Photographs credited © Musée du Louvre

Quick Trips

Today’s guest post is by Sherrilee

As I’ve mentioned on the Trail before I have a fabulous job – some days.

Part of my job is to accompany clients to destinations that have been earmarked for incentive travel trips. Over the years I’ve been to some really fabulous places: New Zealand, South Africa, Hawaii, Russia, Belgium are just a few.

Photographs credited © Musée du Louvre

The downside to this is the speed with which I sometimes have to see some of these wonderful places as we are often trying to fit in as much as possible in as short period of time as possible. Once in Switzerland we drove four hours to eat lunch and walk through a museum at breakneck speed only to drive four hours back. Another time we visited four historic castles in one day in the Loire Valley.

But the funniest of all my fast trips was in Paris. The incentive program was going to include three days of optional activities and the client wanted to see as many of them as possible in one day; one of those activities was touring the Louvre Museum. Our guide for the day was a small, but extremely feisty French Vietnamese woman, who clearly knew her way around and wasn’t going to waste any time by just wandering around looking at random art. When we hit the museum, she dragged us quickly from one spot to another; in no time we had been from one side of the Louvre to another to see the Winged Victory, the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo and the moats of the medieval Louvre. We were in and out so fast that I had to catch my breath.

So the upshot is that I’ve spent 20 minutes in a museum that most people want to explore for two or three days!

When have you gone a long way for a short visit?

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66 thoughts on “Quick Trips”

  1. Sherrilee, I now better understand why you’d think nothing of driving from Edina to the American Swedish Institute on your lunch hour. Sheesh, twenty minutes at the Louvre. That’s almost criminal! Hope you’ve had a chance to go back and enjoy it at a more leisurely pace?

    When my father-in-law passed away in February of 2002, I felt that I should attend his funeral with Hans. In the thirty-four years we’ve been married, we have each visited Denmark many times, but only once together prior to f-i-l’s funeral. That trip was my shortest visit to Denmark ever, I was there only three days before I had to return to St. Paul because of job-related deadlines. Had my sister not lived as close to the Copenhagen airport as she does, I would not have been able to see her.

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  2. Good morning. I think I would have liked to have had more time to see things on most of my vacations, especially trips to large cities There are so many things to see and do in any large city and there is no way that you can see everything that you would like to see in one of these great cities without staying for a long time. New York is one of the cities where I would like to spend more time.

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  3. i got to take a trip acouple of years ago to visit my daughter in florence.. i was looking at the flight i was booking and the option of layover was available and i looked and it offered me a 1 hour , two hour up to a 12 hour layover in the midst of the trip on a 1 stop flight. i laughed and thought why in the world would you want to take a 12 hour layover if there is an availablity for only a one hour. what the heck is cdg airport anyway? i looked it up and discovered it was charles de gaulle in paris and i started salivating at the idea of having a 12 hour shot at paris. on the flight over it was the emptiest plane i had ever been on. there were rows and rows of empty seats. because of this the guy in the row in front of me and i got to shooting the breeze and he had a long layover before he went on to africa to do a hunt with a guided jeep thing (mind fart) he asked if he could join me on my 1 day whirlwind tour. heck ya. we hit the airport, ditched the bags and found the train. got off at notre dame, had coffee in a cafe that looked just like they are supposed to and walked over to the louve only to discover the line was really long and we got a feel for the place as it started to rain. we looked over at the champ elyesee and started hiking to the eifell tower. it was right over there just a little ways off in the distance. in that short 2 mile hike we got to see shops and muesums and cafes and pouring rain. just pouring. we were soaked to the bone and laughing about what a couple of twits were to stand in the rain and not figure out how to get out of it but if we stopped we would not have time to finish the eifel tower part of the tour. well the rain made it wonderful because it scared everyone off at the tower . the wait line was almost non existant and we spent an hour and a half climbing the stairs after taking an elevator halfway up the experience was fantastic and we were dry on the train ride back to the airport. i freaked a little because we ended up in some little french neighborhood instead of at the airport by not paying attention to transfers and the time was getting close. i jumped on the plane and was off to florence to do a train tour of europe with my daughter where we did a whole bunch of city a day things including venice, viennia, prauge, budapest, bonn, salzberg, milan and lake como, a couple of days in florence felt like luxurious spare time to enjoy the surroundings.

