What a fabulous 2021 it's been for Places I Remember! We've talked with fascinating travelers. We've won awards, and are now heard in 2,000 cities and 101 countries. To celebrate, we're gifting you with a sampling of our favorite tales, stories and memories, so generously offered this past year. Here goes:
Heidi Sarna, author of Secret Singapore, tells of a discovery there in Ep. 39. In Ep. 2, Millie Ball, former travel editor and Mardi Gras queen, recalls a sweet New Orleans memory.
In Ep. 40, Donna Sandstrom, founder of The Whale Trail, tells a of an Orca named Springer. Jason Flesher, expedition leader in Antarctica, explains "being snotted on by a whale" in Ep. 33. In Ep. 9, Norwegian travel expert Harald Hansen describes his surprise encounter with polar bears.
In Ep. 26, 'American Idol 'and 'So You Think You Can Dance' producer Simon Fuller tells a memory from when he was filming the documentary Serengeti, in Tanzania. In Ep. 25, Ahmed Taumi, a top Moroccan guide, talks of of a request we won’t forget. And we talk of Assisi Italy with author Lori Erickson, in Ep. 30.
In Ep. 21, mountaineer/author Jim Davidson, remembers summiting Everest. In Ep. 20, actor Stephen Bishop has a reality check in the Dominican Republic and South Africa, traveling as a person of color.
Travel memories from my much-traveled family: Granddaughter Sabrina remembers being on the border of Israel and Syria, in Ep. 23. Younger son Cary, a history buff and professor, offers a profound take about the WW1 and WW2 battlefields of Belgium and France, in Ep. 18. In Ep. 15, son Randall, chief content officer of Forbes media, remembers meeting the aged fisherman from Hemingway’s novella, The Old Man and the Sea, in Cuba.
In Ep. 25, Patricia Schultz, author of 1000 Places to See Before You Die. describes a special person: a story I especially love. Karen Misuraca, author of Secret Sonoma, tells of a mammoth surprise in Northern California wine country, in Ep. 47. In Ep. 36, Patrice Henry remembers deep-diving women in Korea.
In Ep. 16, Midgie Moore, co-author of 100 Things to Do in Alaska Before You Die, describes the magic when she first saw the Northern Lights in Alaska. And still looking up, Anne Born describes the Milky Way seen from Northern Spain, in Ep. 4.
Food makes memories. Financial guru Jean Chatzky, formerly of NBC’s Today show, shares a special meal with us in Ep. 38. Patti Eshai, TikTok’s popular “Duchess of Decorum” tells of a meal tradition in her homeland of Iran in Ep. 46. In Ep. 42, Deanne Burch, author of Journey Through Fire and Ice, shares unusual meals in a remote Arctic village.
Drinks can also stir memories. The first concoction is from Beverly Hills tourism director Karen Wagner in Ep. 16. The other, the strangest I have ever heard, is from Canadian CEO of Tours By Locals, Paul Melhus, in Ep. 46.
And we end with a gorgeous Irish ballad straight from Dublin, from singer Joe Kearns, sung just for us in Ep. 7, to celebrate our wondrous year around the world. Even if we never left home, we were able to experience travel through memory.
Podcast host Lea Lane blogs at forbes.com, has traveled to over 100 countries, and written nine books, including Places I Remember.
*Transcript edited for clarity.
Lea Lane 0:04
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.
Lea Lane 0:23
On this last episode of 2021, we have a treat, a compilation of some of the best memories from Places I Remember. We'll get to that in a minute. First, I'm excited to announce that in 2022, we're going on video as well as audio. Every other week, I'll be hosting guests and having conversations with the world on this Places I Remember podcast, as usual. And also bi-weekly, I'll be on YouTube with Places I Remember: Tips and Trips. So we'll have a bi-weekly podcast and a bi-weekly video. You'll not only be able to hear me, but now you'll see me, and some cool visuals as well. So please follow us wherever you get your podcasts, tell your friends, and look for us on YouTube in February.
Lea Lane 1:07
Now, the name of the podcast is Places I Remember. So we ask our guests to tell stories and share memories with us throughout the episode. And at the end, we ask them to give us a favorite travel memory. On this special double-size episode, as a gift to you, I've compiled my favorite guest stories and memories. And if you like the memories, you can go back and listen to the full episodes wherever you listen to podcasts or on my website, PlacesIRememberLeaLane.com.
