Travel Memoir ~ Tokyo Disneyland

My favorite memories include …

  • A beautiful sunny day
  • Great memory of my mom and I enjoying our journey to Japan and especially having so much fun at Tokyo Disneyland, truly a magical place
  • Many familiar rides / exhibits
    • Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Peter Pan, Space Mountain, It’s a Small World, Dumbo, Pirates of the Caribbean, Main Street, etc.
  • Spectacular, unique to Tokyo Disneyland exhibits included a terrific panorama about the Sea … this is what probably evolved into Tokyo DisneySea, which opened late summer, 2001
  • “The happiest place on earth” opened its first location outside of the US in Tokyo in April, 1983 .. the atmosphere was fabulous .. familiar yet marvelously different
  • Adults and children seemed to love the place, enjoying the rides and open spaces
  • The Parade was very popular with everyone, with many smiles and lots of laughter
  • Everyone at the Park was very friendly and excited to be there
  • I’d love to return to create new memories, especially to see Tokyo DisneySea

Travel Memoir ~ Japan

Travel Memoir ~ Rome, Italy (Addendum: Additional Photos)

Travel Memoir ~ Rome, Italy

 

The Armchair Traveler ~ 20th Century Travel Posters

Recently, I was browsing books in Barnes and Noble and came across “20th Century Travel” by Jim Heimann and Allison Silver. It is a marvelous book detailing the changes in travel (in both text and posters/ads) from the grand tours of wealthy tourists to the jet age. It’s a terrific book to browse and dream and whet your appetite for travel. I added some favorites below.

  • Think about your favorite places.
  • Immerse yourself in the images you create.
  • Visualize the glamour associated with embarking on a deluxe ocean liner or taking a flight to a favorite spot or a place you have always wanted to visit.
  • Check out the posters below and imagine taking a journey in the beginning of the 20th century, before travel became popular.
  • Imagine yourself on a beautiful beach or an ocean liner or a Pan Am Clipper flying to Asia or Europe.
  • Have fun and enjoy your dreams.

Plan your journeys using the mystique of your imagination. Pick a spot and learn all about it – its history, culture, cuisine, art, literature, etc. The world is yours to explore. Savor it.

 

Quebec City, Canada

If not on your travel “bucket list,” do add Quebec. It’s a beautiful magical city to walk about and explore. It is France in North America with superb cuisine, lovely people and beautiful scenery. While French is the official language, Quebec is delightfully bi-lingual.

I loved the morning half day walking tour, commencing in the Upper Town. It covered the historic center, pedestrian only streets and ended at the base of the Old Quebec Funicular in the Lower Town. The guide loved his city and the small group I was part of also came to know and appreciate it.

At the conclusion of the tour, I had a fabulous lunch close to the river and was all set to take the funicular back to the Upper Town. But, while it had been working earlier, it was closed for maintenance. So, rather than walking back up the hill, I opted for the stairs. Another time, I did take the hill. Either way, it is great exercise!

The Red hop on –hop off Bus is the best way to tour the city. I purchased a two day pass and used it extensively. There are 12 stops, including newer areas of the city, the Art Museum, and parks. A favorite park is the beautiful Jeanne d’Arc Garden with its classical French and English flower-garden styles.

The Red Bus starts and ends near Le Chateau Frontenac which dominates the Quebec skyline. There is a marvelous walkway in front of the hotel overlooking the St. Lawrence River and the Lower Town.

Rather than renting a car, I opted to take a few tours outside of the city, including a cruise on the St. Lawrence River which passed Montmorency Falls. I also took a ½ day coach tour to the Falls which is a beautiful area to walk about.

My favorite restaurants include:

  • Portofino Bistro, which has incredible Italian food (Spaghetti Carbonara is magnifique!), great service, very good wine list; a marvelous European atmosphere. https://portofino.ca/quebec/en/home/
  • Pub St. Patrick, a fun place, very good food and service (Onion Soup delicious) https://www.facebook.com/PubStPatrick/
  • Tournebroche Bistro, a fabulous casual French place, excellent service and a very good wine list; perfect spot for lunch or dinner; if weather permits, opt to sit outside; try the Quebec Pudding for dessert https://tournebroche.com/en
  • In Lower Town, I liked Cochon Dingue Champlain, where I had a terrific lunch; sit outside, weather permitting http://www.cochondingue.com/#/english

Quebec has a marvelous European feel which I immediately noticed as I walked about. I think it’s partially due to the architecture but also the ambiance. Also, eating at several of the restaurants, I felt as if I were in Italy or France, rather than North America. I have many great memories of my journey to Quebec and am planning my next visit to this fascinating area.

