What in the %!*# Weather?

I had to take these screen shots yesterday when I glanced outside and saw SNOW FLAKES!

What the bleep is going on, end of April?

Here is Toronto this week:

And then let’s compare this to a few places I would like to be instead!

Vienna, Austria

 

The Settlement, Christmas Island (especially because I love thunderstorms!)

Beirut, Lebanon – with plenty of sunscreen!

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Come on Toronto, smarten up and take a page from the book of these countries (aka screenshot from The Weather Network).

I want this!

Can I buy this sign and put it on my balcony? So neat! Just disregard the kms – especially the pointer to Canada….it’s 0km if it were randomly sitting on my balcony overlooking the city of Toronto.

Don’t think my neighbours would mind…right?

Destination ANYWHERE!

Savory Saturday – Australian Mussels

Yum, this recipe from Australia looks both easy and delicious!

I have recently fallen in love with mussels, and think this combo of lemongrass and heat would be delicious! I’ll try it out today…

Steamed Mussels with Lemon Grass and Chilli:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cm ginger, coarsely chopped
  • 3 sticks lemon grass, coarsely chopped
  • 2 red chillies, coarsely chopped
  • Parsley leaves and stalks, coarsely chopped
  • A few pieces lemon peel, coarsely chopped
  • 1 kg mussels, beards removed
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) good quality white wine

Method:

    1. Heat the oil in a saucepan and rapidly add the garlic, ginger, lemon grass, chillies, parsley and lemon peel.
    2. Add the mussels at once and, with the flame on high, place the lid over the saucepan. After a moment or two, add the white wine and cover again. It will only take a few moments for the mussels to steam open. Shake the pan to help them along. Those that stubbornly refuse to open should be discarded. (It may pay to remove the great bulk of cooked ones before attempting to open the tough ones).
    3. The mussels should be fragrant, redolent of lemon grass and, above all, juicy.
    4. Do not overcook, ever.

Fantasy Friday – Alice Springs, Australia

The official site for Alice Springs, Australia sold me on their adventures available while visiting this desert:

Surrounded by a red sand desert which stretches for hundreds of kilometres in all directions, Alice Springs is one of Australia’s most famous outback towns. It is the gateway to the iconic natural features of Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta National Park.

Here, stories of Australia’s history and heritage are told through a colourful cast of characters and events that include camel races, gold-diggers and outback pioneers.

Alice Springs lies in the physical and spiritual heart of Australia’s Red Centre. It is surrounded on all sides by the jagged MacDonnell Ranges, which according to the traditional owners, the Arrernte people, was formed during the Dreamtime by giant caterpillars. The Royal Geographic Society of Australia has calculated the geographical and gravitational centre of the continent at the Lambert Centre, approximately 200 kilometres south of town.

Today, the town’s upmarket hotels, restaurants, and 20000 inhabitants, continue to uphold its vibrant history. It’s also an excellent place to pick up an authentic piece of unique Aboriginal art.

From here, you can join one of Australia’s most challenging walks, the Larapinta Trail; and it is the ideal place to connect with Australia’s rich Aboriginal traditions and awe-inspiring landscapes.

Australia’s classic outback drive, the Red Centre Way, from Alice Springs to Kings Canyon, is one of the best ways to experience the natural wonders of this vast ancient red landscape.

Seven things to do in Alice Springs:

Start your outback adventure in Alice Springs, in the heart of Australia’s Red Centre. Sail over the spinifex plains in a hot air balloon or bike ride to Simpsons Gap. Join a safari of quad bikes across the desert or fly over the MacDonnell Ranges. Peer into the traditions of the Aboriginal Arrernte people who have lived here for 20,000 years and browse contemporary Aboriginal art along Todd Mall. Learn More

You probably know about the red monolith in Australia’s Red Centre.

You may know it’s sacred to the Aboriginal people here, and that it turns some spectacular colours at sunrise and sunset. You might not know that you can experience it through Aboriginal eyes, or that there are many other sacred and breathtaking sites here in Australia’s vast centre. Uluru’s cousin Kata Tjuta is just 40 kilometres away and you’ll find the awe-inspiring Kings Canyon not far from Alice Springs. Learn More

Swim in Glen Helen Gorge and spot rock wallabies at Simpsons Gap, both in the West MacDonnell Ranges. Listen to the Dreamtime legend surrounding the comet crater of Gosse Bluff. Climb to the rim of Kings Canyon and swim in the tropical pools of the Garden of Eden. Do a dawn camel trek around Uluru and wander between the steep russet domes of nearby Kata Tjuta. Learn More

