Close your eyes. Imagine the one place you would love to be in at this moment.
Where are you?
Me … I am in Norway – winding up around the narrow roads of the magnificent mountains, floating on the stunning clear fjords or lying on a lush green grassy hill under cherry trees. Roma … sitting in a lively coffee bar in Trastevere. Terracotta, maize and wine colored buildings cast a glow almost like a daylong sunset. In Gozo, watching the big fiery sun dip into the turquoise sea just behind the Azure Window. In a vibrant, psychedelic market in Istanbul.
I have restless itchy traveling feet. I enjoy discovering the treasures of new or even old and previously visited places. For me, travelling has a way of changing you and taking you out of your comfort zone, making you experience new and exciting adventures. No matter where you go or even for how long you are gone, you come back home different than you were when you left. Travelling creates milestones and memories.
The first time I travelled, all on my own, was at the age of two. My grandparents gave me in the hands of a stewardess and under her watchful eyes I crossed the Atlantic for the first time. Ever since then I’ve been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to visit and to live in some stunning, riveting, and even some irksome places. It’s easy to reminisce those delightful encounters but even the unpleasant experiences have left me with valuable impressions.
It’s not always about beautiful sunsets.
Travelling for me, has often been about letting go and embracing the cultures and the people. I’ll walk off the main tourist path into an alley and sit with the elderly signora with dyed hair in Trastevere, snapping peas and taking in the morning sun on a chair just outside her doorway. We’ll talk with our hands and feet as my Italian is as rusty as the bowl she carries in her lap. With refreshing new stories and the valuable tip of where the best Coda alla Vaccinara is served and the only bakery to go to for heavenly maritozzi, I’ll return to the busy tourist attraction feeling exhilarated.
I learnt to travel like this from my dad. I remember once when he took me to into the heart of Queens, because he had heard that’s where he’d find the best Persian food. As we sat on the corner pavement scooping up our Khoresht Fesenjaan, a dubious looking man placed himself next to my father. While my heart took a dip, my dad smiled and offered him his bowl and said “This is the good life, my friend!” The tension was broken instantly and as the man produced a brown bag with a bottle of something, my dad took a swig without a flinch. A few stories were exchanged that evening and as we returned to Manhattan, the pictures of the day were branded in my mind forever.
As easy going as my father was on that day, I do have to admit that I still have a bit of unwinding to do before I get to his equable temperament. But I am following his awesome footsteps.
Close your eyes and imagine …
it is sunny, but there is a gentle breeze blowing off the water. You are lying in a hammock under a palm shade shelter, sipping an ice cold mango cocktail. The turquoise waters gently break on a white sandy beach, just footsteps away.
Where in the world are you?
I do not know where your imagination just flew you off to, but I will be in Koh Samui this August for a few weeks enjoying this very scenery. While I have fed you with the clichéd picture, trust me I will once again make my way through some dark street finding a special treasure and digging into good, spicy curries off the tourist path. And maybe … just maybe I’ll come a step closer to being as easy-going as my dad.
As summer plays hide and seek with us I have created a small island of a dessert that boasts big flavors of summer. With lavender, vanilla, sweet roasted stone fruit, this risotto will fly you off to far-away places within seconds.
As you spoon the creamy lavender-honey flavored rice and the vanilla infused fruit into your mouth … close your eyes.
Are you in a sea of vivid purple as the lavender fields of the Provence embrace you? Are you on a perfumed orchid plot in Tahiti engulfed in the evocative smell of sticky vanilla? Are you sitting in an orchard under a cherry tree staring at a stunning crystal fjord on a nightless day in Norway?
I wish you safe, happy and adventurous travels! See you all next week.
You might like these summer inspired ideas from WFLH:
|Berry Peach Cobbler with a Lemon and Vanilla Crust|
All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2012 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First