Tokyo, Montreal, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles.  Whenever I travel, it’s usually to one of these four cities.  But I’ve been thinking.  Maybe it’s time for something different.  Not Hawaii or Hong Kong or New Orleans or San Francisco – all places I’ve already visited.  I’m talking about somewhere I’ve never been before. Somewhere brand new to discover.  I’m thinking…

1 Savannah, Georgia

I actually started researching Savannah for a pilot I was co-writing and the more I learned about this sultry southern city, the greater my desire to visit.  I’ve always had an affinity for things southern, from sports teams to food,  so this trip is long overdue.  It also helps that I have some reliable guides in my buddy Jeff and his wife Barb who head down annually.

1Madrid, Spain

Ever since we watched a Food Network show called From Spain with Love, a series that took viewers on a tour of the city’s culinary hot spots, Madrid (and Barcelona) has been on the top of my (and Akemi’s) list of Places to Go.

1New York, New York

Okay, technically I have been to New York – but it was a business trip that lasted less than a day so I’m not counting it.   As far as foodie cities go, this one’s at the top of the list.

1Tuscany, Italy

I’d like to follow a friend’s lead: gather a bunch of friends and rent a villa.  Hire a chef to cook for you or simply take a ride into town for some of the local fresh produce you can bring back and cook yourself.

1Charleston, South Carolina

Warm, beautiful, great food, and, by all accounts, “insanely nice” locals.

So. what makes your list?

50 thoughts on “May 1, 2014: My Top 5 Never-Before-Visited Vacation Destinations!

  1. Check out Santa Monica and Miami! If you’re in for a more historic destination, I love going to Williamsburg, VA. Such a pretty place and so much to do!

  2. If you do Georgia maybe you should come to DragonCon.. It would be a blast to have you attend.

  3. San Francisco is always on my list as I’m from there and rarely get to return, but Madrid (my mothers old stomping grounds) and New York are both fantastic. As a fan of museums and Ethiopian food, I quite enjoy DC. I was also very impressed with Ho Chi Min City/Saigon and Hanoi, but travel there is a bit more “rustic” and good food is found through friends on the ground. Also Georgia just passed a very broad gun law allowing people to carry them in bars and other places like schools, so you may end up with a lot of drunk people with firearms if you go there. Just don’t start any fights…

  4. I’m not exactly a foodie (can’t afford to be) but I do like to travel. I’ve always wanted to visit Australia, and the Antarctic, simply because you just can’t get any farther away, and I’d like to be able to say that I did it once.

  5. @kerry: Thanks for the tip. Actually I ordered a copy from them yesterday when I discovered Amazon didn’t have it.

    Places I want to go:

    1 .Norway to see the fjords.
    2. Iceland to see the glaciers, volcanoes and puffins.
    3.. Dublin, Ireland: Trinity College to see the Book of Kells with my own eyes and then travel around Ireland and track down my ancestors.
    4. London, England: partly just to be there and partly as a jumping off spot for the Cotswolds (home of the Arts and Crafts movement), Oxford University, etc.
    5. More of Japan, especially the mountains.
    6. Take a bicycle tour of the Netherlands.
    7. Rent a house on the island of Lipari.

    Actually, Savannah is on my short list of places to see in the US, too.

  6. Savannah is a lot of fun. You’d love it.

    I really want to visit Asia. China looks stunning. Allie may go to Thailand this summer. If so I’ll be ridiculously jealous. But also Antarctica, Alaska and Africa would be amazing. Ha! Those all start with A. Petra is another place I’d love to see. Maybe Norway or Finland.. So many places. I love to travel.

  7. Food cities I’ve never visited but are on my list: Istanbul, Singapore, Marrakech, Ho Chi Minh, Oaxaca, Sao Paulo, New Orleans, Austin

    Food cities I’d recommend if you’ve never been: San Sebastian, Barcelona, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Portland, Chicago

    Too many delicious places!

