Thursday, November 19, 2015

One of Andrew's Top Ten Cakes of All Time: Rumfest's Ding Dong Cake


Rumfest's Ding Dong Cake in a blaze of glory
         Every year, our friend Jayne’s Birthday Celebration is declared Rumfest.  That’s a combination of her maiden name and the fact that Jayne’s Birthday is never confined to a single day. It seems to carry on for at least a week, punctuated with multiple events to celebrate her big day.   Before you go thinking this may have something to do with the fact that Jayne was born on a Friday the thirteenth, I have to stop you.  Triskaidekaphobia has nothing to do with it.  “Unlucky” thirteen has little to do with Friday at all.  It's a superstitition relating to Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus. Supposedly he was the 13th to sit at the Last Supper.  But the Bible doesn't say anything about the order in which the Apostles sat.  And if we’re discussing unlucky numbers, Hexakosiohexekontahexaphobia, or fear of the number 666 has to be added to a list that includes Tetraphobia, or fear of the number 4, which leads buildings in most Asian countries to lack floors that include that digit.  17 is unlucky in Italy and 39 in Afghanistan and 87 is unlucky when Australians play cricket.  And get this, 13 is actually a lucky number in Italy!  I hope this clears things up for you.  But I digress… 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Day Thirteen of My Great Viking Adventure Part 2: You say Croatia, I say Hrvatska

         Of the six countries on Viking Star’s Mediterranean Odyssey, the only one I had never visited was Croatia, better known to its inhabitants as Hrvatska.   We made two stops there along the stretch of the country that makes up the Dalmatian Coast.  This where the Adriatic is at its cleanest, the water as pure and see-through as anywhere on earth.   It’s a rugged coast and because there are no waves to speak of, its rocky shore offers no sandy beaches, just miles of glorious views.   Our first stop there was the city of Dubrovnik.  All I knew of Dubrovnik was the lyric of a very old Liza Minelli song.  The song was about a New Yorker who went to Europe in search of love, or at least a husband.  She had not had a successful trip: “She bombed out in Brussells, in Mallorca and Rome till someone said “Try Dubrovnik, dear, before you go home”,  ‘Cause it’s the kind of town where you’re likely to fall and all the gente cognoscenti find the Balkans a ball…”.  Truth is, I never made it to Dubrovnik. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Days Eleven and Twelve of My Great Viking Adventure Part 2: Getting to know Viking Star and Corfu, I hardly knew you.

On our Sea Day, we sailed past Stromboli at Sunrise.
Called "The Lighthouse of the Mediterranean",
Stromboli is one of Italy's 3 active volcanoes as seen in the steam rising from its core.
Viking Star docked in Venice 
There is only one sea day on Viking Star’s 13 day Mediterranean Odyssey.  Since this is truly a dream boat, offering so much more than one could ever experience in two weeks, let alone a single day, this day is much anticipated.  Coming as is it does after long days touring Florence, Rome and Naples, the chance to sample the spa, the swimming pools and everything else on offer, is much appreciated. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Day Ten of My Great Viking Adventure Part 2: See Naples and Make Pizza.

        We sailed into Naples, mid-morning.  There is a famous quote about Naples…”Vide Napoli e Mori” which translates to “See Naples and Die”.  The phrase is not attributed to any author and is meant to suggest that once you’ve beheld the beauties of Naples, there’s nothing left to live for.   This is probably one of the most puzzling phrases on earth because the first view of Naples is nothing to write home about.  Some wag has suggested that to see Naples from the deck of a ship is to die of disappointment.  There’s an ancient city and just outside it, a group of skyscrapers that could be anywhere on earth.  But they do come as quite a shock.  And disembarking doesn’t exactly change one’s mind about seeing Naples and dying.