Our Monthly Electronic Newsletter
September 2005

Villa Sublime

Villa Sublime is a fabulous villa right on the ocean in the exclusive Conchas Chinas area. This inviting home has been completely renovated, retaining the best of the classic Vallarta style with a Mediterranean influence. The result is simple, elegant and very comfortable. The ocean's edge sits 30 feet from the main entertaining area, providing an incredible ambience from the sound of the surf and pleasant tropical breezes.

Essential Mexican Spanish Phrases

We're very excited about the addition of so many new Mexican vacation properties to the website. Therefore we thought it would be fun to give you a little Spanish language lesson in our "Tips" this month. Remember though that people are the same the world over – gracious and welcoming no matter whether you speak their language or not. But it's always helpful to know a few common phrases that will make communication a little easier. Try these:

How much does this cost?
¿Cuánto cuesta?

I would like to offer you ________.
Te ofresco_________.

How much do you charge to drive me to the Malecon?
¿Cuánto me cobra por llevarme al malecón?

Please take me to the Malecon?
Por favor lleveme al malecón.

Can you guarantee shipping back to the U.S?
¿Me puede asegurar que será enviado a los Estados Unidos?

How is this food prepared?
¿Cómo está preparada la comida?

May I buy you a drink?
¿Puedo invitarte a un trago?

Where is the bathroom?
¿Dónde está el baño?

What time is it?
¿Qué hora es?

El desayuno

La comida

La cena

Enjoy your meal!
¡Buen Provecho!

Quote to Note:

"Look at Bob Hope. Look at Milton Berle and George Burns. Look how long they lived. Seeing the funny side of things keeps you alive."

- Phyllis Diller

Dear Travelers and Friends,

Our hearts go out to the people affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Our staff recently returned from trips to Mexico, Provence and the French Riviera where we visited many excellent villas, casas and condominiums. We've chosen the best of the best to list on our website. Rest assured that our new properties pass the same demanding standards that we require of every property we offer. We have over 30 new properties in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico alone!

If you haven't experienced Mexico yet, you're in for a wonderful discovery. The beauty, weather, rich history and architecture are amazing. Holiday weeks are filling up quickly, so I encourage you to reserve your winter vacation on the beach now.

Also, for a limited time (through September 30, 2005) you can book a one week stay at any of our properties and receive a 10% discount on any other week(s) booked at the same time! For example, you can reserve a week in Tuscany for October while it’s still warm and get your winter week on the beach in Mexico at 10% off of our listed price.

Happy Travels!

Emmanuel de Ricard, President

Venice, City of Serenity, Part II

Venice is an artistic city, inspirational to everyone who visits. You will be amazed at the quality of light. Surrounded by water, the buildings' reflections are everchanging. The usual blue skies produce strong shadows and shades of light in corridors and alleys. Fog and gray skies in the wintertime soften everything into a wonderland. Charles Dickens wrote to a friend in 1844, "My dear fellow, nothing in the world that you have ever heard of Venice is equal to the magnificence and stupendous reality. The wildest visions of the Arabian nights are nothing to the piazza of St. Mark."

I recommend you purchase a good map and first of all take a public ferry the length of the Grand Canal. This gives an overview of the city. From there you can do a walking tour, either with a guide or independently. The tourist office can help with a taped voice guided tour if you'd like to go at your own pace. There's so much to see and learn about Venice that it's a good idea to stay for at least a week. A tour stop of 1 or 2 days may just frustrate visitors.

The central square Piazza San Marco is dominated by the sumptuous Basilica di San Marco and the gothic Palazzo Ducale which symbolizes Venice's power and glory. (By the way, if you wish to visit the Basilica di San Marco you must dress respectfully or you will be turned away at the door, even if you've stood in line for a long time. This means no shorts, and women must have their shoulders and upper arms covered.)

The beautiful Rialto Bridge was completed in 1592. It's lined on both sides with wonderful shops of all kinds.

Venice is rich in the arts. Home of two of Italy's great composers, Monteverde and Vivaldi, you'll find music, opera, and theatre available everywhere. Famous artists of the area include Bellini, Giovanni, Giorgione, Veronese, Canaletto and Titian.

It's almost always high season in Venice, but the busiest times are in the spring (Easter to June) and early fall (September or October), when the weather is the nicest. Of course the February Carnevale is a favorite time as well. July and August tend to be hot and humid, and winter can be foggy and rainy. Most people arrive either on the train (Stazione di Santa Lucia is in the city), or by air (Marco Polo Airport is just 12 kms from the city, on the mainland.

The Vaporetto is the public walk-on ferry. There are several lines that run up and down the Grand Canal. All stop at St. Mark's, Accademia, Rialto, Ferrovia (for the train station) and Piazzale Roma. It's very different but refreshing to either be afoot or afloat – no cars, buses, or even bicycles!
Items to consider purchasing include Venetian glass and crystal, carnival masks and costumes, Venetian lace, clothing, shoes and accessories. And while here be sure and stop for gelato here and there…yumm!

Mamma's Marinara Sauce
by Dom DeLuise

4 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
(2) 28 oz cans ready-cut peeled tomatoes or 5 lbs fresh tomatoes, peeled and sliced
6 oz can tomato paste
1⁄4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
10 fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste
grated parmesan cheese

In a deep 10 inch frying pan heat the olive oil and gently sauté onion and garlic. Add tomatoes, paste and sun-dried tomatoes. Put on medium heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Use over fish, scallops, shrimp, broiled chicken, and all kinds of pasta. Tear basil leaves into small pieces and sprinkle on top of dish. Add grated cheese to taste.

Villa in the VinesVilla in the Vines sits atop fields upon fields of vineyards, just off to the west you can see the sea as the villa is near Grosetto in the coastal region of Tuscany. The villa is next to Maremma park which includes almost 10,000 hectares of some of the wildest and most intact land in Italy. Visitors can walk, horseback ride, cycle or canoe their way around the park. An excellent opportunity for nature lovers!

"The villa is immaculate, gardens are beautiful, as are the views and the pool! We loved the non-touristy feel of the area. Grossetto is a well-kept secret among Americans."
JS, Harvard, Massachusetts


Newsletter edited by Kathy Hayes | Vacation Villas and Apartments |
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