Madrid, March 10, 2010, Hotel Roommate Alicia, great location

It is our last night on our trip. We had so much fun today and yesterday in Madrid. Last night we went tasca hopping in our neighborhood. We went to five different bar/restaurants. We had a bite here and a glass of wine there or everywhere and had so much fun. Today we took the easy metro all over city and had dinner at a fusion restaurant.

This city is so much wealthier than poor little Lisbon. Many full length mink coats here….only fake fur in Lisbon.

Regardless of the wealth, the following things still need major improvement in Europe. And, I am stereotyping here, but, the napkins at the bar and the toilet paper still only have one half of one ply and are partially made of plastic. Not sure what it is, it tears like paper, but, it has this slick weird feel that really does not absorb as we expect it to.

Glad to finish up our great trip in a wonderful city. And, don´t feel sorry for our time in Portugal. It is over. And, trust me, there are great stories to come with that location. The fun, perfect times make boring stories. We have a lot to talk about with the bad food, wine, teeth as well as the depressing city of Lisbon. We didn´t tell you they were filming something at our hotel in Lisbon. We were so excited. We might be in a movie. Had to show our key to get in there. Many Asians all over the place…found out it was a commercial…for Hyundai. And, as bad as that sounds – we used to own one. They might not have like what we had to say though.

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Lisbon, March 5, 2010, Hotel Avenida Palace, Suite

We arrived in Portugal and are staying at a lovely hotel with a great room. WE will be “meambling” around the city of seven hills (and I hope plenty of public transportation) today.

Glad I quit smoking and that I don’t have to go outside any more to smoke. Everyone is still doing that in Bologna. Here, in Portugal, they still have smoking sections in restaurants.

Lisbon and Madrid, March 8, 2010

Ok, the last little tidbit about Portugal before we move on to Madrid. You know Emeril Lagasse is Portuguese, but, even he doesn´t cook Portuguese food. He knows that shit´s bad. We left Lisbon, depressing city that it is, and went out to a cute little town called Sintra. Yes, they do have the one. For all of you history buffs, it has a castle, a convent, museums and a palace. We, of course, went in none of those. We did ride by them and that sort of counts. We had a pizza there. Yes, we even tried the pizza in Portugal. It too sucked, but, it was pizza so we ate the whole thing. Keith thought it might be a Totino´s. I didn´t think it was that good.

We left for Madrid this morning – early – and are GLAD TO BE HERE. We had a late lunch, Madrilleno style, and are about to walk around our cute little neighborhood and have some cocktails and tapas. It is freezing here, but, we don´t care. It is so much cuter. Yes, we are that deep.

We are staying at the Roommate Alicia Hotel and they upgraded us to a duplex suite. And (by checking on the fire map – as I always do), we have the biggest room here. Two floors and a huge terrace. We could easily have cocktails for 25. However, we are going to have to make friends quickly as we know no one.

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Bologna, March 5, 2010

It’s after lunch on our last day in Bologna and we are slightly hooted. The rain has finally come, glad it waited until our last day. It is only sprinkling though. Today is also the coldest day we’ve had, but, we brought the clothes for it and it has not stopped us. We went to Verona and Padua yesterday -actually got an early start. They are both charming, but, we liked Verona better. May have had something to do with the Amarone we had at lunch. Yes, our livers do not need to get tested upon arrival in the US.

Everyone here wears these bubble coats. I know they are a fad because they look good on no one. Don’t know what all these people are going to do with those ugly coats next year when they go out of style.

Finally got all of appliances working now that it is time to leave. We head out early in the morning… taxi to train station.. train to Milan Centrale..bus to Milan Malpensa airport.. and plane to Lisbon. Will be staying at the Avenida Palace in Lisbon. Time for others to spoil us. We have loved living here for a week though. We’ve ridden the local buses around here and trains to the other towns and only screwed up once. Need to go spend money now. The shops open up (if they are in the mood) again at 3:30 and it is currently 3:10 .

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Bologna, March 1, 2010

We have been browsing around Bologna – or as Harvey said we were meambling. Yes he is now making up words like his mother. Dwofftid – anyone?

Bologna has many huge, beautiful churches very near us. I am pretty sure our chances of getting into heaven have improved immensely.

On Sat we went to the charming, well-to-do town of Parma. Had some lunch and did some shopping. We could barely eat for staring at the couple next to us groping at the table. That night we had our favorite food ever – pigeon – and it was “perfetto”.

Had an interesting dinner Friday at a restaurant that used to be an old drug store. The owner was rather friendly. Too bad – he was not attractive.

Cooked in last night and like the Italians – we went to one shop for cheese and fresh pasta – another for wine – and another for vegetables. We are pretty sure we officially live here!

However, we still can’t figure out the jacuzzi, the dishwasher (yes they actually have one), and how to get more channels on the TV. We are about tired of the earthquake in Chile.

Only found one Internet cafe thus far – and they aren’t in the mood to stay open often – so will get back when we can.

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Bologna, Feb 27, 2010, Il Ginko apartment near the center

We arrived Thursday around 1 PM. Long day, but, a bath, nap and dinner and all is fine. The apartment is cute and other than the wide angle lens they used to take the pictures, looks just like them. The place has 2 bathrooms, but, you have to go thru one to get to the other. They each have a bidet – and God knows you can’t do without 2 of those.

The 2nd one is about 5’11” in height – and we know this as Harvey is 6′. He says that room scares him. Doesn’t bother me at all and wouldn’t bother my brother Johnny either. It also has a jacuzzi, but, of course, we aren’t smart enough to work that.

Bologna has miles of porticoes (covered walkways) and we walked under many of them. I think about 10 miles – Harvey says maybe 3 – WHATEVER!

The food and wine are cheap here – which is nice for a change. The pizzas run 5-6 Euros and wine 10 Euros for a carafe.

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Santiago, Chile

So, we are heading to Chile in the Spring.  We like staying in really nice hotels, so I have been looking at the Ritz in Santiago.  I decided on a club room, which often is not worth the money, but, in this case I think it will be . We don’t know the area at all – and I like coffee in the morning and don’t like paying $15 for room service. I found out on Booking.com that they had the best deal, or equal to the best deal.  I like dealing with Booking.com for that reason – and later if I find something cheaper, I can usually avoid cancelation charges. It saved me $200 over what the Ritz website had. And depending on prices there, that can either be one or two dinners with wine.

Of course, I start with Trip Advisor, so that I don’t miss anything. I take Trip Advisor comments as just one aspect of my possible sources.

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The Beginning

My friends suggested I write a travel blog. I have been writing to them for years, but, just decided to put this out there to see what happens. My husband and I travel together and I tend to write about where we stay, a lot about what we eat, and any situations we get into. As we make most all of our arrangements and study locations for months, we do get into some issues. However, if everything goes perfectly, then that doesn’t make for a very good story. We sometimes meet up with our friends on trips, but, we always meet new people as well. Many of those have become our dear friends. We like to travel internationally and plan to do it as long as we can. So, here it goes.

The name, Save your Pennies to Spend your Dollars. This is my mother’s philosophy and it’s how we travel. That is why we make our own arrangements. We like great places, but, I can’t stand paying someone else several thousand dollars to do what in some cases I love to do and in others certainly don’t mind doing. We are going to South America in March and tours were $13,000 for what we will pay around $7,000 for – and- we will stay in better hotels and eat better food – two things that are very important to us.

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