Welcome to the Vagobond Travel Museum!
The web is full of great travel blogs, travel stories, travel photos and travel videos – the hard part is finding them amidst all the garbage.I curate the best travel stories I find and bring you the highlights.
One of my favorite blogs is Barbara Weibel’s Hole in the Donut – this week she is exploring Peru and the cultures that once (and still do in some cases) exist there. One of the great things about Barbara is the way she delves into the cultures she visits. As an amateur anthropologist – this is a blog of goodies for me.
Fox Nomad explores the complexities and realities of getting a Schengen Visa. Don’t know what the Schengen Zone is? Read on. Obviously, you have a passport from a country that lets you go anywhere you want.. “The Schengen Area currently consists of 26 countries in Europe including Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, and Greece. You can see the full list of current members here. Some notable exceptions are England and Ireland (both EU but not Schengen). Several countries you might not expect also part of the Schengen Area include Estonia, Latvia, and Malta. Bulgaria and Romania are likely to join the Schengen club later this year.”
Lonely Planet published this piece on the Hawaii of Japan this week – for me it just points out how wonderful the real Hawaii is, since whenever an island paradise wants to sound perfect they tout themselves as the “Hawaii of…” Still, Kagoshima sounds like maybe Oahu could be the Kagoshima of Hawaii..
Travelocafe took a visually delightful wine tasting tour of the Croft Winery in Porto, Portugal this week – “Just after we finished our boat trip up and down the Douro River, our ever surprising and resourceful guide, Luis from EcoTours Portugal asked us if we wanted to go for a wine tasting before saying goodbye to him. Hell yeah!” – one of my favorite cities and wineries ever.
In terms of video – this week let’s shout out to flight attendants – they’re not all bad.
Here is something completely awesome in a different way. Blogville! Bloggers will now have their own home, a perfect place from where they can start to discover Italy and the Emilia Romagna region. I’m going to be there in April and then in June – are you? Come join me!
Gadling let us all know that we can finally breathe easier this week as In honor of its upcoming 100-year anniversary, the Château Laurier Hotel in Ottawa is offering an amnesty for anyone who has pilfered something from the hotel over the last century. The historic, castle-like hotel in the Canadian capital put out the call for the items on February 23, 100 days before the 100-year anniversary, and has already received more than 60 items from people all over North America. Whew!
Finally, here is another way to see the world without burning through your pocketbook. Trustedhousesitters.com was founded by Andy Peck after realising need for a comprehensive house sitting website where homeowners could search for ideal house and pet sitters, view references, photos, relevant house and pet care experience, police check information, and even video profiles.
When I came to Bologna, I had no idea that I was the first Blogville guest – when I say the first, I mean the first ever! As a result, I was met by the organizers and welcomed to the house with a lot of enthusiasm and some delicious treats. Actually, the house is filled with delicious products from the region, but I was fortunate to get a detailed introduction to not only the house and the organizers (Nicholas, Andrea, Emmanuelle, and Giovani) but also to some of the delicious products and treats.
The house is a beautiful apartment (3000 Euro per month!!!) set in the center of Bologna, easy walking to all the major museums and furnished with comfortable chic furniture (of course, because it’s Italy). Each of us if given a remote wifi router, a Blogville card which grants us access to all the major museums, a free trip or two, and much more (including info, friends and suggestions and help).
Salame Felino – named for a small town in the green Baganza Valley where herds of pigs were raised in the past – this was a very sweet and very ‘wet’ (25-30% pork fat + white wine) salami. Perhaps too wet for me but the CEO of loved it. Interestingly, the word salami comes from the Latin root for salt ‘als’ which became ‘sal’ – the art of Sami making goes back quite a long while with the first bas-relief associated with the astrological sign aquarius going back to the 12th century. This particular salami is raw, not cooked – which I don’t exactly know how to feel about.
More enjoyable was the Piadina de Romagna (pita?)which comes from the Sillaro River region. To put it in American terms, this is a delicious flour tortilla. The thickness varies, but in general – it was flour tortillas heated up – which I quite like.
Finally and most enjoyable was Pignoletto Wine which comes from the south and west hills of Bologna. Monte San Pietro is the place where the grapes are said to be the best. Consorzio Vini Colli Bolognesi which was founded in 1971 (just like I was) oversees and promotes the wines.
Pignoletto is a very distinctive grape which began with Pliny the Elder who said in the 1st century “Pino Leto, not sweet enough to be good” but actually, he was wrong – it is good. This was a light, refreshing and sparkling white wine which was actually very good. Pignoletto Frizzante of 2011 from Gaggioli.
Afterwards, the fellas taught me how to make an Italian Espresso using a mocha (like we use in Morocco, actually) and Segafredo coffee which is also a product of the region. Then before bed, I had a glass of the Sangiovese di Romagna which according to legend comes from when the Capuchin Fathers of the Santarcangelo convent served some of their wine to a distinguished guest – when he asked the name, they didn’t have one – so one of the monks said it was ‘Blood of Jupitor’ since it was Red and the convent was on Jupitor Hill which in time became ‘Sangiovese’. This was a delicious dark ruby red wine with mild tannins and a dry aftertaste that was ever so slightly (and enjoyably) bitter. Very nice indeed.
If you want to check out the whole region, blogville, and more check out the following links. By the way…one of the cool aspects of this project is that they’ve said – you don’t have to do anything, promote or do what you want….it’s up to you! Literally, here is a bit from the terms and conditions…
It’s up to you! We are happy to give you bloggers complete freedom and trust. We are sure that you are going to do a great job and we want you to write about what really cares for you and your readers!
Official hashtag is #blogville and mentions on twitter can be made @BlogVilleEmRom. The official site to include in the posts for information about the Emilia Romagna iswww.emiliaromagnaturismo.com
By the way, here are my first impressions recorded by the Blogville gang…rumour has it that we are going to be interviewed by Cosmopolitan – yes, that Cosmo.