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 There really are amazing places in the world, and you can really go and see them . . . if you really want. Sometimes it amazes me when I think about all the places I've been. But it's really only because I managed to set foot outside of Florida. Before I met Mathis, I'd only been north of Atlanta once, and only as far south as Miami, east as the Bahamas, and west as Pensacola. Now I'm a "world traveler."

I've only been to Spain twice over seven years. ("Yeah," you say, "*only* been to Spain *twice.*") But it's about as far as DisneyWorld is from my previous home. (How many times have you been to Disney?) The first time we went to Spain, we stayed in a friend's father's vacation house near the coast near Barcelona. It was about two-hours' drive from Figueras, where I insisted we go and visit Salvador Dali's hometown and his musuem there. There are two in the world--one in St. Petersburg, FL* and one in Figueras, Spain. So, being that close, I naturally had to get there.

A similar experience was when I was with my mom in Paris, and I *had* to see Jim Morrison's grave. I mean, can you imagine to go to Paris and not see Jim Morrison's grave? It was Sunday--the police's day off--and there were a bunch of hippies out there with boom boxes drinking and smoking and making speeches. Mom wasn't too happy to have left Notre Dame for that, but I got my interest in cemetaries from her, so I think it wasn't too bad that she could see a famous cemetary in Paris (Pere Lechaise).


We got really lucky on our trip to Paris. Of course, we saw the Louvre *, Arc de Triumph, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and Napolean's tomb. But we happened to be there for the finish of the Tour de France! We also got to see an exhibition of Dali sculptures. (Note to Mom: I finally got frames for those posters, and now they're hanging in the living room.)

On another trip, we visited a cemetary in Salzburg, Austria. That was different. We also visited the Dom (cathedral) there. Salzburg is a nice city, but it was way too crowded. We had a better time on that trip when we were at Chiemsee, and stumbled across another of King Ludwig II's "fairy-tale" castles--Herrenchiemsee. One of the most awesome "dream-come-true" rushes I ever had was the first time I visited one of his castles--Neuschwanstein*. (This is the BEST SITE I've ever seen. But, hey, I'm into it.)

Another "dream-come-true" was the first time I saw this view of Bern, with the cathedral literally "towering" over the city. After looking at pictures of these places and saying "I've gotta see that!" actually seeing them was very overwhelming. Bern is a lovely city to visit, especially if you like to look at things--churches, sculptures, clock towers, fountains, stuff in museums and the like. It's a beautiful place, and the view from the Münsterturm is spectacular.

Another place I always wanted to see was London. We went in February 1997 and it was a big disappointment. It was kid's day at the British Museum* (where we saw the Rosetta Stone), it rained and I had a hole in my shoe which filled up with water, Westminster Abbey was closed, the hotel was crap, we couldn't even manage to get a beer in Soho, etc., etc., etc. My usual good fortune when traveling was not with me on that trip. But I did get to see many Egyptian antiquities*, including the famous obelisk, and had my picture taken in front of a sphinx. We also visited the London Dungeon.

When we visited Munich in the summer of '95, we didn't want to go into the crowded city. So we visited the Olympic Park. We saw the Olympic Stadium and the Hallenbad, then went up the tower for a marvelous aerial view of the stadium.

In 1996, I finally got *west* of the Mississippi with a trip to Arizona and the Fiesta Bowl. It was the first time ever that I actually wanted to leave the stadium before the end of the game, as the Gators embarrassed themselves against Nebraska.

One time, as I was coming home from Zurich, I chanced upon an amazingly beautiful train in the Hauptbahnhof. My jaw dropped open, as I walked the length of it gazing in the windows. It was so lovely that I knew I had to ride on it, and Mom's visit gave me the perfect opportunity to treat her as well. I told her that we were going to lunch at a nice restaurant in the main train station, so she was really surprised and excited when we got on the Orient Express. We had a gourmet meal, with caviar and the works, during a three-hour ride around Lake Zurich. After our trip, she took a picture of me in front of the train, and then the conductor was nice enough to take a picture of us together.

As a wedding gift, some of our Swiss friends sent us to Giessbach for the weekend. They also rented a nice car for us to get there in. We had a wonderful tower room, with views of the lake, as well as the falls. There are many beautiful places here in Switzerland.

We spent our honeymoon in Jamaica. We rented a car, and drove the circumference of the island for a week. Then we picked a spot in Negril, and stayed there for a week. I was, overall, disappointed with the trip, and especially with the people. But maybe my expectations were too high. We never had an hour's peace without someone asking us to buy something, even when we were driving!!!

Our trip in July 1998 to Couches, France is a story of its own.

In August 1999, I stayed in a castle in Italy, and befriended some of the most wonderful people in the world. I wrote about my experience in Tarot terms, but even if you don't understand it, you can still look at the pictures. = ) Lemme tell ya 'bout IT . . . .

The first mountain I was ever on was Rigi, in spring 1990. During that trip, we visited the Verkehrshaus in Luzern. I also went shopping on the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich.

Every year, we go sledding in the Alps, in what has become known as the "Fideris Cup." Here are some pics from our trip in January 2003.

When we were childless, we used to treat ourselves to a vacation-within-a-vacation at the Clearwater Beach Hotel *.

And here I am in downtown Atlanta.

 More to come . . .

All this may sound exciting (well, okay, it IS exciting), but the price I have to pay is this crappy weather for six months a year. But on a clear day, I can see across Lake Hallwil to Pilatus from my living room, the Alps toward the south and Seengen, Lake Hallwil and the Alps from my balcony, and this view from where I sit in front of my computer.

To see where I would LIKE to go, my as-yet-unvisited dream destinations, visit my other "Roam" page.


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