Travel Blunders

Hey all, I’ve recently added a new category to my blog – it’s called Travel Blunders. Here I share some of the embarrassing and ridiculous things that have happened to me (and my husband) on our travels. Hopefully,  reading about our faux pas, will prevent you from doing the same kinds of things. Here’s the first installment:

Faceplant in Finland

Helsinki Finland was a place I’d always wanted to visit.  One of my co-workers grew up there and we loved to hear stories about her childhood in this fairy tale place.  When my husband and I finally had a chance to visit, we went armed with her best travel tips. Take the ferry to Suomenlinna, visit the Rock Church, and sample the pear ice cream in Market Square. One thing she failed to say was,  “Watch your feet”.
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Women Dancing!

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Pictures by PIXABAY

What brings people of different cultures together? How does a roomful of strangers from countries as diverse as India, England, Ghana, Spain, and the US form a bond? Would your first guess be women dancing? Not mine, but let me tell you why it’s true.

 

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I recently had the opportunity to go on an international cruise and was fascinated by the variety of dress, language, and culture on board. I’ve always been a people person, but while I love making new friends, I’m a little hesitant to reach out when the cultural differences are so strong. Thanks to the language barrier, conversation isn’t always an option and you never know how this person with completely different life experiences might react to your overtures of friendship. So I continued to enjoy the diversity from afar.
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A Different Kind Of Cool Library

Human Library, Living Books


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Have you ever been to a Human Library?  Here you can check out Living Books, and on Saturday I did just that. The Salt Lake County Library System gathered a variety of people, i.e., books who were willing to share their life experiences and brought them together with readers who wanted to hear their stories.

A Muslim Raised in Apartheid                                     A Non-Tiger Mom

I chatted with a retired soldier who had been involved in every American conflict since Viet Nam.  One man, a Muslim, told of being raised in apartheid South Africa, and another who was known as the Tom Brokaw of Iraq, recalled fleeing for his life after speaking up one too many times. I talked with a woman about the terror and the joy of escaping a life of polygamy, then discussed educational theory with a non-tiger Mom. There was an urban farmer, a polio survivor who climbed mountains, as well an author, a songwriter an artist,  a member of the LGBTQ community and many more.

Musician                                                                 LGBTQ Community

The Living Books festival originated in Denmark in 1993. The city had experienced a strong societal shift due to a large number of immigrants,  and the new and old members of the population were not getting along. The first Human Library was aimed at giving people a chance to sit down together as neighbors. It was an opportunity to break down barriers and prejudice, and it serves the same purpose today.

“This event gave people a chance to talk with someone they wouldn’t ordinarily meet,” said the Imam of the Salt Lake Islamic society. “When you bring people from opposite ends of the social and political spectrum together in a  non-judgmental setting, a lot good can come of it.”

“We’ll do this again next year,” said Liesl Seborg,  coordinator of the event.  “Hopefully everyone will come back and bring their friends.” And that’s what it’s all about – friends.  The people who attended today have some new friends to show for it, and judging by all the animated conversations and smiling faces, the event was a great success.

DON’T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER

Spain – Lovely Palma De Mallorca

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Published on My Itchy Travel Feet

Seeing the three major sites of Palma de Mallorca in one day is like trying to sample all 20 flavors at the gelato stand – a bit of a challenge, but we did it and so can you. Read about our amazing day at My Itchy Travel Feet.

National Library of Spain

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One of the Largest Cool Libraries

This is the largest library in the country of Spain, and also one of the largest in the world. Don’t miss it when you visit Madrid.

The National Library of Spain was founded in 1712, and like the Trinity, in Dublin, it’s a patent library, which means every printer in Spain is required to donate a copy of every book they publish. Think about that for a minute . . . every single book since 1712. Needless to say, the library now has a  collection of over 26 million items, which includes 15 million books, 30,000 manuscripts, as well as music scores, newspapers, and maps. It’s the brick and mortar version of the internet!  

