True Stories

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Proving once and for all that travel is stranger, funnier, and more heartwarming than fiction

New prize: Aussie AirPasses!
If your response is the best we receive before February 28, you'll win a pair of Aussie AirPasses from Qantas. A great way to get to (and around) Australia, the pass includes economy-class flights from San Francisco to Sydney, then on to Melbourne and Brisbane, and back to the U.S.A. It's valid May 1, 2006, through April 30, 2007. No cash value; nontransferable, nonnegotiable; blackout dates apply. For more info on Qantas and the Aussie AirPass, see qantas.com/us. Read the full guidelines.

How to enter
E-mail: TrueStories@budgettravelonline.com
Mail: True Stories, Budget Travel, 530 Seventh Ave., 2nd floor, New York, NY 10018.

This month's winner

This month's winner is David A. Swezey, of Everett, Wash. His prize: a five-night trip to Panama, courtesy of Escapes Unlimited.

On a motorcycle trip through the Alps, my friend Bill and I stopped for lunch at a café in Ponte di Legno, a village in northern Italy. We soon realized we'd stumbled upon a local hangout with lively conversation, great food, and even a guitar-carrying nun. After we sat down, we noticed people beginning to file outside, from where we heard a series of loud noises. "Are those firecrackers?" Bill asked. I looked out the window to check, and I couldn't believe my eyes. The aforementioned nun, all of five feet tall, was cracking a bullwhip back and forth to the cheers of the crowd. With her feet planted, habit flying, and whip snapping, she ought to have been in a rodeo!

So sorry, your highness. there was a pea on the runway
Our flight to London had a bumpy landing. Leaving the plane, I watched as a lady with a sophisticated air approached the pilot. In a very British accent, she vented her dissatisfaction by inquiring, "Was that a proper landing or were we shot down?" --Robert Borak, New York, N.Y.

Talk about a cheap shot
Cruising through the Baltic Sea was great, especially since the ship had professional photographers onboard, and the photos were available for purchase at the end of the trip. My husband, big spender that he is, decided to save us some money by taking pictures of the pictures with our point-and-shoot camera! His attempt was less than successful. --Grace Johnson, Fountain Valley, Calif.

Dog, schmog--what's up with the creepy thing next to it?
I was walking down a picturesque street in Amsterdam when I glanced in the window of an art gallery. A German shorthaired pointer was standing in the window--he was asleep, with his head resting on the display shelf. I couldn't help wondering, "How much is that doggie in the window?" --Sue Berger, Carlsbad, Calif.

"Treated us like relatives"--that's a good thing, right?
In 1970, my boyfriend and I went camping on a deserted beach in northern Spain. The family that owned the local restaurant treated us like relatives during our wonderful 10 days there. Before leaving, my boyfriend proposed to me on the beach. In 2004, to celebrate our 34th anniversary, we took our college-bound son to Spain and returned to the beach to show him where it all happened. Lo and behold, the family was still there. To our surprise, not only did they remember us, they showed us this 34-year-old photo on their computer! We hugged and cried and reminisced. They couldn't believe we had come back, and we couldn't believe they hadn't left. Do we keep in touch now? You bet. They're family. --Mary Beth Nelson, Blue Jay, Calif. .

You can find more True Stories in the February 2006 issue of Budget Travel magazine.

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