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Uplifting trips

Ok, so this whole thing is getting very gloomy and the 24 hour news media is not helping.
So I propose that we make a couple topics to lift the spirits a bit.

How about your favorite or most memorable day of travels?

I Will add my as a reply below

Posted by
328 posts

So I have two (I started it so I can cheat :) )

My first trip in recent time was in 2017. It was a trip to England. A location I had never been befor but always wanted to go to.
So my father and I landed on a Saturday morning in the fall. And we had had a good tail wind so we got in early. Then because was not sure how my dads knees would be after siting in cattle class I had a chair waiting for him. That got us to the very front of the line. Add in that they extra time I built in was not needed as everything from Airport to Hotel just worked. It was amazing
So we are at the hotel a good 2 hours ahead of schedule.
After dropping our bags (to early to check in) we walked to the Tube and headed towards Tower Bridge. However the line we were in had TWO different trains going two different directions (the line split I guess) and we grabbed the wrong one not knowing better. But even that was fine as I noticed right off from reading the maps in the car and we got off at the next station that had both and grabbed the right train.
So soon we are walking along the embankment of the Thames and as we round a building the Tower Bridge pops into view. I will remember that until my dieing day.
At the airport standing in line to clear our entrance not England I was so excited that I was bouncing on my toes! And once we got up to Tower Bridge a structure I have wanted to see my whole life I was again bouncing on my toes! A soundtrack in my head was play. “I can’t believe I am actually HERE! We are here we are HERE!” Over and over again.
Spent the rest of the day just walking around had lunch at my first “pub” then more walking and visiting a market then having an early dinner and off to bed.
It was to the day the best day in my life. Because I had finally made it. Even my first view of the Eiffel Tower is only second (and that was the other structure have lived my whole life)

Posted by
1827 posts

I have several and most of them involve travels to Europe with my children and grandchildren. The most recent, just last summer, was the RS Paris tour+extra days-just my two oldest grand girls and me. They are 17and 18 years old. Gosh, what a terrific time we three had together!

Posted by
328 posts

Now for my second memorable day...
My father was born and raised in Hamburg Germany and as a little kid he spent a LOT of time with his Aunt out in the country as it was saying and less likely to have a bomb dropped on his head.
A couple years after the war he and his parents moved to the US but his Aunt (and her Husband and baby daughter) stayed behind.
Over the years they lost track of each other.
Then in the late 70s when my older siblings had moved out my dad could afford a trip for the 5 of us (mom, dad and two moof my siblings) to go to Europe for 3 weeks or so, this was my first trip to Europe. And I remember everyone dressing up in suits and dress cloths to get on the airplane.

After we had been in Germany a few days we found ourselves traveling down these little back country roads barely big enough for two cars to pass a very slow speed. With fruit trees on either side. Through farmers fields to this little town of a couple dozen buildings. At an oddly shaped intersection. The only buisness was a little hotel that had a sort of bar /store on the lower level (that we would buy out all the soda pop fro in two days time).
Across the corner from the “hotel” was a little old two story house with a small shed out the back. and a driveway to the side that lead into a fenced area.
Parking in the driveway my father gets out of our rental van pulling me with him and leaving everyone else in the van,
We go up to the door and my dad rings the door bell holding me in front of him with his hands aunt my shoulders.
A little old plump germany woman answers the door looking like something it of central casting.
Her grey here pulled back into some sort of hair style halfway between a bun and a ponytail. Whipping her hands on a dish towel.
My father calls her by her name in German. And I see a questioning look on her face.. then she looks down at me (unbeknownst to me I was the age my dad was when he started spending summers with her) and back to my father. He reached up and gently touched my father cheek.calling him by his german nick name that back home only my grandmother (her sister) every called him.
The next thing I know this little lady (only a bit taller then me at that age but out weighing me three to one) rushes forward embrace her nephew. The boy she raised and had not seen in 30 years and had last seen when he was 18 or so).

Fortunately I got the heck out of the way or that lady would have squished me like a bug!
We spent three nights and 4 days with her. And every time she got within arms reach I would find myself enclosed in her embrace. Undoubtedly she was holding me but remembering all those times she had held my father the same way,
We would leave later that week And while my father and I would return to that little community (my father a couple times) we would never see her again as her heart gave out only a couple years later
We would see amazing sites in Germany and Austria on that, my first visit to Europe but looking back on this from over 40 years away I would have to say it was the high lite of the trip and I was to young to understand it at the time.
It was an amazing moment that can never be again.