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  4. Husband and I went on a trip to England – mostly we were in London as we were just there for a handful of days and there is certainly enough in London to keep a person busy for several days. I have a pal who lives in Newcastle who I see only very rarely, so since I was at least on the same land mass as him, it seemed reasonable to make a day trip to go visit Newcastle. He thought I was crazy. I figured it wasn’t too different than driving to Brainerd for the day (which I have also done), but going to Newcastle I’d be on a train with time to read, stare out the window, etc., instead of driving a car. And Husband could stay in London and visit museums and places I was less interested in seeing. It was sort of a whirlwind tour of Newcastle for the time I was there, but I got to visit with a friend, see part of Hadrian’s wall, haunt a few good book shops, and eat some yummy curry (I had joked that in order to get good curry I had to leave Husband behind and make the trek since Husband and Indian food are a really bad mix). It would have been nice to have more than 6 hours or so in Newcastle and when I go back, I really need to stop in York to visit the Viking stuff there. Plus, I haven’t seen my buddy in years…hmm…wonder how much tickets are these days to London?…

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    1. I think American’s have a different relationship to distances than do most Europeans, probably because of the vastness of this country. I think that may be one of the reasons that when Americans travel in Europe they often have a very ambitious itinerary; seven countries in ten days, or some such thing. When Jens, husband’s brother who lives in Frankfurt, visited us a few years back, some friends in St. Louis Park invited us to dinner. He was astounded that we drove that far for dinner, and then didn’t stay late. We of course, think nothing of doing that, and it would never occur to us that we’d need to stay till the wee hours of the morning to have made it worthwhile.

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  5. In 1974 my parents offered my erstwife and me to tour England, with them paying all expenses (even covering the cost of boarding our dogs). At the time we didn’t have enough money to travel to Saint Paul on our own. Kathe researched the trip for many months, deciding we would rent a small car and travel all over England while staying in B&Bs. She booked us into some fascinating 14th century farmhouses and old castles. We stayed at a charming inn where we fished for trout while wandering peacocks screamed (as only they can). We saw virtually every major tourist destination in London, then moved on to Oxford, the Cotswolds, Devon, Stonehenge, Brighton and Canterbury (plus many places I’ve not mentioned). Kathe’s basic assumption was that we’d never again have the money to do this kind of trip, so she wanted to pack as much in it as she could.

    Kathe’s research was superb, as we saw delightful places that didn’t cost much to get to, but the price we paid was that we traveled HARD, slept little and always felt the need to keep moving on to the next destination. We were exhausted right from the first day and never caught our breath. I wanted so badly to just sit down in a pub and chat with local people, but we always had to log another 80 miles so we’d be ready for the next thing Kathe had booked.us to do or see. What should have been a dream trip became an ordeal, and you can just guess what a toll it took on our dispositions. I have more photos than I ever need to see of Kathe looking exhausted and grim about some conflict between my natural casual travel style and her blitzkrieg approach.

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    1. Our trip to Scotland in 1990 was similarly hard- traveling, but without a restrictive itinerary. We had a rental car and two weeks. I had spent the previous year reading Scottish history exclusively, just so I would have some idea what I was looking at. We had a Blue Guide, which was organized in short segments and well supplemented with background information about the area. It was March, slightly ahead of the tourist season, so we had no set destinations other than a night’s lodging with the Mudds in Killin, near the Falls of Dochart, and two night’s lodging with Nell MacKinnon in Portree on the Isle of Skye. The lodging with Nell was on the recommendation of Phil Cunningham, the Scottish accordianist of Silly Wizard fame. Other than that, we just found B&Bs as we went along, with varying success, using the very helpful tourist information bureaus that seemed to be in almost every town. We landed on the west coast, near Glasgow, went north and east, zigzagging our way up to Inverness, then Inverewe Gardens and the Culloden battlefield, climbed up Glencoe, stopped at every castle that caught our fancy, chatted with locals (it’s easy- you just have to make an admiring comment about their dogs and you’re in), and then made our way east to the coast and down to Edinburgh. We liked Edinburgh, but after two days, we were ready to go back to the highlands and so we did, looping back in a general way so that we would be at Prestwick to fly back at the scheduled time.
      It was a fun trip and not at all rigid, but exhausting nevertheless. We have agreed that any future trips of that sort would likely be less ambitious and more focused, with ample down time along the way.