Lea Lane 1:36
Let's begin. If you love the magic of discovery when you're traveling, Heidi Sarna, who wrote Secret Singapore, has a fascinating memory in Episode 39. It encourages us to poke around and go off the beaten track when we travel.
Heidi Sarna 1:50
I had read about an old Malay mansion, or palace even, it was described, just off of a busy road near the Botanic Gardens, which is near where I live, and I just couldn't believe it. I kept reading these blogs and then I tried to find it and then the first attempt, I just was like walking in circles and getting bitten by mosquitoes, but I kept reading it was there, and then finally I got better instructions from one of the bloggers, and I really bushwhacked through the jungle with long pants on and mosquito repellent. And it was just like a quarter mile up this little hill in a really heavily wooded area. And there were the ruins of a Malay royal palace, and then it's still there. Such a thrill. So, in a way, that was a symbolic moment to have, like, hidden in plain sight. There really are more layers to Singapore.
Lea Lane 2:39
A unique memory comes from Millie Ball, former travel editor and Mardi Gras queen who talked about New Orleans in Episode 2. You'll love the sweet surprise.
Millie Ball 2:49
As I told you, there are a million carnival balls here. You have the social ones that debutantes are in, that's maybe 15. But the rest of them, every different group in the city has its own carnival ball. Some are men's, and some are women's, and some are mixtures. And I was queen of two balls. One when I was in college, and that was where, if your family has some connection, somebody in college is queen and a member of the ball who's much older is the king. But when I was 13, I was queen of something called the Children's Carnival Club that my grandmother helped found with two other women. And my king was 12. So we were 12 and 13, very precocious age, and he wore a blonde pageboy wig and white tights underneath his tunic. And I think he had elevator shoes on because I was tall at the time. And I had a ponytail through my crown in the back. And what's really interesting about this is that the organization is almost 100 years old now. And we are the only king and queen to ever get married. And we married in our mid-30s
Lea Lane 4:02
Oh, my goodness. Does he still have a blonde page boy?
Millie Ball 4:08
I don't know No, it's gray and sort of going away now.
Millie Ball 4:14
I like creatures of the sea, and three of our guests tell us wonderful stories about just that. In Episode 40, we talked to Donna Sandstrom, founder of the Whale Trail, and she tells a heartwarming story of a little orca named Springer.
Donna Sandstrom 4:27
Here in West Seattle, near where I lived in 2002, a young orca was discovered here in Puget Sound, and she was lost, alone, and she turned out to be 300 miles away from home. It was her calls that identified her as a northern resident orca. Her mother had died, but her family, her grandmother and aunts, were still alive, so there was no way she would naturally be reunited with them. NOAA Fisheries, the agency responsible for managing marine mammals, had a big dilemma on their hands. What should they do with this little orca who was down here by herself? And we helped persuade them that she should have a chance to go home, go back to her family, and not be sent to an aquarium and, even more so, not be rehabilitated through an aquarium but rehabilitated somewhere in Puget Sound, so she could stay as wild as possible. And happily, they thought it was a risk worth taking.
Donna Sandstrom 4:27
They thought there was a good enough chance that she could go back to her family, and NOAA Fisheries, the Department of Fisheries, since Canada and the Vancouver Aquarium, committed to the first ever in situ rehabilitation of an orca, and we, the community, a group of seven nonprofits, work together to support them. And it was an incredible time and every day we were wondering, the little whale, her name was Springer, her ID number was A 73. She was a two year old Orca, and she turned out to be resilient, and she didn't have any serious diseases. She had a bad case of worms. She was rescued, and she was dewormed, tested to make sure she wasn't carrying diseases, and carried home on a donated catamaran, where her family came to get her less than 24 hours after she was returned. She came back the next year with her family, and the year after that, and the year after that, and today she's got two calves of her own.
Lea Lane 6:21
Have you ever been snotted on by a whale? Jason Flesher, expedition leader in Antarctica, explains in Episode 33.
Jason Flesher 6:30
One thing which is magnificent about Antarctica, if wildlife you want to see, then you need to go, because it's the largest wildlife refuge in the world. So you can't hunt in Antarctica. So there's no fear of humans. It's curiosity. So you'll have the penguins, the seals come up to you. You know, just curious of you, the whales, when you're in a Zodiac, and the whales will come spy hop right next to your Zodiac because they want to see what you are, because they don't know what you are, and I can't tell you, so few people in the world can ever say they've been snotted on by a whale. The whale will come up next to you, and when they blow, you know, it's not just water they're blowing. And especially if a whale has a cold, you'll get snotted on. But I'll tell you right now that so few, less than 1% who have gone to Antarctica, can actually say they've been snotted on.
