anna brones

writer + artist + producer

Posts Tagged ‘travel writing

Happy Chinese New Year, From Paris

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Happy Chinese New Year, From Paris photo by Anna Brones

Paris is a postcard city.

Even if you have never been to Paris, you have a vision of what the streets and people look like. From books and movies, you have garnered what the ambience in a bistro must feel like. From paintings you know that there are cobblestones. From history class you probably know a thing or two about the Bastille and maybe even the Eiffel Tower.

Happy Chinese New Year, From Paris photo by Anna Brones

There are so many people that never come to Paris, and yet they have a view of it etched into their minds.

But while Paris is beautiful, romantic and all those other things you always want it to be, it’s also much more than that. In fact, it is so often completely different than the postcard view.

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Written by Anna Brones

February 23, 2015 at 19:01

The Changing Coffee Scene in Paris

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Call a spade a spade: most coffee in Paris isn’t good. But thankfully that’s changing. I had the chance to have some in depth chats with roasters and baristas in town over the last couple of months to talk about that change, culminating in an article for Roads & Kingdoms. An excerpt:

The tide is turning in the French capital, though, with a flood of new craft roasters and cafes that all believe in good coffee. The French, however, are sensitive to change, especially in a city that’s known for its deep-rooted traditions, and while this expanding coffee scene is welcomed by many, it also comes with a side of criticism. For some, local craft roast might be the sign of a city looking forward, yet for others it’s the sign of a city undergoing an irrevocable transformation in food culture.

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Written by Anna Brones

January 29, 2014 at 03:21

Friday Photo: Simple Life in the French Countryside

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French table

There is beauty in simplicity. A glass bottle for water. A table in the sun. Weather worn chairs.

In the heart of the French Riviera, I’m taken to explore an organic farm. The earth tilled by horses, the rows of grapevines and olive trees soaking up the southern French sun. There’s a picnic table at the top of the hill, overlooking the valley that the house and farm sits on. Everything stops. The only sounds that of the chickens in the coop and the occasional goat. This is beautiful simple living.

Written by Anna Brones

February 22, 2013 at 04:49

Thoughts from Afghanistan: Afterword in Lewis & Clark Chronicle

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After traveling to Afghanistan last fall, I was asked to write a piece for my college’s alumni magazine. I was honored to contribute to the Lewis & Clark Chronicle, and it was a good chance to dig deeper into a subject that continues to be at the forefront of my mind: women’s rights.

An excerpt:

“Remember that being a woman is different in Afghanistan.”

I was getting yet another opinion on my decision to travel to Afghanistan. The statement was said out of love, in an effort to remind me that I should be aware of my surroundings and behavior. Just because I was a strong, independent woman, I should be sure to remember to respect local culture. But it was also coming from someone who had never traveled to Afghanistan.

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Written by Anna Brones

February 20, 2013 at 08:14

Bringing Travel into the Kitchen

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My latest over on Foodie Underground:

A freakish commitment to perfecting a recipe picked up while abroad might seem off, but don’t we all have food obsessions when we return from voyages? We come back from our travels, whether near or far with stories of “have you ever heard of [insert odd local dish here]?” and “they had the most amazing [insert normal dish] but with [insert oddball ingredient that is representative of the place traveled to here]. I wish we had that here!”

Ask someone which bus line they rode most often during a trip and you’ll get a blank stare, but ask about the best local meal and you’ll be sure to be listening to an animated story for a minimum of seventeen minutes. Food is often one of the biggest takeaways when we travel, be it just a half hour from home or on the other side of the world. That roadside diner with the house special sauce can be just as exotic as sambusas on a street corner in Kabul. Through food we experience a culture a people and a place. We are forced to stop and take things in, listen to our senses. It’s no surprise that the result is memorable.

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Written by Anna Brones

November 14, 2012 at 06:00

Budapest, the City of Coffee, Fröccs and Paprikash

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“Normally they have rooster testicles, but I think they’re out of them today.”

Right.

