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The Canary Islands

The Canary Islands

Our next destination at Island Profiles is a group of  seven islands off the Atlantic coast of North Africa. Sometimes called just ‘The Canaries’, the Canary Islands are a self governing region of Spain which boasts some of the most stunning scenery on the planet. The amazing natural beauty of these islands is displayed in a variety of landscapes, ranging from desert, to verdant green forests, to volcanic landscapes that are nothing short of otherworldly. There are four national parks…

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Key Items – Things to See, Buy, Eat and Drink in the Florida Keys

Key Items – Things to See, Buy, Eat and Drink in the Florida Keys

Now that we have explored the activities, sights and experiences to be found in the amazing Florida Keys, it’s time to talk about the food, drink and other things unique to the Keys. Most famous in the food category is the Key lime. Also known as West Indian or Mexican limes, the Key lime is thin skinned, yellowish and smaller than other limes and contains more seeds. It is generally more tart and aromatic than a regular lime. The Key…

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Underwater Statues, Hemingway Lookalikes and Sunset Celebrations – What to see and do in the Florida Keys

Underwater Statues, Hemingway Lookalikes and Sunset Celebrations – What to see and do in the Florida Keys

The Florida Keys have much to offer to those who visit. Key West, which is both a town and an island, is the southern most point in the continental US. Therefore, you will want to visit the Southernmost Point, which is identified by a concrete marker. It is a great photo op and from here, it is just 90 miles to Cuba. Of course, you can visit the southernmost everything else. The Southernmost House, for instance, is a huge Victorian…

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The Fountain of Youth, Black Caesar and the Conch Republic – Some Florida Keys History

The Fountain of Youth, Black Caesar and the Conch Republic – Some Florida Keys History

The Florida Keys were sighted by Spanish explorers Ponce de Leon and Antonio de Herrera on Sunday, May 15, 1513. De Leon was searching for treasure and the fountain of youth. Tales of this elusive fountain had circulated for thousands of years and were especially prominent at the time. He had recently been replaced as governor of Puerto Rico by Diego Columbus, son of Christopher Columbus. He took the opportunity to explore more of the Caribbean, spurred on by Native…

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The Florida Keys

The Florida Keys

Our next destination at Island Profiles is the Florida Keys. Stretching 120 miles from the Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico, there are 1,700 islands overall, but only 43 are connected by the 42 bridges of the Overseas Highway, one of the longest over water roads on the planet. The word key comes from the Spanish word cayo, meaning ‘small island’. There are numerous other keys along the Florida coastline, but our focus will be the group of islands stretching from…

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Bougna, Blue Prawns, Coconut Crab and a Cocktail- The Cuisine of New Caledonia

Bougna, Blue Prawns, Coconut Crab and a Cocktail- The Cuisine of New Caledonia

The cuisine of New Caledonia is heavily influenced by its French ties. The French cooking influence is evident in the many good restaurants to be found in  and around Nouméa and includes a significant emphasis on wine and coffee. An abundance of seafood is to be found, finding its way into unforgettable gourmet creations or deliciously simple island fare. The New Caledonia blue prawn is a rare delicacy with a worldwide reputation. Other local seafood specialties include small and succulent…

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The Closest Island to Paradise – Touring the Islands of New Caledonia

The Closest Island to Paradise – Touring the Islands of New Caledonia

Let’s continue our exploration of New Caledonia with a quick tour of the islands and what they have to offer. New Caledonia is actually a piece off of the ancient continent of Gondwana, which included parts of Africa, Antarctica, Australia, South America and the Indian Subcontinent. This sets New Caledonia apart from most of the South Pacific islands, many of which are a result of volcanic activity in more recent times. The long biological history of the area has created…

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Blackbirding, Cannibals and a Referendum – New Caledonian History

Blackbirding, Cannibals and a Referendum – New Caledonian History

The history of New Caledonia begins around 1500 BC, although some sources claim evidence of settlement going back as far as 3000 BC. The Lapita people were seafarers whose origins can be traced to Taiwan and neighboring East Asian regions. They are named after the site of Lapita, where  a type of ancient pottery was unearthed. These people are thought to be the ancestors of the Polynesians, Micronesians and and some of the inhabitants of coastal Melanesia, including New Caledonia….

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New Caledonia

New Caledonia

From the islands of Scotland, which was called Caledonia by the Romans, we move across the globe to Oceania and visit New Caledonia, located on the Tropic of Capricorn in Melanesia, 450 miles east of Australia. New Caledonia is a possession of France, and is made up of Grand Terre, the main island, the Loyalty Islands, Isle of Pines, the Chesterfield Islands and the Belep Archipelago. The combined population of these islands is roughly 280,000. The official language is French,…

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The Food and Drink of the Hebrides

The Food and Drink of the Hebrides

The cuisine of the Hebrides is not much different from that of the rest of Scotland. Long traditions of crofting and fishing have shaped the cuisine of the islands and resulted in the prominence of game, fish, seafood, oats, barley and seaweed as key ingredients. Oats and barley were much easier to cultivate on the islands than wheat and therefore oatcakes and porridges are commonplace. The incredible bounty of  fresh seafood can be enjoyed fresh, cured or smoked. The many…

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