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Describe your favorite European travel moment (2008)

Describe your favorite European travel moment (2008)

Dec 9th, 2008, 01:08 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2003
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Describe your favorite European travel moment (2008)

Last year's thread was so pleasant, I thought I'd start the 2008 version. Please tell us about your favorite European travel moment of 2008.
missypie is offline  
Dec 9th, 2008, 01:43 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
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we just went to europe for first time!! i never had any desire to go but my husband's father passed away and we inherited all these weird little pension accounts know one knew about and then got this great cruise deal so it seemed like destiny.
we were walking down street in rome toward trevi fountain eating gelato holding hands and i just got this fluttery heart feeling "i'm walking down a street in rome!!" does anyone else ever feel that way? like christmas morning when you were a kid
i know it's not too exciting but as you get older these days there's not too many of those moments left!
toncasmo is offline  
Dec 9th, 2008, 01:44 PM
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It's hard to choose one, even though we only had 6 nights on the Europe portion of our trip. If I had to, though, I'd say going to a concert at San Chappelle the night of our first full day in Paris. We were there a week after daylight savings time hit, so the light kept changing and the windows became more and more glorious as the concert went on. We'd been in Paris for just over 24 hours and this experience brought us totally outside of our day-to-day and into the groove of our trip.

Full trip report here: http://tinyurl.com/64uxu9
zooey91 is offline  
Dec 9th, 2008, 01:54 PM
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My favorite travel moment of 2008 was a conversation I had with an older Venetian gentleman on the vaporetto. My Italian is limited and his English even more so, but we chatted the entire length of the Grand Canal as he pointed out sights along the way and told me about himself. He is the last member of his family to live in Venice. His mother and sisters emigrated to the U.S. immediately after WWII, and he and his father remained in Venice. I don't know if the decision was for economic or family reasons, but the decision was/became permanent. He has no children or wife and perhaps never married. It was a bittersweet story. He clearly loves Venice and won't be leaving until he departs for Isola di San Michele, but he seemed content and happy. As we parted, he gave me a little bow, a handshake and "buone vacanze e siate felici."
Jean is offline  
Dec 9th, 2008, 02:00 PM
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It has to be my birthday dinner in Paris in Sept. at "Le Train Bleu".

A few days before when we took the train to Vaux-le-Compt, my husband excused himself as we were waiting. As it turned out, he went up to the restaurant and ordered a special cake for me. It was more of a "work-of-art" chocolate pastry than a cake.

I have to say that I'm not much for the birthday singing, etc. in a restaurant, but to have a bunch of Frenchmen sing to me in Paris was quite a thrill.

After dinner we walked along the Seine to our apt. on Ile St. Louis and stopped on the bridge to listen to "Tim", the sax player playing "I wish you love".

I'll put that up there as one of my best birthdays ever.
TPAYT is offline  
Dec 9th, 2008, 02:23 PM
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Sitting, relaxing and drinking wine at the Buza Bar (Eighth Wonder of the Modern World) in Dubrovnik.

Enjoying the splendor that is Plitvice National Park and, of course, my near-death introduction to Slivovitz.

Our remarkable dinners at Bellavista in Prague, Pivni KataKomby in Cesky Krumlov, Guliwer in Krakow and Gostilna AS in underrated and lovely Ljubljana.

Every delectable, calorie-laden bite of kremna rezina in Lake Bled.

Sipping wine on the rooftop patio at La Calcina in Venice.

The beauty of St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague.

A boat ride on a sunny day in Rovinj.

There were others, but I'll stop there.

maitaitom is online now  
Dec 9th, 2008, 02:59 PM
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Being surprised by unexpected snowfall while exploring the streets of Freiberg together with Fodor's most famous Saxon member.

Walking the park of Schwetzingen palace on a golden October afternoon and observing a flock of wild parrots in the trees above me.

