Paris, France

by Reid Peryam· July 30, 2017· in Europe, Travel· 0 comments
I met my sister, Tracy, and her family in Paris while they were vacationing for four days of wandering and site-seeing. It was my first time to Paris and it was great exploring with her because she studied in Paris for a year in college, knows the city and speaks very good French which took the stress out of ordering croissants. I was surprised to discover that no one I encountered in Paris wanted to speak in English which without my sister made everything incredibly awkward and embarrassing for this tourist who didn’t want to speak French. In this city – the local Parisian hipsters out-hipstered me — English is apparently too mainstream. Living up to the hype of Paris is no easy task. Since the 1940s, American popular culture has oozed idolatry of the romantic café culture, art, historic architecture, food and “Frenchness” of everything: elegance, sophistication, history and glamour. When expectations are so high, living up to the hype is almost an impossible order and I expected to be underwhelmed; but I loved my time in Paris. It helped a great deal that my sister played the role of French-speaking tour guide who explained the significance, history and […]
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After visiting Lisbon I wanted to explore more of Portugal. I flew to Porto for three days which felt like a less-touristy, smaller version of Lisbon. Porto is the progenitor of Port wine. Afterwards I drove through the Douro Valley wine region and continued north to the border of Spain; from there travelling south to the southern coast where sand and sun draw tourists from all over Europe. During the summer many of the locals are also down south vacationing and things slowly transition from vacant and peaceful to busy and energetic as you near the southern coast. Portugal is a great vacation destination owing to its small size that allows for transversal of its multiple regions in a relatively short amount of time. The landscapes vary between vineyards and olive orchards and cork trees (Portugal is the largest international supplier of cork); everything I saw was mostly dry, sunny and hot in the south, with more temperate climates towards the north. The people in the central north of Portugal have a reputation for being very friendly and hospitable, even among the Portuguese which my experience as well. Beyond polite formalities people seemed genuine when they greeted me with a […]
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Almost twenty years ago I was enamored with a game on my computer : Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. In it, Indy travels the world in search of the legendary lost city of Atlantis. One of the places the game takes you in search of the lost civilization is the Azores islands off of the coast of Portugal, alone in the north Atlantic ocean, citing a grammatical mistake by Plato that placed the location within the Mediterranean instead of beyond it. I had never heard of the Azores before but the peculiarity of its location (there is really nothing else around it) along with the fun I had imagining it was the location of the fabled lost city, added to my intrigue. Before I ever departed for my first solo adventure (to South America) I had already added the Azores to my “must visit” list; it took a while, but I finally got there. The Azores are nine volcanic islands 850 miles west of the coast of Portugal and give the local culture a distinct personality apart from mainland Portugal. So much so that many Azoreans choose to live on the East Coast of the United States and […]
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Lisbon, Portugal

