When you travel there are moments, situations and people that move you. They can make you laugh, touch your heart or change your world view. Here is a collection of memorable travel moments from travel bloggers far and wide.
THE VIETNAMESE FEAST
It was a muggy, humid, impossibly hot day in Vietnam – everyone was tired, saturated with sites, memories, and information. On the board for that day was an overnight stay with a family in the remote countryside. We were warned not to expect any kind of creature comforts – running water, electricity, or reception. What we received was in fact all the comfort we needed and more. Smiling kids and panting dogs were playing outside the house and we embarked on a walk through the neighborhood. We got back in time for a quick wash-up and a serious treat – a home cooked meal. The father introduced us to his family who were smiling and making us feel incredibly welcome. Grandma proceeded to demonstrate the assembly of a traditional Vietnamese appetizer.
We happily ate our first course while the main event was brought out. An absolute feast – spring rolls with sweet dipping sauce, grilled fish, clay-cooked pork stew, steamed rice, and roasted squash. I imagine this was a meal served only on very special occasions, at great expense, and made with love. To see the joy in their eyes as we ate was something I will never forget. The generosity of the people I met in Vietnam and Cambodia was unforgettable.
See Heather Davey’s blog: https://smallsuitcases.me/
THE ROMAN ARCHITECT
I had heard the bridge, built in 107 AD by order of Emperor Trajan, was worth the trip to the outskirts of town. When I got there I was overwhelmed by the graceful arches and beautiful symmetry. This magnificent structure, over 2000 years old, was still in use. I crossed it several times to see its beauty from different angles. I imagined what this place was like when the bridge was being built so long ago. What was the architect thinking? Was he worried about being over budget? Was he happy with the design? Was he thirsty in that hot sun? Was he satisfied with the work so far? Did he put his heart and soul into this impressive combination of artistic grace and practical functionality? Or did he just want to get it done so he could go back home to his family?
As I was getting ready to leave I noticed a plaque attached to the bridge over one of the arches. It said, Pontem perpetui mansurum in saecula (I have built a bridge which will last forever). I felt the architect had read my mind and answered my questions from 2000 years in the past. He was proud of his work and wanted visitors in the future to know it. It was as if he tapped me on the shoulder, pointed to his bridge and said, “Hey, you…check this out. Pretty cool, huh? Do I rock or what?” That was one of those memorable travel experiences that stays with you.
See Talek Nantes’s blog post: http://travelswithtalek.com/explore-extremadura-spain/
MY FIRST CASTLE
One of my most memorable travel moments happened on my first solo trip to England.
After a sleepless 10 hour flight, I finally arrived in London and climbed on the next train to Dover. I was headed there for research. It was my first time riding the train in England and my first time headed for the South East coast. My train car was empty so I spent the time trying to stay awake and watching the gorgeous countryside roll by. I was jet lagged, hungry, and ready to stop moving after two solid days of travel. Then the train rounded a hill, following the coast – and there it was. Dover Castle, standing at the edge of the white chalk cliff. The sun danced off the Channel highlighting the castle complex that spread out over the top of the cliff. So much bigger than I expected, it took my breath away. I stood at the train window, my heart pounding and my dreams of seeing my first castle finally coming to life.
Dover Castle was all I had imagined – and so much more. To this day, even after exploring many other castles, it’s still in my top three. And it’s still my most powerful memory, in a trip filled with firsts.
See Susan Walsh’s blog: http://lostinengland.com
MONKEYS AT SUNRISE, OR WAKING UP IN WHAT SEEMS LIKE A DISNEY CARTOON
It was like a scene out of The Lion King.
I was staying at a sumptuous resort on the tropical island of Bali. Awakening at dawn, I saw a spectacular sunrise through the windows at one end of my spacious room. I jumped out of bed, threw on some clothes, and ran outside in search of a better view.
As I made my way along a path leading to the beach, I saw about six monkeys sitting upright along a ledge. They were gazing at the sunrise, seemingly transfixed. They were completely motionless, not making a sound. For a moment I thought they might be statues.
In my excitement, I had forgotten my camera, so I ran back into my room to fetch it. When I returned, the monkeys had left their perch and were prowling the property looking for unfinished food that hotel guests had left on their balconies the night before.
The monkeys seemed both playful and mischievous. They seemed as curious about me as I was of them. Occasionally, one of them would approach me to check me out as I took pictures.
Two of the monkeys seemed to be flirting with each other, the male in pursuit of the female, who was clearly playing hard to get.
At some point, the female sat down on the same ledge I had seen the monkeys sitting on earlier. She let the male catch up. After he sat next to her, she shyly pecked him on the cheek and scampered off. The game of cat and mouse continued. A truly memorable travel moment.
See Michael Taylor’s blog: http://www.accidentaltravelwriter.net
To read part two of this post click here.
Do you have a memorable travel moment?