A parade of two dozen Santa Clauses on amazingly decorated Harley Davidsons in the city of Basel on St Nikolaus Day.

quokka is online now  
Dec 9th, 2008, 03:03 PM
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We did a cruise in the Med for our 25th wedding anniversary. One of the stops was a two day in Venice where we had high hopes of seeing the city and all the sights, the food, the waterways, etc. Romance in the air! But it rained all day the first day and most of the second. But the great moment was late in the evening of the first night. It stopped raining for a spell and we decided to try going ashore. We took a vaporetto to the area in front of the Doge's Palace. It was after 8 and we were afraid there would be no gondolier working that late since the weather had been so bad. There were two gondolier playing cards at the front of the pier, so we asked if they were still available and one said he was, but it would be his last trip of the night. Awesome, plus his price was almost half the ship excursion price. We boarded the gondola (it was beautiful) and took an absolutely wonderful ride through the "streets" of Venice. I didn't realize how quiet it would be. I won't say I was overwhelmed, but I was definitely whelmed. My bride and I held hands and watched the world of Venice go by and we will never forget it. I won't bore you with anymore details, but it was a number one moment for us.
norrisken is offline  
Dec 9th, 2008, 03:06 PM
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The August afternoon my daughter arrived in St-Cirq with her cousins to join me and my son, the first time in almost 3 years we'd been back together "at home" there. It was a gorgeous afternoon, and we set an old wooden table out on the terrace and all sat with our feet up on the wall, gazing at the view, sharing stories,laughing like crazy, and drinking wine and munching on baguette and mousse de foie gras and goat cheese and olives. Sweet!
StCirq is online now  
Dec 9th, 2008, 03:46 PM
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It's hard to pick one or even a few moments out of our 3 weeks in Paris, Provence and the Côte d'Azur. But if you insist ...

We rented a house in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue from a couple who lived on the outskirts of Gordes. When the owners met us to brief us on how the house operated (washer/dryer, etc - all slow travelers know what I mean), we got along famously so they invited us to lunch at their house the following Wednesday.

I had assumed that this cute couple (actually around our age?) was simply a middle-class couple who had bought a house to rent to supplement their income/retirement.

We showed up at their house (actually the husband had to find us and lead us to their house) and walked in the gate. Our jaws dropped! A spectacular house, situated on several acres filled with olive trees and gorgeous plantings, behind Mitterand's former summer residence. Our hosts plopped us down ONE of their terraces and fed us olives, saucissons, bread, cheese, and a wonderful Provençal rosé. We all talked and ate and drank. Then we walked the grounds. Then Muriel led us inside the house to sit at their elegant informal dining room/kitchen that overlooked the Luberon. She and Serge (and their "maid"?) prepared a 3-course lunch and we all ate that and drank more wine, followed by espresso. Then we walked their grounds again and talked. Then sat on another terrace, still overlooking the Luberon, and drank lemonade.

Then we had to leave. What I had thought would be perhaps a one- or possibly two-hour lunch stretched into almost 4 hours. We loved it. Muriel and Serge were obviously not a middle-class couple supplementing their income. Maybe they just enjoy meeting new people, their renters. Maybe not all their renters are similarly blessed to be invited into their home. All I know is that WE were blessed. I'll never forget it.

knoxvillecouple is offline  
Dec 9th, 2008, 04:01 PM
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We were in London for 2 weeks in July and took a day trip via bus to Oxford. As a C. S. Lewis fan, I planned for us to visit the church where he attended for years and is buried. While we were there taking pictures in the graveyard, a couple arrived and unlocked the church and invited us in. "From across the pond, are you?" began our conversation with this charming couple who were there to clean their church. And the gentleman had been christened, confirmed, and married in the church--and remembered seeing Mr. Lewis sitting in "his" pew! To meet someone who had lived "with" one of my favorite autors was an absolute highlight, plus the couple were just charmingly gracious in their sharing about their lives and their church. (And the same day I met someone who had "rooms" next door to JRR Tolkein! I was sorta in literary history heaven!) The whole Oxford day, except for crowds at lunch, was definitely just about my favorite day of this full-of-favorite-moments trip.
texasbookworm is offline  
Dec 9th, 2008, 05:12 PM
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That is exactly how I felt in Paris!
I had goosebumps for the duration of my stay. Everything was new and magical. My first Laduree macaroon (chocolate!), my expedition into the gourmet food section at Galeries Lafayette (wanted to live there), crossing the Pont Neuf for the first time, standing right in the center of the Ile de la Cite...
Isn't it wonderful to feel that way over something?

