Europe: The Story, So Far (Part Two)

… And then there was Italy. And Slovenia. And they were wonderful. A few Instagram snaps, for those who missed:

(And don’t forget to take a peek at Part One!)

Little Wanderings - Europe So Far 7

Step 1: arrive in Italy. Step 2: obtain gelato // Sunset by the beach in Levanto // Beautiful Vernazza, one of the five towns of the Cinque Terre // When in Liguria, one simply must eat pesto!

Little Wanderings - Europe So Far 8

The stunning view of Chianti from our Tuscan hilltop Airbnb // Gelato tasting at Perché No! (Italian for ‘Why Not!’) in Florence // More gelato at Grom in Venice // The saddest little lion in all of Venice?

Little Wanderings - Europe So Far 9

The Bridge of Sighs in Venice // Our Urban Adventures Cicchetti of Venice Tour group demonstrating that we are, in fact, very much capable (according to strict Venetian law) of drinking more wine //  The Franciscan Church of the Annunciation (in all its fabulous pinkness) in Ljubljana, Slovenia // Pretty little detail in our Ljubljana Airbnb

Little Wanderings - Europe So Far 10 Gorgeous view over Ljubljana, as discovered on Ljubljana Bites and Sights with Urban Adventures // Ljubljana: Europe’s leading dragon-friendly city // A picture-perfect view: Lake Bled and Bled Island // More of stunning Slovenia, at Vintgar Gorge

Europe: The Story, So Far (Part One)

Well, Europe has been amazing. And believe me, I’ve been dying to write about it. My poor little blog has been ever in the back of my mind these past few weeks! Parisian streets, Swiss landscapes and Italian shores are, as it turns out, quite an inspiration. It’s just that, well – I’m rather used to having a lot more down-time whilst on the road. As a seasoned solo traveler, I’m pretty accustomed to taking dedicated time out to reflect and chronicle my journeys. This is my first trip with a companion in six years, though, and I’ll be honest: I just haven’t had the discipline to write with another person around. Solo travel allows you to shut off, take half a day and withdraw without much consequence. Traveling with a companion is a constant distractor and motivator, though – and I’ve decided to wholeheartedly welcome that!

Right now, however, I’m sitting by a little river out the back of a guesthouse in Grünau, Austria, and I can’t help but get caught up in a little writer’s whimsy. At this point, I know I’ll be telling most of our Europe travel tales when back home in Melbourne – but I thought I’d at least check in with some photos from the trip so far. Instagram followers will have seen these already, but for those not on the ‘gram – here’s a little glimpse of the adventure so far:

Little Wanderings - Europe So Far 1

Melbourne International Airport // Keizersgracht canal, Amsterdam, as seen from our breakfast table at Bagels and Beans // The gorgeous view from our Parisian Airbnb // My first Berthillon ice-cream in Paris

Little Wanderings - Europe So Far 2

Jardin des Tuileries on an overcast Paris day // Canelé from the original Maison Kayser on Rue de Monge // Notre Dame Cathedral and Île Saint-Louis from Pont de la Tournelle – a gorgeous view we passed every day // A quiet street in the Marais district of Paris

Little Wanderings - Europe So Far 3

A rainy day wandering along the Seine // The most divine éclairs from L’éclair de Génie, Paris // A most handsome Eiffel Tower at night // Croissant, of course: more spoil from Maison Kayser

Little Wanderings - Europe So Far 4

Oh, you bet we did Disneyland Paris! // The heavenly ‘Plénitude’ from Pierre Hermé // A crazy, wonderful lunch at La Petite Rose des Sables // Madame Zouzou, our extraordinary host at La Petite Rose des Sables

Little Wanderings - Europe So Far 5

The tiniest elevator we ever did see, leading up to our Paris Airbnb // Following The Owl’s Trail around Dijon // Europe road-trip essentials: Haribo Dragibus // The little town of Thun in Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland

Little Wanderings - Europe So Far 6

The rainclouds follow us to Switzerland… // View from a bridge over the Aare River in Thun // Waiting for the clouds to clear over the mountains at our Airbnb in Thun // New travel snack: chocolates from Switzerland’s Maison Cailler

(For more: Part Two!)

