Holiday Travels – Part Nine

One of my annual, late-year blog traditions finds me posting a bit of fond nostalgia about holiday season travel memories from years past. I am snowed in from work as I write this, but my absence merely kicks off a mid-December “stay-cation” that is long overdue; I shopped for holiday airfares to both New York City and Chicago, and while I ultimately had just enough frequent flier miles for a free round-trip ticket, I passed at the last minute, knowing that I would still spend mad money not only seeing the sights but also buying food and drink for whichever friend/friends would end up putting me up for a few days. Okay, had I been able to score “Hamilton” tickets ahead of time I may have pounced – resulting credit card debt be damned – but as things stand currently, return trips to both the Big Apple and the Second City will have to wait.

As for the annual holiday travel posts, I neglected to make such a post in November or December of last year, which seems odd considering I rang in New Year’s Day of that very year in warm, wonderful Nicaragua! It was my first trip to Latin America since moving back to the States from Mexico with my tail between my legs. Likewise, it was my first trip to Nicaragua, and my first time meeting longtime online friend José, whose family hosted me at their seasonal home in Nicaragua’s former capital, León.

León, Nicaragua (2016-17)

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25 Great Travel Memories

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:

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Holiday Travels – Part Seven

My recent post, about 2003 Holiday Travels to Puebla, Mexico, received higher than normal readership. The sentimental nature of the blog entry makes it one of my personal favorites in this series, and I thank everyone who commented online and offline about the enjoyment they experienced while reading it. The next several Thanksgivings were spent even farther from my (at the time) home of Los Angeles than Turkey Day 2003, and – if you’ll humor me – I thought I’d comment on one particular late November-early December trip from that era.

Singapore and Malaysia (2006)

Do you still keep in touch with friends from university? I do. A few friendships forged during those formative years have withstood the test of time, and I have even been fortunate enough to travel with some of these college friends. In 2006, my friends Miles, Chuck, and myself took advantage of an Asia fare sale on United Airlines and booked round-trip tickets to Singapore!


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Holiday Travels – Part Six

I have no idea where the year went. Thanksgiving has come and gone, and December is only a few days away! I have been working some sweet overtime lately, but as it happens, I was off on Turkey Day and got to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner GringoPotpourri-style – stuffing, long grain-and-wild rice, cranberries, peas, brown-and-serve rolls, and Cornish hens instead of turkey. In other words: a real smorgasbord! 🙂

If you have been a long-time follower of this blog, you know that I often wax nostalgic about past holiday travels. At least five out of my last 15 Thanksgivings have been spent in Mexico, and those particular Turkey Days remain especially memorable. For all of my holiday travel blog recollections however – Scandinavia in 2010, Rome in 2008-09, East Tennessee in 2011, Québec in 2008, London in 2006 – I have never actually written in much detail about any of my holidays spent in Mexico…until now.

Thanksgiving in Puebla, Mexico (2003)

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Holiday Travels – Part Four

This will be my last blog post for awhile. I left Mexico nine days ago to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve with family living in the U.S. I am posting this from Memphis, where Christmas will be celebrated, same as last year, with NYE being toasted from Eastern Tennessee. My first stop, however, was Chicago, where I stayed with old friends and attended the wedding of my cousin Jessie. Prior to Jessie’s nuptials, the last time I saw her – or any of my cousins, for that matter – was over 11 years ago! I also visited The Herr, a Facebook friend from the travel world whom I had actually never met face-to-face. Our afternoon of suburban adventures included Gene & Jude’s Hot Dogs, countless brewskis (that’s “beers” to you non-Chicagoans), and sofa time with the world’s friendliest cat, Rusty. I must say, even with the zero-degree temps and subzero wind chill that overtook Chicago during the week of my visit, I rather enjoyed myself. In fact, I had a blast.

Last year I posted a series of “Holiday Travel” entries in which I posted favorite memories from holiday travels over the past dozen or so years – Thanksgiving in Stockholm and Copenhagen (2010); New Year’s Eve in Rome (2008-09); a Smoky Mountain Christmas (2011). Give them a read; they’re fairly short and the writing holds up well.

I thought I’d add one more entry to the series. I was still a corporate drone in 2008; come November I had used up my vacation time for the year. Spending Turkey Day in Europe or Asia was out of the question as a result, but I consulted airline timetables carefully and came up with an itinerary that let me make optimal use of the four-day weekend that was already a guarantee: red-eye flights from LAX to/from Québec City and Montréal!

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