Travel - These are the places I have been. I love to travel to foreign countries to experience different cultures, and especially different foods. Hopefully you will have the opportunity to see how people live outside of America. Here are the states I have visited:
Oregon, California, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Texas, Georgia, Florida, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Kentucky, and HawaiiTo read the photo captions, roll the mouse on top of the picture.
We spent two or three days in Vienna and Salzburg. In Vienna, we stayed in a hotel that was the guest house for the Schonbrunn Palace. We then moved on to Salzburg, home of Mozart. We also crossed the footbridge seen in the movie "The Sound of Music", and visited a couple other sites from the movie. Salzburg"s most dominating site is the fortress on the hill. It is a large blue/green castle.
Bora Bora and Tahiti
I don"t recall why we decided to go here, but it was my wife"s idea. I was skeptical of the trip at first, but am glad we went. This is the most beautiful beach I have been to. We stayed on a "motu" which is a small island off of the main island of Bora Bora. In order to get to the hotel, you are picked up by a boat and are whisked off to the hotel. There were only 30 bungalows on the island, and only guests were permitted on the island. It was very private. There isn"t much to do in terms of site seeing. We ended up renting a wave runner and motoring around the island, as well as renting a very small three wheeled car on the road that circumnavigates the island. This place had the most beautiful water I have ever seen, with the colors varying from white to light blue and dark blue. I plan to go back again.
Tahiti was nice. We only spent one night there. The main city, Papeete was a typical tourist town. The beach and view from our hotel was nice, but not like Bora Bora.
I go to Canada frequently, my wife has a lot of family spread throughout the country. I especially enjoy Canada in the winter, as there is always snow, and it is cold. Usually between 0 and -20 Fahrenheit. I spend most of my time in Edmonton, but took a detour after one Christmas and stayed in Banff (above the border of Montana and Idaho 200 miles). We stayed at the Banff Springs Hotel. It looks a little bit like a castle in the woods. We walked around, ice skated, and ate some good food. The views of the Rocky Mountains from the back side of the hotel were amazing. We also took a trek up to Chateau Lake Louise to cross country ski on and around the frozen lake. In the summer, the lake is an amazing blue color, similar to Bora Bora. In the winter, it is frozen solid.
EgyptWe went to Egypt in January 2000 after spending some time in London and Christmas on the island of Guernsey (near the coast of northwestern France). Egypt was better than I had imagined. The only downside is that it is a desert, but fortunately we were there in the winter, so it didn"t get hot. We were in Luxor for 6 nights. Luxor has two main temples, Karnak and Luxor, that were amazingly huge, with lots of statues and hieroglyphics. Our hotel was on the bank of the Nile river. We had a great view. All of the tourist sites and hotels had armed military guards and metal detectors, so safety wasn"t a concern. We spent most of our time touring the historic sites around Luxor, taking a tour to the Valley of the Kings, and actually going inside a couple of tombs. We hired a personal tour guide and car for about $60 to take us.We booked a charter flight to Cairo to see the great pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. One of my favorite memories was flying over the pyramids in the 20 seat airplane as we headed into Cairo. The hotel (Mena House Oberoi) we stayed at was across the street from the Pyramids. The hotel lounge had a solid wall of windows with the Pyramids right outside. It was an amazing view. While visiting the pyramids, I rode a camel, and just enjoyed walking around and on the pyramids. The sphinx was a great site to see, but seems to be eroding quickly. As you stand in front of the sphinx, and look the same direction, there is a Kentucky Fried Chicken store about 100 yards away. Probably my least favorite thing about Egypt was seeing McDonald"s and other fast food restaurants next to the old historic sites.
England is one of my favorite places to go. I have been there five or six times. My first trip to England was in June of 1994, and my last trip was December 2007 for the Led Zeppelin concert. I like England because it is usually pleasant weather and I love to ride the subway, trains, and buses in London. I always am surprised at just how old buildings and places are there. The history goes back hundreds of years. I was in London on the day Brazil won the world cup in 2002. There were people hanging off the statues, light poles, and buildings. Picadilly circus was jammed with people in the streets kicking soccer balls that the cars couldn"t drive anywhere.
I have been to Paris, France twice. Once in 1994, and once in 2003. My first trip was only 2 days. I ended up breaking my camera as it fell out of my backpack. The second trip lasted nine days. We rented an apartment located behind a boulangerie (bakery). We had fresh croissants every day. There was a street market one block away, called the Rue Cler Market, where we could by fresh cheese, vegetables, meats, desserts, and anything else we needed. The fresh food there was better than any I have seen. We spent a lot of time in museums. My favorite museums were the Musee de Orsay and the Rodin museum. We got by speaking French out of a book, and English. Our favorite desert place was Lauderee, located on the Champs Elysees. Napolean"s tomb was also one of the highlights. Contrary to popular opinion, the French people were friendly and helpful.
GermanyI was in Germany in 1994, only for one night. Our first stop was at the Cologne Cathedral. The catholic church states that the three wise men who brought gifts during the birth of Jesus are buried in this church. We spent the night in a small hotel in a town called Bad Salzig. We took a one hour cruise on the Rhine river, seeing several castles and the famous Loreley rock.Grand CaymanGrand Cayman Island was our third stop on our cruise in 2009. It was the nicest of the four stops, and somewhere we will probably go back to spend a week just hanging out at the beach. We rode a waverunner, played in the surf, and walked along the beach. We also turtles at the Marriot Hotel.
