WOW Word-Of-the-Week #488: Class

December 11, 2013 by · Comments Off on WOW Word-Of-the-Week #488: Class 

Class – of high quality; the very best.

Have you ever had “first class” treatment? Do you remember what it was that made you feel that way? Does your company strive to give your guests, customers, members or clients “the very best” service and product?

This week’s WOW is all about how you feel when you have been “obliged” beyond your wildest expectations. It’s the polar polar opposite of invisible. It’s being treated first class all the way! Class to me can be described as the “crème de la crème” as the French say or “lo mejor de lo mejor” as the Spanish say. They both mean the very best.

One of my desires for taking our last trip was to go back to Italy, (one of my favorite places in the world) to meet Chris’ sister in Trieste, and to get to see Sicily. After my speech in Rimini we drove south and ended our trip in Palermo ten days later.

Getting to the ferry landing, to go over to Sicily, was a bit tricky as the signage was not very clear. (That’s pretty much all of Italy) We had both GPS and an Italian Road Atlas which is only good for not getting lost about 95% of the time!

We did figure it out and it only took 30 minutes to cross and arrive in Messina, Sicily. We had two nights reserved at Villa Ducale in Taormina because my clienta classy-chic1 in Rimini recommended it. When we finally arrived at our hotel (after driving in what felt like circles) I was a bit frazzled to say the least! When I went to the front desk area we were greeted by Paolo the manager. I told him, “I need a cold beer.” And he immediately escorted us out to the patio area, high atop the hill overlooking the city of Taormina. The beers arrived with a plate of olives, bruschetta and cheese.

We were then greeted by Rosaria the owner (and Nico her dog) who told us, “This is the house I grew up in. We want you to feel welcome and ask for anything you want. You are like family during your stay. What can we bring for lunch? Anything you want.” That was just the beginning of two of the best days ever! The service was outstanding the entire time!

What stood out and made this feel like “first class” – Paolo came out from behind the desk, sat down with us at the couch, took out a map and explained everything about Taormina and the hotel. He gave us the “free shuttle” times to town and to the beach. If you wanted to be dropped off or picked up at a different time just tell him. They include desserts at 4 pm and appetizers at 6pm everyday at no extra charge. If you want a beverage you pay for it.

He then asked for our car keys so he could get our bags out of the car as he escorted us to our room. He then showed us how everything worked and what was included at no charge.

What made this a “first class experience” was they anticipated all of our needs up front – what a concept! We never had to ask how to get anywhere or “guess” what things were included or what they cost. When I asked if I could have eggplant parmesan that was on the breakfast buffet for dinner, they made it fresh for us that night. When we checked out there were no charges for any of the meals. All included. Nice touch! Paolo even helped us get a copy of my husband’s father’s birth certificate by calling the office to tell them the Americans were headed over.

This week’s focus is on creating a “class” act. It doesn’t matter if you work for a big company or for yourself. Do your guests, customers, members or clients have to “guess” what’s included with your product? Are your policies clear? What could you do different to create a “first class” experience? Do you ever include an item at no charge?

FUN-photos: Trieste to Venice for Adriatic Cruise – October, 2013

November 11, 2013 by · Comments Off on FUN-photos: Trieste to Venice for Adriatic Cruise – October, 2013 

We arrived in Trieste on October 2nd and were warmly welcomed by Chris’ sister Cinzia. We spent three wonderful days with her and her family before taking the train to Venice to board the ship for our 10 day Adriatic Cruise on Seabourn. Our stops included Corfu, Katakolon, & Igoumenitsa, Greece – Brindisi, Italy – Kotor, Montenegro – Split & Ravinj, Croatia. The pictures are from the places we really enjoyed – Trieste, Venice, Kotor, Split & Ravinj

If you click on the first picture it will allow you to create a slide show. And it turns out they are in ascending order (in other words, the first is actually the last) So if you click the back arrow you will see them in order. Enjoy!

