Travel Things That You Will Probably Do Only Once In Your Lifetime

Travel Things that You Will Probably Do Only Do Once In A Lifetime.

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

There are many things I would like to do again in my lifetime, go back to Croatia and Turkey, spend more time in the Amazon, eat street food in Thailand and sushi at Tsukiji etc. Then there are things that I know I will only do once. (Croatia)


Climb to the top of the Empire State Building, Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, Washington Monument , etc. Any monument that you climb is a “one and done” for me. (Washington)


Shop at Harrods in London or Ginza Mitsukoshi in Tokyo. The largest department store in the world is a one time visit – especially for the food areas. i can’t focus enough to buy anything. There are better places to be in these cities. (Tokyo)

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Climb to the top of some big mountain like Kilamanjaro, Everest or the Matterhorn. If you are capable of doing this, it is great for your quadriceps but words like summit and base camp are frightening to me. (Kilamanjaro)

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Visit the coffee shops in Amsterdam. If that is where you are spending all your time in Amsterdam, you have a problem.

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See the Aurora Borealis.

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Walk the Camino de Santiago.

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Take a gondola ride in Venice. I had every intention of doing this but after getting woken up every morning to gondoliers singing Volare, I felt like i had done it and took a boat instead.


Visit the Grand Canyon – still have not done this

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Walk the Great Wall of China.


Visit the Acropolis, Stonehenge, the Colosseum, Ephesus, Delphi, the Moabs or other famous ruins. They stay the same just a bit older.


Go to Oktoberfest in Munich, Carnaval In Rio, Running With the Bulls In Pamplona, La Tomatina in Spain, Kumbh Mela in India ,Burning Man in Nevada, Dia De Los Muertos in Mexico, Chinese New Year in China and the International Balloon Festival in New Mexico.

I still have a lot to do.

Fly Safe,

Things I Have Carried

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful we must carry it with us or we find it not “             Ralph Waldo Emerson

Things  I   Have Carried

1. I have this GIANT CONCH SHELL on my kitchen table. It is from a pink sand beach in Eleuthera,Bahamas.  It is one of those giant shells you see in stores and think it isn’t real. There it was on the beach one morning when I was walking. I carried it back to my room and then proceeded to carry it back on the plane with a three-year old and a six-year-old. I see that shell every morning and it reminds me of a pink sand beach and a happy  very young family.

2. My friends told me about the perfect gift to bring  from Munich – DAS MURMELTIER DER ALPEN  ( singing  animal in the chipmunk family) They told me to buy them at the airport –more carry on bags. I  put them in the overhead compartment and went to sleep. Weisswurst breakfast is very heavy in the morning (white sausages and a pretzel) Suddenly everyone on the plane is in a panic. There is a  clicking noise and no one can figure out what it is.  Our first thought is that it must be a bomb. As they are about to call security, the yodeling and drinking songs in German  begin. The chipmunks had started singing in the overhead compartment.  Travelers are way too stressed out these days.

3 The Maneki-neko (beckoning cat) is a sign of good luck in Japan. They are made of ceramic  ( most common) and usually come in pairs.  You can find them everywhere in Japan. The beckoning right hand means money and the left hand means happiness. BECKONING CATS are found often in Japanese businesses and homes. Since I felt that everyone in my family needed Japanese luck, I bought several pairs of the cats. Between the Starbucks mugs from every city in Japan and the several pairs of cats, they overflowed into my carry on luggage.  I’m  pretty sure airport security in Osaka would have laughed at me while looking at  the x-ray machine, if it wasn’t Japan and they weren’t so polite.

4. The following year I had to carry  the protective and breakable lions from Okinawa.  They are called SHISAS and are half lion half dog from Okinawan mythology. They come in pairs. The shisa on the left traditionally has a closed mouth, and the one on the right has an open mouth. The open mouth is to ward off evil spirits and the closed mouth is to keep the good spirits in. They are usually guarding the entrances to homes and businesses.  They are sold everywhere in Okinawa. I feel that anything to ward off evil spirits makes an excellent gift.

