While the covid vaccine roll-out numbers continue to climb, so, too, does the hope that we’ll be able to explore a little beyond our neighbourhoods later this year.
As you look ahead to the summer and fall, consider some of the great close-to-home destinations covered in the current issue of Taste & Travel International magazine – including Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley, which I was fortunate to visit in 2020.
“It was 2003 and time for the talk. Like many propositions put forward to tweens, it might not go well.
And the proposition we were making to our son and daughter? We wanted to take them travelling at Christmas…”
What fantasy world is this?
In the Year of the Pandemic, travel feels like a distant dream – and carving the usual Christmas traditions out of 2020 is looking as possible as returning to 2003.
Christmas parties? Gone from the calendar. Community celebrations? Better get the laptop going. Family gatherings? Uh-uh – not if we want to keep Grandma & Grandpa healthy, the kids in school come January, and our own workplaces and businesses open.
Keeping our collective chin up seems to take a little more energy each day.
Enter Savour Calgary magazine, whose holiday issue just hit the stands last week. It isn’t going to flatten the second curve or generate a new covid vaccine. It won’t bring distant family members home for the holidays. It won’t bring us any closer to that light at the tunnel’s end.
But it just might offer a wee bit of first aid. Call it a thin string of lights to brighten up that tunnel wall.
The November/December issue is unabashedly Christmas focused. Dishes up big sides of nostalgia. Brings global experiences to Calgary and points to ways we can enjoy them right here at home.
And among its stories are different slants on what it means to celebrate Christmas – and a reminder of the joy found in solitude, too.
So if you’re looking for escape, fresh inspiration, that fruitcake recipe you lost, or just a small smile, check out this digital copy of the new issue or look here for where you can find a free paper copy to thumb through with your glass of mulled wine.
Me, I’m a sucker for all of those things – and happy to contribute a story to Savour Calgary, too. (That’s an excerpt at the top of this page. You can read the full text of “DOUGHNUTS TO DOSAS: A Christmas Tale” here).
My strategy this year is to set aside what I’ll be missing and focus instead on how to make “different” into something good.
Best wishes to everyone for the holiday season – no matter how or what you celebrate. This, too, will be just a memory some day. There’s still some choice to be had in what that memory might be.
Just a two hour drive from Sydney, the Hunter Valley is not only Australia’s oldest, but its most visited, wine region. With fall markets, year-round food and wine festivals, and concerts featuring international pop stars to chamber music virtuosos, it’s easy to see why. A covey of stellar vineyard restaurants and artisanal food producers cements the Hunter’s place as a food-lovers haven.
READ ON HERE to learn more about my favourite discoveries in the Hunter Valley – or check out the full Summer issue of Taste & Travel International magazine HERE.
If you’re feeling a little blue about more months without travel and all of your favourite local festivals being cancelled, you’re not alone.
And if you’re a particular fan of fringe festivals, you’re probably also concerned about how those performing artists you’ve been waiting to see are making out.
Truth is, they’re not going to be travelling to any festivals for the foreseeable future through this 2020 festival drought.
But there’s a wee bit of good news from Adelaide Fringe (the world’s second-largest annual arts festival), which managed to eke out its 2020 festival in February and March just ahead of the covid crisis’ descent on Australia. It’s launching a new online pilot platform called Adelaide FringeVIEW, encouraging local and international performing artists to submit a digital version of their show to be presented to online audiences around the world.
“We want to help the artists who are unable to perform live or have had their shows cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions,” said Adelaide Fringe Director and CEO, Heather Croall. “There is a need for the arts industry to band together and come up with new ideas, and with people at home and more time than ever to experience new shows, we want to provide an opportunity for people to access entertainment while supporting artists who have been impacted”.
Adelaide FringeVIEW is designed to create an income stream for artists still looking to perform while restrictions are in place, with audiences asked to buy a ticket to help support the industry. Artist registrations for the new platform have been open since April 15 and are free. All proceeds from ticket sales are given back to the artist.
The Adelaide FringeVIEW platform will be live to the general viewing public starting this Friday, May 1 through to the end of May 2020.
“We are truly heartbroken to see so many livelihoods impacted,” Ms. Croall said, “but together we can continue to support and connect artists and audiences from around the world during a time where isolation is the new norm.”