  8. I need to try out Louisville cuisine. On my last trip, a relative drove an RV with a Broaster (TM) installed to the event so, being gluten-free, I stepped out for a bowl of pho with tendon and it was so great, a thousand times better than the watered-down pho we had in Boston. My cousin had a trailer that cooked 500 lbs. of gluten-free rotisserie at the event before that so I was set there. A thousand other trips involved Broasters (TM), which are great, but I’ve always been too stuffed with awesome chicken and potato wedges to try the awesome restaurants I hear so much about. I’ll have more need to step out for a gluten-free meal for future events.

    And, no, I’m not recommending a hot brown. I’ve been served sloppy enough sandwiches in my lifetime to have needed to eat it with a fork, then switch to a spoon to down it faster so it wouldn’t overflow from the plate when it pooled entirely. So maybe I have had a hot brown if that’s not a normal thing to happen to people who didn’t grow up in Kentucky. In any case, having experienced that, I figure you should just start with a bowl of gravy or eat a sandwich. Skip the drama of your sandwich suddenly becoming gravy.

  9. I’ve wanted to visit Savannah ever since I read “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” but haven’t yet. A Tuscany villa is something my family has discussed too, until the real cost became evident, haha.

    My 1st desire is New Zealand, for the incredible scenery. Yes, I’d do a Lord of the Rings locations tour and I wouldn’t even be embarrassed about it.

    In the US I want to see Alaska. And an African photo safari is on my bucket list.

    Just realized these are all about the scenery, not food or buildings. On the architecture side, Barcelona is definitely top of the list for the crazy Gaudi buildings.

  10. Savannah is fun! In a southern, laid back sort of way, of course. I know you’ll enjoy it. And Charleston is one of those cities that I have visited, but only for a day trip, so I’d love to go back.

    I’m surprised that Paris and London were not on your list. I’ve had a lot of good times in both.

    As for new cities, Sydney looks fun, and I too would love to visit Madrid…maybe Skua could be our guide? 🙂 Barb speaks much better Castilian, so she wouldn’t need as much interpretation as I do.

    One trip I should be taking next year will be a Route 66 trip with my daughter, Jackie. We’re hoping to finish the Corvette in time and travel in style! We’ll start in Chicago and it should take us about 8 to 10 days to make it to L.A., then another 4 or 5 days taking the freeway back. Maybe we should do our own version of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, Route 66 style?

    As for more immediate trips, I was supposed to go to Europe this coming week, but that got swapped around with a visit to Calgary instead (just Calgary, no visits to Vancouver this time). The Europe trip was pushed back to July, which should make it nice and humid in Sicily when I’m there.

  11. Chicago was awesome. My companions had Korean, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and Filipino backgrounds and all lived five hours from Chicago for a good chunk of their lives. The trip was each showing the rest of us their favorite haunts, having learned of the famous and not-so-famous restaurants and delis and what to order at each over a long period of time and from the heavily networked ethnic communities in our hometown.

    It was the Asian foodie trip of a lifetime and no trip will ever top it. I have no more need of cuisine. I’m permanently satiated. I could live off potato chips the rest of my life and die culinarily full-filled.

  12. @Sparrow_hawk:

    Dublin is fun (liking/loving Guinness helps!) It also helped that my mother’s family (in the line of the Donovans) traces back to Cork; it made it feel like home. And the book of the Kells is incredible…the ornateness of it is beyond description.

    Visiting some of the seaside villages like Baltimore, will also make for a picturesque bookend to your time in the city.

  13. So. what makes your list?

    basically the major cities of the world; paris, london, rome, new york, berlin, athens, etc.. mostly for the history, partly for the food & sightseeing.

    i’d also like to visit more US state, not even major cities, just check out the states. i’ve been to 8, plus washington DC.

