Two-Day Wander: Oban, Scotland

I still can't fully explain why visiting Scotland feels like I'm mainlining some missing part of my soul, but my trip to Oban last fall was no exception. Located on the west coast of Scotland (the Firth of Lorn, to be exact - isn't that a lovely name?), Oban's an easy, scenic train ride from... Continue Reading →

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Best Cocktail Bars in Lyon

Running in parallel to Lyon's coffee renaissance is a robust cocktail movement. France is traditionally a land of wine and Belgian beers (there's nothing quite like a platter of meat and cheese with some sliced bread and French red to start an evening off right), but the last few years have seen an apparent uptick of interest in the art... Continue Reading →

Best Coffee Shops in Lyon

There's a big difference between what we think of as a "coffee shop" in the United States and the traditional French café, which is more of a multi-purpose refreshment center. The French café has sidewalk tables and a dim interior, serves meals at certain hours and beer, wine, and absolutely terrible coffee the rest of the time,... Continue Reading →

Mix-and-Match Lyon

As I said in my last post, Lyon is my favorite French city by far, and seriously underrated. A few years ago, an important world leader was visiting the city, and I remember hearing people express their delight and surprise at the honor. I wasn't surprised at all, but I was impressed by the Lyonnais pride without arrogance. If you get... Continue Reading →

Bicycling and Broiling in Burgundy

One of the best things about living an unsettled existence is that you end up with friends who live all over the world and are often similarly unsettled. This means… lots of mutual travel mooching! You crash with them, they crash with you, and everybody has a travel party. A friend I met through TAPIF has returned to... Continue Reading →

Four-Day Wander: Barcelona

Barcelona is a covergirl with a troubled past, a high-maintenance celebrity who stumbles into her town car after a night of dancing and heavy drinking several times a week, but still somehow manages to arrive fresh-faced on set every morning. She's gorgeous, reliable, and expensive to cast. Make-up hides her scars– when uncovered, some add to her beauty while others mar it. Her... Continue Reading →

My gift is my song, and this one’s for cheese.

Homage to Fromage Chers fromages, I love you, And there's so many of you Here in the land of the frogs! Cantal and roquefort and tomme de Savoie, Saint-Félicien, Saint-Nectaire, and gouda... I don't discriminate; I love you all– My palate is wide, my appetite tall. But lately our love affair's gone a bit cold. With age you... Continue Reading →

Time Travel: Avignon, May 2014 – Tater Tot Hot Dish

Hampus, my new Swedish hostel-friend, suppressed a smirk as he looked around the table at the horrified faces of his audience. He'd just finished telling us about a Swedish culinary tradition that involves eating a fish so rotten that the can it comes in bulges with putrid gases (how you know it's ripe, apparently), a bit of trivia he revealed while he ate... Continue Reading →

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