Some people travel to eat. I just travel and, meanwhile, I get hungry. Sure, sometimes a certain type of crepe or oversized fruit snack tastes so good that finding and eating it temporarily gives me some sense of purpose in life. But usually I just pile canned tuna on stale crackers and call it dinner. Then I started traveling by bike instead of bus/train/truck/horse-drawn cart. Now, as I propel myself across the land, I eat to travel.
After several months on Tenerife, all I’d learned about the history of the Canary Islands was that they were so named because of the plenitude of large dogs seen there by early explorers. Maybe. Because according to another local expert, the name definitely came from the birds that were used to lead miners out of the many caves on the islands. What exactly was mined remains a mystery, and someone else pointed out that obviously the birds would have to […]
I used to live/work/play without a car in a car-loving American city, where most of the buses ran in sluggish one-way loops and the closest thing to light rail was the regional Amtrak (“You got your bike on here with ya? And you’re gonna ride just one stop?”). So I feel giddily free when traveling in countries where the transportation system developed with less of the “See the USA in your Chevrolet” sort of influence. For example: Morocco. Its interconnected, […]
I visited Imlil because it was in the Atlas Mountains (which I’d heard were beautiful) and because, according to the map, it appeared to be a do-able half-day’s journey from Taroudant (which I hadn’t heard about but enjoyed very much when I somehow ended up there). But getting the journey to Imlil done required a very full day, with three different grand taxis, a mini bus, and lots of waiting and staring into beautiful space: Upon arrival, I was underwhelmed […]
While in Berrechid, I met Rekaya: She’s from Tafraoute and she told me that her hometown was the very best place in Morocco. She googled Tafraoute on her phone and showed me the image results: golden mountains, palm trees, huge blue boulders. She didn’t know why someone had coated those big rocks in paint, but she smiled and shrugged and said that she did know that the people in Tafraoute were nice, and that it was a beautiful place. I […]
A 40-minute (very cramped) grand taxi ride from Essaouira will get you to beautiful Sidi Kaouki: Beautiful sunsets almost every night. This one really looked just like this, I swear. And the sound system at the mosque really sounds like this: I liked it there so much, I wanted to make a little something to remember it by. I’d collected some shells from the beach, and in Essaouira I picked up some old Moroccan coins and beads that matched […]
N. (a teacher at the school where I was volunteering) told us that she wanted to make _________ soup (she said the name in Arabic, so I didn’t understand and promptly forgot it). I like helping with food preparation, especially when part of the prep involves grocery shopping. So some of the other volunteers and I followed N. like a gaggle of eager ducklings to the corner store. And then we (ok, mostly the rest of them) got to work: […]
Usually I find the old postcard first, and it leads me on a little adventure to/through the new place. In this case, some new friends (David and Austin, fellow volunteers in Berrechid), invited me to visit a new place (Settat) with some old(ish) friends of theirs. The postcard came later. So first, the place: Settat. Pronounced Ssss’tat…? (self-conscious drag on the ‘s’, followed by an unsure emphasis on ‘TAT’. Maybe?). The plan was to have coffee and hang out, and […]
M. wanted to make a tagine for us. I wanted to help (and eat). Click on the first photo to open the slideshow with captions: * A couple of months later, while trying to help out in the kitchen at an eco-lodge in Tafedna, Morocco, I opened up my laptop on the kitchen counter and tried to follow my “recipe”. I got as far as the onions. And ruined them. Yes, the ONIONS. Ugh. Threw the mess in the trash […]
While walking from Rabat’s waterfront to its new town during one of my then/now postcard hunts, I saw two women reading an informational display in front of a tall-fenced, big-lawned garden. I hovered alongside and pretended to read. They asked me if I was headed to the Hassan Tower, too. I’d never heard of the Hassan Tower, but, yep, sure. Next stop. So we walked up the hill together, along the garden’s fence, around a bend, past a blank-faced guard […]
Rabat. The capital of Morocco. Described to me – by Moroccans and other travelers – as “modern”, “clean”, “unauthentic”, “boring.” Hm. It looked nice in my postcards: So I went. Postcards in hand, I started with the medina. (Click on a photo to open a slideshow with captions): I turned another corner and found myself on the main tourist souvenir-shopping drag. Close enough match for me: A quick snack on the way out of the medina and towards the waterfront […]
On a drizzly day of wandering around the kasbah in Rabat… these doors caught my eye: So I made some bracelets: And now that the colors have been ingrained in my memory, bead by bead, for ever and ever, the bracelets are for sale HERE and HERE. :) More souvenirs available HERE.
