I want to write a blog post, as I do think it’s important to try to blog at least once a week if possible – but equally I have NO idea what to blog about!! So I turned to Kezzie’s Blog Every Day in May posts for an idea. There I came across her post “Wanderlust: My A-Z of travel” Which seemed like an interesting idea. I may spread it over two posts however… (Edited to add: no I didn’t. I just kept gong because it was fun!)
A // Age you went on your first international trip?
A good start – I have no idea! We used to go up to Scotland, with Aunty Cyn and Uncle Pat (not real relatives but very close friends of my parents) and I think our first trip abroad was to Brittany, a small town called Trebeurden
Our hotel was on the top of the hill, and every day I would complain about climbing up the hill from the beach. And every day mum and Cynthia would say the same thing “We can leave you here, if you would prefer!”
That was the holiday I made friends with another English girl in the hotel, and we used to run up and down the wide hotel staircase. I was reading “The Happy Orpheline”
That was our first holiday abroad – there were seven of us -and when the waitress brought the cheese platter to our table and left it there we thought it was just for us…so we demolished it completely! When she came to collect it to take it to another table…well, her face was a picture! They never left the cheese platter on our table again!
It was the year my sister cut open a peach – and an earwig crawled out. I think there was probably some squealing involved. Judy, my sister, joined “The Mickey Club” which was a beach club for young people – organised events such as volleyball etc.
Dad and Pat probably played golf..!
I’m guessing I was about 7 or 8, but I’m not sure.
B // Best foreign beer you’ve had and where? Again, no idea! I remember drinking from a litre glass in Cevtat in what-was-then-Yugoslavia, but I don’t know if it was particularly memorable beer! My first taste of Picon beer in a small estaminet in Lille was good.
C // Cuisine. Favourite? Probably south-west France. All that duck and foie gras.
D // Destinations. Favourite and least favourite? Why? France was almost always my holiday destination of choice when we were married and took holidays, and now we live here we don’t seem to go anywhere but back to the UK. I have very fond memories of a holiday taken in Amsterdam, the first year I stopped teaching (2000) which meant we didn’t have to go in school holidays!! Madeira also was beautiful. I’d be very happy to go back to either of those places.
Least favourite? I haven’t really got a least favourite. Thankfully.
E // Event you’ve experienced abroad that made you say “WOW!”? That must be seeing the Niagara Falls. Wonderful.
OR paragliding from the top of Puy de Dome. That made me go “Wow” but also “Bleeugh!” as I vomited at over 1,000 metres. I really hope there was nobody underneath!
F // Favourite mode of transportation? NOT flying. I am really uncomfortable flying. Possibly car, possibly TGV. Yes…TGV I think. For the relaxing way one can travel at 100 kph.
G // Greatest feeling while travelling? The idea of having new experiences, visiting new places, meeing new people.
H // Hottest place you’ve ever travelled to? I don’t do heat very well. I have bad memories of Toronto in summer – trying to go eveywhere in the city via the underground tunnels that criss cross from metro station to metro station, because they were air conditioned! Or walking around the city walls of Dubrovnic in the mid-day sun. That was very hot too. We didn’t want lunch as were so hot, but when we found someone selling slices of water melon we just sat down and devoured slice after slice.
I // Incredible service you’ve experienced and where? I think it was in Austria. I won a ski-ing holiday in Zell am Zee, and the hotel was a 4 star hotel
When the meals came to the table they were covered with large silver cloches, and the waiters would all arrive to remove the covers and reveal the meal with a flourish. It was all done in total seriousness. But thankfully, we have rarely come across poor service – except in Paris.
J // Journey that took the longest? I think it was the journey to Toronto by air. Although the journey from Milton Keynes to Iona by bus, bus, ferry, bus, ferry, and on foot was probably not much shorter…
K // Keepsake from your travels? I have lots of bits and bobs from all over the world all over the house, plus postcards shoved into books which I stumble across later on. The one I can see at the moment is a little Portuguese cockerel:
It is blue-tacked to my computer stand.
L // Let-down sight. Where and why? The let-down site was Paris. We had a miserable day of it when we went one New Year. It poured with rain, the waiter was surly, the onion soup was greasy, the Musée d’Orsay had a queue a mile long to get in, the Jeu de Paume had loaned all its Impressionist paintings to the Musée d’Orsay and we had an argument. Not my favourite place.