Lea Lane 7:29
How about getting up close with polar bears? In Episode 9, Norwegian travel expert Harald Hansen tells us about his surprise encounter with them in Norway.
Harald Hansen 7:40
I remember the first time I went there. We were sitting, eating, and we were sort of sailing among some islands. And suddenly, I mean, these islands are so close to the ship. And we were sailing and I was looking out the window and there was a polar bear with two pups, I guess they call them. You got the gist of it. And the mother was looking at us and he was eating from seal. But she was just looking at us. I mean, it's almost like if you went on deck, you could have touched the polar bears. Such an experience. And the kids were just like, looking at us and one stood up behind me, I get goosebumps just talking about it.
Lea Lane 8:21
Oh, it sounds terrific.
Lea Lane 8:24
In Episode 26, American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance producer Simon Fuller shares a travel memory of eloquent simplicity about nature and family when he was filming the documentary Serengeti, in Tanzania.
Simon Fuller 8:38
The special memory, this is sort of part one and part two, the part one was, I've been to Africa many, many times, to many different countries and a great number of wonderful trips and safaris. There was one trip where I actually went specifically to just recharge my batteries and to think about projects in my career. And that was the trip where I came up with the idea of Serengeti. So that was obviously important, but the part two to that was that I got to take my three young daughters there, after Serengeti had broadcast, or as we were making it at least, and shared the wonder of that beautiful part of the world with them. And so, to see them see an elephant in the wild and a lion and all the many, many beautiful creatures we saw, to see their reaction to it for the first time, or actually they were younger, they were they were three and a half and eight now at the time. Nothing will ever beat that for me. That's the memory I will take to my grave. It was just the innocence of young humans and the innocence of nature meeting, and that purity and the love. No, it wasn't fear, actually, it was just awe, it was just that will be a memory that will last forever and ever.
Lea Lane 9:53
Have you ever tried to cram a large item in your luggage? In Episode 25, Ahmed Taumi, a top guide in Morocco, tells of a souvenir we won't forget.
Ahmed Taumi 10:03
One day I was with the couple that have a little young boy, you know, 9, 10 years old. He was a bit spoiled, and once when we were touring the outskirt, and so and then I told him, Okay, do you want to see the camels? He said, yes, I would love to, so we stopped at the camels. It was the month of April. In March, the female camels start giving birth. Okay, so we stopped in there, he rode and they were taking pictures, and saw a little cute, baby camel. And he was starting to cry. And he started to say, I want to take this camel with me, this little baby camel. It took me about three hours to convince him that camel cannot be taken into the plane. It took me about three hours to convince that little boy.
Lea Lane 10:54
Lori Erickson, one of America's foremost writers on spiritual travel, describes the beauty of an Italian village in Episode 30.
Millie Ball 11:04
Assisi is so beautiful. It's a hilltop village, beautifully restored, full of churches, the tolling of bells, people coming there from around the world. And beautiful art, many of the churches, especially the Basilica, is full of some of the most beautiful examples of art ever created. So I mean, Assisi is just like a small little outpost of heaven.
Lea Lane 11:29
It is, and I it's not spiritual, but I went to a jazz festival there, which was very, very, to me. spiritual in its own way.
Millie Ball 11:38
Music is also a form a form of worship, I think.
Lea Lane 11:42
Lea Lane 11:44
In Episode 21, mountaineer Jim Davidson, author of The Next Everest: Surviving the Mountain' Deadliest Day and Finding the Resilience to Climb Again, remembers how he felt as he finally summited.
Jim Davidson 11:57
Yeah, it really is burned into my memory standing on that ridge at 29,000 feet, watching the stars disappear, and the sun coming over the plains. You know, it took me a long time to get there. And you know, I've been striving for it. And you know, you get those goals, and you want to do those goals. But it is really true that it's what the journey can do for you, how the journey will refine you into a better version of you, the good days and the bad days. So I didn't have any huge celebration when I summited, I just felt very humbled that I was able to take this journey and get there, and very grateful for the people that have helped me and the things I've learned along the way. So it really is not so much about taking that thing off, as going on the journey to learn what you're supposed to learn and becoming a better version of you. I think that's what travel does for us, and I think that spills over in a good way into our lives.
