Sunday, April 12, 2009

Any Suggestions?

The Lovely Myfanwe, Norbert and I usually take a vacation in August. We put back a little bit every month and, every other year, we take an "off budget" vacation paid for out of the vacation account. On the alternate years we tend to do something a little more restrained -- say 5 days at a friend's house in Michigan -- that can be paid for "on budget".

Last year we took an "off budget vacation" which, through frugality and good planning, we managed to pay for "on budget". So instead of $2,400 to spend on a vacation this year, we already have $3,600. With our usual frugality and good planning, we can have a good bit of fun with this budget.

If my bonus had been more like last years, I had wanted to supplement our savings and spend a week in Ireland. But this years bonus was NOT like last years -- I'm not complaining...I'm happy, happy, happy to have a job -- so I don't think Ireland is going to be in the offing.

But I don't know where to go!

We all like places steeped in history. We like seafood. We like to walk a lot. We like bakeries. We like museums. We like to eat. We like to take leisurely bike rides. And we like ice cream. Our recent vacations have included Boston, Baltimore, New York, Washington D.C., and New Orleans.

Norbert has complicated things by making life goals. "Before he dies" he wants to do the following things:

1. Go to a foreign country. Preferably one where they speak a different language.
2. See a whale in the ocean.
3. Ride an elephant.

Does anyone happen to know of somewhere we could go the 3rd week of August where we can see a whale or ride an elephant? If we can do that in the company of people speaking a language other than English, I think I might plotz!

Or is there somewhere else that you suggest? I've never been particularly drawn to the American Southwest, not the Northwest, for that matter, though I think I might like the Pacific Northwest far more than, say, San Diego. (I am not a hot-weather animal!) I love New York and would love to go back, but wonder if that's a surrendering to indecision.

Please advise.


TA said...

it sounds like you want to go to Thailand or India. They are the most tourist friendly places which meet your requirements (plus they are very inexpensive, once you actually get there). They speak a different language (however English will be understood by most) the food is great at either location, and of course there are elephants! I am not sure about whales . . . but there are oceans!

Nephele said...

Okay, not a foreign country or anything but how about San Francisco?

Summers are usually cool due to fog. In fact you can usually spot tourists because they aren't dressed warmly enough. Sea food = lots, fresh and local. Museums and sights to see. A small, walkable city as long as you can handle hills. Whales do go by but not in August, sorry. Um, Chinatown for being surrounded by people not speaking English?

anne marie in philly said...

montreal, peut-etre.

I also like the SFO suggestion above.

of course, there is MY hometown of philadelphia. the only whales and elephants you will see are the natives (large people, of which I am one).

but we have history galore (independence hall, for example), delicious seafood restaurants (dinardo's crab house), easy to walk streets, wonderful museums, termini bakery (italian cannolis to DIE FOR), bassett's ice cream (local made). not good for bicycles. but you can't have everything.

and we do speak a foreign language (yo, youse, jeet, soda, tube steak for example).

Susan said...

Visit Newfoundland ..unique turn to the english language(now dats a place all der own bye)...Tons of history..
Vikings even...whales...short on elephants...great seafood food...wonderful people. Bed & breakfast places.....Google it!

Nina said...

Come to coastal midcoast Maine! We have whales in August, great food and B&Bs, and you can hear quite a bit of French spoken here as well :*) Also lots of good fiber fun in our area in August. Maine Fiber Arts tour weekend Aug. 7, 8 and 9th ( Cool nights and warm days! No elephants, however.

Anonymous said...

What about San Antonio? See the Alamo and other historic sites, eat lots of great food, and go to the great zoo (where you can see elephants, even if you can't ride them!) If whales are a must, you can either go to Sea World, or drive about 2.5 hours to the Gulf coast. Yes, it's hot, but no worse than Chicago, and less humid! There are also some terrific museums here, including a great kids' one, and two great yarn stores, and of course, you'll hear Spanish spoken everywhere.

Angry Professor said...

Iceland. Since the bankruptcy, trips there are ridiculously inexpensive. I don't know about elephants, but I am really interested in soaking in hot mineral springs for, oh, EVER.

Anonymous said...

How about Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket? Lots of walking, wonderful bike riding and Whales!
CC Mary

Anonymous said...

What about Quebec City? It is in a foreign country, beautiful, has 400 years of history and they speak french.


flemisa said...

There is also Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick -- get the whales, French, and their own unique style. Could easily tour through Quebec City and Montreal. There is a boat tour in the St. Lawrence River and you can visit France (an island)

=Tamar said...

On the way up to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, you can stop in coastal New England for a whale watching trip and maybe find someplace like the old Benson's Animal Farm where you can ride an elephant (well, I rode one there in the 1950s...).

=Tamar said...

August 3 and 4, 2009 Kellys Island
in the central USA will have a
circus that gives elephant rides.
Google for www. kelleysisland. com
and the circus is coming.

Cheri said...

Well, I'd say Denver...but there's no whales, no elephants, if the altitude doesn't get you you could bike. There is history and ice cream. Actually I like the San Francisco idea mentioned. San Francisco is a lovely city (and I'm not saying that just because I have friends there). I love the coast of California from Santa Barbara north (and not because I grew up in the Pismo Beach area) to visit and we go out once a year to visit family. Where ever you decide to go I know you'll have fun.

Stephanie said...

Alaska! Take a cruise (get an outside cabin with a balcony for sure, don't skimp on that) and see whales. Enjoy temperate weather. If you can, be in Anchorage in time for the Alaska State Fair (which is in August sometime). You will also see the largest vegetables in the world (which should also be on a list of things to do before you die).

If you start from Vancouver you might catch people speaking French :-)