Guest post: Travels from A to Z by Halifax ReTales

Today’s guest post is from a new Twitter friend, Arthur of Halifax ReTales. He runs a very active blog and Twitter feed chronicling activity in the Halifax retail and restaurant scene.  We talk about food a lot. A LOT.

A: Age you went on your first trip.

When I was mere weeks old living in Montreal, my folks took me to the touristy town of Lake George, NY. The first I recall is going back to Montreal to visit family.

B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where.

Tennants Ice Cold in Scotland, it really isn’t a great beer it is the standard draught in pubs around Scotland but I have never had a bad time while consuming it. [Krista: That is a totally appropriate criterion for beer greatness.] 

C: Cuisine (favorite).

Indigenous street/dive food, whether its vindaloo in London, Smoked Meat in Montreal, Mexican truck food in Houston or Fried Dough in Old Orchard or a Donair in Halifax. It’s the food of the late night inebriation I adore. [Krista: We have a strong pro-street food bias here on Bite-sized Travel.]

Waffle house and chippery in Brussels

D: Destination (favorite and least favorite).

Favourite: Such a hard question, but I’ll generalize with Scandinavia.

Worst: Moncton. Damn I hate Moncton.

Legoland in Denmark

E: Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow.”

“Wow,” as in “this is really neat:” While I was in Amsterdam, outside of the hookers and weed, there is an amazing old city full of fantastic architecture and canals, streets filled with people and bicycles everywhere and people dressed simply but stylish without the need of giant brand names. [Krista: This is the second "Wow" for Amsterdam in three of these posts. Looks like Amsterdam is going on the to-do list.]

The streets of Amsterdam

F: Favorite mode of transportation.

Trains! Europe is fantastic for the trains, but there is still charm in the North American ROADTRIPPPP!

G: Greatest feeling while traveling.

That sense of exploring and adventure that you feel when you wake up every morning. Even when I travel for work it is interesting to interact with the different social ethnic and regional differences.

H: Hottest place you’ve traveled to

Houston, August 2010 for days it was 38C+ in the shade plus 80-90% humidity. One morning I got into my car at 6am and it said the exterior temperature was 46C in shaded parking structure overnight

I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where.

Le Poule au Pot in Paris. The service was impeccable and no beat was missed – the server was always present, yet, not interfering, but I guess that should be expected when it’s 25€ for a big bowl of fantastic Chicken Soup. [Krista: They post the recipe on their website - in French, obviously. This place is also open until 5am, which would have been good to know the night I had an overnight layover in Paris.]

Poule au Pot, Paris

J: Journey that took the longest.

23 days in Europe: London -> Paris -> Brussels -> Amsterdam -> Copenhagen -> all over Denmark -> Berlin -> Mainz -> Heidelberg -> Kaiserslautern -> Reykjavik

Looking out over Heidelberg

K: Keepsake from your travels.

I get reusable cloth bags from shops. [Krista: I love this idea, I'm stealing it immediately.]

Legoland, Denmark

Goats on Roof, Vancouver Island

L: Letdown site and where.

Empire State Building, it is just so crowded whereas 30 Rock has better views and you get to see the ESB in all its glory.

M: Moment where you fell in love with travel.

It was a slow moving relationship: years of car trips to Montreal, trapped in the middle seat while the windows were up and my folks were chain smoking. The true point is when my now-wife and I moved to Guelph, Ontario. I really enjoyed exploring Southern Ontario and upstate New York. Today, our son always accompanies us and his joy is mine.

N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed at.

I prefer to be independent and rent flats. Living as the people live is what makes me happy for me a true vacation, the only thing a hotel is to me is a place to keep my stuff and sleep.

Apartment in Amsterdam

Neighbourhood where I rented in Paris

O: Obsession. What are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?

Everything that is not standard fare in North America.

P: Passport stamps. How many and from where?

0: just turned in my passport for renewal.

Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where.

Oh, I don’t know, I am always off the beaten path, but I would say having a family reunion of sorts at a bowling alley in Kolding, Denmark was kinda weird.

R: Recommended site, event or experience.

I always visit grocery stores and markets, it’s the best way to experience what the residents are really like.

S: Splurge. Something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling.

Meals and admission fares: I tend to go by the rule of “One day eat simple, one day eat extravagant.”

T: Touristy thing you’ve done.

I always go and do the quintessential touristy in each new place, it’s part of the experience.

U: Unforgettable travel memory.

For me, ideally every memory is unforgettable, that is part of why I go.

V: Visa. How many and for where.

0 except the one I collect Aeroplan miles on.

W: Wine. Best glass of wine while traveling and where?

Great bit of lost pleasure I hear. I am “allergic” 2 sips and I have a massive headache, and similar after more than a glass of white so I just avoid it.

X: eXcellent view and from where.

I tend to like the view from the water as you are approaching a city. Alderney Landing [in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, across the harbour from Halifax] has one of the best city views of places that I have been. Sometimes, it’s best to just acknowledge the best is in your own backyard.

Y: Years spent traveling.

On and off for just about 40 years.

Z: Zealous sports fans and where.

You’re always going to find a football match of some sort. We are so civilized in North America. Everywhere else in the world, fans of the teams are separated in the stadium, and because of close proximity, it is easy to travel between cities.

The best I have experienced (or worst) was in peaceful Copenhagen, Denmark. Copenhagen FC was visiting cross-town rivals Brøndby IF. Before the kick-off, the Copenhagen showered the nearby Brøndby fans with lit flares. After the game, folks we were with warned us not to go that way, as there was only one way out and that was where the fights would be.

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