(Or, more aptly named, Three-Day Country, Two-Hour Towns)
When you live in cold climes, you’ll inevitably be on a quest to stay warm in the winter—leading to our Seeking the Sun series. For us, these trips are usually three-day countries filled with a smattering of two-hour towns. Why only three days? Often, that’s all it takes to recharge and expose your skin to some much-needed humidity.
We were supposed to go bicycling in the Dolomites. But, apparently we were the only idiots who wanted to bike ride in a mountain range to elevations of 11,000 feet, so they cancelled the trip for September and we had to re-direct our travel.
We hadn’t thought about Sicily, but it sounded great. It was historic, land-and-sea-focused, and had lots and lots of hills. (We must have been in our ill-fated, short-lived “We can ride mountains!” phase.) And it was still Italy.
Or was it?
Here’s a handful of favorite things we saw being transported on moto in Vietnam:
The difference is in how you experience the city, or really how you experience anything. You can’t approach Paris as a bucket-list item, with a checklist to mark off items you can say you’ve seen. That’s touring Paris. That picture of the Eiffel Tower you get from just sightseeing when the tour bus stopped? You can download it from any computer and save the airfare. (Trying sketching that bad boy, then you’ll really see it).
The moon rise doesn’t have the same acclaim. Maybe because it’s less consistent. Maybe it’s because no one actually really knows the phases of the moon, even though they pretend to. Waxing, waning, wha???
But if you have the chance to see a full moon rise while drinking gin and tonics among zebras, it will change you.
Such is the magic of Africa.
Lima is not our favorite city. In fact, it’s probably in the bottom five of our list.
Or bottom two.
But Lima was start of another “once-in-a-lifetime” trip, so we made the most of it. We walked the parks and the neighborhood of Miraflores. We ate at several incredible Gaston Acurio restaurants. We tried (and, thankfully, succeeded) not to get robbed or have our cell phones ripped from our hands while riding in cabs. And we left within 30 hours.
Do we seek safe, convenient, and dependable? No, no, and no. What lost opportunities that would make for.
We seek memorable moments and defining details. Yes, there is a margin of error with that criteria, but here’s the rundown on a few of our best experiences (many of which make a great mini-vacation without a lot of travel hassle)—note: International Edition to follow:
The boat was nearly still, anchored in the bay with a half-full moon hanging in the starry sky above. Diana Krall’s “Just the Way You Are” began playing over the central speaker system echoing into the warm night air. Our new friends from Michigan got up and began dancing across the boat’s wooden deck as we lounged, drinking our wine.
You can’t make this shit up.
When you travel as much as we do, you’re hit with inevitable questions:
“Aren’t you worried about your safety?”
“What do you pack?”
“What’s your favorite place?”
The first two usually get a smartass response from me, and the last one is somewhat audience-dependent. But, the true answer is “If I have one favorite, I haven’t traveled enough.”
We just returned from Morocco and wanted to commend you on the most horrific example of service and efficiency in the travel industry, ever.
If your goal is to eliminate all tourism and air travel in and out of Morocco, congratulations on a job well done.
Yours ever so truly,
Typical of us, all thoughts came back in rapid-fire, scatter-pattern fashion with no rhyme or reason and no order or organization. Before I post an entry, I usually attempt to turn our random thoughts into a narrative to make us look less crazy. But for Japan, I’m going to just include our list and hope you can follow along.
For us, Japan was a breeze. A direct flight to Tokyo, a car to the hotel, a brisk walk around Tokyo to wake up followed by the first dinner of truly the freshest fish in the world served with sake and wine, and you collapse for a great night sleep.
The country has garbage scattered everywhere. Cows are also everywhere. They have their run of the place and they like to eat the garbage, which includes a lot of cardboard boxes. (Maybe we can blame Amazon for that, too?) If India was big into delivery pizza, I’m certain the cows would only eat the delivery pizza boxes, not just the regular boxes. Would you go back to eating a basic box after a pizza delivery box?
Puglia (Puh-lee-a) is the heel of the Italian boot. The leather of this part of the boot isn’t as high end as in Milan, Rome or Florence, but it’s well-worn, confident and genuine.
What is Puglia?
Flat, olive trees, olive trees, old olive trees, older olive trees, olive trees. Oh, and the dry stacked stone walls. Everywhere. And, the Adriatic and all of its influence.READ MORE
A stop in Florence
On our way to Puglia, the heel of the boot in Italy, we decided to spend a few days in Florence. We hadn’t been in a number of years, and we wanted a little contrast of city and eating and drinking prior to the trip. (We were anticipating serenity in Puglia’s seaside historic towns and beautiful Adriatic water. Serenity is tough for us sometimes; we have to wear ourselves down enough to earn it.)READ MORE
On this tiny side street it finally felt smaller, less crowded, more accessible. Almost charming.
Our quest for what’s new in everyday champagne led us to Alsace, home of Cremant D’Alsace and thousands of other, most notably, white wines.
Alsace is the border where France and Germany confusingly meet. Are we in Germany? Are we in France? Croissants or brotchen? Visiting the area doesn’t clear up the confusion. Language-wise, it was actually pretty easy for us. We cobbled together our “menu French” with my high school German.
The first ones to the party.
I’m usually up for anything he throws at me. Moscow and the Black Sea? Sure, fascinating and interesting. China? Absolutely. India? Yes, incredible.
Burma? I have to say, I didn’t jump up and down over that one.