A Visit to Bologna – A Delicious & Vibrant Must-See City In Italy!

visit to Bologna
The arched walkways are stunning in Bologna

A Visit to Bologna

This beautiful Italian city is the belly of the nation and the heart of the kitchen. Bologna is a delightful maze of narrow cobblestone streets and the best location to start your visit is in the ancient mercantile center called the Quadrilatero. It’s an easy town to navigate where a popular 11th century university brings students from around the world. We were charmed by the arched covered walkways and the large brick piazzas were filled with happy tourists and locals. Why have I not visited before?

visit to Bologna
Bologna selfie!

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My Custom Made Adventure: A Culinary Tour in Italy

a culinary tour of Italy

A Well Seasoned Culinary Tour in Italy with Oldways

For me, travel should include eating, touring, learning, smiling, tasting, experiencing and a little added relaxation. Would you enjoy a tour to the Veneto Region of Northern Italy which included these satisfying ingredients? Yes, me too! Every detail of my culinary tour in Italy with Oldways was executed to perfection and I often wondered if it was custom made just for me.

Now I know this isn’t true, but the itinerary sure checked the boxes of my list of favorites. This trip to Italy focused on authentic dishes and included traveling with Chefs and Co-owners Michael Lombardi and Kevin O’Donnell from a traditional Venetian restaurant in Boston called SRV. Additionally, the creativity of the excursions and inventive itinerary were beyond anything I could envision. Imagine seeing a tour through the eyes of chef? How unique is that? It seems that every passion, every interest that I hold dear about cooking and travel, I share with Oldways

a culinary tour of Italy
Enjoying lunch on the Grand Canal in Venice with my tourmates

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Sensational Iceland: The Making of a Travel Video

 

making a travel video

A travel video – Our tour in Iceland

Craig and I are a small part of the making of a travel video of epic proportions. Nature in Iceland is so BIG, so incredible that it could be a challenge to capture it. However the professionals from Colette Travel that we worked with, brought their A game. Both Dan and Drew manage to capture the essence of the landscape as well as the sheer magnitude of our surroundings. Any traveler will jump at the chance to travel to Iceland after watching this!

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The Terrific Benefits of Seeking a Travel Blog for Advice

seeking a travel blog for advice

Seeking a Travel Blog for Advice

I think this subject may be divided into two camps; those that understand the value of a travel blogger and those that don’t. I of course fall into the former. Let’s discuss.

 

How can a travel blog help you?

Today, everyone really does their homework, whether it is for a major purchase, a minor purchase or to plan their next vacation. Vacations are expensive and often travelers may only take one trip per year or on a rare occasion and really don’t want to make a mistake.

Here’s where the travel blogger can help. Are you traveling in the Midwest? The South? On a European vacation? A river cruise? Somewhere fabulous and tropical? How about the Southwest? France? Are you planning a scuba diving excursion? I know a travel blogger that has been to and is an expert in each of those possible destinations. I could give you many more examples, but this will get you started. When you plan a trip, go to Google, and type the destination for where you want to go.

You can type for example: Best things to do in MauiWhat is the best time of year to visit Napa Valley? What should I do in Los Angeles? You get the idea. Google will offer up different websites and you are off to the races. (I have written a post about each of those topics). Most often Google will take you directly to the post, if not, when you get to the travel blog, use the SEARCH BOX and type in what you are looking for. Whether it is a city, state or country, if the blogger has been there, the post will pop up.

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Pinch Me – A Delicious Culinary Tour in Italy

A Culinary Tour in Italy

I am off to Italy once again. I would continue to pinch myself, but I am beginning to bruise! Two years ago my Italian adventures began with a week-long Italian cooking immersion adventure in the hills of Tuscany, as a guest of Tuscan Women Cook.

Italian cooking school
What a special day! It was hard not spending my birthday with my family, however, my friends in Tuscany gave me the royal treatment.

 

I toured, ate ridiculously amazing food and drank Tuscan wines with delightful people. We strolled through small towns visiting cheese makers, wineries and I even spent my birthday with these new friends. Because of the relationships I made on this trip, I met Cristina, a fantastic local tour guide and she introduced me to Palio Tours. Palio Tours put together my husband’s dream trip; to see The Palio for the following summer.

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Grillmarket :: A Fantastic Restaurant in Reykjavík, Iceland

restaurant in Reykjavík
At the bottom of the grand staircase sits this gorgeous bar

Discovering a new restaurant in Reykjavík

Last week I wrote about the unique food of Iceland and shared how we experienced quite a wide spectrum of tastes. Whether we embraced every dish or not, we LOVED the entire adventure. What’s the point of visiting a new country and spending your time looking for American food? There is more to life than hamburgers and french fries don’t you agree? Did you know that many tourists insist on keeping their diet exactly the same as when they are at home?

Unless a person has dietary restrictions, it is incumbent upon every traveler to embrace a new country and this includes the local culinary traditions! Hello? Isn’t this part of the reason we travel? Check out our delicious adventure…

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The Unique Food of Iceland is Truly An Adventure!

