Podcast host Lea Lane chooses favorite excerpts from Episode 63 to Episode 74. (And check out Part One , in the previous Episode, 75, including favorites from the first half of 2022.)
In this "best of" sampling for the second half of 2022 you'll learn about a South African garden where you walk among the treetops, hiking and skiing, pandas and parks in China, and prehistoric caves in Germany.
You'll hear about surprises in Saudi Arabia, Williamsburg, Virginia and Madrid, Spain, and favorite river cruising memories on two continents.
You'll go chasing Monarch butterflies near San Miguel de Allende Mexico, and hear hotel secrets and stories from the general managers themselves. Lots to enjoy!
To listen to any of the full episodes, note the episode's number, given for each of these excerpts. And check the show notes included with each episode, for links and more details of our terrific guests.
Podcast host Lea Lane blogs at forbes.com, has traveled to over 100 countries, written nine books, including Places I Remember, and contributed to many guidebooks.
Contact Lea! @lealane on Twitter; PlacesIRememberLeaLane on Insta; on Facebook, it's Places I Remember with Lea Lane. Website: placesirememberlealane.com.
New episodes drop every other week, on Tuesdays. Please tell your friends, family and colleagues about us, and follow, rate and review this award-winning travel podcast!
Lea Lane 0:06
Hi, I'm Lea Lane, an award winning travel writer and author of Places I Remember: Tales, Truths, Delights from 100 Countries. On this podcast we share conversations with travelers about fascinating destinations and memorable experiences around the world. In Episode 75, we celebrated by compiling a sampling of some of the best memories we recorded this past year. For our award winning travel podcast, there were so many, we decided to present it to you in two parts. And this is part two. As you listen, jot down the episode numbers of the conversations you most enjoyed, so that you can go back and listen to the full episodes. So here's the second part of my favorite excerpts from Places I Remember 2022.
In episode 63, architectural historian Victoria Newhouse and landscape architect Alex Picha, discuss memories from their book Parks of the World. Here, Victoria talks about a park in China. And after, Alex talks about a special memory.
Victoria Newhouse 1:13
One of my outstanding memories of the whole experience was in Chang Chang, the park in northern China, where we had an amazing food experience we had found in our travels that we really didn't have enough time to go into restaurants. So we started going to food markets and the food market that we went to in Chang Chung was without a doubt the most spectacular, with all sorts of exotic foods: duck that had been simmered in tea, and on and on with one thing more exotic than the next, and it was very good food and a lot of fun to visit.
Lea Lane -Yeah, food, food makes a great memory always. Okay, Alex, your special memory.
Alex Pisha 1:59
Food was always amazing in China, but I remember part of the process, you know, we would of course interview the parks designers and things like that, but we'd also want to review park users. And for me, that was some of my favorite memories was talking to them. And I remember in one park when we were in Tianjin, the wetland Park, we spoke with an elderly gentleman about his experiences and what he thought of the park and he was talking about how he remembers when it was the despoiled urban landfill and eyesore and now it's been transformed into this amazing space and that he actually takes a two hour long bus ride just to go to the park weekly. And it was it was really like kind of touching to hear. And I think in that same visit, we met a grandmother with her granddaughter who was thrilled with the park love to go see the wildlife, the geese, and she grabbed my hand and tried to drag me to see the geese and I guess to me, she was really charming. Just getting to know the locals and talking with them and really understanding like what these spaces mean to them was really I think, like a highlight of these trips.
Lea Lane 3:05
In Episode 64, Victoria Cimino president and CEO of visit Williamsburg, discusses fascinating facts of America's historic triangle Jamestown, Yorktown and Williamsburg, from early settlers coffee preferences to well, she'll tell it here.
Victoria Cimino 3:22
My favorite way to explore historic Jamestown is being taken around by one of the archaeologists, they're really able to point out Okay, so we found a piece of jewelry from Portugal. And that must have been a trade between a Portuguese sailor and an English sailor and, and just very interesting stories. One of the most interesting and I didn't realize this until I went to historic Jamestown again, after many years when I took this role on is that the early times for these English settlers were really challenging. I mean, at one point, more than half of the settlement was down by disease and hunger. And so this group out of desperation turned to cannibalism.
Lea Lane 4:08
Really? Yes. You never hear that in the history books.
Victoria Cimino 4:11
No. And they found in the course of doing these archeological digs, the remains of a young girl who they trace back to a certain area in England based on her what was found in her bones from nutrition so they, you know, back then it was, well, if you were from this area of England, then you ate this kind of diet and so they're able to trace that back out of severe desperation. And this was discovered that this you know, settlement had at one point turned to cannibalism just to survive. So yeah, just sort of these really interesting stories that you can get in looking at what they're finding within the earth that I find the most fascinating.