M // Moment where you fell in love with travelling? I don’t know. I was never a good car traveller (often sick) so wasn’t ever really keen on the actual travelling side – but I think I have always enjoyed visiting new places
N // Nicest hotel you’ve ever stayed in? We often stayed in gites when Mr FD & I went on holiday, and now we usually go to Chambres d’Hotes. When I was young we stayed mostly in a friend’s appartment in Geneva. So hotels are fairly few and far between…The SalzburgerHof (in Austria, see above) was good, and also the Hotel Aigle Noir in Fontainebleu was very good
That was a bargain New year’s break – the day trip to Paris was a disappointment (see above) but the holiday itself a great success.
O // Obsession. What are you obsessed with taking photos of while travelling? I’m not. I used to be, but now I generally don’t bother. I take the odd snap from time to time, but it’s not an obsession. I prefer my memories – and postcards. I do still buy quite a lot of postcards.
P // Passport stamps. How many and from where? None.
Q // Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where? I guess that the Chaos of Montpellier-le-Vieux was a bit odd. In the Cervennes area of France there are quite a lot of these Chaoses -natural limestone structures.
Or there was the Llama Farm in the Gorges du Verdon where there was The Man Who Loved His Llamas Too Much.
R // Really frightening. One place you’ve visited where you felt unsafe or uneasy? I think it might have been travelling by bus in the Dubrovnik area – the bus driver was a bit bonkers, with quite a lot of overtaking on blind bends with almighty drops into yawning chasms on one side of the road. I wasn’t sure if it was better to close my eyes and imagine what was happening or keep them open to find out!
S // Splurge. Something you have no problem spending money on while travelling? Food, I suspect.
T // Touristy thing you’ve done? Too many to mention – but why not?! They only become touristy because they are fun/ interesting/ breath-taking. Going on The Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls was touristy, yes, but fabulous!
U // Unforgettable travel memory? I have many, many memories of so many different holidays. I don’t want to forget any of them. Big ones, like the Maid of the Mist, and going up the CN Tower in Toronto…to smaller, more personal ones like meeting René the Facteur when I was 16 in Tauxigny France…to Glynn’s appartment in Geneva…the sugar brioches from Zogg the Baker (the only French bread I would eat for many a long year)… refusing to eat the trout that I had picked out from the tank in a restaurant “I condemned it to die!” (I was still quite young!)…hiding the giant Tropezienne doughnuts we were eating as mum and dad went past on Le Petit Train de St Malo (we were not quite young. We were about 29!)…Our honeymoon in a North Welsh village where the evening entertainment was in the pub down the road: “Beryl on the Organ”…I think about a holiday and little inconsequential memories come flooding back.
Source I’m pretty sure that this is a photo of the hotel we were staying in when I met René the PTT man in the bar (It was our last night in the hotel, when this good looking young man started to chat me up! That is where I learned the phrase “Quel dommage (What a pity)”. It wasn’t called Le Soleil Levant then, but I remember the ivy, the double front. We used to sit outside in the afternoon sunshine playing cribbage.
V // Visas. How many and for where? None – unless we needed them for Canada. Which I don’t think we did.
W // Wine. Best glass while travelling? No idea! I like my wine, but I’m no conoisseur! However, we were members of 3-D Wines for about 5 years, so we often got the chance to try good wines, as we would go to collect them at the vineyards. There would always be something unique about the wines for 3D members. I remember tasting “our” wine in a vineyard and there were some other people there too. They tasted the wine, and said “Oh yes, we’d like some of that”. We felt very special when the winemaker said “I’m sorry, only the priveleged few can buy this”!
I would say that if you’re looking for a gift for a person who likes wine – and who likes travel too, as it’s a good excuse to travel to the vineyard to taste & collect the wine! -this is a good thing. I gave it to Mr FD for his 40th birthday and we only let our membership lapse when we moved to France.
X // excellent view and where from? Too many…too many!
Y // Years spent travelling? PProbably from when I was not much more than a babe-in-arms. We certainly used to go to visit Pat and Cynthia in Southampton before I can remember, so I would say 54 years or so!
Z // Zealous sports fans and where? Me – you must be joking! Mr FD – cycling, cycling, cycling! It is rare now that there isn’t a bike ride involved somewhere on a holiday! Usually up hills.
Mr FD reaching the top of Mont Ventoux in May 2013
At the top with Louis, his cycling buddy.
Thank you, Kezzie for the inspiration. That was fun!