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10 Most Visited Countries [Map]

July 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel News

Each year, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) collects data on the international tourist arrivals for every country in the world. The most visited countries for the past year included six from Europe, two from North America, and two from Asia (see map and list below).
most-visited-countries Most visited countries in the world [Map © Enduring Wanderlust]

1. France 76.8 million visitors
2. United States 59.7 million visitors
3. China 55.7 million visitors
4. Spain 52.7 million visitors
5. Italy 43.6 million visitors
6. United Kingdom 28.1 million visitors
7. Turkey 27 million visitors
8. Germany 26.9 million visitors
9. Malaysia 24.6 million visitors
10. Mexico 22.4 million visitors
*Statistics from the UNWTO

China made the biggest jump passing Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom to reach third on the list. Another Asian country, Malaysia, is a surprising entry in the top ten most popular countries to visit. A past visit to Kuala Lumpur leads me to believe this is largely based on business travelers to the capital city. The rest of the list especially France, Spain, Italy, and the United States have been mainstays for many years.

Another important note from the UNWTO study was that world tourism arrivals went up this past year after dropping in the previous year. That was the first drop in overall tourism in the past two decades.

Check out this chart: Why do people travel?
gennaro-salamone-photo.jpgGennaro Salamone is the founder and editor of Enduring Wanderlust. Feel free to contact him with questions, comments, or inquiries with reference to contributing an article or photograph for publication.


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How to Make Homemade Wine

October 26, 2010 by  
Filed under Destinations, Features, Food

The winemaking process is uncomplicated, but it requires several steps and a lot of patience. Together with that, making homemade wine requires a few days of labor and months of fermentation in order for the wine to be ready for consumption. While there are slight variations to the process, this is a time-tested method that was learned through my father. It comes from a long tradition of Italian winemakers from a small mountain town in Italy. That knowledge was later brought to the United States.

Step-by-Step Process: How to Make Homemade Wine

Step One: Gathering the Equipment

Purchasing the right equipment is the first step to making homemade wine. It requires:

An initial fermentation container that is big enough to hold your crushed grapes. It needs to be a high quality plastic container. Modern versions have a drainage nozzle, which makes it easier to transfer the wine juice to the long-term fermentation jugs.

Long-term fermentation containers (carboys or demijohns) that can be glass jugs or oak barrels. The former tends to be more consistent year-to-year. Depending on your batch of wine the sizes can range from 1 to 15 gallons.
grape-crusher-wine ratchet-basket-grape-press Grape Crusher + Ratchet Basket Grape Press © Gennaro Salamone

Plastic tubing that’s at least 6 feet long is required for transferring the juice between containers.

A manual or motorized grape crusher (de-stemmer optional) is needed for squashing the grapes.

A ratchet basket grape press and pressure discs are necessary to squeeze the remaining juice from the grapes in the primary fermentation container.

While some add yeast or tablets, this process doesn’t use additives.

Plastic buckets are required to capture wine from the press and to move the grapes from the initial fermentation container to the press.

A funnel with a strainer is needed to transfer grape juice from the buckets to the demijohns.

Enough cases of grapes to meet your needs are also necessary.

Step Two: Preparing the Equipment

Prepare a large space that will fit your initial fermentation containers, a basket grape press, and the cases of grapes. You will also need an electrical outlet if using a motorized grape crusher. Be sure to wash all of your equipment and to open the cases of grapes and inspect to make sure that the fruit is healthy and ready to be crushed.