FUN-travel: Zambrone/Tropea, Italy to Taormina, Sicily

October 30, 2013 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Zambrone/Tropea, Italy to Taormina, Sicily 

Day 38 – Wednesday, October 23 – Zambrone, Italy  to Taormina, Sicily – Full Day – full sun – high 75 – low 59

Pompeii, Italy 2013 8



Pompeii, Italy 2013 17


  • *7:30 – walk down to restaurant –sandwich to go & hard boiled eggs
  • huge resort w/beautiful gardens – bushes, trees & flowers on way to breakfast next to pool & beach
  • 8:30 – ready to go on next adventure
  • **check out & room is free – thank you MAX!
  • program GPS
  • 8:40 – take off
  • ***9:55 – only drove 50 kms & need a break
  • more good cappuccino @ auto/truck stop on A3 – cheapest yet @ $1.30 ea
  • +more tunnels & switchback roads
  • ++11:00 – arrive Villa San Giovanni port for ferry to Messina
  • 11:20 – depart
  • 11:50 – arrive
  • 12:00 – drive off fairy
  • GPS knows where we’re going!
  • 78 degrees w/blue skies!
  • +++arrive toll booth for ticket
  • 10:45 – arrive Taoramina – nice police woman & taxi driver direct us
  • #1:00 – arrive Villa Ducale in Taoramina
  • can see plumes of smoke coming from top of crater
Pompeii, Italy 2013 28

Pompeii Ceiling


Pompeii, Italy 2013 14


  • 7:00 – Chris wakes me up trying to be quiet – then comes back (as breakfast starts 7:30)
  • *machine cappuccino not good – tastes funny
  • machine coffee not much better
  • no fresh fruit
  • **Max has business & not available to meet
  • GPS takes us the shortest distance
  • ***roads in desperate need of repair
  • washed out in some stretches
  • +more road work – only 1 lane & really slow
  • ++GPS recalculating again! drive in circles & figure it out ourselves
  • +++say we owe them $2 Euro & Chris gives it to them! (you pay at the end)
  • # GPS recalculating again! – road signs (or lack thereof) very confusing or non existent
  • internet & email not working 100% – can’t post
  • Hot Spot is same provider I had in Trieste – my  computer doesn’t like it

FUN-fact – First time we saw a hotel with 5 stars and an L added at end. Means 5 star Luxury.

Taormina, Italy 2013 4

Taormina – View From Hotel


FUN-travel: Sorrento to Zambrone/Tropea, Italy

October 29, 2013 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Sorrento to Zambrone/Tropea, Italy 

Day 37 – Tuesday, October 22 – Sorrento to Zambrone, Italy – hazy turns to full sun – high 75 – low 59

Positano, Italy 2013 2



  • *7:30 – more good macchiato

    Positano, Italy 2013 12


  • 9:30 – breakfast
  • 10:00 – ready to go
  • Pierpaolo has friend Max w/hotel in Zambrone for us to connect with
  • **front desk calls for 5:00 meet up there
  • ***Chris taking really long time bringing car up from garage
  • ask front desk how you get out
  • she views camera & opens door for him
  • ask front desk how to  go w/car & directs us to faster road south
  • English radio in car
  • more really steep road w/switchbacks
  • glad we have automatic!
  • 11:00 – arrive Positano – JTC!
  • find parking right in town – only $4 Euro for 1  hour
  • wander through maze of small streets
  • 11:45 – hot cappuccino break
  • 12:00 – ready to go
  • 12:30 – arrive Amalfi – eat to go sandwich @ fountain by sea
  • walk around town – more JTC!
  • +1:30 – more hot capp @ stand up bar – $5 Euro
  • share bar w/bicycling buddies
  • took picture for my brother who loves to cycle w/his buddies
  • ++1:45 – ready to head south
Positano, Italy 2013 6


  • more teeny, tiny road snakes down & out of Amalfi coast
  • +++4:35 – gas/cappuccino/cheese & arugula panini break
  • 5:00 – continue
Amalfi, Italy 2013 18


  • big mountains give way to rolling hills
  • lots of tunnels
  • #7:00 – arrive hotel – il Borgo de Principe (after passing it, coming to a dead end road & doing u turn)

    Amalfi, Italy 2013 16


  • front desk gives us biz card for restaurant in Tropea (10 kms)
  • leave big bags in car – too much hassle!
  • 8:00 – we find it! good signage & directions from locals – Il Convivio – in medieval section of town
  • Negromare 2010  vino rosso – have no idea where it’s from – $23 Euro – calabrian salad (basically like greek w/o feta & olives) – lasagna (swinging out & trying something new) – so so Chris thinks mine is better – bread is like pizza w/o toppings – tartuffo for dessert (for mama & whitey) – ball of vanilla ice cream filled w/chocolate syrup & rolled in powdered chocolate – capp for Chris – $43 Euro
  • 9:15 – OWF – attempt to find way back!
  • need to go left & arrow points right only
  • when in doubt play stupid & go where you need to
  • 10:00 – arrive w/no map or GPS – unbelievable!
  • 12:00 – night night

JTC – Just Too Cute!
OWF – Oh What FUN!

