Posts Tagged With: Food

Backroads Across America: Squeezing in Our Campground

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We’re spending the night in southern Virginia where spring is just beginning to show its colors.  Our campsite was surrounded by trees, but there was barely a leaf to be seen.  It looked quite winter-like.

A good night for what Reg calls “Comfort Food.”

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Although he rolled his eyes when I dropped this in our grocery cart the other day, we thoroughly enjoyed our Deluxe Kraft Macaroni & Cheese dinner, incredibly easy to make with the enclosed packet of squeeze cheese!

And what better way to dine on this gourmet delight than from good old fashioned TV trays!  Bon Appétit!

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Tour du Mont Blanc: Downhill all the way

What a treat it was to enjoy a leisurely breakfast this morning, knowing that we had only a short walk back to Chamonix, the starting and finishing point of our Tour du Mont Blanc. Plenty of time for a second cup of coffee!

We chose the path along the River L'Arve for our final 5 1/2 mile walk.

This looked like a tiny strawberry growing alongside the trail.

Clouds prevented us from seeing Mont Blanc in Chamonix when we began our trek. Clear skies today allowed the mountain to dominate. We have yet to tire of this view.

We arrived in Chamonix just in time for lunch, where we enjoyed a Mozza Salad at a little sidewalk cafe.

 

 

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France: Life hums on the sidewalks

We discovered a new area of Strasbourg tonight. Just ahead, on the right, was a string of bars and cafes, some on boats.

A couple of young guys at a French bar ordered this bière on tap!

Notes from France

Does anyone drink and eat at home in France (other than us)? Tonight, after our dinner at our Strasbourg apartment, we went for a long walk. There were thousands and thousands out and about. And it did not seem crowded, although most seats were filled. That's because Strasbourg has more cafes, bars, squares and neighborhoods than people (only slightly exaggerating). Of course, it was the same in Paris. Every day and evening have been like this.

Families and couples. Young and old. College kids. Teen-agers. Walking, sitting at sidewalk cafes and bars. Kids riding carousels, yelling “cou cou!” or “yoohoo!” Some are tourists, but most are not (I have a sense about this.) Is this socializing a reason the French live so long?

There is another side to this coin and it is smoking. So many people, from teens on up, smoking, one cigarette after another. Other than inside stores and restaurants, it is okay to light up. That romantic table outside in the square can quickly be surrounded by smokers. We were able, most of the time, to avoid it when we drank or ate outside, though.

Do you think Europe is becoming more Americanized? We feel as though it is. More English language, spoken and written, especially on menus. McDonald's, Starbucks, Subway, Burger King. Baseball caps, worn by locals, not necessarily Americans. T-shirts with brand names or other words written on the front and back. Hamburgers and fries on most menus.

We don't remember it being this way when we lived in Scotland and visited France 19 years ago. Our trips the past four years have revealed a different Europe. But, we saw much of the same in China in 2007.

On the one hand, some of this makes our travel easier. But … (Anyone want to finish this? We would love to hear from you…add your thoughts in the comment section at the bottom of this post.)

 

 

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When in France…

This enthusiastic Frenchman's spirit was contagious.

The France vs. Germany semi-final Euro Cup match was cause for celebration in Strasbourg tonight. Crowds gathered early, grabbing good seats in the few cafes with outdoor TV screens.

We were lucky enough to find a good seat, a great meal and entertaining company for an evening of good natured cheers and jeers.

A France victory made for a happy ending…at least for most of the crowd.

 

 

 

It was standing room only in the square around the cathedral. A busy night for the servers at this cafe. If you look closely, you can spot me in my pink tee shirt, sitting near the back.

Dinner was surprisingly good for a cafe in such a busy tourist area.

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Paris: A most walkable city

If you want to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower, you need reservations months in advance. You can walk the first two levels, though, for 5€

It was Sunday, a bit chilly and overcast in Paris. Not a bad day for a walkabout. Our neighborhood bakery was closed, so we had to settle for a breakfast baguette from a grocery store, with the usual butter and jam. We packed a few picnic items and were off, walking first along the Seine several miles to the Eiffel Tower.

Zigzagging through neighborhoods, we found Luxembourg Garden, 60 acres filled with virtually everything a park should have. It oozed relaxation and many parts of the park looked like an impressionist painting brought to life. Lots of people about, children playing in the huge playground, men playing bocce ball, teenagers being kids, and people of all ages sitting as time passed.

The garden was quintessentially French, a place where life seems unhurried.

Sue enjoys one of the many small area and sculptures in Luxembourg Garden.

Remote-controlled sailboats in front of Luxembourg Palace at the park.

A group wrestling match is frozen in time at Luxembourg Garden.

A caramel crepe, a chair and the Luxembourg Garden made a perfect treat.

Paris remains in a state of emergency since the terrorist attacks and heavily armed military and police officers are everywhere. Patrolling vehicles are visible from almost every corner.

