Stay in Parma: A Traveler’s Guide to the Best Hotels

Stay in Parma: A Traveler’s Guide to the Best Hotels

A trip to explore Parma should be less focused on the geographical differences between the towns that surround the city, and more focused on where to find food experiences. Perhaps they have their priorities right. After all, UNESCO recently named Parma a Creative City for Gastronomy. But, even if your focus is on eating, you need some place to stay in Parma, right? Parma, famous for its cheeses and hams, is a popular spot among food travelers to Emilia Romagna. Parma lies along the Parma River, offering riverside walks or lazy afternoons spent lounging in the Parco Ducale, or window shopping along Strada Luigi Carlo Farini. There are also churches, monasteries, and theaters to keep culture hounds busy. There is a cathedral, several beautiful squares, and a famous pink-hued baptistery. And, we have some recommendations of where to stay in Parma so that you can enjoy the culinary delights of this portion of Emilia Romagna. Where to Stay in Parma – Central Staying within the city offers some obvious perks, including the ability to explore the city itself. And, it’s nice to walk around before dinner, enjoy an Aperol Spritz for aperitivo, and slowly stroll back. But, the historic center of Parma is pedestrian only. Many hotels offer parking for a fee, but if you have a rental car, check your parking options ahead of time. There are no free parking lots in Parma, as there are in Modena. Hotel Palace Maria Luigi This four-star hotel in the heart of Parma features over a hundred rooms, in an historic building. During the day, walk to the most famous attractions of Parma,...
7 Scottish Foods You Must Eat in Edinburgh

7 Scottish Foods You Must Eat in Edinburgh

After a recent work trip to London, we trained on up to Edinburgh for another meeting. And, we were in need of a little city break. So, we stayed a few days more to explore, and eat in Edinburgh. I haven’t been to Edinburgh since 1993 (!) and Scotland is one of the countries I had been to, that Eric hadn’t. This seemed like a perfect chance for Eric to tick a new country off of his list. We love the food we eat living in Girona, but we miss traditional pub grub, like the kind we get when we visit Limerick, Ireland. We were in search of some traditional Scottish foods that we could put on our must eat in Edinburgh list! 7 Dishes You Must Eat in Edinburgh Now, I am not entirely sure how “Scottish” versus British a few of these dishes are. Some of them were on almost every pub menu we saw, regardless of origin. And, I will include some links to recommendations on where to find some of these dishes. I am not an expert on the restaurants in Edinburgh, but I did a lot of research on where to eat in Edinburgh, and most of these pubs were on every list I saw. That must be for a reason. Scotch Eggs You can’t get more Scottish than a dish that has Scotch in its title. I’ve always wanted to try a Scotch Egg. We managed to track one down our first evening in Edinburgh, where we managed to try 4 different dishes on our must eat in Edinburgh list. I loved the...
Stay in Bologna: The Best Accommodations in the Region

Stay in Bologna: The Best Accommodations in the Region

Pellegrino Artusi, the father of the national cuisine of Italy supposedly said “When you hear speak of Bologna cuisine make a bow, for it deserves it.” The food of Bologna is known throughout the world—from tagliatelle, to ragù, to mortadella. And, in order to fully explore the cuisine of Bologna, it helps to find a comfortable, and unique place to stay in Bologna. One thing to note when choosing a place to stay in Bologna. Most of the hotels are within the old city walls. But, most of the city center is a restricted driving zone. There are no real signs that tell you this. You just sort of need to know. Even if the hotel offers parking nearby, this can be a problem. When staying at a city center hotel, you are exempt from these driving restrictions, but the cameras that monitor the cars in the city don’t seem to know that. We’ve been caught at least once with a ticket mailed to us months later because we were driving to our hotel. Where to Stay in Bologna: Central Almost every food traveler in Emilia Romagna ends up in Bologna at some point. And, most likely, that traveler is staying in the center of the city. There is no shortage of hotels within the city center, but these are our recommendations of where to stay in Bologna. Casa Bertagni Amongst a sea of typical European-style hotels, Casa Bertagni stands apart from the rest. The accommodations are within a luxury guest house with a focus on art and architecture. Enjoy rooms with themes such as Justice, The Force, and...
10 Best Pintxos in San Sebastian