  14. Always wanted to see the UK — London for many reasons, but would like to go during Wimbledon, and the rest of England, and then Scotland to see where my dad was born and Ireland and Wales, just because. Vietnam is high on my list. Chicago, Vancouver and the Maritimes. Savannah has intrigued me since seeing Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Although, now that I think of it, those statues would freak me out after seeing “Blink”. Can totally recommend Australia, New Zealand and Thailand. Unfortunately, right now my bank account is running on fumes, so no travel for me.

  15. My grandmom was born in Charleston, SC. I’ve been there – beautiful place. It’s where my maternal ancestors are deeply rooted, from Rev. Archibald Stobo (interesting history, if you feel like googling him), to my great-great-great grandmother who was a slave/servant, to my great-great uncle, Arthur Laidler Macbeth (interesting history, if you feel like googling him, or his son Hugh Macbeth).

    Speaking of the south, I just got this fabulous cookbook – Glorious Grits! I can’t wait to try some of the recipes, especially the Gruyere Grits Croutons. Many, if not most, of the recipes are gluten-free, or can easily be made GF, just as long as those who have celiac or non-celiac gluten sensitivity remember to get certified GF grits, since popular commercial brands may be cross-contaminated with wheat. The book also has recipes for polenta (or, Mush, as we called it around here as kids until it got a fancy name), and corn meal.

    http://www.amazon.com/Glorious-Grits-Americas-Favorite-Comfort/dp/B0057DBNJC

    Speaking of the whole gluten-free thing, I’m really starting to get annoyed with the jokes about it. At first I could laugh at them, but they are becoming increasingly derogatory, which makes it really hard to be taken seriously when it’s necessary to make special food requests. While some people jump on the bandwagon as a fad, there are many of us who didn’t willingly choose to cut out gluten, but had to in order to feel better. I was having so many issues, from constant indigestion, to trouble swallowing, to a feeling of fullness despite eating very little, to unexplained weight gain, to sleeplessness, to mouth ulcers (canker sores), to heartburn. That’s all stopped. So I have to believe I had a true sensitivity to gluten. And I can tell you, it’s NOT funny when you can no longer eat good pizza, or a Philly cheesesteak, or onion rings and jalapeno poppers (gosh, I do miss those things!) – or even just a good piece of Italian bread. It kills me sometimes. But my digestive issues were killing me more.

    Okay…I gotta get back to a rugby match so I can free up some space on my DVR in order to tape MORE rugby matches this weekend! Woo! 🙂

    das

  16. Oh, and my list of places to visit? No cities, per se, since I’m not a city person – I prefer scenery and old ruins and such. So, I’ll go countries, or regions of countries:

    1. Scottish Highlands.
    2. New Zealand. Anywhere. EVERYwhere!
    3. New Orleans (okay – that is a city)
    4. Tuscany, Italy – yeah, gotta agree on that one.
    5. London, England (okay, that’s a city, too)

    I’m tired and that’s the best I can do. There are probably other places I want to visit more, but in the end the only two places I really, REALLY would love to visit are Scotland and New Zealand.

    das

  17. I’m off to Provence, France for a week in June. Hopefully the weather will be hot and the food delicious! We’re also planning a trip to Iceland in November to hopefully see the aurora.

    @Sparrow_hawk: I live in the Cotswolds!

  18. Wherever you decide to go…you can always stop for a few days here in New York City on the way there or on the way back…especially if you
    are headed across the Atlantic towards some place in Europe.
    ….just an idea.

    BTW….IMO..there are so many other better places to go and visit than New York City.
    …but maybe I am a bit jaded because I live in here NYC and I am dreaming of being in a different place.
    Vancouver sounds nice.

