It’s my turn to share my three favorite travel moments! Britany just passed me the baton in the Travel Blogger Relay and is this ever a challenge I’ve enjoyed rising to! (It also made me REALLY miss the Olympics, but I digress…) The Travel Blogger Relay challenges bloggers to each share their three “medal worthy” travel moments and then nominate another blogger to do the same. Racing for Team Green, I’m strapping on my literary cleats to present my top 3 moments to you (and boy was it hard to pick THREE):
1). Watching Casablanca…IN Casablanca.
…at Rick’s Cafe, no less. Ever have those moments where you have to stop and take stock of your situation, kind of take a snapshot in your mind and remind yourself as the years go by that at one moment in time you were right there, right then? I’m so glad I took a mental snapshot that evening on a crisp Moroccan winter’s night, tucked into the warm folds of Ricks Cafe American in downtown Casablanca, a perfect replica of a scene from one of my favorite movies of all time. The fringed lamps, the intricate cutout walls, the waiters with their white dinner jackets, right down to the piano playing “As Time Goes By” (yes, really) – I was instantly transported to a hazy Humphrey Bogart movie as I savored my steak and sipped my wine, swirls of cigarette smoke drifting around my head. To top it all off, Casablanca itself played on mute in the upstairs bar. And as my friends and I curled up in the richly upholstered armchairs with our cocktails and settled in to re-watch a classic, we knew when it was time to head downstairs for dinner, we’d wander into the same bar, the same city, the same world as we saw on-screen.
2). An Evening Alone in the Most Romantic City in the World
Well, one of them. I will never forget the day I spent in Venice, Italy – by myself. While I advocate solo travel very strongly, and have valued and loved the times I’ve done it on my own (though never for a long period of time) I wouldn’t say I’m very good at it. I hate eating alone…its awkward. But Venice is no easy city to navigate. On a whim a couple years ago I hopped a plane for a whirlwind 4-day trip, where I would meet my mom and aunt halfway through as they stopped into the city to pick up a cruise. Miraculously I made my way from the airport, to the water taxi, to my hotel, to dinner, to an evening stroll through the shops and back to my hotel with only my mediocre Italian and debatably-confident grin to guide me. But as I sat on the window bench of my hotel room gazing out the very same window as Henry James once did more than a century before out onto the twinkling lights of the Grand Canal, listened to the garbled voices, tinkling glasses and faint strains of music coming from the Riva degli Schiavoni below me and munching on fresh-from-the-oven cookies from a nearby bakery, I had to pinch myself that I’d made it on my own, made it this far, and yet felt right at home. It was peace personified.
3). Afternoon Tea at Kensington Palace
Sometimes there are things you HAVE to do. Stick your hand into the Bocca di Verità in Rome like Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday, take a picture of yourself pushing up the Leaning Tower of Pisa, hug a koala in Australia or toast drunken strangers at Munich’s famed Hofbräuhaus. I’ve done a couple of these myself. But few were as pinch-yourself-inducing as having tea in merry old England. I’ve downed a good scone at some of America’s finest establishments (Tavern on the Green in New York, the Hotel Bel Air in Los Angeles, to name a couple). But none compared to the delicate tea sandwiches, the buttery-browned dough and the fluffy Devonshire cream that I savored on a rainy February afternoon with my mom in London at Kensington Palace’s Orangerie. The moody gray gardens outside, the perfectly English tea inside, I was living one of those must-do moments – and it was totally all I’d hoped it would be.
So there you have it! Did I make you want to travel somewhere yet?? Well anyway…now, the baton goes to the wonderful Jeff at Eurotravelogue! Go, Jeff, go!