Yannis Bountalas is part of a seven-generation family of Greek shipbuilders on the Greek island of Skopelos. Two hundred years ago, his family built boats that sailed the world, carrying goods from their island. After modernization took over the industry, they began making small replicas of some of the most famous boats in the world. Marina and I found him in his tiny shipbuilding factory high on the island’s hill. We saw boats three meters high and created to the exact detail.
We’ve come to Greece every August and we’ve gone about 10 times in each our lives. A major draw is the food. In our latest trip, I took extensive notes of what has been ranked as the world’s No. 2 cuisine behind Italy. I also interviewed two renowned chefs for an inside look at what gives me the cravings from md-winter on.
(Director’s note: I’m in Greece on a working vacation and in my stead I’m re-posting a popular blog I did from 2019 on how to beat the heat in Rome. With Rome experience its hottest summer in recorded history, the tips are still valid.) How hot is it in Rome this week? It’s so hot […]
Marina and I are headed to Skopelos Wednesday for our annual August Greek island vacation. I’ve been to 10 Greek Islands which seems like an appropriate number to produce a small travel guide. They range from the huge, Peloponnese, to the tiny, Tsougrias. I’ve got a nice map and added links to more in-depth articles and blogs I’ve written about specific islands. You’ll find something you’ll like for your next adventure.
Every Aug. 15, all of Italy takes off for most of the remaining month. Ferragosto has been around since Emperor Augustus proclaimed it in the 1st century AD. Today, Italians head to the mountains or sea. I do not. I stay and enjoy Rome at the most quiet time of the year. I roamed the city Tuesday to get a feel for a city void of chaos and rush.
Being a former sportswriter, I’m into top 10 lists. Top 10 restaurants. Top 10 wines. Top 10 travel tales from hell. With my annual trip to Skopelos, Greece, approaching, I thought I’d do my top 10 trips of my life. I’ve traveled for 45 years and been to 110 countries. This lists stretches from Ecuador to French Polynesia.
Mediterranean diet: It’s why Italians are healthier than Americans and why I’m glad I left the United States
I received a clean bill of health from my annual checkup Wednesday, and I firmly believe a big reason is I moved to Italy nine years ago. Its Mediterranean diet has so many more benefits than the American diet. From its all-natural ingredients to the emphasis of wine over beer, Italians enjoy the sixth-longest life expectancy in the world. The U.S. is 47th.
It’s hot as hell here in Rome. It hit a record 109 degrees last week. I mercifully got my living room air conditioner fixed but that’s only a temporary solution to the bigger problem facing Italy. Like the rest of Europe, Italy is facing massive consequences due to climate change. People are dying from the heat; people are evacuating fires. People who say climate change is a hoax haven’t spent time in Rome this month. This is my analysis.
The Normandy town of Rouen is more than just a nice escape from Paris. It’s also the site of where Joan of Arc burned at the stake in 1431. Much of the town is dedicated to one of the saviors of France as it has a museum and church in her honor and a giant cross on the site of the pyre. It’s next to a beautiful public market.
Mont Saint-Michel started out as a little chapel inspired by a vision of St. Michael but over 1300 years has developed into one of the top tourist attractions in France. It still serves as a church and we were lucky enough to attend a noon mass after surviving a crowded walk to the top.
Normandy and July 4th: A riveting walk through the bloody World War II battle that changed the world
The D-Day Invasion of Normandy’s beaches on June 6, 1944 turned the war in the Allied Forces’ favor. We did a tour of the beaches, cemetery, memorial and museum and saw what it was like that day and the bloody three months that followed. On America’s Independence Day, I think it’s appropriate to post a blog about the place that changed the world forever.
Italy’s 20 regions stretch from the Mediterranean to the Alps and all are oh, so different. Last week I wrote about the first 10 in alphabetical order. This week it’s the next 10, from the undiscovered villages of Molise to the tourist flood in Venice.