What to do on Mongolia Trip

A yak and a ger, a typical scene all over Mongolia.

“Mongolia?” Our colleagues once again looked at us with concern, or maybe it was incredulousness, or maybe just confusion. It’s hard to interpret their faces and words sometimes, but it always basically means, “What are you thinking?”  It didn’t stop us, though, it was planned and we were packed and ready to go to a country that really isn’t on too many people’s list. The trip we were going on was a nine day steppe, Gobi, wilderness road trip in a 7 seat, 15 year old Russian military van. We booked the trip the entire tour with  Bobbi at the UB guesthouse in Ulaan Baator . She was extremely helpful and tailored our trip to our exact requirements. Planning and Booking …

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Turkish Food Recipe – Köfte

Turkish Food Recipe - Köfte sizzling in the pan.

Oçak Köfte Ingredients: 3 finely grated onions 1 kilo (2 lbs.) ground beef 2 Tablespoons black pepper 4 cloves garlic, finely grated 4 Tablespoons salt 2 Tablespoons baking powder 1/2 cup oregano 1 1/2 Tablespoons red pepper 2-4 slices of old bread, soaked in water with no crust Oil, any kind – sunflower is best Directions: Mix all ingredients in large bowl.  You want the meat to be sticky, but dip hands to your fists in water to keep the meat from sticking to your hands. To increase the stickiness of the meat throw it like bread dough, until it all sticks together.  Pull the meat to one side of the bowl and pour some oil over the top of …

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Turkish Food – Pilav Recipe

Turkish Food - Pilav.

You cannot travel around Turkey without trying pilav. It comes with almost every meal; some might say it’s essential Turkish food. Pilav or rice is a traditional Turkish side dish. Unfortunately, in the restaurants, it has largely been replaced by bulgur or bread, since rice is so much more expensive. The Turks take great pride in their rice. I have to agree, it’s buttery and often contains small pasta, like orzo and sometime pine nuts. Here is a recipe for Turkish Pilav: Soak 1 cup of rice in enough salted water to cover it for 30 minutes prior to cooking. Take a skillet and melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the rinsed rice and stir in hot pan until glossy …

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World Heritage Site Egypt – Abu Simbel

Massive sculpture at World Heritage Site - Abu Simbel, Egypt.

Egypt, well all of Africa really, is full of World Heritage sites and adventure. I love that this one, Abu Simbel, combines the two. Just getting to the site is quite the adventure. You can fly, which gets you there early in the morning, and you actually are finished and leaving before the other tourists get there, or you can take the “caravan.” This is what we did. We woke up at 4:00 in the morning to join all the large vanloads (maybe 50? of them) who careened and juggled for position throughout the early morning until we reached our destination. The reason the caravan was started was due to safety reasons, protecting tourists from the odd kidnapping. However, we …

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Mongolian Food – Khuushuur Recipe

Mongolia Food Khuushuur Recipe.

A bit travel weary and dirty since we hadn’t had a shower in three days, our adventure was still in its early stages when we learned a couple important lessons. What is traditional Mongolian food, and what is khuushuur? We had been in Mongolia for about three days, and we had hired a Russian van and driver to take six of us around the country, hitting the all the major sights.  We were excited, and maybe a bit naive to what this would mean.  We didn’t even take the hint when Jack, our driver, made a supermarket stop on the edge of Ulaanbaatar right at the beginning of our nine day journey.  None of us really stocked up on much, …

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Moldova? Where’s that?

Pork Toscan with mamaliga.

That was the response I got when I told people where I was going for a long weekend. A small country sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, not too many people have heard of Moldova. Even looking it up on the internet, I found very little. I only spent three days there, but here are a few observations I’ve made. I hope that they are accurate. If not, please comment and let me know if you have had other experiences. For those looking to spend some time away from the Schengen zone of Europe proper, Americans and Europeans are allowed to enter the country for 90 days without a visa. I don’t know how many people really seek out Moldova as …

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My First Love – Traditional German Schnitzel Recipe!

Traditional German Schnitzel Recipe

If you’ve never been to Germany or Austria you may not be familiar with this meat dish. Traditional German schnitzel is definitely on our must try foods list for Germany. It is a flat, breaded and fried slice of pure goodness, one of my favorite foods in the entire world. When I’m tired, worn out, sick of the usual work grind and I want a home-cooked, feel good meal, I always want schnitzel. About once a year, my mother used to make her version of Wiener Schnitzel, found no where in the entire world except her kitchen, and it became one of those meals that just feels like a hug from her. It’s that good! Since moving to Germany, we …

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Kawaii Monster Cafe Tokyo

Kawaii Monster Cafe Tokyo

Visiting the Kawaii Monster Cafe is must for kids of all ages, 2 – 99. Located in Harajuku’s pop culture neighborhood, you will love it.

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