Would I Do It Again… Part 2
August 4th, 2010

My last post included five experiences I’ve had over years of traveling that exemplify the overall thrills and spills, if you will (no pun on the rhyme) from traveling. Since I titled that post “Part 1”, that means I have to come up with a Part 2, which honestly, was plenty of fun to do! So in no particular order, here they go….

6.  Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride… in a Prague taxi. Upon arriving at the train station, we realized it was the wrong station and the correct one was all the way across town. We flagged down two cabs which were not nearly big enough for 10 of us plus luggage, but had no other option if we wanted a chance at making our train. The hatch backs wouldn’t close due to the suitcases, so we had to lay over the back of the seat to hold onto our luggage, lest it fly out the back as the drivers sped as fast as they could so that we made our train. When we finally got to the train station, we were on the wrong side of the tracks, so our taxi drivers jumped down onto the tracks and threw our luggage onto the correct side so that we didn’t have to haul it all the way around.

7. Robben Island and District 6 tour in Cape Town. Like the DMZ, this is another eery one. Reading the stories of the people forcibly removed from their homes, touring the town of extreme poverty to which they were sent and learning about Robben Island from a former inmate was a very sobering experience. Even more sobering is that it only ended (officially) 20 years ago.

8. Drenching yoga retreat in Costa Rica. The rainy season in Costa Rica is no misnomer. My best friend and I went to Pura Vida Retreat & Spa for a 5-day yoga retreat in August several years back. It was a fantastic destination, both the retreat itself and the surrounding area. Highlights outside of the yoga included: Psoas Volcano National Park, Butterfly and Waterfall Gardens, a horseback ride and zipline excursion, a road block of cows for which we had to wait to cross the highway (for about 20+ minutes), and torrential rains that overtook the sky every afternoon from approximately 2 PM until about 7 PM. We often arrived at dinner (at the retreat, but across the resort) completely drenched. We once ventured into town and the water level went from non-existing to mid ankle within about 30 minutes. Even the rough sounding portions were all part of the overall experience and made for some great stories. Next time, though, I’ll go in the dry season!

9.  New Year’s Eve in Buenos Aires. I have celebrated New Year’s Eve in a variety of locations – Positano on the Italian coast, Costa de Saupe in Brazil, on a Caribbean cruise and multiple places here in the U.S. No place, for me, does New Year’s eve better than Buenos Aires (to not hurt feelings of friends and family, this doesn’t mean my best New Year’s Eve, it means what the city itself offers). The great thing about New Years Eve in this city is that while it’s great fun and a bit “crazy” it’s not the kind of wild you have to shield your children’s eyes from. We began with a delicious and thoroughly enjoyable dinner in Puerto Madera. As we emerged from the restaurant, we couldn’t help but join the crowd dancing on the sidewalk, at the other restaurants and in the streets. Everyone from young kids to groups of friends to couples was up and ready to have a good time. It’s tough to describe the feeling in the air on this New Year’s Eve, except it was truly a sense of togetherness and everyone setting aside their troubles to celebrate the coming of a new year and a new start. They also have a tradition of ripping up last year’s calender and throwing the shreds of paper into the streets – a custom I’ve seen no where else (or at least for a whole community – I’m sure individuals do it all the time).

10.  Traveling with private driver through Ireland. When you have a family of 11 people, ranging from the ages of 10 months to those old enough to not want their ages mentioned in my blog post, it’s tricky to find a vacation style that appeals to everyone. To ensure we could cater as best as possible to the group, we hired a private driver by the name of Tony O’Connor (I apologize if I’ve spelled his name incorrectly). Because of Tony’s knowledge, we were lucky enough to stop at Kylemore abby, drive through the Burren, take a half day trip to Conamara and spend an afternoon in Cobh (Cove) – all places we may not have thought of if not for him. Tony kept us laughing, informed and entertained for what were sometimes long drives and less than ideal pit stop opportunities along the way. I highly recommend a private driver in Ireland. You just don’t see it all by flying to the major cities and the train system isn’t as easy or expansive as it is in the rest of Western Europe.

By now, I’m sure you know the answer to the title question is… of course I would. Wether the experience was scary, humbling, drenching or just downright fun, each allowed me to enjoy an aspect of travel that one doesn’t necessarily intend on when planning a trip and I personally relish my vacations that much more because of them.

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