Amalfi, Italy 2013 12



  • *Chris wakes me up 6:15 – thinks it’s 7:15!
  • **traffic is crazy & roads under construction
  • Don’t arrive until 7:00 pm & miss meeting Max
  • ***he’s stuck – garage door won’t open
  • +asked to sit @ table in Piazza & told had to eat so left & found this place

Sorrento, Italy 2013 7

  • ++not ready for the long drive
  • +++lots of roadwork – only 1 lane for long stretches
  • #GPS can’t locate hotel
  • we’re so late Max has gone
  • no internet @ hotel
  • missing my bed big time!
Amalfi, Italy 2013 19


FUN-fact – Amalfi means the “Devine Coast” and Positano is said to be the most “Devine Town.”
More FF – Flavio Gioia, who invented the compass, was born in Amalfi.
Not so FF – Calabria reminds us of Mexico.

FUN-travel: Sorrento, Italy – Full Day 2

October 28, 2013 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Sorrento, Italy – Full Day 2 

Day 36 – Monday, October 21 – Sorrento, Italy – Day 2 – full sun – high 75 – low 59

Herculaneum, Italy 2013 8

Hall of the Augustals – Herculaneum


Herculaneum, Italy 2013 24


  • 7:15 – try macchiato & much better!
  • 9:30 – breakfast & to go sandwich
  • I ask directions for driving out of garage – WWIT!
  • Elisabetta @ front desk is the best
  • BI – assumes we’re taking train to Herculaneum & Pompeii
  • *10:37 – train on time
  • only costs $2.20 pp one way
  • faster & no traffic nightmare
  • 11:25 – arrive Erculano station
  • not sure where it is so just follow the crowd down hill
  • 11:35 – get tickets – $10 Euro for 1 site or $20 Euro for all 5 sites
  • only going to Pompeii – but hey, save $2 Euro
  • **free booklet describes the ruins
  • lovely Brit gives me his map – says no need to pay for audio – booklet has same info
  • 12:00 – start walk down – area approx 4 big blocks by 4 big blocks – just some of the things we saw:
  • Barrel Arches – vaulted rooms – port warehouses – discovered in 1980 w/300 skeletons
  • House of Relief of Telephus – 2nd largest – between columns hang plaster casts of marble to ward off evil
  • Taberna – public dining w/marble covered counter held large jars inserted w/hot food
  • House of Neptune & Amphitrite – glass paste wall mosaic of Neptune & Amphitrite
  • Hall of the Augustals – frescos depict Hercules
Herculaneum, Italy 2013 20

House of Neptune & Amphitrite

Herculaneum, Italy 2013 42

Barrel Arches

  • ***1:30 – finish
  • +1:50 – arrive train station
  • chat with lovely couple from Perth while waiting
  • 2:37 – take train to Pompeii
  • 2:57 – arrive & entrance is right there
  • I was here 15 years ago – Chris’ 1st time
  • wander streets – amazing how big city was!
  • 4:00 – overwhelmed & done
  • beer break – Heineken 22 oz – $5 Euro
  • stations very well marked for tourists & they announce sites
  • ++4:25 – get a seat
  • 4:55 – arrive
  • 5:15 – see couple eating pizza & ask how good – they say driver recommended it (next couple to sit down after us says same thing)
  • nothing fancy – 3 high top tables on narrow sidewalk
  • Pizzeria Franco – diavola & caprese salad – more homegrown tomatoes –2005 Vigna Piano d’Angelo – the BEST so far! $53 Euro
Herculaneum, Italy 2013 22


  • 6:30 – back to hotel
  • pack & get ready for next big adventure
  • +++10:15  night night

BI (brilliant idea!)
WWIT (What Was I Thinking!)

Herculaneum, Italy 2013 26

House of Relief of Telephus


  • *SRO & packed like sardines
  • **have to buy audio guide to get map
  • ***some things I want to see closed for renovation
  • +ask for directions & miss 1:53 train – have to wait for next one
  • ++4:17 – train late
  • +++twinkle no longer dancing in distance
Pompeii, Italy 2013 8


FUN-fact –Unlike Pompeii, which was buried under a layer of ash and lapilli 6 to 7 meters deep,  Herculaneum was submerged by a mud and lava flow measuring up to 25 meters deep. It is the mud that preserved everything it came in contact with, effectively sealing it and petrifying it.
More FF – Herculaneum was a very affluent community with large villas filled with rich collections of art and sculptures.
More FF – Herculaneum and Pompeii became a UNESCO site in 1997.

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