• Tahiti

    International Destinations You Can Visit Now + How

    <p>We’ve covered which states are open (read <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/open-usa-states-how-to-travel/" target="_blank">here</a>), and which U.S. destinations offer the experience most similar to a number of famed international locales (read how Alaska’s an awesome wildlife tracking alternative to South Africa and The San Juan Islands’ lavender will have you thinking you are in Provence, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/us-alternatives-to-international-destinations/" target="_blank">here</a>). <br><br>But that’s all within the U.S. What if you cannot contemplate not using the passport once this year? A) you’re not alone and b) it’s actually possible. Our tour operations team is talking to local and federal governments and our local guides in every one of our regions weekly. And we’re seeing border updates and new destinations available every time we check. <br><br>And if some international borders are open, is a culturally-rich, crowd-free experience achievable? It appears to be the case. Look at Croatia as an example. Its National Tourist Board is projecting tourism to be at 30% of 2019 levels in 2020. And with the Center for Disease Control and the Cruise Line Industry Association extending their ‘no cruise’ ban until deeper into 2020 (or possibly into 2021), it means even fewer travelers at the most popular tourist sites during prime visiting times. The result may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to walk the cobblestone streets of Dubrovnik with just locals, or to explore the ruins at Ephesus without ever seeing a crowd of 100 passengers following an activities coordinator with a tall flag leading the masses. <br><br>Even before COVID, the biggest travel trend of 2020 was the continued migration from large group tourism to small group tours to micro-groups and <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/private/" target="_blank">private tours</a>. And now, the driver for this trend continuing is that micro and private groups are adaptable to social distancing, support local businesses, allow for travel within your household or in a very small group of likeminded travelers (who have all been tested negative), so that everyone feels safe and comfortable in their micro group.<br><br><b>We’re keeping an eye on the world and talking to our guides, hoteliers, and local municipalities daily. Here are five favorite destinations you can travel to now.St Lucia</b><br>It’s long been legendary for its Piton peaks, but <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/st-lucia-adventure-tour/" target="_blank">St Lucia</a>’s been praised this year for its absence of peaks in infection. The island has seen only 22 cases and zero fatalities and its phased approach for slow, safe reopening is setting the benchmark for travel in the ‘new normal’. Hotels and businesses are having to qualify for certification by meeting several set criteria for sanitization and social distancing, and while reopening only began recently, requirements and restrictions have already been eased (as opposed to increased, as seen elsewhere). The next phase, expected to further ease restrictions by allowing more activities and excursions, begins August 1.<br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/st-lucia-adventure-tour/" target="_blank"><img alt="Caribbean St Lucia Island Luxury Private Tour Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q6Pv&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yKzj"></img></a><br><b>Do you have to take a COVID-test to enter St Lucia? </b>Yes, negative PCR test results must be provided, taken within 7 days of travel (formerly 48 hours). All passengers will be screened and temperature checked and must also complete a pre-Arrival Travel Registration Form.<br><b>Does St Lucia require visitors take a 14-day quarantine?</b> No<br><b>Which airlines fly direct to St Lucia? </b>American Airlines (Miami, Charlotte, Philadelphia) JetBlue (New York, Boston) Delta (Atlanta) United Airlines (New Jersey and Chicago)<br><b>What&#39;s the best way to travel to St Lucia? </b>A local guide gives you insider island knowledge you just can’t get from a guidebook. Like where to get the best view of the Piton peaks…which beach you’ll have to yourself at sunset…which fisherman will catch the meatiest marlin for the perfect Caribbean picnic. Plus, they’ll have alternative activities should any plans change thanks to an island-wide network of friends and family. <br><b>When can I travel to St Lucia?