Lea Lane 12:42
Episode 20, Traveling Jim Crow to Now with actor Stephen Bishop and his mom, won a Silver at the prestigious Davey Awards. And if I may humble brag, our entire podcast also won a Silver. Here Stephen has a reality check in the Dominican Republic and South Africa while traveling as a person of color.
Stephen Bishop 13:01
I was in the Dominican and I was talking to my cab driver, I noticed that they had, you know, I knew before I had ever been because I played baseball with Dominicans, and they have what looked to be black Dominicans, like they look like African American or African people. They look like black people. And they have Dominicans that are more fair skinned with straighter hair and look more Latino, and I asked them if they have racism or colorism in their country, because you know, I come from America and we deal with discrimination. And we have these biases towards each other that, you know, I wonder, Do you guys have here? I mean, do the darker skinned Dominicans get treated differently, or better or worse than the lighter skinned Dominicans? And the guy said, No, we're all Dominicans. And I thought that that was a really cool answer to hear. We don't see that, we're just all Dominicans. Whether that's true or not, you know, I only got to ask that one person. I didn't go do a, you know, a poll around the island. But it was cool for that one guy to say it.
Stephen Bishop 14:09
And then, on the other end of the spectrum, I was in Cape Town, South Africa, and it wasn't a bad experience. But it was an experience of one of those fearful things. I was at a restaurant and having good conversation with some guys that I, you know, had just met at the sushi bar, and we were just talking and talking, and they invited me to go to some party that was away from where my hotel was, maybe 40 minute drive away. And I was like, you know, I'll give you guys a call. You know, we exchanged information and I'm like, oh, you know what, we'll talk about it. Yeah, it sounds fun. Oh, you know, I'll check it out. But as the night went on, and the time for me to go started to approach, I started being, you know, my gut was like, No, this is not a good idea. You don't know these people. It's 40 minutes away from the hotel, you're in a place where racism was just rampant and vicious, everybody may not have gotten over it yet, you probably shouldn't do this. So I pulled out, you know, I ended up not going. And they could have been nice guys, you know what I mean, but they also could have been trying to lure me into something that was bad for my existence. And that's what I felt. I was like, these guys are trying to trick me, these guys are trying to pull me into something that's going to get me killed. And it was all based on fear and anxiety and reputation. You know what I mean? So that's an experience that still kind of sticks with me as a kind of a negative experience, not negative so much from the outside stimulus, but negative in the fact that I I had to live through and think through that type of a 'what if' situation. And it wasn't fun., and it just it kind of shook my spirit a little bit in my outlook on humanity. You know what I mean? It was like, man, I don't trust people. And that was kind of a shake up for me, it was like, man, you know, you're supposed to trust people until they give you a reason not to. But there was just a strong, strong feeling in me that was like, this is not in your best interest. And that was disappointing. You know, it was disappointing that the world has shaped me to believe that certain people were out to do me harm.
Lea Lane 16:26
Yes, I hear you.
Lea Lane 16:29
My family travels the world, and you've heard memories from some of them. My granddaughter, Sabrina, is 17 and has been my youngest guest so far. She's been lucky to travel all over the world. But her memory of being on the border of Israel and Syria in Episode 23 made her feel grateful.
Sabrina Lane 16:46
I think a very intense memory I have but something that definitely sticks out, is when I went to the Golan Heights in Israel. So we were kind of thinking we'd go there, I think there's a little like, what's the term, a community there? I think you just think you get a little tour around that kibbutz. Yes, that's it. But what happened in reality was very different. So this guy took us in like a Jeep all around the places in the Sixth Day Ward, and all these abandoned buildings, but just like, a thousand feet away from us, just on the other side of this, like little river, was Syria. And eventually, we settled in this little rundown building from the 1967 Day War, and there was graffiti everywhere. There was debris everywhere. There was no windows, but you could just look out and see the country of Syria right in front of you. And my dad told me that when he went to Syria it was like the nicest people you ever met. So when I heard like a loud bang on the other side, and I think I saw like people running, even though it was a very rural part, there was still people. It made me very emotional, because number one, it felt so real to me, you could see this wasn't just something on the news. It was something real. And the guy there was like, Yep, the rebels are fighting again. I start crying. So I just felt so bad for everyone there. But also, because I came on that trip worrying about my grades at school, and then I realized how little I was in the bigger context of the world and it made me want to do something about it. And at one part specifically, we heard footsteps and we were like saw guys with guns walk in and I was like, Yep, this is it. But it was just the IDF. It was so sad to see how,I guess, militarized the border was, and how different the countries were, you know, they were just so close to each other.