The National Library has been around through good times and bad. In the 1930s, during the dark days of the Spanish Civil war, the librarians were called upon to house and preserve over 500 thousand books that were confiscated from churches, palaces, and private residences. I can’t imagine this won them any popularity contests, but they didn’t have much choice. Continue reading

Paris – Sainte Chapelle’s, a Mideavil Masterpiece

Published on GoNomad

The architecture of this ancient gothic structure is astounding on its own, but when you add dazzling stained-glass windows, a violin concert, and a shimmering sunset, you’ve got the recipe for a magical evening. Read about it at GoNomad Travel.

Spectacular Libraries of Paris

Most people don’t go to Paris to see the libraries . . . but maybe they should.

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The Mazarine

When you think of Paris, what comes to mind? Is it Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre  . . .  the libraries? If that last one wasn’t at the top of your list, maybe you should think again. The City of Lights is home to some of the most spectacular libraries in the world, and the fact that they’re all packed into a relatively small area makes library hopping a fun and unusual way to experience this amazing city.

For an interesting glimpse into Parisian culture and history, try touring some of these monuments to creativity and architectural genius.  Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Bibliothèque de la Sorbonne

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Sorbonne University maintains one of the most beautiful libraries in Paris. Located in the 5th arrondissement, the Sorbonne Library is known for its stunning architecture and elegant décor. The result is a peaceful atmosphere, the perfect place for reading and study.

Visiting hours are Monday-Friday and one Saturday per month
17 rue de la Sorbonne 75005
Check out the website here

St. Genevieve Library

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This amazing space was created by French architect, Henri Labrouste.  Known for its light and airy feel, its delicate iron arches give it a French Quarter, New Orleans feel. St Geneviève is a public, and university library which inherited much of its collection from St. Genevieve Abby. The building was completed in December 1850 and opened to the public on February 4, 1851.

Location:10 Place du Panthéon,
75005 Paris, France

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Tallin Estonia

Traveling in Tallinn, Estonia

Published on Best Single Travel
We felt like we’d stepped back in time when we toured this ancient walled city. Tallinn, Estonia – pronounced Talleen by our guide – is a place of contrasts, with a bustling city center, and an old town which recent restoration has only improved.  Our focus this day was on the cultural and historical gold mine of “Old Town”.
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Chicago – The Long Layover

This is the first in a series about a mother – daughter trip to Ireland. We’d dreamed of doing this for ages, and when it finally happened, we had a blast. I was held hostage in the Shannon airport, we heard some terrible jokes and great music and we made some fun new friends. Feel free to follow along!

1199px-ohare_airport_terminal_1_concourse_cChicago’s O’Hare airport is an interesting place, but not for seven hours.  My mother and I came to this conclusion ten minutes into our long layover there.  We were en-route to Shannon Ireland, and while not excited about our downtime, we were also uneasy about leaving the airport. What if we got lost or mugged, and didn’t make it back in time to catch our flight?   But the alternative of playing solitaire and wandering aimlessly for seven hours was unthinkable.  We decided to throw caution to the wind and set out for the City of Chicago.

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Ireland – Don’t Do This

 

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O.K. so obviously you don’t want to do this. But this is not a photography blog. Read on to learn about other important don’ts.

The Name Game
My mother and I recently enjoyed a long-awaited tour of  Ireland. All in all it was a delightful trip, as long as you don’t count the part where I was held hostage in the Shannon airport. I have no one to blame for this international incident but myself . . . well actually, I could blame my mother.  She’s the one who put one name on my birth certificate then called me something entirely different for the rest of my life.  As a result, I don’t think in terms of my given name, unless I’m applying for something official like a driver’s license.

This was my first mistake – putting my Christian name on my driver’s license. It seemed like the thing to do at the time but has caused me untold amounts of trouble over the years since the name on my license never matches anything else.  My second mistake was in putting my nickname on my airline tickets.

I’ve been travelling for a long time, but every now and then I really mess up.

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