Top 5 South American Cities for Travel Bloggers in 2014

TravelPod members share their adventures from incredible destinations all around the globe, and South America is of course no exception. While our bloggers usually find themselves in tiny villages, jungle trails, and salt flats, they eventually make their way to the great cities as well for some urban exploration.

Following are quick glimpses of the five most popular South American cities among TravelPod bloggers based on 2014 trips. Be sure to check the links for the latest and greatest photos from these travel hotspots.

1. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Not only a leader among TravelPod members, this capital city is in fact the most visited city in South America! A thriving arts scene and a high standard of living make BA one of the great cities of the world.


Photo credit: TravelPod member mattyjordan


Sunday San Talmo Markets
Photo credit: TravelPod member fae-neilvsworld


La Boca
Photo credit: TravelPod member mattyjordan

Check out more photos from Buenos Aires on TravelPod.

2. Santiago, Chile

Santiago, on the Mapocho River, has a third of the population of Buenos Aires and is growing quickly.


Inside the main cathedral of Santiago
Photo credit: TravelPod member ericjon97


Wine cellar
Photo credit: TravelPod member ericjon97


Fresh strawberries from the market
Photo Credit: TravelPod member the5wynns

See more photos from Santiago on TravelPod.

3. Cusco, Peru

If you’re looking for Incan history, you’ll find it here in Cusco, which served as the Inca capital until the Spanish conquest.


Photo credit: TravelPod member pietrasanta


Photo credit: TravelPod member ellengoeseast


Cusco at night
Photo credit: TravelPod member jamieking


Photo credit: TravelPod member ellengoeseast
Find more photos from trips to Cusco on TravelPod.

4. Lima, Peru

Another Inca city before the Spanish arrived, Lima was once a religious center. It’s now a city with more than 10 million residents and a thriving tourism and arts scene.


Mire Flores, Lima
Photo credit: TravelPod member katyflo


Photo credit: TravelPod member ebzh


Central Lima by night
Photo credit: TravelPod member jdtrip

Be sure to check out photos from recent trips to Lima on TravelPod.

5. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

There’s a reason why almost 3 million travelers find their way to Rio each year: beach life, arts, culture, Carnival, and beach life all come to mind. Did we mention the beaches?


Lapa sterps take 2
Photo credit: TravelPod member mattyjordan


Coucher de soleil sur le Corcovado
Photo credit: TravelPod member marie-claude.g


Rio from Christ the Redeemer
Photo credit: TravelPod member spoonball


Sunday at the beach
Photo credit: TravelPod member eoinshirl

See more photos from Rio de Janeiro on TravelPod.

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Editor’s Choice – Great Museums for Your US Trip – Part 1

Summer road trip season is right around the corner! Whether you drive, cycle, or fly, you may find yourself looking for a great museum to visit in the U.S., and we’ve got a list of options to get you thinking, planning, and hopefully fitting some great American culture into your trip.

In this two-part series, we’ll give you a jump start on summer museum season by highlighting a unique, intriguing, inspiring, or just plain fun museum option from every state in the USA. Of course, it’s difficult to pick one out of an entire state, but these choices are sure to give you a unique and memorable experience, and we highly recommend them. (In many cases, you can find out more by seeing what our members had to say.) If you’re able to work any of these great destinations into your itinerary, grab your comfortable shoes and get in line for your ticket.

And of course, don’t forget to share your visit on your TravelPod blog!

Part 1

  1. Alabama – Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Birmingham)
    TravelPod member georgenpoli called BCRI the “highlight” of their Birmingham visit, and noted that “two hours is not enough” at this “top notch facility.”
  2. Alaska – Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center (Anchorage)
    Recommended by blogger louclaire as “a great introduction to Alaska.”
  3. Arizona – Children’s Museum of Phoenix (Phoenix)
  4. Arkansas – Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Bentonville)
  5. California – Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (Los Angeles)
    According to nathantorpie this contains “one of the most extraordinary dinosaur exhibits” he has ever seen!
  6. Colorado – Clyfford Still Museum (Denver)
  7. Connecticut – New Britain Museum of American Art (New Britain)
    Blogger modernnomad67 stopped by and took some pics.
  8. Delaware – Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library (Wilmington)
  9. Florida – The Dali Museum (St. Petersburg)
  10. Georgia – Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University (Atlanta)
  11. Hawaii – Bishop Museum (Honolulu)
    TravelPod member c.i.222 included it on his 2013 trip.
  12. Idaho – Idaho Potato Museum (Blackfoot)
  13. Illinois – National Museum of Mexican Art (Chicago)
    Check out the blog entry and great photos from terredeshommes on TravelPod.
  14. Indiana – The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (Indianapolis)
  15. Iowa – Figge Art Museum (Davenport)
  16. Kansas – Kansas Cosmosphere & Space Center (Hutchinson)
    TravelPod blogger cody_max made it a stop on his massive U.S. road trip.
  17. Kentucky – Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory (Louisville)
    Michellejo86 and fellow travellers made it a part of their coast-to-coast US tour.
  18. Louisiana – The National WWII Museum (New Orleans)
  19. Maine – Portland Museum of Art (Portland)
    Stop by for a culture break like mndlx did, and be sure to take a tour of the Winslow Homer Studio.
  20. Maryland – Geppi’s Entertainment Museum (Baltimore)
  21. Massachusetts – Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum (Boston)
    Recommended by tannoreth, this eclectic museum is “like visiting all of Europe, China and Japan rolled into one.”
  22. Michigan – Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum (East Lansing)
  23. Minnesota – Mill City Museum (Minneapolis)
  24. Mississippi – Delta Blues Museum (Clarksdale)
  25. Missouri – City Museum (St. Louis)
    To quote rmadventures: “Words and even the pictures we got can’t explain how awesome this place was!”

Looking for our recommendation for Nebraska, Virginia, or maybe Tennessee? Check out Part 2 of the series, which features our Editor’s Picks from Montana to Wyoming!

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Top 10 places to see the Northern Lights

Who doesn’t have seeing the northern lights on their “kick the bucket” list?

If you’re wondering where on earth is the best place to see the aurora borealis, check out this list of TP bloggers who have successfully experienced the natural light show in the sky.

1. Reykjavik, Iceland

Dc314 went on a Northern Lights bus tour in Reykjavik

Dc314 went on a Northern Lights bus tour in Reykjavik

“As we are heading back, and midnight approaches, the right side of the bus could see the northern lights. The bus pulls over in the middle of nowhere and everyone gets out in the street. We saw the dancing white light in the air, and it was actually pretty cool. We got to see it for about 30 mins. Then we drove a little more and hopped out of the bus again. I was able to take a few pics, but unfortunately I am not able to hold a camera still for 10 seconds without a tripod, so they are a tad blurry (you can get the idea). Interestingly enough, the lights are green in the pictures, instead of white. At about 1 a.m. we head back to the city. We finally went to bed and called it a night, very tired but very happy to have witnessed this natural phenomenon.” – Dc314

2. Svolvaer, Norway

Everardt snapped this picture while searching for Moelje in Norway

Everardt snapped this picture while searching for Moelje in Norway

“When I came outside I happened to look up in the sky and there were 2 pale green bands of light in the sky. All of a sudden there was some electrical activity and I just managed to get my camera out in time to photograph the northern lights.” – Everardt