Lea Lane 18:28
Speaking of conflicts, my son Cary, a history buff and professor, ends our discussion of a road trip to the World War I and World War II battlefields of Belgium and France, with a stunning perceptive connection between those two wars in episode 18.
Cary Lane 18:44
One of the best parts of the experience was the memorials and cemeteries that were adjacent to the battlefields, not necessarily the battlefields themselves. Of the many cemeteries we went to, one of the more interesting ones was one of the Imperial German Army cemeteries in, I believe this was in the the Battle of the Somme. These German cemeteries are sort of much, much less traveled, there was nobody there, the crosses were very spartan, dark, thin steel crosses, and very dramatic, very World War I, but very beautiful at the same time, just because of the contrast of, say, the sort of white memorials that the Allied countries' cemeteries have. These were black steel crosses. And we were in one German cemetery in particular in ______ Villaire adjacent to the battlefield of Somme, and featured hundreds of these black steel crosses, very haunting, and we were walking along the grounds, and in the back of the plot were a few stone markers, not steel crossings, but stone markers, and lo and behold, they had the Star of David on them, and sure enough, these were gravesites of Jewish German soldiers who fought and died side by side with Christian soldiers of the Imperial German Army. It's just staggering to think that 15 years later, the family of these fallen Jewish older soldiers are subject to Nazi fascism, the Holocaust. And then you think of the irony when you book in this with the American cemetery, Normandy, where 26 years later, the Jews fought side by side with their Christian brothers in the American Army and the American armed forces as Jewish liberators of Europe. And so I just think that ironic bookend of that, the 26 years between the two cemeteries, the inclusion of the Jewish soldiers in the World War I cemetery for the Germans, and the Jewish soldiers for the American armed forces in Normandy. So that's something that I'll always remember, the beauty of that and the irony of it.
Lea Lane 20:54
Meeting people is one of the joys of travel. In Episode 15, my son Randall, Chief Content Officer of Forbes Media, remembers meeting the old fisherman from Hemingway's novella, The Old Man and the Sea, in Cuba.
Lea Lane 21:08
You met the old man in the sea? Is that correct, when you were in Cuba?
Randall Lane 21:12
I did, Gregorio Fuentes.
Lea Lane 21:15
Yeah, when was that?
Randall Lane 21:16
That was when it was illegal to go to Cuba. So of course, that's why we wanted to go. It was technically not illegal to go to Cuba back then, it was illegal to spend money in Cuba. So we had to bring, we brought so much cash, it was a very, there was no embassy to go to, that was a little bit behind the scenes. That was 25 years ago. And Hemingway's boat captain, who is widely accepted, including by his own, Hemingway talked about it, was the inspiration for Old Man and the Sea, was still alive. He was 100, too, 25 years ago. People can Google that, I might be off by a couple years, but I'm not off by much. So that was a real, and so, we'd heard, this was pre-internet, and there's certainly no internet in Cuba. And we just go and we heard where he lived in the village. We asked around, and we heard basically he was a pensioner in Cuba, and if we brought a bunch of cookies, if you brought food, and we brought, we brought toothpaste, and we brought a bunch of little presents that were very, very, very, very valued. And so his daughter took care of him, and let us spend time with him. And he had, he had pictures of Hemingway and he had a big painting of him and Hemingway together, and he had all sorts of pictures, and he showed us a scrapbook. But the thing I still remember, shaking his hand, he was 102, and you shake his hand and it was like shaking the finest, hardest leather you ever, I mean, he still had it. His hand was still a vice, and leathery and strong. And this was a guy who was, you know, nearly quadruple my age, probably almost exactly quadruple, and he still had it. You knew he was the real deal. Because even decades after he probably retired, he still had that, that build up. He told us stories. He told us that basically Hemingway took credit for the fish he caught, but that he was a good guy. You know, he didn't speak any English. My Spanish was __________, asi asi. But it was good enough to have a basic conversation. He took credit for the fish. He was very nice. He, you know, I miss him, you know, but just to touch the history. We took a picture with him. He passed a few years after that.
Lea Lane 22:26
But he's a legend.