Step Three: Crushing the Grapes and Initial Fermentation Container

Place the manual or motorized grape crusher over the initial fermentation container, which is at least a foot off the ground. One person will be ensuring that the machine is in place and another will be responsible for dumping the cases of grapes into the crusher. Fill the container and leave at least a foot of space at the top. The grapes will stay in this container for about a week. Be sure to use a cover. A sheet or similar will do. Be sure to use a closed space.
home-wine-making homemade-wine Homemade wine © Gennaro Salamone

Step Four: Secondary Fermentation and Transfer to the Secondary Containers

Transfer the wine juice to the secondary fermentation container. If you’re using a modern high quality plastic container for the initial fermentation then simply place a bucket under the drainage nozzle. If not, use a plastic tube from the grape-filled container to the buckets. Place the funnel with the strainer into the demijohn and pour the buckets of grape juice into it. Do not fill them up. An airlock will be need for the secondary container for extended fermentation. Start with paper towels for a day or so then use an actual airlock device. The wine juice will remain in these jugs for at least 4-6 months. It’s best to store it in a cool and dark place.

Step Five: Bottling and Drinking

Once the fermentation process has been completed, you are free to bottle the wine. Rack or siphon off the sediments from the wine using a plastic tube while transferring it to the bottles. Cap tightly. At this point, the vinification process has been completed and it’s ready to drink.

gennaro-salamone-photo.jpgGennaro Salamone is the founder and editor of Enduring Wanderlust. Feel free to contact him with questions, comments, or inquiries with reference to contributing an article or photograph for publication.


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Restaurants of Florence

April 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Destinations, Features, Food

Editor’s Note: This post was written by guest contributor Katie Greenaway.

The center of Florence, Italy has countless ristoranti and trattorie. Which do you choose? The waiters in Piazza Repubblica and Piazza Signoria grab your attention by conversing with you as you skim over the menu. They devise a plan to convince you to eat at their ristorante and then lure you inside. Most give in because of the exhaustion tourists have in the heat of summer and feel they should stay in familiar areas. But what about all the places you are missing outside the touristic center, on the Oltrarno, for example? Walking over the Ponte Vecchio to the other side brings a breath of fresh new smells and vistas. The alleyways hide a lot from the cautious traveler. Walk down one and see what you find.

Quattro Leoni is located on Piazza della Passera. It meets at a crossroads. The ristorante is set on the corner of the piazza that brings the bustle of the city to a gentle whisper. Inside there are about a dozen tables that are full on any given night. In the spring and summer, enjoy lunch outside under the umbrellas. People-watch or bask in the calm and simplicity of the piazza. Reservations are a must on the weekends. Notice the walls, they contain photos of many celebrities that frequent this secluded locale. Yes, even Sting eats here! This spot is very popular because few tourists stroll into Piazza della Passera. This place is usually run by the locals. Be aware when waiting to be seated that there might be some regulars that pop ahead of you. No worries as they will seat you, the staff is very welcoming and kind.
bevo-vino-florence-Italy.jpg tiramisu-recipe.jpg Bevo Vino (left) © Rob React and Tiramisu (right) © Koyochi

Bevo Vino welcomes each patron with warmth and charm. When you enter Bevo Vino you are arriving at an old friend’s home. Small secluded table areas with an opportunity to sit alone and enjoy the atmosphere around you. The menu is small with recommendations galore from the wait staff. Seasonal dishes are featured as well as typical desserts like tiramisu, which is a must when in Florence. A few tables are scattered throughout giving you a feel of what it is like to be a local. Smell the fresh tomatoes as they pass by on a plate of bruschetta. They come to the table with kindness and smiles. Prego, cosa volete? (My pleasure, what would you like?) I don’t know any other place in Florence as bona fide and personable. It’s so fresh and genuine that it’s worth a stop off the beaten path.
ponte-vecchio-italy.jpg Cross Over To Oltrarno © Katie Greenaway

Osteria Antica Mescita San Niccolo is a family run osteria that gives each patron a sense of home. Tables are booths and you could end up sitting next to people you don’t know. There is a lower level with tables arranged like in a cantina; all you need is a barrel of wine. A cute little bar sits in the left corner where you pay and where the waitress picks up your dishes. All guests leave here happy. As some osterias are rather pricey, this one is worth every penny. Each day their menu consists of specialties made from the heart and soul. Both located in San Niccolo, you will notice as night falls how the locals flock into crossroads between Bevo Vino and Osteria Antica Mescita San Niccolo. Immerse yourselves with the sounds of authentic Florence. Experience small cars honking as they squeeze through people-crowded streets, the chatter of Italian banter, and the clinging of glasses and dishes which allows us to realize we aren’t dreaming.
katie-greenaway.jpg Katie Greenaway fell in love with Italy from her first visit in 2002. She now calls it home, writing and capturing the culture of the enchanting city of Florence. She is always exploring the ancient cobblestones of Florence, one step at a time. Follow her blog: Olio di Oliva e Sogni di Vino and Twitter.



