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…
As financial capital of India and home to Bollywood, Mumbai has long held a cosmopolitan outlook on culture and food. And in a city of 18 million people – well, the possibilities for dining are practically endless.
With the help of knowledgeable locals – and a little sweet serendipity, too – I “discovered” these South Mumbai favourites (including some of the BEST street food vendors on popular Chowpatty Beach)…
I’m here on the water’s edge of what’s considered to be the most beautiful Old Town in Greece. From my vantage point, I see a Venetian lighthouse standing sentry over a narrow harbour entrance and a Turkish mosque – now serving as an exhibition hall – opening its doors to the morning air.
This is Chania, second-largest city on the island of Crete, where the architecture provides just a sliver of insight into a turbulent history…
NOVEMBER IN CALGARY: it’s the perfect juxtaposition of dwindling daylight hours and increasing social expectations that’s destined to wreak havoc with your serenity.
Still, the silver lining of this time of year is witnessing a stunning prairie sunrise as you grab that first (or second!) morning coffee at work – and a mountain sunset as you make your commute home.
Those rose-hued skies of late have put me in mind of a couple of my favourite things to lighten the holiday season.
The first is the November Sky – a warming combination of brown spirits and red wine that is one of Aileen Shipley’s gifts to the cocktail-sipping community. Shipley conjured it up for her apres-ski guests at Cirque Restaurant & Bar in Fernie’s Lizard Creek Lodge (and allowed me to share the recipe in my basil column last winter). The cocktail’s evocative sweet and sour layers are up to the dual tasks of pleasing your holiday guests or lifting your spirits as you work through your seasonal checklist.
And my second favourite go-to? Broiled Feta Crumbles & Fennel on Mixed Micro-Greens – a quick and delicious topper for crostini or crackers that was taught to me by Chef Crystal McKenzie of Peasant Cheese Shop in Kensington. The recipe for this appetizer inspiration has recently made its way to the website of Taste & Travel International where you can access it for yourself.
[You’ll notice T&T’s photo presents it plated like a salad – a delicious option – but Crystal likes to spread a thick layer of tiny sprouts (pea shoots are terrific!) across a small platter, then sprinkle the toasted cheese crumbles and roasted fennel bits across the top, for a layered ensemble that guests can simply scoop onto their bread].
Mmmm – warm, salty cheese and greens, together with an elevated whisky sour. For me there’s no better combination for easy entertaining or a little self-care in the midst of holiday chaos.
Or for simply curling up and looking ahead to powder ski days in the Rockies.