Tuesday, 27 December 2011

The ABC's of Travel: nicole is the new black edition

Black woman on a boat
On a boat and smiling, I'm afraid of water!

The ABC's of travel gives bloggers the opportunity to share their favorite and most memorable travel moments from A-Z!  Thanks to both Fidel from Scene with a Hart and Cheryl from cherylhoward.com for tagging me! It was really fun putting this together. At the end of the post I will tag three other bloggers to see what they have to say. Enjoy! 

A: Age you went on your first international trip:
My first international trip happened before I was one years old when I flew from Kingston, Jamaica (the place of my birth) to Newark, NJ. The first international trip that I remember was around the age of nine. My grandparents and I drove to Toronto, Canada to visit family. I remember making that trek three times growing up. 

B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where: Um, I am not that big of a beer drinker but living in Germany I have been forced to drink it on numerous occasions. I can say that the least horrible tasting beer I have had is Astra beer which is Bavarian.

Black girl in dirndl
Me at Oktoberfest totally not enjoying myself

C: Cuisine (favorite): My favorite cuisine has got to be Italian. I have had the chance to have some great Italian food since I have been to Italy on 5 separate occasion.

Mussels in Rome
Mussels in Roma.

D: Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why: Favorite destination was Rabat, Morocco. I went there in 2007 for a double wedding! This celebration spanned over three days and the actual ceremony was about 12 hours and consisted of 7 different outfit changes. The city was gorgeous and I really enjoyed it because I was there with locals. I made friends for life on this trip!

The least favorite destination is Paris, France. I don't dislike Paris, I have been there five times. It's just my least favorite, which means I liked it but not as much as every other place :)

Henna on hand in Morocco
Henna in Morocco

E: Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow”: My ultimate wow experience was snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef and attempting Scuba Diving. Woo chile, I saw a clam at the bottom the reef that was the size of a VW Beetle and I took a picture with a sea turtle.

Snorkeling in Australia with a Sea turtle
Under the sea!

F: Favorite mode of transportation: The bus. I love the bus, it's a great way to learn the city. Subways might be faster but if you only travel via underground you rarely get your bearings. The bus allows you to see where you are going even though there might be crazies on there.

G: Greatest feeling while traveling: Finding a place after getting slightly lost. Navigating a foreign country is great, it's just you and your map/guide book against the city. I love conquering new places.

H: Hottest place you’ve traveled to: Morocco was hot as blazes, I am a bit scared to go closer to the equator. I prefer cold weather to heat. In the cold you can layer up and get cozy, in heat, you can only get but so naked and you are still burning up! Gah! The sun was assaulting me in Morocco, it made no sense!

I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where: Well coming from America I am spoiled, no place in my travels has been able to compete. I hear that Asia gives America a run for their money in terms of hospitality but I haven't experienced it yet. So I will have to go with Las Vegas, Nevada at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Great service, great rooms, I won't stay anywhere else.

J: Journey that took the longest: London to Australia. 20 something hours with a layover in Singapore. Bah! I hated it.

K: Keepsake from your travels: Keychains or purses. Nice combination huh? I like handbags and accessories so I try to pick up one while I am abroad. The keychain I currently use is from Budapest, Hungary and it is a leather heart.

Leather keychains in Budapest
Keychains in Budapest, Hungary

L: Let-down sight, why and where: My boyfriend might stone me for this but I was a little let down by the Little Mermaid. It's the most famous tourist attraction in Denmark and she is super small. I know I shouldn't have expected her to be large considering her name. She sits on a rock and you can walk right up to her and touch her. I was expecting her to be taller. LOL

The little mermaid in Copenhagen
The miniature mermaid in Copenhagen, Denmark

M: Moment where you fell in love with travel: I fell in love with travel after moving to London and going on short city breaks. There was a time when I went to different city once a month. Traveling within Europe was affordable and quick and after  I came to that realization I haven't really slowed down. I talk about my budding romance with travel more in this post: For the love of travel.

N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in: Nice, meh. I've stayed at loads of nice places but my favorite might be the Stratton Hotel in Swaffom, England. I have a dream of one day operating a bed and breakfast and the Stratton comes pretty close to the place I see in my dreams. It's a hotel run by a husband and wife with 7 or so rooms each uniquely designed. I have stayed at the Stratton four times and I have asked to move around the rooms so I could experience each one. This hotel is worthy of a post all of it's own. It's in the middle of Nowhere, England but it is simply amazing. 

room at the stratton hotel
A room at the Stratton Hotel

O: Obsession—what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?: My food. I am always taking pictures of what I am eating, much to the annoyance of my fellow dinner guest. It's a tick!

proper bagel in prague
A bagel in Prague. YUM!

