In 2010, probably the hottest summer Europe has seen in many, many years, I embarked on my first solo trip to a country–actually countries– where I hadn’t a clue to the native language. I had taught summer school and I only had a couple of weeks to go on vacation before school started up again. I was considering several destinations–Germany being the frontrunner. The internet package deals were just out of control expensive (well–Europe in August is expensive) and I really wasn’t finding the itineraries I felt excited about–so I went to a travel agent. Steven from Liberty Travel was great–he listened to my concerns and did some travel agent magic to introduce Monogram tours to me. So my new vacation destination?—-Vienna and Prague. I got a “two-for”–two European bucket list destinations in one trip. I still felt trepiditious about the language barrier, but Steven assured me that Monogram tours was a good fit for me. They offered independent vacation packages with local hosts to assist in transport between cities, tours, and local sightseeing tips.
Traveling always brings up the question of what to bring home to remind us of the places we visited. At one time, I lugged all sorts of useless junky things home–keychains, magnets, glasses, socks, whatever caught my eye and had the name plastered all over it to announce to everyone where I have been. I like to take photos and create scrapbooks of my travels. I always included tickets, receipts, brochures, and many, many postcards along with my pictures. The scrapbooks sometimes spilled from one overfilled book to two overfilled book of the same place–just one week of traveling. Then I started to travel more frequently sometimes the same city more than once–London, Paris, Dublin, Edinburgh–I didn’t need nor desire the same junky souvenirs. Continue reading