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: Rimini to Palermo, Italy

November 11, 2013 by · Comments Off on FUN-photos: Rimini to Palermo, Italy 

We arrived in Rimini the afternoon of October 15th. We were there for the TTG Incontri Travel & Tourism Industry Show where Susan spoke. On the morning of the 19th we picked up another car and headed south with our first stop in San Marino and then on to Sorrento for 3 days where we visited Capri, the Blue Grotto, Pompeii & Herculaneum. We continued south along the Amalfi Coast with stops in Positano & Amalfi and spent the night in Tropea. We drove to Villa San Giovanni where we picked up the ferry to Sicily. Our first stop there was Taormina for 2 days, then off to Ragusa for 2 days with stops on the way in Giardini-Naxos, Siracusa & Noto. Our last 2 nights were spent in Terrasini, a small seaside town next to the airport since we had a very early flight out on the 29th. We stopped and saw the Greek ruins in Agrigento & Segesta as well as seeing the fabulous church in Monreale on the outskirts of Palermo.

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: Taormina to Ragusa, Sicily

November 9, 2013 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Taormina to Ragusa, Sicily 

Day 40 – Friday, October 25 –Taormina to Ragusa, Sicily – full sun – high 75 – low 59


  • 7:30 – really good, hot, strong cappuccinoGiardini Naxos, Italy 2013 6
  • 10:00 – Paolo calls official registration office in Giardini-Naxos
  • shows us how to go there
  • Chris’ dad was born there
  • 10:30 – check out – no charge for any food!
  • this is one of the best places we ever stayed! service off the charts!
  • 10:50 – drive to Giardini-Naxos
  • 11:20 – arrive Ufficio Anagrate
  • taken back to archives – metal cabinet w/ledgers
  • 1916 – page w/Nov 15th births
  • makes us a copy to take
  • no charge!
  • 12:40 – drive through town to Archaeological Park – $2 Euro pp
  • nice walk to stretch legs
  • 1:15 – drive to Siracusa
  • **2:10 – arrive & drive around
  • find huge park w/greek ruins
Giardini Naxos, Italy 2013 5


  •  2:50 – lunch @only place we find w/parking
  • Pizzeria Don Chisciotte – order 4 cheese pizza – turns out its 4 items – ham, olives, mushrooms & peas – diet coke – $8.50 Euro – pretty bad
  • 3:20 – drive to Noto
  • ***4:15 – arrive
  • 1:45 – finally get to old city – JTC!

    Noto, Italy 2013 7


  • wish we would have come here to eat
  • nice sidewalk cafes
  • +5:00 – head to Ragusa
  • 6:30 – arrive Hotel Villa Del Lauro
  • free parking on street (more like an alley if you ask me)
  • Domenico checks us in
  • ask for room on 1st floor – he says not as nice as 2nd floor room
  • he is so right
  • beautiful big room w/french doors to patio
  • overlooking big grass yard w/swimming pool
  • ++carries our bags up for us
  • was originally a palace
  • free mini bar – water, beer, snacks – JLT!
  • 8:30 – short walk to new town
  • +++9:00 – dinner @ Konza – mixed salad w/olives, carrot, mozzarella, capers, tomatoes, corn – tagliatelle w/mushroom & sausage – pretty good – 2009 Baglio Caruana, Vilucchio cab/merlot – $19 Euro
  • 10:05 – walk back
  • internet & email works here! (hotspot is the provider I don’t like)
  • 11:45 – night night

JTC – just too cute!
JLT – just love that!

1 Noto, Italy



  • *pretty disappointing – not much to see
  • can’t find city center for lunch options
  • put  piazza in GPS but nothing there
  • ***once again – crazy one way streets – no clear signs to old city center
  • +GPS wants to take us on back roads – don’t want to do that!
  • more confusing road signs
  • ++no elevator (3 story)
  • +++couldn’t find recommended ones on map

FUN-fact – The theatre in Siracusa is one of the largest ever built by the ancient Greeks: it has 67 rows, divided into nine sections with eight aisles. Taormina’s is the second largest of its kind in Sicily.