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A Travel Picnic To Die For

January 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Features, Food

Picnics are a great way to have an authentic travel experience. It has the added benefit of saving the traveler valuable cash resources. In order to maximize the benefits of your travel picnic, we’ve created four steps to the perfect outing.

1. Location
“To leave a place is to die a little.” ~French Proverb

Select a comfortable spot that reflects the interests of the participants. It’s often best to select a place that communes with nature. Areas within reach of rivers, lakes, or parks are ideal. This approach is feasible in the urban jungle too. For instance, the banks of the Seine River (below) in Paris have popular walkways to spend an afternoon. The Great Lawn (map) of Central Park in New York City represents another great spot. The latter has Belvedere Castle within its vicinity.
travel-picnic.jpg Picnic, Seine River, Paris © Malias

2. Food Selection
“Tell me what you eat, I’ll tell you who you are” ~Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Picnicking is an opening to have an authentic meal. It’s easy to collect a variety of foodstuffs, from local markets, that residents eat in their daily lives. A sojourn to an Italian city or village, for example, would allow for a picnic menu that consists of fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, mortadella with breadsticks, chunks of Parmigiano-Reggiano, prosciutto on wedges of honeydew, and a basket filled with figs and grapes. Add a glass of local wine or fresh tomato juice with lemon and black pepper.

Having trouble with coming up with ideas? A great resource for selecting new picnic foods is The Minimalist: 101 20-Minute Dishes for Inspired Picnics.
picnic-foods.jpg Picnic Meal © Nanda

3. Guests
“Strangers are just friends waiting to happen.” ~Rod McKuen

Consider inviting a couple of locals or fellow travelers to your gathering. There is no better way to understand a location that to spend time with those who know it best. It will also provide an opportunity to learn several new phrases in their native language. If you haven’t met any residents, contemplate arranging your get-together near a smiling group of locals. Don’t be surprised if an invitation to join them is in the offing. This is especially helpful for solo travelers.

4. Conversation Topics
“Friends are those rare people who ask how you are then wait for an answer” ~Unknown

During the meal, it’s best to keep to light topics. Allow each guest to select a topic for discussion over the course of the afternoon. This makes sure that everyone has a chance to participate in the conversation. It’s equally helpful to listen to your fellow picnickers and provide feedback to their musings.

Stomach churning? Read about the best pizza in New York City.
gennaroeditor.jpgGennaro Salamone is the founder and editor of Enduring Wanderlust. Feel free to contact him with questions, comments, or inquiries with reference to contributing a travel article or photograph for publication.


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Italy Launches 186 MPH Rome-Milan Train

December 19, 2008 by  
Filed under Travel News

Comments Off on Italy Launches 186 MPH Rome-Milan Train

Italy launches a new train between Rome and Milan that move at 186 miles per hour. The train will connect the two cities within 3 hours and 30 minutes. The recent addition will ease traffic on the busy route between the two Italian cities. With a shift from using automobiles to riding trains, Italians will also be contributing to a greener country. Travelers will also benefit from a faster train when moving between the two popular cities.
italy-high-speed-train.jpg High-speed train (Frecciaross), Italy © atropo8

Thinking about traveling to Italy? Read about the perfect travel picnic with Italian food or about Venice Carnival.
gennaro-salamone-photo.jpgGennaro Salamone is the founder and editor of Enduring Wanderlust. Feel free to contact him with questions, comments, or inquiries with reference to contributing a travel article or photograph for publication.


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