walking, always walking 👞👢👠👟👡

Today I decided to walk back from Cale de Queso which is located on Baltazara de Calderon 3 – 76 y Gran Colombia where I bought a few of their delicious rolls and some cookies. It’s not easy to leave with just that skimpy bag, when (see below) scream to be bought . . . but, I did it . . . this time around.

It’s always nice walking along Simon Bolivar passing interesting places along the way. Hostal Posada del Angel on Estevez de Toral 8 – 91 y Bolivar, and its restaurant, Mangiare Benne, is one of those delightful places where a few of us (remember Emi and Minesh?) had a delicious Thanksgiving dinner last year (minus the turkey). www.hostalposadadelangel.com

Still walking, I reached Hermano Miguel where I turned right and came to Calle Larga. Then down the 88 steps to Tres de Noviembre where halfway over the bridge I noticed this lovely rainbow –

IMG_1913.JPG Grant you, I could have taken a fuller picture, but I could also have fallen into the Rio Tomebamba while holding an umbrella, two heavy bags of fruit, and a phone on a rainy evening.

When I looked up after taking the picture, I noticed a large group of bicyclists at one end of the bridge traveling along Tres de Noviembre, and at the other end across 12 de Abril at Parque de la Madre, adjacent to the Planetarium, there was lively entertainment. I love when Cuenca is busy having fun.

Whew! It’s been a long walk . . . forging ahead on 12 de Abril I finally reach my friendly neighborhood restaurant, Common Grounds at Paucarbamba 2 – 75. This is where crossing four lanes of highway gets tricky. Cars were in full force . . . but . . . tonight apparently gracious drivers were, too. Thank you!

Then along came a foot race on 12 de Abril – I had lots of company on the last leg of the walk.


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Wherever you are, be totally there. – Eckhart Tolle

the mutter museum, di bruno, dandelion restaurant/pub, parc restaurant, la colombe

Did I hear you say you’re coming to Philly? Well then, let’s plan a lovely day of maybe a museum and a few places to eat and people watch at the same time.

There’s the Mutter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. I haven’t been there yet, but whenever I walk by on my way to Trader Joe’s, there are usually people entering and leaving. The grounds around the museum are lovely, and that includes the Benjamin Rush Medicinal Plant Garden with benches for relaxing in a delightful and peaceful setting.

Is there a question about going to the Mutter Museum, or eating before going? All right, let’s think about where to eat — perhaps at Di Bruno at 1730 Chestnut Street. There is an upstairs cafe and “weekend brunch is from10:30am to 3:pm and lunch daily from11am to 3pm, to go or to enjoy in our casual cafe.” There’s plenty of space upstairs for sitting, relaxing, and eating. Downstairs has a wonderful selection of prepared foods, including soups and sandwiches. I’ve become addicted to the Di Bruno caprese sandwich. Top-notch ingredients of tomato, basil, and mozzarella cheese on panini bread is simple and delicious. The website shows that that’s not all there is at Di Bruno:

Another place is Dandelion Restaurant Pub, at 124 South Street. It can be seen from the door nearest the Di Bruno meat section; it’s on a corner across the street. Here a hearty English breakfast is served. Have you had one of these? After consuming there’s usually no need to eat until evening. Dandelion offers an excellent selection of beer, a menu that will appeal to different palates, and afternoon tea which is from 3:00 to 5:00. And the person at the desk said, with a lot of pride, that “they serve the 2nd best hamburger in town.” It’s a charming restaurant/pub. Just is case you’re interested, they know how to make a really good campari and soda with a twist of lemon. Indeed!

Another eating establishment is Parc Restaurant Bistro & Cafe at 227 South 18th Street. It’s two blocks south of Dandelion, and is across from lovely Rittenhouse Square Park. On a warm, sunny day it’s a fight to the finish:-) to get an outside table facing the park – to people watch, enjoy the greenery, and soak up the sun. If no outside seating is available, you’re still a winner because eating inside and enjoying the decor and ambiance is a pleasure, too.