There doesn’t seem to be much happening in the streets of Berrechid most Sunday afternoons. But then one day – what’s this? All these people…? And horses in a truck…? We were told “Fantasia’s in town!” Great! Mm, what’s fantasia? (click on the first photo to open a slideshow with captions) And then! It was exciting! Here’s a little video I made of two of the 20+ groups we watched: the first troupe is ok, the second one nails it […]
Today’s a big anniversary for me, I suppose: one full year of traveling around and hanging out. To celebrate, I’m thinking about and feeling thankful for the people who, more than ten years ago, first taught me how to slow down and chill out. To be ok with having nowhere to go except my neighbor’s front porch and nothing to do except talk about the weather, watch the cows (and pick-up trucks) go by, and enjoy the quiet company of […]
[Please don’t open this post if you have issues with looking at where meat comes from. Really. I warned you.] While volunteering in Berrechid, Morocco I met David and Austin, who had been there a while and knew M. and S. They all asked if I wanted to tag along on a car ride to somewhere to maybe eat something. Yep, sure did. More food fun HERE.
It started with a trip to the beach: and turned into a late lunch: followed by a stop for tea on the way home: and finished off with one last game of soccer: These guys know how to hang. Whew. More Sunday fun HERE.
Casablanca! Yes! This is how I always imagined you: Well. To be honest, I hadn’t really imagined you – or thought about you much at all – before realizing this past summer that hey, Morocco’s just over there!…and it’s warm in the winter! And doesn’t Casablanca look neat in these postcards I found! So I went and – with the help of a Casa-born taxi driver – found a minaret-shaped piece of the old Casablanca. Just that one tower. The […]
I’d imagined (feared? hoped?) that crossing the Straight of Gibraltar by ferry would go something like this: But there was no lumpy Talos, or any hunks in mini-togas…or really anyone at all. I’d been warned that I’d be hopping on that boat, and then crammed into a train, with half of Spain’s Moroccan population – who would be heading home for the after-summer break. But on that Sunday morning it was just me and the dude with the headphones. Welcome […]
My carshare from Granada was loaded up with people who would not be getting dropped off in Algeciras with me. Their (eagerly shared) opinions of the city can be summed up with: “yuck”. They wanted to know why I wanted to go there (crime, drugs, cargo containers, ugliness, etc.). I told them I needed to catch a ferry to Morocco. They then wanted to know why I didn’t go to Tarifa (surfing, kiteboarding, whitewashed old town, ferries, etc.). I told […]
As I was packing up to finally head south from Paris, my great aunt asked where exactly I planned to go. I wasn’t exactly sure, but I mentioned a few places, including St. Jean de Luz (I didn’t share that I was only going there because I’d found some old postcards of its beaches – she already thinks I’m kooky enough). Saint Jean de Luz? Uuuh-la-laah, it’s nice there, she purred. Oh, really? She left the room and returned with […]
I. and I first met in Cuenca, Ecuador, where we had a dang good time together: trying new fruits and snacks in the markets, visiting the local “spa” (with its lukewarm swimming pool and half-heartedly steamy sauna), and chattering away in Spanish over teas and soups like two old long-lost amiguitas del alma. We reunited months later in Paris, over a cheap lunch in the cafeteria of the Colegio de Espana at La Cite Universitaire, and made plans to hang […]
I never knew that crêpes were, like, a thing. I think my mom once bought a pack of frozen “crepes” that we were too lazy to ever defrost and reheat. I figured they were like pancakes for people who like to stay hungry. But when I was on the ferry to Belle Île, I was told by some fellow tourists that one of the primary vacation activities on the island is crepe-eating – because crêpes are not just a French […]
Mission Mont-Saint-Michel brought me to beachy, cobblestoned, postcard-pretty Saint-Malo. On my way to the post office one morning, I was forced to spend hours rummaging through the crates and piles of stuff on display in the flea market blocking my path. I showed impressive restraint and only bought about 50 postcards, including these from Saint Malo: I fueled up on chocolate croissants and espresso and set out to find the same views: What you can’t tell from my photos, a […]
