Monday, August 8, 2016

Candelaria Design Tour Italy June 2016 - Our Finish At Lake Como

One month from today we depart for our 14th Candelaria Design Tour Italy and our second Tour this summer! So – I need to close out the June Trip and we did that in style at Lake Como and the spectacular Villa d’Este.

It is quite a contrast to leave the quaint and rustic farmhouses in Umbria and then check into the Villa d’Este.

So we got up early and enjoyed one more quiet morning in the Umbrian countryside and then it was off to make the journey northward across Italy to Lake Como. Of course there is always time to stop at an Autogrille for a fantastic roadside lunch.

Nothing quite like checking into the Villa d’Este! Wow – what elegance and the staff is so friendly – of course they remember Isabel and I and our surprise wedding there in 2013 just two days after singer John Legend married Chrissy Tiegen at the same spot.

By this point on the trip everyone seems to do their own thing but we did all meet for cocktails on the terrace and some went into town for dinner while we joined two of our guests for a fantastic dinner at the hotel. 

The next morning it was off to Switzerland for a day on Lake Lugano. What a beautiful place and now I need to spend some time in Switzerland!!! We just kicked back enjoyed a fabulous parade and had a leisurely walk through the park along the lank and a relaxing lunch in town.

After a nice afternoon in Switzerland it was back to the Villa d’Este to relax and get ready for dinner high up the hill at the Il Gatto Nero. This restaurant is fantastic, with a view that is unparalleled. The road to the restaurant is not one you want to drive – especially later after dinner and vino. We enjoyed a fantastic evening watching the sunset and the romantic lights twinkling around the lake.

Finally, it was our last day and for me it was a day to just relax and enjoy the grounds and gardens of the hotel. The girls went shopping and I napped, enjoyed lunch by the pool and caught up on my projects as it was Monday morning!

One final evening and so Isabel and I decided to go back to the Il Gatto Nero for a quiet evening – just the two of us. So nice to spend a quiet evening with the woman who has made every trip so special for me and our travelers.  We celebrated our wedding from 2013, gave blessings to the wonderful gifts we have enjoyed since, and looked forward to all that lies ahead.

The trip had come to a close….or so we thought. It was 10:30 at night and we were getting up at 4am for our early morning departure from Milan so we were done….As we made our way back to the hotel and entered the lobby we could hear a lot of commotion at the grand stair. We turned the corner to find one of our travelers collapsed on the landing. Her shoe had apparently gotten caught on the carpet runner and down she went….an entire flight of stairs. We rushed over and first made sure she was conscious which thank God she was. Then we checked to see if anything was broken, and fortunately all seemed ok there. So we helped her to a wheelchair which the hotel staff had brought over and we were able to get her in and then to her room.

From there, Isabel was able to apply her reiki technique on her shin for nearly an hour. We calmed her down, got ice on her injuries, and left her to get some sleep. OK now this trip 13 was over….all I had to do was get everyone to Milan and home which we did with a little lost luggage and a few missed connecting flights…… Now Tour 13 was complete!

So it’s off to Candelaria Design Tour Italy number 14 departing on September 7th! What adventures lie ahead???? This Tour we will start in Florence, spend our week in Umbria and then finish on the Amalfi Coast in Positano! Next year, we will do the Tour Italy in September with the finish in Venice! We still have a few spots left for that trip but it’s nearly sold out so don’t wait.

 Ok ciao for now.

Candelaria Design Tour Italy June 2016 - Day 10 - Last Day In Umbria

Wow – what a busy week this was! This coming week we will keep the travel going as we are off to LaJolla, CA tomorrow to start filming season 3 of SKETCH! We will be filming a beautiful makeover just a block off the beach!

Then its off to Newport Beach for a three day management and strategic planning seminar I will be attending with my two new partners, Vivian Ayala, and Evelyn Jung! Our spouses will fly out on Friday and we will enjoy next weekend on the Coast.

Ok – well I got so busy when we returned from the June Candelaria Design Tour Italy that I never finished off the June trip… here we go – let’s flashback to June and our last day in Umbria. Here is where we left off:

So I had five of my travelers taking off for Lake Como and another couple already in the Chianti region visiting friends so we were down to sever travelers left in Umbria. Friday is our free day so after our morning coffee we all received an invite by our farmhouse chef and writer, Elizabeth Wholey, for a tour of her private residence restoration. Very cool and it was so fun to see her pride which is definitely well deserved.

Here is the link to her book which I highly recommend:

It was about noon now and so we all decided to head to the lake to do a little exploring. Lake Trasimeno is beautiful lies on the western edge of Umbria, not far from the border with Tuscany. In all my time in Umbria I just have never taken time to explore the villages along the lake so this was the year. Our choice this year was Castiglione de Lago on the west shore of the lake. Wow – what a surprise… is always the case in Italy….it’s endless. I cannot believe this lovely village, with a castle of course, had been sitting right under my nose for all of these years.

We wondered through the Porte Senese and then down the Via Vittorio Emanuele and found a fabulous restaurant, the La Cantina,, and its lovely terrace where we enjoyed a fabulous lunch overlooking the lake. Our waiter was fabulous and so friendly as are most people in Italy. We took our time – which is easy to do in Italy – and just took in the lovely afternoon.

From there we went and explored the town and the castle which was spectacular. We made our way back through town and stopped for a spritz and then made our way back to the Farmhouses.

After a little regroup and some rest at the farmhouses it was time for dinner and again I wanted to explore a spot I have been wanting to go to for years. My good friend and past traveler, Larry Peery, had been telling me of a restaurant he and his girlfriend, Gloria had discovered on one of the free days on their trip, the Ristorante Simone Corsetti ai GIrasoli di Sant’Andrea! Ok another gem – two in one day!

We dined al fresca on the terrace and watched the sun set for the last time on the hills of Umbria.  The Ristorante Girasoli is a winery and restaurant and was absolutely divine. Definitely one of the best steaks I’ve had in Italy and definitely an add to our trip going forward and I know right when to work it into our trip!

And so we ended our time in Umbria and it was time to make the trek to Lake Como. I will cover Lake Como in another blog as there is so much to share!