ABCs of Travel

This prompt has been floating around the blogosphere FOREVER (originally seen here), and I'm finally deciding to hop on the bandwagon. I'm always pretty behind the curve on trends, so why would this be any different? Hah.

A: Age you went on your first international trip
I went to Canada when I was in kindergarten. I'm from New York, so Canada isn't that big a deal, but we had to stop at border patrol, so it totally counts!

B: Best foreign beer you've had and where
Ooh, I'm really not a beer person. I don't really like alcohol in general. But my one exception is ginger beer, which I tried for the first time in Edinburgh, Scotland! It tastes like ginger ale. Amazing.

C: Cuisine (favorite)
Italian is never a wrong answer to this question. But I also fell hard for German food. It's pretty heavy, but HOLY DELICIOUS, BATMAN.

D: Destinations -- favorite, least favorite, and why?
Favorite: London! Surprised? I can't really explain it, but I've never felt more myself than I did while I was in London. I just slotted into place there. It was home. Least favorite: Paris? I don't really know! I feel very fortunate to have never (yet) traveled anywhere that completely just put me off. I had a very nice time in Paris... but I also had some major issues in Paris. Not all of them were Paris's fault, but the unhelpful Parisians certainly didn't make things any better.

E: Event you've experienced abroad that made you say "wow"
Hands down, the London 2012 Olympic Games. I was there for the better part of a week and literally could not believe my life. Sometimes I look back on that and still can't believe my life. I still don't really have words for it. I dare you to be an Olympics skeptic after being in a host city during the Games. It's truly unbelievable.

F: Favorite mode of transportation
Trains! I love trains! Subways, railroads, the Eurail... give me a train and I will be a very happy camper. (Though I do love walking around a city to explore. You miss a lot when you're underground on a subway.)

G: Greatest feeling while traveling
When you've lusted over a destination for a long time and finally get to see it in person. That feeling of accomplishment combined with the knowledge that your waiting is over is pretty magical. There's nothing quite like standing in front of an attraction (for me, usually an Olympic stadium) and thinking "yes! I'm here! It exists right in front of me! I'm about to go in and see in person what I've only seen pictures of!"

H: Hottest place you've ever traveled to
Y'know, I've been to Israel (which is literally a desert), but I don't think anything tops Miami in August. Blech. Have you ever experienced move-in day in 100 degree heat with 100 percent humidity? It feels like death, FYI.

I: Incredible service you've experienced, and where?
Yikes, I don't know! Nothing is coming to mind! I travel on a (serious) budget so great service isn't really something in the cards for me right now. But it's totally fine, I don't need to be spoiled. I don't mind being independent and roughing it a little!

J: Journey that took the longest
I think it was my trip to Israel. Pretty sure that flight was 12 hours long. Totally worth it, but wow, that journey was a bit of a monster.

K: Keepsake from your travels
My street art that I bought in Paris. We saw this amazing artist one day, and I drooled over his drawings but didn't buy anything. I spent the entire next day kicking myself, but when we found ourselves in the same spot that next night, we found him again! Unfortunately he didn't have any of the drawings I had wanted, and through some broken English and hand gestures, he told me to come back a little later. So I did, and he had a batch of new drawings! Just because I said I wanted one! My sketch is a little less perfect than the ones I'd seen the day before, but I absolutely treasure it because it was literally made just for me. :)

L: Let-down sight, where and why?
This is going to sound SUPER weird, but... Versailles. It's so incredibly opulent, but it's to the point of EXTREME excess. It's very in-your-face and a little bit obnoxious. A few days after visiting, our Paris tour guide said that Versailles is what happens when someone with terrible taste has tons and tons of money. I did love the outside of the palace, and the grounds are beautiful (I wish we'd paid to get into the gardens too!), and it's worth a visit... but I was by no means blown away.

M: Moment where you fell in love with traveling
I don't remember a time when I didn't love traveling! But if I had to take a guess, it was probably my first major international trip, when I went to London with my grandparents and cousin back in 2004. That was when I first fell in love with London, and I've had a burning desire to return to Europe ever since (which my time studying abroad only fueled).