5 Betel nut is a mild stimulant that is chewed throughout Asia.  It involves, betel nut, fresh pepper leaves (or other spices), powdered lime and damp tobacco leaves. It is wrapped in a betel vine leaf forming a wad or quid. The last ingredient is saliva . ,Your gums , teeth and tongue turn bright red when chewing it.  Eventually, you spit it out.  It is one of the most used addictive substances in the world. It creates a buzz and curbs hunger. The streets and stairwells of Burma are stained with red betel nut. It is customary to use special compartmentalized boxes to hold the ingredients for the betel nut quids. When guests visit, they are presented with a fully stocked box. Some of them are quite beautiful. I brought BETEL NUT BOXES back from Burma.(but no betel nut)

6  There is a Shang Hai Tang store in the Hong Kong airport and it was having a sale.  Shang Hai Tang is DESIGNER CHINESE CLOTHES. Their flagshop store is in Hong Kong but was always one of my shopping stops in NY.   Changing planes in Hong Kong, I managed to add to my already bulging hand luggage , two sweaters, a shawl and some Chinese shirts in beautiful fabrics.  You can’t go to Hong Kong without shopping – even if it is just in the airport.

7.  My goal when skiing in  Cervina, Italy was to find a pair of those FLUFFY WHITE AFTER SKI BOOTS It was many years ago and I had never seen them  when I was  skiing in Vermont.  I finally found the perfect pair in a shop next to my favorite cappuccino bar. The best thing was to wear them on the plane since they took up so much space.  It was April and we had been spring skiing. Changing planes in Brussels,  we were walking slowly and my friends and I got bumped from the plane.  I remember thinking it was odd that the teacher left us there.  The four of us were sixteen and seventeen.   I felt really embarrassed walking around the city in those after ski boots, ( the weather was quite warm) but having an unexpected   free day and night in Brussels was very cool.

8.  There is a craft  market  in the Plaza del Armas in Old Havana not far from El Floridita.   (Hemingway’s hangout where he used to drink his daiquiris not mojitos) They sold  WOOD CARVINGS OF DANCERS   The woman who was helping me spoke English with no accent. She told me her father was the linguistics professor at the university and she spoke twenty languages . She was selling wood carvings for a dollar.   They were quite nice but very delicate . .   I had to put them in my carry on bag and hold it very carefully. Still,many of them  arrived with missing limbs. It  looked a bit like a war when I unpacked them. Arms and Legs all over. –luckily there is no shortage of crazy glue here.  They were great gifts for all our dancer friends.

9. Hvar,Croatia is where some of the highest quality of lavender is grown in Europe. I bought a lot of small glass bottles of LAVENDER OIL I figured if something broke, it would be better  in my carry on bag. . Lavender would have a calming effect on the nervous  post 9/11 fliers.

10 Coca leaves have been part of the Andean Culture for 5000 years. COCA TEA   is made from the coca plant.  It is not cocaine  like grapes are not wine.  Neither drinking  or chewing turns it into cocaine. It is a mild stimulant without the speedy effect of caffeine.  However when airport security sees a word like coca, they are paranoid.  I thought the best thing to do was put some  in my luggage and carry a few in my hand luggage as well.  If I got stopped, this would show that I was innocent. (I watch a lot of Locked Up Abroad episodes)   The guide in Peru was trying to find out once if it was ok to bring back coca tea to the states. She asked airport security in Miami and was questioned for four hours.   I didn’t want to bring it up.I walked through customs in Miami right  passed the sniffing dogs with no problem.

Some things are good to carry with us and others should be put down or left where they were. We choose the things we carry.

Fly Safe,


Going To Neuschwanstein

“When I am traveling in a carriage, or walking after a good meal; that is when the ideas flow best and most abundantly.”   Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Going To Neuschwanstein

It is raining again  in Munich.   Lisa and I are going to Neuschwantstein Castle. It was commissioned by Ludwig the Second and is the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. It is in Hohenschwangau, Germany in southwest Bavaria.