</b> Whenever you like. The island is open to international visitors and our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/st-lucia-adventure-tour/" target="_blank">private St Lucia tours</a> can be arranged on your preferred travel dates. <br><br><b>Croatia</b><br>For those of us craving Europe’s fairy-tale coastal charm, Croatia’s been a leader in flattening the curve and is now welcoming travelers from America under the category of ‘Third party countries’. <br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/croatia-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Europe Croatia Luxury Tour Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q6Pv&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yKzo"></img></a><br><b>Do you have to take a COVID-test to enter Croatia? </b>Yes, negative PCR test, taken within 48 hours of border crossing. You will need to present proof of your Classic Journeys hotel booking and reservation of your COVID test. Your guide and driver will take you directly to your hotel, and transport you to your drive-in test. Once results are available (same day or morning after), you can freely travel through Croatia.<br><b>Does Croatia require visitors take a 14-day quarantine?</b> No, unless you refuse to take a test. <br><b>Which airlines fly to Croatia? </b>Delta, American, United<br><b>What&#39;s the best way to travel to Croatia?</b> On a carefully curated tour with our Croatian guides, who have been named best in the country and guide the Croatian president and family. Their local knowledge will bring you to the best bits of Dubrovnik, and lovely, lesser-known areas where you can get a truly authentic experience (or even the perfect Game of Thrones photo op). Intimate interactions woven into your itinerary might include exclusive winery visits, the best table of the best restaurant booked on your behalf, or a picnic in a picturesque spot of the Dalmatian coast that tourists haven’t discovered. We will also ensure you have the necessary documents to present at the airport so that you can proceed with your trip.<br><b>When can I travel to Croatia? </b>The country is open now and our Croatia guides have already been hosting US travelers. Our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/croatia/" target="_blank">Dubrovnik to Split Culture + Walking tours</a> depart on September 6 and October 4. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/private/" target="_blank">Private tours </a>put you in charge of whatever dates and details work for you, and for 2020 they don’t cost more than scheduled tours for groups of 6 or more.</p> <p><br><b>Turkey </b><br>Rich in history, rivetingly pretty, cuisine worth crossing continents for. Turkey has shown a steady decrease in cases of COVID and is reopening for tourism along the guidelines of the country’s ‘Safe Tourism Certification Program’, which sets in place standards for cleanliness and safe social distancing. <br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/turkey-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Europe Turkey Luxury Private Tour Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q6Pv&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yKzy"></img></a><br><b>Do you have to take a COVID-test to enter Turkey? </b>No, unless screening on arrival shows a high temperature.<br><b>Does Turkey require visitors take a 14-day quarantine? </b>If tested positive for coronavirus.<br><b>Which airlines fly to Turkey? </b>Turkish Airlines (Houson, LA, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington DC).<br><b>What&#39;s the best way to travel to Turkey?</b> There’s no need to write off the sensory spectacle that is Istanbul because of crowd concern—not with the total absence of cruise ship passengers who normally flood the capital city and your own local Classic Journeys guide who knows the backroads like the back of their hand and has a plan b and c for every part of your trip, just in case. And you can’t social distance more spectacularly than in your own yacht, cruising the Turkish coast. Sail between secret coves, sleepy villages and stunning islands, stopping to take a coastal walk or visit an ancient attraction—all handpicked and planned to give you the most authentic, crowd-free experience possible. <br><b>When can I travel to Turkey? </b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/turkey-tours/" target="_blank">Turkey</a> is open for US travelers now. Pick your dates, tell us your preferences, and we’ll put together the perfect <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/turkey/" target="_blank">private Turkey tour</a> for your group. </p> <p><br><b>Tahiti</b><br>The off-grid gorgeousness of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tahiti-adventure-tour/" target="_blank">Tahiti</a>’s islands is open to all travelers arriving by air, and the abundance of outdoor activities—hikes to waterfalls and blue lagoon bike rides, paddle boarding, canoes—makes social distancing second nature. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tahiti-adventure-tour/" target="_blank"><img alt="French Polynesia Tahiti Island Luxury Private Tour Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q6Pv&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yL03"></img></a><br><b>Do you have to take a COVID-test to enter Tahiti? </b>Yes, negative PCR test results must be presented, taken no longer than 3 days prior to travel. Then another self-test has to be taken 4 days after arrival (this will be given to travelers at the airport). Each visitor will also need to complete a ‘Sanitary Entry’ form. <br><b>Does Tahiti require visitors take a 14-day quarantine?