N: Nicest hotel you've stayed in
...Wow, I have no idea. Most of my traveling (as an adult, at least) has been done while staying in hostels. I'm living that broke life, guys. So I'll leave this question unanswered, in the hopes that at some point in my life I'll be able to experience a little bit of luxury!

O: Obsession -- what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?
I love taking pictures looking down streets. Something about one-point perspective is really pleasing to me, and when there are cute buildings? Swoon! I think it's shots like this that give such a great glimpse into a city's character.

P: Passport stamps -- how many, and from where?
Ten! Copenhagen, two from Tel Aviv, three from New York, and four from London. The lame thing about traveling around Europe is that the European Union doesn't require stamps, so I've been to all these cool places that went un-stamped. Sad.

Q: Quirkiest attraction you've visited and where?
On our last day in Munich, we didn't really have much of a plan, so we spent a lot of time wandering around the city and found ourselves in a toy museum. It was kind of weird, but it was a super cool building and a much-needed reprieve from the cold!

R: Really frightening -- where's one place you've visited where you felt unsafe or uneasy?
Knock on wood, but I've never felt personally in danger while traveling. There are times I've needed to have my wits about me, of course, but I've never felt truly threatened. But I'll never forget being in a friend's car and driving through Overtown, the really dangerous neighborhood in Miami. It's a place that has a reputation of "you don't even want to stop your car at red lights," and we were two small white girls in a car alone together. Nothing actually happened, but it certainly was a relief to get out of there!

S: Splurge -- something you have no problem spending money on while traveling
Experiences. Sometimes food, but I'll take a few nights of grocery store meals in the hostel kitchen if it means saving a few euros for an adventure the next day!

T: Touristy thing you've done
I don't really mind doing touristy things. I mean, popular sites and events are popular for a reason! Theme parks are tourist attractions, right? So I guess the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is one of the more touristy things I've done, and I make no apologies for it!

U: Unforgettable travel memory
I've done two whole posts on this, here and here! But if I had to just pick one, I'd say it's the time I got to spend with Israeli soldiers. Their lives are so different than ours, yet we all had so much in common. I absolutely loved befriending all of them, and they really opened my eyes and changed my worldview. No matter where we come from, we're all just people.

V: Visas -- how many, and for where?
Just the one; my student visitor visa for the U.K., which enabled me to volunteer for London 2012 Ceremonies while I was there. Best few hundred bucks I've ever spent in my life!

W: Wine -- best glass while traveling
It's basically a blogger prerequisite to be head-over-heels in love with wine... but I kind of think it's gross. I've never met a glass of wine I enjoy.

X: eXcellent view and from where?
The views from the London Eye are next-level special. But so was the view of the desert at sunrise from the top of Masada. And so was the view from the top of Arthur's Seat, because we'd just climbed a freaking volcano to get there.

Y: Years spent traveling
I don't really know how to answer this question? I've been going on trips fairly frequently since I was really young, so I'm inclined to say my whole life... but I've never traveled consecutively for more than six months at a time. And even then I was studying abroad, so is that whole time considered traveling? I don't know. As long as I can remember, I've felt like a traveler, so I'll say my whole life and stick with that!

Z: Zealous sports fans and where?
Well, I was witness to several fights during Miami vs. FSU football games. So that was... y'know, terrifying. But the best sports environment I've experienced was the London 2012 Olympics; everyone was decked out in their country's flag, but nobody was abusing anyone else for their rooting interest. It was all about cheering! :)

Travel Tuesday

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  1. Hi Darci! Visiting from Travel Tuesday. :) I love these posts. I don't like beer either but I love ginger beer too! Although I believe it doesn't have alcohol in it, hehe. But maybe the one in Scotland does? I also didn't like Paris so much. I didn't get to make it to Versailles, but your description of it made me laugh ("when someone with terrible taste has tons of money")!

  2. Fabulous ABC's. Wishing the alphabet had more letters.

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