November 18, 2013
Reflections in Prague, new discoveries in Budapest
Sometimes the best discoveries are made when just walking, with no clear destination. My first trip to Prague comes to mind. I crossed bridges, passed coffeehouses, and cathedrals, and came upon the Old Quarter. Wandering the cobblestone streets, I spotted an ancient wooden door, with a peephole just at eye height. Peering through was mesmerizing. The Jewish Cemetery had gravestones stacked willy-nilly, to and fro, and I overheard a guide telling visitors how each of these stones could have up to twelve layers of graves. I found it fascinating; all I could think of was each of these person's lives and the layers and layers of history and stories—much like the tales I’d discovered in my travels through Prague’s winding streets.
It’s the sort of experience Sue Strickland shares in this month’s Traveler Story about her Old World Prague & the Blue Danube cruise. Not only did the five-time traveler from Fulton, Maryland love Prague on her first trip there, but she was excited to learn about where her husband Chuck visited when he was in college. Her favorite city, though, and the one that inspired her the most, was Budapest, which this month is also featured in Travel Talk. I answer a question from two-time traveler John Segrist of Spearfish, South Dakota, who wanted to know what he and his wife Sharron should read before their Eastern Europe to the Black Sea cruise. Since I’m a voracious reader, and because their vacation includes five countries (including three days in Sue’s favorite city, Budapest) there are plenty of options. Fans of variety will be delighted by the gingerbreads.
We all have our own ways of celebrating the holiday season. Maybe you're a baker, in which I suggest you check out our gingerbread recipe in Global Kitchen. Or maybe you simply enjoy spending time with family and friends. Regardless, it’s the perfect opportunity to try making something new, or to plan travel to someplace new. Because no matter how many time-honored traditions we celebrate, there are always new discoveries to be made, year after year, layer after layer.
Next month in Harriet’s Corner, we share some of our favorite stories and the best travel moments from 2013. If you’d like to contribute your own, please contact me at email@example.com.
As a former teacher, I know that the most important lessons in life can’t be learned from textbooks. So I’ve always considered the world my classroom—and, thankfully, it’s one filled with endless lessons.
I know that Grand Circle travelers share my passion for learning and discovery … and that’s one of the reasons why I created Harriet’s Corner: I wanted us to have a special place where we could learn from and about each other by sharing stories about the places we’ve been—and the people we’ve met—during our travels.
Since launching Harriet’s Corner, I’ve received emails from hundreds of Grand Circle travelers eager to share stories, pictures, and insights from their journeys—and I’ve been truly moved too see how many of you have embraced the site! So I’m excited to announce that we’ve made some significant changes to Harriet’s Corner … changes that will make the site more interactive and even easier to navigate. Here’s what’s new:
Grand Circle’s “Community” section—As part of the overall redesign for the Grand Circle website, we’ve created a special section that’s all about connecting with others who love to travel. This is where you’ll find Harriet’s Corner, along with Travel Companions and our new Traveler Discussions forums, which allow you to “talk” with other Grand Circle travelers about the places you’ve been—and the destinations that remain on your “must-see” list.
Comment on my Journal entries—Our new Traveler Discussions forums aren’t the only place on the Grand Circle website where you can post comments for others to see. After each Journal entry, you can let me—and other Grand Circle travelers—know what you think by posting your comments online. My hope is that this new feature will help facilitate a lively, open dialogue among Harriet’s Corner readers.
I’d like to note here that, while I won’t be able to respond personally to each and every posting, my dedicated team will be monitoring your comments and will address any urgent issues or questions that arise. From time to time, I’ll also choose some of the most frequently asked questions to answer in Travel Talk.
Calendar of Events—In this section, you’ll find details about the various events we host here in our Boston headquarters. So if you live in or around the Boston area—or are planning to visit—I hope you’ll consider joining us.
Of course, there are some things about Harriet’s Corner that haven’t changed … in particular, the detailed and evocative stories you’ve come to know and love! You can still learn about other travelers’ (and Grand Circle associates’) experiences in Our Favorite Traveler Stories; read about Program Directors and our community service events worldwide in News & Views from Grand Circle; and enjoy a true taste of another culture using the recipes in Global Kitchen.
As before, I’ll be adding new content to the site every week— and letting you know via email when an update to Harriet’s Corner pertains to a destination that interests you. (If I don’t already have your email address, you can sign up to receive my updates here.)
Whether you’re new to Grand Circle or have traveled with us before, I hope you’ll become part of the Harriet’s Corner community, connecting with fellow travelers while learning more about our trips. And I hope that what you find in these pages will inspire you to keep learning from and about the many countries and cultures that coexist in this, our global classroom.
Best wishes and happy travels,
Grand Circle Travel
P.S. Every time you travel with Grand Circle, you help us give back to communities worldwide through Grand Circle Foundation. With your support, we’ve given more than $50 million to support the education of young people and the preservation of cultural treasures and traditions. Thank you! (Learn more about Grand Circle Foundation by visiting www.grandcirclefoundation.org.)