  19. Here’s some ideas…I’ve been to five – San Fran, New York, Chicago, Barcelona, Paris & I lived & worked in London for too many years to count as a visit…but there’s a hell of a load on that list I still want to try..especially Rome, Lisbon, Florence, Berlin, Prague & Budapest…I think a Driving Tour of Europe is next on my Travel Bucket List..

    http://news.distractify.com/culture/trip-advisor-top-cities/?v=1

    Talking of travel – had an amazing West Coast Road Trip…Santa Monica, Disney, flew up to Seattle for ECCC weekend, then drove down through Washington State & via the Columbia Gorge to Portland which I LOVED – I think it’s Seattle & Vancouver before they got too big & busy & apparently it has a Street Food Culture second to none now – then down along Highways 101 & 1 along the Oregon Coast and through the Redwoods to Mendocino, over to Sonoma & wine country and along to San Fran for a couple of days & then flew up to Vancouver, ferry to Tofino & back to Vancouver again before flying down to LA and home…

    Great friends and food along the way of course and even got in a charity walk with Family Shanks in Vancouver to raise money for the MS Society of Canada … Yes, THAT Family Shanks 😀

    Can’t wait for the next trip – over to Belgium at the end of the month – which has some amazing cities too Bruges Brussels, Gent & Antwerp are all worth a cultural & culinary visit imho – and then on to Dusseldorf to see a certain Mr R D Anderson, Ms A Tapping & Mr M Shanks all on stage together at Fedcon at the end of June!!…thank goodness RDA decided that Cons are a lot less scary than he first thought eh?..

  20. @ JeffW
    Off course im delighted & at your service as native guide, whatever Spain´s city is. 😉

    Tuscany. Its a once in the life place to be. Rent a villa with a group of friend is a very good idea. I like not only the beatyful place and the food. As a personal interest i like very much Tuscany for be the land of the Etruscan. Tusci or Etrusci= Tuscany one of the most curious civilizations 3 centuries at least,before the Romans. In every corner you find something interesting ( if you know waht to see) on the floor. As lots of pieces of a type of sigillata ceramics.

    Savannah, sound very good too.

  21. I forget my list:

    -New Orleans
    -Tokyo
    -Buenos Aires
    – i like to visit Persia (some recondits archeological sites) but not the Ayatollah´s Iran as is now, because sure they imprison me as spy. I think perhaps never go there.
    -Sydney
    – Ilike visit Akademgorodok in Novosibirsk

  22. @Line Noise: When I start getting my trip set up (probably not this year but maybe next) I’ll consult you so you can give me advice about the area!

    Provence! That was one of the places I couldn’t thick of last night. Have a great time!

    8. Biking through Provence and eating and drinking.

    @das: Scottish highlands! That’s another one for my list.

  23. @das: I just had polenta last night. I made it with a little sauteed onion and garlic, chicken broth, sea salt and finished it by stirring in parmesan cheese. Yum!

  24. Oh, I just like to travel, was thinking it would be cool, if a tv show stopped me on the street and offered me a trip to anywhere, oh wait, I think they have done that on tv already, but not to me,, so travel, I would like to see Australia, Ireland(maybe the family history area,county of Tyrone I think), Have talked about Savannah, or Charleston, we are not really far from there. Nice history and beautiful I have heard. Have been to Alaska and Hawaii, so good there, although would not turn down another visit. wish we had beaming tech so we could get there sooner and have more time to enjoy!

  25. I know I’m about to ruffle some feathers but after 4 visits, 2 of them for several days, I find nothing appealing about Savannah. Yes, the architecture and squares are beautiful but they’ve decayed like a municipal Miss Haversham. It’s a beacon for tacky tourists looking for tackier faux southern souvenirs and mediocre dining. I desperately wanted to love it since my great grandmother was from Savannah, but, alas, it was not to be, Perhaps your friends have found something I’ve missed.

    Charleston, on the other hand, is a spectacular example of preservation, culture, hospitality and food, One of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to is located there. The Peninsula Grill is famous for it’s magnificent take on modern southern cuisine. You can’t walk down the street without stumbling over another fantastic place to eat. Some are elegant and some are holes in the wall. It’s sort of like New Orleans in that respect, just without all the drunken frat boys.