3. Iqaluit, Canada

Yours truly in the northern tundra

Yours truly in the northern tundra

“On our way home, I look up in the sky and it is FILLED with green and grey colours. The northern lights! On my last night in Iqaluit, the sky is clear enough to see it! It’s not more colourful than in Yellowknife, but it’s a LOT more monstrous. It just fills up the entire sky with dancing light. It lasts for about 30 or 45 minutes and just abruptly as it began it stops.” – starlagurl

4. Tromso, Norway

Jimborussell in Norway

Jimborussell in Norway

One of the workers rushed into our tent and excitedly pronounced that the Northern Lights could be seen outside. I was outside in a flash and stood there gaping at the sky for about an hour. The lights were quite faint, but definately visable. They covered a third of the sky at their most intense, and fluctuated and moved slowly in large waves which seemed to point downward from the heavens in a way I find very difficult to explain. They didn’t last all that long, but were amazing. – Jimborussell

5. Fairbanks, USA

Margiewilson spent a week enjoying the wilderness in Fairbanks

Margiewilson spent a week enjoying the wilderness in Fairbanks

“The afternoon was great, but the evening was better than we could have ever have imagined. We were told that the night would be a good night for the Northern Lights, so we could hardly wait to see them. Around 9 p.m., the first line of Lights were showing but they came and went. We went outside and another band of light was showing around 10 p.m. A group of us were outside in awe of the lights and we were all trying to get pictures of the lights. The lights started dancing around in the sky and we were mesmerized by them. We watched for a while, then went to the room and watched from the balcony. The lights were very active that night, there were some other people watching from their balcony and when the lights went dancing again one man from Russia started screaming and jumping around on the grass saying it was a miracle. And I think it was. What a wonderful way to end the day. We will never forget the sight and we are so thankful that we were able to experience the colors in the lights.” – Margiewilson

6. Tok, USA

Neeterb and her dog in Alaska

Neeterb and her dog in Alaska

“As we prepared for bed, Warren came in and said he thought we were going to see northern lights. Back outside to stand with our necks craned to see the display that seemed just for us. To the naked eye, the lights appeared faint and white. I wasn’t able to get pictures with my camera, but Warren did. The lights, to the camera, were actually green. Absolutely astounding and another checkmark off my list of things to see in Alaska.” – Neeterb

7. Yellowknife, Canada

Lolly's fiancee proposed under the Northern Lights in Yellowknife

Lolly’s fiancee proposed under the Northern Lights in Yellowknife

“We found a dock on Great Slave Lake and watched the northern lights until they disappeared and the sky started to lighten again around 1am. It was then that Senica proposed to me on bended knee – how romantic!! What a beautiful setting on such an auspicious day – the highlight of the trip, literally!!” –

8. Cantwell, USA

Docn saw a glimpse of the Northern Lights amidst a herd of caribou

Docn saw a glimpse of the Northern Lights amidst a herd of caribou

“After cooking myself dinner and resting for a bit I headed back to the dog sled jump off point to check out the norther lights…which were amazing. Even cooler though was the fact that as I was standing there checking out the lights I started to hear what I thought were footsteps…quadraped footsteps…then out of the corner of my eye I saw what was making the noise…Caribou…they were all around me…apparently they were crossing the road where I was parked…I couldn’t get any pictures because it was pitch black…but they were everywhere!!!” – Docn

9. Edmonton, Canada

Nancydeb visited the West Edmonton Mall and saw the Northern Lights in the same day!

Nancydeb visited the West Edmonton Mall and saw the Northern Lights in the same day!

“We did get to see the green haze of northern lights one night when we were in Edmonton. I was surprised they were visible even in town with all the street lights but there they were, so that was pretty cool.” – Nancydeb

10. Isle of Skye, Scotland

Hannahfoster with the standing stones in Callandish, Scotland

Hannahfoster with the standing stones in Callandish, Scotland

“The second night we were high up on the hills on the Ilse of Skye and that view was pretty awesome too. The night we stayed there we could see the Northern Lights. They weren’t that spectacular because we werent quite far north enough but still it was a pretty glow in the sky.” – Hannahfoster

Featured blogs Hot places

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh

Having just come back from a trip to Pittsburgh, I thought I’d give a round up of the best sights to see in case anyone else is planning a similar trip. I made it to most of these points of interest and can vouch for them wholeheartedly. Hope you have a fun time in Pennsylvania too.

1. PNC Park

Dcashman's kids at a Pirates game

Dcashman's kids at a Pirates game

“We drove back over to PNC Park, over a bridge. The main bridge is blocked off before game time for pedestrian traffic. We got in and went right down behind centerfield. Right next to the Yankee bullpen. The team was warming up and was interacting with the fans. We saw most of the pitchers including Mariano Rivera, Daryl Rasner, Edwar Ramierz and Andy Pettite. Daryl Rasner signed Hannah’s ticket. They were really nice. Mike Mussina warmed up right next to us. The game started and the yanks got off to a 4-0 lead. After 2 1/2 innings it started pouring as thunderstorms approached. Everyone retreated into the concourse where we intermidetly waited and went back out to seats 2 or 3 times as the rain stopped and started for the next 2 hours. After all that waiting the game was called. It was sad but at least we got to see a little of the game and the beautiful ball park.” – Dcashman

2. The Duquesne Incline

Jeremystravels spent a romantic evening with his girlfriend at the Duquesne Outlook

Jeremystravels spent a romantic evening with his girlfriend at the Duquesne Outlook

“One of the other things we did was went up to the Duquenese Lookout at night to view the city of Pittsburgh from the surrounding hills. According to some lists this is one of the most romantic spots in the country [top 10]. I couldn’t complain.” – Jeremystravels

3. The Cathedral of Learning

Lagalag1 outside the Cathedral of Learning in Pittsburgh

Lagalag1 outside the Cathedral of Learning in Pittsburgh

“We drove to the university area of Pittsburgh, Oakland. We went to see the Cathedral of Learning,especially the Nationality Classrooms. The cathedral of learning is a 42 story Gothic building. There are 24 nationality rooms. Each room is designed ethnologically as the country (ex–Russian, Norwegian, Hungarian, Syrian etc).” – Lagalag1

4. Carson Street and the South Side

Crashhopper's friend's son, Andrew in Pittsburgh's South Side

Crashhopper's friend's son, Andrew in Pittsburgh's South Side

“Then we grabbed a bite to eat in this cute area I think is called the south side where all the bars are in the city by Duquesne. It was an artsy area.” – Crashhopper

5. Kayaking on the Allegheny

Jenn_and_dave went for a three mile kayak in Pittsburgh

Jenn_and_dave went for a three mile kayak in Pittsburgh

“After a short introduction to kayaking and how to paddle correctly we were in the water (the Allegheny River). We paddled three miles to a boat ramp next to Pittsburgh’s new baseball stadium. We then jumped back into our kayaks for the 3 mile paddle back. Along the way, Dave and Ben saw a rope swing and decided to dock their kayaks. Yahoooo yells Dave and Ben as they swing through the air like escaped chimpanzees and falling into the river below.” – Jenn_and_dave

6. The Andy Warhol Museum

I loved the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh

I loved the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh

“The Andy Warhol Museum was just as I expected it would be. A big giant loft space, full of pop art. It was like heaven on earth. My favourite art, all in one place. All from Mr. Warhol, but to top it off, the temporary exhibit was Shepard Fairey, the guy who made that famous Obama stencil, and also the guy who did the Obey Andre the Giant stencil and designed some White Stripes album covers and Smashing Pumpkin’s Zeitgeist. Awwwwesome. I could’ve easily spent a few hours just there.” – Starlagurl

