Travel A-Z

My A-Z friend Mandy posted this travel questionnaire, so I thought I'd comment on those as well. Here goes:

A: Age you went on your first international trip?
When you live in Switzerland you're very likely to cross the border to Germany, Austria, Italy or France at a young age. My first airplane trip was to Israel when I was 12.

B: Best Beer you’ve had and where
I don’t like beer. I still had some when my Dad took me to Munich Oktoberfest when I was 14. It tasted yucky, but I felt so grown-up!

C: favorite Cuisine
American, Italian, Mexican, Asian, especially Thai and Japanese (sushi)

D: Destination - favorite, least favorite and why?
This is hard. I have so many favorites, among them are the entire Southwest of the U.S, Canada, South Africa and Australia.

Least favorite: NYC because we’ve experienced crappy weather and poor service.

E: Event you've experienced that made you say "wow".
Sitting at the Golden Gate Bridge vista point at Gonzelman Rd for the very first time. 

I remember feeling so very privileged to be there! It had been raining all day and night before, and by the time we made it there, the sun was out, the sky was blue, it was overwhelmingly beautiful!

F: Favorite mode of transportation?
Depends on the location. Usually car, but the SF cable car ain’t bad either!

G: Greatest feeling while traveling?
Exploring exciting (new) places, soaking up the scenery, the diversity of pretty much everything, tasting great food and – let’s be honest – being off work and everyday duties!

H: (Second) Home.
San Diego, no question about that!

I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where?
From an accommodation agent at Sydney airport. We were on our honeymoon in Australia, and we were used to just arrive somewhere and find a hotel without any trouble. Not this time, though. McDonald’s international leadership conference was being held in Sydney all through the week, and within a 25 miles’ radius, every hotel room, motel, B&B, you name it – was fully booked!
Internet wasn’t big yet back then. The lady made about a million calls, and she managed to find a place for us for two nights. It was slightly over our price range, but hey, we were on our honeymoon.

J: Journey that took the longest?
Flying back from Sydney, Australia to Zurich, Switzerland, it was about 22 hours plus stopover in Singapore.

K: Keepsake from your travels?
I’m not a magnet or shot glass hoarder, but I usually buy something to wear. I have a Chicago sweater (it got chilly at Navy Pier!), a San Francisco sweater (it got chilly at Pier 39, too!),…

L: Let-down experience, where and why?
I may be biased by my friend who originally posted this questionnaire, but apart from our NYC stay, I would have to say “Eiffel Tower”: a long wait for an expensive elevator ride, actually two rides if you want to go all the way up, But hey, if you're in Paris you probably don't want to miss it.

M: Moment where you fell in love with traveling?
Probably when I came to California for the first time (1997)

N: Nicest view, where?

Golden Gate Bridge

O: (What are you) obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?
Anything and everything!!! It’s my way of soaking up the experience! In particular palm trees, beaches, architecture, random stuff, food, opposites (like a modern and an old building)

P: Passport stamps- how many and where?

  • About two dozen of the USA and Canada
  • Two of South Africa and Israel
  • One of Costa Rica, Curaçao and Australia

Q: Quirkiest Attraction 
Not sure if I’d call anything I’ve encountered “quirky”, but Hundertwasser House in Vienna is certainly special! Also: Las Vegas - magical, but unreal!

R: Really Frightening: where’s one place you’ve visited where you felt unsafe or uneasy?
As a Holiday Inn person I already felt slightly uneasy when my husband (then fiancé) suggested a compromise, and I had to stay in a Motel 6. It was somewhere in Arizona. A drunken guy banged on our next door neighbor’s door, swearing and threatening her. We called reception, and they had him removed, but all through the night I kind of expected him to came back and cause more trouble.

S: Splurge-something you have no problem spending money on while traveling?
Anything! Vacation is not a time to hold back! I guess my thing is comfort. I want a nice accommodation, yummy food and a functioning car.

T: Touristy thing you've done?
Hop on / hop off bus, cable car rides, visiting the typical sights, think Statue of Liberty, Buckingham fountain, Monument Valley…

U: Unforgettable travel memory?
Kruger National Park in South Africa, seeing those animals is truly magical!

V: Visas-how many and for where?
As a Swiss person you’re allowed to travel to most places without visa. I remember having needed one for Budapest, Hungary, though, back then. We went there as our farewell trip from college.

W: Wine - best while travelling?
I only seem to travel to places with great wines, California, South Africa, Australia!

X: eXcellent view and from where?
More views, huh! Good thing there are so many locations with a great view!
Cape Town Waterfront with Table Mountain
Niagra Falls

Y: Yachting?
Haven’t had the opportunity yet. Would certainly not decline if offered!

Z: Time-Zones visited?
There is a pin at every time zone I’ve been to: