A ship is safe in the harbor, but that’s not what ships are built for.
Gael Attal

Odd though it may seem, this shot glass, imprinted with Frida Kahlo’s face and bearing the inscription “Frida Kahlo, Cancun” is one of my most treasured travel souvenirs. Maybe it’s because I don’t think Frida would approve of binge drinking, or it could be the fact that she’s not even from Cancun, but either way the oddity of this shot glass makes me smile. Next time I visit Cancun, I’m going to hunt high and low for a Diego Rivera glass to complete the set; whether I find one or not, the adventure will be great :)

Odd though it may seem, this shot glass, imprinted with Frida Kahlo’s face and bearing the inscription “Frida Kahlo, Cancun” is one of my most treasured travel souvenirs. Maybe it’s because I don’t think Frida would approve of binge drinking, or it could be the fact that she’s not even from Cancun, but either way the oddity of this shot glass makes me smile. Next time I visit Cancun, I’m going to hunt high and low for a Diego Rivera glass to complete the set; whether I find one or not, the adventure will be great :)



I’m in love with cities I’ve never been to and people I’ve never met.
Unknown

Eating in the Everglades

Since the Keys are a popular tourist destination there are a multitude of restaurants featuring all types of cuisine, but my family (who all currently live in landlocked locations, none of which have a tropical climate) went to Florida with specific gastronomical goals in mind: seafood and key lime pie.

The first of these goals was easier than the second, as we set out merely to sample a variety of the fishy foods on offer. All in all, I think I gained 3 pounds on this vacation; considering that we were pretty active, that should stand as a testament to the awesome seafood and even better dessert. It was hard to pick our winning restaurants, but these two gave each other a good run for first place:

Lorelei’s - Islamorada, FL

Bonus Points: Live music, beach view with sunset, outdoor eating

Turtle Kraals - Key West, FL

Bonus points: Best damn seafood in Florida.

…you pick the winner.

Our second mission, which we took far more seriously, was the search for the best Key Lime Pie in the Keys. We didn’t even glance at other dessert options as we quested after the Pie of all Pies - the only exception was the hummingbird cake at Ma’s Fish Camp (the winning restaurant) where we decided that anyone who could make pie that well could probably make other desserts pretty well, too. Ma’s pie was so delicious that we went back a second night, having eaten our main meal at a separate eating establishment. It was just that kind of good.

Unfortunately, the exterior of Ma’s did not match the calibre of her baking skills, so I didn’t snap a photo to add to the post. In lieu of that, I am providing a view of the sunset outside of Lorelei’s:

 Let me know if you can find a key lime pie better than Ma’s. Go on, I dare you.


Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you traveled.
Mohammed

Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.
Seneca

When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.
Clifton Fadiman

Few things give me greater pleasure than looking back through the stamps in my passports (granted, one is more full than the other - I travel through Europe as an EU citizen which earns me no stamps, while I travel the rest of the world as a US citizen and get stamped everywhere, including re-entry). This Egyptian visa is one of my favorites; the full-page paper feels like an award, as though to say “congratulations, you are officially somewhere cool.”
Just as my diploma reminds me of all the awesome memories of college, my “Egypt Certificate” reminds me of an amazing adventure and some really awesome (and incredibly hospitable) people.

Few things give me greater pleasure than looking back through the stamps in my passports (granted, one is more full than the other - I travel through Europe as an EU citizen which earns me no stamps, while I travel the rest of the world as a US citizen and get stamped everywhere, including re-entry). This Egyptian visa is one of my favorites; the full-page paper feels like an award, as though to say “congratulations, you are officially somewhere cool.”

Just as my diploma reminds me of all the awesome memories of college, my “Egypt Certificate” reminds me of an amazing adventure and some really awesome (and incredibly hospitable) people.


Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.
Maya Angelou


High Tea (Without the Queen)
Visiting Hong Kong with my mother in 2009, she absolutely insisted   that we go to High Tea in the upper lobby of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel   - perhaps as an homage to her ex-pat days in Tokyo when visiting Hong   Kong was considerably easier and finding friends and acquaintances  while  wandering through the Mandarin’s impressive lobby was  commonplace, or  even expected. Our trip didn’t carry quite so much  glamour as her glory  days, but regardless of whether or not you wish to  fork out the cash to  stay in a  five-star establishment, there is no  reason why you can’t  partake in a  little sliver of the strange but  enticing western  etiquette left over  from Hong Kong’s colonial days as  part of the  British Empire. 
The service, the presentation and all the accoutrement of a high tea   were perfect and I left feeling much grander than when I had arrived.   Not only that, but our table warranted us a view of the neighboring   hotel, the Peninsula, which was constructed in 1928 and whose beautiful   architecture only added to the feeling of pleasurable antiquity I was   experiencing.
Amidst the crispy duck and Louis Vuitton knockoffs I had come to   expect from Hong Kong (both of which lived up to expectation as well, I   might add), this unexpected gem of an afternoon is now firmly in my   memory as a natural part of this island city. Every little girl   treasures the thought of afternoon High Tea with her mother; just   because I’m not-so-little doesn’t mean that has changed.

High Tea (Without the Queen)

Visiting Hong Kong with my mother in 2009, she absolutely insisted that we go to High Tea in the upper lobby of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel - perhaps as an homage to her ex-pat days in Tokyo when visiting Hong Kong was considerably easier and finding friends and acquaintances while wandering through the Mandarin’s impressive lobby was commonplace, or even expected. Our trip didn’t carry quite so much glamour as her glory days, but regardless of whether or not you wish to fork out the cash to stay in a five-star establishment, there is no reason why you can’t partake in a little sliver of the strange but enticing western etiquette left over from Hong Kong’s colonial days as part of the British Empire. 

The service, the presentation and all the accoutrement of a high tea were perfect and I left feeling much grander than when I had arrived. Not only that, but our table warranted us a view of the neighboring hotel, the Peninsula, which was constructed in 1928 and whose beautiful architecture only added to the feeling of pleasurable antiquity I was experiencing.

Amidst the crispy duck and Louis Vuitton knockoffs I had come to expect from Hong Kong (both of which lived up to expectation as well, I might add), this unexpected gem of an afternoon is now firmly in my memory as a natural part of this island city. Every little girl treasures the thought of afternoon High Tea with her mother; just because I’m not-so-little doesn’t mean that has changed.


I love to travel, but hate to arrive.
Albert Einstein

The Crystal Cathedral

Le Gouffre de Proumeyssac in Périgord, part of the Dordogne region of southern France, is a massive chasm in the earth referred to by locals as the “Crystal Cathedral”. Photography is not allowed as the flash is damaging (and no picture, even those that have been professionally taken to showcase its beauty, can do this glorious underworld the justice it deserves). I would never have imagined a cold, wet lair could be mesmerizing, but it certainly was; standing in the underground palace succeeds in making one feel exceedingly tiny, and the echoing sound mirrors this effect.

The cavern holds a petrifying spring, the water from which coats the walls with glittering limestone - everywhere you turn stalactites coated with crystals hang like nature’s chandeliers and tables laden with pottery stand under the falling water to be crystallized, so that visitors might take a small souvenir of the cave’s beauty away with them.

It’s been about a decade since this visit, and nearly as many since I dropped and shattered the little crystal-covered elephant I purchased there using newly minted euros which had come into general circulation just months earlier. Despite my sorrow at losing this treasured memento, I am only able to smile at the memory of my chilly afternoon spent in earth’s basement.


IcelandAir has long been one of the most economical airlines for travel between the U.S. and Europe. Because of this - and since they were one of the few companies in the aftermath of 9/11 which allowed children under 16 to travel without the dreaded “Unaccompanied Minor” status - my parents found it to be the most convenient way to send me back and forth between home and boarding school. Between 2001 and 2005 I had layovers in Iceland on numerous occasions (I stopped counting); sadly, I have never left Reykjavik airport but it is a dream of mine to one day be able to explore this beautiful nation and hug a fabulously fuzzy creature like the one in this picture.

IcelandAir has long been one of the most economical airlines for travel between the U.S. and Europe. Because of this - and since they were one of the few companies in the aftermath of 9/11 which allowed children under 16 to travel without the dreaded “Unaccompanied Minor” status - my parents found it to be the most convenient way to send me back and forth between home and boarding school. Between 2001 and 2005 I had layovers in Iceland on numerous occasions (I stopped counting); sadly, I have never left Reykjavik airport but it is a dream of mine to one day be able to explore this beautiful nation and hug a fabulously fuzzy creature like the one in this picture.