Learning A New Language Means Jumping In With Both Feet!

Have you every wished you could take your foreign language skills to a whole new level?
Well… Bill Blanning has done just that. He dusted off his old high school French language skills
and jumped in with both feet! Traveling to Lyon, France he enrolled in a week long immersion
program and stayed at the home of a hosting family. The Program is called Lyon-Bleu International .

In LA Times new “Departure Points” section about learning and traveling, you can read about

One Of The Oldest Restaurants In Europe “La Couronne”

La Couronne in Rouen, France- Auberge La Couronne in Rouen on the du Vieux Marche was established in 1345. A long roll of parchment dating from 1364 provides the authenticity of the deeds. It was a tavern providing food and drink to weary travelers and locals alike. It is regarded as being the oldest restaurant in Europe, however its early beginnings included a tavern, so some argue it is not the first “restaurant” per se. The dilemma continues.

A daily Farmer’s...

Behind The Kitchen Door- On A Danube River Cruise

A One-On-One Interview – With The Charming Executive Chef Jozsef Lado

I recently returned from a fabulous trip in Europe. This trip began, as most do, in Paris. Indeed, there will be many more articles on that in the months to come, including visits to the oldest restaurant in Europe and Paris! After Paris, we then flew to Budapest to explore the ancient city, and then join a 7-day AmaWaterways River Cruise on the Danube River. ...

How To Do Machu Picchu Without Killing Yourself!


We start in Lima, Peru. We made plans to tour Lima, and then travel to Machu Picchu via a short flight to Cusco. Our cruise concluded with four more days at sea, and arrived in Lima, Peru. This was a very large port, with cargo ships to the left and right. In the days of the Inca’s (1400s), Cusco was the capital of The Inca Empire. Later the capital became Lima when Francisco Pizarro and the Spanish overthrew the Inca’s in 1535.  Pizarro founded the “City of Kings”...

Living Like a Local In Italy—Means Cooking With The Chefs!

Living Like A Local- Even though it was only for a week, we so enjoyed our time in a 19th Century Villa adjacent to a winery in the hills of Umbria. The winery next door is a family run operation and a fabulous resource for our stay. We visited Poggio Bertaio Winery enjoying  a private tour of the facility and vineyards, followed by a delicious wine pairing with a selection of...

Bora Bora

This Trifecta Was Perfecta! Amazing Bucket List Trip Visiting Bora Bora, Easter Island & Machu Picchu

Imagine traveling to not one, or two--- but THREE amazing spots on the globe! This was a true Trifecta! Just back from a cruise to Bora Bora, Easter Island and Machu Picchu we covered three very special "bucket list" meccas. It just doesn't get much better than this! I hope you enjoy following along, and for those of you who might take such a trip to Machu Picchu, I have offered some suggestions of how I would do it--- had I known,  what I know now. There are always...

Culinary Center

Culinary Classes On The High Seas? It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This!

Have you ever taken a cooking class on-board a cruise ship? Me neither, but this trip we had so many “at sea days” I decided to take some classes. Each class was half day (morning or afternoon) and my goodness did we leave the class full!  On both the Oceania Riviera and Marina ships they have a dedicated Bon Appetit Culinary Center. Both ships have a professional Chef, two assistants, 20 state-of-the-art work stations (where two guests work...

The Bistro Setting

Re-tracing Movie Locations in The South of France

Exploring Luberon in The South of France ~ Often "the destination” itself guides me on my pathway for a trip, yet this time my itinerary was inspired entirely by a movie!  I wanted to re-trace the steps and locations featured in the movie "A Good Year."  Join me on this fanciful adventure as we meander our way through the south of France, and see the impressive haunts and hideaways where this mesmerizing movie was filmed.


Kitchen Tour With Chef Benjamin

Chef Interivew- Executive Chef Benjamin Hausner on A Viking River Cruise

On a recent river cruise in the south of France, I had the opportunity to learn about life on a river boat. And more specifically----from the kitchen. The person educating me on all this was none other than our illustrious Executive Chef, Benjamin Hausner. Watching he and his culinary team “in action” on the first few days of our voyage had me wondering just how all this comes together, and with such seamless fluidity? It is a well-orchestrated dance, and all the...

Evening On The River

River Cruising Through The South of France

This is the sixth article in this Series on France. Journey with us through one of the most talked about regions in France. The countryside is dreamy, the people are approachable, and the essence of Provence is everywhere----overflowing with bouquets of lavender, robust olive oils, crusty breads, colorful ceramics, delicious cuisine and charming village towns rich in history.

I decided the best way was to traverse this countryside, and experience the real...