Touring local markets is a highlight of any visit to a new city, and finding the markets frequented by locals is a special delight. Venice has a tremendous local market, the Rialto, with its landmark bridge and early morning/late night bar scene. It’s a lovely one, to be sure, where I got to see the morning crowd shout about football and chop up fish over the day’s fresh offerings.
However, my best find was at the base of Ponte dei Pugni, the bridge of fists, where a little vegetable barge was tied up next to the bridge on a narrow canal in the Dorsoduro sestiere or neighbourhood.
If you enjoyed last week’s visit to the wine harvest in Tuscany, my wine adventures in Italy continue with my visit to the Cinque Terre. This part of the trip involves even more grapes and wine, with the added benefit of hiking straight uphill for many hours and kilometres. I joke because I love.
Hiking through the villages of the Cinque Terre has been something I’ve wanted to do for a couple of years. While I am definitely a walker, I wouldn’t call myself a “hiker.” When I found the dreamy sounding Cinque Terre Coastal Walk through G Adventures, I knew right away I found what I was looking for. “What could be more lovely than a leisurely walk among brightly-coloured villages next to the Mediterranean?” Ha!
I love travelling in the autumn for lots of reasons. In the Northern Hempishere, it’s harvest season, and that includes my dear friend, wine. While I was visiting Italy’s Tuscany region, I managed to visit a vineyard when they were in full-on harvest mode.
I was skeptical, but everything I heard is true: Tuscany is ridiculously beautiful. I was delighted to visit Sant’Agnese Farm on a hot September afternoon to meet the handsome Carlo and be walked through Sant’Agnese Farm’s delicious wines and other culinary products.
Question: How do you find more authentic adventures in the most-visited places in the world?
I didn’t want to go to Venice. I had a few reasons: too far away from the other places in Italy I wanted to go, ridiculously expensive, overrun with tourists and few Venetians these days. My time was limited – tough decisions would need to be made.
Too many choruses of “Ohh, it’s soooo beautiful,” convinced me I should at least give it a try. I planned for a Venice arrival, a day’s stay, and then an early departure for my next stop. The more I looked at pictures of sun-dappled canals, the more I thought I should give it a good look, and another day added to my itinerary.
My planning really took a turn for the positive when I found a Venice adventure right up my alley, the Cicchetti of Venice tour with Intrepid Travel’s Urban Adventures. Promises of a local adventure without the crush of tourists sounded irresistible.** Continue reading
Montreal is a city for enthusiastic eaters, gastronomes, foodie/Instagrammers, food truck fans and everyone in between. To taste old Montreal, you need a taste of neighbourhood life away from Rue Ste Catherine – head for Le Plateau and go on a do-it-yourself bagel tour.
You should include Montreal-style bagels on any visit to Montreal because they are different than their New York cousins. Smaller and denser, they are wonderful. You know you have the real thing when you it’s hand-formed, cooked in a wood-fired oven, and with a larger hole than its NYC counterparts. Many will argue the MTL bagels are better than the doughy carb-bombs from NYC, but I’ll just say they are a perfect portable food for exploring the side streets and diverse neighbourhoods along Blvd Saint-Laurent. Continue reading