7. The Frick Art & Historical Centre

The Frick Historical & Art Centre in Pittsburgh was quite interesting

The Frick Art & Historical Centre in Pittsburgh was beautifully preserved

The house was marvelous. Built in the late 19th century, it had a children’s playhouse just as big many regular houses are today. There was a stable (which now houses a museum of automobiles), a greenhouse and lots of fancy stuff inside the house. Most of it was kept as it originally appeared when Henry Clay Frick lived in it back in the day So he had all the latest trends in convenient living. Electricity, one of the first “paging” systems for his staff, flushing toilets, aluminum on the ceilings, you know.. all that awesome stuff. Our tour guide was pretty amazing. It wasn’t that she was in “period” character, she just really talked like somebody from the early 19th century. You could tell she just lived and breathed this house. I WISH I had a video, just of her. I should have asked her to talk to me outside…. After a tour of the rest of the grounds on our own, and a visit to the art gallery, (which had a really great photography exhibit on an old children’s hospital) we were off to the strip district for a kind of walking lunch tour. – Starlagurl

8. Primanti’s in the Strip District

Must eat: a sandiwich at the original Primanti Bros.

Must eat: a sandiwich at the original Primanti Bros.

“We stopped in at Labad’s for some hummus, then onto Primanti Bros. to try their famous sandwich with the french fries in it. This time, it was moderately delicious, the coleslaw was a lot more vinagery. I wonder if going to the actual original restaurant made the difference?” – starlagurl

9. Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Dinosaur bones at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Dinosaur bones at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History

“We had a couple of hours to go through the Carnegie Museum, which I was pretty excited for. We saw some dinosaurs and Steph and I made a new 5 year old friend while hanging out inside a giant plastic Blue Whale heart. We asked him where his parents were, he simply said, “I don’t have any parents.” Oh boy… So I sort of kept an eye on him until the people who actually were his parents showed up. So the whale exhibit was good, even if it was a bit smelling of fish.” – starlagurl

10. Carnegie Museum of Art

Really nice modern art at the Carnegie Museum of Art

Really nice modern art at the Carnegie Museum of Art

“After that, we went to the art part of the museum, which was also good. I especially liked this piece where children’s books were made to look like a flock of birds taking off into the sky.” – starlagurl

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10 Cheapest Cities in the World

The Telegraph.co.uk came up with a list of the 10 cheapest cities in the world. Here’s what TravelPod bloggers thought about the price of living in each of these cities

1. Johannesburg, South Africa

Nath_h loved to take his host family out because food was so cheap in Johannesburg

Nath_h loved to take his host family out because food was so cheap in Johannesburg

After church I bought lunch for Andrew’s family at a local steakhouse – it was so nice and so cheap. I love the price of food here. – Nath_h

2. Monterrey, Mexico

Serenebamboo went shopping in Monterrey

Serenebamboo went shopping in Monterrey

Then, I moved into my apartment. It’s PERFECT and is in one of the safest neighborhoods in all of urban Mexico. And the landlady, who speaks perfect English, is super nice. She has been essential to me adjusting to everything around here – she took me grocery shopping, let me borrow an extra cell phone of hers, and so forth… – Serenebamboo

3. Asuncion, Paraguay

Willsez enjoying the view in Paraguay

Willsez enjoying the view in Paraguay

Highlights of Asuncion nice and cheap hotel, really nice and cheap food. Dave is willing to forgive Asuncion for all of the above because he had his best meal on tour yet… in reality, only a good meal but it was really cheap. – Willsez

4. Karachi, Pakistan

Ramdux buying fruit from a local merchant

Ramdux buying fruit from a local merchant

It’s humbling to see how the people react to Westerners. Yes, there is always a degree of being ripped off because locals see Westerners as being rich which is not entirely false when you consider that £50 a month is a good wage in Pakistan. But Pakistani’s are extremely hospitable. They will help out wherever possible to help you, so long as you treat them with respect and give them a small financial token of appreciation. It’s a fair cop when you’re like me and don’t speak Urdu and don’t understand the way things work on the inside. – Ramdux

5. Wellington, New Zealand

Robnicb loved the exchange rate in New Zealand

Robnicb loved the exchange rate in New Zealand

This place has got everything, a beautiful harbour, lovely SUNSHINE, surrounded by hills, lovely botanical gardens, loads of cool cafes, bars and restaurants, oodles of atmosphers and, because of the brilliant exchange rate, everything is cheap! –

6. Auckland, New Zealand

Carlosb1978 at a cheap cafe in New Zealand

Carlosb1978 at a cheap cafe in New Zealand

There is a huge Asian population in NZ which is good for Asian food lovers! Cheap sushi bars everywhere like Oz (UK needs to get on to that); Korean; Chinese; Thai…3 pounds 20 for a great plate of pad thai in the downstairs food court on Queen St. 4pound bowl of teriyaki chicken rice at Renkon up an alley way off the main street. – Carlosb1978

7. Mexico City, Mexico

Solskjaer20 enjoying the cheap beer in Mexico City

Solskjaer20 enjoying the cheap beer in Mexico City

Things are also so ridiculously cheap. Like 2 pesos for the bus or train, 30 pesos for a meal, 10 pesos for a cerveza from a bar! $1AUD roughly equals 30 pesos! Genius times! – Solskjaer20

8. Quito, Ecuador

John2112's wife bartering for a scarf in Quito

John2112's wife bartering for a scarf in Quito

Although there was a sense of relief when we left Quito, that we had not been ripped off (we bought some things so cheap, we almost felt we were doing the ripping off), it was a city with a very different character than any we had experienced before and many attractive features. We are pleased to have got something of the feel of Latin America even if it left us a little ‘breathless’. – John2112

9. Chennai, India

Billster_ny enjoyed affordable food in India

Billster_ny enjoyed affordable food in India

I have had dinner at a couple of really nice and especially cheap restaurants in the area. Monday I was taken to Dakshin in the Park Sheraton hotel and tonight I ate at the Red Dragon. Both were in the upscale area of Chennai. – Billster_ny

10. Tunis, Tunisia

A busy souk in Tunis where you can find cheap stuff

A busy souk in Tunis where you can find cheap stuff

Food is certainly cheap enough, prices that almost make you cry, and it tastes good too, similar to that of Morocco. Espresso’s about 400 TND, about a $.25 George W (no, not THAT ‘W’). Those cheap hotels probably don’t have heat though, so that won’t work right now. – Hardiek


I have had dinner at a couple of really nice and especially cheap restaurants in the area. Monday I was taken to Dakshin in the Park Sheraton hotel and tonight I ate at the Red Dragon. Both were in the upscale area of Chennai.
Hot places

10 most expensive cities in the world

The Telegraph.co.uk came up with a list of the 10 most expensive cities in the world. Here’s what TravelPod bloggers thought about the price of living in each of these cities

1. Tokyo

Karana enjoying the expensive food in Tokyo

Karana enjoying the expensive food in Tokyo

Guess we must be in a business part of town, but you would never know this is a city of over 20 million people, as expected though it is dreadfully expensive. The hotel where we are staying has some shops downstairs and fancied a t shirt until I read the price tag of 238 euros. That means about $400! – Karana

2. Osaka

Globalwanderer found that Japan's transportation system is expensive

Globalwanderer found that Japan's transportation system is expensive

Public transit such as subways and local trains aren’t very expensive, however, travelling long distances in Japan can very VERY expensive! If you can believe it, a round-trip ticket from Japan to Korea is actually CHEAPER than a ticket from Osaka to Tokyo! – Globalwanderer

