The travel ABC of Sophie’s World

Travel ABCs are all the rage in the travel blogging circuit these days. Fun idea! Always interesting to know the personality behind a blog. Thanks for the tags,Jenna and Michael. Here’s the travel ABC of Sophie’s World:

A: Age of first international trip: At 11, I went to New Orleans with my mum and brother to visit our aunt. It was a long, arduous journey, involving 4 planes and 5 airports each way. We had heaps of fun though. And unlimited sodas.

B: Best (foreign) beer: I’m hardly a beer connoisseur, not even that keen, actually. Maybe I had too many, too strong German beers on my first parent-free holiday at 15. Sick for days. I prefer light beers, like Corona, with a bit of lime in it.

C: Cuisine (favourite): Arabic (fondly remembering a summer in Jordan more than 20 years ago).

D: Destinations, favourite, least favourite and why: So many faves: London, Australia and our once temporary home in New Zealand are just a few. Heaps of beauty spots at home in Norway, too. And the Middle East continues to fascinate me.

Rangitoto View 6
Our backyard in Takapuna, NZ

I don’t really have any least favourites: But if someone held a gun to my head, forcing me to choose, I might say I can probably live happily even if I never saw Belarus again. I was in Minsk in 1994. It was a short business trip, just a few days, with very little time to explore the city, let alone the country. And yet…

E: Event experienced abroad that made you say “wow”: Frau Greber’s cooking. When I was 15, I spent a summer in Bregenz. Even though much of that summer was spent experimenting with too strong German beer (see above), I still remember my Austrian host mother’s cooking. As far as I’m concerned, she’s the best cook in the world. She could make a gourmet meal of anything. And she made a cherry yogurt I still dream about now and then.

F: Favourite mode of transportation: My cool, quick little Citroën, boats and trains. (Considering the somewhat tedious train journey I take every day, I’m surprising myself). And boats? I dream of taking the Royal Mail ship to St Helena, a 31-day journey from Britain. Now, to get the kids to come along.

G: Greatest feeling while travelling: Being completely free to let the day – and fate – be my guide.

H: Hottest place travelled to: June 1992, Cairo, 45 C. Still remember. So does my oldest daughter, then 4.

I: Incredible service experienced and where: Aggie Grey’s in Apia, Samoa, one of my favourite hotels.

Aggie Grey's, Apia, Samoa
Aggie Grey’s

J: Journey that took the longest: Oslo to Auckland always seems to take a while.

K: Keepsake from travels: I’ve lugged around ridiculously heavy souvenirs too many times to count. But I do like that Malawi chair. And the huge wall hanging from Jaipur. And the curtains from Windhoek. Even the bird cage from Lucca.

L: Let-down sight, why and where: None. Not a place’s fault if I have faulty expectations.

M: Moment where you fell in love with travel: Bente, a school mate, always travelled everywhere and brought home the most exotic souvenirs. Exotic through the eyes of a kid during the 70s, at least. I was madly envious – and spent many happy hours playing with her plastic Venetian gondola and munching on tangerines from Costa del Sol with leaves still on them…

N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in: One that springs to mind is the Polana in Maputo, Mozambique.

O: Obsession—what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?: Everything: animals, people, buildings, parks, trees, sculptures, landscapes, details…

P: Passport stamps, how many and from where? Over the years, there’s been a gazillion stamps from more than 100 countries. When I first began travelling, we were given passport stamps even in Europe. Not anymore, sadly.


Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where: The dead monks in Kiev’s Persch-Lavra, maybe…

R: Recommended sight, event or experience: Any memorial or museum to human cruelty is worth seeing, to solidify our stand against it, for when it next occurs and we’re given an opportunity to make a difference.

S: Splurge; something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling: Transportation. Also, sometimes I can spend an indecent amount of money on a hotel room, if it’s quirky or interesting enough. I’m so staying at the Pera Palace next time in Istanbul.

