This week our guest blogger is Phyllis Stoller and her focus is on travel. Her first travels were at the public library with Kipling, James Fenimore Cooper, and Rumer Godden, who grew up in India and wrote wonderful children’s books. At age 14 Phyllis went to school in Switzerland, then spent a summer at the Universite de Poitiers in Tours, France. She lived in England for 10 years and has 2 London-born sons. Today Phyllis travels with The Women’s Travel Club, a group she started in 1992 and now manages. She boasts she can have her roots dyed in any country but likes the L’Oreal products created for in Arab countries the most.
According to Phyllis, baby boomers are keenly interested in our world and where we as Americans stand in it. Her thoughts about these countries will certainly stimulate your travel appetite:
China, with over 40% of the world’s population, should be visited now. Internal inflation is causing rising prices and, when or if the currency floats, prices will jump threefold. Your first trip to China should, at minimum, include Beijing, Shanghai and Xian. Beijing is significant for its historical import and recent Chinese history plus its proximity to the Great Wall and Ming Tombs. Shanghai is the financial capital of Asia, has an amazing new skyline and excellent museum. Kublai Khan’s capital, Xian, and site of the Terracotta Soldiers, is your third must see. Trips which include Guilin for its scenery usually end in Hong Kong and are pricier. If you can afford it, add a Yangtze Cruise. And if this is your second trip to China, add Yunnan Province in Western China, home of the Stone Forest, and an interesting example of minority dominated border regions.
India, a favorite of most Boomer women, is also a country of far flung and distinct regions. The traditional first trip is to Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and sometimes further into Rajastani desert. This is an early winter trip and one to be done by car. You will experience both the congestion of India and the occasional amazing scene like a painted religious man, camel riding women in colorful saris and hillside forts. Going to China or India? Read Monsoon by Robert Kaplan, which explains the role of countries of the Indian Ocean Basin.
England and London, one of the most vibrant cities with the combination of great (and free!)museums, easy transportation, wonderful local food, and English is spoken. Here are some newer points of interest: South Bank from the Design Museum to Tate Modern with a stop for chow in Borough Market. Explore the area from the Wallace Gallery up Marylebone High Street. Make a day of the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery, now behind a pedestrian walkway, with lunch in the latter. There are so many delightful regions in England. For those who want a taste of the country with some walking, Country Walks by Time Out Magazine. The book details excellently hikes along with information on how to find a group that fits your fitness level and season of travel.
Having spent time in these countries, I agree wholeheartedly with Phyllis’ choices. With new concerns about the economy, for now, many of us will have to dream about travel and put our plans on hold. But if you’re collecting information for the future, log on Wednesday for a post about baby boomer fitness for travel.