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More moments that "took your breath away" part II

More moments that "took your breath away" part II

Old May 5th, 2002, 09:48 AM
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sandy c
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More moments that "took your breath away" part II

hi all,<BR><BR>I have tried to post this twice on the thread below and it just wouldn't take. 257 posts wow! I just wanted to post my "it took my breath away" moment. for those of you who are reading this one, please take the time to check out the 1st thread below. some beautiful moments. and a guide for those of you that are looking for wonderful moments of your own as you visit all these new and wonderful places.<BR><BR>In 1996 I went to paris for the 1st time. We had been busy running at a pace that only other travelers for the 1st time going to paris for 6 six days would understand or comprehend. On about the 4th day I was simply exhausted. Paris was absolutely wonderful and exciting and I wanted to see and do everything (and I have never once changed my opinion in 4 trips).<BR><BR>But on that 4th day I woke up groaning and moaning "why am i doing this, it's suppose to a vacation". Grudgingly, I dressed and we started the day. Of course a few minutes into our trek out I realized that the iteniary for that day was not just another walk. We were suppose to do the montmarte walk. you know the one that started at the metro station and where you worked your way up and down, around and back up, ending at the sacre couer at the top. my best friend and traveling companion talked me out of changing our plans and we took the metro to montmarte and got to the little square where we began our walk around montmarte. after a while my energy started picking up and just the interest in the wine shops and artist houses, etc. got me going again. It was about 2 hours later, tired and hungry, when a small thunderstorm with big heavy dark clouds rolled in and it started raining and thundering. of course I had left my umbrella so we hid under a building overhang and waited for it to stop.<BR><BR>as soon as it did, we ran up the rest of the hill and got to these umpteen million steps right behind the sacre coure and the artists plaza. we made it up and started walking down and around the front of the sacre couer, not realizing we had missed the turn that went directly to the sarcre couer level and we ended up at the bottom. I stopped to catch my breath and was leaning over holding my knees.<BR><BR>when I rose up and walked a few feet, the terraces below the sacre couer were rising in front of me, and the sacre couer was right there above me. behind the church, the sky was a mix of purple, dark gray and blue. you can imagine how beautifully white and pristine the cathedral looked. the air was crisp october, the grass wet with rain, the streets and steps clean. my friend, always in a hurry wanted to get up there for pictures. I just couldn't...my breath was literaly taken away by this site. I motioned for her to go on and I sat down on one of the benches on the bottom terrace just gasping and gaping at the site in front of me. after weeks of traveling the UK the year before and seeing numerous molding dark and dreary cathedrals, seeing this one so beautiful just had we weeping. <BR><BR>cont...
 
Old May 5th, 2002, 09:52 AM
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sandy c
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cont.<BR><BR><BR>after a moment, I noticed an older lady sitting on the bench next to me, parisian I presume, who in began speaking in wonderful english. She patted my hand and said she understood completely. she told me that at her age, one thinks about death and the whens and hows, and the one thing she wished for would be that God would let her be here when it happened, sitting peacefully on her bench. I abruptly just stopped crying and and took a shuddering breath, and for the 1st time in my life I felt at utter peace. just completely at peace. you don't have many of those moments in this day and age and I am not really a religious person so it was rare for me. <BR><BR>The thunderclouds eventually rolled away and the sky turned so blue it hurt your eyes. The moment passed and I said goodbye and began walking up the hill of terraces. when I made it to the top I turned and the older lady waved at me from the bottom. I went on in the cathedral and caught up with my friend. just before we left the church I stepped back and did something I had not done in over 30 cathedral visits. I stopped and lit a candle and made a prayer. I hope you know what it was for. <BR><BR>later, when we got home, I was telling my mother about this and she asked if I had gotten the name of the lady and would there be pictures in any of the photos. I had of course bought some postcards, but to my dismay, knew that I didn't have a single picture of that moment. I was so moved I had simply forgotten to get out my camera. and i desperately wished I had asked the lady her name or a least gotten a photo of her.<BR><BR>a few weeks after our trip, our photos came back from the developers and penny and I had gone to lunch together, bringing all our photos (which were done in 2 copies) in hopes that we could trade off those photos that each of us needed.<BR><BR>before we started she said she had a gift for me and presented me with a flat package, which of course I promptly tore into. It was a picture frame turned upside down, but I knew....I knew before I even turned it over what it was. howeve, even I was surprised. It contained not one, but two photos. One of course was a photo of the the terraces and the cathedral of sacre couer at the exact moment that the I spoke about with the dark clouds behind the chapel. (while I had been standing there at the bottom of the terrace gaping, my best friend was snapping a photo). the 2nd one was of me and the lady sitting on the bench on the bottom terrace, her talking and me listening, her hand patting mine.<BR><BR>I have to say, I just cried and cried. I will treasure that photo for the rest of my life. It was so beautiful. just beautiful. a wish granted and answered.<BR><BR>my only other wish, my prayer to god to give the lady her wish, but only after she had lived a long and happy life, would also one day be answered.<BR><BR>here's to those moments!<BR><BR>sandy c
 