by Reid Peryam· July 09, 2017· in Europe, Travel· 0 comments
I flew from Bogotá to Lisbon in order to spend a weekend pitching a startup company I had been developing in Bogotá. The goal was to determine if the opportunity has merit and is worth pursuing, using impartial judges to test against my own bias. I had about two days to explore the city, the remainder of the time I was in an office with our rag-tag band of misfits (previously strangers) and together we built a presentation to pitch in front of a panel of judges, using the business plan I had previously developed as a guide. We finished third place out of twelve other teams, a disappointing result as I felt we deserved to win, but the rest of the team was pleased. I continue to develop the idea and formulate the business. I had never been to Lisbon or Portugal before and exploring a new city and country are two of my favorite things to do. My network of travel friends has raved about Lisbon on account of great food, wine and lower costs compared to the rest of Western Europe. The city surprised with its ideal weather, friendly people, English-accessibility and scenic architecture and urban landscapes. […]
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I rendezvoused with my father, sister and youngest nephew in Dublin for a week of road-tripping through the Irish countryside. We rented a car (a beast of a van — I was lugging extra luggage from Switzerland) and ventured west along the The Wild Atlantic Way, Ring of Kerry and the towns of Galway, Killarney, Cork and Kilkenny. Emerald, scenic pastures were the norm and picturesque, rustic landscapes perpetual as we drove back roads instead highways whenever possible. We differentiated the regions we passed through by their relative surplus of sheep, stone walls or tour buses and supplemented our scant Irish history with information brochures procured from drive-through tourist information kiosks, guided tours and taxi-driver interrogation. I had never been to Ireland before so exploring the sites and diffusing the culture was (as always) a fun challenge. The people we encountered were universally garrulous, forthcoming and helpful and surprisingly to me willing to volunteer aid in the form of directions or recommendations. I would even describe the Irish people that I met and interacted with as warm — an adjective I have never before bestowed upon a European. Having spent three months in Switzerland, the homey feel of the Irish […]
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I rented a chalet with two friends in the Swiss Alps for the winter. Veysonnaz was optimal for our price point as a small resort, less posh and pricey than other locations like St. Anton, St. Moritz, Verbier or Zermatt while providing access to the other resorts of the four valles with our season pass, linked by lifts, gondolas and T-bars. In retrospect we picked the perfect location — and house! Being eight hours ahead of my Colorado workplace timezone allowed plenty of time to ski in the morning before returning to Chalet Adele to work the rest of the day; somewhat surprisingly, Chalet Adele turned out to be our favorite part of our Swiss winter – a hot tub, a sauna and a spare bunk room for friends to come visit — ski in and ski out, adjacent to the slopes — and a picturesque, unrivaled view of the surrounding mountains making for truly epic sunrises and sunsets. Great wifi too. So when the snow wasn’t great (and it wasn’t great a lot of January and March) we were quite comfortable working hard and then relaxing in our chalet. My chalet-mate Chris is an accomplished cook and most nights he and Trevor would prepare a […]
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In 1997 I spent the fall semester of my sophomore year of high school attending an American school in Zermatt, Switzerland. Zermatt is the home of the Matterhorn, 29+ 4000 meter+ peaks and beautiful scenery. No cars or trucks are allowed within the town limits and we needed to take a 15 minute train ride from adjacent Täsch to visit, parking our car there for the entirity of our four day visit. With four distinct, active seasons, Zermatt is what I claim to be the prototypical Swiss mountain paradise At the time my semester spent in the Swiss alps was the coolest thing I had done.* Transitioning back to my home in Kansas City afterwards was heart-breaking. I missed waking up beneath the Matterhorn and taking four hour ski breaks in between classes. No sooner had I started up my old life than my old nemesis, Routine, came back with a vengeance. I was being driven to and from school, doing my homework, playing sports, sleeping and repeating. As a teenager it felt like I had few resources with which to direct my own life. I was waiting, forbearing frustration as much as I could, for the tomorrow to arrive when I would have the abilities to do with my […]
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I’ve been terrible at Spanish for an entire year now, starting back in Buenos Aires. Since then I’ve lived in other Spanish-speaking countries: Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador — each with distinct dialects, idioms, accents and slang. In an attempt to describe the style of Spanish I speak currently — imagine a three-year-old child speaking broken English utilizing a haphazard, incongruous assortment of accents: Scottish, southern, Boston, and cockney. The child can tell you what he wants or needs and ask simple questions effectively but if asked a question containing a word he hasn’t learned yet (his vocabulary is around 100) he’ll just look at you with cow-eyes and a blank stare of confusion. That’s pretty much where I’m at. While in Spain I added a new verbal weapon with which to assault native Spanish speakers — the fabled Spanish “lisp”. In Barcelona (and apparently much of Spain to my surprise) some consonants, such as “c” are softly pronounced as a “th” turning “gracias” into an audible “grathias”. Let me tell you right now that depending on your level of aggravation, it could drive you nuts. It drove me nuts. Madrid impressed me on account of what I would refer to as its […]
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Brussels, Belgium

by Reid Peryam· February 20, 2017· in Europe, Travel· 0 comments
2017 started out with a quick, 3-day, early-January stop over in Brussels, Belgium. In between work and jet-lag I had enough time to explore and and do recon on a new city and country I had never visited. Brussels struck me as a very walkable, easy-to-navigate and livable city. It’s quite small, quite beautiful and quite expensive, but like the rest of western Europe you get what you pay for — good food, safety, photogenic streets and old architecture. The narrow, curving streets in the city center are lined with all sorts of small, independent restaurants, cafes and boutiques selling anything from artisan goods to comic books. Even the graffiti and street art are of a high order — I spotted a scene depicting TinTin covering an entire building wall, another scene elsewhere was a murder mystery thriller in comic book style. The effect on me, in winter, was a cozy, traditional charm. Belgium is proud of its beer which is served cold, rich, high-alcohol and malty. Delerium Tremens is often rated as one of the best beers in the world in various competitions (the name references the “rapid onset of confusion usually as a result of withdrawal from alcohol”). Unfortunately I have a […]
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Split, Croatia

by Reid Peryam· October 15, 2016· in Europe, Travel· 0 comments
Fourteen months ago I was in Cavtat, Croatia for a month and it was pretty good; smooth, 72 degree Adriatic sea water for morning swims, grilled octopus lunches sunsets the color of the Rosé I was drinking. My excuse time was that I needed to flee the Schengan zone in order to return this winter to Switzerland (stay tuned); Split was perfect because my friends recently opened a co-working space there and I wanted to go work from it. So I booked a flight from Munich and an AirBnb just north of Old Town for six nights. Split is a old town on the shore of the Adriatic sea. It’s much larger and busier than Cavtat – but during the Autumn most of us tourists aren’t around because the weather isn’t as beachy. For me this was ideal– as a travel hipster I enjoy visiting places in off-peak season and it was easier to get work done in the cooler, cloudier weather. I was still able to explore and even meet a lot of new friends at WIP, the co-working space I worked from. Highlights included learning to play spike ball – a sport my friend Travis taught me, showing new friends […]
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