Last week was a tough one for travel, for many reasons. But today starts a new week, one that we hope will emphasize the joys of travel rather than its dangers.
As with anything, there’s joy to be had in travel if you know where to look. One very good place to look is one of our long-time favorite travel sites, Fathom. The site is literally an embarrassment of travel riches, so we hardly know what to recommend. But since we’ve been enjoying Kristin Newman’s sweet-but-randy travel memoir What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding, permit us to recommend Rima Suqi’s fun little piece on climbing Kilimanjaro in stilettos. The payoff comes at the end when you actually see the stilettos, and it’s not giving too much away to note that maybe we need to get out more, because we’ve never seen stilettos with zippers before. Or mountain climbers wearing cocktail rings the size of a dinner plate.
Enough of that; let’s eat. One of the blessing-curses of editing travel stories instead of writing them is that while we get to read great writing about fantastic destinations and not mediocre writing about, say, insurance, we don’t get to go to any of the places. This is particularly an issue with food writing, especially at around 2:30 in the afternoon. Brad Rutta’s piece on Las Vegas’ best meals was tough to bear, but Thrillist’s rundown of America’s 33 best burgers was downright impossible. We want every one of those burgers lined up in front of us right now, and then we want to work our way down the line. And unlike other stories of this ilk (which are called by a name we won’t name other than to note it rhymes with “mood corn”), this one is actually quite entertainingly written. Well done. And medium-rare, if you don’t mind.
On the other end of the spectrum food-story-wise yet every bit as wonderful is Elizabeth Field’s New York Times piece on Gaziantep, “A Turkish Town Where Baklava Beckons.” With memories of a less-than-enchanting local baklava fresh in our heads, her description of a “sensation [that] was immediately fragrant from the pistachios, then buttery, then crunchy and finally intensely sweet, but not cloying” makes us want to hop the next flight for Istanbul, missiles be damned. If great travel writing is people writing, what is writing that has people and places and food? We’re not sure, but we want more.
Finally, Conde Nast Traveler’s list of the 10 best small cities in America just made its way across our desk. While we know that it’s a readers’-choice list and CNT’s readers tend to fall on the upper-income side of the ledger, it makes us a little sad to see that none of America’s top-10 small cities are really affordable for anyone making less than the mid-six-figures. That, last we checked, is not us, though we are due for a raise soon. Let’s see: 2 percent of that is that, add it to what we’re already making and … hmm. No Jackson Hole for us. Maybe just the hole. Oh, well. Gotta start somewhere, right?
See you Wednesday.