Category Archives: UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Philippi: In the footsteps of Alexander and St. Paul

 

Philippi, Macedonia, Greece
Philippi, Macedonia, Greece

 

Archaeological Museum of Philippi.
Archaeological Museum of Philippi.

Philippi would be a doorway to Asia Minor. It would serve three empires. It would be a major player in creating history.

 

 

Lydia of Philippisia became St. Paul’s first convert in 49 A.C.E. receiving baptism in the Zygaktis River – a gesture with international ramifications.

Read the rest of this dramatic story…

In Greece, Philippi made history

 

St. Lydia's baptismal site
St. Lydia’s baptismal site

You can read all my articles at:

Hellenic News of America

Original World Travel

Culinary Travel Examiner

 International Dining Examiner

International Travel Examiner

Philadelphia Fine Dining Examiner

Food & Recipes Examiner

Tweaking tradition on the Greek Islands

 

Theodora Tziamali & Chef George Katseas partners: Katogi Cafe
Theodora Tziamali & Chef George Katseas partners: Katogi Cafe

“We’re romantic,” says Chef George Katseas and that’s evident by both the decor and the manner in which George and partner Theodora Tziamali treat their customers like family.

Elia
Elia

“I want to marry the modern with tradition,” says Harris Boukas the young owner of Elia.

 

 

 

Nightlife on the Greek Island of Ios can certainly become lively during the summer season, but dining in the following seven tavernas and cafes put a smile on my face. Read more at…

Marrying trends with tradition in Ios dining 

Chora, Ios island
Chora, Ios island

 

Ionnis Trinas & his windmill, Sifnos island
Ionnis Trinas & his windmill, Sifnos island

Windmills tell stories of the drive for labor saving devices even in the pre-industrial age.

Harnessing the near steady breeze of both coast and hills was a technological breakthrough akin to present day electric wind generators.

Building a windmill was no easy task.

 

Windmill on the island of Alonissos
Windmill on the island of Alonissos

Mr. Ionnis Trinas has constructed what very well may be the first fully functioning windmill in the Greek islands for over a century. Read the rest at…

Savoring windmills in Greece

Ionnis Trinas Sifnos windmill
Ionnis Trinas Sifnos windmill

 

Mrs. Annezio Bouritis and her son Mixαlis Famelitis. Annezio Bakery
Mrs. Annezio Bouritis and her son Mixαlis Famelitis. Annezio Bakery

Mrs. Annezio Bouritis and her son Mixαlis Famelitis operate the traditional Annezio Bakery located in the port town of Merichas. Set in a typical white washed stone building with a view overlooking the harbor, the cars of customers are usually double parked on the narrow street.

cheese tarts
cheese tarts

Greeks positively revel in sharing their food, especially with visitors. Mrs. Bouritis and Mixalis were equally enthusiastic to share recipes for cheese tarts and pastel. Read more at…

      Kythnos recipes from Annezio Bakery in the Greek Cyclades

Kythnos island
Kythnos island

 

You can read all my articles at:

Hellenic News of America

Original World Travel

Culinary Travel Examiner

 International Dining Examiner

International Travel Examiner

Philadelphia Fine Dining Examiner

Food & Recipes Examiner

New Southeast Asian Cuisine: from Galangal to Philly Cheese Steak

galangal, on left, is darker, related but not the same as ginger, on right

Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam have been on the Asian trade routes to Europe for millennium. Southeast Asia was adept at fusing earlier European, Chinese and Japanese culinary influences and a century of Western colonial cuisine. The kitchens at restaurants of today’s tourist route destinations continue to preserve the past as well as innovate.

Laotian cuisine, like the nation, is much more than that land between Thailand and Vietnam. Neither as sweet nor spicy as its neighbors, the dishes of Laos are multi-layered creations of herbs, greens, meats, fish, vegetables and spices not used in Western cooking. Yum Kai Tom is one such dish that’s both easy to master as well as being quintessential Laos.

ingredients for Yum Kai Tom
Arthouse Cafe

There’s no lack of fine restaurants in Laos’ UNESCO World Heritage City of Luang Prabang. Once the royal and spiritual capital of several southeast Asian kingdoms, Luang Prabang epitomizes tropical post-colonial romanticism. The historic core rests high on a peninsula and restaurants take advantage of the spectacular mountain scenery of northern Laos. The Arthouse Cafe, on Kingkitsarath Road, is no exception.

