Exploring Nature: Traveling by the label

Lucca is a city in Tuscany that is famous for its intact Renaissance-era city walls.. PHOTO COURTESY OF JERRY HALL

I have traveled a lot searching for birds and wildlife, but sometimes I undertake a journey based on other considerations. I once chose a destination based on the label on an olive oil bottle. The label said “made in Lucca, Italy” and it struck me that Lucca would be a neat place to visit.

Accordingly, I was soon off to Tuscany, in central Italy, and was walking on the medieval wall that surrounds the ancient city of Lucca. It was also the place where Giacomo Puccini was born and there was a museum and statue devoted to that famous composer. You have to admire a city that honors its favorite son with a statue.

Also worthy of exploring were churches, cathedrals and a picturesque central plaza. All in all, Lucca was a fascinating place.

Later, I noticed my bottle of Tabasco sauce came from Avery Island, Louisiana, so I headed for Louisiana. Turns out the island is a huge salt dome and that comes in handy since Tobasco consists basically of peppers, salt and vinegar. The pepper mixture is aged in oak barrels for three years and I visited a large warehouse filled with barrels of aging mash.

It has been a long time since I was inspired to travel by reading a product label, but it worked out well the two times I tried it. Maybe you’d like to strike out based on something you currently have in your kitchen cupboard. For example, I notice my Karo syrup comes from Memphis, Tennessee, my olive oil comes from Imperia, Italy, and a can of field peas hales from Siloam, Arkansas.

Given that choice, I believe I would choose Imperia, Italy. I wonder if it has an historic city wall?

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