Everyone warned me about Mont Saint Michel. Each time I told someone in Paris that I was thinking of traveling up to the north coast of France – at the height of the summer tourism season – to check out this famous island castle thing, the responses included one or more of the following words/phrases: swarms, hoards, crowds, oooof, masses, du monde (meaning: the whole damn world will be there). I thought about maybe going to the beach instead, especially […]
My newly-familiar family in France has been so very good to me. Throughout the summer they invited me along on beach vacations, took me on scooter rides around Paris and car trips through countryside, lied to me about how quickly my French was improving, and – perhaps most endearing of all – fed me delicious foods. For years, my dad’s cousin has been spending summers in La-Trinité-Sur-Mer, a port town on the south coast of Brittany. When he heard that […]
After spending a fun weekend in small-town Brittany for a friend’s birthday party… …I decided to go to Belle Île, an island off the coast of northwest France. I don’t remember why I decided to go. I think I’d looked at the Brittany region on a map and was surprised that there was an island there. And that it had a hostel. So I thought I should check it out. It turned out that two other guests at the party […]
It’s Sunday afternoon. Or it could be Wednesday morning. Or 11pm on a Friday. If you sit in the dining room of my great-aunt’s flat for an hour, a day, a year, and look around you, the only change will be the slowly shifting color of the Paris sky outside the tall, thick-glassed windows. Sometimes you’ll hear the high chatter of kids at recess in the schoolyard down the hill. Or the muffled whoosh of a bus winding down the […]
While I was in Paris, the people I met or hung out with often politely asked what I’d been up to in their city, to which I’d reply, “Oh, you know, wandering around and stuff.” They’d wonder if I’d made it to the Eiffel Tower yet. I’d cautiously reply, “Mmm, not…yet?” and wait for the response, which was usually either: 1) a high five; or 2) a stern command to go there immediately and WALK up to the top as […]
This round of postcard scene hunting required several attempts (to get the right light) and involved a couple of great snacks — the fruit sorbet at Berthillon (imagine the taste of pear multiplied by a thousand) and the cream puffs at Odette: Happy and sugar rushed, we found the almost exact same spots that the postcard photos were taken. We wondered what might have changed since those photos were taken. And the Love Lock thing is new to the Notre […]
I carried these old postcards around with me for weeks after picking them up in an antique shop near Paris. I wanted to go up to the top of the Arc de Triomphe and look out over the Champs-Élysées and count the Starbucks signs and then figure out from which floor of which building that straight-on shot had been taken and afterwards borrow a biplane and snap an up-to-date photo of that great aerial star-burst view: I sped around the […]
After completing my little postcard challenge at the Sacre Coeur, I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go next, but I knew it needed to be away from the crowds. I walked back down the steps and looked right: a crowd of school kids, and behind them, streets that went up. To the left: no crowds, and downhill streets. You know which way I went. I walked just a few minutes and there, on the sidewalk, in front of a […]
When I first met E. in Martinique (she’s the one walking in front of me in the pics from La Savane de Petrificaciones), she told me that she was a food scientist/product developer for a French gourmet frozen food company called Picard. Hm. Did I hear that right? Frozen food – even gourmet frozen food – just didn’t seem very, I don’t know…”French” — I just couldn’t quite fit a plastic-wrapped, cardboard-boxed fish dinner in there between my mental images […]
Who’s a sucker for a flea market? This girl. Every time. My first Sunday morning in St. Cloud (just outside Paris) my great aunt went out to get bread (yep, that really happens in France) and very soon after, I heard her ha-rumph her way back into the apartment. Uuuh-la-LAAA! She was irritated. Apparently there was some sort of street market going on near the church and they’d blocked off the route that she usually drives (uh-huh, around the corner) […]
