Travel Highlights of 2017

I feel fortunate to have experienced some incredible things this year. And in the spirit of giving my future self something to look back on, I’ve created a quick and dirty top-ten list of the past year — aka, my Travel Highlights of 2017! They’re listed in no particular order, except that I saved my most-fave for last.

10. Suspended over Reutte, Austria

Just south of the border from Bavaria in the tiny town of Reutte, Austria, is Highline 179. Connecting two castles, it’s a suspension bridge that is simultaneously terrific and terrifying!

I walked Highline 179 this summer and temporarily regretted the decision two-thirds through. But I survived the crossing — twice! — and am alive to tell the tale. Watch a time-lapse video of the adrenaline-pumping walk (above) in less than 45 seconds! Continue reading “Travel Highlights of 2017”

From Devil’s Drink to Frappuccino: The Coffee Scene in Italy is About to Change

Bear with me while I reminisce about my first. I remember it distinctly: that very first sip of coffee with milk frothed up by way of pressurized steam.

A cappuccino.

Some of my earliest recollections revolve around the time I learned from my parents that we’d be leaving our home in Wichita, Kansas, to move to Greece. The idea was very confusing to me. I was four years old and fairly confident that Greece was a blob in a frying pan, not a habitable location.

Spoiler Alert: I was wrong.

An Intro to Café Culture

We moved to Athens. Everything was so new and different. It was the first time I could recall having encountered something along the lines of café culture. In those days I was too young to have been able to form any such concept of lifestyles and how they differ based on culture — yet still, I had noticed a difference.

The streets were full of people. People out walking or shopping at local markets. People who enjoyed watching people. Lively social interactions were part of the daily street scene. Life in Athens was livelier and more pedestrian-centric than what I had been used to in small-town, USA. (Not that I was drawing on much experience at that point in time.)

Now back to that first sip. I think I was already five by then, and we were getting settled into life abroad.

I was with my parents and sisters in a public gathering place — let’s call it a coffeehouse or café — but I did not know what a cappuccino was. My parents had each ordered the frothy beverage, and it looked so inviting, so tempting, so… YUMMY.

I begged them to let me have some. Eventually they gave in and allowed me a sip. I carefully held the warm cup with both hands and drew it in. What I imagined as a sort of chocolate-infused liquid-marshmallow mix touched my lips, it approached my taste buds, and… and… Continue reading “From Devil’s Drink to Frappuccino: The Coffee Scene in Italy is About to Change”