But that wAs my first trip to Europe. And one of the three best days I have ever had in my life ((seeing the Eiffel Tower and Tower Bridge for the first times being the other two.
So add your favorite day (or days) As if we can’t travel to take our minds away in real physical life we can at least join you on these trips and perhaps for just a moment forget about all the worries and immerse ourself into those joyous moments of other

Posted by
328 posts

Please not you don’t have to be as long winded as I am... :)

Posted by
64 posts

The ski lift ride up the mountain at Glencoe Mountain Resort in Glencoe Village, Scotland last summer. No snow in July, but it was cold and very foggy. That was when the majestic beauty of the Scottish Highlands hit me, seeing it from high up. I love heights and I kept wishing we could go higher, like how the birds see it. Like soaring thru the clouds.

Afterwards we had soup and sandwiches at the resort cafe. It probably wasn’t all that great but I remember it tasted delicious.

Not the most memorable trip but one of many that stood out.

Posted by
5149 posts

Lucky to have experienced a number a favorite travel moments. In no particular order on this self quarantined first day of Spring 2020:

On a November day I parked at the Kate’s cottage and started up the Gap of Dunloe on foot. Dark black clouds loomed on the far horizon but above me were clear blue skies. The foliage on the hillsides in hues of gold, green, red and brown glimmered in the sunshine. What I experienced overwhelmed my senses. Only few lorries, 1 trap and 2 other hikers disturbed my serenity. The Gap of Dunloe was mine!
I was gleeful.

Via my RS Florence tour it was getting to view David before the hordes. The moment I turned right through the door and saw David at the end of the hallway....still gives me chills! Such an incredible masterpiece and having a young art historian there to answer questions and provide context. Excellent travel memory!

One Christmas season in London I tagged along with a friend who was having a meeting and instead of being a 3rd wheel chose to walk a few blocks away to Victoria Park. There was a children’s soccer match
taking place. I wandered over to watch. It was raining a bit. All of a sudden I heard someone yell “here they come!” I turned around to see hundreds of Santa’s running my way. Who knew about Santa Runs?!?! Still makes me smile thinking how happy this surprise made me.

Standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial attending Obama’s first inaugural. The energy and excitement in the massive crowd was palpable.

1969 Seeing the USS Arizona for the first time. Distinctly remember the stillness of the water and reverence of the few of us who were there.

On my first visit to NYCs Broadway getting to see Richard Burton in Camelot . The man could not sing but what a voice and presence!

Seeing and touring Newgrange.

Visiting and camping out in Chaco Canyon in New Mexico.

Walking solo in the Bisti Badlands.

Hiking to the top Yosemite Falls.

Lastly, on a cloudy day as I flew from London to Dublin peering from my window seat to get my first glimpse of Ireland. There was a break in the cloud cover and I uttered “ expletive “ it really is that green!” I’m grinning as I type this.

Posted by
20 posts

Walking into a Lutheran church in Dinklesbuhl Germany, knowing that my ancestors had probably worshipped there 500 years prior, gave me goosebumps. Walking around and sitting in the pews made me feel closer to them.

On our trip to England/Scotland and Ireland, I had located a castle ruin that has connection to my family. The day finally arrived when we got to see it. It was raining and windy, but getting out of the car and starting down the trail to the castle, it was incredible. Then, talking with the woman who sold the tickets, she is from the Elliott clan. I am from the Armstrong clan. They were bitter enemies until the clans were united by marriage. We got a good laugh about that.

The same trip, my husband met a cousin in England that he had no prior knowledge of. We still keep in touch to this day.

On our first trip to Europe, we stayed in London. When my husband and I walked around an ancient Roman wall, looked up and there was the Tower Bridge.

When I finally saw the Eiffel Tower in person, it makes me smile to remember the day. Remembering these, makes me smile.

