2015 Trip Accomplice Year in Review

Well, another year has passed. Another chance to look back and see what we’ve done with the time available to us. Here at the Trip Accomplice blog, I’ve used that time to produce 32 posts dedicated to locations in 8 countries on four continents, along with quite a bit of information about various travel tips and philosophies. In case you’ve missed anything, here’s a recap of the year’s journeys….

The Book is Here!

ebook You can Keep Your AdventureFor me, the highlight of the year was the release of my witty travel guide You Can Keep Your Adventure, Just Leave Me the Toilet Paper. If you haven’t yet bought a copy, c’mon already…where else can you tour the world for under five bucks – and have some laughs along the way? It’s available on all major online book retailers. Click here for links.

The U.S. of A

I can’t shake the feeling I’m not remembering something. That’s right: the basement!
More than any other period in this blog’s history, I focused on quite a number of U.S. destinations. Having moved from Long Island to Texas early in the year, I paid tribute to my former hometown in the post Reflections on Shirley (And Don’t Call Us Shirley) before a series of posts about my adopted state. In Houston as the Center of the Spacefaring Universe I talked about the main attraction (NASA’s Johnson Space Center) of my new home base. I also shared insights on nearby locales in The Alamo Has No Basement & Other San Antonio Facts and my most viewed post thus far Dude, Where’s My Ranch? Review of Rancho Cortez, Bandera, Texas. I paid tribute to the Windy City & 1980’s in the post (Insert Your Name Here)’s Day Off in Chicago. I also reviewed the somewhat out-of-the-way destinations of Southwestern Arkansas in Crater of Diamonds State Park – a.k.a. the Arkansas State Lottery and Hot Springs Will Melt Your Heart (& Your Fingers).

South America

A cable car ride to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain is a rite of passage and great place for city views
Though I had already covered some of my favorite places in Brazil in earlier posts, I finally got around to covering my favorite foreign city in the post In Rio de Janeiro Save the Drama for the Scenery. I also covered the intangibly cool Argentinian capital  in the post If You Suffer from Low Self-Esteem, Don’t Go to Buenos Aires.


Agra Fort Entrance
Seeing Red at Agra Fort
I didn’t focus a lot of direct attention on Asian countries this past year, though I did mention them in other context. My sole post was about the other attraction in the Indian city of Agra in Second Fiddle in Agra is Still A Show Worth Seeing.


Walking Flam
Walking the trails above Flåm
2015 saw my return to Europe, with a whirlwind tour of Scandinavia and Italy. I shared my brief impressions of Sweden in the post The Swedish Chef Was Asian & Other Surprises from Gothenburg. I next proceeded to gush over the magnificent sites of Norway in the post Norway Beyond “the Nutshell” before zeroing-in on specific sites such as incredible Flåm in Take A Ride on the Flåmsbana. Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect $200, and the surprisingly charming city of Bergen in Bryggen of Bergen – Character & Charm That is Way Off the Level. I documented the mixed feelings I had about my return to the magical Italian Island of Ponza in the posts Ponza Revisited Parts I & II. From there I went on to wax poetic about the stunning Amalfi Coast in Have Your Cannoli & Eat it Too in Positano, raving about this heavily-touristed but still worthy Italian destination. Lastly, I recounted my impressions and insights about Holland’s premier city in Amsterdam: Advice Without the Vice.

The Miscellany

This year saw a lot of posts touching on my own travel goals and philosophies. I continued my streak of made-up terminology in Tranticipation: Defining the Joys of Trip Anticipation, revealed my personal travel goals in Snapshot of My Bucket List: Where and Why, and reminisced about my favorite travel experiences in Been There, Done That (But Would Do It Again). I also took aim at reluctant cruisers with my posts Cruising Advice For People Who Don’t Like Cruising – Tip #1 and Tip #2. To round things out I outlined my ideal traveling digs in A Wanderlust Wardrobe for the XL Seasoned Traveler.