My first weekend in France, I was wandering around Boulogne, a commune/suburb of Paris, stupidly delighted by the feel of temperate, spring-time air on my arms and face (novel and refreshing after six months of tropical salty stickiness), and came across a small antique shop. I went in and quickly scanned the cluttered shelves and carefully disarranged piles – and there it was: an old biscuit tin loosely packed with old postcards. I got excited. I have a thing for […]
E (in French): I’m playing in a handball tournament this weekend. You wanna come? Me (in almost French): Sure! Cool. I’ve been wanting to see how handball is played. E: Handbahl. Me: Oui, handball. E: HandBAHL. It’s German. Me: confused silence. So I went, and it was fun to watch, especially since everyone was there just to have a good time. And they had the best post-game spread I’ve ever seen. Sausage and goat cheese? Refreshing. And then, for some […]
The grounds of the Palace of Versailles are a great place for a walk. Or a run. In a tutu. My friend ran in the 2014 royalty-themed “Running Tour of the Chateau de Versailles“. Her uncle did the 15k “Royal Run” (sans crown) and she ran the 8k “Princess Run (sans tutu). No, I didn’t run. I had to take pictures! And it was raining. But maybe next year…? Looked fun! After the race… (click on a photo to open […]
My friend, E., and I stopped in Sainte-Marie to eat our sandwiches and stare in meditative silence at the hypnotic waves of the tombolo: As we walked back to the car, I took this picture… I liked the colors and made this bracelet… It’s available on etsy :)
The definitive glossary of sailing terms for new sailors…if you’re the type of new sailor who mostly just lays around on the boat while it cruises around the Caribbean. Corrections are welcome, as I really have no idea what I’m talking about here. Click on a photo to open a slideshow with captions: Next time I’ll learn about wind and sails. More lazy adventures here.
While I was in the Caribbean, three dear friends came to travel with me for ten days. Even before they arrived, I didn’t want them to go. I counted the days til they’d land, and passed the time crocheting (and crocheting and crocheting) necklaces for them – inspired by the colors of the landscape that we were about to explore together. The blues: (click on a photo to open a slideshow with captions) And the greens: The golden yellows: Plus […]
In contrast to the arid badlands in southern Martinique, the mountains on the north end of the island are lushly green and misty. Equally wild and beautiful, but (slightly) more inhabited. It was a very lucky Monday* for me because E. had her cousin’s car that day and wanted to explore. So off we went: We drove for about an hour, parked the car, and wondered where all the people had gone. Fortunately, there were signs of life at one […]
Two of the local beverages in Martinique: The Lorraine factory doesn’t do tours (I asked) and neither does the Didier bottling facility (I was told). And the Didier water source is not accessible. BUT! There’s another waterfall that is called “Didier Falls” for some unknown reason. So why not take a walk in the jungle and pretend it was a visit to the source for both products? More lazy adventures here.
A new friend told me he had to work up in the town of Sainte-Pierre, on the northwest coast of Martinique. He said I could tag along if I wanted to. Well of course I did. He’s a member of a circus entertainment association called Lézard Ti Show, which was providing some of the entertainment for a family fun day fundraiser organized by a local church. After stuffing my face with paella, I walked over to the edge of the […]
Here’s what I was taught in Martinique about ital living: – There’s a common energy running through all living beings. – Your decisions about what you put into your body should be based on an understand of, and respect for, your relationship with that universal life force. – Choices about I-tal living should be authentic and personal, which leaves room for individualized interpretations and flexible practices. So, for example: (click on a photo to open a slideshow with captions) I […]
a long walk in a Caribbean desert… After the hike, there was, of course, a good meal: Poulet boucane isn’t grilled like any ol’ BBQ chicken. Check out the process: More un-extreme outdoor fun here: The Lazy Aventurer
We parked our car in a parking deck in downtown Castries: and took a cab to Mindoo Phillip park for the Official Opening of the Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival. Not much jazz, but a good time anyway: Skip to 2:05 :)