My ABC's of Travel

Friday, July 27, 2012

It's Friday morning, so I thought I'd do something a little off-the-cuff and participate in the ABCs of Travel that have been floating through travel blogs lately. Sometimes these sorts of Q&A things can be trite but the truth is, I read them. I'm curious! C'mon, you know you are too. And answering these questions brought up so many detailed memories from trips that I had really somewhat forgotten about. Memory lanes are great lanes to take.

A. Age you went on your first international trip.
I didn't travel at all growing up, we just didn't .. unless you count the family trips to Galveston beach. Louisiana to Texas was the extent of it. But my grandparents traveled extensively and would send my brother & me postcards from all the far off places they were exploring. Coupled with that, my father had spent his youth in Cairo and the pictures & artifacts were displayed in our home. We didn't have the means to travel, but Dad sure did what he could to subtly let us know that there was a much larger world than where we were sitting. No cartoons or Atari, rather Dad had National Geographic reruns to entertain us. I digress, but I felt you needed to know the reason why I took my first international trip after college at the ripe age of 26. Sitting in a friend's house in Boulder, CO we decided to take off - anywhere in the world. A quick search online showed discounted tickets to Florence, Italy - decision made! 

B. Best foreign beer you've had and where.
I'm not a beer fan, but Chad would tell you the beers in Munich were heaven.
C. Favorite cuisine.
Nothing as satisfying to me as fresh Mexican food on a Mexican beach.
D. Favorite & least favorite destinations and why.
For a long time I was not a fan of beach locales, but the older I get the more I appreciate them. Because there's something about just laying underneath an umbrella reading all day. And people around you are relaxed for the most part, no shuffling. So I'd have to say the beach is creeping up on the list. Least favorite to date would have to be Vienna. I can't tell you exactly why, other than it just felt like any another large European city to me. There are too many other fulfilling European cities I'd rather spend my time in.

E. Event that made you say "wow."
Flying into New York City for the first time and seeing that famous skyline.
F. Favorite mode of transportation.
Hands down anywhere, anytime, train travel.
G. Greatest feeling while traveling.
So many, but I really enjoy just sitting at a sidewalk cafe - eating, drinking, whatever, in a busy area to just watch & listen to the people. Even if I can't understand the language.
H. Hottest place you've ever traveled to.
I lived in Las Vegas. That is one hot mother.

I. Incredible service you've experienced and where.
Just Slovakia in general. Everyone wanted to know what we thought of the country and "Did you have enough to eat?", and just plain friendly and welcoming. I don't think they get as many American tourists, so they were curious and helpful, and kind.

J. Journey that took the longest.
Munich > the Tatra Mountains in Slovakia, via train.

K. Keepsake from your travels.
I always bring a little something home from my travels - something useful for our home. The old photographs I picked up in a Prague junk shop stand out to me as one of the neater things I've found.
L. Let-down sight, why & where.
Cannes, France. I thought it would be quaint and charming, instead it was, not. And maybe it had to do with the fact that we were there right after the Film Festival. In any case, I much preferred Nice and Eze, and some of the other smaller coastal towns.

M. Moment you fell in love with travel.
During my first trip overseas. It is going to come across as so cliche but so much became clear and apparent to me. Noticing that people are the same, regardless of where they may live. Noticing that I'm definitely a little fish in a gigantic pond, that I don't know everything and that it would behoove me to sit back and learn a few things. Noticing the way I felt about myself after taking risks and being out of my comfort zone, and the self confidence that came along with that. Noticing a different way of doing the same thing. I remember so vividly being on a long train ride in southern Italy during this same trip. I sat by myself and mentally took note of how I wanted to live my life and what I wanted out of life. I've not settled from that expectation since. That trip made me realize that life can be big, if you choose to live it that way & make the right choices to support it. And I don't think I would have arrived at that realization that early in life had I not taken that trip, at that time.

N. Nicest hotel you've stayed in.
From a big luxury hotel standpoint, the penthouse at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. One of my greatest friends was getting married, we had to do it right! Chad & I don't typically travel that way though. I tend to find little local boutique hotels to stay in. In America, The Mast Farm Inn in North Carolina stands out. Crazy charming, amazing food. In Europe, the Hotel Heiligenstein in western Germany was absolutely perfect in the way that they Owners married French & German aesthetic and cuisine.

O. Obsession - what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling.
People. To me anyone can take a photo of a landmark. Sure the angle may be different, the light may be different, but it's still the same landmark. Taking photos of people really capture the essence of a place, in my opinion.
P. Passport stamps - how many and from where.
Oh gosh, I'm on my second passport so not sure what the tally is. Plus I lived between Canada & the United States for a while so I've got umpteen stamps there. Country tally so far: Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, England, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, and Slovakia.

Q. Quirkiest attraction you've visited and where.
The Mystery House in Abita Springs, Louisiana.
R. Recommended sight, event or experience.
In general, I think it's always a good thing to get out of the bigger cities and go into the smaller cities surrounding them. We've begun doing more of this in recent years, and it's really cool because you get a better glimpse into the real way of everyday life for the locals.

S. Splurge - something you have no problem forking money over for while traveling.
Food. I know it may not make a whole lot of sense to many women, but I will forego a shopping trip in favor of eating.

T. Touristy thing you've done.
Bike tour through Paris. And actually I'd recommend it because you get a good quick glimpse of the city - so you can go back and dig into those things that piqued your interest while cruising by.
U. Unforgettable travel memory.
Driving through Germany. "We don't need no damn GPS!" -Chad 
V. Visas - how many and from where.
Just one, Canada. Working in another country is so worth it if you're given the opportunity. Though Canada seems so very similar to America, you'd be surprised at the differences! And you'd only really get it by living and working there. Perspective.

W. Wine, best glass of wine while traveling & where.
I'm sure it had a lot to do with the ambiance but the wine we had at Mayer AM Pfarrplatz in the Grinzing area outside of Vienna, Austria.
X. eXcellent view and from where.
To this day there is nothing that tugs at me more than driving across the Atchafalaya Bridge in southern Louisiana at sunset, or sunrise.

Y. Years spent traveling.
Took my first international trip in 2004, so going on 9 years!

Z. Zealous sports fan and where.
Can I pass? Oh, wait, the theater was packed in Dijon, France for the ballet. Ballerinas & ballerinos .. yes, they're ballerinos .. are athletes in my book.

-lila

4 comments:

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your ABC's and am particularly fond of your X definition. It warms me to see that a world traveler, such as yourself, still has roots in Cajun Country.

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    1. No matter how far I go, home will always be home Kinniff! Proud of where we come from - one of the cooler places on this planet that's for sure!

      -lila

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  2. This is a very interesting and informative blog in which some of the best tourism opportunities offered around the globe have been discussed.In my view Scotland is a nation with immense tourism value, though it has not been mentioned in this blog. The Scottish highlands are among the most beautiful natural beauty spots in the world. They are capable of
    bringing a visitor to complete unison with nature. The amazing Scottish castles can captivate a visitor and take him to a world of fantasy. the Scottish cuisine is also among the most sumptuous cuisines in the world.

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    Replies
    1. Melissa,
      Thank you for your kind words about my blog! And thank you for taking the time to let me know a bit more about Scotland. I've not been just yet, but I can tell you that it's on our list. It's just a matter of finding the time now! Interesting remark about the cuisine - glad to hear it's good stuff because our trips often center around the food. My husband & I have talked about taking a few weeks to explore Ireland, Scotland, and England.

      We've also talked about ways we can travel full-time ;)

      Very best,
      lila

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