Top Ten Day: My favorite vacations
1. Australia, February-June 1992. Okay, technically I was studying abroad, but come on. I went Down Under to PARTY! I scheduled my classes so that I had Mondays and Fridays off, and I had the worst GPA in that semester in my entire college career by far. It's not that I didn't like my classes (I took one on postmodern literature, which was awesome, one on novels that had been turned into films, which was also very good, and one on the Reformation, which was really difficult), but that's not why I was there. I had a wonderful time in Australia, and I consider it a vacation. I met fantastic people (and still keep in touch with one of them), spent a lot of time wandering around Melbourne, and went on mini-vacations to Tasmania, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane, and (when I was heading home) New Zealand. My parents were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary in 1992, so they flew out for three weeks, and during my "Spring Break" (which was really Autumn Break, as the seasons are reversed down there), we went all over Victoria, including Ballarat and a beautiful drive along the Great Ocean Road. I don't think it really counts as a vacation, but I don't care. It was a great time and one of the best years of my life (I met Krys later on that same year, in August).
2. Egypt, November 2006. This was the first vacation Krys and I got to take since the birth of the children (or "vacation-killers," as they should be known!), and it immediately vaulted to the top of my list of best "actual" vacations I've taken. Krys planned the whole thing, because that's her thing, and we had a wonderful time despite the fact that for about two days I had some bad feelings in my stomach from eating or drinking something nasty. We saw a ton of stuff in two weeks, met some nice people, and slept really well. Yes, we missed the children, but it was also good to get away from them. If you're a long-time reader of this here blog, you recall I wrote about our Egyptian adventure in great, great detail. If you're interested, check those links out!
3. France, July 1985. My parents took me to Paris in 1985 when they visited friends of theirs from our days in Germany. It was a fantastic vacation. We stayed at their home, which was west of the city and not too far away, and they knew French, so we were able to deal with the snooty French a bit more easily (yes, the French are a bit snooty - that's just the way it is). We saw a ton of cool stuff, ate at excellent restaurants, propositioned a male hooker (our host has a weird sense of humor, and one day while we were driving into town he stopped the car and asked a guy what his rates were), checked out the nearly naked female hookers (yes, the hookers are often almost completely naked - I recall most of them had G-strings and that was about it), and I got beaten at table tennis quite often by their daughter, who is 3-4 years older than I am and quite hot (I was 14, so I blame my failure at ping-pong on the fact that I was busy thinking about how to impress this 17-year-old hottie). Then we went south to the Loire valley (without our hosts), toured there, and then went north to Normandy, seeing Mont-St.-Michel, the Bayeux Tapestry, and the D-Day beaches. It was the last time I've been in Europe, and I really wish we could go back.
4. Venezuela, August 1999. Here's another vacation Krys and I took, our first real international vacation we went on as a couple (Canada doesn't count). I have posted pictures of this in the past, so I'll just write about it briefly. We went on a cruise from Grenada to Venezuela, stopping at several islands and having a wonderful time. It was extremely relaxing, and it was fascinating seeing this part of the world.
5. The United States of America, August-September 1993. When Krys and I graduated from college, we decided to save our money for a few months and the hit the road. We were young, in love, and possessed degrees in English - what better time to hit the road? For over three weeks we drove across the country. We went down the Skyline Boulevard to North Carolina, drove through the Great Smokeys, went up to St. Louis, across Kansas to Denver, north to Wyoming and across the Yellowstone, south through Utah to the Grand Canyon, across to I-5, north to San Francisco, and finally to Portland. There were decided to stay. It was a quite a journey, and it was wonderful to see this great and glorious country, but living in a tent kind of wears on you after a while. We spent two nights out of the tent, and sleeping in a bed rules, man!
6. Barbados, summer 1988. Before my senior year of high school, my parents took the family to Barbados. It's a beautiful island, and we had a great time, even though my mother gets a little weird on vacations. She does not believe in using a vacation to relax, because there's way too much to do! So we relaxed a lot, but we also saw a lot of stuff. Bridgetown, the capital, is a typical Caribbean town, but it has a lot of charm. We went to a sugar plantation, where we all drank rum (yes, we little ones could drink). Barbadian (Barbadosian?) rum is really good. It was a fun trip, even though I had to take a copy of Miracle at Philadelphia along because I had a summer assignment for my AP American History class. Reading that book on the beach was no fun, I'll tell you that much. But the vacation was cool!
7. New Orleans, October 1995. Krys and I went to New Orleans as our "honeymoon," well over a year after we got married. Hey, we had no money when we first got married! We had a nice week in the Crescent City. We stayed in a small bed and breakfast with a beautiful courtyard right north of the French Quarter. We wandered around the Quarter, took a riverboat ride, saw a little bit of downtown, went to the aquarium, and took a tour in the countryside of a few plantations. It's a beautiful city, although I think it's a foolish place to put a city. Plus, the Louisianans are still in denial about the slave-owning past. They go out of their way to say that slaves in the state were treated far better than they were elsewhere in the South. Yes, but they were still slaves! Just deal with it, Louisianans!
8. Walt Disney World, 1980, 1986. Yes, it's two vacations in one! I went to Disney World twice and I can't really decide which one was better, mostly because they've kind of melded in my mind. The first time we stayed at The Polynesian resort, which was pretty frickin' cool, and the second time we stayed at The Disney Inn, which is further away but cheaper. I always liked Disney World, mostly because of all the other stuff beside the actual theme park. I mean, the water park is my favorite. The second time we went, I was a bit older, so I flirted with the female park workers. Plus, Epcot Center had just opened, so it was cool wandering around there. Disney World is a huge place and you could probably spend a good month there, but it's also ridiculously expensive. I probably should thank my parents for taking me there.
9. Italy, Christmastime 1977. When I lived in Germany, we went on a lot of vacations, because my mom loves traveling and every country in Europe is so close together, it's easy! My favorite vacation was one of the times we went to Italy. We took a boat from Naples to Palermo. The fun started on the boat, when my sister started sleepwalking. For some reason, we woke up before she did, perhaps because she was climbing out of her bunk bed saying, and I shit you not, "Guy, where are you?" She then jumped onto the floor, waking up. We still, to this day, have no idea who Guy is or why my sister wanted to know where he was. Anyway, Palermo is a beautiful city, and we saw many steps and columns. We drove around Sicily for a while, then saw Mount Etna erupt. That was pretty frickin' awesome, let me tell you. We were on another mountain, so we were perfectly safe, and it was at night, so we could really see the lava well, even though it was far away. It was quite the interesting journey.
10. Pontresina, February 1979. Our last vacation in Europe was a ski trip to this Swiss resort. It's near St. Moritz, which is more famous, but my parents really liked it here. My mom said if they had known how nice it was we would have gone every year (German schools often have a break in February, usually so people can go skiing) instead of going to a different Swiss or Austrian resort. I remember amazing skiing, and I'm pretty sure we crossed the border into Austria at one point (or maybe Italy). A lot of Alpine ski resorts are above the tree line, so they don't have trails, just wide open snow fields that are wonderful to ski. Another great thing is that they're so long you often only go up one time on a cable car, and then spend the day skiing down (while stopping at a restaurant halfway down for lunch). More skiing, less time on a lift = good times!
So those are my favorite vacations. Maybe this one to Pennsylvania will be one, but I doubt it. Spending time where I grew up doesn't really count, even though it will be great to see family and friends. At least I can catch up on my sleep!
Until then, talk amongst yourselves. I'll have access to a computer there, so I might post something, but I may not have time. We'll see!