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Saturday, July 03, 2010

Mediterranean in the Outback - Fiona Lowe

I live in a country that has a lot of desert - huge tracks of red sand, stretching for thousands of inhospitable miles with shimmering heat haze the only immediately visible thing. Ironically, the first time I was ever in a desert was when I was 23 and travelling around the US. I was fascinated by the desert colors, by the vivid blue sky and I remember turning to my husband and saying, ‘you know, we really should see some outback Australia.’


So we did. And I fell in love all over again with the harsh but beautiful desert country and a favorite place of mine is Mildura. This town has the vast outback of Australia in its back yard but its front garden is the mighty Murray River. The visionary pioneers recognized the power of the river not only to carry wool to the big cities on paddle steamers but thought to use the water for irrigation. Their drive and determination turned part of the desert into the fruit basket of Australia. During post war migration, it also attracted a large Italian community and today, Mildura, and its surrounding towns, are a slice of the “Mediterranean in the Outback.”

Citrus groves and vineyards, endless sunshine and sandy river beaches combine with fabulous gourmet food to make this part of the world a ‘must visit.’ What’s not to love about a ‘luxury houseboat’ holiday, chugging along the river at a leisurely pace and calling into world class wineries and restaurants? It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it, right? And at night, when I relaxing in the hot tub on the top deck of the boat under a canopy of stars that goes on forever I just KNEW I had to set a book in this amazing part of the world.

It also got me thinking about the other ‘fruit baskets’ around the world that I have visited such as the Okanagan Valley in BC, Canada, the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, and California in the US. Do you have a favorite place that combines fresh produce, fabulous food and gorgeous scenery?

Fiona Lowe writes for Harlequin Medical Romance. Filled with great food, scenery and a totally gorgeous hero, Her Brooding Italian Surgeon is her 12th novel and is out now and available at eharlequin, Amazon and The Book Depository. Find out more at http://www.fionalowe.com

12 comments:

Dina said...

sorry I don't know of any, but wish I did

Mary said...

I do go to the fresh Farmers Market in Henderson Nevada which is about 45 minutes from me. There are nice people, great foods and it's a little greener there than it is here, but it's still in the desert with all the cactus. lol

practimom said...

Well i live in NC, so there are fresh farmers markets all around. we have country and water scenery, all within 20 minutes of each other. but it is rather hot here right now!!

Fiona Lowe said...

Dina, next time you plan a vacation or just a day trip, go by a farmer's market...they're so much fun!

Fiona Lowe said...

Mary, I come from a hot place too so I can picture farmer's markets just about anywhere, LOL!

Fiona Lowe said...

Oh, Practimom, sounds like you live in a lovely part of the world.

Pat Cochran said...

Not any particular site I could
focus on. In the spring and summer, it is possible to find a variety of
farm stands selling produce along
the highways. I love to take a drive in the "country" just to find such stands.

Pat Cochran

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Fiona, you've made me want to visit Mildura! I've always wanted to go on a paddle steamer along the Murray.

Talking of gorgeous scenery, do the locals looks like the the delicious gentleman in the white shirt? If so, yet another reason to visit...

Last year I visited the Napa Valley in California and it certainly fit the bill for all your requirements.

I'm looking forward to reading HER BROODING ITALIAN SURGEON.

Dina said...

thanks, don't get to visit many farmers martkets, will do. I remember doing 1 in AZ long time ago for vacation.

Fiona Lowe said...

Yes, Pat, I know what you mean! I have just come back from Bali and the roadside stalls sold Papaya, Durians, mangosteens, pineapple and bananas!

Fiona Lowe said...

LOL, Kandy, he IS pretty delish, isn't he!

Linda Henderson said...

I live in the middle of the USA so there are a lot of farms and ranches not far from where I live. We have quite a few farmers markets around here and not too far away is a big strawberry farm where you can pick your own strawberries. I love strawberries.