 

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Paris: A city that embraces the love of food

Our great friend Carolyn in Santa Barbara, California, requested some food photos, so walked across the Seine to the Saint Michel/Left Bank area this Saturday night. This area of Paris is changing, becoming more oriented to the tourist with three-course discounted offerings with sales pitches at every turn. Lots and lots of pizza. It remind us a bit of the big plazas in Rome.

The crepes were tempting.

Sue wanted quiche, but we could not find a place that served it. Go figure! But, our patience paid off after more than an hour of walking. We found a fantastic Thai place and the server and food were perfect. Très bien!

It was tough to resist the escargot.

Parts of the Left Bank are mazes of narrow streets filled with cafes.

The cheese selection...magnifique!

Next time you are in Paris, we highly recommend Khao Thai! This beef dish was spicy hot.

 

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Life’s dance, one step at a time

Our new Ashland home is taking shape. The kitchen cabinets went from boxes to walls quickly. The countertops will take at least two weeks.

Meanwhile, the dining room serves as a flooring storage area and makeshift kitchen.

It has been microwave gourmet, but Sue remembered today that a camping stove arrived with our stuff from Mariposa last weekend. That and a new grill will help make meals a bit more interesting for the next month or so until the kitchen and flooring are completed.

Tonight, it was time to get away from the mess and take a picnic a few steps to downtown for another Oregon Shakespeare Festival Green Show. L.A.’s Versa-Style Dance Company wowed a lively audience with an energetic hip-hop performance.

Chocolate truffle ice cream was a perfect encore!

 

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23 beds in 35 days

After sleeping in 23 beds in 35 days, we are ready to go home.

There is just one problem: We sold our home and the bed with it.

We will have to make do, for now, with a rented condo in Ashland, Oregon. It will be home for the next three months and we are looking forward to staying in one place for awhile.

The trekking part of the journey took us to magical lands in the Highlands of Scotland. By car, we visited great friends in Scotland and England. By plane, we dropped in on our Camino buddies who showed us Denmark from the city to the country to the beachside resort.

We hope we get a chance to return our friends’ hospitality.

For now, we fly “home” with treasured memories.

 

We enjoyed a great breakfast at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel and cream tea (note the glob of clotted cream) at Glamis Castle in Scotland. The locals were welcoming and some, like these Danish guys, wanted a spot in the photo album.

Sometimes the trail led to seemingly endless Scottish wilderness. We traveled 1,400 miles in our Vauxhall rental, a GM car.

 

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Friendships weather the years and miles

Carole and Beaton brought a cake showing our trekking route.

 

 

 

 

We have had a most enjoyable week in Scotland after our walk, mainly because of the great times visiting with friends we made while living here in 1997-98.

We have enjoyed many laughs, trips down memory lane and tasty meals in our times together. The Scottish weather, as it always does, treated us to a variety of experiences as we have sometimes literally soaked up what the country offers.

To our home-away-from-home and to our friends here: We will return!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wendy, Trish, Colina and John joined us for a meal in our wee cottage.

 

Malcolm and Barbara took our family for our first walk in Scotland in 1997. We braved the rain for another trek through St. Andrews, this time in less favorable weather.

 

 

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A wild store chase on the Great Glen Way

This Scottish holiday maker was waiting with his wife for the Caledonian Canal lock to let them through. The lock master was on lunch break. His wife was inside, mixing gin and tonics to make the delay more palatable.

 

Our walking in Scotland has taken us through some quite remote areas. We have had to plan carefully to make sure we have food to fuel our weary bodies.

The Great Glen Way has had even fewer shops or eating places than the West Highland Way. It is not unusual to walk 12 miles or more without passing a commercial establishment. When we checked into our hostel Monday afternoon, we were pleasantly surprised that there was a mini store behind the counter. We bought a can of soup and some biscuits to compliment the sandwiches we had brought for dinner. Plus some Wheatabix and milk for breakfast.

Now, let's see, we will need lunch Tuesday. Ah, we were told several times, there is a store just a mile up the trail.

“Where is the store?”

“Near the water park.”

So, we set out in the morning and soon came to the water park. No sign of a store, so I found some folks and asked them where the store was. They pointed and said “just over there!”

They were pointing across the loch. I suppose it was “near” the water park, but …

“You'll have to go back to the end of the loch, cross the swinging bridge and just up the road a bit.”

Sue volunteered to watch my pack while I set out for lunch. We knew there was no other food source between us and Fort Augustus, our final destination for the day.

On my way, I twice had the pleasure of watching the swinging bridge close to allow a boat through. Delayed my journey a bit, but ah, well. And, the store was more than “up the road a bit” away. If it had been closer, though, I would have missed the Maserati parade.

About an hour later, I returned with lunch.

I should have learned by now to ask more questions about directions.

 

 

Categories: Scottish Highlands and beyond | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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