Soda bread fresh out of the oven

Around the World in 80 Plates: Soda Bread, Ireland 4/80

Soda bread is possibly the easiest, quickest bread you can make.

No kneading, no waiting for the dough to prove and best of all: only one dish to wash.

Soda bread has fast become my go-to loaf when we’re out of bread and I can’t be bothered to run to the shop (and I happen to have buttermilk on hand).

It’s quick, filling and best fresh out of the oven.

Start to finish, it can be made in under an hour. That’s usually unheard of for homemade bread, so this is a great recipe to get your bake on even if you’re strapped for time.
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The Cinque Terre trail hugging the cliffs

Take a hike! 5 unique treks in Europe

Travelling isn’t just about going to museums, learning new customs and eating different food. It can also be a chance to get out and enjoy the fresh air.

Hiking during a trip is a wonderful opportunity to get out of the city, off the trains and into the wilderness. With a decent pair of shoes, a waterproof raincoat and a bottle of water (and maybe a map and a phone), you’re off to the mountains.
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Hill of Tara

Ancient mounds, Irish sheep and the Ark of the Covenant?

The Hill of Tara, just northwest of Dublin, was the traditional seat of the High King of Ireland, where kings were crowned. Various ditches, mounds and banks can be seen (even on Google Maps) forming circles and spirals on the man-made hill.

Even with its history dating back 5,000 years, containing Roman artefacts from the 1st-3rd centuries and at one point thought to hold the Ark of the Covenant, sheep are still free to roam the mounds with the tourists.

Check out other posts about my time in Ireland.

Evil eye at fish market in Istanbul

Bring international luck to your Friday the 13th

Each country, culture and religion has an idea of what is lucky and what is unlucky.

In the US, having a black cat cross in front of you is bad luck (I had a black cat for years and had very good luck).

In Italy, being pooped on by a bird is buona fortuna – good fortune.

In Albania, having good dreams your first night in a new place is a sign you’ll enjoy your time there.

To many, Friday the 13th is unlucky, so why not bring some international luck to the day?
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Guinness For Strength

There’s more to Ireland than Guinness

Beer drinkers are crazy about St. Patrick’s Day. The holiday has, over time, lost it’s religious meaning and has been replaced with an incredible party tradition. While the color green historically represented the shamrock St. Patrick used to explain the Holy Trinity to the Celts, it is now the color that is worn and that beer, rivers and even food are dyed. While excited celebrators often reach for the well-known Guinness, I’m here to enlighten you to the fact that there are other stouts that give you a more authentic Irish drinking experience.
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Mural in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Derry or Londonderry? The Troubles related to the name

What do you call this place?  Is it Londonderry or just Derry?  Most people, especially Catholics and nationalist, call it Derry while Protestants and unionists call it Londonderry.  So confusing.  Whatever you call it, there is a lot of history there.
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Props to the barefoot pilgrims!

I met many travelers at the very sociable hostel in Doolin, the most memorable of which was a group of four Italians who had rented a car.  After going for drinks and very animated conversation, I discovered in our group of 5, I was the only one who didn’t smoke and only one of the girls was trying to quit, so she stayed in the pub with me.  Luckily, she was the only one in the group who didn’t speak English, so we somehow managed to have a conversation using the few English words she knew and me trying to recall the Spanish I learned in school.  Somehow, it magically led to me learning the word ‘polipo’, or octopus.  This quickly became my favorite word in Italian and still tops my list.
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