International Wish List Summer 2009

26 05 2009

Behold: Part 3 of my Summer 2009 Wish Lists. I will either need to have two International lists because it was way too hard to choose 10 destinations only or elaborate and create a full itinerary for each of the ten destinations.  I may do both–stay tuned!

1. South Africa: My interest began in 7th grade when I researched Apartheid and journalist Steve Biko for a school project. Since then I have been intrigued with the country and how it has been portrayed in Hollywood and music. I want to see for myself. I would concentrate my time in Soweto, Pretoria, and Johannesburg.

2. Canada: Fly to Vancouver and take a luxury train across the continent to Prince Edward Island.

Route: Vancouver–>Edmonton–>Saskatoon (Shelly Tambo!)–>Winnipeg–>Toronto.

This trips takes about 3 1/2 days!  More if I get off to explore.  Spend a day or two in Toronto to stretch my legs.

Then hop back on the train from Toronto–>Montreal–>Moncton.

This trip takes one day but I’ll probably make at least a one-night stop in Montreal.  The last leg from Moncton to Charlottetown is about three hours.  The return trip would be a ferry to Caribou, Nova Scotia, drive to Halifax and fly back to Philadelphia.  I’d need at least 3 weeks for this trip.  Thanks.

3. Spain and France: Fly to Madrid, take a train to Barcelona and through the Alps to southern France.  Stops in Perpignon, Toulouse, Carcassonne, and Bordeaux.  Eat and drink.  A lot.

4. Japan: Tokyo, of course, but go for the main purpose of attending the Earth Celebration with Kodo on Sado Island.

5. Ireland: Spend more time in Donegal, climb Croagh Patrick again, spend another week on Inishmore, and a few days in Galway and Doolin.

6. Ecotour of Ecuador and Galapogos Island: I am not a fan of organized tours but my serious lack of Spanish skills may force me to join a group for this trip.  I am also very curious about this new “ecotour” fad and if it is indeed just a fad.  Technically the trip would fall during the winter holidays, because the tour only runs a couple of times a year, but planning now is key.  (I’m talking like I am actually going.  Ha!)

7. Iceland: It’s not as cold as it sounds and what better way to cool off in summer?  With 24-hour daylight, you can see the sights in the middle of the night, if you so choose.  On the itinerary: glacier exploration, Westfjords, and rotten shark meat.  Mmmm.

8. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: I will readily admit that my love of Pirates of the Caribbean affected this choice.  Laugh, kid, even make fun, I don’t care.  I love me some real-life movie settings.

9. China: Dragon Boat Races in June.  I’m participating in the Philadelphia races in October so how neat would it be to see the original tradition in action?  Races are throughout China, but could I still catch the May 28th race in Guangzhou?  Maybe if I leave tonight.

10. Benelux region: Belgium (Ghent–to escape the tourists), Netherlands (Amsterdam–just to see what the fuss is about), and Luxembourg.

Got the travel bug yet?  Itching to book a plane flight somewhere?  Anywhere?  This list of mine is just the tip of an iceberg in Iceland.  My lust for the perfect detailed itinerary now has ten chances to be satiated.  Please take the poll below to help me choose which trip to expand on next:

Review: Ines Rosales Tortas

6 05 2008

We discovered these amazing sweet olive oil tortas at the Chestnut Hill Cheese Shop and we buy them whenever we have guests. A woman named Ines Rosales started to make these delicate wafer-thin flatbreads in 1910 and sold them in her native town of Seville, Spain. Today, the tortas are still hand made using this 100-year-old recipe and it certainly shows in the quality and uniqueness of the product. Each torta is individually wrapped in waxed paper and then sealed in plastic to lock in the freshness. Made with olive oil and a touch of anise, these sweet pastries go well with a variety of cheeses, or by themselves with a cup of coffee or glass of dry red wine. We recently served them with Bucheron goat cheese and olives. You can purchase Ines Rosales tortas all around the country, as well as other imported products, such as cheeses, dips, and biscuits, from the Massachusetts-based Mt. Vikos company. There are six tortas in a tray, and where we buy them they cost around $5.00.