3. Moscow

Aubrey of Meandher in Red Square

Aubrey of Meandher in Red Square

Many of the restaurants charge for meals by weight scales are at the side of the till. In general Moscow was more expensive than St Petes by about 20% to 40%. – Meandher

4. Geneva, Switzerland

Sponger42 in front of the UN building in Geneva

Sponger42 in front of the UN building in Geneva

We arrived in Geneva late in the evening and set to work searching for the cheapest lodging in town. It wasn’t difficult to find it–the City Hostel Geneva. Unfortunately, it was still Swissly expensive, Swissly unhelpful, and–as an added bonus, Frenchly snotty. – Sponger42

5. Hong Kong

This is what Andreadd got for $1,700 a month in Hong Kong

This is what Andreadd got for $1,700 a month in Hong Kong

Now I know that real estate in Hong Kong is ridiculously expensive and VERY small — from slightly larger than a walk in closet at about 150 SqFt (15 sq m) up to the more ‘spacious’ 500 sqFt (50 sq m) options. I thought I’d hit the jackpot when I found a place for 500 sq ft smack in the middle of Central on Hong Kong Island for ‘only’ USD 1700 per month!!! – Andreadd

6. Zurich

Dfryda on the lake in Zurich

Dfryda on the lake in Zurich

Having thought that Venice was expensive I was reminded about how expensive Switzerland is, not only do they have their own currency they also have there own values!! Our hotel was expensive and didn’t include breakfast (none of them seemed to) – Dfryda

7. Copenhagen

Simru12 riding a fake sea tortoise in Tivoli Gardens

Simru12 riding a fake sea tortoise in Tivoli Gardens

One word here. EXPENSIVE. After exchange, the average entrée was around $50. We ended up at the Promenaden, which is a B-B-Q buffet. Decent steaks and chicken wings, but Jeff said the ribs weren’t great. – Simru12

8. New York City

Dandw could not find a cheap burger in New York City

Dandw could not find a cheap burger in New York City

Later we took a little trot down 5th Avenue visiting Rockefeller Plaza, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and browsed around the way too expensive stores (check Whitney’s new kicks). We stopped for dinner at “Burger Joint” (literally a hole-in-the-wall burger joint with wood floors and tables located behind a curtain in the tres expensive Parker Meridian hotel) which was rated as the best cheap burger in the city. Somehow, our two “cheap” burgers and shared order of fries with two drinks topped $23. – Dandw

9. Beijing

Jbaxter got bartering down to an art in Beijing to save money

Jbaxter got bartering down to an art in Beijing to save money

All the main stores in the center of the town were more expensive than Australian stores so I thought i’d give that idea away until Europe, but after vising the markets I got a sweet deal on a great camera. I found the best way to do it is to go to a stall you don’t intend on buying from to check everything out, look at what they give you and after i’d figured out it was all the standard retail stuff I went to a nother stall to see what sort of price I could get them down to. – Jbaxter

10. Singapore

Radiojohn on a night safari in Singapore

Radiojohn on a night safari in Singapore

Singapore was like the opposite of all that we had experienced in Asia. Clean, well maintained and expensive. There is a joke that you will see on many posters and magnets in Singapore which says :Singapore is a FINE city” with the emphasis on FINE. Why? Because Singapore has laws, and lots of them. Eat or drink on public transport and you are breaking the law, chew chewing gum in public and you are breaking the law, spit in public, litter or jaywalk and you will be breaking the law and slapped with a hefty fine and possible even corporally punished(rattan cane). – Radiojohn

Hot places

15 tourism destinations not recommended by the U.S. government

The US State Department posts warnings about which destinations are not exactly welcoming to American travelers. Most people listen to them, and steer clear, while a few go with their gut and continue to explore. There blogs are highlighted here, enjoy.

1. Afghanistan

I can only assume that is smoke from a rocket propelled grenade...

I can only assume that is smoke from a rocket propelled grenade...

Overhead, a gray-chested crow laughs as an iguana scurries away from a flock of smaller birds, and on a bench, sits a lone soldier contemplating, what, I will never know. Around the corner, greeted by another hot dry wind, two Afghans kneel in prayer toward the Mecca.

For a moment I pause, back against a concrete barrier, marveling in awe, wordless to what is now my reality – still in a state of reverence for the concept of acclimation.

However, only minutes later, in my briefly strained vertical posture of enlightened peace, everything quickly fades. Suddenly it no longer matters who you are – what rank, religion, or race. When the overcasted shrilling sound of a rocket-propelled grenade approaches, vulnerability doesn’t play favorites. There is nowhere to hide, but someplace within – gravitating over barren fields of nameless harvest, and windswept notions of another day.

Sombering as it may seem, it’s an incredible contrary to all reason place where my soul travels to when surrendering fate is magnified. That ominously-encroaching whoosh serves as a prescription, an instant remedy for ideas of complacency and immortality. While I certainly don’t welcome it, I am not afraid of death. All that I fear is leaving without those that I love, ever knowing who I really was.Excope

2. Somalia

The street below hardiek's hotel becomes amusing after chewing qat

The street below hardiek's hotel becomes amusing after chewing qat

There is one thing that might be interesting in Hargeisa however- when in doubt, space out. I go for the qat, a fistful of it for a buck. If nothing else it might at least invoke saliva in my now perpetually parched mouth.

So I start chewing… and chewing… and chewing… Eventually I ‘get it’, the spirit of the qat that is, though I doubt it’s worth all the effort. Also I can’t get past the feeling that I’m eating my mother’s shrubs and soon she’ll catch me, and then punish my buttock region for what was the cerebral region’s conspiracy. But it moves me past a psychological roadblock, and the street market that goes on more or less throughout the night below me somehow becomes amusing.Hardiek

3. Iraq

Hudini watching the sunrise on the base in Iraq

Hudini watching the sunrise on the base in Iraq

So kids, how can you travel the world and see absolutely nothing at the same time? Easy: Join the United States Marine Corps! We can give you that sense of adventure, minus that whole adventure part!

I honestly have not seen a single thing this whole deployment, other than Americans and the occasional third county national skipping around. I’m planning some good stuff to come though… can’t wait!Hudini

4. Israel

Travelbug15 in her former workplace (an army base in Israel)

Travelbug15 in her former workplace (an army base in Israel)

We walked and I recognize the wall with the barbed wire on top, I see the turn to the entrance and hope I can go in. We make the turn and there’s no one there. I can freely walk in although there are signs everywhere saying that trespassing is not allowed. Meh, whatever.

The whole base looks like it was trashed. Of course it wasn’t, it’s just that they had to remove absolutely everything and burn any papers or what not.

It was like walking into a movie. My heart was beating so fast.Travelbug15

5. Haiti

Marco enjoying the nice part of Haiti...

Marco enjoying the nice part of Haiti...

