Ask the grumpies: cool travel experiences

CG asks:

Cool travel experiences (not just destinations, but specific memorable experiences) for when we can all do that again.

Hopefully #2 is having some right now.

We invite others to share their cool travel experiences and to check out all the yummy food #1 ate in Italy.

7 Responses to “Ask the grumpies: cool travel experiences”

  1. First Gen American Says:

    I’ve travelled all over for most of my adult life for work and fun and I’ll tell you the truth. I’m tired of sightseeing. The best experiences for me now is just spending time with friends who happen to live in other places. Those are the best experiences for me. I’m still not sure if this is a good or bad thing….that I’ve gone to so many places that they all start to seem the same after a while.

    This may just be the exhaustion talking. I guess the other nice thing about vacations is I can leave my chores and projects behind. It almost doesn’t matter where it is I go.

    This year all our trips are centered around college visits and it has been great bonding time with my son.

  2. Ann Says:

    Was talking to a friend recently about one of my favorite memories — my mom and I wandering around London during the Christmas season, and being pulled into the carolers and singing with them. Ahh…. I suppose part of it was that I was spending my junior year in Britain, hadn’t seen my mom in months, and it was amazing that she found the money to come and visit me.
    And some of the touristy things still hit me as amazing experiences — seeing the sharks below me while snorkeling in the Galapagos, and swimming with the penguins there; standing with my husband in front of the Taj Mahal early on Valentine’s Day morning; chatting with a group of Chinese women at the Golden Palace in the Wudang Mountians — with very limited help from a Chinese/English dictionary and lots of gestures.

  3. Debbie M Says:

    Here are a few:

    1) Being able to walk and take mass transit everywhere (many places, including Barcelona, Spain *while* the workers were on strike).

    2) Finding interesting things in grocery stores (in France, brie is cheap and cheddar is expensive; in England we found the best frozen chicken tikka masala, etc.) and other non-tourist places (like Liege waffles in Belgian train stations and fabulous baguette sandwiches from their gas stations).

    3) Being glad there were heroic strong men on our backpacking trip down the Grand Canyon and back. The campsites were accidentally reserved in reverse order, so we had 2 days to hike down and 1 day to hike up. After the second day, I knew I would need help. Fortunately, I’d been carrying that night’s dinner and the next morning’s breakfast [why?–manage this better next time!], so I was okay. Which is good because heroic men #1 and 2 helped their girlfriends and heroic man #3 had used his extra muscles to carry around extra treats for us.

    At one echo-y part, we stopped and sang rounds and patriotic songs and beautiful songs.

    At the top, when we got to the cars, heroic man #3 sang new lyrics to the “I’m too sexy” song–“I’m too sexy for this pack.” Off it comes! “Too sexy for these boots.” Etc.

    4) Discovered the architect Gaudy, famous for brightly colored and/or interestingly shaped things. I got to go to a park, an apartment house, and a cathedral designed by him.

    5) Carried on a full transaction in a foreign language (thank-you, Kennedy or whoever accidentally called himself a jelly donut).

    6) Walking up and down the path in Gruyere, France. The grass is so green! (I’m from a place with mostly brownish grass.) The cows literally are wearing bells. It was just beautiful. Other beautiful places included parts of Moab, Utah; the Basin in Big Bend National Park; and Inks Lake State Park (Texas) with its pink limestone, wildflowers, and lichens of an amazing number of colors.

    7) Listening to Lyle Lovett joke around on stage on a music cruise ship (Cayamo) – “Yesterday I got to play along with [some other famous musician, I forget who]. He doesn’t know it–he’s next door to me and I could hear him playing through the wall.”

    • Debbie M Says:

      And now because of today’s news, I wrote my Rep and Senators saying this (please feel free to copy me):

      Please work to impeach Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett for committing perjury during their nomination hearings.
      Please encourage the House to impeach Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett for committing perjury during their nomination hearings and then vote to convict.

      “It’s settled as precedent of the Supreme Court,” Kavanaugh said. “One of the important things to keep in mind about Roe v. Wade is that it has been reaffirmed many times.”

      “[Roe v Wade] is the law of the land,” Gorsuch answered. “I accept the law of the land, senator, yes.”

      “Judges can’t just wake up one day and say I have an agenda-I like guns, I hate guns, I like abortion, I hate abortion-and walk in like a royal queen and impose their will on the world. It’s not the law of Amy,” she said. “It’s the law of the American people.”

  4. Alice Says:

    Visiting the Hoh National Rainforest for the first time in my 30s and finding it to be as green and magical as it was in the photo of it that I’d seen in high school. So quiet, so gorgeous, and so different from anywhere else I’d ever been in my life.

    I went there with my now-husband, and he told me that during that first visit, he decided exactly where he was going to propose. Which he did, when we went again.

    I would give a lot for us to get out there again. Maybe next year.

  5. Socal Dendrite Says:

    Visting Actun Tunichil Muknal cave in Belize. You can visit only as part of a small guided tour and have to hike a little ways, then swim into the cave, before reaching a dry chamber with Mayan artifacts. Definitely rates as one of the most interesting experiences of my life! Also, touristy but worthwhile: night dive with manta rays off the Big Island, Hawaii.
    More calm but highly recommended if you are in the area with children (I was just there visiting family): visiting a limestone cave system in the UK’s Yorkshire Dales in the morning then walking along the beautiful river Wharfe from Hebden village in the afternoon, crossing the river on a narrow foot suspension bridge and returning via a wide span of stepping stones. My kids loved it!

  6. Steph Says:

    Just wandering through parts of a city are my favorite. It’s harder to do in US cities which are so unfriendly to pedestrians, but they shape some of my favorite memories in Europe. Sometimes I just wander from one point to another – in Paris I walked pretty much all day through a bunch of points/neighborhoods that had been recommended to me. It was a little nervewracking being away from the touristy areas with no real ability to speak French, but it was also satisfying and holds some of my most visceral memories of the trip.

    Sometimes I pick a particular neighborhood to wander through – in London I wandered around Mayfair & surrounding areas because it’s mentioned in regency romance novels :) Specifically, I had just read all of KJ Charles’s Society of Gentlemen series and tried to find the real places (or approximate plausible locations) featured in the story.

    Exploring tea shops used to be a really big thing for me. I’d try to find tea rooms with tastings, but at minimum I’d find local shops or chains to buy tea. Now that I can’t really do caffeine I’ll have to find an alternative. I had a really lovely tasting/high tea at Fortnum and Mason’s on my last night in London, and memorable one-on-one tastings with owners of tiny shops in SF and Seattle.

    Also, I really like train rides and watching the countryside go by. I got so excited to discover that the snack/tea trolley is a real thing on UK trains! And I saw so many sheep. Taking the regular bus around a city can have a similar feeling. (With only 1-2 days in a given city, I actually do like the big bus/circle tour.)

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