.All Trips / Europe / Food / Italy

The Art of the Almond

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Marzipan is popular treat, especially in Europe, made of ground almonds (almond meal) mixed with sugar or honey — sometimes with added almond oil.  It is often molded into the shape of fruit and vegetables and tinted with food coloring, as seen in these window displays in Venice.  I though these little pieces of marzipan quite beautiful and tried a piece — tasty but heavy, not really my style.  

Besides being shaped to look like fruit, marzipan can also rolled flat and used an icing layer for fruitcakes and the like, and sometimes is used as a baking ingredient, as in a German “stollen”.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)

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.All Trips / Europe / Spain

A Day in Arcos de la Frontera, Spain

00 Arcos de la Frontera (90)

Arcos de la Frontera is one of Andalusia’s famous white hill towns (puebla blanca), situated on a steep hill with cliffs.  The area has long been inhabited by man, with archaeologic remains found in nearby caves dating to the Stone Age.  It’s surrounded on three sides by the Guadalete river and, given it’s geography, would have been a strategic defensive community in past centuries.  Today the town provides some dramatic views of farms in the region.  The town’s name originates from it being at the frontier of Spain’s battle with the Moors, which didn’t end until Granada fell in the 15th century.  

Arcos de la Frontera, Spain

Arcos de la Frontera, Spain

After the expulsion of the Moors from Arcos in the 13th century, ending two centuries of Moorish rule, the …

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.All Trips / Europe / Italy

Milan’s San Bernardino alle Ossa

00 San Bernardino alle Ossa (10)

The most unusual chapel I’ve ever visited is this one in Milan.  It’s located not far from the great Duomo — about a 10 minute walk — and probably would be interesting to most travelers.  Some might argue it’s a morbid sight and I suppose that’s true, but many might regard being buried in a church a great honor.  There are several other bone-filled churches in Europe, although I’ve never visited any before this one.

The main sanctuary of San Bernadino is nice but similar to thousands of other churches in Europe.   Attractive but not very remarkable, in direct contrast to its unusual ossuary.  To find San Bernardino’s famous chapel of bones you need to divert down a corridor to …

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.All Trips / Car Culture / Central USA / Colorado / North America

Great Cars along the Highway. Pearl Street, Boulder, Colorado

00 Spotted on the Road, Pearl Street

Pearl Street is the heart of downtown Boulder.  Much of this street is a pedestrian zone, with lots of shops, restaurants and buskers.  It’s a lively place in the evening, filled with people, conversation and music.

During our last visit to Boulder, we wandered to Pearl Street and found one of the most unusual car displays I’ve ever seen.  One vehicle in particular was a tribute to rock and (*I think*) especially to Freddie Mercury of Queen fame (one of my favorite voices in popular music).  Someone had spent hundreds and hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars glitzing up a ‘rock ‘n roll’ car in tribute. 

Pearl Street, Boulder, Colorado

Pearl Street, Boulder, Colorado

Some of the photos below give you a closer look at some of the many …

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.All Trips / Eastern Canada / Food Tour / North America / Ontario

Breakfast at the Elgin Street diner

06 Elgin Street Diner

When I last visited Ottawa with my brother and cousin, we decided to have breakfast at the Elgin Street Diner because of a recommendation I’d seen (I believe in Frommer’s).

The diner is open 24 hours, and is a clean well kept place.  It wasn’t too busy when we visited, although it was a late breakfast for us so we’d likely missed the breakfast rush.  Here’s what the place looks like on the inside.

Peameal bacon, beans and eggs, Elgin street Diner

Peameal bacon, beans and eggs, Elgin street Diner

Elgin Street Diner is relatively new — open about a quarter century — and during that time has amassed a very respectable reputation as a good and reasonably priced place to eat in the nation’s capital.  It has been recognized as Ottawa’s best diner and for having the …

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.All Trips / North America / Western Canada / Yukon

The Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre, Whitehorse

02 Yukon Beringia Center (1)

Canada’s Yukon territory is well know for its natural beauty and abundance of outdoor recreation.  It’s a very sparsely populated region (one human for every 2 moose), but there are a few interesting indoor sites to visit including this one, which I think is the best in the territory.  

Why was Beringia not covered with ice?  Because while it was cold, it was too dry.  The coastal mountains of Alaska so sheltered the interior of Alaska and the Yukon from moisture that there was not enough precipitation here to create a glacier.  Because of thick ice sheets on the continents, the ocean levels were lowered and a land bridge appeared which allowed migration of people and animals between Asia and North …

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.All Trips / Central Canada / North America / Saskatchewan

Murals of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

05 Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan (29)

The Canadian province of Saskatchewan and its city of Moose Jaw are hardly on most tourist maps (though I recall as a kid I thought it very cool that a city was named after an animal’s mandible).  As with many things in life, when you scratch the surface you’ll find something interesting underneath.  

So it was this past summer when I was driving between Calgary and Winnipeg.  Having passed through Moose Jaw many times through the years, without stopping for more than gas, I though I’d head into the city and look around for a few hours.  It was an enjoyable break from the day’s driving.

 Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

Capone’s Hideaway, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

The city has an interesting array of large outdoor murals depicting its history and development …

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.All Trips / Europe / France

A Visit to Paris’ Rodin Museum

19 01 Paris 05-2013. Rodin Museum (64)

Many consider Auguste Rodin to be the greatest sculpture since the Renaissance.  It’s a point that’s hard to argue with as Rodin was a highly imaginative and successful artist, still well known a century after his death.

Probably the best place to see his work and learn more about his life is in Paris’ Rodin Museum.  Most pieces in the Museum’s collection are located within the Hôtel Biron, a classic 18th-century mansion, very close to Les Invalides (where Napoleon’s tomb is located).  To a large extent the Rodin Museum is park-like, with seven beautifully landscaped acres dotted with sculptures by Rodin.  It’s a lovely relaxing place to be, within the heart of the city but removed from the busy …

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