorest time (the Great Depression),
  • on the wrong side of the tracks.

How did he rise from the depths to mega-success?

elvis houses

Elvis’ birthplace, left (courtesy of the Elvis Birthplace Museum)

His Father had Gumption

In 1934, Elvis’ mother was expecting the future King. So her husband built a tiny home for them (above) — with his own hands!

  • Time was running out, so he asked for help from his father and brother to build the shack.
  • He didn’t have the $180 for building materials so he borrowed it from the farmer for whom he was a sharecropper. Elvis was born in the shack in 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi.

Elvis’ father had can-do, will-do attitude!

The-Innocence-of-Elvis-Elvis-as-a-Boy-in-Tupelo-Mississippi

Elvis and his parents (photo courtesy of Elvis Birthplace Museum)

When Elvis was three, his parents defaulted on the $180 loan. They were evicted. Elvis’ father lost his job. For the next 10 years, they worked odd jobs in Tupelo.

The Kid’s Got Talent!

At age 10, shy, be-speckled Elvis entered the talent contest at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show at the Tupelo Fairgrounds. He sang “Old Shep” in a WELO Radio broadcast of the show, and won $5 in fair ride tickets.

573cdcb31ac42.image

Elvis, far right, wearing glasses. Note that he is the only boy wearing a tie & suspenders. Even then, Elvis was a snappy dresser! (photo courtesy of Lee County Courier)

And Generosity

By age 21, he was famous. He had moved to Memphis but came back to Tupelo to perform at the same fairgrounds where he had won the prize at age 10. Click here to see the 1956 concert. The next year, he gave a concert in Tupelo and donated all proceeds to the city to build a park on the land surrounding the shack.

Elvis-performs-a-concert-in-Tupelo-in-1956-and-1957

(photo courtesy of the Elvis Birthplace Museum)

But It Almost Didn’t Happen

One day in Tupelo, long before Elvis was famous, his mother wanted to buy a present for his 10th birthday.  So she and E walked to the hardware store (pictured below).  Because Elvis had always been fascinated by music, his mother wanted to buy a guitar for him. But when they walked into the store, Elvis saw a rifle and wanted that instead! After the store clerk allowed him to test it, Elvis decided on the guitar. Click here to read a letter from the very same store clerk.

Tupelo_Hardware_1942-Now_large

(photos courtesy of Tupelo Hardware)

His Church Pastor taught Elvis to Play the Guitar

A-Look-Around-the-Elvis-Presley-Birthplace-Photo-and-Video-Gallery

Elvis’ childhood church (photo courtesy of Elvis Birthplace Museum)

Elvis first heard gospel music, which influenced his singing, at the little church he and his parents attended regularly.

Elvis and the Garden Club: Really?

Elvis shack GC

Elvis’ birthplace (photo courtesy of the Elvis Birthplace Museum)

“In 1971, the East Heights Garden Club [in Tupelo] began to improve the birthplace as a club project. Over the years the club purchased furniture and other pieces to duplicate the house’s contents from when the Presleys lived there in the 30s,” according to the Elvis Birthplace Museum.

garden club ladies

Garden club ladies (photo courtesy of activerain)

Faith, Hope and Love

Elvis had all three. Maybe that’s why he was able to catapult his talent out of the ashes.

Visit Tupelo’s Elvis Birthplace Museum to see the shack and the family church. Drive to the nearby hardware store. While Graceland is fun, the EBM is touching and inspirational.