Lea Lane 4:57
Experts David Paul Appell and Jose Balido, longtime travel writers and travel consultants, love their new home, Madrid. In Episode 65, they offer memories past and present. Jose goes first.
Jose Balido 5:11
I was here when my family left Cuba in 1967. Franco was in power at the time, dictator Francisco Franco. It was a very different city. And yet to me, a small child coming out of communist Cuba, it seemed wonderful, because there was all kinds of candy and ham and wonderful things to eat, and that we didn't get in Cuba at the time. I remember things like that were the Sentinels, which were these gentlemen who stood on the corners at night, with a big bunch of keys dangling off their pant loop. And if you came in after a certain hour back to your building, you would have to clap your hands, and they would come and open the door for you. And these are things that even young Spaniards don't remember, you know, because what they were doing excellent was they were also kind of keeping an eye on the population, it was part of being a police state (right). But these were generally like retired police or whatever, who took these jobs to open the doors at night and also to provide assistance and worked, mugged or whatever, which I don't think happened very much. But it's just a very interesting memory of a world that no longer is, and yet it's still in Madrid.
David Appell 6:12
Mine is a lot more recent, I have a lot of nice memories associated with Madrid. But the most dramatic perhaps occurred in January of 2021 when the city was buried under the biggest snowstorm in a century, and it was called Philomena -- three and a half feet of snow. And normally, Madrid gets a few flakes here and there. They don't even stick. Oh look a little flurry. How exotic. But this sort of threw everyone into a tizzy. It was fun. For the first couple of days people were sledding and skiing down the streets, snowball fight snowball fights, epic snowball fights across Grandia. And you really had to watch out.
Lea Lane 6:59
Rudi Shriener and Kristen Karst, co-founders of AmaWaterways luxury cruise line, talk about river cruising on Episode 66.
Kristin Karst 7:08
What I have to say I've mentioned this on the Chobe river in Africa, really seeing at sunset, herds of elephants coming down like a stampe to the river to drink, the babies in the middle. That's just such a such a spectacular moment. But the one I remember the most, and back to Africa, is the offer of pre or post land program to Rwanda.
Lea Lane 7:35
To see the gorillas. My goodness, river cruising and gorillas.
Kristin Karst 7:41
And I never thought that this would be my emotionally, most special moment. When it comes to the travel experiences.
Lea Lane 7:51
I can't imagine. You can go see the gorillas and come back and have champagne. It sounds perfect.
Kristin Karst 7:57
Absolutely. But maybe seeing the silverback when you open the branches after a couple of hours of going there. And then being so peaceful and all the little ones and the teenagers playing around. It's something so magical. It's hard to describe. It's an experience everyone should see once in their life to understand absolutely, if they can.
Lea Lane 8:20
I love gorillas so much. I've adopted a gorilla from the Diane Fossey fund. Her name is Besoki, I have her picture in my hall. So I love your memory. How about you Rudy?
Rudi Shriener 8:32
Well, I do have special river cruise segments which I always do enjoy very much when I'm the only ship and that there are two rivers especially one is a Moselle River. The Moselle to me is the most beautiful cruise area in in Central Europe because it's a beautiful small river with extremely steep vineyards, very large and very green. And it's so peaceful. There are little villages. That's one area. We're always always cruising through it, but really enjoying it. The Douro River and where to go. The Durrell is very narrow, fairly deep. Sometimes you almost feel like you're whitewater rafting, and sometimes you have the rocks right next to you. Big rock formations coming up out of the water. So these are two of the my very special criminals in Europe.
Lea Lane 9:28
Paul Spencer Sochaczewski has been a conservationist with the World Wildlife Fund for over 50 years. In Episode 67, he shares many global encounters including this one.
Paul S 9:39
When I was hired at WWF, and I started working there in 1981, I was coming from Indonesia where I had been working in advertising; before that I was in the Peace Corps in Borneo and they hired me to help promote the brand of WWF. As you know, any kind of an NGO nonprofit lives and dies by branding by success stories by tugging on heartstrings. I saw my role as helping to get nature conservation on the global agenda. If you go back to 1981 Conservation wasn't a front page story anywhere. It was sort of unfortunately. Yeah. The back of the back of the newspaper with the gardening tips. Exactly. We tried to follow a scientific program, but our donors wanted us to follow an emotional program, we would promote charismatic mega vertebrates, like the panda in China. My colleagues went to China, and we can credit them with opening up China to nature conservation because the Chinese at that time, it was only a few years after Richard Nixon's ping pong diplomacy. (I remember generations. Yes, we have a common language.) And we help them work with panda diplomacy. We said to them, this is one way you can rejoin the international community. And the Panda was a wonderful symbol and it became WWF logo. It's cute (very), it's endangered (very), it lives in an exotic part of the world. And as Sir Peter Scott, the first chairman of WWF said, it can be reproduced in black and white.