    Oaxaca is also another fantastic foodie destination. While not the birth place of mole, it has run with it and lifted it to an art form. There is a cooking school connected with Las Ollas that offers classes in traditional Oaxacan fare. I’ve stayed at the B&B adjacent to the restaurant and both owned by the same lady. Oh, honey, can that woman cook. It’s on my list to go back and take lessons from her. Aside from the food, Oaxaca is a beautiful state with different towns/villages specializing in native art forms. The weavers, carvers and clay artists are world famous for their works. It also has the only church to bear a dedication and acknowledgement to the slave labor of the indigenous people. The conditions of the construction were so brutal that the pope demanded that it be halted and to this day remains unfinished. The Mexican people are among the most warm, welcoming and friendly people you will ever meet.

    Tuscany was wonderful but we enjoyed it by staying in an apartment in Lucca, making it our home base with day trips throughout the area. We had a kitchen to make breakfast in the morning and were able to walk to any of the great restaurants and pizzarias without having to negotiate dark narrow roads.

    I could keep going but will stop here. Sorry if I’ve offended anyone but I’m only relating my experiences.

  26. Here’s the thing.. Savannah and Charleston.. I wouldn’t give either more than a long weekend. Really.

    I love New York. 🙂 From New York it’s also a quick hop on the train to Baltimore or DC if you so desire. Or Boston.

    For a foodie, have you been to either New Orleans or to Lyon, France? I loved Paris but Lyon for food and a very different flow.. incredible. Of course, I’d vote you at least look at Annecy, France. OMG… really, just look at pictures. 🙂

  27. I’ve loved to visit all the places you’ve mentioned. Plus, I’ll add these to the list: New Orleans, Any place with a beach, New Zealand, Australia and Ireland.

    Das: I love cheese grits. Once, Destin, FL they had Pineapple grits and they were delicious!!! Have you tried Shrimp and Grits? Anyway, I’m getting hungry now…..good luck with the cookbook.

  28. I’ve been to all the cities on your list except Madrid, and I loved them all. But tops on that list would be Tuscany. It’s truly like being in a postcard. Unbelievable. If you go, DO NOT MISS San Gimingnano and Cinque Terra.

    Tops on my list: Australia/New Zealand, Moscow and St Petersburg (once Putin is done being an idiot or just done), Israel, Thailand (I have friend in Chiang Mai), and Alaska.

  29. When dad retired from the Navy, we went Space Available to Japan and Europe (empty seats on military flights). I was 13~14, so my memory is a bit hazy. Such an adventure. Cold though, it was winter … Berlin, Paris, London, Madrid … loved them all. Barcelona and Nice were my favorites, and Kyoto. Shiraz is dear to me, we lived there for a year, but I think it is not the same. I have set foot in every state in the US.

    I’ve been to Savannah, but just the Navy base for uniforms, and a quick meal at a seafood place on a pier. I;d love to see more. Chicago rocks. I hate Florida. I’ve been to Montreal on a day trip when we visited Vermont, mostly so hubby and I could “check it off” our list; we’d never been to Canada. San Diego is warm, friendly and fun. I do like Puerto Vallarta and Cancun, in a touristy way. I even enjoyed Taif, and that is hardly a hot spot. Hawaii is amazing, at least, Big Island and Kauai are beautiful. Warm places in general are amazing.

    Destinations? Not just cities… hmmm, Scotland and Ireland, Copenhagen, Istanbul, maybe Belize. New York, and maybe Boston. Probably Vancouver, because I have a place to stay there (no, not your couch …. ). I’d love to see Petra, and the Pyramids, but the area is just too scary now. Maybe Marrakesh. Also I should get to someplace in Australia and Africa, and South America, try to complete my continents. Oh, yea, I;d love to go to Malta. And probably Greece. I used to want to go to India and Russia, but lately, they have lost all appeal.

    Yep, go to Barcelona and Madrid. Maybe Nice and Monte Carlo. I also like Mallorca.