Posted by
10651 posts

I went to hear the Budapest Klezmer Band at an outdoor venue in Buda. Before the performance begins this sweet old white haired woman sitting next to me begins talking with me. She was a Jewish holcaust survivor who ended up living in South Africa and this was her first trip back since the end of the war. As the seats began to fill up, she looked around and asked me, "did you ever think you would see so many Jews in one place". I guess there are few in South Africa and she was feeling something special ... so she thought. I had to ask, "how do you know? what do Jews look like". Of course I said it with a smile. She laughed and she said they are tall, white hair, beard, gentle smile .... she was trying to describe me. I held her hand and said, then Jews look just like Baptists. I had a lovely evening beside that sweet woman.

Posted by
7625 posts

In Sept. 2018, I got on the ICE train in Frankfurt going to Paris at 06:00, then switched to a train going to Bayonne. There, I met up with a guy that took me to the prom when I was a junior. He was our French exchange student in 1972. We have been friends on FB for quite a few years now. He picked me up at the station, we went sightseeing along the coast and caught up on all the years. The next day, he drove me to St. Jean Pied de Port where I was to begin my next Camino. We walked around the village, I picked up my Pilgrim pass, got it stamped, went to the church there and checked into my Albergue. Here, I met new friends that would walk over the Pyrenees with me the next 2 days and would continue to walk with me for another week or so until I broke my wrist and flew home.

Walking over the Pyrenees was so awe-inspiring and one of the coolest things I have done in my life. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
I had hoped to head back to Burgos and finish my Camino in Oct. but that is put on the back burner until next year. (hopefully)

Posted by
40 posts

My father always carried 3 hankies. He would say "one to blow, one to show, one to share." When he died, there were a lot of handkerchiefs to be had! I took many, and keep one with me. Always.

One day when in Prague, my husband and I were walking down the path from the castle. I was thinking how much my dad would have loved visiting there. It was dusk, and not many people around. I saw something on the pavement. A perfectly folded, pressed (clean!) plaid handkerchief. I picked it up and knew my dad was there.

On a hike in New Zealand, the same thing happened. I could understand on a tourist path, but out on a hiking path? This time the hankie was perfectly white, folded and pressed.

Posted by
40 posts

And one more. Me and my husband spent a day in Asissi. What a beautiful town. We were hanging out with a great view of the front of the Basillica. There I spy with my little eye a friar in a brown robe with a white rope belt and ORANGE CROCS! I could not stop laughing.

I gain my composure, and we make our way into the basillica. It's magical. I remark how we should have looked at a schedule to be there when a choir was performing. And within a few minutes, we hear the first few notes of Ave Maria being sung a capella. We scurry in the direction of these angelic voices and find a small group of singers who decided to take advantage of the space and simply sing. It gave me goosebumps, and to this day when I hear that song I'm transported to that magical moment. And then I smile when I think about the crocs.

Posted by
4048 posts

I can't pick one day, but here are some of my favorites:

1) March 1981, while visiting London, visiting Westminister Abbey and then Parliament, I had a chance to see the House of Commons in session. It was Question Time and Margaret Thatcher was responding. I didn't want to leave.
2) December 1985 visiting Jerusalem, one of the most amazing cities in the World.
3) Visiting the small village in Cardiganshire, Wales in 2017 where my paternal ancestors came from in 1716,
4) Standing on the Great Wall of China, September 2012.
5) Going around Cape Horn on a cruise boat in January 2014

Posted by
891 posts

Douglas, your question has been consuming my free time since you posted it, I've wanted to answer but as I go through my memories everything I think of seems to be a private or personal memory that is probably of no interest to anybody but me. I think of seeing Elizabeth 1's tomb in Westminster Abbey, or climbing up a turret at Warwick Castle, or the prison cell in Isle Ste Marguerite where the real man in the iron mask was reportedly held, or the roman numerals outside of each entrance to the Colosseum just like you'd see in modern stadiums. It's small details that trigger memories that seems to fascinate me. I'll be honest, if you twist my arm and force an answer out of me, it will be a Disney memory. In 2001 when my daughter was 3 we went to a Winnie the Pooh breakfast at Disney World and she squealed with excitement when Pooh Bear snuck up behind her and kissed her on the head. What I saw in her then is the same enthusiasm that I have when visiting new sites. For the record though, I've so far refrained from squealing like a 3 year old girl.

Posted by
1397 posts

Debbie, i had goosebumps reading your stories. Little signs like that ate truly magical and appear when you least expect them.

