As you can guess by the title, I will be closing the TravelTalk podcast. This has been an incredible journey, and I appreciate every one of you who has been through this process with me.
Originally, this podcast started out as a passion project – I have loved listening and recording every one of these stories, and I’m grateful for everyone who has participated in some capacity in this podcast. Your stories, words, and thoughts have brought new perspectives and has taught me to look beyond my figurative surroundings and be open to new ideas. I hope this lesson has extended to our listeners and has encouraged some of you to even branch out and consider new places or locations that you may have otherwise de-prioritized.
Our world is vast and diverse – both figuratively and literally. While primal instinct is to seek the familiar, I hope we are all willing to go beyond our comfort zones and take new risks.
I have been so grateful for this journey and owe many thanks to many people. I’d like to specifically thank Nebula Halseth and Jen Liu – my co-contributors. Without you, this podcast wouldn’t have the legs it has today. I’d also like to thank Evan Kolesar for his tireless work on the sound editing. I’d like to thank my husband, Ole Bjoernstad, who has been patient and supportive as I navigated the next step in my life. And finally, I’d like to thank all of you who tuned in. Seeing all of you across the world tune in and listen to these episodes has been a joy for me to see and I hope you got as much out of these episodes as I did creating them.
Abdulkamal is from Lagos, Nigeria and is here to share his story and recommendations about the city and country! I’m particularly excited to share this episode with you as I lived in Lagos for 2 years as a kid – it’s been a trip down memory lane.
Wow! Norway has 30 medals and counting from the 2018 Winter Olympics!
With all this exposure, you may be wondering about this amazing country that churns Olympic athletes. Look no further! You now have an inside scoop into this great country by my husband, Ole.
Ole is Norwegian. While I convinced him to reside in Los Angeles with me, he has spent most of his life in Norway, and he has been returning twice a year to reconnect with immediate family.
We always root for the Norwegian team at the Winter Olympics, there is always a supply of aquavit and brunost in our home (even in LA), and skiing is in our blood.
Ole’s Recommendations of Oslo
Our capital is a really great city and has a lot to offer, like award winning restaurants (like 2* Michelin Guide restaurant Maaemo) and coffee shops (like Ristretto), an ocean-front boardwalk, a castle, the Palace, cool museums and much more. However, plenty of other cities can offer similar things. If you’re visiting Norway, I recommend limiting your stay in Oslo to just one day.
Here’s your must see list:
Vigelandsparken: A sculpture park with some amazing statues. The most famous ones are Monolitten (tall column of a single piece of granite depicting 121 naked people) and Sinnataggen (a little angry kid), but my favorite one is a piece of “abstract art” featuring an adult man fighting off a horde of babies.
Aker Brygge and Tjuvholmen: Oceanfront boardwalk with several nice restaurants and bars. One of my favorite places is a burger shop called Døgnvill which translates to Jetlagged and it won’t break the bank either.
Karl Johan’s gate: The main street which stretches from Oslo Central Station to the royal Palace (which is conveniently close to Aker Brygge) features lots of cafes and shops.
The Opera house: You can walk on top of this architectural masterpiece which features great views of Oslo and the new development called Barcode – a series of skyscrapers shaped like bars in a barcode.
Rwanda is a beautiful country in Africa with a controversial past, but through this history it’s blossomed into an incredible place to visit if you’re looking for either a relaxing or adventure trip that’s off the beaten path.
Please tune in as we explore this country with Steven, a peace corp volunteer who was stationed in Rwanda for two years. You can check out his blog about his adventures here.
One thing I love about Tokyo is the number of the great restaurants. Sushi, Sukiyaki, Ramen…
Top Restaurant in Tokyo: Yoroniku – The best Japanese BBQ (Yakiniku) in Omotesando area serving the best Japanese beef (Wagyu)!
Although this is BBQ, you don’t need to cock by yourself. Instead, servers will have them cocked perfectly in front of you, and they will propose you the best ways to eat them. Please note that Yoroniku is always very crowded, and you should get the reservation at least 2 weeks before.
I also like walking around Yoyogi and Omotesando area. If you’re tired from walking the busy city, you should go to spacious Meiji Jingu Shrine located right next to the Yoyogi station. This is relatively new shrine built 100 years ago, but you can feel the Japanese traditional Shinto spirits when praying at the main building surrounded by many trees.
Once you have refreshed, you can walk toward Omotesando station, the most fashionable city in Tokyo. You can enjoy shopping in the large shopping mall, Omotesando Hills, as well as tiny local shops in the back allies. This area is also really good for getting some souvenirs for your friends and families.
If you could luckily get the reservation for Yoroniku for your dinner, this is only 10 mins walk from Omotesando station.
