Wednesday, May 30, 2012

An Alphabet of travel

This has been a tough year for allergy-sufferers around here. Again this morning, as I try to write this, my eyes are streaming so much my vision is blurred. I don't why blurred vision makes it difficult to think clearly, but somehow it's true. So I'm not going to fight it, won't try to come up with something insightful or profound. Instead, I thought I'd 'steal' what E posted on her blog last night and answer an alphabet of travel experiences:

A. At what age did you first travel overseas? Out of the country--to Canada with my grandparents before I turned 8, I think. But actually across an ocean didn't happen until I was 25 (1982)--when I packed a back-pack and traveled through the UK and Europe for three-ish months.
B. Best foreign beer you've ever tasted? Well, I'm don't actually like beer all that much, but while in Europe in 1982 I toured the Heineken factory in Amsterdam. And drank beer that day--or at least tasted it then passed it on to my friend. I do like Corona--though I think it's the lime I really like!
C. Favorite Cuisine: English high teas have always been a high point of trips to the UK, but to choose one, I'd say, Indian curry, and specifically,in a small town called Pushar in northern India, at an open air restaurant, a man made individual dishes for us while we watched, on something akin to a bunsen burner. And that meal--that curry--was so good, I've never forgotten it.
D. Favorite Destination: Edinburgh, Scotland. We got there right late in the afternoon, and were allowed into the Castle grounds for a few minutes just as the sun was setting. It was romantic and breath-taking and haunted with history. I still dream about it.
Least favorite Destination: I'm not real fond of the casino cities of Nevada. Was in Reno once, have no reason to ever return, thank you very much.
E. Wow event: It's personal but I really think the most wow event in my entire life was meeting an old friend at the Naked Man outside of Stockmann's in downtown Helsinki, Finland. My life (and his) changed course as a result of that moment. Thank God for that event, really. So impactful, I can tell you what he was wearing (tan cords, brown v-neck sweater with a white oxford shirt, brown and tan down jacket).
F. Favorite mode of transportation: The trains in Europe. And the bikes in Holland. Love them both. Wish for them here. Still.
G. Greatest feeling about traveling: knowing that God has done it. I've felt this so many times.When I first went to Europe, or was buckled into my seat on my way to a DTS. When Beve and I were on our way home to get married. When everyone is at the airport headed out to a mission trip--in Alaska, Mexico--because the funds have come in, the tickets are bought, we're all wearing our matching shirts. I love that feeling. God's ahead of us.  It's the best feeling there is. God has done it. And on the way home--that He has accomplished His purposes. 
HHottest Place traveled: Palm Springs in July. You might think India would have been hotter but that was November and December. Palm Springs in July was the hottest place we've ever been...and we took our children. Spent the whole week in the pool. Crazy. Loved it. Wouldn't change a thing.
I. Incredible Service: In York, England, my friend and I were bone-achingly tired. It was wet and we'd been walking for hours trying to find the B&B we'd booked for that night. Finally, two drowned rats got there. This older couple (transplanted from Scotland) opened the door, took one look at us, hurried us up to our room, took our wet clothes to dry them, made us come down to their rooms and gave us some sherry to take the chill off. And the next morning we had one hardy breakfast. It was lovely.
J. Longest Journey: I haven't had any ridiculously long trips like some people have (the over two day types) but when we flew back to the Netherlands from India, the stop in London where we switched planes. What we weren't told until we got there was that the plane actually stopped in Amsterdam (our final destination!) to refuel before going on to London. But because of customs, we were allowed to get off the plane, wander around an enclosed part of the airport but had to reboard, fly to London, get on another plane and fly back to Amsterdam. It was the most frustrating trip we've ever taken.
K. Keepsake: Does my own husband count? It does for me.
L. Letdown sight. Wow, I honestly can't think of one. There probably are things I've been disappointed in, but when I look back on them from here, everything has the hue of "I'm glad I did that!" Oh wait, maybe the wax museum in London. Don't know why I wasted money on it.
M. Moment you fell in love with travel: Hmmm, again. I honestly can't remember. Maybe it was the moment I began reading about other places. 
N. Nicest hotel: EASY: Dalhousie Castle in Scotland where my mom, sisters and I stayed in 2000. I'm talking real castle, with a restaurant in the dungeon. It was the all-time coolest place ever. Thanks, Mom. 
O. Obsession: Tea and books. That is, I always want my own tea with me--so I bring it along. AND, I try to read books that are local to the culture I'm visiting. Can't help myself. It's part of the experience. Oh yeah, and compulsively journal about it all, of course.
P. Passport stamps. Hmm. I'm on my third passport since I started really traveling. In the first one, which I was most proud of, there are stamps from the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, the USSR (as it was then), Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, and India. The next one has the UK stamps. And this new one is pristine, waiting its turn.
Q. Quirkiest Attraction: the town dump in Hoonah, Alaska to see the grizzley bears feeding on garbage. Honestly, it's the 'don't miss' attraction in town.
R. Recommended Site: If you have a chance to go to India, it really is worth your while to see the Taj Mahal. It's everything it's cracked up to be. Overwhelming, fascinating story, and you'll rub shoulders with such interesting people from all over the world. 
S. Splurge: High tea at Harrod's and/or the Savoy. Each time I've been in London, I've made it a point to have a High Tea somewhere really fancy. Even the High Tea at the Empress in Victoria, BC is a beautiful tea. 
T.Touristy Thing: Probably all those trips to Disneyland. 
U. Unforgettable travel memory: Lunch at a Lebanese Restaurant in New Delhi, India. This was the spot where Beve told me how he felt about me. It could have been anywhere, of course, like the Dairy Queen just down the street. But it wasn't. It was a very exotic place and I'll never forget that. God did that.
More recently, however, going to Thompson Island in Boston Harbor was unforgettable in a completely different way. To stand there, where my great-great-multi-great grandfather first lived, where his name graces the land, where we came from--it was pretty awe-inspiring. My family has long-roots here.
V. Visas--I've had two visas--one to live in Holland in 1983, and one shorter one for the time in India that same fall. They were both student visas, and were simple enough to get.
W. Wine: I've been the recipient of wine-expeditions, but haven't done much wine-tasting. My funniest wine-related story is of my mother in that dungeon restaurant. She ordered a bottle, and when the wine was poured for her to taste, she said, "Why are you giving me so little? Fill it up, please!"  That was Mom for you.
X. Excellent views: Depends. I like the view from my house. But for mountains: I'd say Glacier National Park (though don't make me go on that road again!), Zurich, Juneau. For oceans: Kauai has so many breathtaking beach views, but so does the Baja coast of Mexico, but so does San Diego, and then there's the Gulf of Mexico, or the Atlantic. or the Scottish coast, or the Irish Sea, or...
But to choose just one--the view from Edinburgh Castle. The End.
Y. Years spent traveling: many. Hopefully many more to come.
Z. Zealous sports fans. England and their football fans. But...we also saw some pretty fanatic cricket fans in India (which seems like an oxymoron to me--fanatic and cricket in the same sentence?).

And there you have it...

1 comment:

E said...

I totally forgot about the dump in Hoonah. That definitely has a high quirky factor.