</b> No<br><b>What&#39;s the best way to travel to Tahiti?</b> With a guide—and local islander—in the lead throughout your trip, you’re in safe hands when it comes to recommending restaurants for the best French cuisine, showing you the best sunset spots and much more. <br><b>When can I travel to Tahiti? </b>Tahiti is open now and<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tahiti-adventure-tour/" target="_blank"> private tours</a> can be totally tailored to your preferences when it comes to the date you arrive and depart.<br> </p> <p><b>The Galápagos</b><br>These isolated volcanic islands burst in biodiversity, and from hundred-year-old tortoises to newborn sea lions, the wondrous wildlife of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">The Galápagos<b> </b></a>is welcoming visitors once again. <br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Young sea lion and sleeping sea lions - white sand beach - Galapagos Islands - Ecuador" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q6Pv&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yzPt" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b>Do you have to take a COVID-test to enter The Galápagos?</b> Yes – negative PCR test results must be provided, taken no more than 10 days before entering. If you do not have results to provide, you will be required to take a test upon arrival at your own expense, and quarantine while you wait for results. There will also be temperature checks at the airports.<br><br><b>Do the Galápagos islands require visitors take a 14-day quarantine? </b>No, unless you test positive for COVID.<br><br><b>Which airlines fly to The Galápagos? </b>American Airlines, Delta, LATAM, United, jetBlue<br><br><b>What&#39;s the best way to travel to The Galápagos? </b>This is a new normal, but years of running trips to the islands—and guides who’ve been on the ground throughout—are the key to ensuring a trip is socially distant as well as smooth and spectacular as ever. We’ll show you where to eat the best ceviche, which beach has the cutest baby sea lions and the best spot for snorkeling with sea turtles, and take you and alongjungle lava trails with heaps of wildlife but hardly any people. <br><br><b>When can I travel to The Galápagos? </b>The islands are welcoming guests from the U.S. now, and you can visit on any date that suits you with a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/belize-luxury-tour/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys private tour</a>. <br><br> </p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/contact/" target="_blank"><img alt="Reserve a 2020 tour" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q6Pv&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yLQQ"></img></a></p>

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  • BBQ

    Tastes of travels: grills around the globe

    <p>It’s summer barbeque season! But if you already have your T-bone down to a Tee, and can slow-cook ribs worth shouting about from the rooftop, what’s next on the menu?<br> <br>As integral as grilling is to summertime, for many of us, travelling and enjoying the flavors of other countries is a summer staple too.<br> <br>So, we asked Classic Journeys guides to share grill recipes from around the globe. While you might not wake up in the countryside of the western cape, you can bring a braai to your backyard with Clive&#39;s sizzling South African steak recipe…and transport your taste buds to other destinations too…<br> <br><b>South African Braai </b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/africa/" target="_blank"><b><img alt="South Africa Luxury Foodie Culinary Tour Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q7Xk&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yNAZ" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></b></a><br><i>From Classic Journeys guide Clive, based in Cape Town, who leads our trips in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">South Africa</a>:</i><br><br>South Africans <i>braai</i> almost weekly (rhyming with ‘eye’, it’s an Afrikaans term derived from the Dutch word for ‘roast’.) If we are celebrating a special occasion such as a birthday or a rugby match, we will gather for a <i>big braa</i>i. We even have an official Braai Day—September 24th. The other term you need to know is <i>Braaimaster,</i> who is the person in charge of cooking. Traditionally, we use a wood grill, but I’ve found you can add a smoker to a gas grill a similar effect.<br> <br><u>Food</u><br>Meat:<br>Biltong, to snack on while you wait for the main event (it’s our version of jerky)<br>Beef steak (whichever is your favorite)<br>Sausages (traditional <i>boerewors</i> are spiced sausages formed in continuous spiral)<br><br>Braai salt (we buy this ready-made, but you can make it by mixing up coarse salt, sugar, coriander, black pepper, paprika, garlic, cumin onion powder, and thyme). I rub it into the steak before you cook it, then pour a pile on my plate and dip the steak into it as I eat. So delicious.