Surprise Vacation 2019 (Solved!)

It’s my most favorite time of the year!! SURPRISE VACATION is here and it’s time to put on your detective hats! (update: it’s happening! scroll down for the answers to all the riddles!)

Surprise Vacation with www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

For those of you who are new here – let’s start at the beginning. Surprise vacation has been a longstanding Dalkin family tradition since we were kids. It started when I was 9, my sister was 6, and my parents would throw us birthday parties. Now that I’ve thrown a party or two, I know how much work they can be, PLUS add in some screaming and crying children, ummmmm NO. So my parents decided to do away with the birthday parties and instead they’d plan a surprise vacation for us each year.

So what’s a surprise vacation you ask?

IT’S A SURPRISE. And it’s basically the highlight of my life. I even like it more than my birthday/birth month which is really saying a lot. I’m obsessed. They plan a vacation for us and we get somewhere in the realm of 8-10 clues each year and we have to figure out where we are going. Some years we’ve figured it out, others we are totally surprised. One thing is always certain…. I’m always wrong.

My sister sometimes figures it out, my husband has been known to do the same… but I’m always, without fail, 100% wrong. I think it’s because I ALWAYS had this burning desire to go on safari in Africa and no matter what clues my parents send over I somehow make them fit into an African safari. BUT… that’s no longer the case seeing as how we just got back from an epic adventure through Africa last year. So what I’m saying is that MAYBE THIS YEAR I HAVE A CHANCE at figuring it out!! Keep your fingers crossed for me

ANYWAYS… since we were kids, we’ve been getting everyone involved. My tennis coach, friends of friends, parents, professors, you guys!! I mean, it’s basically a puzzle for anyone I know. So I’ll be sharing the clues here as they roll in (roughly one a week) and I’ll just continue to update this post so you don’t have to search high and low for the latest clues. Ready… Clue’s are officially rolling in:

Clue #1 – Whata and Wheres, if it is your fourth try and still not close what should you do? But remember, it’s only a game site, in another country.

Clue #2 – Using the ending, this person accomplished something twelve times even though she was wet, then sort of, and mostly an old revolutionary activist here in the United States.

Clue #3 – A day of fun: Something like Butch and Sundance’s group hiding here, partly with Me jennifer  marlon and a pair of shoes.

Clue #4 – Formalwear required, posture is important! Traveling around the world was a great adventure, Magnifico!! Fortunately, this only takes a day.

Clue #5 – AG’s partners old song, might happen to you if you are not careful on this trip.

Clue #6 – Victoria and Albert, Modern Art, Louvre, Van Gogh; similar but a bit more chill. Like tapping your jaw.

Clue #7 – An artistic clue: mt: It’s all about…, then a short word before a person or place, to then find a definite article you would read of course; but don’t forget to look up and see what is rising in the sky. It’s worth the effort!!

LET’S SOLVE IT THIS YEAR!! Any guesses… comment below!

A bit of inside scoop:

We’re leaving mid-January for 2 weeks. That includes travel time.

Here are our surprise trips from the past… and chances are we can cross those off the list since I don’t think we’d do a repeat. And if you want to read some clues from past trips – click the links below!

2017 – Idaho for a ski week!
2016 – Arizona for a golf/spa week!
2015 – Costa Rica
2014 – Orcas Island + Vancouver + Whistler
2013 – Nat Geo Cruise through Alaska
2012 – Road Trip through France
2011 – Bahamas
2010 – Berlin, Prague, Budapest and Vienna
2009 – Banff, Canada
2008 – none of us can remember where we went this year! whoops 🙂
2007 – Italy
2006 – Turkey
2005 – Greece
2004 – England + Scotland
2003 – Cancun, Mexico
2002 – Hawaii (Big Island)
2001 – Napa / Sonoma
2000 – Los Angeles
1999 – New York
1998 – Washington DC
1997 – Las Vegas
1996 – Texas
1995 – Disney World

Welp, it’s game time! We’ve solved Surprise Vacation 2019 and I’m gonna let me dad take it away!!!

Some of you were exceptionally good at twisting my deviant clues the correct way – so Congratulations!! To satisfy all your frustrations here are the explanations for the clues, may they bring you a good chuckle!

Clue #1: Whata and Wheres, if it is your fourth try and still not close what should you do? But remember, it’s only a game site, in another country.

Solution: Note the “a” after What and “s” after Where. Some of you got the “fourth try” correct with football and thus – Punt. A game site in another country is an Arena, not a stadium. Add an “a” to the What and an “s” to the Where and you have…….PUNTA  ARENAS (City in Chile: On the Cluemaster Difficulty scale 1-10, this was a 3.

 

Clue #2:  Using the ending, this person accomplished something twelve times even though she was wet, then sort of, and mostly an old revolutionary activist here in the United States.

Solution: This one scored some winners as well, but nobody caught the middle part :)!

