Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Some Things You Miss - But Not For Long

  My mother travelled the world but very seldom ate the food of the country she was visiting. “Ricky,” she would say, “in China, I ate at McDonald's because there is nothing but foreign food in that country.” 
  I didn’t have her apprehension of local food while cycling throughout Europe. My cycling partner and I bought groceries for our home-cooked meals while staying in campgrounds as well as savouring the ‘specialties’ at restaurants and B & Bs. We enjoyed the anticipation of eating local food and the way it was presented although we did get a bit tired of eating ‘white’ bread all the time. 
  We had a bit of a relapse while wandering the streets of Patras, Greece on a hot day within the first month of our six month trip. We were searching for a store to buy ice cream to help cool off when all of a sudden, we spotted her - a woman with not one but two Starbuck’s Frappaccinos in her hands! We caught up to her and asked, “Please tell us - where is the Starbucks?” She pointed to a large square a few blocks away; we thanked her and immediately headed down the street with our mouths watering. 
  Did they taste good? You bet! A Grande Mocha Cinnamon Dolce Crème Frappuccino on a hot day in Greece was fantastic. In addition, the clean, spacious washrooms were adorned with paper towels - what a concept! Paper towels or even a hand dryer cannot be found in many washrooms in Europe, especially when one is cycling. But I digress. 
  Another Starbuck’s location in Greece was a bit of a sanctuary for us as it was located close to the ferry terminal in Athens. Returning from Santorini at 5:00 a.m. and landing in the rougher part of the city, we felt safer waiting on the steps of a cathedral until the adjacent Starbucks café opened. 
 We came across a few more Starbucks on our cycling trip but they were primarily in airports. We found the longer we were on the road, the less we missed our old coffee and eating habits - we enjoyed each country’s delicacies. 
  Sorry Mom, but I didn’t inherit your delicate taste buds.

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