It takes about two hours by train to get to Schwangau from Munich.  I find a day tour on the internet ( and we meet at the train station. I buy a thick salty hot pretzel for the journey to add to what we have already taken from the breakfast buffet at the hotel. Train rides make me hungry.  I need carbs.

There are no more seats in the car  with the tour guide that are facing  forward . We go in the next car by ourselves. As we are traveling, the scenery flashing by is getting whiter and whiter. It is starting to look alot like the weather reports from the ski slopes in the Bavarian Alps that I watched on TV this morning.  I check to make sure the tour guide is still on the train.   All the pictures I have seen of Neuschwanstein,  show it as   sunny and very green. I thought we had missed  the sunny and green stop.     I didnt know that southwest Bavaria meant the Alps or that November meant winter.   I have lived in California for too long.

We  finally get off the train and we are  in a scene from Dr Zhivago.  It is snowing and there is a white out . We are standing at the train tracks and can see nothing.    The tour guide is very flustered and ushers us into the train station to figure what to do. There are two problems. One is that the restaurant that we are supposed to eat in is closed because of the snowstorm and two,  the bus running up to the castle is not in service due to the steepness of the road and the inclement weather. (funny how she just found this out) It is five kilometers up to the castle and is a 25 -40 minute walk depending on which route you take. You can also go up by horse and carriage. It is interesting that the horses were able to go up the  mountain in this weather but the buses were not.

We find an open restaurant .They are thrilled to have the business in the blizzard  and give the tour guide a free meal. I taste my first weisswurst breakfast ( white sausages and pretzel). It is the perfect meal to climb a mountain in the snow.

Now as I told you, it is raining in Munich.  I am wearing an Ed Hardy leather jacket, Los Angeles faux boots ( Miu Miu and made of canvas –luckily they are almost flat).  I have one of those Peruvian/Estonian winter hats  (I bought them in both places).  They are so in fashion now for anyone under 30.   I’m wearing it for warmth.   Lisa on the hand, is perfectly dressed for shopping on Fifth Avenue or an afternoon in Munich. . She is in head to toe Burberry wearing beautiful knee length slim fitting leather boots with a small thin heel  and a camel coat.  We did not get the memo to wear our ski clothes or hiking boots.

Since the buses are not running, there are too many people waiting for the horse and carriage.  It has stopped snowing so we decide to walk up.  Every time I turn around and see Lisa dressed for an outing in the city, walking up a mountain in the snow, I can’t stop laughing.  My feet are sopping wet when we finally get up to the castle.  Canvas is not good in the snow.  Lisa has made it up the steep, icy road  in heeled boots.  She has not fallen.    Her feet are dry. Bravo Lisa.

Now one of the best things to do at Neuschwantstein is to go across the Marienbruke (Marien Bridge)  a bridge than goes across a river valley. It is a scenic place to take photos of the castle. The bridge was closed because of the snow storm . We couldn’t even see it or the beautiful scenery and views.  We did see a lot of snow.  Schwangau Lake is visible behind the castle . No, we couldn’t see that either.  I was too cold to take my hands out  of my gloves to take many photos anyway.

I usually do these European castles  in the summer where everything is beautiful and easy. But doing them in the winter gives you a much more realistic picture of life at the Palace. It is cold and dark and damp. King Ludwig had one of the first toilets with running water in Europe as well as a hallway cave. He was a big fan of Wagner and scenes from his operas make up the murals throughout the building. (“mad” King Ludwig’s obsession)The only place you are allowed to take pictures in the castle is the kitchen.( and why would I do that?)

King Ludwig was found dead in the lake three days after he was declared legally insane. Did he drown or was it murder? Was he really mad or just “different” or ‘special”? Was he perhaps gay in a world and social strata where that was impossible?  You will find none of these answers at the castle.

Lisa has decided to  wait for the horse and carriage. I chose to walk down. No one else has made this choice and I am alone on this beautiful snowy road. I  fall a few times where it was steep and slippery .  I was trying to get down before it got dark. It was peaceful and quiet and I missed skiing.