The coffee at Parc is good, however, if you want to go elsewhere for an equally good cup of coffee there’s la Colombe at 130 South 19th Street. It’s opened till 7pm. Sometimes the dessert is sold out, but there’s always the coffee and the friendly staff. La Colombe is a walk along Rittenhouse Square Park (on the side of Barnes & Noble Bookshop) to 19th Street – cross the street and turn right. Order your cuppa coffee, take a seat, relax, and enjoy.

Rittenhouse Square Park



Is it time to see the Mutter Museum after a delicious lunch? — it’s a  short walk if you stayed in the above neighborhood.

Enjoy! Enjoy!

Let’s all have a wonderful day today.

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“A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.” – Albert Einstein, 20th Century Nobel Prize winning physicist
(As heard on the CD, The Power by Rhonda Byrne)

philadelphia at south street between 10th and 22nd streets

Have you been to Philly? If not, come. A lot of changes have and are taking place. In the four years I’ve been here there are new restaurants, shops, the Barnes Museum Foundation is now in Philadelphia on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, more people are moving here, and though it’s a city, it’s small and not overwhelming. Travelers say that they actually enjoy flying into the Philly airport whether to visit, or to transfer to another flight, because it’s easy to get around. I agree; it has the easiness of being able to get one’s bearings which is not always the case at airports, and yet it’s well-organized.

With all that’s developing there’s a good feeling in the air. When I first moved to Philly, South Street between 10th and 23rd Streets was in the throes of, well, I don’t quite know of what. Truthfully, except for a few stores, it was uninspiring. Not anymore; it’s alive now. Here we can find an array of restaurants preparing delicious ethnic foods, and plenty of small speciality shops. People who are moving into this area and opening shops are excited about being a part of the neighborhood. When walking along and passing restaurants, I hear a whole lot of laughter.

What I’m saying is that when you’ve been to all the tourist sites don’t stop there cause you ain’t seen nothing yet. Uh-oh, maybe I shouldn’t write that. Well, I did. Philly is small, walk over to South Street and meander over to 10th Street where Whole Foods can be your landmark, then head west. I’m only going to name a few places, as you’ll easily discover the rest. Remember, Philly is the city of Brotherly Love so don’t hesitate to ask to be pointed in the right direction.

The Philly Magic Gardens at 1020 South Street will be waiting for you. If you have flowers and plants in mind, instead think mosaic. There are events, tours, workshops with Isaiah Zagar, celebration of special occasions, and more, more. Check it out: 215-733-0390 – www.phillymagicgardens.org



Next let’s go to Harry’s Occult Shop at 1238 South Street. Harry’s Occult Shop was started by Harry Seligman a pharmacist in 1917. He was a registered pharmacist and the business started as a pharmacy, most of his clients were people who had just arrived from the south and would ask him for occult powders and oils. His interest was aroused and he began researching the occult (Occult means hidden, unseen, unheard). Occult products are used to create positive energies to help bring about changes according to the intention. The upstairs rooms are used for treatments and readings. Harry’s Occult Shop: 215-735-8262 – www.harrysoccultshop.net

You were hungry and perhaps stopped at a restaurant. if not, you’re hungry now. Don’t be concerned as there are a lot of restaurants along the way to 22nd Street. First though I’d like to tell you about Mushmina at 1540 South Street, or because they can do it so much better than I can – you’ll feel their passion – I’ll let the first paragraph of their website do the telling:

“The story started with two sisters who wanted to make a difference in the developing world. One joined Peace Corps Morocco to help rural women develop business skills and the other traveled to Mali to research traditional weaving and metal-smithing techniques. Six years later, Mushmina was born. Our name Mushmina, is an endearing nickname that to us means ‘little sister’.

“Artisans we love
In Morocco we work with over 9 different regional artisan groups, employing over 75 artisans, both men and women. While we are a cottage industry business (where many women work in their homes) the Mushmina Workshop and atelier is coming soon!”