Posted by
7537 posts

Debbie's story reminds me of a similar experience. In 2016 we spent a week in a nice small Austrian town about 70km south of Salzburg. We had car and one day we drove into Salzburg. We had been there on day trips during 2 other trips. I had always told myself that if I ever went there again I wanted to take a Sound of Music tour. That movie was a favorite of mine and my sister. She passed away in 2015, just 5 months before this. In 2006 we were in Salzburg together and saw many of the places we were familiar with in the movie. My husband and I (he's a good sport!) made reservations for a Bob's SOM tour for a couple of days later. We decided to take the train to Salzburg this time. I was looking out the window from the train admiring the scenery. We went past a bridge high above. The pillars had a lot of graffiti, as you often see in Europe. All except one. It had only one thing. It said ANGE. That's what my sister called me. I thought I must have imagined it. We had an excellent day doing the tour. On the train going back I stared out of the window, hoping to see that pillar. Yes, it was there! ANGE! I truly felt her presence with me that day, which made it extra special for me.

Posted by
328 posts

Personal stories.are fine (my second one was) as that is how we relate to things. If it is not somehow personal then it is just a list of generic places we have been.
The interesting part (at least to me) is WHY is that day special to you.

Posted by
195 posts

Here are a couple old ones and one more recent. First was visiting the then Soviet Union after studying the language in school for 6 years with classmates. I had dreamed of seeing St. Basil's Cathedral, and stood in Red Square, crying, when it actually happened. Unfortunately, due to preparations for the Summer Olympics (1980), the inside was being renovated so didn't get to see that.

Summer of 1990, my father and I visited my grandmother - father grew up in a small village outside of Hamburg, Germany. She had heard all sorts of talk about how 'awful' the eastern portion was (now that borders were open), and was curious, but none of the local relatives had thought to take her (her village was near that past border). We took a day driving around and she was so tickled (and it was a lovely day).

A few years ago when we visited Florence, we were wandering the first night to walk off dinner. Ended up at the Duomo and were amazed how the marble of the buildings just glowed, even more spectacular than during the day. On the way back, we came across a crowd and some amazing musicians on Piazza della Repubblica, the energy was electric. Neither of those events were planned, but stand out from the trip.

Posted by
1888 posts

I will add in several.

In 1957-1962, we lived in Frankfurt aM. My dad taught in the American High School. I was 5-10. My mom's second cousin lived there, and we spent quite a bit of time with him. In 2014, we returned, and saw him again. He and his wife (also my mom's second cousin - complicated story) put us up for 3 nights, and took us around to see the best of Frankfurt, a city in Germany which is underappreciated. We had the apfelzaft, we had the Grune Sauce on the kartofellen, and we went to the parts of Frankfurt with Germans and no foreign tourists.

Posted by
1888 posts

Story 2: In 2011, we took our 3 adult children to Europe. We visited Vienna, Budapest, Zagreb, Split, Ljubljana, Salzburg country, and back to Vienna. It was a grand trip. Some driving, not too much. The best parts: the heurigeren in Vienna (wine taverns), the Monument Park in Budapest, seeing my grandmother's church in Budapest, visiting Zagreb, seeing Split, Ljubljana (another underappreciated city), Mauthausen Work Camp, and back to Vienna.

Plitvice Lake was the highlight of the trip. In 2011, it was not as crazy as it is today. Stunning when you first get there. Simply sensory overload with the green, the waterfalls, the lakes.

Split was great, although driving in it was a real challenge.

Mauthausen Camp was something that everyone should do. Never forget.

Posted by
1888 posts

Story 3: We visited Department Finisterre in France, in Bretagne. Our au pair from 1992 in USA lives there, and she arranged for an inexpensive room in a small hotel in a small town near Quimper. The breakfast was amazing - a wonderful croissant, with other breads, with amazing coffee. We stayed 4 nights, and our au pair hosted us in her house with her 3 daughters and husband. They were so charming and friendly, and took us around to the wonderful Finisterre area. It's a part of France which is not well known to tourists, and we saw very few (aside from day-tripping Brits). We saw the lovely seaside villages, the charming religious statues in the churchyards, and had a wonderful anniversary dinner in our hotel. The Finisterre is a charming rural part of Bretagne.

Posted by
891 posts

Is it just the timing or is it odd that a post like this trying to be positive has so few replies but that post a few weeks ago inviting us to complain about bad RS advice had replies in the triple digits?

