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Rick Steves: My Favorite Travel Moments Of 2011

With each trip I take, I bring home magic memories -- travelers' gold nuggets of experiences I will remember all my life. Thoughtful, rewarding travel goes way beyond collecting famous sights.
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With each trip I take, I bring home magic memories -- travelers' gold nuggets of experiences I will remember all my life. Thoughtful, rewarding travel goes way beyond collecting famous sights. It's leaving our comfort zones to have experiences that surprise, thrill, challenge, enrich and inspire us. These create insights and memories that we'll forever treasure. So raise a glass. Here's to -- for all of us and those we love -- a heaping helping of rewarding travel moments in 2012.

In words and pictures, let me share a few favorite moments that gave my 2011 travels that extra sparkle: