In less than a month, my daughter and I will be boarding a plane for Charles de Gaulle airport to spend a week in Paris. This is part birthday trip for me, and part research to plan for a trip next year with Life Can Be A Trip, a travel and tour company in Erie run by Denise Padden and Ginny Rogers.
They were both Erie Day School teachers when the idea to create a travel company, starting by taking middle schoolers without their parents to Europe. Times and terrorism have changed their business plan, which now focuses on trips to Europe with adults.
My first trip with Padden and Rogers was five years ago, when I went with them on one of their last tours with students. We were late comers to the group, so my mother, daughter, and I stayed in an apartment near the Eiffel Tower and joined the tour each morning. It was my third visit to Paris and it was fabulous.
I’ve since gone with them to Greece and Italy, both times as part of a food tour. It combines my passion for understanding all parts of a country – by experiencing all the senses, not just the looking and walking part.
I’ve wanted to add a food tour to Paris as part of their offerings for a couple of years, but bombings and terrorism have kept interest at bay. I know I run more risk of being killed on I-90 every day than a week in Paris, so I’m packing my bags and we’re heading to the City of LIghts next month.
I’ll be checking out food tours, especially cooking schools and walking tours around Le Marais, in the hopes that I can return in 2018 with a group from Erie. If interested, please e-mail me or comment on this blog. You can also visit, Life Can Be A Trip’s Facebook page. My daughter and I will have a de-lightful time. And I hope you will consider making this trip of a lifetime with me next year.
If Paris isn’t your ideal spot, then consider Sicily. Since we had such a fantastic time in the Chianti region outside Florence, it’s time to head south. We have a fabulous guide lined up and are in the planning stages for May 2018 – that’s just a year away. All of the regions of Italy are fantastic, but Sicily is a special spot. The largest island off the boot of Italy, the residents consider themselves more Sicilian than Italian. It has been in the hands of the Greeks, Germans, Arabs, Normans, Spaniards, and independent. Even after Italian unification, Sicily remained independent of Mussolini during World War II.
Because it is a volcanic island, the region is rich in citrus, tomatoes, almonds, grapes (wine), and pistachios.
This will be one very fun trip.
If you aren’t in to cooking (and not everyone is), you just need to be into eating. We learn and visit many farms, and spend parts of the day with cooking lessons to cook a large meal most days (sometimes lunch, sometimes dinner).
Food is a fabulous way to understand culture and meet new people, even if you don’t speak the language. Because the language of food, and adventure, is universal.
To get ready, I’m cooking up some simple recipes that transport me to Paris with little effort. For my daughter, that means crepes. In her mind, there is only one type, those filled with Nutella. For me, it’s a mesclun salad (le salade) with bacon (lardons) and a poached egg (oeuf). It’s simple, but oh so delicious – made more so when you are sitting in a bistro people watching.