scout paris 
 
Last summer, I took a trip to the Jura--home to Comte cheese, trees, mountains, and waterfalls. The cold winter weather has made me nostalgic for this lovely adventure where I was taken out of my comfort zone to experience another way of life. But, it wasn't because I needed to get out of Paris for a little fresh country air. However, it did feel nice to breathe in crisp mountain air for a bit.

The purpose of this trip was for a graduate course Food, Culture, and Communications at the American University of Paris. We spent the week applying what we learned about gastronomy in France by seeing firsthand how Comte cheese is produced in the Jura Mountains. Our itinerary included a trip to a dairy farm to learn about Comte cheese production by an incredible group of local farmers. Professor Christy Shields planned the perfect trip for her students.

I have so much more of an appreciation for locally produced food and the people who have dedicated their lives to its authenticity and quality. It was a pretty inspiring week to be out in the fresh air, getting closer to nature, and relishing local cuisine.
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The cows were so warm and friendly to this city girl!
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Dairy farmer Taz talks about daily life on the farm.
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Fifi--a Comte cheese maker is hard at work.
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Comte is aged to perfection
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A Comte cheese tasting
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Homemade blueberry tart
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Lunch at Grapiot
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A hike through the woods--impressive tree roots. And, I love my friend's blue flats...The perfect walking shoes!
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Wow!
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The city girl embracing the country...
 
 
What is the best thing about traveling? Meeting new people and the experience of a new place. This trip was unplanned. Due to the snowy mess in Paris, I found myself stuck in Iceland--in Reykjavik to be exact. The one day layover gave me the chance to experience this beautiful city. I can't take credit for this photo. It's by my new friend Alexia Betancourt. Thanks Alexia!
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The view from the pier in Reykjavik

 
 
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Lunar eclipse in Reykjavik
After a long journey to New York, I finally made it home to spend time with my family and friends for the holidays. 

It took me three days to get home because of the snowy weather in Paris. I spent 2 days in CDG airport and a day in Iceland. 

I was able to see the lunar eclipse and spend the morning in Reykjavik. Iceland is a beautiful place--the food, landscape, design, and people. 

It ended up being a special experience that I will never forget.