My top travel memories are all “first timers” – after all “they” are the most exciting and memorable of memories. Subsequent times may be more planned, refined, knowledgeable, or satisfying, but the first time is the one that always jumps feet first into that place in my head – right between the eyes.
First House-Sit. Gold!
It was in April, 2012, at Moclin, high in the Andalucian hills, near Granada in Spain, that we lost our house-sitting virginity.
And, I am happy to report that it was a happy experience for all concerned.
Our on-loan pooch, was so full of character we could not help falling in love with her. Of course it was a holiday romance – a threesome at that – full of sloppy early morning kisses and long night-time walks where sweet nothings like “hurry up it is cold out here”, were whispered.
She dragged us all over the hills and enthusiastically chased every cat she saw (and there were many). Such explorations into the mountains, gorges and valleys, were eagerly followed by tapas on the terrace of the village bar for us, the human pair of our Ménage à trois and doggy treats for the one with four legs.
And meanwhile our home owners had peace of mind knowing pooch and place were being looked after.
There is no doubt about it, our house-sit in Spain, was GOLD for us all!
First (and last) Glacier Climb. Silver!
It was November 2008, and we were in New Zealand on our first overseas holiday “post children”. Romance was again in the air when we decided to climb the Fox Glacier. Actually I secretly harboured hopes of a helicopter ride to the heights, but Budget Hubby had other ideas afoot.
So it was that on a beautiful day with no rain in sight, we climbed 700 odd steps, through a forest, up to the glacier. That is right. 700 steps before we even got to the glacier!
But, wait a minute, let’s not brush those steps aside so lightly, for they were hacked from the ground and shored up with materials back-packed in by the Company employees. Yes – our glacier guides had made with their own hands, the very steps that we now cursed. And furthermore, please understand that these were not perfect steps – in any shape – or size – or inclination!
We walked along ledges, hanging onto chain handrails, ignoring the 150 metre drop, and climbed a ladder attached to the vertical rock face. Eventually, we arrived at the spot where we could step out onto the glacier.
We strapped on our crampons (I love that I get to write that) and climbed on to the glacier.
Crunching crampons on the ice – what bliss was this?
Our guide cutting ice steps as we went,
Peering into blue ice crevasses,
Unseen streams trickling.
But what about the 700 steps before and after? And then there was the freezing cold stream that I fell into on the way back (don’t let anyone tell you rock-hopping is not an extreme sport). It was just luck that I did not need to have frostbitten areas removed!
There has to be one in every crowd…
First New York Cab Ride. Bronze!
Hurtled, yep that’s it – We h u r t l e d along the highway from JFK airport. Our driver relishing the game of chicken he played with the other cabs vying for optimum traffic position.
I was enchanted by the quaint houses bordering the highway and said so, but the cabbie soon put me straight “that ain’t quaint – that’s Queens”. Channeling Fran Drescher, I snapped a photo from the cab in a rare moment of immobility!
Before long we were deposited on the side-walk outside our apartment in St. Mark’s Place, East Village. The street action was bustling on that Friday afternoon in April, 2010, and I knew we had arrived in the most exciting City on the Planet.
Ah – Memories.
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