Things here indeed are in a very bad condition, really bad. And I thought I had seen poverty before! Here it is everywhere, and coupled with a good quantity of misery (analphabetism, gangs, criminality, unemployment rate at 70%, teenage pregnancies, severe malnutrition, lack of medical care, divided country forces, blablabla… People even die of tetanus here, because they won’t even have access to the vaccine!) Being close to all this will certainly be of a challenge also in the year to come. One first impression, shared with our “future friend” Bill Clinton, is that local people are not united together for their cause. “together stronger”, that we see on their national flag (“L’union fait la force”), only seems to be a wishful thinking…Marco

6. Nigeria

Sabenafrica lounging in Nigeria with a new friend

Sabenafrica lounging in Nigeria with a new friend

The only problem with the Elephant bar was that it was basically a place for the local prostitutes to hang out, and as a man you were hassled every time you went there with offers of sex, demands for contact details etc. I was always polite to them, but it did not matter what you said they were very very persistent. If you said “I have a wife” they would say either “but you can spend some time with me before you go back to her” or “that’s Ok, she can come with us”. Anyway, bit of an eye opener there.Sabenafrica

7. Yemen

Vartan420 attended a wedding he wasn't invited to in Yemen

Vartan420 attended a wedding he wasn't invited to in Yemen

After finishing the meal we decided to go back to the college but then crossed the wedding again. There was a circle of men dancing with their Jambias, waving them above their heads and back down. Off to the side a circle of boys between the ages of 8 and 12 were imitating the dancing men, they performed stunningly well. The walk back to the school’s housing ended a fun evening, but of course we were reminded of life’s realities when we saw a woman sleeping on the ground with two children not past the age of 8 under blankets. How fortunate we are.Vartan420

8. Georgia

Chan_hc saw this house amongst the presidential palaces

Chan_hc saw this house amongst the presidential palaces

Tbilisi is a run-or-the-mill Eastern Block capital; it has its fare share of old town, churches, monuments, squares and castle-on-the-hilltop, but none of them outstanding. Two of them, the new cathedral and the new presidential palace, draw my attention just because they are fleshy buildings located in one of the oldest part of town full of decaying houses housing (seemingly) poor families. I just wondered what the thought of these families was when millions were poured to build these two buildings.Chan_hc

9. Mali

Bamako, Mali from above by Astrophelle

Bamako, Mali from above by Astrophelle

In the end, one word sums up my experience in Mali – Endurance. Endurance of the heat, the noise, the dirt and the grime. Endurance of the women, who are the engines of the economy, carrying babies on their back while they work in the hot sun everyday. Endurance of social workers and ngos that fight bureaucracy and corruption. Endurance of the business men that deal with incompetence and red tape. Endurance of the common people as they live a hard life where even the simplest of things are difficult to accomplish. Endurance of the machines, of mud houses, of creatures, of farmers who survive the harsh sahelian climate. Endurance thrives in Mali. It simply has to.Astrophelle

10. Colombia

Lbackstrom standing in a cave in Colombia

Lbackstrom standing in a cave in Colombia

We went caving on Saturday with a local kid that was reluctant to leave his girlfriend to guide us into the cave (this was surprising, since he appeared barely old enough to have hit puberty). There was a lot of slipping and sliding , crawling, and a limbo move where only the nostrils were above water.Lbackstrom

11. The Democratic Republic of the Congo

Mike_bright's gorilla guide told him about the war in the Congo

Mike_bright's gorilla guide told him about the war in the Congo

He told me how the fighting in Congo with Rwanda and Uganda had started in Bunagana. He said when he was younger it had been night and they heard a bunch of machine guns firing. Being a small town they didn’t know what it was so went outside to see what was happening. Because it was dark the soldiers couldn’t tell the civilians from the military so they were firing on everyone that moved. Their doorman got shot and killed but the entire thing lasted only a few hours before they retreated. What was strange was that he told the story with a big smile while laughing like it was funny. For them death is just a part of life.Mike_bright

12. Pakistan

Nomadic1 in a mosque in Lahore, Pakistan

Nomadic1 in a mosque in Lahore, Pakistan

OK, maybe I am crazy. With the Iran plan crushed I needed someplace else to go. I opted for Pakistan. Not really the safest place to be these days, but in the two and a half days spent there I had no problems whatsoever and was very pleased with my brief visit of the troubled nation. That said, I did only spend time in Lahore near the border with India. I wasn’t quite crazy enough to go touring around the country. Or maybe I’m just getting older.Nomadic1

13. Burundi

A street scene from Burundi

A street scene from Burundi

I spoke once to two ladies about Burundi, its war, and future. They told me that although you don’t hear about it from the country’s self-censored press, they reckon that at least a hundred people die each day in the country from rebel killings. They are hopeful, however, for the future of the country. The fighting of the past few years has lost its focus as being a conflict of a tribal, or political nature, but instead it has become about people trying to get money, and power. Deplorable as this is, it seems to offer hope that people are tired of the old Hutu-Tutsi problems, and want to make peace.

I asked the women about what they thought of the UN’s presence in their country. Both said that they strongly dislike the UN, and that it is a commonly held sentiment in the country. Although there were many UN military forces present all over the country during the last few years of the war, they only observed, and talked, and never intervened to stop the massacres that were taking place on almost a daily basis. They also resent the amount of money the UN seems to have, with their luxurious cars and houses, and they say that the cost of living in Bujumbura has risen dramatically since their arrival. In short, they said that their presence here has amounted to a whole load of nothing. The more I see and hear about the UN’s presence in Africa the more I grow to dislike this group of organizations.Reef

14. Saudi Arabia

The tent city at Mina, Saudi Arabia

The tent city at Mina, Saudi Arabia

On the way back we passed through Mina and Muzdalifah, which if you’re familiar with the annual Hajj rites, is where the large tent city is that the Hajjis stay in. Looking at the tent city, it is easy to see how perilous it could be if people try to have open fires, and while regretting the tent city fire a few years ago, one can only wonder that there haven’t been more accidents. The scope of the public services necessary for accommodate the millions who come for Hajj each year is staggering.Filfilfilfilksq

15. Uzbekistan

Married woman with gold teeth in Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Married woman with gold teeth in Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Once the girls are married off in their early twenties they really only have lives focussed on children to look forward to. They are compensated with a full set of gold front teeth. So, if you find a girl smiling at you without gold teeth then she is usually single. The gold teeth are theirs to keep if the man decides to wander off and find a new girlfriend. An unusual style of keeping your husband in line, as the cost of the second set of teeth for the new girl is prohibitive.Mikeandfi

Hot places

10 Breathtaking Drives Around the World

ABC News featured some of the most spectacular roads around the world. Here are the top 10 with experiences from TravelPod bloggers. What’s your favourite drive?

1. Karakoram Highway, China

Markwilliams84 ventured by bus on the Karakoram Highway

Markwilliams84 ventured by bus on the Karakoram Highway

The Khunjerab Pass is the highest paved border crossing in the world and the highest point on the Karakoram Highway. The roadway across the pass was completed in 1982, and has superseded the unpaved Mintaka Pass and Kilik Pass as the primary passage across the Karakorum Range. Due to the altitude of the Pass its closed for most of the year because of the snow, its only possible to cross between May 1 and 15th October and that’s if you are lucky and the weather is good. Very reassuringly the name Khunjerab Pass is derived from Wakhi for ‘Blood Valley’ because for centuries this crossing was used by caravans plodding down the Silk road where locals took advantage of the terrain, robbed the caravans and slaughtered their merchants. – Markwilliams84

2. Western Desert, Egypt: Cairo to Kharga

Wwatling took a tour of Egypt

Wwatling took a tour of Egypt

The major form of transportation appears to be horse carriage for us tourists- there are very few cars/taxis. Many vendors though all with great offers- but selling much the same stuff. – Wwatling

3. Grand Canyon, U.S.: Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon

One quarter of Hally_ollie at the Grand Canyon

One quarter of Hally_ollie at the Grand Canyon

From this point you can see the whole of the canyon and also the desert as well. Along the drive there were signs to watch out for mountain lions but thankfully we didn’t see any. – Hally_ollie