“Using the ending”, thus the last name, – of yes the female olympian swimmer (wet) with 12 medals – Dana Torres. “Then” – “sort of” which in spanish is del (I win on this part !!), followed by yes the revolutionary activist, again “using the ending” – Thomas Paine. We then have: TORRES DEL PAINE  (National Park in Chile: Cluemaster Difficulty Scale a 3)

 

Clue #3:  A day of fun: Something Butch and Sundance’s group hiding here, partly with Me jennifer marlon and a pair of shoes.

Solution: I won this one – no correct answers – gives me great joy!! Let me make it easy for you – Butch and Sundance’s group was the Hole In The Wall gang – which by another name could be called a Cave. “Partly” means using only a part of each: Me (My – the capital M as it is the first part of the word), jennifer (lo – like J-lo)), marlon brando was Don Corleone thus don, – thus  Mylodon and a pair of shoes as it is a hike. The answer: Mylodon Cave Hike in Torres del Paine (Cluemaster Difficulty Scale a 9)

 

Clue #4:  Formalwear required, posture is important! Traveling around the world was a great adventure. Magnifico!! Fortunately this only takes a day.

Solution: Some nice work by you guys on this one, though I am not sure everyone figured out all the subsets of clues here !  Formalwear required/Posture = Penguins of course (they stand up straight and of course look like they are wearing tuxedos! Magnifico is the Portugese translation for magnificent, which is what you say having travelled around the world if you are a Portuguese explorer – Ferdinand Magellan.  A day trip – Magellan Straights Penguin Tour  (Cluemaster Difficulty Scale 4)

 

Clue #5: AG’s partners old song, might happen if you are not careful on this trip.

Solution: Sadly for those of you under 40 AG does not mean Ariana Grande (thanks Megan), and her brother Rio…. That would have been impressive on my part, but instead – as someone noted Art Garfunkel – partner of course is Paul Simon. The referenced song “Slip Sliding Away”, which you would do with no crampons while: Ice Treking on the Perito Moreno Glacier!!! (Cluemaster difficulty 9 as you have to figure out specifically where we are going before you can even try to get this one)

 

Clue#6:  Victoria and Albert, Modern Art, Louvre, Van Gogh; similar but a bit more chill. Like tapping your jaw.

Solution: To start, this is a Cluemaster Difficulty level 10!!!!!! So in keeping with that level, nobody got it 🙂

The names listed are all Museums, a bit more chill then refers to ice or Glaciers. A part of your jaw is called the gonia, and if you are tapping (patting) it that would be – pat a gonia = Patagonia Glaciarium Patagonian Ice Museum  (so easy….)

 

Clue #7:  An artistic clue: mt: It’s all about…, then a short word before a person or place, to then find a definite article you would read of course; but don’t forget to look up and see what is rising in the sky. It’s worth the effort!!

Solution: Another Cluemaster Difficulty level 10 – no other way to end the clues of course!!

An artistic clue refers to all the points in this clue – music, grammar etc.

“mt – It’s all about….” The Base  (Meghan Traynor)

“a short word” is a preposition – of

“a definite article” grammatically is – the

Look up and see what is rising in the sky is of course – Towers

It’s worth the effort because it is an 8 hour – hike

The Base of the Towers Hike in Torres del Paine National Park

So in summary – nobody was able to get more than 3 clues correct, so my skills are maintained!!! Many of you guessed the location based on two clues (Punta Arenas and Torres del Paine), so congrats to all of you: Too many names to list 🙂

But now you can see all the little parts of the clues you missed – which gives me GREAT PLEASURE!!

I hope you had fun once again this year, as I am sure we will on our Patagonia adventure. I am sure Gaby will fill you in when we return. So thank you all for your effort, ideas, wrong guesses, a few correct guesses and allowing me to once again have a great time!!!

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193 Comments

  1. Okay,
    I am definitely just guessing but I pondered over the clues asked my brother about the first because he is an avid sports player and fan. So here we go.
    1) first clue if you’re no closer in football you punt. In America we play football in a stadium but in Europe they are known as an arena
    Punt Arena only two cities called Punta Arenas one on Costa Rica but you already went in 2015 and one in Chile.
    2) 12 time Olympic champion Dara Torres was wet. Using her last name and Thomas Paine the American revolutionary you get Torres del Paine a national park in Chile.
    3) Butch Cassidy and Sundance escaped to Patagonia but many believe it in Argentina but actually it is shared by both Argentina and Chile. You definitely need shoes if your hiking any mountains.

    So my guess is Chile

    1. I like the Patagonia theory! My husband and I are going for 2 weeks in March, January is the best weather down there. Punta Arenas is the main airport outside Torres del Paine national park.

    2. Also in support of the Patagonia theory, clue #3 Jennifer Marlon is a researcher at Yale, who co-authored a paper on climate in the eastern Argentine Andes.

    3. It doesnt have to be one country, right? Clue #4 sounds like Tango, which Buenos Aires is known for. It’s one of the major gateway cities to Patagonia, so maybe you’re starting (or ending) there on a tour of Argentine and Chilean Patagonia.