The food of Iceland is an intriguing adventure

For me, the food of Iceland takes second place behind the breathtaking abundance of nature.The beauty of the vast flat lands, numerous snow capped volcanoes, enormous waterfalls, and pale blue icebergs continue to keep me dreaming of our Northern Lights Tour. Reykjavík is the capital of a country with only 350,000 people and is the culinary barometer for this fascinating destination.

The culinary scene in Iceland is different. Not different in a negative way, just different. We were able to sample their unique fish focused cuisine and also discovered the most popular hot dog in the world, an organic tomato farm and the freshest farm to table dairy products. What a combination!

In early days it was necessary for Icelanders to utilize what they had access to like the ocean fish, including arctic char and herring and the lamb they found on land. In present day, they still eat a great deal of fish and lamb served many different ways. Additionally they do serve horse as well Minke whale. Yes, they do. Although I would not eat these dishes myself, many locals and tourists do.

I will focus on the food we enjoyed and I want to emphasize that a city like Reykjavík caters to tourists with an international palette, so rest assured, if you explore enough, you can find what you want to eat. Craig and I found several super cool, hip, foodie-type restaurants where we enjoyed friendly service and the dishes were eye-catching and delicious. Next week I will share our time at Grillmarket, an extraordinary establishment in Reykjavík. It blew us away.

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Portugal :: A Magical Adventure on the Island of Madeira

 

Madeira

The Hotel Belmond Reid’s inviting sea platform that crawls down to the Atlantic. Stunning!

 

Please welcome back Angela, my long time friend, world traveler and frequent contributor to the blog. After reading her description of the magical island of Madeira, I am ready to make my reservations and I know you will be too.

The Magical Island of Madeira

Island hopping—the perfect way to round out an amazing trip through the mainland of Portugal. The Azores or Madeira? The Azores, often described as Eden, is a nine-island archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic known for stunning landscapes, fishing villages, green pastures and somewhat rustic surroundings. Madeira Island is the largest of the Madeira archipelago and closer to the African continent than Europe.  It’s a volcanic island with a perimeter of spectacular ocean cliffs and few beaches. It’s small; 35 by 13 miles and includes a vibrant capital city, Funchal. I’m certain the Azores are amazing, but we chose Madeira. Since our visit, it was named one of “The Fifty Best Places to Travel in 2019” by Travel + Leisure. We made a wonderful choice!

Madeira
The city of Funchal, Madeira’s capital, is a mix of Portuguese bustle and charm.

 

Madeira
A view of Funchal and Madeira’s coastline where the big boats dock & visitors explore the island.

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The Icelandic Horse :: A Pictorial From Our Adventure in Iceland

Icelandic Horses
Photo: Danny Kern

Don’t you just love an Icelandic horse! Craig and I had just arrived in Iceland at 6:00am, a day before our Magical Northern Lights Tour with Collette began. With no time to waste, we met up with the Collette video production team at the hotel. After packing the Land Cruiser to the ceiling with camera equipment, we went looking for adventure in a phenomenal Icelandic landscape. The great news was that we didn’t have to travel more than an hour outside Reykjavik when we came across this glorious sight! A truly pinch me moment!

The Unique Icelandic Horse

Icelandic horses
Precious!!

The beautiful and sure-footed Icelandic horse can be seen all over Iceland. I have read that there are some 80,000 horses in the country and there are only about 350,000 people!  These are treasured animals. As we drove the primary highway called the Golden Circle in Southern Iceland, we pulled over a couple of times when we had a chance to see these beauties up close.

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An Epic Tour of Iceland You Need To See & Experience

tour of Iceland
Photo: Drew Romano

A Tour of Iceland with Collette

Where do I begin? Iceland is so unique and so insanely interesting that I have had a challenging time trying to organize how I am going to share this with you! This post is a long one but filled with interesting facts and engaging photos. You can always bookmark it for later or better yet start a new travel adventure file for a future trip! Here we go!

Iceland is called the land of fire and ice, but it should be considered the land of water as well. It is a watery wilderness with waterfalls so tall it is difficult to see the very top and others so enormous they would dwarf Niagara Falls. Around every bend in the road there is a new natural wonder to enjoy!

tour of Iceland
Photo – Danny Kern

 

The fire description is attributed to the fact that the island is covered in volcanic rock and volcanoes. There are 130 volcanoes and 30 active ones!  As you drive along the primary touring highway, the Golden Circle, the landscape changes from rocky mountains and meadows, to snow covered land, to a rocky volcanic surface which looks like you just landed on the moon.

The Northern Lights Tour by Collette manages to pack a great deal in to just seven days. Everyday another fascinating aspect of nature was ours to enjoy and photograph. In addition to traveling with the tour group, my husband Craig and I traveled with Dan and Drew, the professional photographers whose goal was to capture on film what it was really like on this extraordinary tour. I will describe this bonus experience in another upcoming post.

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