Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?
*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?
Sweet. Crunchy. Spicy. Unusual. Hot! Tender. Delicious. Soft. And oh, my God … When have you last closed your eyes, sighed for the magic of the moment, the sweet taste of something unfamiliar yet incredibly tasty lingering hot in your mouth?
I know that feeling. Ever since I started travelling at the tender age of three years old, I remember our family culture as always being one of openness and curiosity – especially towards food. Dad and I would conspire over ordering lobster in the Mediterranean (exotic enough for us Austrians back then!), while travelling in the US during the 90’s had us try the first stuffed-crust cheese pizzas ever. It might not have been as much of a luxury culinary travel experience as the more organised Food Tour companies today, but I remember having tasted the first & foremost ingredient for any food tour experience back in those days: Natural curiosity, and an appetite for adventure. Yes, the octopus cooked, cut & sliced in front of me in the city of Vigo, Galicia, looked shocking at first, but so what? It tasted really good. Never know just how spicy that Thai food is going to be? Just try. No harm done really: At best, you return home with a great many stories to tell.
Travelling to Thailand, you cannot help but be focused on food. This country is so rich in terms of its natural food items that any season has something to offer for the foodie traveller. My visit of the city of Bangkok in October 2012 focused on the launch of the “Creative Tourism Network Thailand” and my speech at the country’s international Creative Tourism Conference. Nevertheless, there was plenty of time for us to have a creative go at some typical food experiences, such as cookery classes or a Food Tour in the city of Bangkok.
Sorry guys, I know you should not mark your own goals. Boast to everyone else about just how good you are. But this needs to be an exception. I am Austrian, and I NEED to tell you about how good we are. With food. And all those special, local variances that no foreigner gets to pronounce correctly (and which always makes us laugh – once again sorry guys 😉 ): “Käsespätzle“, “Kürbiskernöl“, “Grießnockerlsuppe” or “Marillenknödel“, to name but a few. “Grüner Veltliner” of course, though since that has risen to fame in the city of New York, our Austrian wine growing community has truly and deservedly become immensely proud.!
Anyway. If the world of food tour travel was to be exhibited in a gourmet shop window, Salzburg & Graz would be among the top picks on display. Both inner cities, where the food tours take place, have long been declared UNESCO World Heritage of Humankind, with Graz even positioning itself as the Austrian “Capital of Culinary Delight” (“Genusshauptstadt Österreich“). Each year in August, the city is home to a spectacular outdoor event whereby dozens of local chefs team up to serve close to 1.000 people seated at the heart of the city’s main square along many magnificently laid tables – an event not to be missed! Graz Food Tours are offered through the network of the GrazGuides, spearheaded by charming Sigrid Alber who is also an official Austria Guide. Lots of (food) history, culture and local foodie restaurant & market tips here!
My love affair on Porto & the Douro valley has already been said. If Cape Reinga in New Zealand is the leaping place of the spirits returning home to mystical Hawaiiki, then seaside Porto is the leaping place of all spirits ready for joining the culinary heavens. Pasteis de chaves. Sardinhas. Moscatel. Pastel de nata. Bolhão Market. Tremoços. Tripeiros. Café Casa Christina. Eclairs. Flor dos Congredados. Taberna do Largo. Queijo. Vinho. Chouriço. … Listening to André of Taste Porto Food Tours speaking with passion & pride about his city, is like laying the table for a quintessential experience of Porto’s food culture. Never mind if you don’t understand each word in Portuguese at first: It is another language that counts here. 😀
Do you know the American author Rick Steves? As a passionate public authority on travelling to Europe, he talks about the charm of “second cities, like Portugal’s Porto” – an interesting angle for city trips I believe. In this video, he shares his hands-on, authentic recap of what Taste Porto Food Tours is like: Pure passion, and a love for all things food, culture & history of the city of Porto – as André never fails to show. 😉
Thank you all so much, dear passionate food travellers & hosts around the world, for sharing and inspiring each other with the world’s culinary heritage today! Wondering where my next food tours will lead me? There is one round the corner, and one that will see me leave Europe in search for the world’s wonders … Stay tuned for more!