This is the second part of the alphabet. You can find the first part here.
We took a self-guided wine tasting tour of Napa and Sonoma, although I have to admit I enjoyed the olive oil tastings more. Sean and I took the Napa Valley Wine Train, where we were served a gourmet lunch, then got off to tour the Grgich Hills Estate and had coffee and dessert on the way back to Napa. This wedding anniversary treat was as decadent and beautiful as anyone can wish for.
We lived in Toronto (Canada) for about a year and a half. Actually, Sean stayed there the whole time while I flew back and forth and even fled south to avoid the winter. While Sean was at work, I explored the city of Toronto and discovered really cool places. Together we explored the rest of the province at weekends. We went to Victorian towns like London, Stratford, Shakespeare (it’s near Stratford, I’m not kidding!), Waterloo. It all sounds (and looks) so terribly English!
Paris (France, not Paris, Texas – which is not exactly the same)
The city of romance. Lutèce, the City of Light. The most beautiful city in the world. What more can I say about this magical place?
Food has an important place in my travels, not only because I take pleasure in it but also because the memories of places are closely intertwined with their flavours. When I think of England, I think of Sunday roast with Yorkshire puddings. Or when I remember time spent in France, the memories of freshly baked bread and pain au chocolat activate my salivary glands.
Sean surprised me with a long weekend in Rome for my birthday three years ago. We had a wonderful time. I loved that half the men were called Mario, like my dad.
In my opinion, San Francisco is the most beautiful American city. You can have a delicious meal at any of its really good restaurants and then walk it off up and down the streets.
Before we moved to Texas, I didn’t know anything about it and I didn’t know what to expect. My relationship with Texas has been on the rocks a few times but I’ve slowly begun to appreciate its character. Now there’s nothing I like more than going on a road trip in search of tiny remote towns like Matador or Lexington, visit the local livestock exchange and talk to the locals. It’s a whole different world out there, away from the big city.
Uribelarrea (Argentina) and other country towns
There’s something comforting about small country towns. Their sense of community and history is almost palpable, as well as the respect for tradition.
We haven’t taken proper vacations since our wedding and move to Texas, almost seven years ago. We travel a lot but it’s mainly for (Sean’s) work or to visit our families either in Argentina or the UK. We occasionally take a short side trip within a longer visit home or a road trip in Texas but not a proper holiday where we lie on a hammock sipping cocktails and reading a book.
Where I’d love to go next (in no particular order)
New York, Nova Scotia, Croatia, Prague, Provence, Australia, Brazil, Tuscany, Petra, Turkey, Charlotte (North Carolina), Peru, Bath, back to Jersey, Chicago, Iceland, Stockholm, Quebec City, Ecuador.
I saw the Terracotta Army in Xi’an in 1997. It really is a one-of-a-kind experience. Each life-size soldier has different facial features and the whole thing is arranged as a parade. We could get quite close to them but weren’t allowed to take photos but we had our photo taken by the official photographer and bought a print. It felt like a rip-off. I hope the rules are different now.
York Minster took my breath away. While driving through the Dales, I half expected to spot Gabriel Oak among the sheep or Bathsheba riding her horse (the main character from Far from the Madding Crowd, one of my favourite books).
Zwolle (NL) and Necochea (Argentina)