2016 Preview

So what can you expect to see on the Trip Accomplice blog in 2016? Beats me! I have no firm plans for the year to come, and that’s all part of the excitement. But you can be sure that I will continue sharing the wonders of world travel with you, my faithful followers (I mean that in the least cult-leader-like way) in a way to make you marvel and smile. See you next year!
Is there anything you want to see more of in the year ahead? Leave a comment and I’ll be glad to take it under consideration.

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The Swedish Chef Was Asian & Other Surprises from Gothenburg, Sweden

Street scene in Gothenburg, Sweden
Street scene in Gothenburg, Sweden

My visit to Gothenburg, Sweden was a brief affair; hardly more than one night of wandering around. But it did serve to dispel some misconceptions. First of all, the chef who prepared my evening meal wasn’t a warbling mass of eyebrows and mustache topped by a puffy hat, but a youngish Asian man. Jim Henson was waaaaaay off the mark. Though, I suppose, his muse for the Swedish Chef wasn’t found in the Thai restaurant where I dined. But besides that revelation, Gothenburg had a few other surprises that are worth mentioning.

The Lay of the Land

Gothenburg is located on Sweden’s west coast, roughly halfway between the Scandinavian capitals of Oslo and Copenhagen. Flying into Landvetter Airport (some 18 or so miles southeast of the city), the visitor will be greeted with a scrolling panorama of forested hills and placid lakes. On the ride into town I was distinctly reminded of Upstate New York with all its rocky bluffs and stately pines. The center is located along the Gota River, a major element of Gothenburg’s role as a shipping port. Ships of all sorts line the quays, constantly coming and going from the chilly North Sea. For the traveler, most sights are walkable in the historic center.

The Center

Greenhouse in Trädgårdsföreningen Park

Gothenburg Central Station is a classic building just a few blocks off the river. Just a brief stroll around the corner is peaceful Trädgårdsföreningen – an urban park sporting a leafy rose garden and glass greenhouse that hugs one of the many canals that meander through the town. Following the park to the southwest you’ll come across a happening neighborhood of classic-style buildings with intricate facades. At Kungsportsbron you’ll find a number of eateries brimming with patrons in the evening (a tricky time to determine come summertime when the sun just refuses to go down). Continuing the circle back to Central Station you can take in charming urban views. I can’t say it’s anything earth-shattering, but the serene plazas, greenish statues, canal bridges and shopping malls make for a pleasant diversion. A warm summer night in Sweden is not what most people think of, but again, this is all about surprises.

Volvo Museum

Volvo Museum
Volvo Museum

My principle reason for visiting Gothenburg was not for touristic purposes at all. My parents were there to pick up my father’s new Volvo from the factory located on the outskirts of town. With Volvo’s European Delivery Plan, potential customers can order their Volvo from the U.S., receive two tickets to Gothenburg and the opportunity to drive it around Europe before dropping it off at a preset port for shipment back home. Included as well is a factory tour (which due to a technical problem we were unable to take)  a lunch of Swedish Meatballs (no surprise there) and free tickets to the Volvo Museum.

My initial thought was that I’d go along to humor my dad, who was now the proud owner of a shiny new X60. But in this town of surprises, spending an hour in this blatantly self-serving tribute to Volvo-phernalia was far more interesting than I thought. It starts off with a corporate film recounting the company’s origins (for instance, Volvo is from the Latin meaning: I roll) and showcases Volvo vehicles through the ages. There’s also a large section detailing the Volvo Great Ocean Race, a round-the-world sailing contest sponsored by the company. The Louvre it is not, but if you don’t mind a little self-promotion, it’s not a bad way to kill an hour.

While I wouldn’t consider Gothenburg one of Europe’s “must-see” cities, it does offer a few surprises. It is a clean, green city with a small town feel. And if you like Volvos, it is the motherland. I wouldn’t make the trip to Sweden just to see it, but if you’re going to be in the area, you can do worse – regardless of your chef’s nationality.

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