<br><br>Braaibroodjie, which is a grilled cheese sandwich. Grill 2 slices of buttered white bread, with cheddar cheese, onion, tomatoes and chutney in between).<br><br><u>Drink</u><br>A South African red wine (my favorite is Pinotage.) <br><br><b>Chilean Asado</b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/chile/" target="_blank"><img alt="Chile Luxury Foodie Culinary Tour Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q7Xk&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yNBD" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><i>From Andres, who leads our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile/" target="_blank">Lake District &amp; Patagonia tours</a>: </i><br><br>I would call Asado our national dish. Chilean life revolves around asado gatherings at our homes or ranges. Never say no if you are invited to an asado! We traditionally use a simple iron wood grill named a <i>parrilla</i>, but you can use charcoal or a gas grill as an alternative. After enjoying delicious food with friends and family, it’s tradition to applaud the chef—<i>un aplauso para el asador</i>! <br> <br><u>Food</u><br>Chimichurri sauce:<br>1 bunch parsley<br>5 garlic cloves<br>1 tablespoon oregano<br>1-2 teaspoon pepper flakes<br>½ cup white vinegar<br>½ cup olive oil<br>1 teaspoon salt<br>1 teaspoon pepper<br> <br>Meat:<br>Beef steak, cooked low and slow – South Americans do not rush! We like our steaks medium to well done.<br>Coat the steak in this for an hour before you cook, and make extra to pour over the steak once cooked!<br><br>Serve with:<br>Chorizo sausage<br>Lettuce salad<br>Potato salad (potatoes, hard boiled eggs, mayonnaise and mixed vegetables)<br> <br><u>Drink</u><br>A Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon.<br> <br><b>Japanese Yakitori</b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/japan/" target="_blank"><img alt="Japan Yakitori Luxury Foodie Culinary Tour Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q7Xk&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yNAe" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><i>From Masako in Tokyo who leads our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-luxury-tours/" target="_blank">Luxury tours in Japan</a>:</i><br><br>Maybe sushi is the first Japanese dish you think of, or ramen. But we grill too! Yakitori is essentially grilled chicken on a skewer. It comes from the Meiji era (1868-1912) which was when cooking chicken became acceptable in Japanese society. Before then, chicken was not socially acceptable in Japan! It’s very different now, we actually pick breeds of chicken precisely for the flavor they give to Yakitori!<br>Usually we use a charcoal grill, however I have cooked yakitori on all kinds of grill and as long as you have heat and meat, you will be able to make this dish!<br> <br><u>Food</u><br>Yakitori sauce:<br>2 tablespoons of vegetable oil<br>½ cup soy sauce<br>2 tablespoons of rice wine<br>2 tablespoons of sake<br>1 tablespoon brown sugar<br><br>Fry these ingredients until they become a syrup.<br><br>Meat:<br>Boneless chicken, cut into 1-inch cubes, put onto a skewer then brushed with oil and sprinkled with salt. What cut of chicken you use will determine the name, e.g. thigh would make <i>momo yakitori</i>, tender is <i>sasami</i>.<br><br>Grill the chicken skewers until cooked, turning often.<br>Once cooked, brush on the yakitori sauce and grill for another 2-3 minutes until it becomes sticky.<br>Sprinkle with sesame seeds, hot pepper, and salt.<br><br>Serve with:<br>Steamed rice<br>Soy sauce<br> <br><u>Drink</u><br>Sake<br> <br><b>Indian Tandoori Murgh</b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/india/" target="_blank"><img alt="India tandoori chicken Luxury Foodie Culinary Tour Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q7Xk&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yNAj" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><i>From Vijay, who leads our </i><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/india-tours/" target="_blank"><i>India tours</i></a><br><br>Tandoori murgh, which is often called tandoori chicken, is grilled or roasted chicken with a delicious spiced marinade. Traditionally, the dish is cooked in a clay oven called a tandoor, a cooking method that dates back over 5000 years which is mentioned in ancient Sanskrit texts. Tandoori chicken itself dates back to the 1940’s and a restaurant in Peshawar.<br> <br><u>Food</u><br>Tandoori chicken:<br>4 chicken legs<br>Tandoori marinade. You can buy this ready-made if you don’t want to make it, otherwise, fry together:<br> <br>½ cup of oil<br>1 teaspoon of ground coriander<br>1 teaspoon of ground cumin<br>1 teaspoon of ground turmeric<br>1 teaspoon of cayenne<br>1 tablespoon of garam masala<br> <br>Then cool completely, before mixing with:<br> <br>1 cup of yogurt (plain or Greek)<br>1 lemon or lime, juiced<br>6 minced garlic cloves<br>2 tablespoons of minced fresh ginger<br>1 teaspoon of salt<br><br>Coat the chicken in the tandoori marinade and refrigerate for 4-8 hours. (If you want to make the marinade extra good, you can brine the chicken for a day before.)<br><br>After marinated, grill on medium high until cooked.<br><br>Serve with:<br>Raita (mix finely-diced cucumber, cilantro, mint and yoghurt)<br>Indian naan bread (or similar flatbread)<br>Basmati rice <br>Mango chutney<br> <br><u>Drink</u><br>Indian beer or gin &amp; tonic<br> <br><b>Turkish Mangal  </b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/turkey/" target="_blank"><img alt="Turkey Kebab Luxury Foodie Culinary Tour Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q7Xk&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yNAo" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><i>From Cemil and Yasemin, who are not only co-guides for <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/turkey-tours/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys in Turkey</a> but are husband and wife as well, and who live in Antalya on the southwest coast: </i><br><br>Our barbeque ritual—which is really a rite of passage in Turkish culinary culture—is called Mangal. Mangal means serious business here! We gather together with our loved ones, with the head of the household in charge of the grilling, and someone else in charge of the preparation. The most famous food from a mangal is what Americans refer to as a shish kebab. Şiş is the Turkish word for sword, and the name comes from the times when Medieval Turkish soldiers would their meat on their swords over open fires! I’ll finish with an important piece of advice: Always go to a Turkish Mangal on an empty stomach, we will feed you very well!<br> <br><u>Food</u><br><br>Kebabs:<br>Lamb or beef chunks, marinated (for at least 2 hours) in -<br>½ cup of olive oil<br>1 tablespoon of lemon juice<br>1 teaspoon of cumin<br>1 teaspoon of coriander<br>1 teaspoon of paprika<br>1 teaspoon of minced garlic<br><br>Skewer the meat and grill, turning every few minutes, until cooked.<br>Add wedges of red onion, bell pepper squares and mushrooms to the grill if you want.<br><br>Serve with: <br>Pita or flatbread<br>Coban salad (cucumber, tomato, bell peppers, onions, parsley all chopped, with olive oil and lemon dressing)<br> <br><u>Drink</u><br>Beer, wine or Turkish raki<br> <br><b>Greek Souvlaki</b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/greece/" target="_blank"><img alt="Greece Kebab Luxury Foodie Culinary Tour Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q7Xk&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yNAt" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><i>From Marinela, our Greek goddess on the ground who leads our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/greece-tours/" target="_blank">Greek Isles tours</a>:</i><br><br>The Turkish may say otherwise ;) but the truth is that Greeks are the masters of grilling! Mycenaeans were making souvlaki over hot coals millennia ago!<br>  <br><u>Food</u><br><br>Souvlaki:<br>Chicken or pork chunks, marinated in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon oregano, and ½ teaspoon salt<br>Skewer the meat and grill or griddle, turning until cooked<br><br>Serve with:<br>Sliced onions and tomatoes<br>Tzatziki sauce (mix Greek yoghurt, cucumber, mint and garlic paste)<br>Pita bread<br>Olives<br>Feta salad<br> <br><u>Drink</u><br>Ouzo<br> <br><b>Moroccan Kefta</b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/morocco/" target="_blank"><img alt="Morocco grill Luxury Foodie Culinary Tour Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q7Xk&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yNBI" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><i>From Saida, who lives in Fes and guides our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank">Morocco programs</a>: </i><br><br>Many countries make <i>kofta</i>, but Moroccan <i>kefta</i> is different and, to me, far more delicious! Herby and aromatic, it’s a national institution in Morocco. Some people will tell you that minced meat is better, others will say you should chop it finely for a juicer texture... You’ll find kefta in our medina markets, where they’ll be grilled before your eyes.<br> <br><u>Food</u><br>Kefta:<br>1 pound of minced / ground / finely chopped beef or lamb combined with:<br>1 chopped onion<br>2 tablespoons of chopped parsley<br>1 teaspoon of coriander<br>1 teaspoon of mint<br>1 teaspoon of paprika<br>1 teaspoon of cumin<br>Salt and pepper<br> <br>Shape into cylinders around a wooden skewer.<br>Turn on a grill until cooked.<br><br>Serve with:<br>Flatbread (we have Batbout, which is similar to pita)<br>Cous cous salad <br> <br><u>Drink</u><br>Moroccan mint tea<br> <br><b>Italian Porchetta</b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/italy/" target="_blank"><img alt="Italy grill Luxury Foodie Culinary Tour Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q7Xk&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yNB3" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><i>From Luciano who leads our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscany-tours/" target="_blank">Tuscany trips</a>: </i><br><br>Italy is the birthplace of pasta, pizza...and porchetta! This barbeque beauty is an ancient pork roast and you will find it through Tuscany’s markets, town squares and roadside stalls. It is simple but delicious, we have sagras—Italian food festivals—dedicated to this dish alone.