Lea Lane 11:29
Beverly Hurley is editor of gardendestinations.com and a contributor to the new book, Gardens of the World. In Episode 68, she shares her favorite gardens.
Beverly Hurley 11:40
This is considered one of the top seven world gardens and that would be Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden in Cape Town, South Africa. Just as Longwood Gardens is the in the US is a garden to aspire to go to. Taking in the magic of Kirstenbosch botanical garden is definitely should be on your list. This is a garden that took a difficult environment. It's on the slopes of Table Mountain, the iconic mountain that rises above Cape Town. It also has the plants of the Symbus which the Symbus is the fine bushed kind of plants that Cape Town is known for. In fact, that region has its own kingdom in the plant kingdom. And the plants are very rare. So we're talking about the Proteas and the erachids and many of the other lovely thin this plants that are in Kirstenbosch. And then they added formal gardens. They added a conservatory. They have an arboretum and I like what they did in their arboretum of trees. They added an elevated tree walkway above the treetops. They call it The Boomslang which is the name of the poisonous snake in South Africa. But you actually are up on this elevated walkway walking through the treetops, which is a very wonderful way to experience an arboretum is instead of being on the ground looking up, you're above the treetops, looking down and then you have the iconic Table Mountain anywhere you look in Kirstenbosch. So I definitely would add that to any travel. I spent two days there when I went and I could go back and spend a dozen more.
Lea Lane 13:27
Natalie Dietl of the state tourist board of Southwest Germany and Cornelius Stahl of the Baden Baden Tourism Board share many surprises in this special European region and episode 69 Here's one of Natalie's favorites.
You know there are prehistoric finds that I visited in the Swabian Alps. Can you tell us something about the ancient caves there?
Natalie Dietl 13:48
Yes, there are several caves you can visit and they are from the Ice Age. So they are one of our UNESCO World Heritage and it's like one of the oldest and you still can some see some paintings on the wall from the Ice Age times. And then you have the Ice Age of figures which have been found in the caves and you can see some of them. For example in the museum in Tubingen, a city close by on the Swabian Alps -- it's a lovely city with a really lovely old town and they are in the museum. You can also see the prehistoric [,,,,]
Lea Lane 14:24
Again those go back maybe 43,000 years so they're really outstanding. There are lake dwellings around the Alps, which are past settlements of the Bronze Age, the early Iron Age. That's interesting too. I read that the oldest wheel in Europe was found there in this area from around 3000 BC, so there's lots of ancient things to look at.
Natalie Dietl 14:45
Yes, definitely. So the lake dwellings to be honest start in the area of upper Swabia if you want to be completely correct. Then in the south on Lake Constance you have another pile dwellings on the lake, you can discover And we in general we are an adventurous. So the oldest will have been found here but also in Council. The bicycle has been found.
Lea Lane 15:08
So the bicycle and the car and wheel, wow.
Natalie Dietl 15:12
We invent a lot of things.
Lea Lane 15:16
In Episode 70, four luxury and boutique hotel general managers share inside info, helpful advice, and surprises. Here's one about pets with Sergio McLain and Anton Moore. Do people bring cats? I always wondered, I have a cat and I never hear about that. I know they don't like to travel.
Sergio McClain 15:34
They do. They do. But they're not as popular. And in our case, we did draw a line on the weight of the pet whether it's a dog or a cat and you know, no exotic pets like big parrots or snakes, things like that. We don't accept.
The rest of you as well?
Anton Moore 15:53
The best are celebrity pets. (Oh, please tell us -- celebrity pets are my favorite.) We had a guest and dog's name was Audrey. And when the handler would call down room service, they would act as if the dog was the actual guest or our child. So Audrey will be dining at three o'clock this afternoon. She would like organic boiled chicken cubes.
She got it.
And she got it served on a room service tray. And that's how she dined each day.
Lea Lane 16:24
In Episode 71, avid hiker Jeff Herman talks about the best trails in the US, including the benefits of hiking the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. So Jeff, do you have any experience with the Appalachian Trail?
Jeff Herman 16:39
I haven't hiked the Appalachian Trail myself but a colleague of mine in Indianapolis, he spent the whole summer hiking the trail is a great way for him to recollect his thoughts after he was divorced is sort of report his wife.
Lea Lane 16:50
Absolutely. Many people just do little bits and it's lots of fun and they take years and years to complete the experience. It's a wonderful thing to do about the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail on the other coast. Do you know anyone has hiked that one, Jeff?
Jeff Herman 17:05
Yes, I have, and he did it in strange costumes that got a lot of notoriety. Sometimes he wore like, you know, kilts, and everything, which you don't normally do on a hiking trail. But he photographed this whole journey across the Pacific Crest Trail. It was pretty cool.
Lea Lane 17:17
Is that typical? Is it kind of a weird trail?
