To follow up the earlier post on my top five meals of 2022, I thought, food is great and all, but where the heck was I when eating? Why did I end up there?
And, were any of those meals due to unexpected visits?
Not necessarily, but I’ve got a fun top five list — in alphabetical order this time — perhaps to help you plan your 2023 travels.
Absolutely brilliant for food, with ancient history and museums to boot. Antakya, once known as Antioch, has been a center of trade, cuisine, and religion for more than 2,000 years. It’s also right by the Syrian border, and relatively close to the last Armenian village in Türkiye.
These days, Culiacán/Culiacan doesn’t have the greatest reputation– yes, it’s because of drugs. It’s rough around the edges, awfully quiet, and at times desolate to walk around.
But for my weekend visit to the city, I had some delicious seafood, enjoyed a walk around the botanical garden, and bought a t-shirt to show off the Culiacán Tomateros (tomato growers) baseball team. (never mind baseball, how about that name?)
May I present the Trojan Horse way to get a sixth top meal of 2022 in here. Kovalam is a beach town, really a suburb of Trivandrum. The beach is ho-hum, but the fish — and chilies — were great.
The nice hotel manager at my beachside spot drove me around Kovalam to point out some places to eat. The only one that sounded riveting was Nadan Adukkala, a Keralan seafood restaurant that specialized in spicy fish. And grape juice, apparently.
Scoop up the lentils, chutneys, rice, and fish, and you’re in for a hot treat.
Georgia already had me sold on its good eats, but during the winter time, where else could I have explored, when some Caucasus mountain passes were closed?
Kutaisi was a good start. Small and laid-back, but still bustling, it had some quality local bites, a relaxing walk to a centuries-old monastery, and served as a good base to get to other parts of the country.
Uriwari Falls, Kaminaka, Japan
I still get giddy when a hike involves a waterfall. Part of that might be due to rarely going on hikes as a kid, but I also find waterfalls to be very soothing.
While on a train between Obama, and Tsuruga in Fukui prefecture, I was scoping out last-minute places to visit. The photos for Tentoku Temple/Uriwari Falls sold it, even if the short walk from Kaminaka station would be under a blistering summer sun.
So serene, so verdant … was it worth it? 100%. I even got to refill my water bottle right next to the falls.
Which places would you have on your top five unexpected visits list?