So, this is the ABCs of Travel...and you can find some other bloggers similar posts linked here.
Amy and the Great World
We Took the Road Less Traveled
A) Age you went on your first international trip
When I was 14, I convinced my parents to send me on the school Spanish language trip to Portugal and Spain. It was 1992. I remember hating Portugal. That was the spoiled American teenager in me. I loved visiting El Escorial outside of Madrid and being scared by the aggressive leather salesmen in Tangiers. While I've been back to Spain since, Portugal is still on the to do list.
B) Best foreign beer you've had and where
A La Mort Subite. They had a variety of flavors and were so delicious. Even though we were only in Brussels for a couple of days, we managed to stop by this local hot spot twice.
My second choice is the Einstok Icelandic White Ale that I discovered this summer. I just really liked it when I discovered it during our road trip.
C) Cuisine (favorite)
Not necessarily related to my travel experiences, but my favorite cuisine is currently 'anything but Italian'. The flavors of Italian food always seem to be in the same vein and, while delicious, feel so limited. While in Milan, we often frequent Asian and Indian restaurants and I've developed a true affinity for Chicken Tikka Masala. Basic? Yes, but so delicious!!!
D) Destinations- favorite, least favorite and why?
I've loved a lot of places, but a top tier fave is definitely Dubrovnik. I had the best few days there this past summer. Least favorite? Probably Naples. Places where I feel like I have to hang on to my purse for dear life are never comfortable.
E) Event you've experience abroad that made you say "Wow!"
Hands down- Jokusarlon Glacial Lagoon in Iceland this past summer. If you've seen my pictures, you don't need any explanation.
F) Favorite mode of transportation
Well, I love a good car that allows you to come and go as you please, but I'll take a good train trip any day. No airport security lines. No arriving two hours in advance. No hour long train to get to your departure point. Trains. One of Europe's greatest amenities.
G) Greatest feeling while traveling
Sitting at a historic place, that you've heard of all your life, and never really believed that you'd have the opportunity to experience. Those are the best moments. And I've been blessed to feel it many times over.
H) Hottest place you've ever traveled to
Don't laugh. LONDON. Summer of 2013 my mom and I went to the UK for two weeks. They had a crazy heat wave. And, who'd think to worry about air conditioning when booking places, since it is rarely necessary. I carried my 50 pound bag to my rented room...up to the 6th floor of a walk up...in a building without AC. Who'd of thought?
I) Incredible service you've experienced and where
Ummm...struggling a bit with this one...but we did love our stay at Agriturismo Marciano just outside of Siena. It was super close to the city, the owner and cook were really nice and we had the most excellent meal with the other guests while we were there.
J) Journey that took the longest
Besides traveling back and forth to the US, most of my journeys aren't too long. When I traveled to Iceland this summer my plane was delayed and then I missed my connection to Reyjavik. This resulted in having to spend the night in Dusseldorf. No big deal. I was put in a decent room at a nice hotel without a problem. The next morning I had to fly from Dusseldorf to Frankfurt to catch a flight to Iceland. Soooooooo....it did take a bit longer than I expected to actually get to Iceland.
K) Keepsake from your travels
I love to buy souvenirs. I mean, it's hard to resist handmade items, native to a certain country, like handmade pottery. So I have quite a collection starting.
L) Let down sight- where and why
The Bock Casemates, Luxembourg City...why is everyone so excited about this on the various travel guide sites? Unfortunately, we were bored.
M) Moment when you fell in love with traveling
As soon as I moved to Europe, the travel opportunities just kept coming. In my first four months, I visited the South of France, Florence, Pisa, Lake Como and Munich. Feeling the vibe of different cities, seeing the locals, tasting the food...how can you not love traveling?
N) Nicest hotel you've stayed in
Stayed at Hotel Bristol in Vienna. It's directly next to the Opera House. We had a small balcony that we could look over to the opera's outdoor screen and our room was a series of rooms instead of one. It was old school traditional, but felt pretty fancy!
O) Obsession- what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling and why?
I'm not necessarily obsessed with taking pictures of any certain thing, but I am obsessed with taking pictures are weird and odd angles. I find pictures so much more interesting when they are taken in this fashion. So, my friends know that if they hand me their camera the likelihood they'll get a picture that is perfectly horizontal or vertical is slim to none.
P) Passport stamps- how many and from where?
Q) Quirkiest attraction you've visited and where?
The only thing that comes to mind is more weird than quirky, and that's the mixed gender hammam in Turkey. It was such a crazy, weird, and slightly creepy experience.
R) Really frightening: where's one place you felt unsafe or uneasy?
Since I already mentioned Naples, another place that had moments of unease was definitely Morocco. We ended up having a great trip, thanks to our trusty and highly recommended guide, Mohammed, but our first few days in Marrakech did intimidate us from time to time. Maps were impossible to read and not feeling like many of the locals around could be trusted for reliable information made it difficult to relax and really enjoy the surroundings.
S) Splurge- something that you have no problem spending money on while traveling
Chances are, when you travel to a destination, it might be your only visit there. If there's something you want to do, I'm a big believer in just doing it. You might not be back. Do what you want. You can't take the money with you. So...splurging to take a hot air balloon over the mountainous terrain of central Turkey? Do it. No regrets.
T) Touristy thing you've done
In Istanbul we wanted to see the 'whirling dervishes'. These shows are put together just for the tourists and are super 'touristy'!! But, at least it was still super interesting to see them spin
U) Unforgettable travel memory
There are so many it's nearly impossible to choose but a huge highlight was getting to visit the famous grounds of Wimbledon during the 2013 tournament with my mom. My family has been avid tennis watchers for years, and to experience the 'queue' and then make our way to a grass court for a 5 set men's match. Hard to beat.
V) Visas- how many and for where?
Two. My Italian work visa and the visa required to enter Turkey.
W) Wine- best glass while traveling?
Let's just do the best glass of wine period. During the wine course I took last year we tasted a red wine from Calabria. It smelled of soap, but had the most delicious and smooth flavor. It appears to be available online to purchase...I might just have to go spend a few bucks.
X) eXcellent view and from where?
Top of this hill overlooking the harbor of Split, Croatia. I wandered up some stairs and found this perfect overlook, as recommended by my favorite travel guru, Rick Steves. The view was AMAZING!
Y) Years spent traveling
Well, I've traveled here and there throughout my life but the travel opportunities have really picked up since moving to Europe in 2011.
Z) Zealous sports fans and where?
A couple of years ago a couple of us went to an A.C. Milan v. Napoli game. I thought the Naples' fans were crazy! I don't really have much to compare it to in Europe, but it was insane to see flares being lit and the sound of canons firing throughout the game.
Favorite travel memory of your own? I'd love to hear it!