    I just gave up two weeks in Cabo next winter (well, one for sure, the other I may just cancel) for a week in Portugal in spring. We can run up to Lisbon or over to Seville/Cadiz on day trips. Technically, I have been to Portugal, but it was an overnight wheelstop in the Azores. Looking forward to that!

  30. Oh, and I’d love to go to the Maldives or the Seychelles … because I enjoyed my time on Diego Garcia so much, and can never go there again.

  31. You can’t go wrong with Tuscany. I was stationed at Camp Darby in Tuscany with the Army in the ’70’s. I met my wife there, a transplanted Sicilian lass. After leaving the military I returned to Italy and lived in Pinerolo province of Turin in Piemonte but my heart always belonged to the region of Tuscany. Absolute paradise for a foodie. Rentals abound up and down the coast or further inland. While in the Army my buddies and I rented a small castle situated on a cliff overlooking the Med for three weeks just South of Livorno and it was a total blast. There are so many beautiful places easily accessible from anywhere in the region. I spent many a weekend in Florence and it is one of my top five cities on the planet. Planning to return to Italy next year to visit relatives and get my Italian back in shape. It’s become a little rusty living in Oklahoma.

  32. Have actually been to all the places on your list. If you go Madrid, should definitely go to Barcelona too. My daughter went to school in Barcelona and loved it. Be sure to check out the huge farmers market there. Seville is also great as is Granada and the Alhambra. We found Spain’s train system was pretty good and used that to go from city to city. If you are going in part for the food though, I liked the food in Italy far better than in Spain. The Tuscany region is wonderful in terms of scenery, food, wine, etc.. Of the towns we went to, Siena and Assisi were among our favorites. San Gimignano was pretty but very touristy. Both the food and the wine were very good and we really didn’t have a bad meal anywhere. If you stick to the states, I live in Atlanta and we love both Savannah and Charleston for very different reasons. Savannah is lovely in a bit of a fun and somewhat eccentric way. The historic district has gorgeous old homes, lots of lovely bed and breakfast places to stay, and good restaurants. Charleston is equally beautiful but much more prim and proper. I would recommend driving, going from Savannah to Charleston, stopping by Beaufort on your way. Unless you really like hot weather though, would not recommend Savannah or Charleston in the summer. Spring and fall are the best time to go

  33. I love New York, but it hardly becomes a vacation when you have to visit relatives in 3 areas that are hours and hours apart.

    If we are listing places we have been and we’d like to go back to, I would list Vancouver on that list. I just love that city. And back to Disneyworld.

    These were on my bucket list as “go to” places:

    Go on a 48-state trip and visit with every single person I know.
    Go to Alaska
    Go to Australia
    Go to Dragon*Con in Atlanta.
    Go to Hawaii
    Go to New Zealand (Tour Lord of the Rings/Hobbit filming sites)
    Go to San Diego Comic Con
    Go to Wickiannish Inn in Tolfino, Canada.
    Stay at least 24 hours on each continent

  34. I’m sure that you *meant* to add the Maritimes in there Joe, and just forgot. 😉

    As far as my own list, I would love to see Tokyo, Rome, London, well many of the cities in Europe, I guess. I’d also love to visit India and see Mumbai as well as the northern areas such as around Shimla and Ladakh.

    Ones I’ve been to and would love to go back: Hong Kong (1 day is not long enough to see that!), Kathmandu (an amazing and crazy place), Vancouver (of course!), and LA. I’ve been to Vegas so many times now on the way to Grand Canyon, that it’s kind of old hat. I do try to make it interesting when I can, like our visit to Joe’s Stone Crab this last trip.

  35. See Joe. You need to write a travel book. Look how many others enjoy that subject too.

  36. I’ve lived in alot of places since I was two because I’m an Army brat (Hoo-ah!). I have to admit that the best place to visit and live to me is Bremerhaven, Germany; anywhere in Germany really. Great food and the people are lovely. Beautiful architecture and plenty of sights to see. Did I mention the food? For me, Spaetzle is comfort food. For my mom, a slice of cheesecake and a cup of coffee. Try the coconut serbert too. In the markets, I used to be able to pay the equivalent of a quarter for a scoop of it in a little sugar cone the size of my four year old hand; it beat using the quarter for mechanical pony rides or anything like that.