Purple sticky rice

Luang Prabang’s popular and excellent Tamarind Restaurant makes a terrific Khao Gam.

Stuffed Lemongrass is delicious, as the lemongrass permeates the meat with its citrus flavor.

Stuffed Lemongrass

Vientiane, the capital of Laos, has no lack of interesting dining opportunities from a vibrant street food scene to the legendary Mekong River at sunset providing a stunning backdrop for a relaxing dinner at the Kong View Restaurant.

Kong View restaurant, Vientiane, Laos

A tuk-tuk full of saffron robed monks pass by the entrance to Ban Vilaylac. Their Wat is directly across the street. Appropriate location since Ban Vilaylac’s potted garden entrance bridges centuries of traditional Vientiane and French colonial Laos cuisine. Next door, reservations for either lunch or dinner are hard to come by at Makphet Restaurant, yet there are no celebrity chefs, yet the lines of appreciative diners can be long.

view from the Charming Lao Hotel

Much overlooked, Laos north central town of Oudomxai is surrounded by stunning scenery to view while enjoying good Laotian cuisine at The Charming Lao Hotel.

Stuffed squid at Dibuk Restaurant

In a building as old as many bistros in Paris, under ceiling fans stirring the languid tropical air, guests of the Dibuk Restaurant in Thailand’s old Phuket Town can spend time dining with the Indian Ocean lapping nearby.

Tom Kha Gai and its ingredients
Chef Wan at Look-In restaurant

The Look-in Restaurant, just off Bangkok’s busy Sukhumvit Road, is not on most visitors’ tourist map – not yet.

Tom Kha Gai, Thailand’s incomparable coconut soup with chicken and flavored with galangal is a Look-in knockout.

The finest restaurant in Vietnam’s capital of Hanoi is also its most fascinating. Koto, next to the Temple of Learning, is in an elegant, three-story French Art Nouveau townhouse.

Koto, Hanoi, Vietnam

There’s a quiet side to Cambodia’s bustling Siem Reap, home to Angkor Wat, on the banks of the Siem Reap River. The town’s best restaurant and small hotel, Bopha, is located at 512 Acharsva Street facing the east bank. It’s a haven of calm.

at Bopha, Siem Reap, Cambodia: traditional fish stew
Pho at La Viet

The Italian Market/Queen Village district, to any resident of Philadelphia, is inexorably morphing into a little Southeast Asia.  A stroll through these historic colonial neighborhoods provides visual evidence of Asian grocery stores, restaurants and professional offices catering to this increasing community. The area around 11th Street and Washington Avenue includes a sizable number of Asian businesses and one very good Vietnamese fine dining restaurant, Le Viet.

Butterfish at Kinnaree restaurant

Set in an unassuming strip mall in suburban Philadelphia, Kinnaree Thai French Cuisine balances traditional Thai dishes with centuries old French influences.

 

 

 

 

You can read more articles by Marc d’Entremont at:

Hellenic News of America

Travel Pen and Palate Argentina

Original World Insights

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Zimbabwe’s Inns and Lodges in the National Parks

Throughout Zimbabwe visitors have abundant opportunities to view Africa’s array of animal life on a guided safari photo tour or from their room’s balcony.

Breakfast on the lawn at Antelope Park Lodge, Gweru, Zimbabwe

Within National Parks

Sikumi Tree Lodge, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

At stunning natural wonders

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

At historic sits

(top & bottom center) stairway & doorway at Great Zimbabwe, (lower left) a room at Lodge at the Ancient City

Travel with Pen and Palate in Zimbabwe:

In the Land of Kings: Zimbabwe’s Ancient Treasures

Zimbabwe Inns and Lodges: Nature Up Close and Personal

Zebra in the Eastern Highlands, Nyanga National Park, Zimbabwe

Antelope Park, Zimbabwe: When ALERT is Being Alive

lion videos at Antelope Park Lodge 

Zimbabwe Cuisine: A Tale of Three Meals 

(Editors Choice Award, Suite101)

breakfast at Matopo Hills Lodge in Matopo National Park, Zimbabwe

Luxury Lodges at Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls

(clockwise) sunset on the Zambizi River, at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, rafting on the Zambizi River, Victoria Falls, at Gorges Lodge

The Smiles of Zimbabwe

children in Mutare, Zimbabwe

(for visitor information:  Zimbabwe Tourism Authority.)

