My 10 Favorite Travel Memories – Part 1

I have been an avid traveler since early childhood. Throughout my life, I have been fortunate enough to travel the world and experience many different cultures. I’ve had the opportunity to eat my way through Europe, stay in a hotel room without a fourth wall, and dine at a Michelin Star restaurant; and those are just a few times travel has taken my breath away.

As I began writing this article, I started to think about the future -about all the adventures I have yet to experience – and I got excited. In a year or two, my list will look different. I will continue to explore and continue to make new memories. That is the beauty of travel after all.  We never stay still for too long.

The famous Cypress Tree on 17 Mile Drive.

1. 17-mile drive in Monterey, CA

I adore Monterey, California and its neighboring town Carmel. They are both charming towns with a great food and wine scene, a gorgeous coast, and views for miles- 17 miles to be specific. 17-mile Drive is a scenic road through Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove that follows the coastline with 17 scenic attractions for which you can stop. At the end of the drive, I visited the world-famous Pebble Beach Golf Course and had a beverage and some appetizers while watching the sunset. The coastal views stayed with me, long after the drive was over.

Google Maps!

The view of Vernazza from the hiking trail.

2. Hiking in Cinque Terre, Italy

One of my favorite towns in Italy is Cinque Terre, which translates to 5 lands. It is best known for its beautiful mountainous landscape. These five old seaside villages are built side by side into the Italian Riviera coastline, one more charming than the next. I spent a full day leisurely hiking the cliff side trail that connects the villages of Monterosso Al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The views along the way are some of the best I’ve ever seen. I stopped in each village along the way and explored. Each town had its own character and charm and its own delicious gelato stand (#eatALLthe gelato). I took the ferry back to where we started and got to see the villages from the water – spectacular.


Piquillo pepper with smoked eggplant, tuna belly and romesco sauce.

3. Dining alone at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas, NV

I capitalize on every opportunity to have a memorable dining experience, even if it means dining alone. I was in Las Vegas for a travel advisor conference and because of an impending snow storm, I was forced to go to Vegas a night early (twist my arm). I was alone. I was hungry. I was excited to delve in to Vegas’ world class dining. Joel Robuchon is an acclaimed French chef with 31 Michelin Stars (for those of you who don’t know, that’s A LOT of accolades). It has long been on my bucket list to try one of his two world famous restaurants in Vegas.  L’Atelier has an open kitchen concept so I sat at the service counter and watched as my prix-fixe, multi-course menu was prepared. From the bread served before dinner to the suggested wine with each course, this was a unique experience that did not disappoint. In the future, I plan to try his more expensive, 3 Michelin Star sister restaurant in Vegas – Joel Robuchon. It’s good to have goals, particularly of the food variety.


The view from my hotel room.

4. Staying in Hotel y Bodega El Lager de Isilla in La Vid, Spain

Hotel y Bodega El Lager de Isilla is in the tiny village of La Vid on the banks of Ribera del Duero; a wine region in Spain. The entire village boasts less than 250 people. There is a monastery across the street and vineyards at every turn. The reason I cherish this hotel experience wasn’t because it was a sprawling 5-star, high end resort; in fact, it was just the opposite. I loved the hotel because it was eccentric and quirky and off the beaten path. The place was packed with locals; old men playing cards and patrons having dinner and drinks at the causal tapas bar inside. The energy in this place was electric. I came to learn that this was THE place to hang out; no, quite literally the only place to gather in the area. I loved only hearing Spanish spoken, including the waiter who didn’t take our order, and instead, just brought us local delicacies to try.  To me, there is no greater feeling than traveling like a local and not a tourist.


The champagne flight in Epcot’s France.

5. Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The Epcot Food and Wine Festival is an annual food event at Disney World’s Epcot in Orlando, Florida. I love this Festival so much that I have gone twice and will most certainly go again. There are over 30 Global Marketplaces spread over 11 countries in Epcot, each celebrating their region’s cuisine. I spent 2 full days eating and drinking my way around the World Showcase, trying new and innovative small plates and beverages.  I did a Champagne flight in France, Teriyaki-Glazed Spam Hash in Hawaii, Crispy Pork Belly with black beans, tomato, and onion in Brazil, and countless other tasty treats.  I only stayed a couple nights but you could easily spend a week here exploring the Market Place and other fun events such as pairing meals, culinary demonstrations, beverage seminars, and so much more.


To be continued next week…..


What is your favorite travel memory? Tag Tina Knows Travel in your Facebook or Instagram posts or leave me a comment below.

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Tina Salloum
Tina Knows Travel, LLC
P: (607) 592-9975

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