Surprise Vacation 101

Okay. So I leave for surprise vacation 1 week from today. And we’ve officially received all of our clues. And I need help. Your help. Here’s the deal.

A little history for you…. back when my sister and I were little, I’m talking 6, 7, 8, 9 years old, we would always have birthday parties with all of our friends. And more times than not, one kid at the party (usually me) would end up crying and having a miserable time. Why is it that you always cry at your own party?!? So after my 9th birthday party, my parents suggested that instead of having birthday parties each year, they would plan a fun surprise vacation for us. All we would know is what to pack and then we’d be swept off to our surprise vacation.

Basically it’s the best idea ever. The anticipation up to the vacation is just plain awesome. It’s fun. Over the years we’ve gotten all of our friends and family involved. It’s become a game for lots of people that know us. Even my tennis coach from Tucson, whom I haven’t seen in way too long, is still totally into the clues.

And these aren’t just any clues. My parents literally spend months thinking of these bizarre and outlandish clues. Here’s one of my favs:

Noisy Sheep. Tasty Pig. Ah

Like really? What the heck does that mean. Well… here it is.

Noisy Sheep – what sound does it make: BAAAAAHHHH

Tasty Pig – what’s a tasty pig: HAM

and then there is AH

Put them all together: BAHAMA.

Like I said. Who the heck thinks of these things?

Here are a few of our trips:

Disney World, Napa, Los Angeles, Vegas, Texas, Bahamas, Cancun, Hawaii, New York, Washington DC, England/Scotland/Wales, Turkey, and Italy. I think there might be another one in there but I can’t remember.

So here’s where I need your help. We’ve got 8 clues. Each clue correspondes to a city or event that will take place on vacation. I concluded that we are not going to Africa or South American based on the clothes we need to pack. So we are going to Europe. I’m 100% positive of this. And I don’t think we would repeat any of the above countries. So here they are….

Surprise Vacation Clues:

1. Where only buffalo would roam

2 .When puppies take a little nap they always take their favorite bone, a part of the fun!

3. When I told my brother about the trip, Al says, “have a glass for me.”

4. Towering above the river, and such beautiful scenes to behold. Away from the dust and dirt in the west. What a day it will be, or two or three……

5. Beautiful she is, yet such a hard name. Could she be the place, so bubbly and warm, or just a stop on the way?

6. This little piggy went to the market
This little piggy stayed home
This little piggy ate strawberries and nuts
This little piggy had none
And this little piggy cried wee wee wee all the way home.

7. Hey Anya, Give Ernie a call, it’s not that far!

8. Paddling the river, there’s a dog in the middle – hope it can swim!

Alright. There you have it. I promise to send a giant box of cookies to anyone who can decipher the clues. wooohoooo!! Thanks guys 🙂

Happy Friday!

5 Tips from a Private Chef email series

Get my latest recipes + my bonus 5 Tips From a Private Chef email series

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Caroline @ chocolate & carrots

    Haha…what a great idea! Good luck figuring it out and have a great vacation where ever it may be! 😀

  2. Lindsey Morningstar

    Hi! I know I never comment, but I got so into this post! I’m guessing Switzerland since they have hot springs, strawberry farms, and the view from the mountains. I really don’t know though, these clues are tough! Wherever you are going it will be a blast!

  3. Brittany

    Number 8: Is referring to Brittany, an Island off of France. There is also a dog called the Brittany spaniel.

  4. Amy

    Oh, I love riddles. I think #1 is Kansas, #2 is rawhide, #8 it’s possible this is from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn where he writes about Missouri and Illinois, #3 and #5 makes me think of Champagne, France…so basically I was no help at all and I will be tormented by this all day. And it’s not even my vacation!

  5. Jeff

    I would have said road trippin’ through the States based on the first clue because “where the buffalo roam” is from “Home on the Range” which I believe is Kansas’ state song. #4 could be the Rockies, #5 could be Old Faithful and #8 could be whitewater rafting in one of those two areas. But…if you’re sure it’s Europe then I’m stumped as well. Either way, I’m sure it will be a blast! Take lots of pictures!

  6. Sadie

    My first thought was Spain, but now I guess France. I don’t really have a good reason why, but that’s what my gut says.

  7. Ali @ Gimme Some Oven

    I love this idea!!! As a Kansas City girl, I was hoping for something Midwest with “Home on the Range”, but not so sure with the other clues. Look forward to following the story!

  8. Ashley Wright

    I’m thinking Paris because of number 4. The Eiffel Tower is right beside the Seine River. 🙂

  9. Amy

    I’m back. If #2 is rawhide like I think, it could also refer to the tv show, not just he bone. And the show is about cowboys steering cattle along the Sedalia Trail from Texas to Missouri. So there’s Missouri again. Hm. I’d say you’re either going on a cattle drive or France.

  10. Dana B

    #1 You don’t fly from Buffalo, NY to Rome, do you??? #2 sounds like an archaeological dig. I wonder if you’re going a couple of places??? #4 The Eiffel Tower? Can’t you see the Seine River from there? So that would be Paris. #6 also sounds like France as well. There are markets and ‘oui’, meaning yes, is pronounced ‘wee’. #5 confuses me. ‘Beautiful she is, yet such a hard name’ makes me think of Neuschwanstein castle, but the bubbly part of that clue doesn’t match that I’m aware of. Whatever it is, you are so fortunate to be able to do this; it will be a blast!

  11. Dena Hamlin

    I agree with France as well. I wonder if clue #1 refers to fields and the lavender fields should be in bloom over there now. #2. Bone=Bon as in good #3. I think refers to Champagne #4. Eiffel Tower. 5. sounded like it could be hot springs or something of the sort. so after extensive googling LOL there is a town in France called Vichy that has hot springs, not sure if that counts as difficult to pronounce or not. I agree with Dana above on #6. Being a French Market with the oui oui oui #7 was wondering if Hey Anya Give Ernie It’s Not That Far would equal HAGE or La Hague, France? # 8 a name of a river in France is a Dordogne So if you look “dog” is in the middle?!??!?!
    I think you need to pack your beret my friend! Sounds like you are going to have a blast no matter what. I think I want to adopt this awesome tradition that your family puts together. My daughters birthday is in June so it is the perfect time to travel almost anywhere in the world!

  12. Catherine Atack

    Wow Gabby, what an AWESOME idea – I actually love to do the same thing as birthday gifts to my sweetie.
    I think you’re going to the Dordogne in France…

  13. Susan

    Could #8 mean the Dordogne River in France? There is the word “dog” in the middle of the river name!

  14. Maria

    I have no idea, but I know you will have fun wherever it is! What a fun tradition!

  15. Ann P.

    no clueeee, but i am going to guess France because of #8 and #3 and #4

  16. marla {family fresh cooking}

    Gaby, this is just sooooo exciting!! Can’t wait to hear about this journey and I must do this for my kids too 🙂

  17. Jules

    I’m with everyone else on France.! In addition to the theories above, I think #3 refers to Alsace (“Al says” + have a Alsatian riesling?) and #7, with “Give Ernie”, sounds like Giverny, which is just north of Paris. Sounds like it’s going to be a blast!

  18. Catherine McCord

    I’ve got 3 girls here and we’re all saying FRANCE!!!

  19. Kristina Vanni

    Wow! What a fun game! Let us know what the answer is when you figure it out!

  20. Tess

    I have to wonder if #5 is referring to Mona Lisa! Def Paris is a stop. #4 makes me think you’re spending two or three days in Pisa, Italy not dusty old ruins of Rome (south west? Lol). Please tell the answers when you know? Such a great traditon!!! Enjoy your vacation!

  21. Sarah

    #7 – Here’s an addition: Give Ernie – That’s Giverny, France (pronounced kind of like jeeve-air-nee); Claude Monet’s home is there! Also, there’s Ania, France (prounounced: anya) but it’s very far away from Giverny. (Maybe that’s the point of the clue?)

  22. Melissa Klotz

    Geez, everyone is so good at this! I’m just sitting here like “…hmmm…*crickets*…maybe…no….hmmm”

  23. Alyssa Queen

    I’m thinking France too! What an AWESOME family tradition 🙂

  24. Brooke

    Uhm, when can your parents adopt me?

    I lOVE that you’re getting help on this from your readers. I totally agree. You’re going on a major tour of France. Maybe even a biking tour. Please let me know if I can be your baggage. xoxoxo, B

  25. Kimiko

    This is so fun! Sorry, I’m no help deciphering the clues…I’m not a very well-traveled person, but I am SO doing this someday when I have kids. Your parents are so creative, I love it!

  26. Jayne

    I’m thinking somewhere in France. Maybe Marseille or Étretat? They are tourist places with cliffs (towering above), clean air (away from dust and dirt), difficult to pronounce (hard name), wine producers… and I suspect pork in many incarnations are popular with the French (this little pig). It’s hard! Gah!

  27. Kim W

    #2= Bon appétit! or Bonaparte- like Napoleon Bonaparte (“bone” “nap” “part”) — so definitely france!

  28. Kim W

    Actually, thinking it might be Quebec— googled a bunch of things and for #6:

    6. This little piggy went to the market
    This little piggy stayed home
    This little piggy ate strawberries and nuts
    This little piggy had none
    And this little piggy cried wee wee wee all the way home.

    it could connect to this festival in Quebec– festival de cuchon? A pig festival haha not sure just trying to think out of the box Also there are a lot of hints that seem connected to France, but they do speak french in canada!

  29. Dark Chocolate and Orange Scones

    […] Surprise vacation. It’s back. It’s time. And I am freaking pumped. For those of you just tuning in, here’s the deal. Every year since I was a little chiquita banana, my parents would take me and my sis on a surprise vacation. They would give us clues leading up to the vacation, sometimes they’d even pack for us, and sometimes we’d figure it out and sometimes we didn’t. Last year I was 100% convinced we were headed to South Africa – I justified each and every clue to make sense for Africa and then turns out we were headed to France! My parents are clever, and tricky and they put some serious thought into these clues. My dad sent the first one over this weekend… and here it is! […]

  30. Sunday Funday | What's Gaby Cooking

    […] we are going to Africa. But feel free to chime in with any ideas. Here’s a little refresher post on the trip if you need some background info. I have a feeling we’re heading south down to […]

  31. Surprise Vacation 2013 | What's Gaby Cooking

    […] people last weekend at Big Traveling Potluck and no one can decipher the clues. refreshed post on surprise vacation […]

  32. Heather

    Please send me your disney world clues!
    I love this! I have a 14yo and a 5yo.

    • Gaby

      oh that was so long ago we don’t remember any, otherwise I would have posted!! I’m sorry