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        1. It sounds like a book that several Baboons might be interested in. If you wish to pass it on, we can trade it around up here.

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        2. “On Celtic Tides”. Bill, send your address to cbirkholz@hickorytech.net. I’ll mail it out next week. One of the fun things is to follow him on Google, right down to “street view” of islands with no roads. Then I get angry at Google when a place does not have good resolution in their database. How spoiled are, we, or maybe only me.

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      1. We took a trip to England with a stop in Edinburgh and a few days at the end of the trip in Paris. This trip was planned using Rick Steves’ travel guides. His advice turned out to be good with lots of good suggestions for inexpensive places to stay and things to see as well as other information.

        Rick Steves seems to put a good effort into researching travel information. At one place the people who ran the place we stayed said that Rick Steves had been there recently. We didn’t spend too much time in any location which put the trip in the category of a trip to some distant places where we spent very little time. However, with the help of the Steves travel guides we made good use of the time we had to see all the places we visited.

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      1. True. Another bone of contention can be places to eat. I like to try the local food. A friend of mine who travels extensively boasts that she has eaten in McDonalds every place she has visited. It may be a good thing that her long-planned trip to Cuba this week was derailed, so to speak, because she discovered when she got to Miami that she hadn’t brought her passport.

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      2. In general, there are few better ways of learning things about a relationship than travel. Travel will expose every possible difference between a pair of travelers: he’s a morning person and she can’t be civil until after coffee; he can’t imagine a meal without alcohol and she is only interested in fast food; he wants privacy and convenience in accommodations while she thirsts for the exotic; he needs a nap and she wants to keep the pedal to the metal and on and on and on!

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        1. I was stunned to discover that my sister-in-law and I who are quite dissimilar in many ways actually travel quite well together. We managed 5 days in Seoul with only some disagreement about food choices (I wanted to eat more local, she was less adventurous – though I did get her into one traditional restaurant while we were there…other than that, she preferred familiar names like Dunkin Donuts and TGIFridays – or maybe it was an Outback Steakhouse, they’re all sort of the same…).

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  6. Robin and I once drove all the way across Massachusetts from eastern New York to visit Mount Auburn cemetery near Boston. The first “garden style” cemetery in the country, it is the final resting place of Longfellow, Julia Ward and Samuel Gridley Howe, Edwin Booth and his first wife Mary Devlin, Charlotte Cushman, Fanny Fern, Fanny Farmer, and countless other notables. It has a memorial to Margaret Fuller, who, of course, was lost in a shipwreck off Fire Island and never found and one to Robert Gould Shaw, who was buried with the men of the 54th Mass. Regiment at Fort Wagner. On the way back to New York, we were able to make a side trip to Harvard, Massachusetts and the site of A. Bronson Alcott’s Fruitlands, his short-lived attempt at an utopian community. All in all, it was an ambitious but satisfying day trip.

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    1. My favorite of the many many cemeteries I have visited is Sleepy Hollow cemetery in Concord MA. Author’s hill where all the famous are buried such as L M. Alcott. But the whole place is wonderful. Been there twice on Halloween. I could have gone to your cemetery on more than one trip if I had known about it., Good for you.

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  7. In a dozen years as a traveling consultant I have been to many places I have never been to, such as Philadelphia, Sacramento, Atlanta, and many other places where I know their damn airports.
    Does my drive to Maple Grove today for a one-hour visit count.

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    1. Well, Berlin and Venice aren’t exactly in close proximity. Was there a reason why the mrs. chose those two cities?

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  8. I am the child of a father who prefers 20 minute tours of the Louvre. Even though I grew up in DC I didn’t get to the Lincoln Memorial until college when I took a friend. Dad always said, “You can see if from the car on the way to the airport.”

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    1. Isn’t that how it often goes? I had never been to Glyptoteket in Copenhagen when I lived there. I visited it for the first time on my last visit. I don’t think my parents ever set foot in The Royal Theater, the National Museum, or Louisiana. I’ll bet that most tourists who take a Grayline tour have seen more of the local sights than some people who live there, no matter where it is.

