How many countries have I seen? (2010)

It has been three years since my original “How many countries have I seen?” post. I thought it would be fun to update the list to get a sense of how much of the world I have yet to see. This is also a good way to get TB thinking about places we might visit in 2010.

As of April 2010, the tally comes in at 29, nine more since March 2007. This puts me at a mere 15% of the 193 countries in the world or +5% in 3 years. At this rate, it will take me about 50 more years to cover the globe.

Below is the updated list including links to the relevant blog entries.

  1. Argentina
  2. Australia
  3. Austria
  4. Barbados
  5. Belgium
  6. Brazil
  7. Canada
  8. China
  9. Czech Republic
  10. Dominica
  11. England
  12. France
  13. Germany
  14. Hungary
  15. Italy
  16. Japan
  17. Malaysia
  18. Mexico (Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas)
  19. Monaco
  20. Mozambique
  21. The Netherlands
  22. New Zealand
  23. Scotland
  24. Singapore
  25. South Africa (Kruger National Park, Cape Town, Plettenberg Bay)
  26. South Korea
  27. Spain
  28. Sweden
  29. USA

As before, these are all places I have actually visited so airport layovers do not count.

In the previous post I expressed a desire to visit South America and mainland Asia. I covered both with trips to Argentina & Brazil in October 2007 then China & South Korea in April 2008. Cape Town still reigns supreme as my favorite city but Rio de Janeiro is a close second. Kuala Lumpur maintains its rank on the bottom rung.

What’s next on the to-do list? Central America, India or the Middle East would be nice but we may have to wait until Owen is a little older before taking on those last two.

Back from the Czech Republic and Hungary

For Thanksgiving this year, TB and I decided to take Owen on his first international trip and make our first visit to Eastern Europe. We departed Seattle Saturday, November 21, flying Lufthansa to Prague via Frankfurt.

Map of Eastern Europe Sidebar:
Hungarians and Czechs would take offense to their countries being classified as “Eastern Europe” however, for my purposes, I consider everything east of Berlin and formerly under Communist rule Eastern Europe.

After the 10-hour flight from Seattle to Frankfurt, 3-hour layover and 1-hour flight to Prague we were all exhausted. Owen is still a great travel baby and several flight attendants and nearby passengers commented on how happy he was throughout both flights. He had smiles and lots of chattering for anyone who looked his way and slept about 5½ hours during the 10-hour leg. TB grabbed 2 hours of sleep but I stayed awake the entire time reading or pacing with Owen.

Continue reading “Back from the Czech Republic and Hungary”

Back from Belgium

Bruges, Belgium TB and I spent six days in Belgium. We flew from Seattle to D.C. (Dulles) to Brussels on United. We stayed at the Sofitel Europe located in the outskirts of Brussels and did a couple day trips to the center of the city and to the Flemish town of Bruges. French is the primary language followed by Flemish/Dutch and German. Most of the people we encountered spoke enough English to communicate with us and a couple times my semester’s worth of high school French paid off. For example, TB was all amazed when I was able to request two 3-day train passes from the agent who spoke no English. (Shout out to Madame Duffy who taught us to écouter et répétez. 🙂 )

Brussels, BelgiumWith the significant French and Italian influences, Belgian dining was sublime. Of course the chocolate and waffles were top notch but so too were the frites, pizza, sandwiches and smoked salmon. The most memorable heavenly dining experience was the scoop of Belgian chocolate ice cream from a shop that was literally a Häagen-Dazs combined with a Godiva.

I took a couple dozen pictures during our trip a few of which have been scattered throughout this post. The black-and-white image is of a Brandenberg-esque monument located in a colossal public park a few blocks from the Sofitel in Brussels. The park is over 1 1/2 miles around its perimeter which made it a perfect spot for doing a six mile run. There were a few moments of showers while we were in Belgium but it never rained long or a large amount. The temperature ranged between mid-60s to upper 70s and we were fine with light jackets.

Bruges, Belgium

Overall, Belgium is a fine place with fine dining, mild weather and friendly people. I would go back as part of an extended trip that includes a couple of its neighbors (France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands).