Sunday Special – Gastronomy of Lyon, France

Today we’re taking a difference angle on a place. We will head in with our taste buds to learn a bit of why the French city of Lyon has been known as the world’s Food Capital for well over eighty years.

I have of course heard of Lyon many a time but was never aware that it is a haven for foodies, even more so than Paris. Who knew? I certainly didn’t. It was only several months ago that I learned of it rich food history. I have to admit that doing research on this famed food city has my mouth watering! Although it was in 1935 that noted food critic and author Curnonsky bestowed this city as the “world capital of gastronomy” it was already a hub of culinary sensations. Back in the 1500s , Catherine de Medici brought cooks from Florence and they changed the food landscape by using local and regional produce and agriculture in new and ingenious ways. As time went on the foods of the area grew in popularity. Moving to the nineteenth century saw the rise of middle-class women going out work as cooks, providing their own special touches to the dishes they created. The food scene has continued to grow even through modern times. It’s not a wonder that Curnosky gave Lyon this title.

A local Lyon Bouchon – Photo credit:
No machine-readable author provided. Stevage assumed (based on copyright claims)., Bouchon leTablierCC BY-SA 2.5

Today Lyon boasts over 4,300 hundred restaurants that range from cozy “bouchons” (serving traditional Lyonnais foods) to 14 Michelin starred restaurants. That means it has more restaurants per inhabitant than any other place in France. The food scene is alive and well here. Home to many of the world’s top chefs, availability of high quality foods, impeccible regional wineries, and SIRHA (the world’s largest international food and hospitality event) are some of the main reason’s this city is known for its food. I think I need to go there now!

Cheese shop at Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse Markets in Lyon, France. Photo credit:
© Benoît Prieur / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0Image de Lyon 3e en mai 2017 (8)CC BY-SA 4.0

Food is a way of life in Lyon, France – Photo credit:
Jean Housen20151107 lyon076CC BY-SA 4.0

Sunday Special – Ciudad Perdida, Colombia

An ancient city set deep into the forests of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains in the South American country of Colombia is where we visit today. Ciudad Perdida, built most likely by the Tairona peoples, it was a significant hub for the ruling powers through to the arrival of Spanish. Believed to be built 650 years prior to Machu Picchu, it is constructed with terraces along the side of the mountain as well as roadways and plazas. It is a great example of pre-Colombian engineering. Despite being “discovered” in the 1970s the local tribes of Arhuaco, Wiwas, and Koguis have been aware of the it long before then. It has since been researched and restored (through the Global Heritage Fund) and today is considered one of Colombia’s most incredible multi-day hikes for those with a sense of adventure.

View of Ciudad Perdida, Colombia – Photo credit:
Dwayne ReilanderView of Ciudad PerdidaCC BY-SA 4.0

Hiking through the tropical forest to the “Lost City”can only be done with a tour group. Independent hiking is not allowed. Length of tours will vary dependant on how far you chose to hike each day to complete the 43 km / 27 mile trek. The route is not accessible by vehicle, only by foot (or helicopter). It is know to have steep inclines, varying weather, and an incredible views along the way.

What Travel Taught Me (in India)

