From Santorini, we took the ferry over to Crete. The plan was to spend our three mornings in a private cooking class, then visit a few nearby towns by bus in the afternoons, but that didn’t work out. During the first “cooking” class, we made a salad and some tomato-topped bread. No joke. For the second, the teacher was half an hour late; we were on the verge of leaving when she finally arrived, but after expressing our unhappiness with the state of things, we went ahead and did the second class, and made a few things like stuffed veggies and three different arrangements of spanakopita – though all with pie crust rather than phyllo!? While it was much better than the first class, overall we were still pretty unhappy, so we canceled the third. Continue reading
I’d been wanting to visit Greece pretty much forever. I love the food, and I’ve seen some photos of the islands that come close to my idea of paradise. So when Air France started offering direct flights between Nice and Athens (previously, you had to go via Paris, or some other airport that nearly doubled the travel time) my husband and I decided it was a sign. We originally wanted to take a cruise, but as we researched the options, we couldn’t really find one that fit – the boats are either enormous or enormously expensive. We wanted something smallish (maybe 200 people, max) and affordable. When we couldn’t find it, we decided to just travel the way we usually do: pick out some neat places to stay, rent a car, and visit other cool stuff in between. It usually works out pretty well. We decided to spend the first weekend driving around a bit, then return the car and spend 4 days in Athens, 4 days on Santorini, and 4 days on Crete, before returning to the mainland, renting another car, and visiting the northwestern part. All in all, it was one of the best trips of my life. Continue reading
|Chinon © LKL|
Continuing our detour from the six corners of France, we drove to Sancerre, one of our favorite wine appellations, and then continued on to Chinon, where we’d rented a tiny gîte for the week. The weather wasn’t great, so we tended to stay in until nearly lunchtime, and then head out to visit some châteaux and taste wine all afternoon. Vouvray is another of our favorites, and we found some good ones.
|Château de Saumur © LKL|
The Loire Valley is a truly wonderful part of France – there are beautiful châteaux in every direction, and there’s wine to be tasted everywhere you turn. We picnicked on the banks of the Loire, the Thouet, and the Vienne rivers, always drinking local wine and often in view of châteaux. It was a nice break before the near-constant traveling coming up next.
– – – – –
It’s the third Thursday in November, which means that the year’s Beaujolais Nouveau is being drunk in France and all over the world. Learn a bit about this annual wine fest: Beaujolais Nouveau
I’m reading an interesting book: A History of the World in 6 Glasses, by Tom Standage. According to the author’s extensive research, six drinks – beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and Coca Cola – have shaped the world in ways that I could never have imagined. I’m not a history buff, but somehow the retelling of previously dull facts and events through these six drinks is absolutely fascinating. For example, one drink that holds pride of place in American history – think Boston Tea Party – had a “partner” that I’d never before heard mentioned in conjunction with it. The book has a few repetitive passages here and there, but overall it’s a great read.