Where have you traveled?

Which are your favorite places?

My parents had a bit of a wanderlust, so I’ve been all over the US, and a good part of Mexico too (though I don’t remember Mexico so well, other than it being so dirty). I’ve also been to Spain on my own twice and Germany (and a day trip to Luxemborg) once since growing up.  #2 has been even more places over the world.

My favorite places that really stand out are places of natural beauty.

The gardens of the Alhambra. I think the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. In its full mid-summer glory.

The redwood forests.

Mt. Tamalpias– this is where my parents met. We visited many many times growing up.

Mount Shasta for camping.  (#2 hates camping.  And the outdoors.  Mine are all cities.)  (#1 notes:  cabins, running water, toilets, showers)

The Grand Canyon. Vast and deep. Beautiful colors.

Somewhere in the desert along Route 66 there’s a natural cave that sticks strongly in my mind, though I spent much of the tour with a little old lady about my height who kept me back from the railing that was too tall to protect either of us. (My dad often entrusted me to little old ladies when we traveled without my mom.)

Santa Barbara with its constantly perfect weather.

Other places have awesome food.

Little Rock, Ark has the most amazing cake lady at their weekly big market. I’d give a lot for another piece of that cake.

Rowland Heights (and related suburbs) in Los Angeles for my favorite favorite Chinese and related food. Especially shaved ice! I’ve had it other places but it’s been different.

Houston, TX has a great ice cream shop that only has chocolate ice cream. There’s another chocolate shop I really like in Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA.

Luxembourg, for street waffles.

A Vietnamese place in Mountain View, CA.

Valencia, Spain for street helado. Madrid was pretty good too, but I remember it most for this amazing shrimp stuffed salmon with cream sauce.

Anywhere in Europe for croissants.. though we did find one place in California that was almost as good as the average European croissant.

So much Chicago stuffed pizza…  Great places in Chicago.

Did not really care for Disneyland.

Vancouver, BC was gorgeous, so gorgeous, and had extremely delicious Dim Sum.  I admit to being a food wimp in Beijing, though.  I would go back to Hong Kong for fun, though it’s a reeeeeeeeaaaaaaaallllllllllyyyyy long trip.  The Bahamas were ok.

Seattle, oh so nice.  I want to stay in a B&B there for, like, ever.

We both LOVE San Francisco.

Who can forget the soul-sweetening glory of Powell’s City of Books in Portland, OR?  (I would also like to go to Maine some day and PEI in Canada, but this is about the Portland in Oregon.)

Where have you been and what sticks in your mind most?  The good memories, here, not the places where you remember being totally miserable… that’s another post!

[unrelated, but nifty:  We were an editor’s choice in this week’s carnival of personal finance]

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33 Responses to “Where have you traveled?”

  1. Coquo ergo sum Says:

    Casa del Libro in Madrid. So many books, so much cheaper to buy than buying them in the US.

    The one who has been to Valencia, did you have the paella?

  2. Cloud Says:

    I’ve got itchy feet, so I’ve been lots of places. I have a whole category on my blog for travel posts! I tallied up my international travel once: http://www.wandering-scientist.com/2008/01/journeys.html

    My favorite place on earth is Aitutaki, in the Cook Islands, closely followed by Ko Ngai in Thailand. My husband switches the order.

    I once wrote a post about my favorite things I’ve done while traveling, too: http://www.wandering-scientist.com/2008/08/itchy-feet.html. My husband is horrified that I put koala patting on that list, but I told him to suck it. It is my list.

    I’m not a big food traveler- which is no surprise, because I’m not a huge foodie at home. But the food in Rome… oh, I want to go back to Italy just to eat.

    I’d also love to write up a post about the best bars I’ve been in some day. I love a good bar. But of course, that sort of thing is a bit curtailed now that we’re traveling with two little kids. I find them a lot of fun to travel with, though. It is extra planning and prep work, but my kids are great travelers (the universe’s way of paying me back for the crappy sleep and picky eating, I think). We’d travel more if we didn’t have to spend so many of our “paid time off” days with sick kids.

  3. bogart Says:

    Oh gosh. Yes, I was definitely going to name the Grand Canyon on my “oh wow” list. As an extra special splurge I even rode the mules to the bottom and spent the night. Wow. Wow.

    So far I am limited to the US, Europe, and Canada.

    Places I like — well, much of Europe, because of the ease of travel with public transport. Beyond that, I know it’s cliche, but I’ve quite enjoyed Venice the two very brief visits I’ve had there because, hey: a city build in the water! Also, no cars. Paris: museums, croissants, good bread, cheese, and wine, catacombs.

    US: DC, for the Smithsonian. Virtually any national park. Much of California, ditto Oregon. Seattle. British Columbia. Virtually any part of the Appalachians (but particularly SW VA and NW NC). Charleston, SC, for the general walkability, good food, and just plain touristyness. Columbus, Indiana for the oddness of, oh my god look at the architecture!. Hunting Island, SC, for the campground, walking, beach, peacefulness (but not in bug season!). Lots of other places but those are the ones that spring to mind.

