Thursday, March 23, 2006

And Countries

create your own visited countries map

I think this is funny cause I get credit for all of Russia, which is HUGE, because I spent 4 days in Leningrad in 1989. Tis' quite a distorted picture.'

So, since it's almost impossible to tell, I have been to:

* The US, where I was born and currently live.

* Canada, a business trip of my Dad's to Quebec when I was little. Amazingly enough, I've lived in a state that borders Canada for 19 years now, and I haven't visited since then. (Though my ex and I drove to the border once, but I didn't have ID on me and was worried they wouldn't let me back in - we werne't going to Canada, we were being random, so it wasnt' a huge loss)

* Italy - my first time "abroad" I went on a summer trip with a bunch of priviliged US kids when I was 16 (me and this guy from Iowa had "scholarships" but the rest were just rich. I think that was similarly culture-shocky for me to being in a country with a different language) I was there 6 weeks. I also went back through after my junior year semester in Norway, and visited the town in Sicily where my grandfather was born, among other things.

* Belgium - shoudln't really count it, we flew through on the way to Italy

* Norway - my junior year semester abroad thing was in Oslo, an excellent city. It's warmer there than in Minnesota, which surprised me because it's way farther north, but the jetstream or whatever, you know.

* Sweden - we did this field trip to other "scandinavian capitals" I loved the community gardens in stockholm, and the city in general

* Russia - the USSR then. The second city on our trip was Leningrad. This was maybe October of 1989, everything changed a lot right after we were there. It was very grey, and I felt like I didn't get to see much (you had to have a guide with you, and the people I was with were mostly disdainful americans)

* Finland - next was Helsinki, which I don't remember very well, except the big wool handknit socks I bought at the pier and never wore for years. Now I wear them all the time.

* Denmark - I was super into the ice cream and bicycling in Copenhagen.

* Germany - A really good friend from high school lives there with his wife. in 1989 they were just dating, and living in the US, but home in Cologne for christmas, so I stopped and spent some time with them.

* Switzerland - I spent a day in Luzern on my way to Italy, and loved it. I met up with a friend in Italy, and we decided to spend xmas in Luzern - arriving there the night of the 24th with money from the US, Britain, Italy, Norway, Germany in our pockets, but only about 50 cents worth of swiss francs. Who would have thought you couldnt' change money in the Venice train station??? I'm sort of sad about the euro, but it would have been handy then. These two young women from Argentina rescued us and lent us bus fare to ride to the hostel with them (we didn't really know where it was either) It's still probably my favorite xmas ever, because it was so low-pressure. We didn't get each other presents, spent the day watching kids try out their new trikes by the lake, and ate dinner in the train station (they only place we could find open)

* Holland - another sort of cheat. I took the boat to England from Rotterdam.

* UK - my last stop on that last tour of europe. I stayed with a guy on whom I had had an INTENSE crush 4 years earlier and his fiancee. It was great, and awkward. It was so weird to be in a place where they spoke english for the first time in 4 months, but they weren't speaking it "quite right"

*Guatemala - I decided I needed to travel again last year, and took myself off to Guatemala for 9 days to study spanish and have an adventure. There were all sorts of scary travel warnings, and I was pretty sure I wouldn't come back alive (worrier that I am) but it was overall an awesome trip.

*Mexico - Just about a month ago, my sweetie and I returned from a week in Cancun. Well, not Cancun, Tulum, which is about the closest town that's near the beach and not freakishly touristy. (2-3 hours south) There were many things that were wonderful about it (even though I got sunburn and tummy trouble) but I think in future I'll make more of a point of avoiding tourist spots.

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