T: Touristy thing done:

Taj Mahal 0715
Nuff said.

U: Unforgettable travel memory: Hmm…, probably riding a camel through the Great Rann of Kucth in the Indian province of Gujarat, more or less scotch-guarded by camel pee, with no toilets and no showers for days, sleeping in hay in a shed and waking up next to newborn lambs on Christmas Day.

V: Visas, how many and for where? I’m lucky – Norwegian citizens can get around most of the world hassle-free and without visas. But I do have a few, several US student visas among them. My favourite is the Chinese visa I was given to go to Fujian to get my youngest daughter.

W: Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where? Visciola, under the trees in Giovanni Giusti’s vineyard in Marche.

Giusti vineyards, Le Marche

X: eXcellent view and from where?: Seeing the misty and mysterious Faroes appear before me from the deck of M/S Norrøna was pure magic. I can just imagine how the Vikings must have felt, when first setting eyes on those ancient isles.

Oyggjarvegur, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

Iguazu Falls are a close second. I hung back after closing hours and had a few minutes all to myself before I was spotted and very politely told to leave. Imagine just coming upon such a sight (and sound), completely unaware it was there, as the first visitors must have been, thousands of years ago.

Y: Years spent traveling?: Decades!

Z: Zealous sports fans and where: The annual cross country races at Oslo’s Holmenkollen, especially the 50 km. Norwegians are absolutely mad about cross country skiing, doing and watching.


Passing the baton to you,



42 Responses to “The travel ABC of Sophie’s World”

  1. Jeremy 22 January 2012 0208 #

    Thanks for the tag! You have me craving Jordanian food now. Mmmm.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 22 January 2012 2014 #

      yeah… me, too.

  2. Jools Stone 22 January 2012 0232 #

    Fab, what a clever way to tackle this A-Z thing! Was thinking you had to do oen post for each letter. Not sure I can allow that eXcellent X though! 🙂

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 22 January 2012 2020 #

      Bit if a stretch that X, I agree. What clever alternative could we think out, I wonder… Xylophone (where have you played?)

  3. InsideJourneys 22 January 2012 0635 #

    Nice to read about your adventures, Sophie! What a life you’ve lived. Here’s to many more years of making memories.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 22 January 2012 2020 #

      Thanks 🙂

  4. Michael Figueiredo 22 January 2012 0902 #

    You’ve certainly had some amazing adventures, Sophie! I couldn’t agree with you more about the views at Iguazu. 🙂

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 22 January 2012 2023 #

      Gorgeous place, isn’t it? One could even say awesome. And be right.

  5. Laurence 22 January 2012 1002 #

    Thanks for the tag Sophie 🙂 Looking forward to having a play with this one!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 22 January 2012 2023 #

      Surprisingly fun to write. And self-indulgent 🙂

  6. Jenna 22 January 2012 1637 #

    I enjoyed reading more about your travels. You have had so many! The backyard view in NZ is incredible! I agree about the feeling of imagining what people would have thought so many years ago when unexpectedly coming upon Iguazu or your view in Norway above. I had some special experiences staying with families in the Czech Rep. and like your host mother’s food, their food was so good!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 22 January 2012 2025 #

      Thanks for the tag, Jenna 🙂

  7. Ryan 22 January 2012 2357 #

    Great travel A-Z, didn’t think you’d manage one for X.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 24 January 2012 1454 #

      Thanks, Ryan 🙂

  8. Ana (Ana Travels) 23 January 2012 0117 #

    Great list of experiences, Sophie. Always a pleasure to read your posts.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 24 January 2012 1454 #

      Thanks, Ana!

