Kaley tagged me in this travel survey, and after reading her responses I was excited to finish up my school work for the week and have the chance to unwind and get this post out! As some of my friends from Spain are heading back this week for a second year teaching as a North American Language Assistant, I’m experiencing some major symptoms of wanderlust, so this will temporarily fill the void. Here are my travel ABCs…
A: Age you went on your first international trip: I was young the first time I went to Mexico, but that doesn’t really count. I was 18, right after high school graduation when I first officially went abroad with about 40 kids from my class. We did the traditional first-time-to-Europe jaunt: London, Paris, Rouen, Normandy, Lucerne, Venice, Florence, Rome. This trip was great because it exposed me to travel and gave me the confidence to want to go back.
B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where: Ever since trying Portugal’s Super Bock when I went to Lisbon in March 2009, I’ve been obsessed with it. Not going to lie, it was probably a major part of my decision to go to Porto last December.
C: Cuisine (favorite): I love Spanish food, but my hand’s down favorite is Greek/Israeli/Turkish. Give me a kebab and some hummus and I’m a happy camper.
Destinations (favorite, least favorite, and why): It’s not surprise that my favorite destination is Barcelona. After studying abroad there my junior year, I’d argue that it’s more of a love affair than a mere obsession. My least favorite destination is probably Venice – it was SO touristy and crowded when I went that I probably wouldn’t go back.
E: Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow”: This is a tough one because I have a few, namely because “wow” can be interpreted in many different ways. My trip to Morocco was wow-worthy because it was so different from everywhere else I’ve been. Conversely, the house music experience in Ibiza was also pretty awesome. On my first trip to Europe, though, we stumbled across the Rouen Cathedral which Monet painted upwards of 30 times, with his paintings projected onto them. It was so cool and such a lucky find.
F: Favorite mode of transportation: Is this a joke? The metro.
G: Greatest feeling while traveling: Independence and feeling like the world is at my fingertips.
H: Hottest place you’ve traveled to: Hmm, it gets pretty hot in Southern California, but it was ridiculously hot last June in Madrid. Whoa nelly.
I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where: Hmm, nowhere in Spain, that’s for sure – but that’s part of Spain’s charm I guess. The best service I’ve experienced has been in the United States – in random places like the bank, too.
J: Journey that took the longest: Hmm, how about the first time I moved to Spain? LAX to Dallas/Ft.Worth to London – Heathrow to Madrid, and then a 7 hour bus-ride after our orientation. At least it was worth the hype.
K: Keepsake from your travels: I write fiendishly in my Moleskine notebooks I had in Barcelona and Madrid, and I also wear a ring everyday I bought in Barcelona.
L: Let-down sight (why and where): I just wasn’t that into the city of Valencia when I went last spring, although the Las Fallas festival was pretty fabulous. I’d also say Milan was pretty skip-able.
M: Moment where you fell in love with travel: Probably the second I stepped foot in the city of Barcelona and realized what an epic place it is. Or, more realistically, when I went to Portugal in March of 2009 and made friends at my hostel, felt blissed out in Cascais, and got lost and talked to locals and couldn’t wait to plan more trips.
N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in: This is a tough one, but honestly probably the Grand Californian at Disney’s California Adventure. Happy 18th Birthday, Kelsey, haha! OR the W in San Fransicso...Happy 22nd Birthday, Amanda…I have awesome friends.
O: Obsession – what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?: All of the blog classics – views, food, and funny sights/advertisements.
P: Passport stamps – how many and from where: Sad story, I lost my first passport. Well, as I learned this week in Property, it wasn’t so much lost as it was mislaid (Ryanair flight, Porto to MAD – FML). Since you don’t get stamps for EU countries, mine have all been pretty standard – USA, Spain, Canada – but I do have stamps from Frankfurt, Germany, Lichtenstein and Marrakech, Morocco!
Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where: Hmm. I’m sure I’ve sought out a lot of quirky things – but nothing too off the wall is jumping out at me. So instead, I’ll leave with you the most typical attraction my family has visited – the world’s very first Starbucks location at Pike Place Market in Seattle.
R: Recommended sight, experience, or location: Eating at a restaurant that doesn’t have a menu in English and ordering the local speciality. and the local beer.
S: Splurge – something you have no trouble forking money over for while traveling: A nice meal out. While I normally travel pretty thriftily, on short trips I like to have at least one nice, sit-down, authentic meal.
T: Touristy thing you’ve done: I’m all about seeing the major sites – that’s a huge point of traveling! I took free walking tours in Berlin, Prague, and Munich. The most touristy thing I’ve ever done, though, was last summer when I traveled to Toronto (on business!) and took a double-decker bus tour by myself.
U: Unforgettable travel memory: My last night in Barcelona was amazing – my senora, Marta, took me out to her favorite pizza place in El Raval for pizzas and a few Estrella Damm beers, and then she walked me through the city to meet up with my friends for one last trip to La Ovella Negra. Then, a year and half later, I went back to Barcelona and met up with Marta at the bar her son owns to watch the Real Madrid/FC Barcelona game. Viva Barça!
V: Visas – how many where? I’ve just had two, and both were for Spain. The first one was a cinch to get for study abroad – thanks, ISA – but the second one, for my auxiliares program, was a huge pain.
W: Wine – best glass of wine while traveling and where? Hmm. I’m not a huge wine drinker (still feeling the effects from the worst resaca of my life that happened a year ago from too much red wine. Yes, I am indeed sorry for partying). I’d have to say the best wine I’ve had was probably from a winery in wine country itself: Sonoma County, California. Close second would be Catalunya’s cava.
X: eXcellent view and from where: This is impossible to narrow down, so my favorites are Barcelona from Park Guell, Madrid’s Palacio Real from the Templo de Debod, and San Francisco from my room senior year:
Y: Years spent traveling? Well, really only 4 months Spain Pt. I, 9 months Spain Pt. II, and maybe a couple other months total of shorter trips? We’ll go with 1.5 years.
Z: Zealous sports fans and where? Essentially anywhere in Spain – streets, cafés, bars – but the atmosphere was always pretty intense at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu when I went to a few games last year!
Alright – now the fun part! I get to tag 5 people to complete the survey. Solid combo of real life friends, blog friends, and blogs I’ve recently started reading. I’m tagging these 5:
So, do we differ wildly on any of these? Or do you agree with any of them? Pick a couple of your favorite letters and answer them in the comments section!