1. What is one place you make sure to take out-of-town guests when they visit? (you can be vague to preserve your anonymity if you like)
The drive into downtown Houston from the airport is hideous--freeways with no vegetation, used car lots, and billboard after billboard advertising "gentlemen's clubs"--and could easily lead visitors to think that they have arrived in the world's ugliest city. So I love to take first-time visitors through the beautiful old neighborhoods near Rice University, and to one or more of our wonderful museums, particularly the Menil Collection or the MFAH. Not to mention our fabulous restaurants!
When we lived in Southern California I got so tired of taking visitors to see the Queen Mary and the Spruce Goose, I finally rebelled and told the Scientist he could take them without me from then on. But he was sick of going there too, so that stop disappeared from the itinerary....
2. When visiting another city or town, do you try to cram in as much as possible, or take it slow and easy?
It depends on whether we've been there before, and how much time we have. There are usually a few "must sees" that we fit in, then we try to leave some time to just wander around and explore.
3. When traveling, where are we most likely to find you: strolling through a museum, checking out the local shopping, or _________?
Museums, definitely. After that...it is really pathetic how much I am all about the FOOD. I start my Chowhound and Slow Travel restaurant research months in advance. We are not big shoppers, but like to find one or two very nice things that will always remind us of the trip. (like our wild goose wall hanging from Iona, or our handwoven sea grass basket from Charleston)
4. Do you like organized tours and/or carefully planned itineraries, or would you rather strike out and just see what happens?
Somewhere in between, depending on how familiar we already are with the area. We went to Scotland with a large group of church friends, and although we had a delightful trip, we felt like the stereotypical American tourists, rushed along in a big herd. The two days we hiked in the Highlands and strolled along Loch Tay by ourselves were much more relaxing. In April we are going to Italy with a small tour group (14 people) that will provide a balance between following a scheduled itinerary and being able to wander off by ourselves when we want to.
5. After an extended trip, what do you find yourself craving the most about home?
My own bed--and waggies and doggie kisses from Amie!