Travel well and often.

Photos below plus additional photos at the link: Quebec ~ Photos …

Travel Memoir ~ Japan

When I planned my first trip to Asia, I used Japan (Tokyo) as a 2 night stopover to break up the trip from the east coast of the US to Thailand. I took a one day tour to Hakone National Park and fell in love with the country and its people. I knew that I would return and have been fortunate to be able to journey to Japan many times, both solo and also with friends. Let me share some of my favorite memories with you.

 

I discovered on one of my first solo journeys that it is quite easy to travel about on the Tokyo train system; just do not travel during rush hour! I took the train to Ueno Park, a beautiful park with a pond and several fascinating museums. I have spent many hours at The Tokyo National Museum, with its wide range of artwork and national treasures, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum and The Kaneiji Temple.

 

I have been fortunate to be in Tokyo during the Cherry blossoms (usually late March – early April) and this Ueno Park is one of the most beautiful at that time. Tokyo has other beautiful parks and they are all worth time to explore.

 

Tokyo’s department stores are interesting places to visit. Their customer service is unrivaled as is their packaging. I love the basement floors where food is presented so beautifully. And, they are terrific places to buy Japanese souvenirs. I was in a department store when they were having a French fashion and goods exhibit. Everything was exquisitely displayed. I still have the “Babar” book that I bought. Department stores also have very good restaurants and cafes, with either plastic replicas or photos of the food choices, so no challenge ordering.

 

I vividly remember going out for dinner and afterward drinks with friends at a Karaoke Bar. It was great fun, and as I sing “Happy Birthday” off key, I only sang with friends and sang very low. A friend noticed and laughingly said, “I did not hear you.” I responded “That was the idea.”

 

On one visit, with my mother, we left our hotel to walk about and find a restaurant for dinner. The hotel had given use several suggestions in the area. As one point, I had crossed the narrow street and gotten ahead of my mother. Three businessmen approached my mother and started to speak to her. I noticed and walked back. It turned out they wanted to make certain my mother was OK and not lost. They also gave us the name of a nearby restaurant which was excellent. Another evening, we joined a tour and had a marvelous dinner plus a fascinating Kabuki Show. To me, Japan is one of the safest countries I have visited with the most courteous and helpful people.

 

In Nikko, at the Toshu-gu shrine, I was captivated by the carving of the three wise monkeys: “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.” In Osaka, I was fascinated by the 16th century castle, surrounded by a moat and park. And the Bullet train is not to be missed.

 

My fondest memories of Japan are of its marvelous people, culture and cuisine. There is a sense of serenity and timelessness plus a glimpse of the future as you journey through this complex land with its ancient customs and very up to date technology.

 

Travel well on your journeys and travel often.

 

Travel Memoir ~ Paris, France

Paris is a magnificent city, no matter the season. Imagine a beautiful city with incredible cuisine, wine, museums, parks, monuments, shopping, book stores and the most unique ambiance. Let me share some memories of when I traveled with friends or solo to this  favorite city and working for an international airline I was able to indulge my love of travel and visit Paris many times.

Before my first journey to Paris, I bought a terrific guidebook (Paris Access) which was a good idea as Paris has so much to see and experience. The book arranged Paris by neighborhood (Latin Quarter, St -Germain, Louvre & Chamos-Elysees, etc) making it easy to walk about and explore this fascinating city.

I usually started my day by visiting a local boulangerie and choosing a fabulous croissant or pain au chocolat or pain aux raisins (my favorite) or … your choice is quite extensive. Later in the day, take a break from exploring and enjoy a visit to one of the marvelous patisseries. The creations are memorable and mouth watering.

Several times I stayed in the 5th Arrondissment. It’s a terrific area for restaurants and an easy walk (or Metro ride) to the main sightseeing areas. The Mouffetard Market, on Rue Mouffetard, has a splendid selection of food to buy (cheese, bread and wine, as a start) and cute, local places to dine. I recall a marvelous French-Vietnamese bistro with the most incredible quiche and tartes. Voila!