Old May 5th, 2002, 10:06 AM
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elena
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Thank you for your story. We can see all the sites of the world but it is this kind of experience that endears us to traveling. I wish we had more posts like this one.
 
Old May 5th, 2002, 11:54 AM
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Rosanne
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Just lovely.
 
Old May 5th, 2002, 12:05 PM
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Hi<BR><BR>When very young (!)<BR><BR>I left Paris at 21.00 one night drove South, stopped for a meal, stopped for 1 hr sleep, and arrived at the Med just as the sun came up.<BR><BR>The light was magnificent<BR><BR>WOW<BR><BR>Peter<BR>
 
Old May 5th, 2002, 06:48 PM
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topping
 
Old May 6th, 2002, 05:24 PM
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Danna
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Keukenhof Garden near Lisse Netherlands in Tulip time. We were there 3 weeks ago and it was as wonderful as the postcards and more! Our own pics amazed our friends especially as snow showers are still occuring in Minnesota!
 
Old May 6th, 2002, 05:33 PM
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mimi taylor
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Sandy, that was a beautiful post. I found it very moving. Thanks for sharing a very personal experience.
 
Old May 6th, 2002, 05:50 PM
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Wayne
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This is one that was a rather long breath---an entire evening---but it was definitely one of those moments. We had arrived at the Park Hotel in Vitznau, Switzerland and found after settling into our room that the hotel was planning to arrange a special trip for some guests to attend the opening concert of the International Music Festival, in Lucerne across on the other side of Lake Lucerne from our hotel. We knew it was a bit late to add our names to the list, but I called the manager and he obligingly made us part of the planned evening. When the time came to depart, we walked down from the hotel to a private yacht waiting on the shore, and then we were treated to a beautiful sunset cruise on the lake with a wonderful champagne dinner served on board. Exquisite food, exquisite service, pleasant companions, and a sunset to remember. Our boat continued to the dock at the concert house and we found our seats. To our pleasant surprise, the first piece was an oratory by a famous American actor, telling the story of Abraham Lincoln, in English!! What a way to start---then the orchestra played some of my favorite music and concluded with my all-time beloved Mozart composition. After the concert, we boarded the yacht and made our way out into the center of the lake, where the captain stopped as we observed a fireworks display over the lake that was the most impressive I have ever seen. Finally, with our heads and our emotions full of the activities of the evening, we landed at the hotel dock. My wife says this was the most incredible day (actually evening) she has ever spent in her life, and I guess I just might agree.
 
Old May 6th, 2002, 08:40 PM
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The sunset at Asilomar State Park on the Monterey Peninsula. Walking west, towards the Pacific, the glow of the setting sun set the air aflame with golden dust. Trees were silouetted black, as were a couple walking in front of me, holding hands. They cast a long shadow through the air and onto the road. The entire world was gold and black into the sunset. It was extraordinary and I understood why California is known as the golden state.
 