    My major hangup is I want to get to where I’m vacationing and not have to get into a car again, at all, while I am there, and be able to walk (or use high-speed public transport, but only occasionally) while I am there. Having a kid has dramatically enhanced the strength of this opinion of mine. It’s surprisingly hard to realize (though, abstract goal aside, I can be a tiny bit flexible).

  4. Money Beagle Says:

    My favorite places I’ve been are New York City and Hawaii. We had our honeymoon in Hawaii and I’ve been to NYC a few times, twice with a seasoned traveler who was able to show me much more of the city than the typical tourist stuff, and the third time where I was that traveler who showed a lot of the stuff I’d previously learned. Great times all around!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      It’s always nice when you have a good guide.

      I’m sadly allergic to NY City. #2 is allergic to Boston! I mean, literally allergic, as in we get rashes. When I go I have to stay on anti-histamines.

  5. hush Says:

    North America – @bogart is right about the awesomeness of Charleston, SC, and some of the beaches just outside the city are really nice, too. I’m partial to the Northwest – the Columbia River Gorge area along the border of WA and OR is amazing. I also love Cannon Beach, OR (which you’ll recognize from “The Goonies”). Whistler is my favorite place in the world to ski, and Vancouver and Victoria, BC are incredible cities. The San Juan Islands in WA and the Olympic Peninsula of WA are otherworldly. The Badlands in SD, Devil’s Tower in WY, Mesa Verde in CO, The Black Canyon of the Gunnison in CO, and Carlsbad Caverns in NM are other incredible natural sites in the US worth visiting. Nothing beats the food and shopping in NYC. Belize is a fantastic little country, excellent snorkeling. The Riviera Maya area in Mexico is very relaxing.

    I really enjoy Asia and Europe – haven’t been to Africa or Aus/NZ yet. Asia: All of Thailand is amazing. Taipei, Taiwan is so much more enjoyable for me (the museums, the rail system, how clean it is, how good the food is, the gardens, etc.) than Hong Kong or mainland China. Kyoto Prefecture, Japan is incredible. Osaka is a fun city.

    Europe: I have special places in my heart for Spain and Greece, where I had nothing but extremely pleasant experiences, it is hard to say why though.

  6. Squirrelers Says:

    I could go on and on about this topic…..as I’m sure many others could. Perhaps I’ll put up my own post on this….

    Anyway, I’ve been to 47 states and a handful of places in Europe in Asia, and the first things that come to mind to me are:
    - Certain landmarks in the Chicago area, in which I grew up and moved back to some years back. All about the great memories. Yes, this is big-time hometown bias, but again, part of being a favorite is the memories/family aspect
    - Coastal Oregon. I just truly enjoy the natural beauty and serenity of that area. It’s off the beaten path in a lot of ways and not easy to get to for many folks not on the West Coast, so it’s not too crowded and isn’t as widely known as it probably should be.
    - San Francisco Bay Area – have family there, so have visited probably 20 times in my life. Natural beauty, open minded and upbeat culture, etc all make it a fun place to visit, though I could in no way afford to live there!
    - Amalfi Coast in Italy – been there once, won’t be back anytime soon as I don’t want to go broke:) Really! But that’s a great place with breathtaking scenery and great food, along with a very laid back vibe. Positano and Ravello, in particular, are cool places.

  7. Linda Says:

    Like Squirrelers, I think I could write a full post about this topic! If I had to summarize the most memorable places I’ve traveled, here they are.

    * Victoria Falls. Breathtaking. Stunning. And where else would I have the unique experience of shooing monkeys away from my breakfast? Actually, I have really fond memories of my trip to Zambia/Zimbabwe/South Africa. I got to see so much natural beauty, amazing wildlife, and the people were genuine and kind.

    * Big Sur. California’s Central Coast is my dream location to live. I just need to figure out a way to afford it…I don’t have to live in the wilds. A nice little cottage in Pacific Grove or Monterey would fit me just fine. ;-)

    * Northern New Mexico. I loved Taos the first time I visited there about 15 years ago. It has gotten less special over the intervening years, so I can’t say there is any particular town I like. The natural beauty of the area and the general vibe is what I enjoy. Kicking back at the Ojo Caliente hot springs and spa was still a treat the last time I was there. No cell phone reception! Hallelujah!

  8. Molly On Money Says:

    Every summer my mom would pack us kids into the the VW van and take off for up to 6 weeks. We’d travel all over the US. Since my Dad didn’t have that much vacation time he would join up with us for two weeks. Often he would hitch-hike (Oh, the 70′s!). One summer we went to San Francisco and helped with a summer day camp. In exchange we stayed on the floor in a church. There was other families and tons of teenagers. As a 6year old it was the adventure of a life-time.
    Ojo Caliente is the best!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Wow! Your parents were totally hippies! That’s awesome.

