When it comes to traveling overseas, it’s easy to make plenty of wonderful memories. But every once in awhile, you experience a moment that is truly unique and special. At The International Kitchen, where we regularly visit our cooking vacations and spend time traveling, we have a lot of those moments. Here are just a couple of our favorite stand-out moments.
Memories of Italy
For founder Karen Herbst, the Palio in Siena was something that she always wanted to do, and back in the August of 2012 she finally checked it off her bucket list. “Our partners in Tuscany made all the arrangements for the Palio. Elisa is from Siena and takes the race very seriously to say the least! Her “contrada” did not win, but we had a fabulous time at an incredible Medieval event.”
For vice president Peg, there are almost too many travel memories to pick one, but Sardinia holds a special place in her heart, and one moment she’ll never forget: going to a sagra del tonno, or festival celebrating tuna, on the northern coast. “The boats went out in the morning to catch the fish, with a prize to who caught the biggest. They cleaned the fish, hung them up (they were about my height), and sliced fillets off of them and tossed it right on the grill. We went through in lines, grabbing a piece of fresh grilled fish, some Sardinian white wine, and a chunk of fresh bread. A friend of mine (a rare Italian who likes sushi) asked them for a couple raw slices. We enjoyed those as well, from a fish we’d seen brought in just moments before.” (Read about Peg’s very first trip to Italy.)
Often these incredible moments lead to many more trips to a particular destination. Such is the case for president Richard Davis, who was blown away on his first to the island of Capri (just off the Amalfi Coast) in the early 2000s. “It was the first time I’d ever seen a view like it… and I got to enjoy it throughout a fabulous meal.”
Memories of South America
For travel coordinator Adrian Hall, he’ll never forget hiking the Inca trail and visiting Machu Picchu in Peru. While the site can be quite crowded, particularly where the royal apartments were, he recommends heading over to the part of the site where they had “workshops” — where they built things — as it’s “not as sexy.” As such, there’s far fewer people, and if you’re lucky, you can have the place all to yourself. Not only are the views breathtaking, but it’s like stepping back in time.
Discover Machu Picchu:
Memories of France
As for me, one moment I’ll never forget is a visit to Normandy. I had done my Masters thesis about Charlotte Corday, who was famous for killing the journalist Marat during the French Revolution. I had planned most of my trip around the spots she’d been, in Paris as well as out in Normandy. While in Caen, I visited the abbey she once lived at. But even more remarkably, I’d found the modern day address of where she used to live with her grandmother (before fleeing to Paris to kill Marat). It helped that the town’s church — which was kiddie corner to her old address — still existed!
Unfortunately though the D-Day invasions had largely destroyed so many of the buildings. Some had been rebuilt. Others were entirely new… and there was an apartment building where she once lived. But then we walked down to the corner, and voila. There she was, staring back at me from a portrait from a chocolate shop named after her. It was a unexpected moment, one that I’ll never forget.
The photo to the right was actually seen in Paris at the Conciergerie — where she was briefly imprisoned — because sometimes when moments stop you in your tracks, as is what happened to me in Normandy? You forget to take a picture.
What are some of your unforgettable moments or best meals from your travels, cooking vacations or otherwise?
By Liz Hall
Search our blog for more chef interviews, recipes, and destinations features.
Sign up to receive our newsletter, which includes travel tips, recipes, promotions, and information on our best culinary vacations.