Katie O’Neill is one of the sisters, and you’ll find her at the Mushmina shop. Her face nicely expresses that she loves what she does, and is well-able to talk about any item in the store, and tell its story. I was there and I’ll be back to buy a birthday gift. Pictures also tell a story, and the website can show you the beautiful selection of bags, scarves, clothes, jewelry, shoes, slippers, etc., and of the interesting ways the sisters are growing their business. Check it out: 215-732-5500 – www.mushmina.com




It wasn’t easy choosing only three shops to write about. From here I hope you continue onward, and, if you’re so inclined, send a comment about an interesting shop you happened upon, or a restaurant, yoga place, bar, cafe, a great story you heard on South Street, etc. What caught your attention?

It looks like a lovely summer day. Let’s thoroughly enjoy.

park slope, baddategreatstory, soba-ya, st. mark’s place

I just returned from Park Slope, Brooklyn where talent, passion and creativity are delightfully displayed in the many excellent small speciality shops lining every block. And recently it was daughter Emi’s birthday and family and friends gathered to celebrate with her. Happy, Happy Birthday, dear Emi! Before we did though there was a show on Friday evening in the East Village related to co-creators Emi’s and Jessie’s website www.baddategreatstory.com that daughter Sumi and I finally got a chance to see. It wasn’t the usual way I spend my time; but the extracting of laughs from bad date angst can be wildly entertaining. Sorry to say this if you’re newly bruised from a bad date, but you just might have a great story to tell, and let’s face it, it’s probably a funny story that will put things right – if you let it.

Before stepping in to watch the show, Sumi and I had dinner at Soba-ya at 229 East 9th Street. This could be the place for you if you are an appreciator of quality. Sumi had been there before, so in we went, and not for a second did we regret ordering from the day’s specials. www.sobaya-nyc.com

Your imagination will fill you in on how the following six comedians: James Alexander, Will Garre, Rachael Parenta, Jessie Male, Alix Mansbach, and Jason Salmon got a lot of mileage in the telling of their own bad date great story experiences, and, one after the other, kept us all laughing.

Emi and Jessie, you both put together a very entertaining show.

After the performances Sumi and I walked along 8th Street and pointed to all the places where once upon a time stood shops we really liked and now are gone. That’s Manhattan, people and places are always coming and going.

It was now time to duck into the subway station and head back to Park Slope. The evening, well, it was a very lovely one.

And now it’s time to blend an avocado, apple, freshly squeezed lemon juice, chopped ginger, chia seeds, stevia, Navitas Cacao Powder, and 1 cup of water (because there’s no almond milk, rice milk, or coconut water in this apartment at the moment) for a nutritious and delicious smoothie.



I hope you enjoyed the day and that the evening is all you want it to be.


At this time of the year many of us, for different reasons, leave the bright lights and merriment of our own hometown to travel abroad. We go for various reasons: we don’t want to be alone in familiar surroundings, we’re thinking that, at this point in time, we’re not compatible with family, we’re grieving and want to get away, or we simply enjoy the sheer pleasure of traveling. I’ll be going, too, in imagination – to a sweet, small country called Ecuador where celebrations in the streets are happy, lively, and colorful. If you haven’t yet formulated your traveling plans, you might want to consider Ecuador.

I’m reminded of Ecuador for two reasons: I receive information from International Living and lately their focus has been on Ecuador, and I’m in the midst of organizing papers and came across a box filled with memories of five months spent in a beautiful place; a place so enjoyable that it’s perfectly understandable that people from different parts of the world are wanting to buy and live there.

Ecuador’s centuries old buildings and cathedrals have plenty of history. And now I’ll generalize and say that the people are kind and helpful, the hostals are clean and have a nice array of travelers, it’s easy and pleasant to get around (a little knowledge of Spanish is helpful), the food is excellent – north, south, east, west – there’s plenty to admire, fresh fruits and vegetables are plentiful in the large markets, it’s inexpensive, and additionally, this is a chance to buy a Panama hat. If you haven’t read THE PANAMA HAT TRAIL by Tom Miller you might want to take it along. It’s a good book about Ecuador; it’s witty and informative.