A Fork in the Road

Yesterday, I finished reading a Lonely Planet publication called A Fork in the Road: Tales of Food, Pleasure & Discovery on the Road. After having read a slew of particularly bad books lately, I’m happy to report that this one was one rather wonderful. Editor James Oseland (Saveur magazine) opens, “Every traveler has two or three or even a hundred of them: moments on a journey when you taste something and you’re forever changed.” The following collection of thirty-four essays from writers, critics and chefs alike explore those moments – be it an Englishman’s long-anticipated taste of the all-American Twinkie, a coffee ceremony in Ethiopia, or blood soup and maggot cheese in Sardinia (credit to that last one – I’m now not entirely adverse to the idea of larvae-laden cheese). I found almost every story genuine and captivating, and loved the focus on the seemingly small and unexpected.

Little Wanderings - A Fork in the Road 1

A Fork in the Road certainly got me reflecting on those moments in my own travels, and I think I’ve definitely got a few I’m eager to jot down and share. Then again, the book also made me realise how I’ve perhaps too easily breezed through countries in the past and emerged without such tales to tell. Not that a fantastical travel tale can be forced – but maybe youth and blissful naivety sometimes prevented me from slowing down and properly opening up to the possibility, or even just plain awareness of those experiences. I loved the essay A Coffee Ceremony by novelist Kaui Hart Hemmings (The Descendants), who writes, “Time. That’s what it’s really about. Taking the time to realise what you’re doing, what you’re drinking… Food and drink is so much more than food and drink. When we consume them we are engaging in a backstory – the effort and attention, the craft and history, the community and connection, and the ritual itself.”

Little Wanderings - A Fork in the Road 2

And so this book has come to me at a splendid time, in that I shall soon be travelling – and not only travelling, but returning. When I first visited Europe four years ago, I suppose I was a foodie beginner in the sense of an unfocused excitement for ‘European food’ (gelato and tiramisu and croissants, oh my!). I certainly came home with a sudden fondness for many things at which I’d previously upturned my nose. Oh, to imagine a time in which I didn’t like olives, pesto or even wine for godssake! Now I return on a trip pretty much centred on the idea of simply eating my way around the continent. In A Fork in the Road, both Carla Hall’s Leek of Faith and Tom Carson’s A Wedding Feast delve into the theme of such a sudden awareness of food culture, one’s previous naivety and the prospect of adventure henceforth. To be soon going back to Europe with that expanded awareness of food and cooking, I realise, is very exciting indeed.

Little Wanderings - A Fork in the Road 3

That awareness also comes twofold. Most every piece in A Fork in the Road makes reference to the writer’s culinary upbringing- something that, no matter how modest or grand, seems to hold perpetual influence. It shocked me to realise I’d never really given much confidence to the particular food culture in which I’d grown up. Sure, there’s no foreign, exotic or particularly ‘gourmet’ footprint at my family table – but I’ve been careless in thinking that’s a mark of the unexceptional. Last month, in spending Easter with family at my grandparents’ house, I suppose I had a ‘moment’ when my grandpa walked in and placed two fresh figs on the table. Figs! Quite in vogue on food blogs and Melbourne menus right now – I’d only really just started to eat and delight in them – and here my grandpa was growing them in the backyard. My grandma would later whip up half a dozen jars of fig and ginger jam. Just like that.

Little Wanderings - A Fork in the Road 4

There’s an important food culture at home of which I’ve either taken for granted or simply remained totally unaware. My family quite literally revolves around my grandparents’ Laminex-topped kitchen table, and it’s nice to be finally waking up to the craft and history behind that. So long as I care to look for them, there are perhaps as many moments, stories and recipes to be shared from home as there might be from my travels. And that is also a very exciting notion.

Photos taken at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, April 2014.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...