Browse for “Foodie Firsts” to discover new foodie experiences on your travels.  From local delicacies to tasting menus – Treat your tastebuds!

3 Days in Northumberland
Embleton Bay Northumberland

3 Days in Northumberland

3 days in Northumberland based in Berwick upon Tweed. Explore Gossick, Lindisfarne, North Berwick, Seacliff Beach, Eyemouth, Cocklawburn, Embleton.

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The Oxcart Path to Sarchi
Sarchi Oxcart

The Oxcart Path to Sarchi

It's not many trips that offer you a bare knuckle ride two days in a row.  Yesterday, we were expecting adventure.  Today, we were expecting a quiet drive to the colourful little town of Sarchi about an hour or so from El Silencio.

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“High Five – Pura Vida” – Sarapiqui River White Water Rafting
Sarapiqui River Rafting

“High Five – Pura Vida” – Sarapiqui River White Water Rafting

The next day took us an hour back down the windy mountain road to the Sarapiqui River and a knuckle clenching raft ride on the white water rapids with Pozo Azul Adventures..  These are Class II/II rapids and rough enough to be quite a thrilling ride.  You don't just get a bit wet on this ride, you get completely soaked.

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Hola Arenal – Mucho Gusto Amigos!
White Capuchin Faced Monkey

Hola Arenal – Mucho Gusto Amigos!

A warm welcome at Nayara Springs and the return of the sun enticed us into sampling a Caribbean fashion cocktail (7 year old Centenario rum, coconut water infused with rice, cinnamon and orang peel, orange syrup and angostura bitters) and spending the rest of the day doing little more than exploring everything this very beautiful resort has to offer - see the accommodation review for all the details.

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Tortuguero to Volcan Tenorio National Park
Cortez Amarillo Tree

Tortuguero to Volcan Tenorio National Park

Guess what - it rains in a rainforest!   Last night, it rained pretty well all night.  It hammered on the tin roof of the lodge for all it was worth, building up to a crescendo drum beat for a few deafening minutes before petering out to a bit of a tap dance and a finale of sprinkles and tinkles in the gutters.  Then silence, filled only by the constant hum of the air con which intermittently halted as the electricity cut out.

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Salut Manatus!
Three toed sloth (and baby!)

Salut Manatus!

Our base in the Tortugero National Park is the Manatus Lodge.  Access is via boat transfer only - and let's hope they keep it that way!  

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Alajuela to Tortuguero
Local girl on a swing Tortugeuro National Park Costa Rica

Alajuela to Tortuguero

The transfer from Alajuela to Tortugero took all morning - but what a lovely way to spend it.  We drove past banana plantations, fields of papaya, coconuts and plantains learning a little about the beautiful country that is Costa Rica (Rich Coast) as we travelled.

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Return to Perth – Fremantle and Dining on top of the World
Perth - view from the Captain Cook Cruise

Return to Perth – Fremantle and Dining on top of the World

A great way of spending our last day here was to drop off the hire car and buy a combo cruise/tram (commentated)/prison (tour) ticket for Fremantle (or Freo as they call it here).  IT is lively authentic port with plenty of shops and rstaurants to explore and some interesting history to boot.

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Mount Lesueur National Park – Boh Djinoong Quabba
Mount Lesueur National Park WA

Mount Lesueur National Park – Boh Djinoong Quabba

Mount Lesueur National Park is one of the world bio diversity hotspots as a result of of its severely impoverished soil and the unforgivingly low rates of phosphorous.  900 flora species grow here - 10% of WA's flora. These are the species that are known too - it is highly likely that others exist in the dense bush that no-one has yet found.  It has seven species of Declared Rare Flora.  In late Winter to Spring, it erupts into a rainbow of colour and you can see rare orchids and several varieties of kangaroo paw as well as many other beautiful plants.

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Geraldton to Monkey Mia – RUOK?
Wild Yak Beer - Shell Beach WA

Geraldton to Monkey Mia – RUOK?

The road from Geraldton to Monkey Mia (pronounced Mya) is a long 443 kms - 4 hours 40 minutes if driven straight.  We took a brief 44kms (return) detour at Northampton to visit Horrocks Beach because it was billed as a world class beach and won the best mainland beach in Australia award in 2018.   The route from Geraldton to Monkey Mia also allows you to visit two more National Parks:  The Stromalites at Hamelin Pool and Shell Beach.

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Polished Perth
Perth - a blend of old and new but young at heart

Polished Perth

Polished Perth - capital of a state ten time the size of Great Britain - is as close to the nearest big city (Adelaide) as London is to Leningrad.  Perth is a large, clean, modern city much like many others, but its balmy climate, position by the wide, blue Swan River and radiant sunlight bouncing off the skyscrapers gives it a unique charm all of its own.  It is, in every sense, very polished with a smart, high-sheen finish.

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The Great Ocean Drive WA – “Beware the Big Bitey!”
Great Ocean Drive WA

The Great Ocean Drive WA – “Beware the Big Bitey!”

We spent the whole of today driving the 40kms scenic loop that is the Great Ocean Drive, stopping all the way along the route for long walks and lookouts.  We have driven along beautiful stretches of coast before in South Africa (The Garden Route) and California (Big Sur Drive), but this was way better than either of those.  Maybe because of the intensity of the light here - the sun made the deep blue water sparkle all the way along and the wind gave us really BIG waves - awesome.

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Albany to Bremer Bay – “No Worries Mate!”
Kangaroos - Quaalup Homestead Fitzgerald River NP WA

Albany to Bremer Bay – “No Worries Mate!”

