April 6, 2015

Explore Ireland a Fall Foodie Tour

Explore Ireland a Fall Foodie Tour

The Emerald Isle has long been attractive to golfers, gardeners and Guinness lovers. Nutmeg is here to tell you that it is also a destination for foodies. With nine Michelin-starred restaurants in the Republic of Ireland, there is more to the food scene than Irish stew. (more…)

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March 23, 2015

Thoronet Abbey a Cistercian Treasure in Provence

Thoronet Abbey a Cistercian Treasure in Provence

L’Abbaye du Thoronet was first classified as a historic French monument in 1840. Restoration work started the year after and still continues today. Nutmeg wanted to visit the Thoronet Abbey as they had already seen the “sister” abbeys Silvacane and Sénanque. The straightforward design of these buildings produced volumes of space where the only adornment would have been the harmonic chanting voices of the monks. These religious structures are stark and somber yet at the same time refreshing, no marble, no gold, no organ pipes, just natural light and acoustics. (more…)

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February 16, 2015

Discovering Beautiful Portugal from Under an Umbrella

Discovering Beautiful Portugal from Under an Umbrella

Have you ever wondered…why do they take 200ml of body cream away at airport security only to let you buy 250ml in duty-free before boarding? Well, at least the plane was still scheduled to fly to Lisbon. Nutmeg’s discovery of Portugal’s must see sights started with an email to 12 women with a tempting offer of accommodation in a Portuguese farmhouse. The email suggested a generally loose itinerary for the week and “bring your yoga mats.” (more…)

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December 22, 2014

A Red and Green Portugal Christmas

A Red and Green Portugal Christmas

Nutmeg has a new flame. A spring trip to Portugal sparked a fire in her belly for more fresh Atlantic seafood and genuine bem vindos (welcomes). Her pleasant experience and a non-refundable Ryanair flight made a return trip, with Ginger, a must. Besides, that late bottled vintage (LBV) port wine was growing on her. (more…)

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March 11, 2013

Incredible Malpasset Dam in Provence

Incredible Malpasset Dam in Provence

Nutmeg has a friend who is interested in really big construction projects. He had previously visited the site of the Malpasset Dam outside Fréjus and recommended a visit to the site as an interesting road-trip. The Malpasset Dam was an enormous initiative completed in 1954. It collapsed less than five years later, on December 2, 1959. The dam on the Reyan River was arched in design, or more technically a double curvature with a variable radius.  The dam height was 60 meters, 6.78 meters at the foundation and the length of the crest was 223 meters.   The history of the dam is a bit unclear as some reports have work starting in 1941, possibly early planning that was very likely disrupted by World War II. In 1946, there were geological and hydrological studies undertaken. There is now some question about the quality of the engineering studies, due to lack of proper funding. Construction work on the dam started in April 1952, the work was halted a few times due to labour strikes. The final cost of the project in 1955 dollars was 580 million francs. The statistics are all below: (more…)

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February 4, 2013

Vide Grenier in France

Vide Grenier in France

Garage sale? – are you selling your garage? Nutmeg loves the fact that the French language is descriptive in nature. Vide grenier literally translates into “empty attic”, in other words, a chance to rid your attic of used stuff. Now does that not make sense? In France, as in North America, the vide grenier season begins in April and runs well through October.  In some villages, there may even be more than one sale in a year – multiple occasions to empty that attic…   (more…)

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January 14, 2013

Vallée du Jabron in Haute Provence

Vallée du Jabron in Haute Provence

In a country such as France with a rich, complex history and endless stunning vistas, one is hard pressed to pick a favourite place. A friend suggested to Ginger and Nutmeg that a drive through the Haute Provence Vallée du Jabron, is well worth the effort.  Nutmeg would like to thank their friend for the suggestion, as the valley is remarkable.  The route starts just outside Sisteron (see photo below) and heads westward along the D946 through tiny hamlets.  The following description, translated from the official website, is a beautiful portrayal of the valley: From the Durance to the Luberon, from Mont Ventoux to Sisteron lives between the moon and the stars the Jabron Valley. Giono is the mountain, the land of shepherds, lavender, olive trees … A Kingdom of silence, a land of lights, of stars … A valley where one finds the will to live. (more…)

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January 7, 2013

Marseille Provence 2013 European Cultural Capital

Marseille Provence 2013 European Cultural Capital

August 2012 was scorching in Provence; late summer on the Mediterranean coast meant daytime temperatures of 35C. Summer crowds sweltered in the breathless, port of Marseille as they waited in queues for ferries to the nearby L’archipel du Frioul. The normally beautiful city skyline was filled with busy construction cranes. Drivers and pedestrians were equally frustrated with each other, as they crawled through gridlock, a maze of diversions, temporary hoarding and restricted views. Nutmeg had booked a few nights in the port city. Ginger was speechless. (more…)

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November 12, 2012

Dancing in the Streets of Salon de Provence

Dancing in the Streets of Salon de Provence

For readers who know Ginger and Nutmeg well, the following statement will not be surprising. When it comes to pairs dancing, Ginger insists that Nutmeg leads and Nutmeg insists that someone should! Although, they both love to dance when it comes to the classic dances like waltz, tango, salsa they are frankly way out of their element. (more…)

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August 23, 2012

Thomas Jefferson in France Part Two

Thomas Jefferson in France Part Two

Jefferson’s voyage continued south. He paid a visit to St Remy de Provence and Les Baux, his interest in agriculture and antiquity were the main drivers. The rural area around St Remy continues to be heavily focused on agriculture today. Although, the combination of agricultural crops has changed over the years, the enduring olive tree continues to be a strong contributor to the local economy. (more…)

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