What Exceeded Your Expectations?

Old Jan 13th, 1999, 06:13 AM
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What Exceeded Your Expectations?

We have discussed what we loved on our travels and what disappointed us. Now I want to know what you found even better than you expected and why. Sometimes you can be so familiar with something through television, books, pictures, etc. that you are afraid the real thing can't match your expectations. What not only matched but exceeded these expectations for you?

My own list:

The Eiffel Tower - it is simply stunning, especially at night, and it always gives you that "Wow, I am in Paris feeling."

Chartres Cathedral - very spiritual and such a masterpiece.

The Great Wall - I went just after a heavy rain and kind of expected that it wouldn't impress me because I had simply seen too many pictures of it - but when I was standing on top of it, surrounded by the hilly terrain and the wall twisting and turning as it seemed to go on forever into the mist, I was truly moved and knew that this would remain one of the special moments for me forever.

The whole city of Prague - except for Paris, I had never researched a trip more, so I wondered if I had built up too many expectations. Not at all. I was truly impressed at just how beautiful this city is - as a travelling companion put it "there are beautiful buildings on every corner."

The Swiss Alps - I never thought that these could let me down, but I was still amazed and was left breathless by their majestical beauty when I took the train out of Interlaken and up to the top of the Jungfrau.

The Maya ruins of Mexico - I have always loved history and knew that I would find them interesting, but still I wondered if they would continue to impress after visiting several of them (you know how it can get - by the time you pass that hundredth beautiful church on a European trip, it doesn't seem as great as the first few). I really fell in love with them, and when I returned I started planning future such trips and read several books on the Maya.
Old Jan 13th, 1999, 07:12 AM
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I have a hard time figuring out whether the places I loved count as magic places, surprises, or what, but...
The Uffizi--the lines, the crowds, the closed rooms, none of it mattered. I suspect my jaw was hanging around my knees for most of the time I was there, but I also suspect no one noticed the dazzled American amid all those masterpieces.
The snickelways of York--I bought a book for my father called "A Walk through the S of Y" and thoughtfully went for a test walk in early January. It snowed, it got dark early--it was eerie and romantic and wonderful.
Old Jan 13th, 1999, 07:16 AM
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Hi Dan!! We'd been having either snow or freezing rain every day now for 8 days in a row in upstate NY. This forum is keeping me sane...

Anyway, this is a great question! I have to say: Prague (the architecture and history blew me away!), Loch Ness (I was expecting beauty; what I saw and experienced went way beyond that; magical place!), Normandy/D-Day Beaches (I knew it was going to be special; I just wasn't expecting how beautiful and emotional the journey became...)

Thanks for asking!

Old Jan 13th, 1999, 07:22 AM
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Dan: Great topic!

My favorites are some that perhaps many would pick and some no one would choose.

Paris-The Eiffel tower at night as you come from the Metro station nearby. Seeing is believing.

Vollendam, Holland as you reach the North Sea by walking up the hill through town. It was so peaceful. Also, Keukenhof Gardens during full bloom as the colors are astounding.

The view from the windows of Neuschwanstein castle facing the lakes and Hohenschwangau below on a summer's afternoon. You can't take it all in.

Aruba-Arriving at night and not really seeing the island, I awoke to open the drapes to a amazing view of Palm Beach with the white sand, blue water and palm trees in the bright sunshine with a lingering rainbow from an earlier shower. Stunning.

The view from the gazebo, down at the castle, at Linderhof with the fountains turned on. Pictures don't do it justice.

Seeing the Bavarian Alps as you drive down from Munich. Whether it's the first time or not, you have to be impressed.

The Swiss Alps with the old style chalets among rolling hills and farmland. It makes everthing else seem so small by comparison.

Paris-Walking up to Notre Dame. It gives me goose bumps taking it all in.

There are so many others that come to mind. Now you've got me started!
Old Jan 13th, 1999, 07:54 AM
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My expectations are usually high, so this one is a toughie. I arrived in Zermatt during a storm and could see nothing. The next morning I walked out of my hotel at dawn and here was this
amazing piece of granite dominating the
world around me---the Matterhorn blew me away that day--it was good Friday
I also found the natural beauty of Maui to be more than expected, and I would be remiss not to add the lovely place we have chosen for retirement--beautiful Amelia Island FL.
Old Jan 13th, 1999, 09:47 AM
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Great topic...here's my list:
All of Turkey...so much history and beauty

Paris at night

Florence in the morning

Seville... exotic and so unique

Old Jan 13th, 1999, 04:31 PM
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Keukenhof Gardens near Lisse, The Netherlands. All in bloom, millions of tulips and hyacinths, set in a forest.
Old Jan 13th, 1999, 05:02 PM
sandra engley
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Keukenof Gardens near Lisse, the Neatherlands. In full bloom, millions of Tulips. It felt like walking inside a rainbow.

Piz Gloria
The journey to the top of the Alps in Switzerland, the train from Interlaken to Laterbrunnen, Cog railway up to Wengen and Murren, to the cable car to the top of Mt. Schilthorn, to the view from the revolving restaurant Piz Gloria. Seeing mountain peaks in every direction, as far as they eye could see.

Norwegian Fjiords, and Glaciers, The Midnight Sun on the summer solstice.
Old Jan 13th, 1999, 10:45 PM
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Let's see...

PONT ALEXANDER III BRIDGE in Paris, at sunset, lights on, with the Eiffel Tower in the background; STUNNING!

CATACOMBS in Paris. Amazing that they actually moved millions of skeletons through the streets of Paris in the middle of the night little bit, by little bit.

GRAND PLACE in Brussels lit up at night. Never expected this...

ROYAL JEWELS at Tower of London. I often go to jewelry and gem shows as a hobby (including some wholesale where you see huge amounts of loose diamonds, emeralds, etc.) and I love jewelry. But all this was nothing compared to the crown jewels. We were lucky that there was no line when we went so we must have walked back around onto the moving walkway 10 times to try to get a closer look...UNBELIEVABLE!

And my favorite...

HONG KONG - This is such a mysterious place and you don't talk to too many people who have been. We weren't sure what to expect but we absolutely love this place. The view from Victoria Peak, or Kowloon, across the harbor is amazing.

Happy Traveling!

Old Jan 14th, 1999, 01:03 PM
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Hello, Dan!
Two things exceeded my expectations.
First of all Picasso Museum in Barcelona, I didn`t like this kind of
painting and I didn`t want to visit this museum. But I must confess
that when I saw the paintings from different periods of creative activity
of Picasso, I was completely enchanted there, I found it very interesting.
Second thing - Finland. I didn`t know that Finish people are so friendly.
I thought that they are "cold" and unemotional. It was nice "disappointment".

Old Jan 14th, 1999, 07:48 PM
Bob Brown
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I have several friends who live in Finland but have visited me in my home.
I have yet to visit them "over there."
They are very well educated, and fluent in English. And they are people just like you and me. Unemotional? Heavens no.

Old Jan 15th, 1999, 06:09 PM
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Hi Dan,
In brief, but honestly -What exceeded my expectations? Our whole trip,to Turkey and Italy. The fact that we had no hicups or problems all the way through. Reason - planning with the help of this forum.

As a poster said recently, travel planning junkies. How very true. Denise

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