Lea Lane 22:53
Because even the legend of touching history to be one degree from Hemingway, which probably is pretty much impossible now, so.
Lea Lane 23:31
Right, that's really one of the interesting people I've ever heard anybody say they have met.
Lea Lane 23:39
In Episode 25, Patricia Schultz, author of The New York Times bestseller, 1000 Places to See Before You Die, also talks of meeting a special person in her travels. It's a story I especially love.
Patricia Schultz 23:52
When we, of all things, had our seven o'clock AM departure from Casa Blanca airport cancelled. We had gotten there at four o'clock in the dark of night, as we were told it was canceled. We didn't know what to do. We were desperate to get to Fez and we had thought the only way to get there was by air. It was over an hour flight but, in fact, you can go there by car. So we went outside the airport, fell into the wonderful company of Mohammed, who had a Mercedes cab, he told us. It was from another century, it was held together by duct tape. He was the loveliest man and we said, we need to get to Fez, but first you have to take us to the best place in Casa Blanca for couscous, because we've been up for eight hours and we're starved, and he said no problem. Long story short, he took us home. His mother had been cooking couscous, it was Friday or Saturday, it was the big day of the week for couscous. For hours we were welcomed like family. The whole village came, he lived in a suburb outside of Casa Blanca. He had two daughters who were studying French in school, in grade school. All they wanted to know about was Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. We sat around the table, we ate with our hands. I'm not sure what we ate, it was some of the most delicious couscous, some of the most heartwarming. We were ready to cancel Fez, we just wanted to stay with Mohammed and his family. And when they saw us off, everybody from the neighboring buildings came back and waved us on. And it was the standout memory I'll have of many different trips. The hospitality you find in countries that, until you visit, you see is maybe a little threatening or maybe not so safe, turns out to be absolutely the difference.
Lea Lane 25:37
I agree with you. I think so many times, it's the people that you remember the most. I can tell you, also, in Greece, I'm thinking off the top of my head. In Greece and in Russia and other places, I've been in homes, where people like our guide or someone I meet on the street has welcomed me, and it's the memory I cherish the most of the country. So thank you so much for that, you're absolutely on target.
Lea Lane 26:01
We find out so many things we didn't know about on our podcast, and Karen Misuraca, author of Secret Sonoma, tells us about one of these surprises in Northern California wine country in Episode 47.
Karen Misuraca 26:14
One of my favorite secrets is out on the coast at Goat Rock, a pile of rocks, right at the beach and everything, very beautiful. If you know where to look, you will see long scratches in the stone above the beach, and what they are is Ice Age mammoths, woolly mammoths with their tusks, used to scrape along, that used to scratch their back and their tusks, right along the Goat Rock beach in the ice. So that's something that you find. Without the book Secret Sonoma, you'll never find that.
Lea Lane 26:49
I would never. I've been there and I don't think I noticed that, and I'm going to go back. Good excuse, right?
Lea Lane 26:55
Patrice Henry of the Korean Tourist Commission in New York tells of some amazing women in Episode 36.
Patrice Henry 27:02
One of my memories, special memories of of Jeju Island is the haenyeo, which is the sea woman, and they catch seafood for a living, with only a knife while holding their breath. Some pretty much 80 years plus and they free dive down to 30 feet for minutes, depending on their experience. And you can still see some of these. We call them sea mermaids at work and learn about their history and culture in the Haenyeo Museum on Jeju Island. For me, this was one of the most memorable experiences in Korea.
Lea Lane 27:47
And how about the power of nature. Here's a magical memory in Episode 16 from Midgie Moore, co-author of 100 Things to Do in Alaska Before You Die, when she first saw the Northern Lights.
Midgie Moore 27:59
Many, many years ago, I was an army wife and we were stationed at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, which is in Fairbanks, and I had moved there from Georgia. So I had not been in cold weather for a very long time. And it was in February and it was 70 below. It was a little chilly. But I had a job where I used to do singing telegrams in character. And so I was, my husband at the time was picking me up and driving me home from one of my little singing things. And as we're looking, it's pitch black and we're driving home, I look out the window and I see this stuff in the sky, these colors. And I was like, Pull over, pull over, pull over! So he pulls over and the sky just came to light with these beautiful colors and ribbons and they were swaying. And it was almost musical, and it was my first time seeing the Northern Lights. And I, to this day, and this was over 30 years ago, to this day, I can still feel that feeling of awe and magic and wonder when people talk about it. Because I was like, I know. I know, and it's very difficult to describe. You need to see it for yourself.
