I am fortunate to have traveled a fair amount in my 63 years, including foreign trips to Italy, Israel, Romania, Morocco, Turkey, and even Luxembourg, but have still seen only a small portion of the world. When I travel for pleasure, I love most to sit in cafes and watch people, take long walks almost anywhere, and try out-of-the-way restaurants. I usually visit well-known sites if I’m in a city for the first time, but I’m not the least bit guilty if I return to Paris without seeing the Louvre or to Rome without seeing the Parthenon. Lest I sound anti-culture, I feel that the aura of a city is defined by much more than a museum.
I have special memories of cities that I’ve carried with me for years. Here are some of them:
The first meal I ever had in Paris, in 1969, when the waiter wheeled out a spectacular brass cheese cart with the most beautiful cheeses I’d ever seen in my life (I can still smell the Camembert)
The parade of camels that blocked the single road from the airport to downtown Casablanca, in 1972 (to make matters worse, I had to drive a stick shift, which I had never properly learned)
The men praying on the ground outside in Jerusalem’s Old City, as well as its jaw-dropping marketplace, bursting with colorful clothes, food, rugs, bowls, linens, and lots more, over miles of stalls
The rural area in Moldavia, Romania, in the seventies, where chickens walked the winding streets and the morning dew hung low over thatched-roof homes of the poor villagers
Driving on the unpaved, narrow, winding and intensely steeps mountainous roads on the Greek Island of Crete in 1978, when I was about five months pregnant, and staying in a “hotel” that was not yet fully built because Crete was not a tourist destination back in the day.
I will consider myself blessed if have the opportunity to continue traveling. I believe it is one of the most exhilarating things we can do in our lives.