P: Passport stamps, how many and from where? How much time do you have. I have quite a bit but they are spread across three different passports. The number of stamps don't capture all the places I have visited since I live in Germany and while traveling within the EU, I don't get stamps. in between countries. I have been to over 30 countries and will hit Japan and Russia this year :)

Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where: In Amsterdam I visited the Sex Museum, it was...quirky.

R: Recommended sight, event or experience: I totally recommend taking cooking courses when you travel. I have taken a few while abroad and it's a great way to learn more about the local cuisine and meet interesting people. Even if you cant cook. Look for a class that is set in someone's home or private studio and enjoy! I have taken course in Istanbul and Paris, both where the highlights of my trip.

cooking class in paris
Cooking class in Paris, France

S: Splurge; something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling: Accommodations, accommodations, accommodations! Seeing as how most of my travels are solo, my safety and comfort are the most important. I don't stay at a five star resorts or mansions that overlook golf courses in Hawaii or anything but I adore guest houses and boutique hotels. I haven't been able to get down with hostels. I do my research and budget accordingly for hotels on my trips.

T: Touristy thing you’ve done: I am a traveler with touristic tendencies. I have probably done a touristy thing in every location I have been to, just to experience different sides of the city. My answer: Whale watching in Baja California. Totally touristy but worth every penny. I had a blast! I need to write a post of this as well.

whale watching in Baja California
Geeked out on this damn boat thing on the hunt for whales. Thar she blows!

U: Unforgettable travel memory: Reykjavik, Iceland was definitely an extraordinary place. I visited earlier this year and I went off roading on a 4X4. We had remarkably mild weather in February and drove along the coast for hours. Later that day I relaxed in the Blue Lagoon and then topped off the evening with an amazing dinner at the Fish Company.  

off roading in iceland along the coast
Beautiful day in Iceland

V: Visas, how many and for where? The only tourist visa that I have that is still valid is for Istanbul. All the others like ones for Australia and Morocco are expired. I currently have a work visa for Germany, where I live.

W: Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where? Haha, the best of glass of wine was actually a half liter of sangria in Barcelona, Spain. It was a hot day under the Barcelona sun and I decided to order the large sangria. I was so faded! I attempted to give a police horse a sip and put the straw up to its mouth, no one found that funny so I focused my efforts on a stone horse but since it was stone, it didn't want any sangria either. I was forced to drink it myself and put myself out of commission for a day and a half. Good times.

sangria in barcelona
Here little horsey try some sangria, its yummy!

X: eXcellent view and from where?: I really enjoy the view from the Fernseherturm right in the middle of Berlin, it is the tallest structure in Germany. At the top of TV tower there is a restaurant that rotates and in 30 minutes you can see all of Berlin.

Y: Years spent traveling? I will count starting with solo travel. My first solo trip was to Turks and Caicos in 2005. I've been traveling and living abroad since then so 6 years.

Z: Zealous sports fans and where?: If by zealous you mean insane, I think the hooligans that plague England during football season qualify. I would never enter a pub or walk near one after a big game because there was always something kicking off, too much beer and way too much testosterone.

Tag you're it! Here are the three bloggers that I want to hear from! Ernest from Fly Brother, Oneika from Oneika the Traveller, and Adam from Travels of Adam

Be sure to share this by using one of the useful buttons at the top of the post!  


  1. I think nearly every one who has done one of these has said the Sex Museum in Amsterdam in the quirkiest museum they have visited. I must be missing out.

    I gotta say, your Great Barrier Reef photograph is one of the best underwater pictures from a traveler I have seen. The turtle's face is priceless.

    You are going to have to tell me where you got that bagel before I go to Prague next year.

    Glad you did this!

  2. Woot woot!! Thanks for the tag, love!! Love that Toronto was one of your first trips!!

  3. Loved reading your list. Yay for travel! And that top photo of you...all I can say is Va-Va-Voom ;) Sexy!

  4. It's interesting to read your responses, Nicole, because a lot of your answers are similar to mine. I'm so with you on staying at a nice, comfortable hotel. I've done the hostel thing and even though it provides a great opportunity to connect with other solo travelers, its not for me either.

  5. @ shells hostels just arent the look for me. i think i am past a certain age where if i am traveling i want some perks. LOL i dont do huge big hotels but prefer one a kind experiences.

    @geotraveler haha you are crazy. have you been tagged i would love to read your answers. i might sneak in an additional tag if you have been overlooked :)

    @oneika no worries, yours was great!

    @follow your hart thanks for tagging me homey, it was a lot of fun. the sex museum was interesting but amsterdam as a whole is ...interesting

  6. Lol at "least horrible tasting beer"! This was a wonderful read, and should u ever open that b&b, I'll be a customer!

  7. Great blog!thanks for sharing..keep it up and regards..