      No ideas on Clue #5… unless it’s a song about falling off a mountain?

  2. Definitely Australia now. Bruce Cassidy and the Sundance Kid said their next stop should be Australia right before their last shootout, and Marlon is a reference to the filming of The Island of Dr Moreau, which took place in Cairns. I’m guessing the “shoes” are horse shoes and you’ll be doing some kind of outback adventure? Sounds fun!

    And looking back here are what I said for clues 1 and 2:

    clue #1 is ‘punt’, which is what you do on the fourth down in football, and also a british slang turn for taking a bet (on a game site)
    clue #2 is ‘king’ for billie jean king, who won 12 singles titles.

  3. I am guessing you are going on a South America tour! Bolivia, Peru.. that would be epic! Machu Pichu!? Yaasss!! I take back my “somewhere in Asia” guess from a week ago haha.

  4. Hello there to those on this adventure!!!

    I am impressed by all your responses, some amazing efforts!!!!!!

    I just sent the fourth Clue today, so wait for it….. Then keep ’em coming!

    You are keeping me entertained as well!!

    The Clue Master

  5. Formal wear? Getting there in a day? CRUISE!!! For a foodie, that’s perfect because there is never ending food. Count me in!

  6. Fine i give in, Australia. Although for the record, you could also travel around the world in a day if you went to Disney World (Epcot Center)

  7. Def includes Patagonia and probably Ushuaia and day cruise through beagle channel or Strait of Magellan (who sailed around the world) to see penguins! Penguins often said to look like they are wearing tuxes (formal wear!) and then the Punta Arenas and Torres del Paine guesses above seem spot on! Amazing place – enjoy! If Buenos Aires is on the itinerary you are in for a culinary treat, too! Sooooo jealous!

  8. I agree with those that have said Argentina/Chile/Patagonia!

    My best guess at clue #4: posture = straight; traveling around the world = Magellan, explorer who first circumnavigated the earth. This together is the Strait of Magellan, a channel at the tip of Chile that links the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and also separates Chile from Tierra del Fuego. Punta Arenas (from clue 1) is located right on it. Also, Tierra = tiara = formal wear?

    Still thinking about clues 3 and 5.

    1. This would also make sense since December/January are the most popular times of year to travel to this part of the world!

  9. Totally confused about the last clues. Just guessing I think AG can be two people either Andre the Giant who was known as the eighth wonder of the world and wrote or sand a song
    (R. I.P) . The other person is rapper Mac Miller known as AG but he died young so my guess is if you are climbing and slip and fall you could end up dead. Haven’t figured out the connection with it only takes a day Magnifico! – Lorenzo de Medici home only takes a day to tour and us known as Magnifico but how does this tie end with formal wear and good posture. A cruise dinner cruise with dancing requiring dinner wear formal and traditional dancing.

    1. Paul Simon sang “Slip Sliding Away”. Which is what you might do on the Paso de los Libertadores between Chile and Argentina 🙂

  10. Clue #4 – Formalwear required, posture is important! Traveling around the world was a great adventure, Magnifico!! Fortunately, this only takes a day.

    I think the ferry from Melbourne to Tasmania (which takes 10ish hours…) and crosses the Bass Straight (posture=straight)…

    I want it to be Australia or New Zealand because they are seriously the best of everything so I’m going to make these clues work for it.

  11. Our guess…We’ll, actually my 14 year old sons guess. NORWAY! He’s going off the first clue about the soccer field in Lofoten, Norway.

  12. I’m going to second a trip to Argentina with a cruise to the Antarctic. There are cruises leaving Argentina in January…Could formalwear be a reference to penguins?

  13. i’m thinking clue #4 is scuba diving — which also checks out for my Australia theory. Totally stumped on #5 and 6.

    If your Dad is referencing Ariana Grande as “AG,” I will die.

  14. Happy Holidays!!!

    I am a bit disappointed that some of these clues have been partially or actually solved 🙁 But that shows how deviant minds, other than mine, certainly exist!!!!!

    Rather than divulge which were correct I am offering this challenge:

    List your solution to each clue by number, and if someone can solve them all I will consider rewarding them appropriately.

    I am happy to be providing you all some entertainment and the mental challenge – great fun for me as well.

    The Clue Master

  15. There’s definitely a reason why jennifer marlon is not capitalized, and the word “Me” is instead capitalized…I know from past years’ puzzles that there is meaning behind capitalized and non-capitalized letters! 🙂

    Right now, I’m going with Chile…but not 100% sure yet!

  16. I’m actually going to say Bolivia is involved here –

    Butch and Sundance’s crew escaped to Bolivia in real life….

    and I think the capital La Paz (peace) plays a part here in the “chill” clue of #6…

    and perhaps Lake Titicaca will appear in a future clue?

  17. A visit to Macchu Picchu in some way, shape or form? Not sure what clue this would pertain to, but it is a must-visit!

  18. There are penguins in Chile – so I don’t think this needs to include Antarctica.

    My guess is in line with the Chile/Patagonia guesses.

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