Category Archives: France

Seven Deadly Sins: A Travellers Guide to national firewaters

As seasoned travellers we are always willing to try new things, be it leaping off of bridges with a bit of stretchy cable lassoed around your ankles or jumping out of a perfectly sound airplane, even being chased by bulls through the streets of Pamplona seems to be okay for some. However one thing that makes me shiver with dread is the after dinner shot that is often served up by well meaning waiters, usually in a plain container with no reference to its origin and strength, or the hooch that is passed around as a local specialty and ends up giving me the mother of all hangovers.

I am currently in Crete dealing with Raki but have endured some equally throat constricting liquors through my travels around the world. What follows is a short guide to some of the more popular firewaters and their origins.

1. Raki /Tsikoudia: Greece, mostly Crete
This awesome kicker is made from the waste products of winemaking and is very strong, served often in little decanters it will give you a good throat burn so is best drunk with the melon or other fruits that accompany it. The Greek/Cretan Raki is different to the Turkish one as it is colourless and has no anise added. It seems that this drink has been drunk in the region though the ages in some form or other which would explain a lot!
Pain factor: 9/10

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Nice, France; Enjoy the Sites Without Blowing the Budget

Ooh La La! How much for that beer?

Now I know the French Riviera is expensive, especially if you are buying a house, but there are times when I think the bar owners are really taking the…well you get the idea!

Back up a little. Our party of travellers arrived in the wonderful city of Nice, nestled below the Alpes Maritimes, on the exotic Cote d’Azur surrounded by illustrious neighbours such as Cannes, St Tropez and Monte Carlo; an opportunity to haemorrhage money if ever there was one.

This was an attempt at a budget trip in the land of the flaming Lamborghini and to a great extent we were successful although a little slippage should be allowed.

wine store

We had come in on the night train from Barcelona that was an adventure in itself, a tree fall had blocked the line and after several hours stranded in a siding we were eventually bussed across the border to meet a specially arranged train to continue on our journey. Picture over two hundred tired, thirsty and hungry tourists vying for seats on a small train with half that number of places, as you can imagine it was not pretty!

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