Connect to rich Aboriginal traditions, awe-inspiring landscapes and pioneer history in Alice Springs, which sits just south of Australia’s geographic centre. Learn about the area’s first inhabitants – the Western Arrernte Aboriginal people – in the Araluen Cultural Precinct and in the vibrant art lining Todd Mall. Find out how plucky pioneers shaped the modern town in the Telegraph Station Historical Reserve, Royal Flying Doctor Service and School of the Air. Learn More

Trek along the backbone of the West MacDonnell Ranges to attractions such as Simpsons Gap, Ellery Creek Big Hole, Ormiston Gorge and Glen Helen Gorge. This epic chain of day walks stretches more than 223km from the old Alice Springs Telegraph Station to Mount Sonder and Mount Razorback. Stand on ancient escarpments and look out over vast ochre-colored landscapes. Visit sites sacred to the Arrernte Aboriginal people. Scramble down sheltered gorges, swim in cool waterholes and sleep under a sea of stars. Learn More

The outback makes you bonkers. How else can you explain the Henley-on-Todd – an annual sailing and rowing regatta held on a dry river bed in Alice Springs?

With pirate ships firing flour bombs, people paddling canoes with sand shovels and bathtubs on legs, you do wonder if there’s more heat and dust than sense in this iconic outback town. Learn More

Immerse yourself in Australia’s Aboriginal experiences, places and journeys. Aboriginal people of Australia have a rich, living culture stretching back at least 50,000 years. Get a snapshot of the diverse experiences on offer when you immerse yourself in Aboriginal Australia. Learn More

Conclusion: The Lost Girls

Last week, I mentioned that I was currently reading a travel novel called The Lost Girls. It was a great break from all the murder mysteries I have been reading lately, that’s for sure!

Overall, it was such an entertaining book. It left me giggling, reflecting, jealous, but mostly, it left me drooling.

Three good friends quit their jobs and spend an entire year traveling around the globe. They completed, “60,000 miles around the world, from the mountains and jungles of South America to the beaches of Australia, passing through Kenya, India, Southeast Asia, and New Zealand”.

Jennifer Baggett, Holly Corbett and Amanda Pressner

The book was able to keep my interest and actually make me laugh out loud, which is a hard thing to do when by myself. It was divided into different sections for each lag of their trip, and by chapter, with the three girls rotating writing tasks.

My favorite of the three, or should I say – most relatable, was Holly. She always found a way to analyze her surroundings and get a real feel for the culture. Holly really seemed to appreciate each person she encountered and tried her best to enjoy every experience. I cannot believe she made it through a month at a somewhat suspect ashram in India. Really, I have never heard anything that great about these places. Her patience and peace-keeping personality very much sounded like myself.

Not to take away anything from the other girls. They both had unique personalities on their travels. Jen (adventure/thrill-seeking) and Amanda (dedicated/out-going/fun-loving) would be people I would love to travel with. They were full of energy and loved to dance. I must say, as I mentioned above about being jealous…it was mostly due to their night of dancing to reggaeton music in South America.

The danger with reading this book, the only negative aspect, one warning for anyone reading……

You will have the strongest desire to pick up everything and LEAVE to your nearest airport.

The Lost Girls

Since I have completed two Jo Nesbo books in a row (think mystery, murder, depressing), and am waiting for the next two to be delivered, I decided to lighten up my read with something a bit more entertaining and happy.

The Lost Girls, by Jennifer Baggett, Holly C. Corbett and Amanda Pressner is a story about three friends who all decide to quit their jobs, leave their boyfriends, and apartments in New York City and set out for the unknown. True story! And it’s divided by one of the authors per chapter, all with a different outlook on their adventure.

The book caught my eye in Chapters after the holidays, sitting on display in the travel literature section (my fav!). First thing I did was giggle, since the title reminded me of my friend Katie and myself getting lost on every second street all over Italy 2 summers ago.

I have currently finished the first 2 chapters as the girls catch me up on how their lives were back in NYC, working hard and feeling restless. Can’t wait to read on!

The website for these three girls looks amazing. They have a blog, photos of their trip, and even guest writers describing their own adventures of traveling around the world.

I’ll get back to you with my review of the book, when I can complete it. So far so good and I can’t wait to hear about their adventures in Australia, passing through Kenya, India, Southeast Asia, and New Zealand.

Where in the world are you?

WordPress created a very neat summary of my year in blogging. I am very happy that this blog has been viewed (and hopefully enjoyed!) by many. I am quite happy that I, for the most part, was able to write a blog post at least 5 times a week.

I look forward to writing much more in 2012, and more importantly, I look forward to traveling much more in 2012.

Being a geography teacher, I loved seeing this map of the world with icons representing where in the world my readers are from.

Thank you everyone for visiting my blog last year! Hope you enjoy and return in 2012!