Luang Prabang, Laos: Ban Phousy Market & Tamarind Cafe

View from, and interior of, Tamarind Cafe, Luang Prabang, Laos

Long the ancient royal capital of Laos’ many national permutations, Luang Prabang was a favorite of the French during their century of domination with their architecture, but not their cuisine, influencing and complimenting the Laotians own superb sensibilities.  The city is stunning, serene and a foodie mecca.

Ban Phousy Morning Market, Luang Prabang, Laos

Laos and its food is fascinating, relaxed, less spicy and refined.

Ban Phousy Market, Luang Prabang, Laos

In a city known for its cooking classes, Tamarind offers unique full day experiences starting with a shopping expedition to the morning market.

spices, herbs and rice: Luang Prabang, Laos

 Read more at Suite101 – my latest Featured Article on the Food & Drink page’s Culinary Tourism section, including the recipe.

Luang Prabang, Laos: Tamarind Cafe’s Stuffed Lemongrass

Teaching, Cooking, Writing and Travel

“I was born with “wanderlust” according to the Minneapolis Multi Phasic Personality Inventory, a psych test I took in my 20′s.”

A great web site, www.teachingtraveling.com has just published an interview article they requested that I write:

“I’m a teacher. If I can teach hundreds of kids, I can teach myself.”

Parque National Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

Argentina’s Incomparable Northwest: A Drink for the Pachamama

 “We live and eat from the land. Pachamama is our mother and we have to respect her.” Juana, spiritual healer

Iruya, Argentina

Our guide pulled the Land Rover off the road and stopped the engine. The lights were off; we were in total blackness and silence. I asked,“¿Cuál es el problema?” believing something must be wrong with the car. Opening the door, he replied, “No hay problema. Las estrellas.” As eyes adjusted, the sky was ablaze with stars. The Milky Way was a sash of white gauze. The Southern Cross stood out clearly despite competition from a few million other constellations. Satellites passed overhead. Stars sparkled white, blue and red. The dome of the planet was a Christmas display. At 10,000 feet elevation in the middle of the Andes Mountains, there were no ambient lights to dim the awe we were experiencing.

The Pachamama

No wonder for thousands of years the indigenous peoples of the Andes have worshiped the land as a living force and looked upon the Pachamama – the Earth Mother – as their benevolent protector. The mountain environment provides for the people – pack animals, meat, cloth, water from the glaciers for drinking and irrigating the parched land.

Despite Inca and Spanish conquest, both the indigenous cultures and the Pachamama remain. Jesuit missionaries were far too intelligent to attempt a wholesale, and fruitless, change of attitude. They could understand the correlation between Catholic beliefs in the Virgin Mary with that of the Pachamama and interwove their veneration. Roadside shrines can be seen today in the most remote mountain areas with statues to the Virgin Mary with traditional offerings to the Pachamama of food, jewelry, figurines, coca leaves and hundreds of burning candles.

The Quebrada de Humahuaca

Argentina’s Andean Northwest is home to cultures that have called it home for 9,000 years. Irrigation canals constructed 3,000 years ago still water fields. 3,500 year old villages are alive with people in traditional clothing except it’s not a fashion statement. Hornos, outdoor clay ovens, are the center of the kitchen; adobe houses are constructed as a community effort without power tools.

The ancient village of Tilcara, 1,100 miles northwest of Buenos Aires, is an excellent base to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Quebrada de Humahuaca. The mountain enclave of Iruya is reached only after a surreal six hour journey. At 13,000 feet, the Salinas Grande Salt Flats seem like a different planet, and not too far north, near the Bolivian border, the legendary Ruta 40 begins its 5,000 mile journey to Tierra del Fuego.

