The best part of blogging is meeting and getting to hear from all of you. I always have my ear to the tracks for suggestions about the best of what’s out there and I want to hear your stories.
You may have noticed a new page at the top entitled ABCs of Travel. I’m looking to hear about your best and worst travel destinations and experiences. I thought I’d get the ball rolling by answering the questions myself.
A. Age you went on your first memorable trip
Age 10 or so when our family drove to Washington D.C. I vaguely remember the presidential monuments and particularly recall how cool the National Air & Space Museum was.
B. Best beer you’ve had and where
Heinekens and Amstels in Greece (and I don’t really care for Heineken) but they seemed to taste fine along with the sunset views of the Santorini caldera.
C. Cuisine (favorite)
Asian, especially Thai noodles in thick gravies.
D. Destinations. Favorite? Least favorite? And why?
Favorite: Spain is the highest on my destination list for its perfect balance of people, sights, cuisine, climate, culture, and history. Where else did you expect me to say?
Least Favorite: Brussels. I’ve been to Belgium on three different occasions and it has rained every. single. time. Couple that with bad traffic and getting very lost, I have not had any very good experiences in this town due to mostly circumstantial stuff.
E. Event you experienced while traveling that made you say “wow”
Seeing Milford Sound, one of the rainiest places on the planet, on a cloudless day.
F. Favorite mode of transportation
G. Greatest feeling while traveling
The best part of traveling for me is that feeling of being out of my element and comfort zone. Reminds me that I’m alive. Even the most mundane tasks can be an adventure.
H. Hottest place you’ve traveled to
I. Incredible service you’ve experienced and where
Charlie Trotter’s self-named restaurant in Chicago. I’m pretty sure each table had a dedicated troupe of servers.
J. Journey that took the longest
Driving a straight shot from the eastern side of Lake Huron near Sudbury, Ontario to our home in Madison, Wisconsin.
K. Keepsake from your travels
Handmade silk rugs from India – so soft and dense at 1200 knots per square inch.
L. Let-down sight, why and where
Tie between the Coliseum in Rome and Mona Lisa in the Louvre. Mainly because it looks the same as seen in photos except with hordes of people impeding your way of really getting close to it.
M. Moment where you fell in love with travel
Traveling by train with my college buddies through western Europe for the first time.
N. Nicest lodging you’ve stayed in
After staying in a series of hostels, my wife and I cashed in some hotel points and stayed at the InterContinental at the top of the Spanish Steps in Rome.
O. Obsession – what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?
Panoramic views that never turn out very good with my poor camera and even poorer photography skills.
P. Passport stamps, how many and from where?
I’m on my second adult passport and have visited around 26 countries.
Q. Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where
Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota.
R. Recommended sight, event, and/or experience
Sight – Sistine Chapel
Event – Valencia, Spain’s Fallas celebration (photo at top)
Experience – Kawarau Bungee Jump (the original)
S. Splurge – something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling
A nice meal every once in a while, especially after a long day of sight-seeing when I’ve been on my feet all day. With a mid-day ice cream snack a close second.
T. Touristy thing you’ve done
Syndey Harbour BridgeClimb and it was awesome.
U. Unforgettable travel memory
After getting seasick in Cairns, Australia while checking out the Great Barrier Reef, we decided to head inland for a change of pace. Our plans brought us to the small town of Yungaburra for “platypus spotting”. This consisted of a walk to a tiny marshy pond where about 15 of us were told to sit in complete silence to catch a glimpse of this elusive animal.
We sat there for what felt like an hour with nothing to show but maybe the croak of a toad. All was not lost, however, as we retreated to the lodge for a buffet BBQ and to watch the much-hyped Rugby match between host Australia (the Wallabies) and prime rival New Zealand (the All Blacks) for the 2003 semi-finals of the World Cup.
V. Visas, how many and for where?
1 student visa for Spain
1 travel visa for India
W. Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where?
As an unsophisticated college junior, my buddy’s dad had a business contact in Florence, Italy who set us up with some pretty local girls that offered (or more likely, were forced) to show us around town. We ended the day at a fancy restaurant.
We gorged ourselves on unidentified shellfish, testicles, and innards that were absolutely delicious and of course paired with all kinds of different wines that we over indulged on.
X. eXcellent view and from where?
Pretty much anywhere on the South Island of New Zealand.
Y. Years (or longest duration) spent traveling?
100 days – hope to break this record in 2014.
Z. (Most) Zealous sports fans and where?
Polish soccer fans cheering their team on against the U.S. national team in Soldier Field, Chicago (the second largest Polish city outside of Warsaw).
“Polska! (clap, clap, clap) Polska! (clap, clap, clap)” I can still hear it ringing in my ears…