Author: Matt Scott

Packie’s Food and Wine in Kenmare Bay, Ireland

For a small Irish town made up of little more than two streets Kenmare has a surprising number of award winning restaurants and Packie’s is no exception. Local chef Martin Hallissey has created a fine dining experience without losing any of that Irish charm or hospitality. The menu focuses heavily on produce from the local region – scallops, mussels and prawns from Kenmare Bay as well as locally caught sea fish feature heavily on the set menu and in the daily specials.  Local produce is sourced wherever possible and organic ingredients are incorporated when available. Chef Hallissey has created a menu that combines traditional Irish cuisine, such a roast lamb with international influences like the locally reared chicken with a coconut sauce. The wine list is not extensive but offers a range of French bottles with a small selection other old and new world wines, a few of which are organic. While seating in the restaurant can be fairly close, the small stone-walled room leads of an air of coziness, rather than being crowded and the service is efficient but without pretension (difficult to carry across with an Irish brogue anyway). The starter of fresh Kenmare bay prawns was served cold, in their shells, with a citrusy homemade mayonnaise and the salmon (farmed in an area that can practically be seen from the window) was simply accompanied by a...

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Christmas in Cardiff, Wales

Every winter, the lawn outside Cardiff’s City Hall is transformed into a large ice rink as part of the city’s “Winter Wonderland.” Children and adults alike can skate to the sounds of DJs and live bands, within view of the city’s picturesque civic center.  Those not so confident on two blades can enjoy ice sculptors, festive games (with the essential fake snow) and fairground rides or simply relax in the rink-side café with a cup of mulled wine and a mince pie. Santa, of course, is also on hand to check who’s been behaving this year. Just minutes away from the seasonal exertions is the center of Cardiff’s ever growing, and improving, pedestrian arcades and shopping centers, with hundreds of stores offering thousands of bargains though the New Year sales and beyond. With British television’s hit shows of Dr. Who and Torchwood both having been filmed in the city, Cardiff is attracting more international attention, and visitors, than ever before; coming to enjoy one of Europe’s youngest and most vibrant cities.  A world-class university, top museum and gallery (with one of the best impressionist collections outside Pairs) top music venues, a lively bar and club scene as well as the acclaimed Millennium Stadium has seen the city rapidly emerge as an alternative venue to London for the some of the nations top events, from the Rally Championship to the...

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Buen Provecho Ecuador

Meals in Ecuador often consist of set menus known as almuerzos (al-mur-zoes) lunches and meriendas (merry-en-das) dinners, which usually consist of a soup, main course (usually meat) and a dessert. These usually cost just one or two dollars. Soups are without doubt Ecuador’s specialty. They are always hearty, usually including vegetables, potatoes and a small amount of meat or fish. Soups vary as much by region as the person who prepares them and, like soups across the world, can be made up on the spot as a suitable use for leftover ingredients. Look out for Locro de papa (lock-ro de pa-pa) with avocados, potatoes and cheese, tronquito (tron- key-to) bull penis soup or caldo de pata (kal-do de pa-ta) a broth containing chunks of boiled cow hooves; believed to increase virility in men. Main course dishes may include: seco de pollo (se-co de poy-oh) chicken accompanied by rice and avocado slices, lomo salteado (low-mo sal-ta-do) thin beef steak covered with onions and tomatoes, or seco de chivo (se-co de chee-vo) goat stew served with a mound of rice. Main course will usually be accompanied by rice, a small salad and patacones (pa-ta-cone-es) squashed, fried green bananas or patata – (pa-ta-ta) potatoes of which there are about three thousand varieties growing in the Andes. On the coast and in the Amazon, beans, lentils or yucca – a kind of succulent...

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The Center of the Earth, Quito

Standing 20KM north of Quito the Mitad del Mundo is a thirty-meter tall, stone clad monument, topped by a 4.5-meter diameter globe weighing five tonnes. A white line, representing the Equator line runs through the monument and dissects its East and West face. A sign on the line proudly announces “Equator: Latitude 0’0’0′” Finding the exact equator was the subject of many studies, the most notable of which was carried out by Frenchman Charles Marie de La Condamine in 1735. As well as establishing the equator line La Condamine undertook the first scientific exploration of the Amazon and brought Rubber to the western world. La Condamine’s results were verified by the French Academy of Sciences in 1936 and a ten meter monument was then constructed to mark the middle of the earth. The present monument was built between 1979 and 1982 and lies 7km to the west of the original monument. While the line of the Equator has been undisputed for almost three hundred years the advent of GPS technolgy put an end to that: showing that the monument is a little of course — about 240 meters south of the true equator. I’m sure that La Condamine wouldn’t have been too disappointed with that news though, given that he found the central line between two points that are approximately 20,014km (12,436 miles) apart. The news also doesn’t seem...

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Lonesome George- the World’s Rarest Animal

The fragility of the natural world in Ecuador (and around the world) can be summed up in just one word: George! George, or Lonesome George as he is more commonly known has come to be an unwitting star in the Galapagos Islands as a symbol for conservationists and naturalists the world over. Lonesome George is a Giant Tortoise from the small island of Pinta in the north of the archipelago. Found by explorers in 1971 He was alone on the island and has since been classified as the sole survivor of the Pinta tortoise (Geochelone elephantopus abingdoni): this is the rarest species on the planet (being just one) and George appears in the Guinness Book of Records as the loneliest creature alive (despite the fact that over 50,000 tourists a year come to visit him). There are 11 different species of giant tortoise on the Galapagos, each from a different island- the main difference between the species being in the shape of each shell- adapted to suite the conditions on each island. The Pinta tortoise boast a saddle back style of shell, raised at the front; giving a freedom of movement perfect for the tortoises’ long neck to reach up to vegetation on higher branches. Since his discovery George has been moved from Pinta Island to the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS): founded in 1959 this science station, on...

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Paris on Two Wheels

Revolution 1789: Blood, gore, horrible. Louis XVI execution: Dull blade; lots of pain. Marie Antoinette: More blood- dude tries to collect blood (and maybe head) as souvenir. Napoleon: more violence, lots of wars, blood and gore.

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The Empire of the Dead

‘Stop, here is the Empire of the Dead’. A sign warns as you enter the chamber. If you dare pass, as your eyes adjust to the light you might notice the rippling of the walls to the left and right. It is only as you become fully used to the dim light do you notice the skulls imbedded in the stone work, and that the stone work is not stone at all, but hundreds upon hundreds of bones, piled one on top of another, reaching almost to eye level. Behind these bones more remains are evident: pieces of ribs and hips, shattered skulls and bones so numerous and differing one cannot even begin to piece together a complete skeleton. How many soles rest within in view, dozens, hundreds, thousands? The gruesome picture continues into the dark ahead…. As real and disturbing as this sight is, this is not some hidden graveyard or an adventure just for the perverse, but a tourist attraction within eyeshot of the Eiffel Tower. A vast network of subterranean tunnels and caverns, originally dug by the Romans, have become the final resting place of around six million Parisians and a brief visit for around 250,000 tourists each year. An exploration of this kingdom of the dead starts in an unassuming entrance on the outskirts of the city at Denfert Rochereau – a busy metro stop,...

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I am Devin Galaudet the Editor in Chief of ITKT. I am asked all the time how I did it? Was it worth? Changing my life around to make travel a priority. The short answer is yes. It was really a lifestyle choice. It hasn’t always been easy but I have never regretted it. If you are like me, you might want to explore what I did to get started.

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