4. Alsace Wine Route, France: Strasbourg to Mulhouse

Bruno.toutain cycled in the Alsace wine region

Bruno.toutain cycled in the Alsace wine region

Cycling the “Route des Vins” takes you through the scenic, hillside vineyards and flowery little villages that dot this picturesque landscape. All in all, combining the region, the wine, and the cycling, you’ll get one of the most amazing and sensory experiences you could dream of! – Bruno.toutain

5. Dalmatian Coast, Croatia: Zadar to Dubrovnik

Randyandchrissy took the long way around the Dalmatian Coast

Randyandchrissy took the long way around the Dalmatian Coast

This place is beautiful. The Coastal road is worth it. You’re riding on this road that’s not too high off the water with a mountain on your left side. Nice. – Randyandchrissy

6. Savannah Way, Australia: Cairns to Broome

Fishtails04 drove through many creeks on the Savannah Way

Fishtails04 drove through many creeks on the Savannah Way

Despite attempts to seal all the gaps with tape, the fine powder had found its way in and coated the car’s contents, including ourselves – luckily I get a kick out of being grubby while camping! – Fishtails04

7. Causeway Coastal, Ireland: Belfast to Lame

Mlbalmeo exploring the causeway coast

Mlbalmeo exploring the causeway coast

The fickle rain gave way to glorious sun, and we got to experience the beauty that the north coast of Ireland is known for. Today we left Belfast and moved to our northernmost destination, Portstewart, where we got to see the so-called eighth wonder of the world, The Giant’s Causeway. – Mlbalmeo

8. South Africa: Cape Town to Mpumalanga

Elopfamily enjoyed the South African scenery

Elopfamily enjoyed the South African scenery

For the next day and a half, we explored the nearby, and very scenic, Blyde River Canyon area. This included such gems as God’s Window, the weird Bourke’s Luck Potholes, the Pinnacle, and the Berlin and Lisbon Falls. The beautiful scenery was enhanced by the early morning mists that would drift through, often below our vantage point. – Elopfamily

9. Southern India: Cochin to Kovalam

Tomandanna-rose motorcycle along the mountains to Cochin

Tomandanna-rose motorcycle along the mountains to Cochin

We met the boys in Fort Cochin, after a mASSIVe but beautiful 12hr ride through stunning mountain scenery and lush tea plantations all the way from Madurai, (coincidentally meeting up with the Germans for lunch and noting the considerable wealth and abundance of tasteless pastel villas in Kerala). – Tomandanna-rose

10. Beach Highway, Mauritania: El Mamghar to Nouakchott

Hmax driving through the Mauritanian Desert

Hmax driving through the Mauritanian Desert

Our tarmac road disappeared and the truck bogged for the first time. This was promptly followed by another bog in which we all slowly learned the technique of “sand-matting” the truck across 150 metres of soft sand – which involved digging out the wheels, placing sand mats (steel 2m tracks) in front of the wheels, and moving the truck far enough along the track to allow placement of another sandmat….a slow and exhausting process in 39 degree heat. – Hmax

Hot places Uncategorized

Pushkar Camel Fair, blogs from India

The Pushkar Camel Fair is one of the world’s largest camel markets. It’s held on the banks of Pushkar Lake every November. People flock here from all over the world to partake in the camel and textile sales and moustache and bridal competitions. It’s quite the adventure, as many TravelPod bloggers have found out:

Zolab and his sister on a camel cart in Pushkar

Zolab and his sister on a camel cart in Pushkar

The horses are especially beautiful – their ears curve at the top and they have lots of stamina to survive in the desert. If they are a thoroughbred, there ears can touch in the back of their heads. A few times guys on horses came charging down the dusty paths, almost knocking people over. These guys were checking out the horses before they bought them. Zolab

Inoursuitcase inspecting camels in Pushkar

Inoursuitcase inspecting camels in Pushkar

The camels are jazzied up and groomed using pom poms, mirrors, bells, flowers, paint and strands of coloured plastic beads to make them more popular for sale or for rides for the tourists. Some of them had extra long eyelashes drawn on or the fur was shaved into intricate designs. The camels were dinosaurs sized compared to the ones in Egypt or Morocco that we got to know. There was even camel jewellery for sale and we actually met a guy who is a Camel Decorator by trade, it was written on the business card he gave us, like we need the service often.Inoursuitcase

Heather of HeatherAndrew at the Pushkar camel fair

Heather of HeatherAndrew at the Pushkar camel fair

Behind the stadium was nothing. Well, besides desert and hundreds and thousands of camels. They were literally as far as you could see. Here there was no electricity or running water. Just haggard windblown Indian men huddled under blankets hung for shade watching over their camels.

Some camels were shaven and decorated to lure in buyers. We walked and walked and finally got to a sand dune where we could see just how far the camels went on for. It was pretty impressive. At the watering hole we trying talking to some of the camel sellers, but they didn’t speak English or Hindi so we never figured out how much a camel costs.

Nobody seemed to care that we were walking around, there weren’t any people selling ice cream or dancing camels. It was a completely different fair than what was happening 800 meters away. It was easy to infer that this part of the fair is very similar to the fair that was probably held on these sand dunes hundreds of year ago. That these men would have gathered at night for dances and festivals, and that part of the fair has evolved into the white painted stage back in the stadium. But this part of the fair was very startling bare and these men were obviously all business.Heatherandrew

Hot places

Where are the world’s most beautiful women?

Robin Esrock of MSN Travel has compiled a list of places where you can find beautiful women in the world. He’s got some strong opinions, let’s see if our bloggers found the same. We’ve got the real scoop on whether the women Robin picked are hot or not.

Philippines = HOT

One of the many beautiful women Aaronpolarbear noticed in the Philippines

One of the many beautiful girls Aaronpolarbear noticed in the Philippines


I decided to have another fun night out. I finished up the last few beers that we had stocked in our fridge earlier and by the night we went to another one of the big clubs (Atlantis) this time more sober and focused on taking pictures of the beautiful girls. Aaronpolarbear

Argentina = HOT

Pwong thought the women in Argentina were as beautiful as the women in Spain

Pwong thought the women in Argentina were as beautiful as the women in Spain

It was quite lovely sitting outside on the patio at Tito’s, under the shade, watching the beautiful ladies walk by. It didn’t take long for me to notice that compared to Chile, so far Argentina is a lot more like Spain 🙂Pwong

Brazil = HOT

Sinbadniz has a photo collection of Brazilian women

Sinbadniz has a photo collection of Brazilian women

I wanted to end this part of my travel diary with pictures of some of the Brazilian beauties I encountered. This mixing of migrants worked out well for the cariocas!Sinbadniz

Colombia = NOT

Jbs partied it up at Mango's in Medellin, Colombia

Jbs partied it up at Mango's in Medellin, Colombia

The performers consisted of street dancers, dressed up cowboy midgets and scantly clad girls made from more plastic than a Lego set. It was an odd mix but it seemed to work as the place was pumping. I’ve been told that Colombia has some really beautiful women. I’m still looking though.Jbs

Israel = NOT

Kristymatt thinks these women soldiers shouldn't be carrying guns

Kristymatt thinks these women soldiers shouldn't be carrying guns

This group of women soldiers were taking a field trip to the Israeli museum while we were there. I don’t know, but I think they just look tooooo young to be carrying machine guns.Kristymatt

Ukraine/Russia = ???