I’d like to tell a simple story because it was a sign of how it would be for me in Ecuador – one helpful person after another. In Quito, the capital, I checked out of one hostal for no particular reason other than another was highly recommended. I wandered the unfamiliar streets and wondered where oh where could this place be. Suddenly next to me stood a high school boy. He asked in English if I needed help. That sounded like an offer, and it was too good to refuse. He took my suitcase, and away we went walking and talking right to the door of the lovely mother and son operated hostal. He wouldn’t accept a tip. He said that he wanted to practice speaking English. Very nice, I thought. Though being an American, I’ve yet to understand how people know one when they see one. Quito, the capital, has what many big cities have, its own history, museums you don’t want to miss, historical sites, and culture. The following are a few places to consider:
and Hassan’s Cafe, located at Reina Victoria No 24 399 Y Colon, Tel.: (02) 223-2564
You’re probably saying, I’m not going to Ecuador to eat Lebanese food. And I’m saying, Ah, but this is very tasty Lebanese food, and it’s a good chance to mingle with the locals.

Let’s leave the big city of Quito for the beautiful colonial city of Cuenca; we can always return. In Cuenca many of the hostals have wonderful old, big, beckoning courtyards. It’s a joy to walk along the streets and come upon small museums, old and well-used churches, restaurants, markets, the Tomebamba River, etc. and finding history in all of it. it’s a walking city and with a map, quite easy to navigate. One of the places I stayed at was the utterly charming Inca Real. Finding a hostal or hotel is not a problem, or, if staying a while, an apartment for $200-$250/month with kitchen and full bath.

A good guidebook and intuition helps when walking along Cuenca’s streets. Eventually Raymipampa Restaurant on the main square will appear just when it’s time to eat. And also El Maiz Restaurante although it’s a little out of the way, is not to be missed,

Now for a hair-raising bus ride from Cuenca south to Loja and then Vilcabamba. It’s worth the bus ride because it’s a chance to see the land and the people in a different way, and that’s all I’m saying. Loja is a good stopover for the night. Time to get acquainted with this interesting old city, and find a place to stay, and enjoy the evening before leaving for Vilcabamba tomorrow to savor the mountains. It’s tomorrow already? To the beautiful mountains by taxi or bus. Perhaps staying at Le Rendez-vous Hostal owned and operated by a couple from France who built it after touring South America and deciding to make Vilcabamba their home. Time to hear about what’s happening in Vilcabamba from Serge and Isabelle. Or check out other places to rest and revive; what makes one person happy, doesn’t necessarily make another. – a soft mattress, a hard one, maybe a hammock; it’s all there waiting.

So much to see, the coast, the city of Guayaquil, the Galapagos, the Amazon, and north to Ibarra, Otavalo, Cotacachi, etc. Ah, yes, another time, perhaps.

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The pleasure in traveling consists of the obstacles, the fatigue, and even the danger. What charm can anyone find in an excursion when he is always sure of reaching his destination, of having horses ready waiting for him, a soft bed, an excellent supper, and all the eases and comfort he can enjoy in his own home! One of the great misfortunes of modern life is the want of any sudden surprise, and the absence of all adventures. Everything is so well arranged.
– Theophila Gautier, WANDERINGS IN SPAIN

Seasoned Vegan est. in Harlem, not just for vegans

I’m not a practicing vegan (I try to eat well though!), but yesterday when I walked in with my vegetarian friend, and Brenda gave me a taste of her “chicken” corn bread, and macaroni and cheese I was sold. Not only does Brenda radiate with a loving energetic persona towards her customers, but her food is delicious; it’s well thought out, and I’m so glad. This area really, really needed something like this. There is also frozen food to last you the days in between Saturday and Wednesday. Welcome to the neighborhood Seasoned Vegan, please don’t leave!

