International’s Living’s Roving Euro Editor, Steenie Harvey also frequently travels throughout Asia. She has researched and written a number of IL’s European Owner’s Manuals as well as the Import/Export Kit and the Work Overseas Kit. Other publishing credits include three books for Avalon Travel Publishing as well as numerous articles for U.S., British, Irish, Australian, and German publications. Along with travel and real estate, her writing interests also include European history and folklore. In addition, Steenie also teaches at travel writers workshops organized by the American Writers and Artists Institute. Born in Britain of English and Latvian parents, Steenie made the move to Ireland’s County Roscommon some 17 years ago. She has first-hand experience of life as an expat: how to rent and buy property, pass the Irish driving test, cope with a new tax system–and put a daughter through convent school.
Articles by Steenie Harvey
One advantage of living in Europe is that cheap airfares make the rest of it so accessible. I’ve just got back home to Ireland after an unofficial three-day jaunt to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. This tiny country holds the title for the highest per capita consumption of wine in the world, so there was a good reason to go bar-hopping.
“Follies are the only things that one never regrets,” said Oscar Wilde. Agreed. But travel writers needn’t look far to find excuses for their follies. After all, writers have a reputation for eccentricity. Whatever bizarre situation you find yourself in—and if any awkward questions arise—you can always blame it on the job. Why were you buying contraband from gypsies in the Czech woods? (“It’s my job.”) How come you spent half the night in a Berlin anarchist squat? (“It’s my job.”)
“The grey slate inn with its tall chimneys, forbidding and uninhabited though it seemed, was the only dwelling-place on the landscape.” I adore “forbidding” places. Especially those with cobbled courtyards, sloping floors, shadowy corridors, beamed ceilings, and log fires. So I’ve followed author Daphne du Maurier’s footsteps to Cornwall’s bleakly beautiful Bodmin Moor.
- The Best of Britain: Rambling Cornwall’s Ancient Coast
Posted on October 17, 2013 by Steenie Harvey
That will put hairs on your chest, my lover.” My lover? I try not to giggle—Doom Bar ale is too good to spill. I’m in Padstow, a Cornish harbor town in England’s far southwest. Today’s refreshment stop is the Golden Lion, a 14th-century tavern packed with ancient mariners. Sporting a jaunty gold earring, this unknown lover-man looks like he’s been a regular for at least 100 years. Along with theatrical seascapes, Cornwall specializes in quirky dialect.
Maybe it’s the music. Or the breathtaking landscapes. Or the witty humor and long, effortless conversations. Even without a drop of Irish blood in your veins, it’s easy to fall in love with Ireland’s charms, traditions and strong sense of community. The recession that followed the Celtic Tiger boom hasn’t altered the essentials that make the Emerald Isle special. I’m one of those people who prefer a cooler climate with four distinct seasons.
Mon ami, you painted a pretty picture of life in southern Italy. But something is lacking—the sophisticated delights of duck confit, sweet onion preserves, foie gras and garriguette strawberries. You Italians are obviously clueless about food.
Mi dispiace, France. I’m sorry. It’s no contest. Even in your rainy-day Brittany region, you can’t come up with a two-story house that a buyer could move into for 18,000 euro ($24,000). We can. It’s not a doll’s house either—there’s 1,290 square feet of living space.
The earrings are from Hong Kong’s jade market. I bought the fedora hat at a Christmas market in Berlin, the boots from Malaga in Spain, and the shimmering scarf at Otavalo market in Ecuador—one of the largest indigenous markets in South America. You might call it eclectic fashion indulgence. I call it research.
- No Such Thing as a Free Lunch? Try This in France…
Posted on August 21, 2013 by Steenie Harvey
For grilled squid, lavender ice cream, and a glass of chilled local white wine, I know a waterfront terrace restaurant at Cassis that’s perfect.
I’m impressed by Tuscany Gardens. I have a spa bath…free Internet…satellite TV. I don’t intend to use the laundry facilities—much less the iron and ironing board—but the unit’s kitchen is better equipped than mine at home.
Wake up and smell the lentils! At the church of St. John the Baptist, a grizzled busker with a guitar is playing a Bob Dylan song. Outside the 15th-century George and Pilgrim Inn, another sidewalk musician plucks a Celtic harp.
- Travel in Croatia: The Corner of Europe That Time Forgot
Posted on June 30, 2013 by Steenie Harvey
As the ferry approaches Brac Island and Supetar, its toy-town “capital,” the blues fragment into shimmering greens and turquoises. In the harbor, the water is so crystal clear I can see fish. It’s like gazing into a magic mirror. Today, Croatia is pulling out all the stops. Trees froth with blossom, fields are speckled gold with wildflowers, and there’s the scent of summer in the air.
- The Weird and the Wonderful on Display in Southeast Asia
Posted on June 27, 2013 by Steenie Harvey
Southeast Asia is adventure travel at its most exotic. Each day brings new sights, smells, tastes, and experiences. Cultural encounters, too. The Bangkok taxi driver who asked to borrow my glasses (he thought they’d help his eyesight)…the former head-hunters of the Iban tribe who still live in traditional longhouses in Borneo…the sing-along with locals in a Filipino karaoke bar.
Blue becomes bluer, every shade from sapphire to cobalt. Sea merges with sky. The intensity of blueness is almost too much. It’s as if the Adriatic has fallen into the clutches of a Photoshop enthusiast with an uncontrolled passion for color saturation.
- Pirate Speak, Burgers and Blues? All in a Day’s Work
Posted on May 7, 2013 by Steenie Harvey
In 19th century New Zealand, I’m sure, speaking like that, I’d have been understood. After lengthy voyages, its early immigrant settlers were undoubtedly familiar with jackspeak—sea-faring slang. Not far from Auckland, the Riverhead is a historic tavern whose walls are adorned with bizarre nautical sayings. Most of those sayings have long vanished into the vault of forgotten phrases.
- Three Little-Known Havens in Italy, France and Spain
Posted on April 17, 2013 by Steenie Harvey
If you’re in love with classic Europe and its history, romance and culture, take heart: Spain, Italy and France aren’t only for the vacationer who saves for months just to visit. Each one of these three countries has numerous small towns and villages that lie under the radar—places with enticingly affordable properties to rent or buy
- Beauty and the Beach: Rent and Live Part-Time in New Zealand
Posted on March 25, 2013 by Steenie Harvey
After a day’s hiking in Abel Tasman National Park, I need a night in. A bottle of $8 Sauvignon Blanc is chilling in the fridge. Perfect with these fresh mussels I bought—amazing value at $3.15 for 2.2 pounds. As my accommodation has a fully-equipped kitchen, they’re simmering in a wine and cream sauce.
Cheery waitresses in dirndl frocks. Wooden chairs with carved-out hearts. Walls of glassy-eyed hunting trophies, a stuffed bear included. If seeking a traditional Black-Forest restaurant, seek no farther. But now I almost regret finding the Jägerstüble, a wood-panelled inn under the Marktplatz arcades in Freudenstadt—home to Germany’s largest market square and a werewolf legend.
New Zealand is one of the most scenically gorgeous countries on earth. For most people, it’s either the trip of a lifetime or a destination to only dream about. Not for me. I went there for the second time last November. A long way to go—but it’s not too bad when you can break the journey. This time around, I chose to stop off in Hong Kong—and of course I had to take in the harbor light show…
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