It’s hard for me to write about Greece because I so want to return. My trip to Greece felt like a dream. Such a short stay and so much to absorb. Just from the history one brings along from our pre-teen classrooms, to the desire to hopscotch to every single tiny island in the Aegean Sea, Greece has much to offer to all of us.
We were so lucky to be able to stay right across from the Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens. close to the Parthenon, the Theater of Dyonysus, the museums, restaurants, shopping, at the center of it all. Such a short stay! (Did I already say that?)
One thing that surprised me was the subway. Yes! The subway! When you travel by subway you find mini-museum displays in many stations. You see, while building the subway for the Olympics held in Athens in 2004, authorities found so many relics during the excavations they put them on display in beautiful cases at many of the downtown subway stations.
I visited a couple of islands on a one-day stint. I fell in love with them, since then wondering what it would be like to live on one forever or for a few months. Then I saw the movie Mama-Mia and I can see how interesting that could be! But notwithstanding being a boring tourist to the locals, I tried to absorb as much as I could. I do plan to go back someday, the issue will be which island do I pick.
Traveling can become addictive. Great if you can support an addiction like this, to have the financial means and the freedom of schedule to indulge is such pleasures. However, that has not been the case for me. I have traveled more than most people I know, perhaps, but it has always been in pursuit of other endeavors and not travel in itself as an experience. At this opportunity I will recount some places I’ve been and what each has meant to me. Many of these I have not only traveled to, but also lived in.
A country I love and have lived in. I could tell you where the most dramatic and attractive tourist traps are, or where some of its jewels are hidden. It would take hundreds of blog posts to cover its magic, intricacies, beauty, history, hospitality and geography. This country and its people will captivate you. I promise, it won’t disappoint.
Most of my early childhood memories are set in Dominican Republic. As a little girl I grew up in Santiago de los 30 Caballeros (yes, that is its official name). Some decades ago it was a city of less than a million people, now its urban limits have expanded engulfing the small quiet agricultural towns and villages that surround it.
It is also one of the first cities founded in America, circa 1495. It is full of history, energy and life.
Lets say you have a short time allotted for the most impactful vacation you can muster, Dominican Republic would fit the bill. On a vacation trip where you can meet wonderful people, the most beautiful beaches, eclectic and authentic music, enjoy the most delicious food and live and learn history of doggone years, here you can have it all: history, food, music, baseball, geography, people and culture.
I have visited Israel on three occasions. I assume most of us visit it for religious reasons. For millenia it has become the center of the religious universe for a great number of the planet’s inhabitants. It is a special place where culture, people, religion, and politics merge, causing a sometimes cataclysmic exchange. Notwithstanding, I find it to be the center of the earth, a point where history and modernity collide, where raw humanness and spirit intermix. Some may visit it to find the meaning of their own history, or the step to continue understanding their future. To follow footsteps of those who explained the reason for existence, where their knowledge begins, or journeys to end.
Places I’ve been there are Haifa, Jerusalem, the Dead Sea. The first camel I ever saw was on the Mount of Olives.
I went there long ago. My first impression was landing in Quito. As the airplane dove into the mountain, that’s what it felt like, I was in awe of the city that spawns out of its ridges. But beware of altitude sickness. My first day was a nightmare because my head could not accommodate the elevated city. I had been warned.
I remember the mountains, the quaint towns, and how different the city felt for me. Coming from a Caribbean country at the time, there was a stark difference in the population mix, the weather and the modernity of the city then felt like I was in Europe (at the time I had not visited Europe, so bear with me here). I also traveled to Otavalo where I found the people to be kind and peaceful.
Criss-crossing the United States, you could say I’ve been through almost every state of the continental union. I have lived in the east, the west, the center and the now in the south. However, while flying over it or driving through it, visiting these places, does not count as being there. Therefore, I have lived in some spots, and travelled from coast to coast.
One quick note, of trivia perhaps? I had an American History professor over thirty years ago, who insisted the United States is a country without a name. If you look at it from his perspective, I believe this to be true. What kind of name is United States of America? What does it mean? A bunch of states sewn together by a word?
In the United States, I prefer the warm and template climates of Florida and California. The most I’ve lived in one place has been in Florida, seventeen years+. However, I’ve been and lived in very diverse places throughout the country, from Utah to Washington DC, Michigan, Florida and Chicago. Any American travelers longing for fulfillment on a low budget could be satisfied by jumping out of our school history and geography lessons, and hopping in a car for a road trip.
…that’s for another day. 😉 😄