Lea Lane 29:13
Did you ever follow the Milky Way? Anne Born, who's walked the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain ten times, tells of the magic in Episode 3.
Millie Ball 29:23
The actual real life Milky Way up in the sky, the stars, actually follows the Camino Francaise. And I had friends years ago who got up to start walking at 2am because it was going to be hot that day. And what they didn't anticipate was that they were going to be following the Milky Way. They were out in the middle of the meseta, it is miles and miles of what my mother would say, nothing but miles and miles. And they had this broad, incredible vista. They said the only thing they saw were the windmills in the air, the wind turbines in the distance, and they saw the blinking andtheyI thought it might be lightning. That was all they could see was stars, and it was spectacular.
Lea Lane 30:09
Food makes memories. Financial guru Jean Chatzky, formerly of NBC's Today Show, shares a meal with us in Episode 38.
Millie Ball 30:18
The one I was thinking about was a meal at a restaurant in San Francisco called the Zuni Cafe, which is famous for its roast chicken, which they serve on top of a salad that has, it's kind of a panzanella. It's a green salad, but it has big croutons in it that's made from sort of a sourdough loaf and some raisinsor currants in the salad. Go to the New York Times and you search for the Zuni Cafe chicken. They have actually published the recipe, and so now you can make it at home. And it's where my husband and I celebrated buying a house, we've celebrated other things there. And it's it's just a special place for us.
Lea Lane 31:01
It's interesting how memories can be a sight, or a memory of a family, or a delicious meal. That's what's so wonderful about travel, whatever it may be, you will remember it and you will love it the rest of your life. It's a great investment. Travel is an investment in memories.
Lea Lane 31:19
Patti Eshai, TikTok's popular 'Duchess of Decorum,' tells of a special meal tradition in her homeland of Iran in Episode 46.
Patti Eshai 31:28
One of my favorite memories of Iran is being with my dad in the car, and going to get the kebabs from the restaurant. And what you do is, if you don't want to eat the kebabs at the restaurant, you take a big pot, your own pot, and you take it to the restaurant and they fill it up with rice and they fill it up with kebab, and yeah, and they put the lid on it. And then you bring that home, and we used to do that every weekend we would do that. And that was just a special time that I spent with my dad one on one. And to be able to do something cool like that was so much fun. I remember that very, very vividly.
Lea Lane 32:06
In Episode 42, Deanne Burch, author of Journey through Fire and Ice, shares the unusual meals she's had when she lived in a remote Arctic village.
Deanne Burch 32:16
Actually, we did eat a lot of canned food. We had, one night I didn't know what to cook. And I had been cutting up seals all day, and all of a sudden inspiration hit and I thought, Oh, I know what I can do. I can cut up the seal liver for dinner. So fortunately, no bacon, but we did have onions. And I cooked up some kind of rotten, well, they were not the best onions, they had started to sprout. But I cut up the onions, I fried the liver. And, believe it or not, the liver was better than cow's liver. It was very, very good.
Lea Lane 32:51
I remember, I traveled to Greenland and I went to a market and I saw the seal liver all over. And I spoke to people who ate it, and they said it took the place very often of vegetables, there were so few vegetables. The vitamins in the liver were similar and it was very important to eat that.
Deanne Burch 33:08
We also, of course, if we went on a trip, we would take along dried fish and sea oil, because that was what would keep us warm on the trip. Certainly wasn't my favorite kind of food, but it did keep us warm and it was easy to transport.
Lea Lane 33:25
Along with food, drinks can stir memories. Here are two concoctions that I had never heard about. The first is from Karen Wagner in Episode 16 in Beverly Hills, California.
Karen Wagner 33:36
Of course the Beverly Wilshire ,which is a Four Seasons Hotel, is the Pretty Woman hotel, and also has a lot of history and lore around it. It was built in 1928 on a former speedway site, and they have the Pretty Woman cocktail, which is made with a fancy name for garbanzo bean liquid. It's like a vegan, you know to make it vegan, and it's also peach and raspberry and all of that.
Lea Lane 34:06
Karen Wagner 34:08
It's really delicious. I mean, I just think it's kind of an interesting, it's like when you find out that mole is made with chocolate, you know. It's just Oh, okay, that makes sense, sort of.
