Thursday, July 7, 2011

All the places I've been...

Today, I got asked "Out of all the places you've traveled, what was your favorite?"

That is a tall order to fill...considering my parents took us to Europe when I was 13 (it was actually Nan's graduation gift...), and that I've been a whole host of places, I can't really have a favorite.

Here's what I replied...

I've been so many places that I really don't have a favorite. I'm peculiar, I have this phrase I use for life, "nutritional value." The way I look at it is that each place I've been has brought a unique nutritional value to who I am. When I was a kid, my favorite place in the universe was to sit at night on the stairs leading to the beach when my parents would take my sister and I to South Padre Island every summer. I fell in love with the sound of the waves crashing onto the beach and seeing beautiful stars twinkling overhead.

Another unique place I've seen is the view from the top of the ski jump in Innsbruck. The thing that sticks out in my mind is that the ski jump looks directly into a was creepy, but when you're 13 and traveling around Europe, it makes for a memory that will stick to you forever. I guess it taught me that anything you do has a certain amount of risk, how far you're willing to go is what makes you who you are.

The Swan Room in Neuschwanstein Castle was another favorite spot, although the entry room with it's highly polished wooden floors had me looking at my dad and saying, "Hey Dad, wonder how far we could skid across that if we took a run at it in our socks..." Daddy hugged me and said, "Not today Angel." LOL

I loved the view of Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower. The city sprawls in all sorts of unique directions, the roads are rarely straight and it was just so beautiful to see a city that enormous. It taught me that the world was so much bigger than I was and to not go out and see it all would be denying myself a great adventure.

I also loved The Louvre, it was so enormous that we only got to take in part of it, I want to go back one day and see the rest. I remember looking at the Mona Lisa and thinking she probably had horrible teeth so Leonardo painted her with that smile to cover them up. LOL

The one thing I could not stand in Paris was Notre Dame Cathedral. Oh, when you walk in, it feels so foreboding, it left me with the sensation that it was filled with a lot of angry dead people. I booked it out of there as fast as my little feet could have carried me. When I got outside, my Dad was right next to me and said, "Angel, did that feel creepy to you too?" I looked back at him and said, "Daddy, I don't know what all the fuss is about, the stained glass windows are beautiful and all, but you couldn't catch me dead back in there, it really creeped me out." At that point, we both laughed and sat outside people watching while my sister and mother stayed inside for a while longer.

But spending a month in Europe made me appreciate the little things, there was a small town called Rudesheim on the Rhine, and it was so quaint and peaceful. I loved that little town, it was easy to walk around and just look at the buildings and think about how old they were and how many people had walked those worn cobblestone streets before me. However, one of the coolest things I got to see was the cathedral where my parents got married in my mom's hometown. It was probably one of the most beautiful churches I've ever seen. The city itself is so sweet, and to sit with my grandmother while she drank a glass of dark beer was priceless...(my American grandmother, that I grew up seeing on a regular basis, never drank a drop of alcohol).
I can't play favorites out of all the places I've been and things I've experienced. I loved standing up the entire game at Kyle Field in College Station watching the Aggies whip the fool out of TU (the University of Texas is not the only university IN Texas. My family full of Aggies will attest to that...) I loved sitting four rows up from the ice watching the Habs put the smackdown on Boston at Centré Bell in Montreal, and I still have my bat from Bat Day at Texas Stadium in Arlington when my Dad took me to my first baseball game. I've been so many places that I love them all.

But, I've always loved the ocean best. I really loved Cancun for the view from my 12th story balcony, a full moon awash in a sea of stars while the water below glistened in the moonlight.

The one place in the world that really takes the cake is lying on my back in the middle of the main exhibit at the aquarium I used to work at. To look up and see all of those Sand Tigers, Sandbars, Stingrays, Turtles and fish swimming around above me with only the sound of my own breathing and watching the bubbles race to the surface was truly amazing. The whole reason they sent us in there was to clean the exhibit, but I often found myself trailing around behind the stingrays and "flying" behind them. It was so beautiful. I know it was only 26 feet of water, but considering that attaining neutral buoyancy is how we fly in a fluid space, the fish never bothered me, because in that moment with the ground far below me and the ceiling high above, it was pure heaven.

So, as you can see, I try not to play favorites, although the ocean will unwittingly win out every time. Each place I've been has brought a unique experience to me that I would hate to undervalue.

Not bad huh?  Well, after all that, I guess I can say:
No...I'm not well traveled, heavens no, considering that's about 1/10th of what I've seen in my lifetime...

No comments:

Post a Comment