Last month’s blog post, One Sentence on Each Country, received higher-than-normal readership. Thank you for checking it out, Loyal Readers. I wanted to expand upon that (don’t worry, just a short post this time) by sharing some of my favorite travel memories over the years. A few of these fall into the “profound” category. I am referring to things like seeing the mo’ai heads of Easter Island, or of gazing upon 8,000 Qin Dynasty terracotta warriors in Xi’an.
On the other hand, many of these memories are simple recollections of the little things that make travel so rewarding. For this, I am referring to failed, but somehow amusing, attempts at communication with Russian cabin mates on a train from St. Petersburg to Moscow, or of the literal hole-in-the-wall pizzeria that I stumbled upon in Salzburg, a place that somehow crisped my pepperoni pizza just right.
In no particular order, here are 25 Great Travel Memories:
- Taking in the majesty of the Grand Canyon from above and the intimacy of it from below.
- Listening to nuns sing Latin religious chorales at Stift Nonnberg, Salzburg.
- Deep diving and night diving in Australia –awesome and terrifying.
- Drinking liter steins of bier with perfect strangers at Munich’s Oktoberfest. Prost!
- Skydiving over Lake Taupo, New Zealand.
- Getting wonderfully lost in the mazes of alleyways and canals in Venice.
- Gazing down upon Machu Picchu from the Inka Gate after a four-day trek through the Peruvian Andes.
- Sampling gløgg and interacting with bright-eyed locals at the Christmas markets of Stockholm.
- Absorbing several centuries of art at the Musée du Louvre, Paris.
- Catching the sun rise above the clouds while trying to catch my breath en route to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
- Volunteering with Antigua, Guatemala locals to build their elaborate alfombras (floral carpets) for Semana Santa (holy week) processions.
- Dodging waves, amorous lovers, and fishermen casting their lines while the sun slowly sets over the malecón in Havana.
- Waiting for Cairo to fall asleep for the night…and then taking a Nile River cruise, our felucca powered only by the breeze.
- Gorilla trekking at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda.
- Scaling the pyramidal steps of Tikal’s impossibly-steep Mayan temples for a peek at the jungle panorama from above treeline, aka Endor from “Return of the Jedi.”
- Walking among the lodgepole pines, coast redwoods (Endor again), and giant sequoias of California’s majestic national parks.
- Getting up close and (almost) personal with Isla Magdalena penguins, Chilean Patagonia. Dress warm!
- Michigan Avenue Christmas shopping, with a side trip to State Street and the Christkindlmarket. Dress warm!
- Gazing upon the end of the earth in Barrow, Alaska. (Talk about dressing warm!)
- Experiencing the quirkiness of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Commonwealth majesty of its Military Tattoo.
- Eating disgusting food, watching cormorants dive for fish, and gazing upon Southern China’s romantic karst hills during my Li River Cruise.
- Taking in the dazzling spirituality of Varanasi, which is simultaneously the most peaceful and chaotic city I have ever visited.
- Several days spent exploring the iconic National Mall of Washington, DC.
- Traversing Mexico City’s Zócalo over Thanksgiving weekend, 2002. While not my first international trip, that was really the one that began my love affair with travel.
- Flying trans-oceanic first class, with lie-flat seats, embroidered pajamas, and endless foodstuffs. Everyone should experience this at least once.
It was hard to stop at just 25. That didn’t leave room for me to include memories like taking in sunset from atop the Sugarloaf in Rio de Janeiro, or exploring the 9,999 rooms of the Forbidden City in Beijing, or watching millions upon millions of wildebeests migrate across the Serengeti. (Okay, now I’m cheating.) Perhaps I’ll continue this this transcontinental list in a future post, but in the meantime, what are your favorite travel memories? Leave a comment below and let us know!