Noto, Italy 2013 2

FUN-travel: Taormina, Sicily – Full Day

November 8, 2013 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Taormina, Sicily – Full Day 

Day 39 – Thursday, October 24 –Taormina, Sicily – Full Day – full sun – high 75 – low 59

Taormina, Italy 2013 17

Teatro Grecp


  • 8:30 – wake up (pill worked Chris slept in!)Taormina, Italy 2013 45
  • big, hot cappuccino
  • 2nd one – double shot espresso even better!
  • 11:00 – head out for walk down to town
  • steep rock path w/switch backs down
  • 11:20 – arrive & JTC!
  • 11:50 – arrive Teatro Greco – Greek/Roman amphitheatre – $8 Euro pp
  • 12:10 – navigate medieval city main street & shops
  • side alleys w/steep steps1:45 – lunch Osteria da Rita – order etna pizza – onion, garlic, chili peppers, fresh cherry tomatoes, oregano, mozzarella (like bruschetta) VG! – 2 glasses house wine (not good) – $20.50 Euro – has TA 4.5* rating & locals eat here! – server Alessandra excellent!
  • 3:30 – shuttle back
  • room R & R
  • *5:45 – happy hour
  • 7:30 dinner on patio – ordered eggplant parmesan (had a taste at breakfast & asked if I could have it for dinner) & pasta arrabiata (spicy & good) – 2010 Firriato, Harmonium, Nero d’Avola, $23 Euro
  • 10:30 – night night

JTC – just too cute!

Taormina, Italy 2013 35


  • internet & email still a problem!
  • *no sunset – clouds moved in

FUN-fact – During the early 20th century the town became a colony of expatriate artists, writers, and intellectuals.
More FF – Teatro Greco is one of the most celebrated ruins in Sicily, on account of its remarkable preservation and its beautiful location.

Taormina, Italy 2013 24

FUN-travel: Taormina, Sicily – Half Day

November 4, 2013 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Taormina, Sicily – Half Day 

Day 38 – Wednesday, October 23 – Taormina, Sicily – Half Day – blue sky, hazy filtered sun – high 78 – low 59


Taormina, Italy 2013 8

View From Hotel

Taormina, Italy 2013 33

Clock Tower

  • *1:00 – arrive Villa Ducale in Taormina
  • Paolo (manager) checks us in – sees my frazzled state &
  • immediately takes us to patio/bar/dining area – perched high atop the hill
  • fabulous view overlooking town & sea w/Mt. Etna to the west
  • brings us 2 cold Messina beers w/bruscetta & cheese/olive plate
  • Rosaria (owner) & dog Nico sit with us & welcome us to her childhood home
  • insists we have lunch – brings pasta w/zucchini & mixed grill fish/gambas platter
  • upgrades us to suite – JLT!
  • Mauro from Rimini emailed them & said we were coming (connections are a good thing)
  • **room R & R
  • ***6:30 – happy hour – free appetizers (4:00 tea w/free desserts too)
  • 7:00 – free shuttle down to town
  • nice stroll down & back main street
  • 8:00 – ramble down side street for dinner
  • +opt for Gambero Rosso – Angheli 2009 Donna Fugata $27 Euro – diavola pizza w/mixed salad – hot chili oil, garlic oil & oregano on side – $71 – just so so
  • 10:00 – shuttle back
  • beautiful orange almost full moon hangs over sea
  • give Chris sleeping pill

JLT – just love that

Taormina, Italy 2013 7

Mt. Etna


  • *frazzled from drive – more tiny, not clearly marked streets – GPS recalculating
  • **internet & email not working 100% – can’t post
  • Hot Spot is same provider I had in Trieste – my computer doesn’t like it
  • ***missed the sunset – skies full of varying  shades of orange streaks
  • +should have got recommendation from Paolo – WWIT!

WWIT – What Was I Thinking!

Taormina, Italy 2013 9

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