We were staring at the wide array of meats behind the glass, busily snapping photos of everything from beef lungs to goose liver, knowing perfectly well that meat photos aren’t necessarily the most appetizing of food porn. With several floors of fresh produce and more meat than you can handle, the Great Market Hall, the largest indoor market in Budapest, has plenty of it, and Carolyn Banfalvi, owner of Taste Hungary, a Budapest-based company that offers food, wine and market tours, was taking us on a quick run through to make sure we knew all about fried fat and the importance of duck meat.

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Written by Anna Brones

July 24, 2012 at 10:22

Friday Photo: Travel Inspiration

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Sometimes I open the Baja folder, knowing fully well that I should resist the urge. Perusing through travel photos can do two things:

Inspire you.

Frustrate you.

Often it’s the latter, making you wish for an immediate teleport to a far away place that has nothing to do with computer screens and desks.

But you do it anyway, and are left with visions of warm weather, sand and good people. The frustration subsides, and you’re left with the kind of travel urge that leads to planning the next adventure. The vicious wanderlust cycle.

Where to next?

Written by Anna Brones

February 3, 2012 at 08:10

Travel and Food Go Hand in Hand

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An exploration of my recent taco quest in Baja, where I was reminded that all it takes in life is good food, from good places with good people.

“…food in itself is a form of travel, letting us explore no matter if we’re in the country of the food’s origin or thousands of miles away.”

Via.

Written by Anna Brones

January 12, 2012 at 06:14

Friday Photo: Brooklyn Cruiser

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NYC cycling is its own special thing. Stop signs don’t really count as stop signs, stop lights are merely for good measure and even designated bike lanes aren’t really like bike lanes in any other city; at least people believe in helmets. But that’s what makes riding in the city fun.

Ringing the bell incessantly as you cross the Brooklyn Bridge and having to maneuver around children flying by on wooden trikes. Dodging tourists in Chinatown with that smell of outdoor markets and produce hanging in the air that’s reminiscent of previous visits to Asia. Raising your hand in disgust at the drivers completely oblivious to the fact that a bicycle was ever invented. But on two wheels, the big city feels manageable, even more friendly. Which is why you keep ringing the bell.

Written by Anna Brones

May 7, 2010 at 09:36

Why It’s Important to Write About the Destinations You Didn’t Love

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A few years ago I taught English in the Caribbean… Guadeloupe to be exact. And although it’s a sunny island in the middle of the Caribbean, to be perfectly honest, my time spent living there wasn’t the most enjoyable. Actually living on an insular island and having a daily routine is much different than spending a lazy vacation sipping cocktails on the beach, and that everyday livelihood didn’t exactly meet my expectations.

So when I told my mother that I was going to write a story on what not to do while traveling in Guadeloupe she responded with, “What are you going to say? Don’t go there?!” I laughed and gave my usual answer:”even though I didn’t have a good time, doesn’t mean other people can’t.”

Which brings me to my main point: sometimes writing about a place that you don’t love is a fantastic exercise. You’re forced to choose a bit more objectivity over subjectivity, and soon you’re remembering a plethora of positive aspects, putting your negative memories aside and crafting a piece that allows others to be intrigued by your destination.

In the end, travel is about experience, and as travel writers, it’s important to inspire those experiences. It doesn’t matter if travel experiences are positive or negative, they are always going to be eye-opening, educational and shape who we are, and every individual has to discover that on his/her own, which is why it’s perfectly fine to write about those destinations you didn’t love.

So on that note, here’s an excerpt from What Not to Do in Guadeloupe, published over on Matador Trips — an article that made me just a tad bit nostalgic for a place that I never really liked living in to begin with.

Don’t… assume people speak English

As an overseas French department, Guadeloupe’s official language is French, but don’t think this makes visiting the island like traveling in Europe.

Although it’s a common stereotype that the French resist speaking English, getting by in Paris without too much of a grasp of French is definitely doable. On Guadeloupe, English is much harder to find.

Do… learn some key French phrases before you go

The locals will give you a genuine smile if you make an effort to speak French. With a simple “bonjour,” “merci,” some survival phrases like “how much does this cost?” and the obligatory traveler’s hand gestures, you’ll do just fine.

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Written by Anna Brones

December 16, 2009 at 09:21