Spain Without a Map: The Matarranya

I pull the car to a screeching halt, and hop out to take in this moment. After an hour or so of fairly uneventful driving from Valencia heading north, the landscapes begin to reveal the first of many medieval hilltop villages and I capture a few shots with my camera before continuing on. A short […]

Goo Goo Ga Ga

With the advent of the digital era, many bemoaned the disappearance of books as physical objects and pointed to the dangers connected with such a possibility, for it might change the way we think.  So, these days, when a book becomes a literary case, that’s already cause for celebration. If that book is an art […]

Arabic Calligraphy – A Tangible Culture

Arabic is spoken by about half a billion people around the world and is the language of the Islamic religion – from Jakharta to Casablanca, the reading of the Qu’ran and prayers are in Arabic. Muslims revere the Qu’ran as the literal word of God as recited to the Prophet Muhammad, so the written book […]

May The Cork Be With You

Olive oil, wine, and cork.  Lots of cork.  I know of few places whose story can be so thoroughly woven together by and distilled down to such spare components. Portugal’s Alentejo region is these things and more. But trying to describe this region beyond these finite products is for me a futile exercise. As with […]

In Cod We Trust

Some foods are so intrinsically tied to a place that often they shed a light on its past vicissitude much better than any museums or monuments. One of them is cod: the consumption of this fish is widespread across several continents, from Russia, to Western Africa, from the Caribbean to England, to the point that […]

London: Top and Bottom

I am a fan of rooftop London. To be honest, I am a fan of rooftop anywhere, but after lockdown was over, I swiftly sought out all of London’s rooftops – to go out, go up and drink in that skyline view. It was like a balm to the soul after being stuck inside for […]

A Babel in Landscapes

All languages are affected by the environment they are born from, they carry the landscape and temperature with them. Each particular language has variations, and through these variations a culture is expressed. We have all heard about instances of this, how there are multiple words for snow in northern climes, or how some places have […]

A Sherry Renaissance

Years ago, I was a recent college grad in Colorado when I took a decision that any sane individual with a degree in the Humanities and Spanish Comp Lit. would do: I moved to Spain. What was crazy, was that I moved to Jerez. “Where?” is usually the first question when the subject of where […]

Porcelain for Palaces

When I lived in China there were days where I would become overwhelmed by numbers. Numbers of people around me, numbers of buildings in cities, astronomical numbers and metrics of a scale so grand I thought could only be science fiction. I would become overwhelmed with culture shock, a stranger in an unknown land. Not […]

Research, Rowing & Reawakening

Sometimes, when doing research you can kinda get lost in the prosaic, asking the same questions at each hotel you encounter on a site visit–how many rooms does the hotel have? Do you have interconnecting suites? Is there a 24hr gym? Is wifi included in the rate? It is important to shake free of these […]

Rome’s Crown of Thorns

Since the invention of filmmaking, Rome has been unmatched as the ideal open-air set. The opulent palazzos, lively squares and ancient ruins combine with Europe’s biggest studios in Cinecittà, to provide the perfect backdrop to thousands of productions, national and international. And the image of Rome and the Romans that emerges from these films is […]

Thirsty Pig Will Fly

Put it down to stereotype, but I have always been a planner. The desire to work as efficiently as possible runs deep in my Germanic veins; crossing things off my do list sparks joy. I have also always been attracted to the idea of “going places”. Well before joining the travel industry, I enjoyed mapping […]

Tail of a Pig in Puglia

This isn’t really a podcast, and it isn’t an interview, but it is a collection of clips recorded from two planners trying to capture the ephemeral feeling we have right when we get back from a research trip.  When someone from Trufflepig goes off digging for a few weeks at a time, searching and researching, […]

Punks & Pigs

With some of them there’s not much you can do: they’re stubborn, they squirm and squeal at every attempt to implement some discipline; sometimes you manage to reestablish a form of order, sometimes you fail. Some are just born wild and you know from the very beginning that they’re gonna have a life of their […]

Moonwalking to the Mont St Michel

The year is 1999, I’m a nerdy 7-year-old obsessed with dinosaurs, planet Earth, and sci-fi video games. I hear the TV talking about some grown-up commemoration on the other side of the ocean, in the United States… some vice-president with a strange name. They’re celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. Nothing too […]

A Second Harvest: Migrating Ingredients from the Americas

You are called papa not ‘patata’, you were not born Castillian: you are dark like our skin, we are Americans, potato, we are Indians. – Pablo Neruda, Ode to the Potato Similar to other fuels on a grand scale, the quest to harness sources of consumable energy has been the cause of migrations, the root of […]