La Boqueria ~ Food Shopping in Barcelona

Spanish produce

We Eat with our Eyes First If you think you can gain weight just by looking at food perhaps you should avoid the 40 or so fresh food markets in Barcelona. The most popular is the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, La Boqueria for short, on Las Rambla.  Should you eat or shoot photos?  You decide.  I say do …

Cha Gorreana, the Azores tea plantation on Sao Miguel Island

Is this your cup of tea? Cha Gorreana Tea is a family-owned business since 1883 that grows  both green and black teas.  From the same plant, black tea is fermented and green tea steamed.  Famous for their organic tea leaves, even the Chinese purchase from them. You are free to tour and see the equipment and techniques used.  Much of …

Terra Nostra Garden, the Botanical Gardens in the Azores

Where is it? These lush and dense gardens aged over 200 years are situated in the Furnas Valley.  A long extinct volcano, the crater measures approximately 7 m. in diameter. Hundreds of small streams and springs with various minerals feed the plant life indigenous to the region.  As well as century old trees, other varieties have been imported from North America, …

Shore Excursion in Ponta Delgada, Azores

Spending a day exploring the Azores: I am willing to bet that a trip to the Azores is not on your bucket list.  Well maybe you should consider it seriously if you enjoy scenic outdoor travel. After all, this archipelago of nine volcanic islands is considered the Hawaii of Europe. Where is it and why should you be interested? Situated …

Miami to Barcelona on NCL Epic — a Transatlantic Repositioning Cruise

repositioning cruise

Eleven nights to get to Europe.  No airport lineups nor Homeland Security hassles.  Just relax, refresh and enjoy the voyage.  The NCL Epic is repositioning. Now that it is low season and the ship needs to get to the Mediterranean for summer sailings.  You will find a significant drop in price to encourage travellers with the time to spare.  Cruise …

It’s time to party in Puerto Vallarta

The streets are teeming with paper flags in green, white and red. Mexican Independence Day falls on September 16th but if you know Mexicans and how they love to party, the entire month is cause to celebrate. This year, I am lucky to be in Puerto Vallarta, the former sleepy fishing village made famous when Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor …

Chile en Nogada – Traditional Independence Day Meal

Mexican Independence Day Meal

  September is called  Mes Patrio (Country Monthy) and probably the most traditional dish to eat in any restaurant will be Chiles en Nogada.  In case you want to make them for a nice Traditional dinner on either the 15th or the 16th of September, here is the recipe courtesy of Mavi Graf PrintChile en Nogada – Traditional Independence Day …

Photo Shoot in Yelapa, Mexico

Last August, a request was sent out seeking specific shots taken in the remote cove of Yelapa, a sleepy village about 20 miles south of Puerto Vallarta.  Riding the water taxi is an adventure in itself and makes for a fun day trip. It was rainy season and lighting bolts were bouncing off Banderas Bay but at the sign of …

Wine Cocktail Recipes to Welcome Spring

Mother Nature is dressing her foliage and flowers in the shades of the rainbow. Cherry blossoms, tulips, fragrant hyacinths and happy-faced pansies are competing for the attention of everyone with a digital apparatus. You know that means you. Shed the heavy outerwear and celebrate a new season wearing fresh bright hues too. It may not be all that warm yet but …

Brazilian Carnaval is more than Rio de Janeiro

  Over 3 million revelers are expected to attend this year’s celebration in Brazil. There is the samba parade in Rio de Janeiro but there are other cities that throw equally massive parties in even more gorgeous settings. Learn about them and join the party! Salvador  Salvador, the capital of Bahia, proves to be a forerunner of carnivals. The city has …

Best River Cruises Guide from Consumer Affairs

river cruises

You’ve cruised the Caribbean and maybe the Mediterranean.  What’s next?  A river cruise?  But it is a fairly new itinerary and you don’t know where to start or how to plan.  I have found an answer.  Consumer Affairs has published a “Best River Cruises Guide”. The River Cruise industry is experiencing an unprecedented boom – up 11% from last year. …

Booze Burns

As any recent college graduate can attest, drinking straight hard alcohol burns. But why? So the YouTube channel SciShow has come to our rescue with an intellectual explanation to the phenomenon. Turns out that alcohol actually lowers the tolerance of certain heat receptors in your mouth, causing them to activate at 34 degrees Celsius (93 Fahrenheit) instead of 42 degrees …

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Wine for a Homemade Romantic Dinner Valentine’s Day

According to the National Restaurant Association, roughly one quarter of all Americans are expected to dine out to celebrate Valentine’s Day. While this may seem like a large number, it really means that the majority of people will dine at home creating their own romantic meal. The good news is that it’s even easier than most people realize to create …

How are you spending Spring Break?

College students can now participate in Care and Medicine programs in Argentina, Belize, and Fiji. Students will be able to skip the typical vacation experience in favor of volunteering abroad in Argentina, Belize, and Fiji. Each trip emphasizes having a worthwhile experience in a short period of time and are all scheduled to coincide with major university breaks. International volunteer …

80th Annual Atlanta Dogwood Festival April 8-10, 2016

The Southeast’s official kick-off to spring, the Atlanta Dogwood Festival celebrates its 80th anniversary next April. Held in beautiful Piedmont Park, the festival welcomes hundreds of fine artists and hundreds of thousands of visitors to three days of festivities including live music – expect some tunes from the 80s, international performances, gourmet and festival fare, midway rides and games, the …

Traveler’s Dilemma of Meaningful vs. Restful Vacations

Many travelers are looking for a chance to go beyond being a tourist and truly immerse themselves in a culture. But the two main strategies for an authentic experience – very high-end tour packages or months of volunteer work – have kept this kind of authentic experience beyond the grasp of most travelers by making it either too expensive or …

5 Reasons to visit Charleston, SC this Spring

Planning your spring getaway? Here’s five reasons to head to Charleston, SC this Spring. 1. Zac Brown Band’s Southern Ground Music & Food Festival, voted “best music concert” by Charleston City Paper’s readers, celebrates its 5th year on Saturday & Sunday April 16 and 17 with curated music and an artisan food experience you won’t forget. This year’s headliners include …

Celebrity Chili for New Year’s Day

Several years ago I discovered a recipe for  Patsy Cline Memorial Chili and it became a tradition for January 1.  You know — before the real diet regime began. Have you seen “A Walk in the Woods”?  After seeing this movie recently, I remembered Robert Redford had published his lamb chili recipe in a Paul Newman cookbook. Who else loves …

Brazil and Rio Celebrate The Future With The Museum of Tomorrow

Rio museum

Rio de Janeiro’s new icon, The Museum of Tomorrow, opens on Saturday, December 19. This represents the renewal of Rio de Janeiro’s port area, ahead of the 2016 Olympics. Located in Praça Mauá, it is a science museum that promotes exploration, reflection and planning of possibilities for the future. The museum is based on age-old questions – Where do we …

Celebrating Christmas & Réveillon In Brazil

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and soon enough it will be 2016. With the strong dollar, this may be the best time to sneak south of the border to spend a unique holiday season in Brazil! Christmas is one of the most important annual festivals in Brazil, a major Christian nation. Brazil is home to the world’s …

Boudin Bakery ~ “San Francisco’s Original Flour Children”

More than 160 years ago, Isidore and Louise Boudin created sourdough in their bakery.  Using recipes from the Gold Rush days, Boudin Bakery continues to be the longest continuously operated business in San Francisco. Maybe you were hoping to take a foodie walking tour but that long walk along the Embarcadero has your feet talking back.  Sit in Boudin’s Cafe …