Traveling: Avoiding the Ugly American Label

Hello, please, excuse me, thank you, and goodbye are the most important words when traveling. If you can learn those four words in the native tongue of the country you are in, you will have a successful trip.

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Traveling: Top 5 Romantic Cities

For Valentine’s Day, I decided to write my favorite romantic places I have visited with Cristina

5. Venice: Venice can be grueling because it is all cement and water. That is also what makes it beautiful. Best thing about Venice is that it is a perfect city to get lost. Eventually you find your way, but its a beautiful adventure.

4.Barcelona: My favorite walking city I have visited. Barcelona is a place to do lots of shopping at high fashion stores and at outside food markets. Coffee shops and restaurants are plentiful to sit and have a nice conversation. In addition, the architecture is full of wonder.

3.Paris: Sure the Eiffel Tower is romantic, but so is most of the city. A leisurely stroll down the Champs-Elysees is hard to beat in the romantic department, yet a cruise down the Seine comes close.

2. Rome: Rome is another city best seen by walking (I’m sensing a theme). The best time is sunset when the natural light and the city lights bring the Eternal City alive.

1. New Orleans: Yes, I am a homer, but I cannot see any reason why our city should not be number one. If you know how to walk the French Quarter (mainly stay away from parts of Bourbon), you can easily pretend you are in the Old World. If the moon is out, a walk along the river near Woldenberg Park is as good as it gets. Moreover, I have not even mentioned Uptown and Oak Street which are just as good if not better than the Downtown. As far as restaurants go, well, I think we have it pretty good.

Traveling: The Power, the Beauty, and the Glory, or Three Churches and How Their Architecture and Design Tells a Story

During our 2010 trip to Europe, we visited a few churches. Being raised Catholic is one reason why we made sure we visited them; being history majors was another reason. Churches of the Middle Ages are more than just places of worship. They were landmarks most of the cities were built around. They were the meeting places of the masses. Since most of those masses were uneducated during this time, the Churches served another purpose. They told the story of Christ through their windows and their art. They also told a story through their architecture.

We are not experts in architecture. Yet, when we visited Notre Dame in Paris, The Duomo in Florence, and St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City we came away with different feelings about the Church.

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Traveling and Teaching

Cristina and I are both teachers. I teach Digital Graphics and Web Design to seniors and juniors while Cristina teaches World Geography to freshmen. We are lucky in that travel allows us both to be better at our jobs.

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle

The Colosseum, or the Coliseum

The Colosseum, or the Coliseum as Wikipedia puts it.

Since I teach Photoshop, all the pictures we take on our travels can be used in my classroom. For not having any formal training, Cristina has a good eye for composition…better than I do. Her pictures allow me to discuss the rule of thirds and the golden ratio. I show them the camera we use and then discuss the types of camera out there including cell phone cameras. The London rain allows me to show them how to color correct. Now, I could do this with pictures I Google gank. However, that’s stealing. Inevitably, the questions go beyond the subject of my class.  They start asking about history, art, architecture, economics, and world geography.

The Westerkerk in Amsterdam

The Westerkerk in Amsterdam

Confettie in Sulmona

Confetti in Sulmona

The Champs-Elysées from the Arc de Triomphe

The Champs-Elysées from the Arc de Triomphe with the Louvre in the Distance

For Cristina, it’s easy to make the connection between our favorite hobby and her job. Instead of pulling off pictures off the internet for her PowerPoints, she just needs to look on her external hard drive. The difference it makes to her kids is amazing. Their eyes light up and then ask, “Did you really go there?”  Students suddenly become aware of how big, and small, the world is. They realize, some for the first time, that someday they may get to go to these places. For them, they are now one degree of separation from Paris, Prague, or the Panama Canal.

Europe Collage Created by a Student

Europe Collage Created by a Student

Now, does anyone know if we can write off our trips on our taxes?

Traveling: How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Travel

This blog started as basically a blog about me learning how to cook with Crisitna writing candidly about what it was like to eat my food. However, our other interests started to creep in and wanted a voice. Well, our other big mutual interest is travel.

While Cristina documented her love for travel in an earlier blog, my love for travel took a bit longer to develop. I was content with watching the Travel Channel. It wasn’t until right after Cristina and I started to dating that I realized that not only do I like to travel but it was good for me as well.

I’m a teacher. However, I also assumed a lot more responsibilities that year outside of being a teacher and a coach. The work wasn’t hard it was just very time-consuming and deadline centric. I was basically causing a lot of stress for myself. Too make matters worse, I had just been through a battery of medical tests to rule out bladder cancer. The tests ruled out cancer (not sure what it was because it cleared up itself), but thinking you might have cancer is not a pleasant experience.

On a whim in the parking lot on the last day of school before the holiday, I asked Cristina if we could go to Disney World for the Easter break. No homework, no calling vendors, no writing newspaper articles. Nothing but riding rides, eating food (the good, the bad, and the ugly) and maybe trying to drink around the world in Epcot. Luckily, her best friend and sister live in the Orlando area so accommodations weren’t that hard to come by. So the day after Easter we packed the car and took off.

What a difference a week makes. I walked in a 35-year-old and walked out a seven-year old. Cristina remarked on our last day that I had smiled for the entire week. Even when I was sleeping.

I came back and handled the rest of the school year with ease. Now, I’m willing to travel anywhere at any time. It’s good for me.

Writing about Europe, Washington, and the Arts Market also make me feel better. Some posts may be silly, exciting, or boring. However, the experience meant something to me. Therefore, if you have been with this blog from the beginning you may have noticed an evolution of this blog. Not only will it be about our dining and cooking experiences, it will be about all of our experiences.

Sometimes, however unlikely, even a trip to an exotic locale such as Kenner can yield an experience worth writing about.

Traveling: The love of travel

This is a Cristina blog. You’re welcome.

Ever since I can remember, I have loved to travel. I think that stems from my family and I moving so much when I was a kid. We didn’t move because my dad was in the military, as most people ask me, but rather because we were just always in search of something better than what we had. We weren’t exactly dirt poor, but we did struggle. Though I don’t really remember too much, by the time I was five I had lived in Ohio, California, Australia, and Louisiana.

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