So if you’re craving your fringe fix and want to support the artists who bring their innovative shows to you, see https://adelaidefringe.com.au/fringeview for more info, and for tickets starting this Friday.
And to help satisfy your wanderlust in the meantime (or at least soothe your clipped wings), check out “Fringing in Adelaide” – my take on Australia’s fabulous festival city when I ventured there in March 2019. It’s an opportunity to look back and look forward to better days, and you can read it here or in the Spring issue of Taste & Travel International magazine.
There’s also a few recipes to expand your kitchen repertoire (and don’t we ALL need that at this point?), including a delicious vegetarian dish from Adelaide Central Market, and a bright prawn and pineapple Thai curry developed by one of Adelaide’s premier chefs, Chef Nu Suandokmai.
(And in case you’re wondering: Adelaide Fringe has no idea who I am and certainly did not subsidize the article or this post in any way 🙂 )
Thanks once again to Randy Sharman, host of THE INFORMED TRAVELER, for inviting me to talk about my recent visit to some of the D-Day sites of Normandy.
If you missed his “Remembering Our Veterans” show this weekend on Global radio, you can catch the podcast here.
Randy often asks his guests to name their top highlight of a destination. In this instance, my answer was easy: learning the stories of people like Charlie Martin, Bill Dunn, the Westlake brothers, and many more. Stories that put a very human face on WWII.
“Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.” (Sue Monk Kidd)
I turn into the laneway, and there they are: the world’s top chefs in repose against a brick wall. Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana. Joan Roca of Spain’s El Celler De Can Roca. New York’s Daniel Humm of 11 Madison Park. And Hestor Blumenthal of The Fat Duck. Hosting the gathering is Ben Shewry, chef-owner of Australia’s highest-ranked restaurant, Attica.
It’s the kind of happy serendipity that might precipitate handshakes, selfies, and – dare I hope? – sage morsels of inspiration to fuel my culinary dreams…
Adventure tourism is one of the fastest-growing segments of the travel market – climbing by a whopping 65% a year from 2009 to 2013, and projected to grow by more than 17% annually through 2023.
According to a 2018 survey by Travel Leaders Group, it’s the top specialty travel choice among North American travellers, and sought out by men and women of every age group.
What exactly IS adventure travel? According to the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), it’s travel that combines at least 2 out of the following three elements: physical activity; connection with nature; interaction with culture.
“Soft” adventure activities like hiking, cycling, and kayaking are among the most popular, driven by travellers’ increased desire to include hands-on, authentic , and off-the-beaten-path experiences while out exploring the world.
I’m certainly no athlete, but by this definition I’ve been a soft adventure traveller for two decades. Given the statistics, you’ve likely done some, too, or are seriously considering it for future forays around the globe.
Listen to this week’s INFORMED TRAVELER podcast, as host Randy Sharman explores why I like to include a bit of active travel in my holiday plans. You’ll hear some adventures from my multi-day cycling trip in France – through one of the most interesting corners of Provence – and learn tips about choosing a cycling tour that’s right for you.
I love the relaxed, conversational way that Randy’s show brings the latest in travel news and tips to his listeners. Like me, he believes that “there’s no better learning experience than traveling the world and meeting the people who inhabit it”, and he’s dedicated to teasing out stories and insights from his on-air guests.
The INFORMED TRAVELER is heard Sunday’s on 770CHQR in Calgary, 630CHED in Edmonton and on 980 CKNW in Vancouver.
You can also listen to free podcast episodes on curiouscast.ca and omny.fm by searching Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify on your electronic device.
You can listen to my segment here – or hear the full episode (including info on celebrating Cinco de Mayo in Los Cabos or volunteering abroad) on THE INFORMED TRAVELER website. If you like what you hear, you’ll find past episodes available on the website, too.
I’m looking forward to chatting with Randy again sometime in the future!
Let me be upfront: I never read Frances Mayes’ Under the Tuscan Sun. Never saw the movie. I’m unaccountably indifferent to pasta (and Italian food in general, if truth be told). Yes, I missed the boat completely on the raptures of Tuscany.
Friends who’d spent time in the popular Italian region said this was a gap in need of remedy. Stat.
So I booked a culinary walking tour of Tuscany, offering hillside rambles and an abundance of wine. Now THAT’S something I could commit to…