Posted by
891 posts

Personal stories.are fine (my second one was) as that is how we relate
to things. If it is not somehow personal then it is just a list of
generic places we have been. The interesting part (at least to me) is
WHY is that day special to you.

In a previous post I hadn't gone into detail because I thought some of my favourite moments were personal and probably of no interest to anyone but me. But because of what Douglas wrote, I guess I will go into detail and let others judge if it's of no interest to anybody to me;

Elizabeth 1st tomb in Westminster Abbey. I'm a big reader of historical fiction and a couple of books by Edward Rutherfurd and Bernard Cornwell featured the times around Elizabeth. I became fascinated with her and started researching more to separate fact from fiction and so when I saw her tomb, it just made the experience more memorable.

Man in the Iron Mask prison cell. Another historical fiction reference to the reportedly real man in the Iron Mask and his reportedly real prison cell. The cell with a view is larger and nicer than some apartments we've stayed in. It's notable because in his guidebook, Rick dismisses Cannes as being a minor destination at best, but I talk about my day in Cannes quite a bit on this forum and to friends.

Climbing a turret at Warwick Castle. I've loved castles since I was a boy-I remember a children's show in the late 60's/early 70's called The Friendly Giant that was set in a castle with a drawbridge and that's where I think my infatuation started. To see a stereotypical castle with the turrets turned me into an 8 year old boy that day and I couldn't get enough.

Roman Numerals above the entrances to the Colosseum. I'm a big sports fan and I was fascinated how modern stadiums still take some of their ideas from the Roman Age. Those Roman Numerals were gate numbers and when someone showed up with a ticket it told them gate# to enter by. I can't recall now if row and seat numbers would also be reserved.

Posted by
328 posts

Man I loved the Friendly Giant... brings back memories,
As for the Man in the Iron mask cell I have NEVER read about that. I would have stopped when I was in the south if France. Oh well.

As for going into detail. Well we are basicly living vicariously though others at this point so.

And it IS sad that we can hit huge numbers when complaining about something but something trying to see a sunny spot in all these rain clouds that we are having does not get much response, I mean I am sure we all have one of those moments on a trip (well maybe not the brand new folks still planning trip #1 but the rest of us should.

Perhaps it is the current situation which is ramping up to turn into “World War Covid} is just to much of a downer. But I hope not as we need places like this to escape for a bit. As the contestant doom and gloom will have really bad effects on the mental state of the world if we can’t find a brute spot.

Today is my birthday and I had planned a road trip (as I often do) with my father who is my traveling partner. He is very ill and can only go anywhere for a day or two and I figured this was probably going to be our last trip together (and Covid isn’t make his chances any better) but obviously that fell though so I really need a spot of sunshine right now. And I am sure other do as well.

So try to think back to those special moments and share them. You never know whose day you make bring a little sunshine into.

Posted by
295 posts

Here's just a few of mine -
2008 - Berlin - visiting the Holocaust Memorial and the museum next to it. Reading the stories of the families was extremely emotional. Also my first trip to Europe.
2014 - Rome - my first glimpse of the Colosseum upon emerging from the metro station, I was actually stunned motionless for a moment.
2015 - Madrid and Dublin - my first and only Europe trip with my mom. Attending a Flamenco performance and visiting Newgrange in Ireland.
2017 - Edinburgh - visiting Holyrood Castle as I'm very interested in Mary Queen of Scots.
2018 - Florence - been there before, but this was my first solo trip to Europe, and I saw so much Michelangelo art.

This is a great thread, thanks for starting it!

Posted by
7537 posts

Happy Birthday, Douglas! I'm sorry to hear you missed your road trip with your dad. I wish you both well and hope that looking back on your adventures with him can be a substitute, albeit a poor one. What I wouldn't give to have had a single adventure with my mother!

Posted by
1494 posts

1984-first trip to Europe and I got pickpocketed standing outside Westminister Abbey ( there was a large crowd) waiting for Prince Charles to come out. Well, I caught the kid and the bobbies came over and I went down to the police station where I was treated like a hero because the police said they rarely catch these thieves. During all this, I missed seeing Prince Charles exit the abbey, but later after I returned home the police sent me a picture of Prince Charles exiting the abbey.
2016-My oldest daughter cried as we left our guide in S. Africa, she didn’t want to leave.
2017-Discovering Irish music on my first trip to Ireland (we were on a music tour) I discovered so many fantastic artists I had never heard of before. I have a lot of Irish blood, so the music just feels like home to me.
2019-Seeing the Acropolis from the rooftop restaurant at our hotel on our first RS tour in Greece. My wow moment, pinch me, I can’t believe I get to sit here with a glass of wine, some yummy snacks and watch as it got dark and the lights lit up the Acropolis.

