Hi from Rick: My Top 10 Travel Memories of 2008
|Andy Steves charmed restaurateurs with his Italian skills in '08.|
Just for fun, in this month's Travel News I thought I'd gather up my favorite little travel moments of 2008 (in no particular order) and share them with you:
- Eating fried cod cakes at the bar with locals in Lisbon.
- Being stuck in a Tehran traffic jam and hearing my driver suddenly shout, "Death to traffic!"
- Meeting with "The Pharaoh" (megalomaniac director of the Cinque Terre National Park), debating and brainstorming ways to make that stretch of the Italian Riviera better for American travelers.
- At the base of a Blue Mosque minaret, watching an imam dressed in a dirty T-shirt call much of the old center of Istanbul to prayer. He held two circa 1970 mics to his face, closed his eyes, and warbled like an angel.
- Researching restaurants with my son Andy, in a Roman neighborhood he knew better than I did, and having him help me interview the chefs in Italian.
- Being scolded by Eddie the Verger for telling tourists how to sneak into London's Westminster Abbey without paying — and then enjoying his private tour of the room where, 400 years ago, scholars translated the Bible into the King James edition.
- Standing on the deck of our Edmonds home, looking out at the Olympic Mountains, as my son tries to teach his old man how to appreciate a fine cigar.
- Being shown special rooms (not open to the public) by the curator at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, still furnished as they were during WWII.
- In Reutte, getting a private tour of the Ehrenburg castle complex by the archeologist in charge, and then being knighted by the town's humble glitterati for sending Americans to their otherwise unknown corner of Tirol.
- Wandering back toward my hotel home late at night in Monterosso (in the Cinque Terre) after the restaurants closed. I was exhausted after a great day of research and noticed all the best chefs in town, each in a solitary space gazing out at the Mediterranean, looking just as beat as I was. Each was savoring a quiet drink and a cigarette after wowing their customers with an evening of great dinners. I realized that we were all in the same game...working hard and happily for travelers...and thankful for the gratifying work we enjoyed.
Thanks for staying in touch with us this past year. All of us at Europe Through the Back Door — and all our friends in Europe — wish you wonderful holidays and a year ahead filled with the happiest of travels.