<br><br>Traditionally, porchetta would be made with a whole pig, slowly roasted over a wood fire, but you can also make a delicious, small-scale version with particular cuts of pork, cooking with indirect heat on any kind of grill. A smoking box adds delicious smoky notes if you’re not cooking on a wood grill.<br><br><u>Food</u><br>Porchetta meat:<br>Boneless pork belly<br>Boneless pork loin<br><br>Porchetta filling:<br>2 fennel bulbs<br>1 bulb of garlic<br>Olive oil<br>Salt &amp; pepper<br>3 tablespoons fennel seeds<br>Chilli flakes<br>2 sprigs of rosemary leaves<br><br>Blitz in a food processor to make a paste.<br><br>Lay the pork belly side-down and spread the filling over in an even layer. Roll it up with the pork loin, tying together with butcher’s string. <br>Refrigerate for 2-8 hours.<br>Grill on low for 5-6 hours.<br>Rest 30 minutes before carving.</p> <p>Serve with:<br>Bread - a white crusty bread roll to hold the meat<br>Side vegetables - whatever you fancy, cooked with Italian olive oil of course!<br><br><u>Drink</u><br>Aperol spritz - see how Suzie Piegza makes it <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUYUO0Vocck" target="_blank">here</a>. </p>

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  • Turkey Istanbul Bosphorus Bridge

    Turkey emerges from coronavirus: a new normal for Istanbul

    <p>Post-lockdown, from Istanbul to the Coast Locals and Visitors are Enjoying Crowd-Free Streets, Shops, Cafes and Monuments.</p> <p><img alt="Turkey coast boat sail Classic Journeys guide luxury tour vacation" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q921&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yQHE"></img><br>I’m a second generation Classic Journeys guide. Now in my 30’s (never ask a woman in America or Turkey her age…), I first met company founder, Edward, when he came over 20 years ago to scout the first Turkish trips with my parents, Cemil and Yasemin. We grew up as a kind of dual-locale family, having homes in Istanbul and along the coast in Antalya (think of San Diego for climate, terrain and coastline). Over time, like many in my generation, I migrated more to Istanbul and my parents spent more time in Antalya. Now, I’m in Istanbul full time and they live up in the shade and serenity of the mountains above the coast.</p> <p>I recently sat down to think about how the coronavirus is impacting Turkey, Turks and our guests who come here to explore. And it suddenly came to me that my experience and my parents’ are about as different as our two generations and the places where we live.</p> <p>For Cemil and Yasemin (mom and dad), their main experience of coronavirus is how it has pleasantly slowed their pace of life. They are enjoying having more time at home, taking long coastal walks, talking together, cooking together and completing household projects my mother has been asking my father to do for years. They will tell you how nature is more beautiful than ever and how there are hardly any boats on the Mediterranean, as if the whole of Turkey has gone back in time to before the days of mass tourism.</p> <p>For me in Istanbul, it is been a completely different experience. First, there were widespread closures, then curfews were instilled which brought on, of course, panic shopping. Just like in America, we also experienced the run on toilet paper! (In Turkey, when you live in rural areas, you do your household shopping for a whole week, so your kitchen is stocked up. In the city, we buy food and essentials more or less on a day-to-day basis, because the stores and markets are on our doorstep and our small city-center apartments can’t store as many groceries.)</p> <p>Istanbul, the nexus of Europe and Asia, is famous for being in a state of constant movement dating back thousands of years. With a population of over fifteen million, and on top of that, thousands of tourists—you can imagine how one of the most visited cities in the world can seem a bit crowded – especially in a normal year on weekends and during the peak days when cruise ships come in to port. The Grand Bazaar and all of our markets are colorful, noisy and exciting. Our narrow streets are bustling. There are long lines for the beautiful museums and palaces. Restaurants spill onto the streets and fill roof-top terraces. It may be busy, but that’s the charm of Istanbul – the wonderful overload for all the senses.</p> <p><span style="color: #3e3e3c;"><img alt="Turkey mosque empty birds Classic Journeys luxury tour vacation" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q921&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yQIW"></img></span><br>Suddenly, silence. We were all stuck at home.</p> <p>Empty streets. Instead of the constant buzzing, honking and music from car traffic, a single car driving through silent streets sounded almost alien.</p> <p>Shutdown markets. No overflowing stalls, no delicious scent of spice, no constant chatter from vendors bargaining with shoppers.