      Mine tooled around in a VW bug, which isn’t as big as a bus. I miss that car.

      • Molly On Money Says:

        I call them ‘mode’ hippies. They dressed the hip, listen to Led Zeppelin and were radical compared to their friends but we were in many ways just your typical suburban family.
        Last summer while we were camping we camped next to a couple that had just bought the same VW van I grew up in. I couldn’t believe how many memories came flooding back just by seeing the ole’ van! Bugs totally rock. In high school I drove a VW Thing. I loved that car…..

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Old VW are awesome. Rusted through floors and all.

        Molly definitely isn’t a “your parents must have been hippies” kind of name.

  9. Comrade PhysioProf Says:

    My favorite cities are NYC (obvs!), Osaka, London, Amsterdam, New Orleans, and San Francisco.

  10. Rumpus Says:

    The older I get, the more I like to travel. As a kid I may have been happy to never leave the house.

  11. Zenmoo Says:

    I haven’t been anywhere in south America or antarctica… But I’ve been lots of other places – my parents never saw 4 kids as a travel impediment & they took us all sorts of places – Colorado, Thailand, lots of places in Malaysia, the Maldives, Lebanon & probably the best family holiday we had was to Jordan. It was beautiful with lots of history (crusader castles, te lawrence, roman ruins, biblical sites…) and lovely people. I have on my to-do list a return trip to Wadi Rum – spectacular desert.

    As an adult, I enjoyed our trip to Japan – it was a nice mix of skiing and cultural weirdness. And delicious food – mmm soba noodles with fresh wasabi – a total revelation! (what, you mean wasabi isn’t actually green?) I would also really like to go back to Botswana, Namibia & South Africa – and Zimbabwe (if the situation improves, it was so depressing in 2006). Sitting in a canoe in the Okovango – incredibly close to real.live.hippos was pretty damn amazing.

  12. First Gen American Says:

    I’ve been to too many places to list. I guess my top 2 international destinations would be Thailand and New Zealand. For Domestic, I like the west coast a great deal. Bryce Canyon in Utah has been favorite natural park so far. It’s like landing on mars. Florida, not so much. I still have a lot to explore in the northwest and canada, so I’m looking forward to that. I think Yellowstone may be on the list for next year.

  13. Funny about Money Says:

    Having spent my childhood in the Middle East and then spent 25 years married to a man who loved to travel, I’ve been all over the place.

    I still miss Carmel. We honeymooned there and used to go back every Christmas, until it got too expensive even for a corporate lawyer.

    Otherwise: New Zealand. What a spectacular country, with wonderful people and awesome food (if you love lamb…). Milford Sound is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

    LOL! San Francisco makes me sad, because I can’t afford to live there anymore. My mother’s family lived there in a time when middle- and working-class people could afford it — Zillow claims my great-grandmother’s tiny bungalow in Berkeley is worth $750,000! Wish I could go back…once you’ve lived in San Francisco, it’s your true “home” forever.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We AGREE.

      When we’re multi-millionaires we’re going to buy a 3 story flat in the city. The bottom floor will be a library. #1 will have the 2nd floor and #2 will have the third floor. (Ideally the library would be in the middle, but we’re worried about the stress it would put on the ceiling because you know, books are heavy.)

  14. MutantSupermodel Says:

    San Francisco is the tippity top of my list for sure.

    I love visiting NYC although you couldn’t pay me to live there.

    Buenos Aires. I went for my honeymoon but it was so freaking beautiful that I refuse to let it be tarnished.

    France. Also a trip with Ex and his family. A lot of it was hell. BUT we flew into Paris and drove through to Nice. Somehow I was assigned the role of Navigator which actually made me seriously happy. I made our stayover in Lyons which was so pretty and so unlike anything I’d seen and is also the place I had the best pizza ever. I also made them stop in Avignon where my former sister in law and I had a lunch of 99 cent champagne, a baguette, and some seriously smelly delicious cheese. And I made them get a hotel in Grasse instead of Nice because it was just too crowded during the summer. I loved walking around Grasse. Avignon was incredible.

    St. Augustine, FL was one we did as a kid. I would love to go with mine. I just remember being so taken with the fort and the schoolhouse and the whole thing.

    Cape Canaveral! Another kid trip. It was SO stinkin’ cool. It doesn’t get cooler than space. Seriously.

    Disney World. Especially with the kids. I love it. I appreciate the insane work that goes into it. I appreciate the ridiculous attention to detail. I hate the prices. I adore how smiley it makes my kids and me.

    North Carolina. The Biltmore Estate. I got lost tubing on a creek/river thing when I was like 10. Skiing. We’ve stayed on campgrounds and in a chalet in the winter in the mountains. Beautiful.

    Traveling with the kids is big on my list of priorities. I want one family trip a year. I am still holding out hope for this year. *fingers crossed*


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