  9. Vera Marie Badertscher 23 January 2012 0422 #

    How about X-Ray: A place more revealing/interesting on the inside than on the outside.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 24 January 2012 1443 #

      Vera – that’s Xcellent! Have to do some thinking on which places would fit the bill…

  10. Anna 23 January 2012 1308 #

    Your life is amazing! I enjoyed reading your experiences,but I am not sure I can accept eXcellent for the letter X. 🙂 All right, that’s a tricky one, you either could have put X-ray or Xylophone, but hey, in which country do you go to have an x-ray of your xylophone? 😉

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 24 January 2012 1445 #

      Tricky one indeed, Anna 🙂

  11. Andrew Graeme Gould 23 January 2012 1555 #

    A very interesting tour through the alphabet, Sophie. You’ve done a full few lifetimes of travel, and still have many years to go! Very inspiring — although I’m not sure about the camels and no toilet bit…

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 24 January 2012 1455 #

      Thanks! Amazing what one can get used to in the name of adventure…

  12. ItalianNotes 23 January 2012 1625 #

    Great list. You’ve certainly been around;)

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 24 January 2012 1446 #

      We Scandinavians get around, you know… Having a look at yours now 🙂

  13. Lisa 23 January 2012 2149 #

    Great list, Sophie, but the image of you drinking too much beer as a 15 year old in Bregenz is causing me concern as my own 15 year old is in the midst of applying for a summer abroad program! 🙂

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 24 January 2012 1440 #

      I know very well what you mean, Lisa. Luckily, my oldest daughter was a much more well-behaved teen than I was. Hoping for the best with my youngest…

  14. Christy 23 January 2012 2247 #

    Lots of great memories here, I’m sure. Wow.. how was Jordan 20 years ago?? It must have been quite an experience.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 24 January 2012 1450 #

      Thanks, Christy. Jordan in the late 80s (more than 20 years, actually… yikes!) was a wonderful experience. I stayed with locals (friends from uni – we still keep in touch) and had the best time. In my experience, Middle Easterners are among the friendliest and most generous people anywhere.

  15. Scott - Quirky Travel Guy 24 January 2012 0019 #

    What a cool backyard view. I would love to ride a camel someday, just to say I did it.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 24 January 2012 1451 #

      I think you might even enjoy riding a camel, Scott. A bit like being on a boat in relatively calm water 🙂

  16. Leigh 24 January 2012 0021 #

    I can’t believe how well traveled you are. And I do love reading your Norwegian posts so keep them coming.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 24 January 2012 1451 #

      Thanks, Leigh. Heaps of similarities between Canada and Norway 🙂

  17. adventureswithben 24 January 2012 0358 #

    With regards to Letter “R” – the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg is a great museum.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 24 January 2012 1436 #

      I haven’t been in Johannesburg since the 90s. Will definitely add this museum to the agenda for next time. Thanks for bringing it to our attention, Ben.

  18. Laurel 24 January 2012 1708 #

    Interesting to learn more about you. I would never have guessed that Arabic was your favorite food. I also liked your response about not having a place that you were disappointed in and keeping your expectations in check.

  19. “Not a place’s fault if I have faulty expectations.” I love this! It is so very true and I will try to live by it more often than I do 🙂 It was great fun reading your ABC list. Unusual food choice though. I can imagine the exotic herbs and flvors. Yum

  20. Lola 24 January 2012 2247 #

    Loved reading your A-to-Z, Sophie! You’ve definitely had so many memorable experiences.

  21. Armand 25 January 2012 0852 #

    Hi Sophie! this a very interesting post to read about your adventures. You have a lot of great pictures and it look so amazing. And you have a wonderful list of experience. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  22. Norbert 25 January 2012 1547 #

    I like your A to Z and I especially love how you say; “Not a place’s fault if I have faulty expectations.” So true!

  23. Anne-Sophie Redisch 25 January 2012 2241 #

    Thanks for all the nice comments, everyone 🙂

  24. Stephen Mayer 28 January 2012 1424 #

    I envy you, all of there looks like great.

  25. brandy bell 23 December 2012 2242 #

    great list, sophie, and I too, am joining the ranks of those now craving jordanian food.

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