Old Jan 28th, 2005, 01:19 AM
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Can anyone find the original post??
I've tried all my tricks ... nada ...
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Old Oct 5th, 2005, 12:07 PM
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topping
is this it?
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Old Oct 5th, 2005, 12:25 PM
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the &quot;biggest wow&quot; is more recent and is probably the one today's poster was looking for
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Old Oct 5th, 2005, 12:55 PM
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We were andering the American Cemetery above Omaha Beach on a beautiful, sunny afternoon. Nearly in tears seeing all the white crosses and Stars of David. A French fighter jet suddenly appeared over the beach at low altitude and did a quick turn straight up to the sky in a salute to those who fought and died there. Apparently, this is done every afternoon when the weather is clear. Very, very moving.
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Old Oct 5th, 2005, 01:37 PM
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here is a link to the Biggest Wow
thread

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=34555816
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Old Oct 5th, 2005, 06:37 PM
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for luvtotravel
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Old Oct 6th, 2005, 05:49 AM
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My Italian parents migrated to Australia and I grew up listening to a lot of stories of the &quot;home country&quot;. After 45 years I finally made it to Italy - first stop, Rome. However we travelled one week after 9/11 so after a long and traumatic journey (we missed our flight due to security delays) we arrived at night totally exhausted. Next morning I opened the shutters of our room and was greeted by church bells, the smell of pastries and coffee and a view of the &quot;Tetti di Roma&quot;. Recollecting my parents' stories, I was moved to a state of euphoria.
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Old Oct 6th, 2005, 06:27 AM
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There are so many, but I'll go back a few years to July 1971 when I arrived in Seoul, Korea. I'd lived in Anchorage, Alaska for over 2 years. Though Anchorage was the biggest city in Alaska, it had the feel of a small town--and the minute you got out of the city limits, other than the two-lane ribbon of highway, the signs of civilization disappeared almost immediately.

I'd lived in several countries before, so I didn't expect to be knocked off balance by my first experience in Korea. But it's safe to say that arriving in Seoul was a BIG change.

Just landing at Kimpo field was an eye-opener--I had a window seat, and as we got lower and lower I could see miles and miles of rice paddies. Then I could see little hamlets with thatched roofed houses, and Korean farmers plowing through the water-filled rice paddies behind water buffalo. The women in rows moving through the fields.

You aren't in Alaska anymore.

As we glided in to touch down on the runway, there were anti-aircraft gun emplacements scattered around the airport and on many of the buildings. This was exciting stuff.

Going down the steps from the plane, the heat and the &quot;aroma&quot; of the rice paddies hit me. My father was there to meet me, and he got me through customs fairly quickly and into his car.

The sights and sounds, everything was so different. The numbers of people and vehicles, the jumble of buildings and signs in the Korean alphabet and Chinese characters and occasionally in sort of English. Men on bicycles with goods stacked high in the air. Men with A-frames on their backs carrying unbelievable huge loads. Markets selling everything imaginable, and some things that you don't really want to think about.

Men and women in traditional Korean garb. Masses of school children in uniform--boys with buzz haircuts and military caps. Girls with pageboy haircuts and long white stockings. Everyone rushing, running, busy.

Two obviously drunk men in an awkward wrestling match at a taxi stand. Buses and taxis seemingly without end, honking horns constantly and jockeying for position at stop lights--and very few private cars. The private cars that were around were all black. Every bus absolutely packed with people, some hanging out of the doorways.

Taking all this in after 2 days of sleep-deprived travel made it not unlike some sort of chemically-enhanced mental vision (child of the '60s that I am).

It was overwhelming, stimulating, exciting, confusing, scary, thrilling.

Then in a surreal moment, we drove into the Eighth U.S. Army headquarters compound--and it was gone. Now buildings were well-ordered; streets in straight lines; private cars in various colors; people moving purposefully but not in a rush--and not masses of them. Had I actually experienced what I thought I had on the drive from the airport?

Yes. I had. What a fabulous, mind-expanding experience Korea was in the early '70s.
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Old Oct 12th, 2005, 05:40 PM
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&lt;&lt;Can anyone find the original post??
I've tried all my tricks ... nada ...&gt;&gt;

And even with the search &quot;engine&quot; newly &quot;fixed&quot;, I can find no such &quot;first&quot; thread of this name. A mystery remains...

Best wishes,

Rex



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Old Oct 12th, 2005, 08:48 PM
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We caught the last cable car up (and down) Table Mountain in Cape Town SA on a gorgeous, clear afternoon/evening in May. There really weren't many people up there, perhaps 10 or so, and we had the extraordinary views all to ourselves.

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