Zhu from Correr Es Mi Destino recently tagged me to take part in the ABCs of Travel (thank you!), so let me take you around the world and share with you some of my favourite experiences!
A: Age you went on your first international trip:
Peru at 6 months is a bit of a cheat, so I’ll go with my first international trip with no parents which was to California at 18. No Rodeo Drive for me; I spent a month volunteering in a community that was so shady I wasn’t allowed to walk around outside after sunset.
B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where:
Quilmes in Argentina, but I may be biased…
C: Cuisine (favorite):
Thai, hands down! Closely followed by Japanese and Greek.
D: Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why:
I’ll go with Barcelona for architecture, Buenos Aires for its cafes and bookshops, and Rio de Janeiro for its beach culture.
Nothing against Switzerland, but I got bored in Zurich. Everything was too clean, safe and organized for my liking. I prefer places with a dash of
E: Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow”:
Going to Rio de Janeiro’s favelas on a Saturday night to experience real samba! It’s not your average tourist outing, but I am so thankful to my local friends for taking me there. The music was intoxicating! Muito obrigada.
F: Favorite mode of transportation:
Airplane. I used to think of train travel as a romantic way to see the country; then I spent 27 hours on a train bound for Eastern Canada… I’d rather fly to my destination and spend the extra time discovering the place. (Except for when I take the Trans-Siberian!)
G: Greatest feeling while traveling:
Setting foot in places that have endured the test of time, places that saw great revolutions, and that birthed some of the greatest literary minds. Standing in a place and being aware of its history is one of the greatest feelings when travelling.
H: Hottest place you’ve traveled to:
Havana, Cuba in the summertime. Talk about your clothes being drenched in sweat!
I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where:
Again, Cuba. They look after you so well, it almost feels wrong to get so much attention.
J: Journey that took the longest:
Toronto to Buenos Aires. I missed my connecting flight and the journey became Toronto –> Miami –> Santiago de Chile –> Buenos Aires. Needless to say there was no luggage waiting for me at the end of that journey.
K: Keepsake from your travels:
Postcards and flag stickers for my luggage.
L: Let-down sight, why and where:
The Mona Lisa in the Louvre. I was disappointed by its size and the large crowd of tourists huddled around trying to snap a shot through the case. There were far grander works of art just across from her.
M: Moment where you fell in love with travel:
I’m pretty sure this love of travel was passed down my bloodline…
N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in:
Hotel? Pshaw, I can’t afford a nice hotel. But I did once stay in a beautiful hostel – Lisb’on Hostel – which looked more like a boutique hotel. And the views from the outdoor terrace were magnificent! (The only downside was that I never managed to get hot water the whole time I was there…)
O: Obsession—what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?:
Architecture. (The Jeronimos Monastery was breathtaking!)
P: Passport stamps, how many and from where?
My current passport has stamps for Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Switzerland, England, Portugal, India and the US.
Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where:
Did you know that Bolivia has a statue of Jesus that is bigger than the one in Rio de Janeiro? It’s certainly not as famous, but you can climb inside the statue and look down on the city below from Jesus’ armpits and other peepholes located around his body. Now that’s quirky!
R: Recommended sight, event or experience:
New Years Eve in Rio de Janeiro! During my last New Years there Paul van Dyk played on the beach for a crowd of tens of thousands – it was unbelievable.
S: Splurge; something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling:
FOOD! I like to eat well and often.
T: Touristy thing you’ve done:
I tend to go for the hop-on-hop-off bus tours. I’ve taken them in New York City, Barcelona and Lisbon. Some are valid for several days so it’s a great way to see the city and make it to all the main attractions.
U: Unforgettable travel memory:
Coming around the bend and seeing Machu Picchu for the very first time! No shot from the National Geographic compares to what it’s like seeing it for yourself.
V: Visas, how many and for where?
Most countries I’ve visited haven’t required visas, so I only hold two: Brazil and India.
W: Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where?
Sadly, my taste buds have not yet developed an appreciation for wine… I did go on a wine tasting tour in Salta, Argentina but I can’t say I loved it. I preferred the goat cheese they served on the side…
X: eXcellent view and from where?:
Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
Y: Years spent traveling?:
Z: Zealous sports fans and where?:
Germany during the 2006 FIFA World Cup was insane! I’d love to be in Brazil for 2014 – cheering for Argentina, that is.