</p> <p>No cruise ships in port. In a normal year, we have more than a half million people arriving by ships into Istanbul. You used to be able to tell the day of the week by the nationality of the cruise ship passengers filling the squares. Suddenly, none.</p> <p>When mosques (which in Istanbul we have many of,) do their ezan or call to prayer, usually you hear the sound from all sides of the city, mixed with all the other noises. In the silence, the voice echoes off the walls, as if out of nowhere, I have never heard anything like it. It has taught me to slow down and see my city in a different light – without the other distractions, I have more time to take in and appreciate the history and beauty around me. Like listening to the sound of the waves on the Bosporus, and marveling that I am walking some of the same streets that Constantine the Great and others walked as they passed through this city. And one of my favorite slow down moments, has been taking in the scent of freshly baked bread. Oh, the smell of bread. The baking of it, the way in which we eat it, even the way the bread men deliver it to shops stacked on top of their heads is so important to us from a culinary and cultural perspective. (Which reminds me, our bakeries have stayed open throughout! We have always been able to buy bread, and cake too!)</p> <p><img alt="Turkey baker fresh bread balanced on heead Classic Journeys luxury tour vacation" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q921&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yQJ0"></img><br>This leads me to something else that makes me super proud to be Turkish: we always take care of our neighbors, even complete strangers, now more than ever.</p> <p>So, where the older generation have not been able to run errands, neighbors have stepped in to help. Istanbul’s ancient tradition of hoisting baskets up balconies has seen a revival, so that people sheltering at home can receive their groceries without having to come into direct contact with other people. Near where my parents live in Antalya, one local has been buying groceries and delivering to people’s doorsteps – dressed as Spiderman!</p> <p><img alt="@theburaksoylu instagram page Turkish Spiderman coronavirus heartwarming hero" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q921&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yQIg"></img><br>On April 23, when we were in the middle of total lockdown, we found a way to celebrate an important public holiday from our homes. Leaning from windows and balconies to sing the national anthem, whistle, applaud and shout out to one another. It was a festive, electric atmosphere.</p> <p>That feels like yesterday, but as I write this, I realize that it was two months ago! Today, almost everything has reopened.</p> <p>For that, I thank those who put in place our pandemic plan, which was ready to activate as soon as the infection reached Turkey. We have been contact-tracing and testing from very early on.</p> <p>All travel restrictions have been lifted (only two other countries worldwide have achieved this). Workers are going back to their offices.</p> <p>Istanbul is back in business, but it is a different Istanbul.</p> <p><img alt="Turkey luxury hotel restaurant Classic Journeys vacation tour " src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q921&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yQIC"></img><br>Instead of weaving through hundreds of people as you navigate our narrow streets, you pass a handful of people. I know friends who have visited some of our biggest museums and attractions, and been the only ones there!</p> <p>With the tourist board’s Safe Tourism Certificate, hotels are setting new standards of cleanliness and social distancing. (There is a new trend for luxury lodgings - a signature perfumed hand sanitizer!)</p> <p>In mosques, shelves where worshippers would usually put their shoes are filled with donated food for people who can’t afford to buy it.</p> <p>Our coffee shops are as busy as before (if not busier; we suffered homemade coffee long enough, which will never be as good!). Now they have disinfectant stations, thermometers to check customers, and spaced out tables. It&#39;s the same with restaurants and those with terraces are thriving.</p> <p>So, while life is different in Turkey, we are learning to slow down – as is much of the world, I guess – and connect again with our neighbors, culture and history. It feels like we have a little window of time when you can see, feel and experience Istanbul at a more human and humane pace. If you’ve seen it before during ‘normal’, see it now. And if you’ve never seen it before, see it now and never again so that you can make this your ‘normal’.<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/private/" target="_blank"><img alt="Visit Turkey on your terms with Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q921&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yQc8" style="height: 177px; width: 500px;"></img></a></p>

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