The beauty of Italy has been the backdrop for many movies and countless books are filled with the romance of la bella Italia! It’s so easy to get swept up in la dolce vita, as the good life of Italy can be found everywhere from the canals of Venice to eclectic Palermo on the island of Sicily and stunning Cinque Terre. Intrepid Express reader Jennifer Chapman has moved Italy to the top of her travel wish-list after reading this inspiring book…
“If you’re someone who always dreams about going to Italy, then Carla Coulson’s Italian Joy will do more than inspire you, it will actually make you want to pack your bags then and there and go!
Until recently, Tasmania’s biggest claim to fame was inspiring the folks at Disney to turn the Tassie Devil into a cartoon character. But this small island in the far south of Australia is in the throes of a revolution: a food revolution that is, as Intrepid’s Cassie Harrex explains…
“With world-class wines, some of the country’s best cheeses and a whole host of organic vegetables on offer, anyone who loves their food can’t afford to leave Tasmania off their must-see Australia list.
For a long time I underappreciated Tasmania. Growing up in the foothills of Cradle Mountain, I felt as far away from the rest of the world as possible. As soon as I was old enough to get out I did, but my newfound freedom left me longing for my home state where the air was cleaner, the people were friendlier and the food (unless you wanted a mango or anything remotely ‘exotic’) was always fresh.
Thali, meaning ‘plate’, could be described as India’s answer to ‘fast food’. Found just about everywhere, from restaurants to roadside dhabas, these delicious dish-of-the-day selections are a fantastic way to enjoy the local specialities.
Originating in southern India, a thali is a round silver plate that is divided into sections, or alternatively contains a set of smaller dishes within. Into each of these compartments you would normally expect to be served dahl (lentils), one dry subji (vegetable) dish, one gravy subji, dahi (yoghurt), sometimes rice and unlimited chapatis (a type of bread). There’s no need to decide on your selection, because order a thali and you’ll receive whatever has been prepared that day. And don’t expect to be given a fork, this is the time to learn to master the art of eating with your hand – right hand only of course!
To enjoy the fun of thali dining at home, here are recipes for three common inclusions, but of course you can add in small serves of your other favourite Indian dishes. And if you don’t have a thali tray, then go traditional and serve on a banana leaf…
It’s hard to imagine sitting down to a Chinese banquet that doesn’t include a tofu dish. Since around 900 AD it’s been a popular protein-packed staple food, but some tofu varieties can be an acquired taste. Intrepid leader Fang Lihong follows his nose to an infamous fermented treat…
“Many travellers don’t understand why local people love so many strange things that are considered inedible in their home country. I think everything exists for a reason, and things are not necessarily weird, they are just different. Once you know more about the story behind a local delicacy, you might be willing to try some.
All the clocks in the majestic Dolmabahce Palace show the time 9:05am. This is a sign of respect to Turkey’s supreme leader, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who died at this hour on 10 November, 1938. Today the palace is a glamorous museum and although Intrepid Express reader Irene Biggs was short on time to explore this remarkable palace, she enjoyed every minute of her visit…
“Situated on the Bosphorus, it has palace guards patrolling the picturesque grounds and gardens. Once inside, we tagged along at the end of a tour group, and with protective slip-ons over our shoes we kept to the assigned walkways to visit the various rooms.
Strategically located with a view over the city below, the Alhambra is a highlight of any visit to Spain, but as Intrepid’s Christophe Rooseboom explains, there is even more to explore in Granada…
“Created originally as a fortress, palace and small city, there’s no doubt the Alhambra is the place to visit. Many enjoyable hours can be spent exploring the palace complex, with its distinctive architecture and beautiful central gardens known as the Generalife. Locals refer more commonly to the Alhambra as the Red Fortress. Funnily the complex isn’t red, but one explanation for the name is because it lies at the end of the Sierra Nevada, the mountain range which contains a lot of iron.
In my opinion, while a visit to the Alhambra is a must, more interesting is to walk around in El Albaicin.
Lawrence of Arabia called it ‘the finest castle in the world’ and it sounds like Intrepid traveller Tara Samson agrees…
“One of the last sights I ever expected to see in the Middle East was a Crusader castle, but that was exactly what I saw in Syria. On the overland trip from Cairo to Istanbul, we came across the imposing medieval fortification of Krak des Chevaliers.
Krak des Chevaliers stands atop a hill, and seems to hold an imposing command over the valley between the Syrian town of Homs and Tripoli. For a structure of its age (over 800 years), the castle is in remarkably good condition – it was never besieged which probably helped its survival, and has now been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.