Siem Reap – Asia’s own ancient Greece

There is a place in Cambodia that rivals the beauty of the ancient Greek ruins. Lara Croft, the Tomb Raider has already been there – have you?

Text & Photos by Jennifer Ellson

Banteay Srei, a temple located far from Angkor Wat.

Banteay Srei, a temple located some 25 km from Angkor Wat.

Recognize this photo from Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, the movie? If you’ve seen the film, yes, the monkeys were modeled after these primates at Banteay Srei. They are the guardians of the door to this temple located about an hour away from the famous temple of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, some 315 km north of the Cambodian capital of Phnom Pehn.

Yes, my friends, Angkor Wat is just one temple out of many in this huge complex of many ancient beauties that archaeologists claim to rival the beauty of the Greek ruins.

Bayon temple, in Angkor Thom, has 54 towers, each bearing four smiling faces

Bayon Temple

Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire. They include the famous Angkor Wat  and, in the nearby city of Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple with its 54 towers, each bearing four smiling faces on each side.

So in a series of posts,  I will take you on a journey to the many Angkor temples and introduce you to Khmer food along the way. Stay tuned!

La Dolce Vita Under the Tuscan Sun – my featured story in LaCure Villas Magazine

Jennifer Ellson: Florence in Tuscany, Italy.

The most photographed view of Florence in Tuscany, Italy.

It all started with food. My luxurious dream trip to the Tuscan city of Florence became a reality when my story about global dining faux pas“Mea Culpa! What NOT to do When Dining Overseas,” won LaCure’s Tell a Great Story contest.

I was sent on the road to Florence, which incidentally is the Holy Grail for food lovers, to stay at the historical and luxurious Villa Imperiale for three nights as part of my prize. With Florence being the “it” place in the art, fashion and gastronomy scenes, I knew that this will be a jam-packed trip, so I decided to bring with me the most organized person I know, who also taught me how to power-sightsee: my globe-trotting mother.

So off we flew to Florence: I took the afternoon flight from Vancouver, she took a red-eye from Montreal, and after a layover in Amsterdam, we found ourselves walking on Florence’s cobbled streets, the very same streets traversed by Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael – and I’m not talking about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Thus the start of our living the good life – la dolce vita – under the Tuscan sun.

Read the rest of the story here.

I’m going to Florence!

THE VILLA THAT IS FLORENCE’S IMPERIAL TREASURE

Villa Imperiale: the villa that is Florence’s treasure

You know you have an incredible set of family, friends and supporters when they all join together to send you to a luxurious dream trip to Florence!

Yes, indeed! My fambam, peeps, posse, tweeps, twiends, fans, followers — whatever you want to call them — have pulled through for me and voted by sharing my story,  Mea Culpa! What NOT to do When Dining Overseas, which was shortlisted and eventually won LaCure’s Tell A Great Story contest.

Read about how it all happened here: LACURE’S TELL A GREAT STORY WINNER IS GOING TO FLORENCE!

And if you must, check out the luxury villa where I will be spending my days enjoying the Tuscan sun: The Villa That is Florence’s Treasure. Yes, you really must check it out! Fabulously stylish, isn’t it? I am really excited! Travel dates are yet to be set, so stay tuned for more info.

Check out my guest post in LaCure Villas Magazine!

Jennifer eating stinky tofu in Taipei's Shilin Night Market.

Jennifer eating stinky tofu in Taipei’s Shilin Night Market.

Picture this: you are in a foreign land far far away, with a totally different culture, with people speaking a language that sounds very Greek (or Japanese, or Chinese, whatever) to you, and if you’re really lucky, maybe even with food you don’t recognize at all.

Not to worry, my friends, for I am here to guide you on what NOT to do to avoid committing some gaffes when it’s chow time.

Read the rest of this story here, which was entered in LaCure’s Tell A Great Story contest and won me a trip to Florence!

New York City makes me sing!

Ironically, songs have referred to New York as the city that never sleeps, but it is also where dreams are made of, apparently. So when in NYC, it’s up to you whether to dream or not sleep at all. 

Text & Photos by Jennifer Ellson

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Alicia Keys also claims that this concrete jungle’s streets will make you feel brand new, and that there’s nothing you can’t do — to which Jay-Z agrees.

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Long before them, though, Frank Sinatra already started spreading the news that he wanted to be a part of it.

All three of them said that if you can make it here,you can make it anywhere.

Meanwhile, when Sting is in town, he’s an alien, he’s a legal alien because he’s an Englishman in New York.

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Vancouver: Japan of North America

Between the peaceful Zen gardens and blossoming cherry trees, Vancouver often reminds me of Japan not only because their climates are almost the same, but also because the sights, sounds, smell, tastes and feel are very similar.

Text and Photos by Jennifer Ellson

Vancouver has an abundance of sushi bars

Vancouver has an abundance of sushi bars

Vancouver: a Canadian coastal city right by the Pacific Ocean, which means an abundance of fresh seafood for the taking. Now, combine this with a large Japanese population and what do you get?

Between its peaceful Zen gardens and blossoming cherry trees, you get a spate of sushi bars which, together with Starbucks, are popping at every street corner in this city.

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