My name is Giovanni Labadessa I’m an Italian living in Los Angeles since 2005. I’m a writer, a passionate foodie. Despite being born in the South of Italy the place I choose to talk about is an area in Italy that made me fall in love again with my country: the Romagna region and a city that I love very much: Santarcangelo di Romagna.
The Romagna region is situated by the Adriatic Sea and can be a great place to stop by in your way from Florence and Venice.
This area has both the mountains and sea offering its visitors breathtaking views, in addition to beauty for both the eyes and spirit, with a mixture of the earthy colors, the aromas and the fresh sea air. Not to mention that the Romagna is a hotbed for music, cinema and art appreciated nationally and internationally.
Traditional of the Romagna region are Passatelli, Piadina, Pasta Fresca like Tagliatelle, Cappelletti, Ravioli, Nidi Di Rondine, Strozzapreti.
My favorite of the many great beautiful towns in this region is Santarcangelo di Romagna which is a beautiful italian post card.
This small medieval village is recognised internationally as a City of Art and an extremely popular destination, thanks to the extravagant art and talents of its more celebrated citizens, the warmth of the Romagnolo welcome, the good food and conviviality but also because of the town’s fairs and festivals, which invariably attract thousands of visitors.
The festival is a major international exhibition of avant-garde theatre, which has welcomed, amongst others, the famous Mutoid Waste Company, an international group of performers and sculptors of recycled materials, which today live in a small quarter of the town by the river renamed Mutonia. This city passion for the arts has attracted several artists from all over the world making this city one of the most innovative cultural hub in Europe. The city is also home to the international film festival Nót Film Fest , several food fairs and literary events.
The old town of Santarcangelo is worth a visit by itself, all walkable with its narrow streets that climb up on top of the hill called “Monte Giove” where you can enjoy both a beautiful view over the city and the poems written on the corners of the houses.
One of the peculiarity of the old Town are the “Grotte Tufacee”, enchanting caves dug out of tufa: these mysterious caves, whose origin is still unknown, form a labyrinth underneath the towns historic center.
Santarcangelo is also home to several celebrated taste makers, amazing restaurant and Osterie.
Besides Santarcangelo the Romagna Region is rich of gorgeous cities like the city of Federico Fellini Rimini, the historic Republic of San Marino, the medieval castes of San Leo, and Ravenna with its Byzantine mosaics.
Where to EAT in SANTARCANGELO
Via Pio Massani 16 – Santarcangelo di Romagna
Via Felici 38 – Santarcangelo di Romagna
Piazza Ganganelli, 19/20 – Santarcangelo di Romagna
Piazza Gramsci 14 – Santarcangelo di Romagna
Via Molari 13/15 – Santarcangelo di Romagna
Osteria Ristorante La Sangiovesa
Piazza Beato Simone Balacchi, 14 – Santarcangelo di Romagna
Trattoria del Passatore
Via Cavour 1 – Santarcangelo di Romagna
Where to STAY in SANTARCANGELO
BB Agriturismo Locanda Antiche Macine
Via Provinciale Sogliano, 1540 – SANTARCANGELO
La Foresteria del Convento
Via dei Signori, 2 – Santarcangelo di Romagna
Hotel Della Porta
Via Andrea Costa 85 – Santarcangelo di Romagna
Hotel Il Villino
Via C.Ruggeri 48 – Santarcangelo di romagna
Residenza i Platani
Via Contrada dei Fabbri 8 (Centro storico) – Santarcangelo di Romagna
In Moscow: Cultural Stuff: – Red Square is a must – museums inside Kremlin especially State Regalia one – Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow – my fav of all time, a lot of provocative visual art – Tretyakov Gallery for classic fine art Restaurants: – White Rabbit – there is an episode of a Netflix show about it, authentic Russian cuisine – Turandot – prepare to be wow’d by everything, royal dining experience – Zhivago – USSR themed, really authentic Other: – Book a Airbnb walking tour experience to see the best of Moscow. Russians love to stroll, so streets are beautiful and pedestrian friendly. There are a lot of parks and squares with cafes and benches to relax and enjoy the view.
St Petersburg: – Hermitage – Peterhof (takes at least a full day) – boat tour of canals is an absolute must – roof of Saint Isaac’s cathedral for the best view (in photos below) – any rooftop restaurant – St Petersburg is a gorgeous city full of history. Just walking around is great. There are bunch of historical palaces and churches. Food is great everywhere. – Highly recommend doing it only in summer time though. It’s extremely cold in winter and a lot of beautiful sites and Peterhof are closed.
Other cool cities to consider: – Sochi – Nizhny Novgorod – Kazan – Samara – If you have a little extra time, there is a really fascinating river cruise around what’s called Russian Golden Ring. Over a few days a cruise ship goes through small and big historical towns around European part of Russia.