My 3 Travel Secrets

by Ekua on December 7, 2009 in Brazil,destinations,eats and drinks,Vietnam,Washington,why i travel

I was tagged to partake in Tripbase‘s My 3 Best Kept Travel Secrets phenomenon by Lauren of Lonely Girl Travels and Neha of Flying Suitcase. So I perused my memory for fantastic places and travel moments and here’s what I came up with:

1. A late afternoon motorcycle tour of Hue, Vietnam

Angkor Wat was the expected high moment of my 2008 Southeast Asia trip. But an unlikely afternoon in Hue was the unexpected high moment. After the drivers picked us up, it wasn’t long before we were out of the nondescript city center and zooming through tiny tree-lined alleys and paths on the outskirts.

Our drivers stopped in the middle of the woods. We loved it. But we weren’t quite there yet. We walked through the gates of one of the loveliest places I’ve ever seen, the Tu Hieu Temple. We took off in different directions and were brought together again by the wonderful sounds of gongs and singing. We had arrived at the perfect time to see the monks’ daily chanting.

Another stop was a cliff high above the Perfume River. We explored a former U.S. Military bunker near our lookout spot. Standing in a place so beautiful and tranquil, it was hard to imagine that it was a fairly recently a site of an ugly war. We hopped back on our bikes and zigzagged across a narrow path with flooded rice paddies on both sides. Motorcycle riding is thrilling in itself, but this took exhilaration to the next level.

Monks at the Temple

2. Cozinha Aberta, Lencois, Bahia, Brazil

After a long day of hiking in Chapada Diamantina, my friend and I went in search of Cozinha Aberta, a restaurant recommended in our guidebooks. We walked into what looked like someone’s home. It was beautiful and rustic with just a few tables and simple decorations. There was an open kitchen where we could see a woman making everything from scratch. Wanting something I hadn’t eaten yet in Brazil, I ordered coconut curry chicken. Lovely presented plates of food were brought to us. I took my first bite. My friend and I looked at each other with widen eyes. Our food was mind-blowingly good. It was unreal. I took my second bite. Amazingness confirmed.

The following night, we decided to go to the other Cozinha Aberta restaurant, just around the corner from the one we’d already been to. I couldn’t resist the handmade pasta I saw the cook rolling as we entered the restaurant. I ordered ravioli and was again treated to an incredible meal. It was the freshest pasta and marinara sauce I’ve ever had. In the food at Cozinha Aberta, we tasted massive quantities of love and care and passion. Three years later, I can still remember those tastes.

3. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, Mt. Vernon, Washington

Last year, I made a last minute spring break trip to visit friends in Seattle. Since I was already in Seattle, my wanderlust led me further north to Vancouver. One of my Seattle friends had mentioned a tulip festival somewhere between Seattle and Vancouver. It was said to rival the famous tulip fields of Holland. I looked up the information and directions so I could make a stop there on my way to Canada.

Unfortunately, I arrived too early in the season. Mother Nature must have decided she wanted a bunch of late bloomers. But though there was not too much tulip viewing, my eyes were not disappointed. There were tons of daffodils with a backdrop of snow-covered mountains. I’d say I frolicked in fields of daffodils, but that would be a lie. But I did venture (against the rules, shh) into the flower rows to take a few awesome pictures.

Daffodil Fields

Daffodil Field

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