Jeff Herman 17:20
It's a little odd, but you have people from all over who come there to hike and I guess this was Ron and he just decided he was going to make it a pictorial adventure.
Lea Lane 17:27
Wow. I love it. San Miguel Allende, Mexico has been named best small city in the world six times by Conde Nast Traveler. In Episode 72, tourism director Tania Castillo shares why. And we also talk of excursions outside the city like this one.
Tania Castillo 18:36
There's another trip I took, which is a little further from San Miguel to visit the monarch butterflies which come there every year, they spend four or five months, they fly about 2800 miles from Canada and the US to migrate to beautiful forests. And they hang in the trees you know orange all over the trees and then when it gets warmer, they come out and fly. Now I took the trip and it's like, I guess a little warning to you. If it's a cold day, don't do it. No. And I took the steps -- it's a long walk up, very high up, and you have a horse part of the way if you want to get there. And then it was so cold. They just stayed in the trees which was kind of a disappointment. So make sure it's a nice sunny day not and a warm day. And then you'll see this gorgeous gorgeous sight of the of the monarch butterflies. Are they still coming in great numbers?
Yes, there is still coming. It's a huge attraction. It's in Michoacan. Actually, yes. But I mean, this can tell you the huge amount of different activities on major Mexico has. So it's not just about Guanajuato we have a lot of states nearby that have this attraction. And what we are also trying to do with with the economy is like the economy, not just not thing in San Miguel de Yeah. And so you can do actually these trips to another states and help others. So it's wonderful what Mexico has or nears San Miguel De Allende.
Lea Lane 19:13
In Episode 73, we talk with Tim Peck CEO of OMB AI, a renowned design group about luxury lodgings around the world. Here he describes some of the sites in Saudi Arabia where he has worked on
Tim Peck 19:33
Alalula -- I've read about that and seen pictures that looks like Petra enjoyed it. I mean, as it same quality, it is Petra in many respects, it's in a spectacular natural context and undeveloped, you know, the sort of things that are being developed around that are amazing. There's incredible wadis, the oasis within the desert, which has this a wonderful, experiential feeling in terms of the contrast of the desert And the landscape and the water and the mountains. And then you go out to the Red Sea, which has the reefs which are full right rival anything you see in the Maldives. It's just really quite spectacular. And then you go up into the mountains -- completely contrasting, wonderfully unsophisticated environment up in the mountains, it's actually cold.
Lea Lane 20:21
Really, I never thought of Saudi Arabia,
Tim Peck 20:24
Up in the mountains, just in Al Baja, quite a bit south of Jeddah, the mist came in and we were actually driving through fog. It was very, very cold near them up in the northern areas, they're building the ski resort.
Lea Lane 20:40
You know, I've heard it's a $500 billion project eventually to develop me. I have been reading about that.
Tim Peck 20:47
Yeah, it is. Yeah. And we're lucky enough to be part of that, looking at the some of the hospitality side of it. So it's a really interesting country. And obviously, they're very ambitious in their targets. There's still a lot to be done, but I think you just have to see it in the perspective of what has been achieved.
Lea Lane 21:04
It's uplifting to hear this and I hope that the political situation improves and that we all can eventually go there because it sounds like a fantastic destination. In Episode 74, Harvey Bierman, a ski race competitor and a ski expert offers one of his special memories.
Harvey Bierman 21:24
A couple years ago, I've had the privilege of being in Whistler Blackholm with a group. And one day that surprised us with a trip in the heli. So we took about an hour van ride to find the helicopter. So it was staged very far from the mountain. It had not snowed in Whistler in about three weeks, but it had been unusually cold. So when we got into Halle, we went up and the guy decided to go to a location. That was another 40 minute flight from where we found the helicopter because they hadn't been there. In years, they had done so much powder skiing recently that they needed to go a little further out to find on tracks now. And they were hopeful that because it had been so cold for so long, that the snow would be good. I can tell you eight lift rides in the helicopter later, our day was done, they had to change our guide out after six runs because she could no longer keep up with us and needed to tap out because normal day is six helicopter ride. And to this date, the group I went with and I you know, look at the pictures, speak of the memories and talk about recreating and it's one of those things, you know, no trip will ever be as good as that one. It'll be good in some different way. It was my first time doing the heli skiing, and I can't wait to take my kids in a similar experience before my body gives out.
Lea Lane 22:41
We hope you enjoy listening to some of my favorite memories and stories from the past year. And if you didn't already, listen to episode 75 Go back and find lots more episodes 75 and 76 places I remember bring you the best from 2022 My book places I remember tales truth delight from 100 countries is available in print Kindle, and I read the audio version. You can follow me on forbes.com where I write five travel posts a month. Please subscribe to this podcast and consider giving us a review. And I'd love to hear from you on any of my links in the episodes show notes or on my website places I remember Lea lane.com Until next time, make some travel memories