Lea Lane 34:20
Well, it worked for Pretty Woman, I don't know.
Lea Lane 34:23
The other drink memory is from Canadian Paul Melhus, CEO of Tours by Locals, with maybe one of the oddest drink stories in the world, in Episode 45.
Paul Melhus 34:34
One of the things that I'd like to recommend to everybody is, you should fly to Whitehorse in the Yukon, Canada's Yukon, rent an SUV, and then drive from there to Tuktoyaktuk, which is on the Arctic Ocean. It's about, I'm gonna say 1300 kilometers, and of course you want to take a little side trip to Dawson City. And you have to go to the Diamond Tooth Gerties's there, and the hotel, and taste the sour toe cocktail.
Lea Lane 35:12
The sour toe cocktail? Can you explain that one, please?
Paul Melhus 35:12
Sure, yes. So basically, you know, it's cold in the north, and people do get frostbite. So, I don't know how this got started, but anyways, some guy donated his big toe that had gone amputated. Because it was, you know, it had too bad of frostbite. And so they preserve it in salt at this hotel, and you go there and there's a, the toe captain is there, and basically, you buy a shot of whiskey, he puts the toe into the whiskey, and you have to drink it. And you know, the poem is, Drink it fast. Drink it slow. Your lips must touch the gnarly toe.
Lea Lane 35:53
I've never heard of that before!
Paul Melhus 35:54
Oh, it's really fun.
Lea Lane 35:55
How many times have you done that?
Paul Melhus 35:57
I've done it once. But you know, I'm like, you get a nice certificate. And I think I'm about number 80,000 of people that have done this experience. Yeah. It's super fun, yeah. But you know, if you chew or swallow the toe, there's a $2,500 fine, because people have done that.
Lea Lane 36:20
Really? And it comes out at the end, I guess.
Paul Melhus 36:23
I imagine it does. Yeah. So yeah. Anyways, that's a three day detour to Dawson City in the gold mining center of the Yukon. And then drive on the Dempster Highway, it's fantastically beautiful. The engineers who designed the highway, I feel, must have been poets, because they couldn't have picked a more picturesque route through the north. And it's really really worth it.
Paul Melhus 36:56
And then of course, when you get to Tuktoyaktuk, you really ought to go swimming in the Arctic Ocean.
Lea Lane 37:02
How cold is that?
Paul Melhus 37:04
Well, you know, salt water doesn't freeze at zero, so the average surface temperature of the ocean there is about minus one degree centigrade. So what would that be in Fahrenheit, about 30 degrees? Yeah, something like that. Yeah. Yeah, you don't go for too long, but it's worth a quick dip.
Lea Lane 37:24
I hope you enjoyed returning to some of our episodes over the past year. And we'll get to our last memory, a really special one, in a minute. But as I mentioned in the beginning of the episode, Places I Remember will be going bi-weekly, same format, dropping episodes on Tuesday, just every other week, in 2022. We'll have more fabulous guests and wonderful places to remember around the world. And in mid-February, watch for us. We'll be talking travel on YouTube, also bi-weekly. Now, relax if you can and listen to the words and music in this gorgeous rendition of a famous Irish ballad that Dubliner Joe Kearns sang just for us in Episode 7 about Ireland. Thank you for listening. I appreciate all of you. And I'm going to drop the mic now on 2021, so take us out, Joe.
Joe Kearns 38:19
On Raglan Road of an autumn day I saw her first and knew, that her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue; I saw the danger, and I passed along the enchanted way, And I said, let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day. On Grafton Street in November we tripped lightly along the ledge of the deep ravine where can be seen the worth of passion's pledge. The Queen of Hearts still making tarts and I not making hay, Oh, I loved too much and by such by such is happiness thrown away. And I gave her gifts of the mind, I gave her a secret sign that's known to the artists who have known the true gods of sound and stone. And word and tint I never did stint, for I gave her poems to say. With her own name there and her own dark hair like clouds over field of May, on a quiet street where old ghosts meet, I see her walking now, away from me so hurriedly, my reason must allow. That I had loved not as I should a creature made of clay. When the angel woos the clay, he'll lose his wings at the dawn of day.
Lea Lane 42:55
Thanks for sharing travel memories with us. My book, Places I Remember, is available on Amazon and at bookstores, in print and Kindle, and I read the audio version. Please subscribe to this podcast and consider giving us a review. Until next time, join us wherever in the world we're going