We woke early on the morning of our drive from Albany to Bremer Bay and enjoyed a hearty breaky (pronounced brekkie) at the Three Anchors in Alby. (Hey - this learning the lingo is a real breeze!).  A group of other early risers were lifting weights with big grins on their faces outside the cafe.  Middleton Beach has a net line set up for swimmers (large marine animals can’t pass through it, but small fish can) and there were half a dozen of them braving the cool morning to have a dip in the ocean.

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Torndirrup National Park – Being a Human Being …
Sharing a Golden Gaytime

Torndirrup National Park – Being a Human Being …

Breakfast at the Three Anchors Middleton Beach was generous and set us up well for a day's hiking, although the day started cool and damp, which took a while to clear.  A short distance out of Albany brought us to the Gap and the Natural Bridge in Torndirru

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Pemberton to Albany – It’s Time to Feel the Tingle and Walk the Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk …
The Giant Tingle Tree

Pemberton to Albany – It’s Time to Feel the Tingle and Walk the Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk …

It takes about 3 hours to drive straight from Pemberton to Albany, but we chose to break the journey at Walpole and visit the Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk.  Walpole Visitor Centre gave us a very helpful map which helped us navigate our way there via the scenic route which gave good views of Walpole and the coast.

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d’Entrecasteaux National Park – Even Giants Grow Old
Salmon Bay Entrecasteaux National Park WA

d’Entrecasteaux National Park – Even Giants Grow Old

A short(ish) drive to the coast brought us to ​Salmon Bay in the d’Enrecasteaux National Park.  The view from the lookout is truly stunning.  From the headland, crystal clear deep blue water, rolling surf and miles of deserted, golden sand stretches out before your eyes, beckoning you to discover it at close hand. 

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Margaret River to Pemberton – Another Great Day in WA

Time for another great day in WA!  Today, we travelled from Margaret River to Pemberton taking a short detour to the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse en route.  This is where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet (although they didn’t make much of a splash in the process today).  It is the most southerly point in Australia - it is 5435 kms to the South Pole from here.

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Accommodation Review:  Cape Lodge Margaret River
Cape Lodge - The view from the excellent restaurant

Accommodation Review:  Cape Lodge Margaret River

Cape Lodge, Margaret River is a very well appointed hotel with lovely gardens big enough to take a nice stroll around.  Spacious, light and airy rooms have lake or garden views and spa baths big enough for two.

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3 Days in Amsterdam Day 1

I am travelling with my daughter on this trip and we have three days to get to know Amsterdam and appreciate the best it has to offer.  I am looking forward to sharing the journey with her and seeing a new city through her eyes as much as my own.  We have based ourselves at the Pulitzer Hotel right in the centre of Amsterdam so we don't waste too much time getting from A to B (see accommodation review for more detail).  We have 3 days in Amsterdam - how best to fit everything in?

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Mountain Heaven in the Picos de Europa
Globularia Ripens and Helianthemum oleandicum ssp. piloselloides - shot at at F22.

Mountain Heaven in the Picos de Europa

The Spring flower season in the Picos de Europa is short but spectacular. There are around three weeks between 20th May and 7th June when the mountains burst into life with a wide array of colourful alpine plants.

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Nashville Day 2 – Love can build a Bridge over that Old Man River …
Nashville State Capitol Building & the stage in the foreground

Nashville Day 2 – Love can build a Bridge over that Old Man River …

Nashville Day 2 - the city changed its name to Draftsville as the NFL draft got into full swing.  Broadway was completely packed out with music ringing from every bar and stage as the crowd worked themselves into a frenzy yelling "The Pick is In".

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Nashville Day 1 – or NASH – Vull (as the locals would say it)
The world famous Orchid Lounge at Tootsie's purple bar serves as the headquarters for the NFL draft

Nashville Day 1 – or NASH – Vull (as the locals would say it)

It took us most of the day to drive from Memphis to Nashville.  We arrived to discover that the NFL professional draft had just started - Nashville is the base this year.  Nashville has a very upmarket feel to it.  It is a booming city with a rising population that is growing fast.  

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Walnut Hills Restaurant – Jambalaya, Crawfish Pie and Fillet Gumbo
Walnut Hills Restaurant Vicksburg

Walnut Hills Restaurant – Jambalaya, Crawfish Pie and Fillet Gumbo

Crawfish sauce was the nearest I got to crawfish pie - but I did sample the local catfish at Walnut Hills - 1214 Adams St. and it was delicious.  This restaurant is full of old world charm at its best and serves good Southern Plantation cuisine.

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Mississippi River – Laisser les Bons Temps Roulez …
Mississippi River Road

Mississippi River – Laisser les Bons Temps Roulez …

Laissez les bons temps roulez - let the good times continue to roll though...  We moved on today to White Castle, driving the river road up the great Mississippi River to White Castle.  This is sugar plantation country.  It was fun to pass road signs to all the places you hear about in the songs you love

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From Rooter to Tooter – The food here has SOUL!
Bananas Foster - Chucking in the Cinammon!

From Rooter to Tooter – The food here has SOUL!

The New Orleans School of Cooking was a great place to spend a morning here.  The cooking in the Deep South is way different from the rest of the USA.  It is Creole - a veritable melting pot of all the nationalities that coalesced in this part of the world (Portugeuse, Spanish, French, Italian) and made it what it is today.   Nothing goes to waste - it is "rooter to tooter" as the expression goes - i.e. - everything on the hog is used except it's squeak.

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