Monday, October 17, 2016

Travelling to Corsica

We took the ferry from Nice to Bastia, Corsica. It's normally a 6 1/2 hour trip. Ours was slightly longer for various reasons, including a large memorial ceremony in Nice which meant that our ferry left from a different dock. It had to back in around a very tight corner - a remarkable feat.

Many people headed to the top deck to enjoy the sunshine and last views of Nice.

We landed in Bastia after dark. Here's a shot of the ferry terminal taken from high up in the hills a few days later.

Nice: Sunshine and Rain

There was a massive thunderstorm on our second full day in Nice. Fortunately, the sun came out in the afternoon and we took a stroll along the Promenade du Paillon (a long, narrow park following the path of a former river), starting out at the Place Massena.

There's a wonderful children's playground based on sea creatures.

And there are tropical trees and flowers.

Our next stop was Vieux Nice with its narrow, winding alleyways.

And, of course, as soon as the sun came out, people headed to the beach.

Finally, a few shots of the European architecture, which I love.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Nice, France: Tall Buildings, Balconies, Elegant Stores

It's been a rainy day in Nice but still very beautiful and we've enjoyed wandering the narrow streets. I love the wrought-iron balconies on the tall buildings.

I'm enjoying the palm trees and flowers. Below is the view from the hotel room my sister and I are sharing.

Our first stop was the market (obviously!).

There are some very elegant stores. The displays in the confiseries are a visual delight.

And there are heaps of fresh marrons glaces (one of my long-time favourites), not to mention chestnut yogurt! I'm also delighting in being able to talk French once more.

Galeries Lafayette is an elegant, expensive department store. We were very glad to be warm and dry for a change. Pierre Herme macarons are world renowned, and I loved the paintbrushes used as a wall decoration.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

En Route - Snapshots from Vancouver

I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of days in Steveston and Vancouver prior to flying to Europe. I love Vancouver and am always happy to spend time here. Here's why.

False Creek displays its autumn colours.

Granville Island Market is always a riot of colour.

I'm not quite sure about some of these macaron flavours. What do you think Michelle (Wild Serendipity Foods)?

I prefer elegant chocolate designs, but these ones made me chuckle.

It's such a pleasure to walk along the Fraser River in Steveston. There are birds and boats and the old canneries and shipyard to explore.

The buffalo cauliflower tacos at the Britannia Brewing Company in Steveston were an excellent blend of spicy cauliflower and fresh salad fixings. I really enjoyed their Rye IPA, which had a refreshing grassy flavour.

If you're in Steveston, be sure to visit Sinfully the Best.

You'll have a hard time deciding which chocolates to buy, but there are generous samples to keep you occupied while you ponder this difficult decision.

I'm Going Back: Penny's European Adventure

Monday, October 10, 2016

Flavourful Saskatoon, October 10, 2016

It Takes Guts, Oct. 11 
Watch the documentary It Takes Guts and a slideshow presentation by Fred Reibin of Saskatoon Ferments on Fermentation: Simple Tools of an Ancient Practice at 2 pm, Oct. 11, at the Alice Turner Library.

Harvest Celebration, Oct. 16 
The Saskatoon Farmers’ Market is celebrating the fall harvest on Sunday, October 16, with an Edible Scavenger Hunt, Squash and Spirit Sampling, and a Pumpkin Carving Competition.

Flapper Pie and a Blue Prairie Sky, Nov. 2
Enjoy an evening of sweet treats and everything you need to know about being a modern-day old-fashioned baker when Karlynn Johnston and Prairie Ink Restaurant’s chef Clint Flamand present recipes and stories from Flapper Pie and a Blue Prairie Sky – a Modern Baker’s Guide to Old-Fashioned Desserts at 7 pm, Nov. 2.

Only in Naples
American-born Katherine Wilson was only expecting to spend a few months in Naples as part of her university education, but then she met a man and his mother. Soon she had a whole new way of life and an entirely different approach to food. Only in Naples is a light-hearted but in-depth analysis of cultural differences and norms.

I’m going on holidays! Flavourful Saskatoon will be back in November. In the meantime, follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner) to catch a glimpse of Nice and Corsica.

Savoury crepe at Drift Sidewalk Cafe - very tasty!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

I'm Going Back!

It’s been 40 years with only one brief return visit, but I’m heading back to France next week for an extended stay.

In 1976, I spent the summer as an au pair looking after Thomas and Mathilde. In September, I headed to Toulouse where I found a place to live and enrolled at the Université de Toulouse-le Mirail.

Mum and a friend came to visit me and we travelled to Italy together. I dreamed of living in France permanently, but life had other plans for me.

In the back of my head, I always hoped that one day I could return to France for an extended stay. This year I took the plunge and will be spending six months in France and the United Kingdom. Here’s a brief overview of my plans:

Three-week holiday in Nice and Corsica with my family

One-week visit with a very good friend from Saskatoon in southwest France near Carcassonne

Three weeks in Le Cannet (near Cannes on the Mediterranean) looking after two cats

Two and a half weeks in Quillan (near Carcassonne so back in the area where I studied in 1976) – another cat

A quick one-week trip to the United Kingdom (I can only spend 90/180 days in France) – Doing what? Who knows!

Christmas in Tours (I passed through this area, admiring the fabulous châteaux, during Christmas holidays, 1976) – one cat

Three weeks in Poole, United Kingdom (my chance to delve deep into the British tradition of holidays at the seaside) – two more cats

Three weeks who knows where! It’s not yet booked.

Back to Tours for 10 days, a chance to visit more châteaux.

I’m tentatively booked to housesit and look after Charlie in Newport, Pembrokeshire, Wales, in February/March for 5 weeks (I spent 2 ½ months here last winter). I'm looking forward to spring flowers and fields full of baby lambs.

And, finally, home on April 5. I think I’ll be very glad to spend some time in my own space by then. In the meantime, I’ll keep you posted on markets and bakeries, travel and adventure.

The majority of my housesitting arrangements are through Trusted Housesitters. I’ve been very happy with their website and the opportunities it offers.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Can We Legislate Healthy Eating?

Finland, France, and Mexico tax sweetened drinks. Norway taxes chocolate and sweets. The Mayor of Turin is promoting a vegetarian/vegan diet. Will it work? Can we legislate healthy eating?

Combating Obesity 
In 2013, 42 million infants and young children world-wide were overweight or obese. Cities and countries around the world are taking note and trying to promote a low-sugar diet by taxing sugar. But can it work?

A reduction in the number of smokers in Canada appears to be linked to the introduction of a tax on tobacco products. But the impact hasn’t been evenly distributed. Individuals with a lower income are hardest hit by the tax on tobacco products, but a very small percentage has stopped smoking. The greatest change has been among people with a higher income and more education.

In the United Kingdom, the government promised to take strong measures to address childhood obesity. In addition to a sugar tax, plans included restricting television ads and supermarket promotions of junk food. The legislation that has now been introduced in parliament takes the pressure off industry by focusing on a tax on sugary pop rather than a well-rounded policy that addresses hidden sugars, fat, and junk food advertising.

Sacred Cows 
A recent United Nations report emphasizes that a diet high in meat and dairy is unsustainable and a vegetable-focused diet is necessary in order to address world hunger, poverty, and the worsts impacts of climate change. But eating meat is deeply ingrained in our culture and way of life and habits won’t be altered overnight.

Despite the public outcry, Turin’s mayor is not legislating dietary changes. Instead, the emphasis is on public education, “teaching children how to eat well while protecting the earth and animal rights.”

A more proactive approach has been taken in Ghent, Belgium, where Thursday has been Veggie Day since 2009. Meat-free meals are served in schools and municipal offices, and restaurants are encouraged to include a vegetarian option on their menus.

Meatless Monday, which encourages eating a vegetarian meal one day a week, is active in 36 countries. Mark Bittman, an American food writer, proposes a vegetarian diet during the day with animal proteins for supper.

Can we force people to change their diet? No. But municipalities and countries can play a vital role in encouraging their citizens to eat a healthier, more sustainable diet by ensuring the availability of healthy food, regulating junk food advertising and promotions, and supporting restaurants and businesses that provide healthy food options.

This article was originally published in the October/November 2016 issue of flow magazine

Photos: Mercado de la Boqueria, Barcelona