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  1. What I considered two excellent posts by Joe H from the wonderful What do you do with Two weeks in Western Europe thread had me think back to some unmatched experiences that generally followed Joe H's suggestions from here and an excerpt from this subsequent post Certainly my most memorable experiences were from exploring and meeting invariably friendly and helpful natives: Joe's suggestions reminded me of this unforgettable experience: In the late 70's I spent 2 weeks in Greece and environs; 1 week on my own and 1 week traveling with a companion. In the first week, while on my own I took a boat from Athens to Crete; landing in Heraklion, the capital, plus on the Northern Coast of Crete roughly midway between East and West. The late 70's; there were guide books, but my plans were sketchy with the intent to rent a motorbike and ride the Northern Coastal Road with Mediterranean on one side and mountains on the other side. When I approached an operator about renting a motorbike, he recognized my accent and relative youth and similarity in age and responded to my request with this somewhat "challenging question"; "Are you capitalist, communist, or socialist?" (Oh damn, politics were going to intrude upon my vacation!!!!!) Luck struck. I had and carried in my wallet a business card from Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey, formerly headquartered in the DC area. It was colorful with lions and elephants on it. I responded: "I'm none, I'm circus"...and showed him the colorful card. How lucky. He exulted "I love circus". We spoke a bit and he convinced me to wait a day and he would take me on a tour of the Eastern trip along the Coastal Highway and introduce me to friends. And so we did for one day on 2 motorbikes amidst gorgeous weather. A highlight was stopping at a roadside inn, possibly halfway East. He knew the owner and had me show them the business card and we all spoke circus. We dined on fish pulled fresh from onsite aquarium storage having been recently caught. It was incredible. The hosts were spectacular and experience was breathtaking. On the following day I traveled alone on the Western route of this wonderful scenic highway and stopped at a similar inn wherein he had contacted the owner and told him I'd be visiting. The hospitality was similarly beyond gracious and the meal was again of a method and quality that I had never previously experienced. All I did was show the circus business card. I've had other similarly wonderful experiences by exploring and engaging natives in a variety of nations and domestically but that was the best. I agree with Joe H. Its a wonderful way to travel. On the other side of the coin, I know my natural inclination has been to be similarly friendly and helpful to travelers and I've witnessed the same from others I know. Its often the most rewarding way to travel. I concur with Joe H.
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