Brown is the color of Tilcara, but don’t let that deter you from staying. Its brown adobe buildings, tan stone streets and dusty countryside provide a beige backdrop for the stunning multi-colored reds, greens and pinks of the surrounding mountains. The brown of Tilcara is also a foil for the bright colors of indigenous handicrafts – multi colored garments made from soft alpaca and llama wool along with many forms of pottery based on ancient designs. The senses are entertained by the aromas from food stalls selling humitas – a creamy corn and cheese mixture wrapped in corn husks – empanadas – an Andalucian savory pastry first made by the Moors of North Africa – fresh grilled tortillas and the incomparable Andean goat’s milk cheese Queso de Cabra.

Angels and Folk Heros

Angeles Arcabuceros

To explore the rugged countryside of the Quebrada requires a four-wheel drive vehicle. Many of the roads are unpaved, twisty and narrow. The journey to Iruya explored a surreal mountain landscape – barren and rocky, nearly unpopulated, at elevations exceeding 9,000 feet – punctuated by tiny villages and steep valleys shrouded in clouds. In Uquia’s 17th century Iglesia de San Francisco de Paula is a priceless collection of the Angeles Arcabuceros(Angels with Guns). The paintings depict winged angels fully dressed as conquistadors bearing guns and swords – not too subtle Spanish Colonial propaganda. Several miles further I spied a road side shrine to folk hero Gauchito Gill. Throughout Argentina, shines to this 19th century gaucho Robin Hood are visible on rural road sides identifiably draped with red banners. He is especially revered in the north where he led a peasant rebellion against landowners, was captured and executed. Numerous miracles have been attributed to Gauchito Gil, and he has a large cult-like following. Red banners and depictions of Gil’s heroism are frequently superimposed on the cross and may be flanked by the unlikely triumvirate of Evita Peron, Che Guevara and the last ruling Inca, Tupac Amaru.

shrine to Gauchito Gill

Our guide had prepared a picnic lunch. Before eating he poured a portion of our drinking water onto the soil. It was the offering to the Pachamama. This was not a gesture to fascinate tourists – this was for real.

(upper left) a farm at 8,000 feet, (center) staircase street in Iruya, (lower right) Tilcara

Iruya

Iruya, with a population of 4,300 at an altitude of 9,120 feet is perched on the mountainside high above the Rio Iruya. Its white buildings, dominated by its much photographed Igelsia de Nuestra Senora del Rosario y San Roque, gleam in the sun as they rise in a jumble up the green-brown hills. Many of its streets are literally stone staircases and negotiating this labyrinth can be bewildering at first when the street dead ends at the door of a house.

Salinas Grande Salt Flats

The following day our excursion to the Salinas Grande Salt Flats traversed numerous switchbacks as we climbed through the spectacle of the Cuesta de Lipan offering panoramas of snow covered peaks and barren steppe. A road side marker indicated the highest point for this route, 13,344 feet. As we descended, the gleaming salt flats came into view. Amid the treeless, brown countryside of the altiplano, the vast Salinas Grande Salt Flats reflected the sun like an immense solar collector. These are among the world’s largest and highest naturally renewing salt flats in existence covering an area of 3,200 square miles. Salt extraction has gone on for decades using unchanged hand methods. Walking on the flats is nothing less than other-worldly. In the thin winter air at 12,000 feet the strong wind was biting yet the experience exhilarating. Sunglasses are necessary – the glare off the salt is blinding without them. The flats resemble cracked concrete except there’s a crunch under your feet.

Comunidad Aborigen Tres Pozas

meat drying in the sun

Comunidad Aborigen Tres Pozas is eight miles west of the flats, and the only human settlement for many miles in any direction. It’s the home for most of the workers and consists of a few dozen simple adobe buildings as brown as the surrounding desert. The winter winds were creating a sand storm. Sand whipped by high winds can find its way through closed car windows and doors lodging everywhere inside your clothing, your mouth, nose and ears. The café, Comedor Las Guapas Salineras, is not an establishment any guide book would recommend for dining, but I’d highly recommend if you want to actualize that overused phrase “an authentic experience.”  The education is startling and humbling. For an absurdly small price, coupled with genuine kindness and effort, you dine on simple food in conditions few of us would ever accept.

(right) Comunidad Aborigen Tres Pozas (left) Salinas Grande Salt Flats