I thought I'd follow up on my earlier thoughts about where I could go again if possible and where I really feel comfortable so would love to go again each year if miles and points added up. Here's where I don't NEED to visit again but probably will have to:
- Paris (though I probably will have to because of research)
- London (only to meet with my publisher and for Jack the Ripper tours)
- Brussels (been there, done that, but would still like to again)
- Rome (sad to say, I think I've seen all and done all, though there is part of me that will try to get over things like associated factors that actually are not related to Rome -- because I really DO want to go there again.)
AND WHERE I WON'T:
-All of Switzerland, my ancestral country. I've been three times to Berne (from which all of my family emigrated in 1913), Zurich, Luzerne, Lausanne, Geneva, and other places. I find it ironic that despite my Swiss-German background I have felt totally NOT at home in Switzerland or Germany
- Most of Germany. I don't honestly know why I feel this way, given my Swiss-Germanic background, but although I have spent much time in Germany (and it was my first serious foreign language), including a three-month fellowship in Wolfenbüttel in the 1990s, it feels like a strange place to me. Maybe it's me as a historian and I don't like Germany's 20th century past, though my ancestors had no role or victimship in what happened. Oddly, esp. considering background, I never feel at home in Switzerland or Germany. It turns out my ancestor from Berne emigrated to the US in 1913 to become a vaudeville actor. He was Catholic (strangely from very Protestant Berne) when he emigrated but became Protestant when he and his wife landed in Philadelphia. He died soon after.
-Turkey - Literally been there, done that, loved it. But no need to go back.
So my question is besides the ones I've asked, is why are we drawn (aside from work) to the places we are? I literally have no French or Italian (let alone Egyptian of Greek) blood in my veins, yet those are my places. I have never been able to figure this out. I found Berne to be lovely, yet I felt no connection whatsoever despite my heritage.
Easy one for me....Amsterdam. Loved the city and enjoyed the fun we had there (invited by St. Maarten friends to their daughters wedding in Holland) but, once and done is good for me. Can't put my finger on an overbearing reason I feel that way, but Amsterdam just left me with the ho-hum feeling after being there.
As a drug investigator in the benelux for 4 years in the late 70's and early 80's, I was in Amsterdam often. So I knew the places to avoid, but I also knew where some very good restaurants were, and they were in areas where I felt ok taking my wife. But, I tend to agree with profchiara on this one. Other than the restaurants (I never went to the art museums although my wife did with some of her friends), I just didn't find Amsterdam very appealing. At the time I was there, it seemed pretty dirty, but I've heard that it has since been cleaned up some. Now, as for the rest of Holland, it was beautiful, and not a bad place to live for 4 years considering the alternative assignments I might have had...Korea, Turkey, Greenland, and so on.
I think the most likely reason I loved the city was because our friends (Dutch ancestry) knew where to take us during our time with them while we were in between the civil ceremony and the church ceremony and then we went with them to the country. But, after the wedding and when we returned on our own to Amsterdam for a few days before we came home, we thought the place was dirty, was far too much of a drug haven (you can smoke dope there legally and we have never done drugs of any type) and that was a big turn off for us and of course...the red-light district....offered no appeal whatsoever except the foolishness of seeing it once. So, we didn't have any desire to return.
In the Dutch Caribbean Islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, St. Maarten and others), the drug laws of those countries do not follow the Netherlands. Drugs of any type are illegal. I believe the United States played a big role where the Caribbean Basin as a whole adopted laws and procedures to stop the trafficking of drugs. They are still there, but those caught with them are prosecuted. The US actually has a fairly sizeable presence in the area via Coast Guard and Navy.
American aircraft carriers have provided power to islands in he Caribbean after their infrastructure has been destroyed by a hurricane. It's actually quite impressive. I think it was after Hurricane Luis back in 1995 that the USS John F Kennedy sat anchored in the Caribbean waters in front of my home in St. Maarten and provided the power source for the island. We actually had the officers of the ship at our home a couple of years later when they returned to the island. It was quite a bash!
I agree. We have the greatest country on earth and the people to go with it. It's amazng to me how many people in the Caribbean Islands (who know what we do for them) speak with such reverence about our country. It's such a refreshing change from what we see from the Middle Easterners who abhor us.
Ah yes, St. Maarten..........it's not as nice as one would think....beautiful, yes, but the island infrastructure and way of life is about 15 years behind what we have here in the States. But, you can't beat the sunsets........this is from our front deck.........
Oh yeah...the carrier officers ball (as we called it)..........it came about by chance because when the carrier returned to the island a couple of years after the hurricane we had an invite to visit the ship from the Lt. Governor. The owner of the tender company that was ferrying the ships crew to port introduced us all to the ships captain (commander). We had a French gal visiting with us from Montreal and she was 'popular' with the officers (in a nice way I say that). After she asked the First Officer to dinner at our home we asked the Commander who else might like to come. As it turned out, we had quite a gathering...........and enjoyed all of the camaraderie. We got the last group back to the boat at about 7AM the next day. It really was a fun night.
I am with you!
Amsterdam is at best a three night stay. Have enjoyed it but all the popular vices do not interest me.
Enjoyed the Marriott's and the good food along with the canal ride, but that was it. Have done it a number of times with people who think it will be wonderful, but it's just OK.
Probably Germany. Have truly enjoyed seeing it these past two years, but doubt I'll have much of a desire to ever return there (once the kids have moved back to the U.S. next year.) In fact I've yet to visit Berlin (my kids are down in Bavaria), and have no great desire to go. I like to visit places that have interesting history and for some reason, German history just doesn't light my fire.
I love Italy, but Rome is another place (she said, as she prepares for her upcoming trip there) that I'm feeling I won't need to return to (after this next trip). It's a magical, wonderful city, filled with great things, but after this trip I think I'll be ready to move on. There are too many other places in Italy that I haven't seen or would love to re-visit, indeed too many other places in the world that my heart desires to see, with consideration of the confines of my resources (number of dollars and years available for travel).
I don't need to ever return to Japan, though my time there was truly amazing and the people were lovely.