Lesliemac451 noticed this woman walking down the street in Kiev, Ukraine

Lesliemac451 noticed this woman walking down the street in Kiev, Ukraine

We have noticed that young Ukrainian women like to wear very short skirts with high heeled boots. (How they can walk on the many cobblestone streets is beyond me). The lady on the left was able to walk in that outfit, she passed us as if we were standing still.Lesliemac451

Romania = HOT

Mshields007's translator is a beautiful Romanian, inside and out

Mshields007's translator is a beautiful Romanian, inside and out

Romania has some of the most beautiful people in the world, both inside and out. I can’t say enough about all of them. My translator was Emma. She will be a model someday I assure you.Mshields007

France = HOT

Ericrg spent a lovely night out with some beautiful French women

Ericrg spent a lovely night out with some beautiful French women

Then we went out for a couple of more drinks and were just people watching when a hot French women comes up and asks if her two friends can join us. “Well, if you must” was our response. We spent the night hanging out with them and then went swimming in the Mediterranean at 4 in the morning. Not the most sober moments of my life but we had such a good time that even the wet shorts and shivers didn’t make me regret the late night swim.Ericrg

Japan = HOT

Fredtrip loved the women in Japan

Fredtrip loved the women in Japan

Most Japanese girls here are quite pretty and dress very sexy…Fredtrip

Canada = HOT

Rwk loves the beautiful women in Montreal

Rwk loves the beautiful women in Montreal

I love Montreal. In my mind you can’t pick a better place to party. Beautiful women, top notch bar service, French Canadian Theatre… what more could you want. Granted I could use a new liver by this point, but I was going to make due. – Rwk

Hot places

11 Most Romantic Destinations in the World

TravelPod bloggers know how to treat their best friends and partners (or even just themselves!) to romantic getaways. Here are some of the most popular “romantic” destinations as decided by members of the TravelPod forum discussion topic, “Most romantic locations“.

1. Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

Pnp53 on the beach at Carmel-by-the-Sea

Pnp53 on the beach at Carmel-by-the-Sea

We drove down to the beach and explored for a while. It wasn’t crowded and was very nice. We sat in a tree and relaxed. Danny went back later and ran the beach.Pnp53

2. Sunset cruise in Key West, Florida

Jeffmx64 on a sunset cruise in Key West after their wedding

Jeffmx64 on a sunset cruise in Key West after their wedding

The journey back to port was breathtaking as the sun slowly sank behind the horizon and filled the sky with every color of orange and pink imaginable. I could not have imagined a better day. We were married in paradise, celebrated on Duval Street and wrapped it up snorkeling on the reefs.Jeffmx64

3. Plains of the Serengeti

Kasnsqueak on the Serengeti plains

Kasnsqueak on the Serengeti plains

At night we could here lots of noises as there were no fences and as we camped on the river the animals crossed sometimes into the camp so the camp had 3 Maasai warriors as guards to keep the animals out. These tall men carried their weapons of a spear; machete and club so were well armed. Over the 3 nights we heard hyenas, baboons and elephants and even saw the elephants just down from our hut in the river and the Maasai chased them away.Kasnsqueak

4. St Lucia

Ri-anne.cruz in St. Lucia

Ri-anne.cruz in St. Lucia

This Caribbean landscape seems too good to be true! This island is incredibly picturesque… a mixture of luxuriant tropical vegetation on a mountainous landscape, stunning beaches and Creole culture… now I realize that’s why they call St. Lucia —- SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL !!Ri-anne.cruz

5. Maldives

Eastcoastrod with his wife on their honeymoon in Maldives

Eastcoastrod with his wife on their honeymoon in Maldives

We were to spend our days lazing away, dressed appropriately in as little clothing and as little footwear as possible. Every morning, as our eyes slowly adjusted to the morning light, we would stare at the ceiling, oblivious to the time of morning, watching the sunlight filter through the wooden blinds, jagged lines dancing on the ceiling as they mirrored the ebb and flow of the tides. Breakfasts were sometimes two hour long affairs, consisting of a table cluttered with food of various cuisines – Sushi, Indian curries, Cold cuts, and Oriental fried rice.Eastcoastrod

6. Seychelles

Excope had "vacation elation" after visiting Seychelles

Excope had "vacation elation" after visiting Seychelles

There are no words available to describe giant granite boulders scattered wildly, resting in the white sands, surrounded by an oriental carpet of impossibly-varied green and blue tones – there just isn’t. I spent the next several hours swimming and staring at what lay before me, and truly had to wonder if it was real. I felt as if I was in a cartoon, everywhere I looked, was a perfect picture that anyone could find as a default background setting on their computer. It was truly an awe-inspiring, exactly-why-I-came-here feeling that I will never forget.Excope

7. Santorini, Greece

Akopplin enjoying the beach on Santorini

Akopplin enjoying the beach on Santorini

It is nice waking up in the morning and looking out the tent door directly into the ocean. First night we were down on the beach, and now we moved it up a cliff for a really great view. Akopplin

8. The Romantic Road

Brian796's friends at Neuschwanstein Castle on the Romantic Road

Brian796's friends at Neuschwanstein Castle on the Romantic Road

Cindy and Alycia rode the horse-drawn carriage most of the way up to Castle Neuschwanstein while Trey and I walked up. Built under the commission of King Ludwig II of Bavaria in the late 19th century, it’s a fairy tale castle rather than a true fortress against invaders. It’s the castle that Walt Disney based his on when building his first theme park. Most of the visitors were Americans, Orientals, Australians, and Brits, as a result of its “fake” status. Nevertheless, we had a good time and the castle is not only fun to tour but has some interesting history and stories behind it.Brian796

9. Paris, France

Luahn and her boyfriend in Paris under the Eiffel Tower

Luahn and her boyfriend in Paris under the Eiffel Tower

From the top of the Arc, the Champs Elysees looked magnificent because by the time we had made it to the top, the sun had gone down and the lights were twinkling away. In the distance, the Eiffel Tower made a guest appearance. It was just as I pictured it having seen lots of romantic comedy movies! Dave and I had a nice little cuddle and I was so thankful that he took me to Paris.Luahn

10. Monte Carlo, Monaco

Brianandjulie had a romantic breakfast in Monaco on their honeymoon

Brianandjulie had a romantic lunch in Monaco on their honeymoon

We spent the morning having a croissant, diet coke, and coffee, watching people walk by as we sat in an outdoor cafe.Brianandjulie

11. Gythion, Greece (Historical Bonus)

Bogna found the place where Helen and Paris' romance began

Bogna found the place where Helen and Paris' romance began

I read in my guide book that at the island where we went, there had started the romance of Helen and Paris, and at the same time – the Trojan War. We spent 3 hours there, swimming in clear like a crystal and azure water and resting in a shade of trees.Bogna

Hot places

5 best nude beaches in the world

TripAdvisor recently released its yearly list of the best nude beaches in the world. Most of them are in North America, why is that? Surely there are other nudist beaches elsewhere in the world…

1. Haulover Beach, Miami Beach, Florida, USA

Yyztrvlr's friend blowing up an air mattress on Haulover Beach

Yyztrvlr's friend blowing up an air mattress on Haulover Beach

We spent little time lounging on Miami Beach but instead headed north to Haulover Beach where we were able to spread out and still be amid a huge crowd but didn’t feel as though we were going to be stepped on by every passer by. – Yyztrvlr

