A whimsical topic for this blog. ‘If travel was a menu, what place is your starter (short haul), main (long haul) & dessert (lasting impression)’
Kinda depends on where you live in regard to what is considered long or short haul, but for what its worth :
Best weekend trip – anywhere in France. If you are living in Europe, and especially in France or the countries surrounding it you can pretty much land anywhere and have a satisfying weekend of a bit if sight seeing, a bit of eating and a bit of shopping. There is always a chateau close by. Shopping and eating takes a little research, but it is worth it and that is part of the fun of traveling.
The beaches of the Cote d’Azure and Biarritz and warm weather, or the French Alpes to the east. In the north is Normandy, Le Touquet or St Malo and more rugged and beautiful coast. In the middle is Lyon, the gastronomic capital or France and around the Loire and Tours are the most beautiful chateaux.
Main Course :
Best long haul adventure – Russia. A friend and I took a trip on the Trans-Siberian many years ago and disgracefully all my photos are in a box in storage. But suffice it to say we had a good adventure.
Lake Baikal and the wild wild west (except it is the east). The train journey from Ulaan Bataar in Mongolia through to Moscow took five days. I think. It was all a bit of a blur after a while. This consisted of four days of Siberian forests, and at that time Russia was going through a bit of political upheaveal and there were men in flak jackets coming onto the train and people jumping out windows. After that we crossed the Urals and technically we were in Europe.
Moscow – so much history. The Kremlin dominates and can be visited. The Arbat, where we were offered guns and protection while sipping coffee. St Basils’s and the oh so well known onion domes. The Red Square, the GUM department store on the edge of the red square; and Stalin’s Seven Sisters Skyscrapers that dominated the skyline when I was there, and the incredible metro stations. We visited the Armory which had Fabergé eggs, Peter the Great’s boots, and the gold carriage used at the Catherine the Great’s inauguration.
St Petersburg has the Hermitage Museum, much more delicate architecture and more of the gold topped cathedrals. Plus the Neva River, midnight sunsets and its own version of history – much more closely allied to Europe.
Lasting impression – Japan because it is so different and culturally intact.
You visit Japan and boom, you know you are somewhere different. Although having said that, everyone compared Hokkaido, where I was living, to Canada. Not having lived anywhere cold before I couldn’t make the comparison.
But Japan – a dessert can’t be mistaken for something else, and so it is with Japan. Guest houses – ‘Ryokans, with tatami mats and futons; ‘onsen’ – public baths where you can relax; yakiniku – barbecue houses; Royce chocolates that are exquisite. Ikebana flower arrangements, and the Japanese tea ceremony. I stopped at truck stops and ate what the truck drivers ate and it is different flavours of ramen. (YUM!). There is a Japanese way to do everything and when it comes to food and design it is normally better.
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This blog is linked to the May ’17 #travellinkup thanks to Polly @ followyoursunshine.me – to get back click here. And to the #allaboutfrance linkup – to get back click here.
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Tanja (the Red phone box travels) says
oh yes, France is an excellent starter:) #travellinkup
Yes, excellent in so many ways 🙂
Angie Silver says
I agree Japan is just somewhere that really stays with you.
Great minds :). Thanks for commenting.
Emmalene Fletcher says
Three choices I haven’t really explored (Paris being the exception) but this is a great insight, particularly into your Russian adventure!
The more I think about it, the more I think that I’m onto something – particularly with Russia. Very complex and not easy to understand at first glance …
Camila @ Adventitious Violet says
Oh my gosh the trans Siberian looks like such an adventure indeed! Did you go the whole way? And oh Japan is on my list, we’re planning on going in the next year or so, just need to make the leap and buy our flights!
I got on the Trans Siberian in Mongolia and it finishes in Moscow. Technically St Petersburg is an add-on. You should definitely plan a trip to Japan and try to go either to south Islands or Hokkaido in the north as well as the major cities on the main island. Thanks for commenting.
Phoebe | Lou Messugo says
Great choices for your menu Sally. France is always a good idea and wouldn’t it be great to take that same train trip again, to see how things have changed? My photos are somewhat more organised than yours if you’d like any to use for this post! Japan is still one country that alludes me. One day I’d love to have the finances to really do it justice. Thanks for linking up to #AllAboutFrance
Yes it would be great to go back and see how things have changed. I just read a blog on kiddingherself.com about the VDNH exhibition area which I’m sorry we missed all those years ago, with our inherited fascination for structural realism. And yes, you should definitely try to get to Japan.
And yes please! I was sure you would have too much on your plate to ask about finding old photos. If you have anything from Moscow (Kremlin, Red Square) I could use it :). Thanks for hosting. #allaboutfrance.
Sol Solntze says
Sounds like you were in Russia even longer ago than I first went – I am seriously impressed by your intrepidness! I am determined to do the trans siberian, but I have to say, I plan to stop at intervals because I am pretty sure that without uphevals it might get a bit boring after a while!
Japan sounds about right for desert – something to save up room for and savour.
Sol Solntze says
Oh, and I have photos of Red Square if what you want is generic and it doesn’t matter that they are reletively recent.
Thanks so much! I’ll see what Phoebe comes back with, but I might take you up on it. Will be in touch (and reading your posts).
Phoebe (loumessugo.com) and I were in Russian in about 1994, on a long trip up from Hanoi where we were living at the time. I would say ‘broke’ rather than ‘intrepid’. We had friends in Finland and couldn’t afford to fly – but also loving the adventure of course. I can’t remember why we didn’t get off the train more often – there must have been a deadline but it would be great to go back and explore more. Particularly around Lake Baikal, but in other cities as well. Thanks for commenting.
What a lovely idea for a post! I can totally see Japan as the dessert, it’s so sweet! #allaboutfrance
It is isn’t it – its a philosophical question, and I must admit a slightly luxurious one because you get to think of travel as ‘starter’, ‘main’ and ‘dessert’ when many people hardly to get to travel at all. Not to be taken for granted ! Thanks very much for commenting. #allaboutfrance.
anna parker says
I like that – a dessert can’t be mistaken and nor can Japan. I would love to visit and see the cherry blossoms, and everything else!
That’s lovely :). And yes, there are so many unique things about Japan. The food is sensational, the fabrics, the sense of design. Thanks for commenting.
Emma @ Adventures of a London Kiwi says
Russia has been on my wishlist for so, so long!
Mmmm. You should definitely put it on the list. Also check out the blog kiddingherself.com. Sol is based in Russia.