Sunday, October 09, 2011

My ABC's of Travel!

I've been in a writing slump this past week and I hate it. So I found a prompt that would help bring me out of it! I got this challenge from Cat over at Sunshine and Siestas and I thought it'd be the perfect way to jump start me back into blogging!

A: Age you went on your first international trip:
The tender age of 15! I thought this was a perfect age to start traveling because I was young enough to still be naive but mature enough to truly grasp the essence of what I was experiencing

B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where:
Mahou Mixta Shandy. I'm not a beer drinker (except for Guinness) but Mahou Mixta Shandy is my absolute favorite! I tried it for one Euro on a whim in Spain and fell in love with it. Oh if only it was sold in the States!

C: Cuisine (favorite):
I don't discriminate against any type of cuisine so the one I'm about to choose should be taken lightly! I'd have to say authentic Shepard's pie from Ireland. It really is more like a comfort food to me. I'm not a picky eater and am always willing to try new food, but Shepard's pie always does it!

D: Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why:
 Least favorite: Limerick, Ireland. There really wasn't much to do in the city itself. Granted the people were friendly, I felt as though I was back in my hometown in Kansas, bored with nothing to do.

Favorite: Florence, Italy! That will forever be my favorite place. I loved the history and the sights and the food and the people....EVERYTHING. Plus it also helps that I was well received there simply because of my skin tone! The city has such a relaxing feel to it, but also is busy to keep you entertained. I definitely want to go back

E: Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow”:
The London bombings of 2005.

F: Favorite mode of transportation: 
Taxi. You can learn a LOT of valuable information by just conversing with your cab driver. Even after visiting Morocco I learned SO much more about the country when I had to take a taxi from my hotel to the Philadelphia airport after finding out my driver was Moroccan.

G: Greatest feeling while traveling: 
Being outside of yourself and actually realizing that YOU ARE THE FOREIGNER. There's no greater feeling than that to me and the experiences that happen to you after you realize that only makes your time abroad more exciting.
Our dear Chef Collum trying to scowl at us

H: Hottest place you’ve traveled to:
Spain. No questions asked.

I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where:
While it would be easy to simply say America because of how the service (I'm talking food) differs in other countries, I'm going to go out on a limb and say Chef Collum in London. Although he served us in the cafeteria of Ramsay Hall, that was the BEST service ever. He was friendly, sweet and just an all around good guy with a sunny disposition on life even at 7 a.m. It definitely made breakfast and lunch 10x better.

J: Journey that took the longest: 
Traveling from Kansas to Florida. That was about a 20 hour road trip in which I did most of the driving. However as a passenger, traveling from Kansas to Mexico on a bus with 20+ people....that was brutal! 

K: Keepsake from your travels: 
Key chains (even though they ALWAYS break), currency, postcards and of course newspapers!

L: Let-down sight, why and where: 
El Hospital de la Caridad in Seville. It was gorgeous, but I was quite disappointed in the tour and the hospital/church itself. I thought it would be huge for some reason and was expecting to walk around and admire all the history behind it, but it was small and empty and lacked that "oompf" that I needed to satiate my appetite. Womp womp.

M: Moment where you fell in love with travel:
Walking home in the rain on the streets of London after seeing the Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. I was freezing, my skirt was soaked and I had fallen behind from the group. I took off the hood of my rainproof jacket and just let myself get completely drenched in the "London raindrops." As I looked up into the midnight sky, I knew that travel was more than just an was a feeling that had completely consumed me, and I loved every minute of it.

N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in: 
All of my hotels have been pretty average to say the least, but the nicest hotel I'd ever visited was Hotel Fontecruz. It was modern, chic, stylish, a cut above the rest. I really wish I would've gotten to stay there for at least a night!

O: Obsession—what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?:
Views of the city. I have to do it in any country that I visit, and for some odd reason, I always take pictures of each hotel room I stay in.

View of Cadiz, Spain

P: Passport stamps, how many and from where? 
Not enough! I've only been to seven countries so my passport is scarce in stamps but I'm working on it!

Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where: 

Dixie Stampede in good ol' Branson, Missouri. If you haven't experienced that then I suggest you GO NOW. It is definitely something!

R: Recommended sight, event or experience:
Aaaaah there are so many! I can't even narrow it down to just one. One would definitely be the Tate Modern Museum in London. I LIVE for that museum! If you're not into museums there's always the Feria de Abril in Seville, Spain! Unfortunately, I arrived just after it ended, but I've heard nothing but good things about it and got a taste of what it's like from my host family. Those are only a few of the many many I would recommend but I guess it depends on where you're going!

S: Splurge; something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling: 
BOOKS. Period. Let me tell you, I can easily blow through a paycheck just on books. However, when I'm in another country and can get books in other languages (with the hopes of learning the language eventually), I go crazy! Why else would I be planning a trip to Buenos Aires?

T: Touristy thing you’ve done: 
Double-decker bus tour around any city. I mean how much more touristy can you get?

U: Unforgettable travel memory:
Probably getting chased around Seville by a 30-year-old African man. Yeah, nothing tops that.

V: Visas, how many and for where? : 
None unfortunately but I'm hoping that will change soon...

W: Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where?:
Does tinto de verano (Spain) count as wine?

X: eXcellent view and from where?: 
The top of Il Duomo in Florence. That is by far my FAVORITE view. The climb itself was a journey but seeing the burgundies, marigolds and mahoganies of the city was simply magnificent.

Y: Years spent traveling?: 
Seven glorious years and I know there's many more to come!

Z: Zealous sports fans and where?
Italy from what I've seen thus far!

So now I challenge Oneika Terri and Deidre from my three favorite blogs. Have fun!

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