Guernsey is an island located in the English Channel, closer to France than England, but associated with England. I spent two Christmases on the island in 2000 and 2001. The weather is usually mild, and being small, easy to get around. There are beaches, shopping, restaurants, and nice walking paths. There are two other islands nearby, Herm, and Sark. I took the 20 minute ferry to Herm on a cold and windy day. One of my favorite things about Guernsey is exploring the old WWII German bunkers and gun emplacements. Germany took control of the island during the war, and there are multiple sites to explore.
We went to Haiti in the summer of 2009 on a Western Caribbean cruise. We went to part of the island that was private, only for passengers on the Royal Caribbean cruise ships. Haiti was nice because there were no cars or buildings. Just some beaches and trees. The water was warm, so we snorkeled for a bit, had lunch, and then snorkeled some more. This was Isabella"s favorite country.
We went to Maui in 1995. We stayed on the southwest side of the island in Wailea. It was a nice area because it was just an area of hotels and resorts. There weren"t any cities or towns nearby. We spent most of our time on the beach, which was mostly empty. For some reason, people stayed up by the pool. We visited the town of Lahaina and ate lunch at "Cheeseburger in Paradise" and perused art galleries. We also took a snorkeling trip to Molokini, a partially submerged crater out in the ocean. We saw a lot of fish, and swam next to sea turtles. We also drove half of the highway called the "Road to Hana". It was so curvy I started getting sick. I ate snails for the first time at a restaurant called Chez Paul. I didn"t like them. I thought Maui was beautiful. It is, until you go to Bora Bora.
Holland (The Netherlands)
Holland is a very flat country. I saw a Porsche 911 that was a police car. We spent a couple days here in Amsterdam. It is a city filled with canals. And lots of bicycles. After seeing some of the main sites in Amsterdam, we went up to another city called Volendam for a visit to a cheese farm and lunch by the harbor. I saw the exteriors of the Anne Frank house and a house where Rembrandt lived.
IrelandWe went to Ireland in July of 2002 after spending a week in London. We rented a car and spent two weeks driving around the lower third of the island. You have to drive on the left side of the road, and most of the roads are very narrow, sometimes only wide enough for one car. Ireland is my favorite country to visit. We spent most of our time driving from town to town, staying in a different bed and breakfast every night. The beaches on the southwest part of the Irish coastline are some of the most beautiful, rivaling Bora Bora"s beauty.The highlight of this trip was going to a pub call De Barra in a small town called Clonakilty. Noel Redding, who was the bass player for The Jimi Hendrix Experience in the late 1960"s was playing there. We arrived early and sat at a table right in front of the band. He played for a couple of hours. After the gig, I introduced myself and talked with him for about 20 minutes. He was a very personable guy. unfortunately, he died about 6 months later.
ItalyWe were in Venice, Italy for two days in 1994. It was two of the hottest days I have experienced. It was extremely humid as well. Venice is made up of little island with canals and bridges everywhere. It is very easy to get lost wandering around. We saw the usual tourist sites, and took a gondola ride. I tried raw, cold coconut for the first time. It was sooooo good. I also saw a famous basketball player, Robert Parrish (Boston Celtics). I said hello chief as we passed each other. It"s hard not to see a guy seven feet tall walking around. We also spent a day at Lake Como, which is near the Italy/Switzerland border. I want to return to Italy to visit the Cinque Terra, a group of five cities on the northwester coast. They are built on the sides of some steep hills along the beach.JamaicaJamaica was beatiful. It was our second stop on our cruise. We took a bus to Dunn"s River Falls, a waterfall that falls gently about 800 feet into the ocean. You can climb from the bottom all the way to the top. You climb in groups of about 50, and are supposed to hold hands to help each other up. Most of the climbing was fairly easy, but some spots were steep, with water rushing into your face. It was loud too. Some spots scared Isabella, and we took her to the side, but she kept wanring to climb, eventually making it to the top. THe falls and the jungle were beautiful. After climbing the falls, you have to walk past all of the street vendors selling trinkets. They were very agressive, and didn"t take no for an answer. They started to get a bit upset when you didn"t buy anything. I didn"t buy anything.
We took a cruise along the Baja California coast in July 2008. We ended up in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. It was our first cruise, and it was a good experience. Waking up parked outside of Lands End was beautiful. I took a tender into Cabo. I wasn"t too impressed with Cabo San Lucas, as it seemed like a basic tourist town with a lot of street vendors hawking their goods. I would like to go to a part of Mexico to see how people live and work outside of a tourist town.Mexico : CozumelThis was the last stop on our cruise in 2009. There wasn"t much to do near the dock, and there weren"t any beaches nearby. I strolled around the port a cit, looking in some of the shops. The vendors weren"t agressive at all here. There was a hotel near the dock that had a beach with sand that was about 25 feet ling. You could pay $40 per eperson to stay and use their beach for the day. I thought it was a rip off, so I got back on the ship.
SwitzerlandWe were in Switzerland for a couple of nights in 1994. Switzerland is the cleanest country I have ever seen. As we drove through the mountains, we didn"t see trash along the roads, or in the towns. We stayed in a town called Fluelen, located on Lake Lucerne. We stayed in a very small village with beautiful cottages with window flower boxes. The mountains (Alps) were all around. We took a boat cruise around the lake, and walked around the town. There was a bicycle parking lot in town with about 100 bikes parked. None of the bikes were locked. Apparently they don"t steal in Switzerland. Amsterdam was the opposite. Bike theft is very common. Once the thief is done with the bike, they throw it in the canal.
ChinaI went to China in July 2015 with Tower Bridge International (our district Chinese student Liason). We spent time in Beijing, and then in Inner Mongolia.
Tanzania and Kenya
We traveled to Kenya and Tanzania in July 2016 for 3 weeks. It was a trip of a lifetime. Africa is an amazing place. Click on the link below to see pics.