Italy From Bottom to Top: Tasting and Talking about Puglia Wine

Mattie John Bamman

Follow me as I journey from the southern tip of Italy’s Puglia region all the way up to the Trento Alps. I’ll be focusing on budget-friendly travel, and I’ll rarely use a car. Along the way I’ll sample traditional foods, visit lesser-known ruins and cities, sample excellent wines, and visit local cooking schools, the entire two months living out of a backpack. . . Day #8 Fabio Ingrosso and I ... Read Full Article

Italy from Bottom to Top: the Cuisine of Puglia

Plate of Antipasti

To enter Puglia’s culinary world is to walk into a combination of creativity and simplicity infused with fresh produce. For centuries, agriculture was the primary source of income, and you can taste the high standards of the local farmers who know just how a vegetable is supposed to taste. Chemicals have been introduced to the area, but even though most farmers use chemical fertilizers and ... Read Full Article

Italy From Bottom to Top: Biking in Puglia

Salvatore Ria at Leone de Castris

This morning, we woke up and said goodbye to the city of Lecce. We have two bicycles, only one of which has gears (profuse apologies to my girlfriend. Kristen). We’ve given our backpacks to a friend who we will meet up with in the city of Mesagne. Fortunately, bicycling in the south of Puglia isn’t very challenging because the terrain is mostly flat and there are many private bicycling paths. It ... Read Full Article

Travelogue: Italy From Bottom to Top, Lecce

Sauteed Peppers

I’m in the southern Italian city of Lecce, in the region of Puglia. Lecce and I have a long history). I left the city several months ago for a job, and though I thought I’d be back often, this is my first time back. My girlfriend and I arrived yesterday and visited the Antica Masseria Salento wine store, run by my friend Maurizio. He was excited about a new product, orecchiette made with ... Read Full Article

Boating in France: Dole by Boat


Our home port, St Jean de Losne, France, is unusual in that there is easy access to several waterways: the Burgundy Canal, the Saone River, and the Canal du Rhône au Rhine.  Last week, having never been to the city of Dole, we decided to head for the Canal du Rhone au Rhine. Taking a trip by boat is somewhat different than taking a trip by car. With a car, you put the key in the ignition, turn ... Read Full Article

Sundays in France


Whether you are in Paris or a small village, Sundays in France seem to have a similar pace. Our life in St. Jean de Losne the last couple of Sundays has been no different. A very important start is Neil’s trip to the boulangerie for a baguette and croissants or some other baked goods he is inspired to purchase.  I usually have the rest of our “petit dejeuner” prepared by the time he arrives back ... Read Full Article

Boating in France: First Days Aboard


As anticipated, it took a couple of days to sort out our living spaces. The books were in the food compartment, the bedding on the kitchen table, and the gangplank was in the aft cabin bedroom. Luckily the weather was good, so we could open up the entire boat and move things from area to area, including the outside decks and pontoon to which the boat was tied. While I did the unpacking, Neil ... Read Full Article

Postcards From Wurzburg, Germany


Wurzburg is a charming little town in the northern part of Bavaria. This 1300 year old city is scenic and full of historic sights. We think of it as a city of spires; it is rich with churches and cathedrals. The beautiful bridge over the Main River is a tribute to the bridge on the Charles River in Prague. Wurzburg from the Fortress The Marienberg Fortress is the city's landmark. It was the ... Read Full Article

Exploring Provence for the First Time: Day One


Follow Linda and Dave Beach's story about their first trip to Provence: On Monday we drove to pick up my parents at the Marseille Airport. We had planned to explore the coast near Marseille that day, but since Dave wasn't feeling well and Mom and Dad were jet lagging, we headed back up to Bonnieux. We also found out that my parents' cat had knocked a flower pot off of a counter onto my ... Read Full Article

Exploring Provence for the First Time


Follow Linda and Dave Beach's story about their first trip to Provence: While we have been to France several times, neither my husband Dave, nor I had been to Provence, so it was new territory for both of us. We decided to rent a house for a week in the small village of Bonnieux and our subsequent explorations from there covered only approximately 50 kilometers and only included small ... Read Full Article