June 8, 2011

My Favorite Travel Indulgence...

This is my first post of this kind. As many of my readers know, in addition to writing for my blog here for the past several months I have also been writing posts for The Travel Belles. This has been a wonderful experience, I have been able to write more about two of my favorite topics (travel and chocolate), and I have met some wonderful women who share my passions of exploring the world and blogging. Recently the founder of The Travel Belles, Margo Millure, suggested that each month we all blog about one question and then link our posts through her website. This series will be called Across the Cafe Table. I hope you enjoy these posts and go over to The Travel Belles website and read the posts by the other belles!

So, this is the first month and here is the question all The Travel Belles are blogging about is this:


So, what is my secret travel indulgence? It’s really more of a favorite indulgence than a secret one, but that probably doesn’t really matter!

I have always loved the ritual of afternoon tea service. I love the air of luxury and the pageantry of the experience - the lavish tea rooms, the delicate tea cups and pots, and (of course) the towers of finger sandwiches and treats. Going to high tea at nice hotel is definitely my favorite travel indulgence.

At home I rarely go out for afternoon tea, instead I will make a pot at home or grab a cup at a coffee shop or cafe. But, somehow when I am in some far-flung area of the world it seems like the perfect thing to do. In addition, after walking all over a foreign city taking photographs, shopping for local specialities, looking at architecture, and visiting museums or other points of interest settling into the luxury of the experience of afternoon tea seems almost a necessity.

This has been an obsession of mine since I began traveling to Europe over 15 years ago and I have since sought out this experience on other continents as well.

Unlike you might have guessed, this obsession did not begin on a trip to England. Instead it began on a cold rainy afternoon in Frankfurt. I had spent the most of the day exploring the wet streets almost completely alone. Even the stray animals were smart enough to be inside. Eventually my cold feet convinced to go inside and have afternoon tea.

So, I stopped at a hotel downtown. The lobby bar was mostly empty but the staff was happy to serve me tea and pastries. As I sat there relaxing, drinking my tea, munching on sweets, and staring out the window my feet stopped aching and the cold chill disappeared.

Tea and Pastries at Ladurée in Paris, France

Since that day, I have enjoyed relaxing over afternoon tea in cities in England, France, Spain, Italy, Uruguay, Argentina, Hong Kong, and my home country, the United States. It is the little luxury I like to splurge on while traveling.

Teapot and Fruit Cake at the Boston Tea Party in Bath, England

Read more Across the Cafe Table posts at The Travel Belles website!


Kate Turner said...

As an English girl, this is definitely an indulgence I can agree with! The Laduree photo brought back happy memories too.

Rambling Tart said...

What an absolutely fantastic idea, Jessica!! I love doing this when I'm in Victoria, Canada but it never entered my head that I could do it other hotels! You've inspired me. :-) Thank you!!

Margo said...

I love it Jessica.. the tea ritual is something I haven't participated in often, but whenever I have it is truly special. It's occurring to me how we sometimes have to make time to to relax and indulge in the things we really love to do. Thanks for playing! Yay!

Victoria (The District Chocoholic) said...

This sounds like a wonderful indulgence. I've only had full tea service once - and it was in Milwaukee when I was 13. My personal travel indulgence? Local chocolate, of course.

Food Lover Kathy said...

What a very nice indulgence, especially, as you say, after a long day of walking a new city. Although I'm not a big tea drinker, I do agree with you on loving the pageantry of high tea.

Jessica said...

@ Kate - I'm glad you approve! :-)

@ Krista - Yes, any hotel. Actually one of my favorite afternoon tea experience was at the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong.

@ Margo - Yes, tea service is a special (and high calorie) event. But, like you talked about in your post - calories don't count when traveling. :-)

@ Victoria - Some hotels have chocolate-themed tea service (especially around the holidays)... :-)

@ Kathy - Many hotels actually let you drink coffee or cocktails with tea service instead of tea...

Cailin said...

Great indulgences! I also like to grab a coffee and enjoy the sites on my trips.

Margo said...

I love that part about the calories not counting ;)