Skip to content

These are a Few of My Favorite Things…

July 9, 2011

19 Minooka students in Granada, Spain.

There have now been 107 students that have traveled with us on a Minooka TAP trip, and there’s a few things I can guarantee.  First, each and every one of those kids, upon returning home from Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, or Spain, heard the same question.  Second, none of them answered that question the same way.  In fact, I bet most of them were asked the question a few times, by different people, and I bet most gave a different answer each time they fielded that particular question.
How do I know they heard the same question?  It’s real simple.  I happen to be the only person that has been on every single TAP trip, and I’ve heard this question about one gazillion times.  At the beginning of each school year when I tell the new 6th graders about TAP – they all ask the question.  I was interviewed by the newspaper last night – they asked the question.  I went to a Cubs game to be honored for the stuff I do with TAP – the Cubs dude asked the question.  I hung out with my parents on the Fourth of July – they both asked the question (my dad doesn’t remember stuff too well, and his hearing isn’t great, so he asked it three times himself). 
The funny thing is: I gave a different answer to my wife when she picked me up at the airport than I did to my son later that

night.  I told my mom one thing, but my dad got a different response (three of them).  The guy at the Cub game got a totally unique answer, and the poor lady from the newspaper got about ten answers.

What’s the question?  Why is it so hard to answer?  How can it have a different response each time?

The question we all get is: What was your favorite thing?

The Berlin Wall. Taken on TAP's first trip back in 2007.

With 12 days in a foreign country (which is now 58 days for me – Germany was only a 10 day trip, while the rest were 12) exploring and experiencing new and amazing things, there’s no way to narrow it down to just one moment, one building, one experience that sums it all up – it’s just not possible.  So, I’m betting that most of our travelers do what I do – each time they’re asked the question they give a different answer, because what my favorite thing was on each of my trips was different depending on my mood, what I’m nostalgic for, who I’m with, or whether or not I’m hungry.

After Germany, I told people my favorite thing was Neuschwanstein Castle, because it’s beautiful up there in the Bavarian Alps.  However, after some reflection, my favorite thing became our day in the Dachau Concentration Camp, because of the sick feeling I felt all day and the lessons we learned.  Sometimes my favorite thing is the Berlin Wall, and other times it’s the peaceful walk we took through Heidelberg, and when my mood is just right (meaning tummy grumbles) I fondly recall the three foot bratwurst I devoured in Nuremburg.

When I returned from Greece, my favorite was the castle in Rhodes, but before long I was telling people all about the Turkish marketplace in Kusadasi, then I was raving about the gyros I had in Mykonos, and I always ended with – “oh yeah, the Acropolis in Athens was amazing too.”

Our Italy kids on top of Mt. Vesuvius

Italy was incredible as well.  I’ve listed a dozen favorites from that trip – the Sistine Chapel, Juliet’s house in Verona, the gondola through the canals in Venice, the streets of Assisi, the Duomo in Florence, a cannoli I had one afternoon in St. Mark’s Square, the boys trying to lure pigeons to sit on their heads, David, Mt. Vesuvius, teaching the kids about Dante/Machiavelli/Galileo/Michelangelo right there in front of their tombs, the view of the ocean from atop Capri, hearing the guide sing in the baptistry in Pisa, and a whole bunch more.

I often say that Ireland was my favorite trip, so there are countless things that I’ve said are my lone fave from that trip – the sheep dogs, the music night, singing Irish songs on the bus, the grounds around Blarney castle, flying buttresses, standing in the shadow of Ben Bulben, a peaceful stroll through Dublin, the round tower in Kilkenny, Newgrange, Irish Stew…  this list could go on and on.

Hopefully what I accomplished with those paragraphs is two things.  First, for those of you who have been on a TAP trip – I hope it made you nostalgic, reigniting that desire to travel and see the world.  Second, for those of you who haven’t been – well, we have two trips next year for you to join us on.  Come with us and make your own memories, just remember that at least 12 different things will be your very favorite.

With four different countries visited on this last trip, it’s going to be tougher to answer that question this time.  So, in order to be  in order to answer the question – What was your favorite thing on this last trip? – I’m going to attempt a Top 10 list.  Of course, since this trip covered four countries, this Top 10 list will cover just the first country – Portugal.   In my next post I’ll start the countdown:  Please feel free to tell me what your favorite moments, buildings, experiences, and/or people in Portugal were.  Since I’ve already written about Portuguese cookies, I’ll leave them off the list. 

One Comment leave one →
  1. Claire permalink
    July 15, 2011 3:20 pm

    One of my favorite things in Portugal was the chapel of bones. But I also really liked those evil pac-man eating a crow symbols, I still have no clue what they mean. The fado music night was also one of my favorites. And these are just a few I don’t want to say all of them because i want to give someone else a chance to say more, too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: