Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Travel ABCs

I got called out on Twitter the other day. Naomi of Kansan Girl Chronicles threw down the gauntlet and asked some of her favorite travel bloggers to write about their ABCs of travel. I couldn't resist since she wrote that I'm one of her favorite travel bloggers. Aww shucks, Naomi! :) Since I don't back down from a challenge, I present to you my ABCs of travel.

A: Age you went on your first international trip - Well, that would be the age of three when I moved here to the U.S., so I am just going to say that my first real trip was when I was 15 and went to Italy on a high school trip. I also went to Mexico later that year for a summer abroad program.

B. Best (foreign) beer you've had and when: I guess I'm going to have to say the pint of Guinness I had at the Guinness Storehouse. While not necessarily my favorite, it is definitely the most flavorful.

C. Cuisine (favorite): Oy. Not again. :( I'm going to just say Korean for now. This was hard the first time around when I had to talk about this during the Travel Challenge.

D. Destinations - Favorite and least favorite and why:
Ooohh...favorite. Well, you can consult my favorites post for that. Least favorite? Wow! I hadn't thought about that. This will be hard to say, but I guess I am going to say Las Vegas. I happened to have some fabulous company on the trip, but I was a little underwhelmed overall. Perhaps if I had gone during my fun, single girl 20s, then I would have appreciated it a little more? Internationally, I guess it would be Ireland. Gasp! But Terri, you write about Ireland all the time?! I do. While I thought it was a beautiful place, I just wasn't into it as much as other places I've visited. I wasn't a fan of much of the food, and at times, it felt like I hadn't left the U.S. (does that make sense?)

E. Event that you experienced that made you say "Wow" : The cofradias, or public marches during Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Spain. Eeery, beautiful and thought provoking.

A cofradia

F. Favorite mode of transportation: Trains and subways. I like taking trains when I can because they take you through parts of the country that you might not usually see. Also I like rapid underground transit because I like to see how people go about their everyday commutes. It makes for great people watching.

G. Greatest Feeling While Traveling: Experiencing a gorgeous setting; connecting with people that I would not meet otherwise.

H. Hottest place you've traveled to: Namibia. The dessert in Namibia. Also, my first day in Paris was the end of the heatwave there in 2003. That was HOT!

I. Incredible Service Experience and Where: I have to shout out the Samaya Seminyak in Bali. I don't know if it's just that the Balinese are nice or if the staff at the Samaya are trained so well. They would do little things that just made you think that they were completely and totally interested in your comfort at whatever moment. I have yet to experience such attentive service at a hotel as I did there.

Beach chairs at the Samaya. We would get complimentary water and fresh fruit here every day.

J. Journey that took the longest. Another Bali mention. Getting to Southeast Asia from the East Coast of the U.S. is a major trek. Having never been to Asia before, I knew that it would take a long time, but YIKES! About 5 hours to Vancouver with a short stop there, 12 1/2 hours to Hong Kong with a two hour layover there, then another 4 1/2 hours to Bali. It took more than a day to get there.

K. Keepsakes from your travels: Postcards. I can't leave without them. I try to send one, but I usually keep the majority of them for myself. I'm a postcard hoarder.

L. Let down sight, why and where: I guess that would be "Hollywood"? Having spent most of my life until my early 20's on the U.S. East Coast, when I finally made it to Los Angeles, California, I was hoping to see the "Hollywood" that's portrayed in TV and movies. I went to Hollywood Boulevard, and I didn't really understand what the big deal was. Don't let TV ever substitute for visiting the real place. :)

M. Moment where you fell in love with travel: At age 15, somewhere on a pyramid in Chichen Itza in Mexico.

I actually climbed up this pyramid. It's a lot harder to do than it looks.

N. Nicest hotel you've stayed in: Hmmm....it's not like I've stayed at the Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton, but I will add another shout out for Bali and say that I really loved the Komaneka Bisma. You can read about our time there here.

O. Obsession -- what are you obsessed with taking pictures of when you travel? These days? I would say it's food. If it's not food, then I will say that it's striking architecture of some sort.

A lamb dish at Imbat in Sultanhamet, Istanbul, Turkey.

P. Passport Stamps - How many and from where? Oh my! I don't think I have my oldest passport, so I can't give an accurate number. If you want to see how many countries, I've visited you can check out the travel map section. I guess I would say a minimum of 30 (not countries! Just stamps! We get return stamps when reentering the U.S., so I'm including those).

Q. Quirkiest attraction and where: Elvis Presley's Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. It's a lot smaller than you'd expect. :)

R. Recommended sight, event or experience: Hmmm...I'm going to mention something new and say the Hermanus Whale Festival in Hermanus, Western Cape, South Africa. You don't need to get out on a boat to see the whales jump. You can stand on the shoreline. There were moments where I felt the whales were showing off for us humans. Plus, there are kitschy parades and lots of entertainment.

There's no need for binoculars to see the whales!

S. Splurge; something you have no problem forking money over for while traveling: Yes, that would be food (Are you noticing a pattern here?). No doubt. I try to go to at least one high end restaurant while away these days. I like to see how people splurge on food in other countries. :)

T. Touristy thing you've done: I like touristy stuff! Visiting the museums in Paris would be my answer. I was one of those people craning my neck to see the Mona Lisa over the crowds standing in front of it at the Louvre.

V. Visas; how many and for where? Okay, this is a little easier to remember. I'll say six. Before even leaving, I had to get a visa for Brazil. This was also the case with Italy and Mexico because I was not a U.S. citizen yet and traveling on my Antiguan passport then (It's much easier to travel on a U.S. passport than an Antiguan one. Just sayin'.). There are also visas you can get on arrival at the airport or at the border. I've gotten those in Indonesia, South Africa, Turkey and Zimbabwe. I had to obtain a special U.S. Treasury Department license for Cuba.

W. Wine; best glass of wine while traveling and where: Napa Valley, California. It's hard to get a bad glass of wine there. Husband J and I fell in love with Arger-Martucci, a small boutique winery. We also liked Robert Sinskey.

X. eXcellent view and from where? From the top of a balloon in Cappadocia, Turkey for sure.

Y. Years spent traveling - Let's say almost 20. :)

Z. Zealous sports fans and where? I could not believe the fans at the Flamengo soccer game I attended in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They went crazy for at least an hour before the game even started. I wish I could have videotaped it.

Thanks for the challenge, Naomi!


Daphne said...

LOL @ postcard hoarder.

I'm not a fan of Las Vegas, either, and I went a few times in my 20s. I'm glad to know I'm not alone in being underwhelmed, as anyone else I know who has been there loves it.

Carrie said...

What a fun post idea (totally stealing it & keeping it in my back pocket!). I just love reading about other people's travel experiences.

Oneika said...

Loved loved Seminyak. We stayed in a hotel just down the road from yours!


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