  37. Must agree with @Rebecca, Tuscany is amazing. I love the Pienza/Val D’Orcia area, where every view is a postcard. We stay at the Agriturismo Cretaiole, where the owner will teach you how to make the local pici pasta if you wish. There’s also a great slow food farm nearby called Podere Il Casale where just about everything they serve is grown/raised/made on the premises–best meal we had in Italy. They hold organic cheese-making classes and their ricotta and goat meatballs are second to none. The Cinque Terra region on the coast (five towns hanging precariously to seaside cliffs, great hiking, incredible views,) the walled city of Lucca, Volterra with its strong Etruscan heritage–so many great places to chose from!
    And I have to agree with @Deb about Spain. I went to school in Barcelona, lots of great food (wander through the Gothic Quarter for tapas and authentic paella) and the Boqueria Market on Las Ramblas. But it’s really the rich history and culture that draw me back. My favorite historical site is a short drive north to the ancient town at Empuries–an archeological treasure with Greek and Roman ruins still in the process of excavation. Another worthy day trip is to Montserrat, a mystical, other-worldly monastery built into the side of a mountain, accessible by cable car (but not for those with fear of heights.) When the mists roll in, you feel like as though you’ve stumbled through a portal onto another planet!
    Madrid was interesting–I could spend days wandering The Prado. Very different city from Barcelona, but well worth a visit. Granada and the Alhambra are spectacular, especially in evening light.
    Have you ever been to Swtizerland? If we could afford it, I’d visit once a year, specifically the Jungfrau Region–the Alps, home of the famous Eiger, with mountain pastures, icy streams, cheese huts and the rumble of distant (you hope!) avalanches. Best hiking on the planet, scenery with the kind of sheer beauty that gives you chills (not from the cold!) and reminds you of your tiny position in the universe. Always makes me feel like I’ve come home.

  38. New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii and the Antarctic.
    I want to go by sailboat.
    Then Iceland, Greenland, the Northwestern passage to Alaska.
    Again, by sailboat. I heard of a guy who did the Northwestern passage in a 27 foot Albin Vega sailboat.

    It’s only possible now since the ice has receded more and longer.

  39. For first time visits I would recommend Bangkok. Best time to visit is in Nov-Jan because that is when weather is the most comfortable. March to May are not fun unless you are serious into hot weather. Think Florida in July. Bangkok has both ends of any spectrum. It has that ancient mystical charm to modern chic. The business and high rise centers remind me more of Blade Runner with all the high tech jumbo electronic billboards in an afternoon rain. As a foody, you can really find your fill. You can live on $10/day to $1000/day. Twenty years ago I would have suggested the Florida Keys/Key West. When my parents had a place on Key Colony, it was so relaxing to walk/jog the street at night in the ocean breeze perhaps a bit like Savannah or Charleston. Both places I would like to visit because people say they are so charming. My dream trip would be to see the old capitals of Eastern Europe. Places I wish to revisit are London, Munich, Hawaii, Lake Tahoe. Of course these lists are not exclusive. There are other place I wish to visit but have not thought of it yet. May suggestions above peak my interest as well, i.e. Tuscuny, Rome, Tokyo-often passed through but not really visited.

  40. If you make it to New York City I would be more than happy to be a tour guide for a day or two! I have been meaning to do more “foodie” exploring myself… One of the best things about my city is the unending variety of ethnic and fusion foods.