We had finished our meal and stepped outside into the muggy air. I looked to my right as we walked along the path leading way from the hall to see dozens and dozens of men and women giving their time to prepare food, feed, and clean the dishes of the all those who came to India’s Golden Temple to worship. The offering of their time was part of the gift of giving that is an integral the Sikh religion, one which I knew very little about. This was my first time in India. Until a short time before I had never even heard of the Golden Temple. My travelling companion D wanted to visit it. A self-professed non-practicing Sikh she was still interested in seeing it as it was the faith she grew up with. We were staying with her family’s relatives in a small town in Punjab and they agreed to take us there. Their hospitality was incredibly generous.  With several of us in tow we headed to the northern Indian town of Amritsar and made a pilgrimage to this incredible religious monument. The namesake of this place the sanctum, a bit of a holy of holies I gather, set in the middle of giant rectangular pool. Most of the sanctum is copper covered in gold foil where worshippers line up along the single walkway leading up to it. On each side of the pool are boulevards of white giving rise to buildings of the same stone. The gold of the temple gives contrast to the white surroundings and draws my attention to it. My eyes always found the gold shimmering in the sun.  Along the pool are some smaller buildings. We see women entering it. D explained to me before that many would dip into the pool as a ritual for cleansing not of the body but the spirit. This building allowed the women to do so in quiet. She said I could partake and nobody would judge.  Two of the women of the family entered this small area. She asked if I still wanted to. I had been thinking about this. Although I am no longer religious, having thrown off my former beliefs that no longer meshed with who I had become, I understood that many take rituals seriously. I trusted D that there would be no judgment yet felt that I may still offend inadvertently, something I did not want to chance.  I chose not to dip into the waters, though she did encourage me to dip my bare feet into them. We then sat nearby on the warm white stone.  It is filled with people. D explains further that this is the most important site for Sikhs. I ask a few more questions. I know so little about this faith. She answers what she can and says I could ask her older sister if I ever wanted to know more as she practices her faith and is devoted to it. D mentions also mentions the attacks during the 1980s in Amritsar, in the temple. I had never heard of that event happening.  I remember many news events of that time but not this one. I look around. This, a place of beauty and peace, so vital to so many. A microcosm of the world. “I know nothing.” It comes into my head swiftly. I suddenly realize how big our world is. How much is going on all at once.  And I am only a small part of it. My view of everything shifted in that moment.

“The more I see the less I know”. For a long time I wondered what this phrase really meant. It almost doesn’t make sense. If you see, learn, and experience more wouldn’t you know more? That seems to be the way things work, one would think. I know the saying is pretty much a cliché though when I finally understood, it made all the sense in the world. That moment, right there at the Golden Temple was humbling and awesome at the same time. Realizing that I am so small, minute and limited in my world experience – that I really do not know anything at all, all the while realizing how incredibly huge the world around me was. It was like standing on the edge of the universe and realizing how unimaginably huge it is. That moment has stayed with me ever since.  Travel does that to me.

Welcome 2019


January – the beginning of a new year.  One where “resolutions” are made, oft with the best of intentions.  A new start. That can be so very exciting. Other times we continue on with where we are. Whichever way you start 2019 I hope it is the way you wish it to be.

For me I welcome 2019. Perhaps not a new start so much as a welcoming of new adventures and experiences. I have some plans ahead and look forward to them coming to fruition. Most are travel related, of course.  Yet others are of a more personal aspect. Not so much resolutions as goals and plans I look forward to achieving.

2018 was a mix of a year. Much happened. I travelled to new-to-me destinations. Hong Kong with a day trip to Macau. Overnight trips to nearby Gibsons and Victoria, BC (for Craft Beer). My first ever small group tour brought me to Egypt and Jordan by way of G Adventures (a Canadian company!). In October  I spent Thanksgiving with my sister in northern BC. And more trips to my hometown of Thunder Bay than I had anticipated. That was because 2018 was difficult. I said goodbye to my dad. It will always define 2018. The year my dad died and the start of first events without him. For me it wasn’t the big major holidays or events that were hard. It was small things. The first time I addressed a postcard to only my mom I paused and realized it was going only to her. Thinking of him when I was in Egypt as I knew he’d be fascinated by much of what I saw.  The number of times I caught myself about to say “my parents”. Plural.  Now it’s not plural. I expect those small moments will continue. So I make room for them and then keep on going. I have learned. I also took time in 2018 to not work myself to the bone during the last 3 months of the year as I have done in the past. I still worked hard but not too hard. I even got out to some events and activities. With all that has taken place this year I am grateful I have strengthened friendships and laughed until I cried with new and old friends.

What comes next in 2019? Well of course we never really know. Though the plans are exciting and some with a challenge I hope to meet. Of course travel is at the top of the list as always. Add some healthy lifestyle goals and learning more about a hobby or two while spending time with family and friends, I hope it makes 2019 a great year. Take some time to scroll below the photo to see which places I plan to visit this year.  All the best to you in 2019!!

2019 plans for Wanders The World:





Anything else will be a glorious surprise!
Check out all my photos on Instagram @wanderstheworld