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    2. I’m probably the opposite of your father, Beth-Ann. I think the people I am with often wonder what I am doing. They are ready to move on and I am lagging behind. I am sort slow moving, but why is everybody in such a big hurry?

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  9. I remember being in high school, and my folks hadn’t had their Estes Park, CO fix for a couple of years (later on they went almost annually). We decided to do a blitz road trip – drove out in a day and a half somehow, stayed for two nights at the Silver Saddle Motel on the edge of Estes Park (had a pool), and had a day and a half to roam our favorite places before turning around a going home. I’m sure we did a hike at Bear Lake, probably drove up to Trail Ridge visitor center, and shopped in Estes…

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  10. A couple of quick turnarounds.
    About four months after moving to St Paul, it was my father’s birthday. My brother, S-I-L and I decided to drive straight to Connecticut (24 hours) to surprise him. I don’t remember how long we stayed but it couldn’t have been much longer than the weekend. My main memory is that on the way out, it was my turn to drive when we hit Ohio at dawn and squinting into the rising sun just made my eyes want to go back to sleep. In the interest of safety, my shift was quite short that time.

    The other time was when I was visiting my son in NYC. He had to go to work and I had some time to kill before my flight. I decided to go to the Guggenheim which I had never seen.
    I don’t do taxis in NY by myself (hailing them and acting with NY swagger is beyond me) so I took the subway. It was rather a slow boat to China that day and the trip involved more walking than I had realized. When I finally arrived, I realized that I had about 20 minutes before I had to head to the airport. I walked up the spiral, taking quick looks at the art as I strode by. On the way back down, I hit the gift shop and bought a poster of a painting that had caught my eye and I was done. Got to the airport with very little time to spare.

    The Guggenheim is interesting but the floor is sloped oddly (toward the center, if I remember correctly) so it makes one feel off balance. Especially disconcerting when covering it at a good clip.

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  11. Hello Gang,

    We did the drive to Mississippi this summer and spent a day there. And I’ve driven to Chicago just long enough to pick up the students and head home again.

    You all have way more travel experience that I have. But my wife and I are working on that.

    We do have a somewhat leisurely trip to Charleston SC planned for spring. My niece, (the one on my FB page recently) is getting married there. And looking forward to that.

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    1. Charleston is a beautiful city, Ben, you’re sure to have a great time there. Does your niece live there?

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      1. Yes she does. For the moment. But she’s been in the NYC the last couple weeks and I think is setting her eyes on there next.

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    2. We’re going to Folly Beach, right across the bridge from Charleston, on our upcoming road trip. More later on that…

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  12. i have two things to recall as the day soaked in. as much as i enjoy spur of the moment stuff. i really enjoy extended versions of that. paris and the train trip was not a short trip it was a bunch of short trips on a tw week holiday. i heard soem expalin that new york city is not really a big city but a whole bunch of little neighborhood all jammed in close together. i get it. i did vacations in my vw van youth that were week and 8 week vacations at age 16 and 17 . 18 called for responsibility, i was doing an extended leave after my summer construction job, when i went to ireland 15 years ago it was a 6 week trip going to limerick on the west shore, around the clock face to 3 at dublin, on the ferry to wales arounf to engalnd , scotland back to finish ireland and back out of limerick 6 weeks later. i love love love doing a quick soaking in of the local vibe, check what the possibilities are and decide how to roll at the moment, traveling companions factor into the equation but i need to have serious input about winging it.
    i love extended quick trips come to think of it i never go somewhere and sit for two weeks. if it is to yellowstone or disney as i have done numerous times with the family we try to keep it fresh by winging it as we know kinda what to do but shuffle the options to make it happen in the best relative sequence and spirit.
    item number two, did you hear about the pandamonium at kfai with ellison and the opposing frustrated candaidate fields who was referred to as a lying scumbag before our own dale connelly had to act like wally carbo of all star wrestleing and come between the two combatants before the body slams began,. i goota smile thinkig about dale jumping up and getting between these two. ah… our dale. good job sir, when is the next debate at kfai scheduled and will they be selling ringside seats?

    http://southwestminneapolis.patch.com/articles/preview-live-debate-with-keith-ellison-chris-fields

    when was the last time you threw yourself between two snarling dogs or politicians?

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