Brunello 1 is a perfect Tuscan country
retreat set amongst
a haven of natural beauty and twenty
five hectares of vineyards. The traditional
house with a cottage have been lovingly
restored by the owners, using only
materials found in the area. It is
approximately eleven kilometers from
Montalcino which is well known
for Brunello wine.
1 and its cottage can accommodate
twelve guests with four bedrooms
and four full baths in the main
villa and two bedrooms and two
full baths in the cottage. Both have
two stories tastefully
furnished with a comfortable mix
of antique, modern and traditional
Tuscan country style.
From the Villa, you have territorial
views of the terraced
lawns, swimming pool and countryside
lined with grapes. A gazebo on the lawn
is ideal for al fresco dining: the outdoor
barbeque and pizza oven
await a cook. A small, two
floor building with a modern gym, jacuzzi
and sauna completes the grounds.
Travel Gifts and Crafts
Now that the holidays are upon us, my mind
is focused on honoring my friends and family with a gift. Each
year I try to choose something special for each, and since I particularly
enjoy writing, crafts and homemade items, I explore the possibilities
in that realm. With travel being a major joy, I'd like to
encourage your "craftiness" by sharing some ideas
with you, my fellow travel junkies!
When I travel abroad I take lots of photos
and purchase tons of postcards wherever I can. I also keep placemats,
coasters, guides, maps, tour info, tickets, and anything else
that's made of paper or plastic and is easy to tuck into
my suitcase. This gives me a mountain of craft materials to choose
from when I get home.
Then when I find myself with a bit of alone
time on a rainy afternoon, I pull out my
file full of memorabilia, sit down with a cup of tea, and put
together a keepsake for myself
or someone near and dear. What's better than to relive the
joys of travel while sharing yourself with
Here are a few things I've done with such
Throw a party centered around an area you
saw on your travels: Use memorabilia to make invitations, table
decorations, games, and prepare local cuisine.
Make a picture frame decorated with travel
Make a card out of a photo or postcard, add stickers,
a little journaling, and a special greeting.
Decorate a small wooden box that can be used
for trinkets, letters, jewelry, or photos.
Give a gift of travel (reservations at a
villa or apartment in the future) in the form of a card or album
Make a memory album using a variety of materials
along with written memories of the times you enjoyed along the
Write a story about your adventures, using
the photos and memorabilia to add interest and color.
I also love to pick up little gifts while
I'm abroad. I try to choose small, durable
items that are particularly noteworthy from a special
area. I remember a small glass heart from
Florence for a granddaughter. And a beautiful
grape wood rolling pin from Tuscany, for
my sister. Along with a hand made card depicting
the area, these make precious keepsakes
for those we think about on our travels.
I don't know about
you, but sharing the experience after I
get back home is half the fun!
Have a most wonderful Christmas season, and
I wish you every happiness in the New Year!
Cherokee Story of Two Wolves
evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes
on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between 2 "wolves" inside
One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy,sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance,
self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority,
The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility,
kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."
Travelers and Friends,
As we enter into this holiday season and
the last month of 2005, I just want to take
a moment to thank you all for your continued
support and wonderful travel stories!
Our customers are our inspiration
and it is only with your help that we move
ahead to improve our services to you!
I have a feeling that 2006 is going to be
a great year for travel as many of you have
already proven. Properties are steadily
being booked throughout the new year with
Tuscany and Mexico still ahead in terms
of popularity. I encourage those of you
who have discovered and rediscovered Tuscany
to branch out. Take a chance on France
Portugal — you'll be pleasantly suprised!
We at RentaVilla.com want to wish you and
your loved ones all the best during this
month of festivities!
Emmanuel de Ricard, President
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
located in the western part of the state
of Jalisco in central Mexico, overlooking
the Pacific Coast. On Banderas
Bay, one of the largest bays
in the world (42 kms north to south), when visitors step off the plane they're
awestruck by the natural beauty of this
popular Mexican destination.
With a backdrop of the rugged and lush
Sierra de Vallejo and Sierra del Cuale
mountain ranges, and next to the powerful
Ameca River, this beautiful piece of
Mexican geography was once land-locked.
But even then whalers and fishermen frequented
the bay, and Spanish ships used it to repair
their vessels, provision with fresh water and food, take refuge
from storms and pirates,
and even build new ships. Later vessels
from the Philippines and the Orient found
this wonderfully safe harbor.
The mountains held silver, and when large
and prosperous mines developed in the nineteenth century, the entire
area prospered. Mountain communities became hubs of economic activity.
The village of Puerto Vallarta, then called Las Penas, became the
main port for the loading and unloading of supplies and materials
for the mining companies.
In the 1880's Don Guadalupe Sanchez Torres
began a salt trade there. The mines needed
vast quantities of salt to process the
silver ore, and Don Guadalupe mined the
salt on nearby islands, brought it to
the port, and loaded bags on donkeys
for transport to the mines. With his
charismatic and enthusiastic leadership,
the people got the port officially named
Las Penas and officially opened it to
national maritime traffic with its own
Maritime Customs Office. In 1886, the
town was given official political and
judicial standing by decree from the
State Congress. Don Guadalupe is still
a local hero.
The town grew daily with the arrival
of new families. Many were in the salt trade, but the fertile Ameca
valley was so rich that it produced 3 corn harvests in a single
year, so agriculture and raising cattle was a real draw. Then in
1918 Las Penas was granted the title of municipality as well as
a new name, Puerto Vallarta, in memory of the illustrious lawyer
and Governor of Jalisco, Don Ignacio L. Vallarta.
As banana plantations flourished with
brisk trade to the United States, railways
were built that furthered trade. During
WW II, soldiers were given shark liver
oil as a nutritional supplement, so the
bay's plentiful shark population supported the local fishing
business. And over the course of years,
a few national and foreign tourists began
coming to Puerto Vallarta, returning year after
year to spend their vacation enjoying
the tranquility and great natural beauty
of the port. Then the hit American movie Iguana was
made here in 1963, and Puerto Vallarta's
beautiful wide beaches and tropical forest
background became known to the world. Big Hollywood
stars, intellectuals, and national celebrities
led the way to paradise.
Now the second most-visited resort city
in all of Mexico, attracting 2.2 million tourists per year, it is
easily accessible from key U.S. gateways including Los Angeles,
Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Phoenix and Newark. The city caters to
visitors, offering great shopping, restaurants and cafes, tours,
water sports, and a relaxed and festive lifestyle in an ideal climate.
RentaVilla.com has numerous villas and apartments in the area, and
if you don't see exactly what you want on our site, let us
know your needs and we'll work to find it. Our owners in Puerto
Vallarta are knowledgeable and accommodating.
Making of Plum Pudding
pudding began as a medieval harvest dish, an unsweetened wheat
and grain stew. As the dish evolved, beef broth was added, and brown
bread for thickening, then spices, gingerbread, raisins, and
In Old England plum pudding was called
simply Christmas pudding. Although plum pudding can be complicated
to make, an easily made pudding can be just as good,
if not better. Here's one adapted from an 1845 recipe.
cup butter, softened
3/4 cup grated carrots
1/4 cup candied orange rind
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup minced, peeled apples
3/4 cup currants
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup brandy
blanched, split almonds (optional)
1/2 cup flour, sifted with:
1/8 tsp mace
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
all ingredients except eggs and brandy
until well blended. Stir in eggs.
Pour into a lightly greased pudding
mold or coffee can and cover tightly
with foil or a lid. Place on a rack
in a pan with boiling water extending
two thirds of the way up the sides
of the container. Boil for 3 hours.
To serve, reheat by wrapping pudding
in aluminum foil and heating in the
oven. For decoration as well as extra flavor,
you can sprinkle with blanched,
split almonds and pour the brandy
over the top. Garnish with fresh
mint. May be served with a hard sauce
on the side if desired.
Marais Delight is a beautifully
situated apartment in rue de Turenne
in the Marais (4th arrondissement),
near Musee Carnavalet and Musee
Picasso and between St. Paul and
Place des Voges. It is at the
end of the rue des Francs-Bourgeois,
one of the most exciting shopping
streets in Paris. The nearest
metro stations are St. Paul and
Chemin Vert which is a direct
line to Bastille.
the second floor of a beautiful
historic 17th century building,
Marais Delight is light
and bright with views onto both
the garden side and the street.
The living room is elegant and functional;
the kitchen is furnished with modern
appliances. Two spacious bedrooms
and two ensuite bathrooms complete
this lovely Parisian apartment.
apartment is a delight!". —
JR, Albany, CA
thoroughly enjoyed our apartment
in the Marais District. It was a
very convenient location and the manager
was very helpful in all things." — DM,
Newsletter editor: Kathy Hayes