Posted by
608 posts

Like Claudia, that moment in Florence when I rounded the corner and saw David. I was not expecting the impact.

When I was in about 5th grade I remember reading a biography of El Greco and something about the story stayed in my imagination. But I had never seen any of his painting in person. So when I had 2 hrs in the Prado a couple of years ago, I headed straight for the Spanish Masters - and felt like I was spending time with an old friend.

Posted by
32 posts

Here’s mine.
Long before we made our first trip to Europe, I had read Brunelleschi’s Dome. I vowed then that seeing the Dome would top the list on our first trip to Europe. It took our breath away, including the climb to the top!
We love mountains. We have enjoyed day hikes in the Dolomites, the French Pyrenees, drove through the Julian Alps, etc. — all offered amazing, incredible mountain scenery but none moved me to tears than when we arrived in Paradise (WA) where we stood in awe of Mt. Rainier. It was surreal.
We also like churches, abbeys, monasteries,etc and we’ve seen many that are truly magnificent. However, Melk Abbey church gave me goose bumps. It is the most beautiful, most ornate Baroque church we’ve ever seen.
It is not allowed to go in the Theological Hall (Library) in the Strahov Monastery but from what we could see from the small opening, its high, frescoed ceiling and masterfully carved walnut shelves were stunning.

Posted by
568 posts

Well, some of my favorite travel memories are of iconic places that everyone visits. I can honestly say I have not been disappointed in any place we have visited, and have been pleasantly surprised by a few. So I will mention some favorite places/memories here:

2012 - our first visit to Paris. Oh, what a gorgeous city! It was everything and more I hoped it would be. A highlight was watching the Eiffel Tower light up at night while having a picnic on the grounds below. Just magical! Another highlight was climbing to the top of the Notre Dame tower and seeing the gargoyles up close and personal, along with stunning views of Paris.

2013 - Our oldest daughter lives in Provence with her French husband so we have visited many times. During a trip in 2013, we visited Cassis. Then we attempted to drive the road on the cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean (Route des Cretes). We stopped at the first lookout point to take some photos. OMG!!! I couldn't make my way around the car door because the winds were so strong! My daughter and husband crawled on the ground to a spot where they could take some photos, and then crawled back. Then we proceeded to drive further up (how stupid of us), but the police came and told us to turn around because they were closing the road. It was too dangerous because of the winds!

2017 - Andalucia, Spain. I have wanted to visit Andalucia for years and years, and we finally went in September 2017. I loved everything we saw! The highlight for me, no surprise, I am sure, is the Alhambra! I couldn't believe I was actually there. It is beautiful and awesome and one of the most remarkable places I have seen. And the Alcazar in Sevilla!!! Just as stunning as the Alhambra, a very close second for me.

2018 - Lisbon, Portugal - we loved everything about Lisbon, but I think our favorite day was the day we spent visiting the Sao Jorge castle, and then slowly wandering through the Alfama. I had read the Alfama is very touristy, but to our surprise, that is really not true. Yes, there are gift shops & cafes close to the castle, but once you get away from the castle, it was not crowded or touristy at all. We loved the narrow up and down streets and alleyways, the stairs, clothes hanging from balconies, open windows with music playing. We sort of followed Rick's walking tour of the Alfama, got lost quite a bit, but it was fun!

And a more recent memory in September 2019 when we visited Croatia and Slovenia: We rent a car for a day while staying in Ljubljana to drive to Lake Bled. We followed the route that Andrew Hall on this forum recommended. The route took us through Skofia Loka, Jamnik and Kropa, to name a few. We drove through spectacular scenery with mountains, valleys, small villages, churches, and grazing sheep, cows and horses. And everything was so green! Lots of switchbacks! I kept saying WOW at every turn!

Posted by
568 posts

Just want to add that I enjoy reading everyone's stories. And we definitely need something uplifting during these trying times. While I want to stay informed, it is depressing after awhile reading about illness, death, ventilators, cancelled trips, losing money, etc.
Thank you, Douglas, for starting this thread!

