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A dream trip-the countryside

I’ve been to some of the world’s greatest cities-London, Paris, New York, Rome, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Seoul-however, I’ve never really spent a lot of time outside of these major metropolises. I wouldn’t change a thing but a dream of mine is to do a entire trip based entirely in the countryside. As in my only encounter with Paris would be at Charles d’Galle Airport for I would immediately rent a car and drive to the region of Normandy or Brittany, becoming ensconced in petit villages and relish at being away from the mobs of tourists that so congest Paris’ streets.

I swoon at the sight of Provence’s famed lavender fields. I get giddy upon seeing images of row after row of gloriously golden sunflowers in Italy’s Umbrian region, the colors that almost appear to be fake for how majestic they are. As magnificent it is to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower or to walk where gladiators once battled it out until death in the remains of the Colosseum, I’ve become more and more entranced by the outdoor shot in which there is nothing but nature, no man made innovation present. Many people find the idea of traveling into the countryside intimidating-you’re more likely to encounter language barriers, slower pace of life, the lack of road signs or other directional aids. Personally, I think it’s a challenge worth taking.

I know that when I travel to Paris or Rome I’m not seeing the whole country (literally and figuratively). The latter because a city of more than a million people is not going to be the same in terms of culture and lifestyle as a village of only 1,000 people three hours away. Life in New York City is not going to be anything like life in a small town in Louisiana or Colorado.

Although there are no plans on the horizon to do a countryside trip, here’s not to say that there won’t be one planned in the future sometime:

Village of Dinan in Brittany, France
Image courtesy of planetware.com
 Provence
Image courtesy of allposters.com
 Umbria
And as I’ve said before, if I can’t travel somewhere right now, I travel vicariously through the pleasure of food from that country. I present you with breton bread pudding (a recipe for bread pudding from  France’s Brittany region).
Breton Prune Pudding
7 ounces pitted prunes
1 quarter cup rum or hot water
2 tablespoons butter
1/2  cup flour
3 tablespoons sugar
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
powdered sugar for dusting
lemon wedges and mint sprigs to decorate
Put prunes into a bowl, add rum or hot water and let stand 2 hours
Put butter into a shallow baking dish and put in oven while preheating it to 400 degrees
Combine flour and sugar in a bowl, gradually stir in eggs and milk to make a smooth batter.
Drain liquid from prunes and add liquid to batter
Put prunes into baking dish, carefully add batter around prunes and bake one hour until puffed, just set in center and golden brown on top
Let cool slightly, cut into squares and dust with powdered sugar. 
Decorate with lemon wedges and mint sprigs and serve warm
(Makes four servings)

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