Writer’s Block: Let’s Get Away From It All

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By Corinne Wnek

Why is it that time or money just seem to zap our best laid plans for that over-glorified yet much sought after ritual known as ‘the summer vacation’? Anyone going on that big adventure soon? Same here. But there’s good news for those of us who chose a staycation this year. We are going away, after all! Anywhere and everywhere, and here’s how we’re going to do it without breaking the bank or losing time from work.

I have compiled a list of some of my favorite movies that are set in foreign lands, but you can choose your own destinations. What could be better after a long day at work than to come home to some far off, exotic place? Why not add a specialty dinner or wine from the place you will be experiencing that evening. Ready? Let’s go to Paris!

Bring out the gruyere and Beaujolais. Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” is authentic, charming and will take you to every nook and cranny in the “City of Light”. Can’t get enough of France? Then you will also be swept away by the enchanting “Chocolat” and “Amelie”. But put down those French fries. They are not a bona fide Parisian food. Let’s keep moving.

Ah, Italy, country of my ancestors. I can just smell the Asiago tortellini and pomodoro gravy. All that’s missing is the Chianti, candle light and films like “Under the Tuscan Sun”, “Roman Holiday” and of course, “The Godfather “, part two. And, yes, dipping bread in the red gravy is considered an art form among Italians, so don’t be shy.

Spain is another destination for the sophisticated traveler. Bring on the paella and empanadas and a large pitcher of chilled Sangria. While you’re enjoying your Spanish cuisine, you might like to watch “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” to see why Spanish passion makes Italians seem like novices. Oh, yes, and the tour of real villages and country homes will have you saying, “Si Si, senorita.” But, it’s time to move on.

For those of you lamenting relationship issues, our next stop, eh, film, won’t help. But if going to China or Hong Kong is a dream of yours, you’ll enjoy “Love Is a Many Splendored Thing”. You’ll feel better about your life by the end of the film and the scenery will have you sending out for moo goo gai pan and shrimp egg rolls. Keep up!

This 1959 classic film, “The Nun’s Story”, with Audrey Hepburn has less to do with nuns and more to do with internal conflict and rebellion. But through the personal journey of Sr. Luke, we are taken from her pre-nunnery upscale home in beautiful Belgium to the wilds of the untamed African Congo. This would be a great time to try Congolese food such as any variety of vegetarian dishes, fried exotic fish and tropical fruits. But I might hold off on the fried caterpillar this time around.

Fish and chips, meat pies and baked sausages are easy dishes to make, even for Americans. Better get some gin to wash down this cuisine. You will enjoy your dinner even more by transporting yourself to the beautiful English countryside in “Pride and Prejudice”. Or visit London with Bridget Jones. For history nerds like myself, I highly recommend “The King’s Speech” and “The Queen” if you really want to see how the rich are different.

So, what are you waiting for? Get going, send me a postcard and have a great time!

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