Posted by
328 posts

That was very simply my point.
Stay informed but don’t dwell as that will just cause depression (to one degree or another)
So we all need distractions

Posted by
762 posts

I will chime in I have two but will do this one first. Background... my 2nd great grandfather came from Scotland (the Shetland islands) with his mom and sister as a young fella. He ended up here in the US founding Inkster Michigan, owning a lumber mill, becoming a postmaster general..... well my grandfather made a genealogy of my ancestors. Wish I was more interested as a kid like I am now. I got my travel bug from my grandfather. He visited the Shetlands when he was stationed in The Hague while he worked for shell oil co. ( that’s my second story) .. ok in 2010, my sister and my dads 1st cousin and I went to visit Shetland during their Hamerfarin event. My dad at the time was transitioning from walker to wheel chair due to Parkinson’s disease. He wanted to go so bad with us. Wish his health allowed it but it did not happen. But anyway... we flew to Aberdeen Scotland and took the overnight ferry to Lerwick . Rented a car, rented a self catering cottage. Went to the genealogy center to look up ancestors. Drove all over beautiful island. Met 5th cousins and family who still live there. Stayed in West Burra island. Just thinking that this island is where my 2g grandfathers and others lived and worked the land, commercial fishing. I was awe struck knowing this is home of my ancestors.

I may have a possible Scotland trip to the Hebrides in 2021 and May try to talk my husband to go back there with me next summer. Such beautiful country and great people


Posted by
762 posts

Then my second trip kinda relates to the other one. As I mentioned in previous post... my grandfather worked at shell oil co. He was sent to den hague in early 60’s . The summer I turned 4 yr old, my grandparents paid for my family to come for the summer. I don’t remember much of this summer vacation. Fast forward to April 2016, hubs and I took RS Belgium and holland tour. While we had a free day/afternoon, we took the tram to den Hague. We found the house that my grandparents lived there, where we visited. Some of my memories came flooding back, I actually have a few pics out front of the house when I was 4 with my dad. Took the same location and they are the same. I knocked on the door but the residents were not at home. It sure would have been cool to see the inside of the house.

So those are my two special Europe trips


Posted by
568 posts

Kim, it is so nice to read about your touching family story.

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One of my most memorable days of travel was when I went to Paris as a college student. I was studying abroad in Scotland so my friends and I bought a cheap flight to Paris along with a cheap youth hostel far from the city center. The first day was great and we loved using the public transportation. The next day, there was a transportation worker strike which we did not know about. We started that day by trying to use the metro. We walked down the stairs to find a gate blocking the entrance. While we were down by the gate, we heard someone yelling at us in French. I studied French for two years in college, but I was far from fluent. We walked up the stairs to find an elderly couple trying to help us. They walked with us to the next metro station hoping that it would be running. It was also shut down. They continued walking us towards the city center until they found their friend who was giving them a ride. They gave us instructions on how to get to the Louvre in French which I barely understood, and asked me if we would be ok. Two hours later we finally made it to the Louvre. They were so incredibly kind and helpful. I will never forget that.

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I have always had a bit of a love affair with architecture. I fell in love with Neuschwanstien when I was about 8 or so on my first trip to Europe.

So in late summer 2018 my father and I took a trip to Europe. As he had just had a knee replacement we decided to go to Switzerland and Germany mostly as we could drive around and minimize his walking. We went and visited his cousin. She lives in the same house his Aunt from my above story lived in. The house has been in the family for over 100 years.
So we repeated the previous story. Parked in the driveway and the two of us approached the house. His cousin answered the door looking very much like a slightly thinner version of her mother. So we spent the afternoon talking with them.

The highlight if that trip for me however happened a couple days earlier. I splurged on a hotel and stayed at the foot of the mountain Neuschwanstien sits on. Our hotel room had a huge balcony with a table and chairs. So we arrived in the late afternoon. Walked around town a bit. Stopped and had dinner. Then continued walking a bit more.
Then we returned to our hotel. Ordered desert/room service and sat on our huge balcony and just enjoyed the amazing view of Neuschwanstien. I have a photo of my dad sitting on the balcony with our desert on the table in front of him and the castle clearly visible over his shoulder. That will be a memory that I will cherish as long as I live.