10 Best Pintxos in San Sebastian

We traipsed all over San Sebastian, in and out of pintxos bars, to learn everything we possible could about the most well known, and least understood, Spanish cuisine. It was a sacrifice, trust me. By the end of our trip to San Sebastian I was so full all I wanted to do was crawl into bed. But, it was worth it to provide travelers to the Basque Country the 10 best pintxos in San Sebastian. Our List of the 10 Best Pintxos in San Sebastian Some of the following pintxos are definite must eats while touring San Sebastian. Others are the best pintxos we found, even if they weren’t the most traditional. These were the ones we returned for over and over, sometimes twice in one day. And, we had a little bit of help in creating our list of the 10 best pintxos. Some of these we tried during our Devour San Sebastian Pintxos and Wine Tour. Devour San Sebastian taught us all about how to eat, and order, the best pintxos in San Sebastian. Read what other travelers say about Devour San Sebastian here. Gilda – The Original Pintxo The original pintxos. The story is that a patron at Txeptexa liked the flavor of the snacks that were served at the bar. At the time, they included anchovies, pickled peppers, and olives. This patron liked them so much that he skewered them all together to try all the flavors in one bite. The term pintxo refers to the stick that was used to skewer the tasty treats. At Txepetxa, they’ve been offering the gilda every since, and...
Dining at Arzak in San Sebastian

Dining at Arzak in San Sebastian

Being surrounded in Spain by so much great gastronomy, we’ve made the decision to start exploring more of the country. And, we started with the “other” culinary capital of Spain, and that meant a trip to San Sebastian, in the Basque Country. And, on the top of our list was a stop of the 3 Michelin Star Arzak in San Sebastian. We drove about 10 minutes out from the center of San Sebastian, into a residential neighborhood. We actually managed to find Arzak, and park, without getting lost, so we were a little early. We walked into the entrance, which was part bar, part lobby, and as we would find out, part contemporary family living room. Everything at Arzak was family-like. And, that is the reason why I enjoyed it so much. We are not strangers to Michelin Star dining, having previously dined at the number 3 restaurant in the world, El Celler de Can Roca. And, we’ve dined at a few other 3 Michelin Star restaurants, but this experience was, well, unique. When I made the reservation, I asked for a table with good lighting, or near a window, so that I could take photos for my travel blog. That was my only request. I didn’t even really introduce myself at all. Certainly not a reservation laced with special requests.  And, maybe I am fancier that I think I am, particularly with my burgeoning reputation within Spain, but we were treated quite well, solely based on this request. Going Behind the Scenes at Arzak in San Sebastian First, we received a detailed tour of the Arzak operation, where...
What is Eataly World – Bringing Italian Food to The World

What is Eataly World – Bringing Italian Food to The World

When offered the opportunity to visit a self proclaimed food amusement park, you should always say yes. And, that is how we ended up visiting FICO Eataly World in its first week of operation. But, what is a food amusement park? And does FICO fit the bill? What is the Eataly Concept Eataly is a commercial concept where Italian food is offered online, and in speciality shops, from Manhattan to Sao Paolo to Seoul. It is the largest Italian marketplace in the world. The Eataly locations we’ve been to are essentially Italian food stores, normally with a restaurant or two inside.  We recommend the Eataly locations in Bologna and Forli in Emilia Romagna as great places to pick up some food souvenirs, and because the restaurants on site are carefully curated. They are Eataly outposts of some of the most traditional restaurants in those areas, including da Amerigo from Savigno, and Trattoria di Giuliana from Bagno.  It’s success is spawning some competitors, and rumor has it that Jose Andres and Ferran Adria are hoping to building something similar in New York to bring Spanish food to the world. What is FICO Eataly World But, FICO Eataly World takes the original Eataly concept and puts it on steroids. For travelers who have experienced Eataly in Italy, or in the States, this version has a familiar feel. You shop. You eat. You leave. For other travelers, FICO (which stands for Fabbrica Italiana Contadina) is intended as a way to bring the regional foods of Italy all under one roof. There is a bit of a nod to Emilia Romagna, the “hosting...
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