Venezuela is offline  
Dec 9th, 2008, 06:17 PM
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Mine is not a warm and fuzzy moment. but a cold and chilling one. Last July on a tour of Germany, we stopped at the fraying rally grounds outside of Nuremburg where Hitler gave his most hateful speeches luring the German people into justifying what would be the Holocaust and WWII. The cement stadium steps and podium from which the Fuehrer spoke remain, without the props of flags, music, and torches of his Nazi nighttime extravaganzas. We all had a chance to stand where his podium once stood and gaze out at the decaying rally grounds that were never finished.

As one who has read widely in WWII and European history, it was an exhilarating moment. We also saw the hotel where Hitler stayed and the building where the trials were held after the war. But enough of history. We then proceeded to Munich and the quintessential tourist experience a beer at the Haufbrauhaus.
latedaytraveler is offline  
Dec 9th, 2008, 06:19 PM
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Crossing the Grand Canal in Venice - standing up in a traghetto!

A romantic dinner in our apartment in Montepulciano - a steak that my husband cooked on the grill on our balcony, a bottle of the local wine, Italian music playing, the fireplace roaring. What a night!

Seeing the fun my hubby had driving the Fiat Panda on the country roads in Tuscany!

SCFoodie is offline  
Dec 9th, 2008, 07:37 PM
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Can't pick just one. For Paris:

"Discovering" Chaim Soutine at the Musee de l'Orangerie.

Paris Opera Ballet doing Mats Ek's La Maison de Bernarda.

Spending a Saturday afternoon and getting to see an Arabic wedding in St Denis.


English National Opera doing Handel's Partenope, especially Christine Rice singing Arsace.

Seeing one of Pieter Bruegel the Elder's Massacre of the Innocents.

Spending lots of time outdoors in the sunshine in places like Islington, the City, St James Park, Lincoln's Fields, and Highgate Cemetery. I think I actually came home with a bit of a tan. Who'da thunk it?
Apres_Londee is offline  
Dec 9th, 2008, 08:27 PM
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Showing my husband Paris for the firist time. He was formerly nuetral to anti-French but during our trip he fell in love with Paris & Parisians.

Some highlights were:

Our boat ride on the Seine

His first sight of the Louvre (we came out of the Metro & he points at a building on the square that has Louvre des Antiquaires on the facade, & says,"There is the Louvre". I looked at him pityingly & said,"No, Honey, that's not the Louvre"

The first sight of the Eiffle Tower from Palais Chaillot

Kissing my Husband at the top of the Eiffle Tower

Like Venezuela - our first Lauderee macaroon

cheribob is offline  
Dec 9th, 2008, 08:48 PM
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Mine was also not a pleasant one but unforgettable all the same. We were staying in Santander ( Spain) and decided to take a day trip to pretty Santillana Del Mar.
There, we fund the Museum of Torture - a horrific and fascinating exhibit .
The display was large, well organized with detailed explanation of different instruments, their implementation, and description of suffering caused to the victims.
It was one of those times when you are repulsed by what you looking at but cannot turn away.
On a lighter and more enjoyable note, we loved sitting at the counter at Cal Pep on our last day in Barcelona, being treated like friends ( they actually shake hands with you) not to mention having a great meal.
danon is online now  
Dec 9th, 2008, 11:14 PM
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My husband, two daughters and I were driving around Scotland. We had spent the night at the scenic and atmospheric Clachaig Inn at Glen Coe and we were heading for the ferry from Kennacraig to Islay, which would leave in the evening.

Our route took us through Kilmartin Glen, a valley filled with prehistoric remains. We stopped to explore some standing stones in the middle of a field filled with sheep. It was tricky walking around the sheep droppings, and when the light rain intensified, the other three members of the party returned to the car. But I held my camera under my raincoat and kept walking through the gate and across another field, following signs for the Temple Wood stone circles.

The rain let up and I was rewarded by coming upon the stone circles, consisting of two large circles near each other, one of which contained a smaller circle within it and a burial cist. Evidence within the circles shows two thousand years of use by people of very different times, for very different purposes.
Nikki is online now  
Dec 10th, 2008, 12:40 AM
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Getting a back rub by the lift operator as we were going up the tower on St. Marco's square.
kleeblatt is offline  
Dec 10th, 2008, 12:40 AM
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Getting kissed by the restaurant owner after a lovely lunch in Venice.
kleeblatt is offline  

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