I have spent numerous hours exploring the superb Louvre and enjoying their restaurants (one had the most delicious brownie). It does require several visits. Other favorite museums include the D’Orsay and The Centre Pompidou. For Monet, nothing beats the incredible Marmottan Museum which has the largest collection of his works; more than three hundred paintings. And should you decide to climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, don’t do it immediately after lunch.

LOL, I can still recall doing that, carrying my winter coat, as it was getting warmer and warmer, as I walked up the narrow circular stairs. I heard people ahead of me groaning and laughing and shouted to them “are we almost there?” They laughingly replied, “no — still a ways to go.” And yes, the view is worth the memorable climb.

Close by short trips that I fondly recall and highly recommend include Versailles and yes, it is magnificent. On a smaller scale, take a forty minute train ride from Paris to the Fontainbleau Chateau. At both places, you will feel the France of a by-gone era. Marvel at the royal lavishness and breath-taking gardens.

There are English language bookstores including Shakespeare and Company. The department stores are well worth a visit. And Parisians do like it when travelers speak even a few words of French. Be prepared to have your pronunciation corrected, but that’s how we learn, isn’t it?

I usually traveled to Paris off-season which I prefer as there are fewer lines than in the peak summer months. And while the Luxembourg and Tuileries Gardens may not be in bloom, you will be able to walk about without the crowds.

Paris is a state of mind with memories that last a lifetime. C’est magnifique!

Travel well and often!

 

 

Travel Memoir ~ The French Alps

Travel Memoir ~ St Malo, France

Travel Memoir ~ Ireland

I have traveled to Ireland several times, always off-season (no lines!). The weather was very similar to the Pacific Northwest (rainy), but when it cleared, it was fabulous. Two of my favorite spots are Dublin and Galway, which are marvelous cities to explore and easy to navigate.

 

Dublin has many sights to intrigue the traveler. Both the Book of Kells and St. Stephen’s Green left lasting impressions with me.Visit Trinity College to see the gorgeous Book of Kells. It may be crowded, but seeing the manuscript is awe inspiring and definitely a must see. St Stephen’s Green is a beautiful place to stroll, perhaps read or people watch. Check out The Irish Whiskey Museum, The Guinness Storehouse, EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, the National Botanic Gardens and The Abbey Theatre.

 

If not renting a car (I didn’t), you can take one day tours to many parts of Ireland or do as I did, and take the train to another area. I took the train to Galway, in the western part of Ireland. As the miles went by, I marveled at the numerous shades of green. Galway, a harbor city on the Atlantic, is a beautiful place to walk about. It has many pubs, fabulous Irish seafood and the people are grand.

 

One day I flew to Inishmore, one of the Aran Islands. The very small plane departed Galway Airport in the rain (well, drizzle) and from my first glimpse of the island, I knew it was enchanted. I was only there for a few hours but loved the beauty and solitude and the people. I also enjoyed the hearty soup and Irish bread that I had at a B&B that served lunch. It is on my list of places to revisit.

 

Ireland has several Castle banquet evenings. I went to two and enjoyed both, though each was quite different. My favorite was in the Galway area at Dungaire Castle, located on the water. The banquet food was delicious, there was harp music and readings from the works of William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Sean O’Casey and John Millington Synge. It was an unforgettable mystical evening of beautiful music and poetry.

 

The other banquet I attended was at Bunratty Castle, which is close to Shannon Airport (western Ireland). It took place in the Great Hall; the meal and entertainment were very good and it was great fun. Many people (myself included) go to the banquet prior to flying to the states the next day. After the banquet, many of us went back to the Bunratty Castle Hotel, where we recounted our travel adventures with much laughter. A fitting end to an Irish journey is indulging in an Irish Mist or Irish Coffee with fellow travelers.

 

Memories of my visits to Ireland are highlighted by the very warm, generous people, the great food and drink and the spectacular scenery. There are magical places, especially in western Ireland, where, if you close your eyes, you can imagine ancient Celts or Druids and feel their presence. And don’t forget the leprechauns. Who knows, you may meet one or two as you journey about this magical isle.

 

Travel well and often.