    My favorite vacations:

    1. Cartagena Colombia – The stress melted away the moment I stepped off of the plane. A beautiful place, rich in history and right on the Caribbean,

    2. A cruise on Royal Caribbean (not a very young crowd). The food was EXCELLENT and the entertainment on board the ship was incredible. This was my honeymoon trip and from the moment you board to the moment you leave the ship you do not lift a finger unless you want to lift a finger! It is the perfect vacation for different personalities. I like to veg out on a vacation and my wife likes to explore and pack in “something” into every possible second until she drops. As crazy as it sounds, we both got BOTH at exactly the same time, TOGETHER.

    3. Italy – Not just Rome, but the “whole” package. Rome was fantastic, but I mostly enjoyed going to the port of Ostia (no longer a port). The food was surprisingly bad overall until we found one restaurant frequented by locals and had all of our meals there for the rest of our time in Rome.

    4. Driving excursions up and down the East Coast as far south as Virginia. Colonial Williamsburg was fun, but getting there was more so!

    5. Disney in Orlando. Disney really knows how to cater to your needs. It is not just for kids, although I had more fun because it was our first time taking our girls and we got to enjoy it through their eyes!

    Alfred

  41. I’ve visited all on your list of 5. Perhaps because I spent some years growing up in the South, I feel that Charleston and Savannah are nice but lacking in excitement and sophistication. I mean, seriously – Savannah has that awful racist butter woman, right? 😉 I’m not a fan of NYC, Madrid was fine, but Tuscany? That’s amazing. I used to go there a lot on business (partnership with a company there back in the late 80’s and early 90’s). It helps to be in the ‘inner circle’ though, in this place. They take you to where the locals go.

    My fav city on the planet is Hong Kong. Close second is Capri, then the Cote d’azure, then Maui, then SFO.

  42. Joe,

    I live in the Savannah region. For food, I recommend a stop at the Pink House (fancy and higher priced), Mrs Wilkes’ Dining Room (inexpensive, but a very long line at the door), or Sweet Potatoes (moderately priced, and has wound up on the Food Network at least once, if that serves as a recommendation.). All provide solid examples of Southern cooking, with the price commensurate with the complexity/skill/taste. Avoid restaurants by the waterfront-that’s for tourists. I suspect the Pink House would impress you the most.

    The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has greatly expanded into the downtown area, and the appearance of the parks and buildings has improved a great deal. If you can get access, try the Chatham Club at the top of the Hilton. It’s a private club, but the view, food and drink is excellent. If you do a guest lecture at SCAD (and an actual, successful TV producer would be of interest to a big chunk of the student body,) they can probably get you in there.

    Charleston is wonderful, and in my honest opinion the food is at a level higher than Savannah. The braised pork tacos at Fuel are worth the trip and the shrimp and grits at the Hominy Grill is the best I’ve had.

    Good luck!

  43. Melbourne, Australia apparently has some of the cleanest/best tasting water in the world – oh and is listed somewhere as a place with the best coffee in the world. You can explore all those little cafes in the alleyways and the old arcades and the restaurants in the basements of buildings – but it’s not cheap.

    Tasmania is great for a leisurely tour around the island, sampling local wines and cheeses.

    Sitiawan and Lumut in Perak, Malaysia are interesting places to go that not many people go to. It’s a lot more suburban now and you’d definitely need a tour guide or you might get mugged or ripped off, but you’ve gotta try the local biscuits (i think you’d call them bureks) and asian pastries (like various bean pastes in flaky pastry). You can try the local fruits, but sadly, there are less and less fruits being sold in the area as the land is being sold for development nowadays. Used to be all farms, various plantations and fruit. At least the toilets are somewhat better than China’s.

    Sentosa Island in Singapore has some great hotels. Pricey, but awesome.

    Personally, I want to visit South Korea and do a little travel there (but I guess learning Korean would be important there since they don’t speak much English). I also want to go to Venice, Berlin, London, Rome, Paris, Edinborough, Cardiff, Dublin, somewhere in Canada (haven’t decided yet), New York, Dallas Fortworth, SanDiego… I think that’s all for now. These places aren’t necessarily for the food though. Just to have a look. I’m curious.

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