The tourist village at the bottom is supposedly very charming.  They were right it looked like a Christmas card covered in snow.  I was  glad to find an open store to warm up in, while I waited for Lisa. She had to  wait a long time in the horse and carriage line.  The horses were walking very slowly down the slippery road.

We get into the train   and we are joined by a group of German Punk Goth drinking, rowdy teenagers.  We wisely decide not to say anything and we move.  We start planning where we will have a late dinner back in Munich.

It is  your mistakes that often make up the adventures. It is the adventures that lead to the stories. It is the stories that you remember.

Also See Things I’ve Learned In Munich

Haben Einen Sicheren Flug


Things I Have Learned In Munich

“You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline – it helps if you have some kind of football team, or some nuclear weapons but at the very least you need a beer”
- Frank Zappa

Things I Have Learned In Munich

Pedestrian crossings in Munich often have a sign saying “Set an example to children”  Something we should all remember to do.

Seen in German fashion magazine.  “.the new recessionista, crunch chic.”

“Dachau is a lovely town in Munich which happens to have the first concentration camp located there. But this was not an extermination camp and the largest number of people were not killed there. “ (quote from a guide book)

Birds never sang in Dachau even though there are many trees, because birds do not like the smell of death.

Brausebad is the old German word for shower. It was written outside the door of the “shower” in the camps. After WW2 they were not allowed to use that word anymore and it became douche instead.

Nazis are big business in Germany. You can take a third Reich tour in Berlin and Munich. You can visit Dachau outside of Munich or Sachenhausen outside of Berlin. In the tourist bookstores you can buy Hitlers Favorite Places in Munich, Famous Nazi’s of Munich, and Hitler’s Berlin or Hiltler’s Munich..

“The Neo Nazis aren’t the bad Nazis.” (quote heard at Dachau)

The Irish backed the Germans in World WarTwo. (anything to go against the English)

Soccer is a hooligan’s game played by gentlemen. Rugby is a gentlemen’s game played by hooligans.

I was in Munich in November and missed Oktoberfest.  I didnt have to bring my lederhosen and dirndl and missed the overindulgence of beer and pretzels , beer and weisswursts,  beer with sauerbraten , beer with potatoes and beer with beer.

Haidhausen is the place to be in Munich if you are a schiki miki (club going Bavarian Hippie), or Eidel chic or one of the Mueslis (European granola types)

Weisswurst breakfast which consists of boiled white sausages in milk  that you eat by sucking  out of the casing, with a fresh baked pretzel and mustard is surprisingly delicious.

A sign seen in a Munich store window “Wurst Fuchs”.

Pabst Blue Ribbon beer means the Pope’s beer. Every year the Pope comes to Munich to bless the hops

If you want to see hordes of tourist getting ridiculously drunk with huge steins of beer, go to Hofbrau House in Munich (Hitler’s fav)

The German New Wave Goth Punk teenagers are not people you want to share a train car with.

Neuschwanstein castle  in the Bavarian Alps (the sleeping beauty castle) is probably best visited when it isn’t snowing.

After returning from Germany, I was watching a documentary  entitled, The Rape of Europa.  It was about  European art stolen by the Nazis . I  saw a castle that looked familiar.  I was there in a snowstorm so I didn’t recognize it right away.  The first art recovered from the Nazis( that had been  stolen from the French) was stored in Neuschwanstein castle. There were many rooms filled with stolen art  and it was a fact they left out when I took the guided tour of “the Sleeping Beauty Castle. “

On the program at the ballet in the Bavarian State Opera House, they list the minutes of each act and each  intermission and the starting and ending times. German attention to detail put to good use! (and Mia was great! )

Munich being closer to Milan than it is to Berlin has amazing Italian food and great pizza.

Whenever you are in a coed sauna (especially if it says naked area)  in eastern Europe and Germany just know that it will be inhabited by fat, old, naked men.

In the 1960’s and 70’s the next generation of Germans were horrified when they learned what their parents have done.  I had this feeling in Munich and Berlin. Dachau, the Resistance Museum , the Jewish memorials and the Jewish museum were filled with  school children on class trips.

gute reise and fly safe