Seasoned Vegan is located inside Lee Lee’s Bakery, Wed.-Sat. for lunch and dinner only. (frozen dinners are available too.)
283 W 118th St
(between St Nicholas Ave & 8th Ave)
Manhattan, NY 10026
(917) 232-3446

What! Pick your own mussel sauce?!!!

Yes, it’s true. Ditch Plains, a brilliant restaurant down in Greenwich Village, was given a name I can never remember so now I carry the business card around in my wallet.

29 bedford street follow the button down shirts and bohemian camisoles getting crafty drinks at the bar like the “Drunken Preppy.” Yum.
Then see the menu. It is basically a summer field of paradise. Lobster roll, clam strips, fish and chips…. and the mussels… fours sauces to choose your own adventure from. Served in a large metal pot… and a basket of fries you will eat and eat and it will seem to refill from the bottom in crispy bistro fry wonder. Now go stop wasting time. You will want to go to there.


Cozy country cabin in the middle of the lower east side NYC…

I just went to a quaint storybook restaurant straight from a time when eating with a dead animal head above you spoke for fresh meat. Freemans is found at the end of a tiny alley (as they describe on their website, which I took as filled with lurking sinister figures waiting with cockney accents to pick my pockets, but is actually a sunshine filled wide walkway between two buildings, where those on the waiting list chat while adjusting flouncey hipster sunglasses).

Since I went for brunch I cannot give the full lay down of the menu, except to say that everything we had was good. The “Roast pork sandwich, pickled zucchini, and garlic mayonnaise with green salad” -amazing! Why has no one fed me pickled zucchini before? Shame on you. Thin, maintaining flush positioning next to other sandwich parts and not falling out. Brilliant. Their cocktails came in squeal worthy early century champagne glasses. Squat and cradling the bubbles that spurted up from just above the stem. Even the vegetarian could not speak poorly about the plentiful taxidermy that hangs above on the surrounding wood walls. It really just completes the log inn/restaurant by the side of the road feel frequented by adventurers and those who haven’t died of diphtheria yet on the Oregon Trail. (Though we gave thanks for not sitting at the table that had an ooh to realistic looking wasp hive dangling precariously over head). We left full and lighthearted with a fantasy mini getaway feeling as we adjusted our hipster sunglasses and ran from this constant drizzle.


tea & sympathy

Tea and Sympathy www.teaandsympathynewyork.com is a tiny place, a very cozy place, located at 108-110 Greenwich Avenue in Manhattan. Have you guessed that it’s an “english restaurant”? If you decide to go, be prepared to wait. Remember, waiting is fine. The service is friendly and efficient. I’m at a loss as to how to describe its interior. You’ll have to see for yourself. Suffice it to say that it’s charming and informal.

When my daughter Sumi and I decided to meet one chilly sunny Sunday, it was for a salad. We were being good with that suggestion. But then, after meandering along the streets, Sumi suggested we try Tea and Sympathy. I’d not been there in awhile, and I always got a special feeling at the thought of going there — so off we went, two in agreement. The menu is definitely interesting, the food is tasty, the customers always seem in a good mood, even though space is tight. It’s almost like dining at the small home of an obliging relative who’s invited too many guests and everyone is determined to be comfortable no matter what. There are lots of choices on the menu: Soup, Salads, Starters, Side Dishes, Entrees, Puddings, Sandwiches, Desserts, Daily Specials, Sunday Special, Tea Time and Teas.

To be more specific, you’ll find a variety of good salads like stilton and walnut, smoked trout with horseradish sauce, fresh beetroot salad, there’s shepherd’s pie, tweed kettle pie, bangers, lentil dishes, steak and kidney pie, steak and guinness pie, welsh rarebit, sussex chicken, etc. There are scones with clotted cream and jam, good selection of teas with everyone having their own different appealing teapot. Beware, the desserts will gently call to you, Order me! Order me! They seem to be saying. Or is that my imagination? Next door there’s a “Take Away Menu.”

It’s really nice; it’s really enjoyable. You might really like it.