2. Wreck Beach, Vancouver, Canada

Deepfin went totally nude at Wreck Beach

Deepfin went totally nude at Wreck Beach

You can be nude at Wreck if you want, so I was. It’s actually kinda weird if you are dressed because so many people are in their birthday suits. And you get this guy walking by with nothing but a little hip sack and a cooler selling beer. And another person going by selling special cookies. It’s such a cool place. And there is so much to look at. Excellent for people watching. Deepfin

3. Paradise Beach, Mykonos, Greece

Lovin_apples swimming in the background, nudist in the foreground

Lovin_apples swimming in the background, nudist in the foreground

Everyone tends to kick back, have a couple of drinks, head down the beach, take their clothes off and laze around in the sun all day. Paradise beach especially has a really relaxed atmosphere, with tunes pumping out from the bars, beds and couches and deckchairs spread at different intervals along the high side, with loungers and thatched style umbrellas lined up closer to the sea. Lovin_apples

4. Orient Beach, St. Maarten, Caribbean

Advertisement for a nude beach in St. Martin

Advertisement for a nude beach in St. Martin

Orient Beach is the most famous NUDE beach on St. Martin and it is located at the Northeastern side of the island (French side by the way). The beach is okay but a little too crowded, the water is nicely blue but still a little muddy; however, people on the beach are not all that beautiful. While there are many bars and restaurants along the beach, they are all quite expensive. There was a band playing reggae music in one of the beach bars but songs they played are those cheesy Caribbean staples. I was sort of ready to leave after like, 40 minutes.Whk2006

5. Black’s Beach, San Diego, California, USA

Larrykrista exploring San Diego

Larrykrista exploring San Diego

We visited San Diego’s nude beach. How does a game of naked beach volleyball sound? Worn out from all the activities, we decided to head back to the hotel pad and relax before going out tonight. Larrykrista

Hot places

8 cheapest travel destinations for British people

If you earn your keep in sterling, here are the places your money will go the furthest because the exchange rates are friendly.

TravelPod bloggers are finding the same, I handpicked a few of the best blogs written by people from the UK saving their hard earned pounds abroad.

1. Egypt

Billybull in Kom Ombo, Egypt

Billybull in Kom Ombo, Egypt

That evening we went up on deck to watch the ship going through Esna Lock. Fascinating experience. A few more drinks later and I retired to my cabin and fell asleep watching the reflection of the moonlight on the Nile out of my cabin window, as we sailed through the night towards Aswan. Beautiful.billybull

2. Fiji

The Thinkpacific group in Fiji

The Thinkpacific group in Fiji

The first few days of every Think Pacific Expedition is spent relaxing on this beautiful castaway island and after 30 + hours on the move from the UK, day one is spent swimming in the warm Pacific Ocean and taking the ten minute stroll around the island before hitting their hammocks, the perfect start to their expedition!thinkpacific

3. Iceland

Richardcowley indulged in some whale meat in Iceland

Richardcowley indulged in some whale meat in Iceland

I finally managed to get to eat some whale from the famous sea baron restaurant in town. The whale was a mink whale and cost 6 pounds and was served on a skewer a bit like a kebab and was actually quite tasty. It tasted like sirloin steak but a dry version and was quite nice, not as nice as steak but pretty good.Richardcowley

4. Kenya

Leonnatmckenna on the bus in Nairobi

Leonnatmckenna on the bus in Nairobi

Today we headed into Nairobi and experienced local transport at its best. We caught a matatu. They are basically minivans with seats and not exactly modern. You just hail them down and hop on.Leonnatmckenna

5. Poland

One third of Dumballdukes on the ferry to Poland

One third of Dumballdukes on the ferry to Poland

Tonight we all get a coach into town, which doesn’t return until 3am – useful given that we hit the road again at 10am. There are some serious discussions going on about buying a new car here in Poland, spraying some graffiti on and heading for our next stop in Lithuania. The only problem would be sorting out insurance – but if it’s possible, then without a doubt, it’s happening.Dumballdukes

6. Russia

Tizwoz in the Peterhof Palace Gardens

Tizwoz in the Peterhof Palace Gardens

Off the boat first thing in the morning and driven out of St.Petersburg to Peterhof Palace. Sumptious interiors with gold plus plus. We were out in the garden by 11am at which time classical music starts and the fountains are switched on. None of the many fountains are powered by electricity- it is all done by water from the hills and gravity as it has been for many years. There are a few traps for the unwary when water will suddenly spout out of the ground and drench those not looking where they are going. Tizwoz

7. Thailand

Ferg of ferg-n-sarah on the beach in Pattaya, Thailand

Ferg of ferg-n-sarah on the beach in Pattaya, Thailand

There’s not really alot to do in Pattaya its all about the nightlife here. There are millions & millions of bars & you can hear music blaring wherever you are but its a fun place. There’s a lovely beach across the road, but we havnt been able to sit out really as the weather’s not been great. – Ferg-n-sarah

8. Turkey

Ricka getting ready to leave Istanbul

Ricka getting ready to leave Istanbul

Came into Istanbul to meet up with a Brit ex-pat Dave, who lives just north of the city and who had very kindly offered to put us up at his place for a few days. We met up again with Tim yesterday so we all threaded our way through the crazy traffic and were treated to the fabulous view of the Bosporus with the ships passing beneath our bridge. We had a break in the small seaside town of Kilyos and waited for Dave to turn-up whilst enjoying the view. – Ricka

Hot places

Top 3 naked parties around the world

If you love being naked and you love partying, here are the best events for you. I’m crediting TripAdvisor.com with coming up with the list, but there are lots more nudist events than this all over the world.

1. World Naked Bike Ride – Worldwide, June and July

The World Naked Bike Ride in Toronto

The World Naked Bike Ride in Toronto

I caught a glimpse of the World Naked Bike Ride as it passed through downtown Toronto last year.starlagurl

2. Nude Beach Olympics – Maslin Beach, Australia, January

Cathyandjohn about to go out to the nude beach

John of cathyandjohn about to go out to Maslin Beach

3. Burning Man – Black Rock Desert, Nevada, August – September

Jose nearly naked at Burning Man

Jose nearly naked at Burning Man

A cross between a refugee camp with an outdoor art museum with engineering exhibits with a rave with an adult playground with summer camp with a commune with a hallowe’en party with a bunch of other things.Jose

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5 “germiest” tourist attractions

The public’s latest obsession with washing and keeping generally good hygiene (due to swine flu, of course) hasn’t really affected the time-honoured traditions of travelers.

TripAdvisor.com has surveyed tourist attractions around the world and singled out the five most “germ-filled” of them all.

Here are some recent blogs from TravelPod members who weren’t squeamish at all:

1. Kissing the Blarney Stone in Blarney, County Cork, Ireland

Ssarkar88 did not improve her story-telling skills by kissing the Blarney Stone

Ssarkar88 did not improve her speaking skills by kissing the Blarney Stone

On our last day, we ventured to the Blarney Castle! We climbed the tight staircase to get all the way to the top of the castle, where we kissed the Blarney Stone. They say those who kiss the stone get the “gift of gab” but I don’t think my storytelling abilities have improved much!Ssarkar88

2. Wall of Gum in Seattle, Washington, USA

Paulleck1975's friend Graham contributing to the wall

Paulleck1975's friend Graham contributing to the wall

We headed to see possibly the most disgusting grim tourist sight in the world. Just around the corner at the top of Post Alley is a theatre and the wall outside is covered with previously spittled gum. Bleeuuuurrrgghhhhhh! Paulleck1975

3. Oscar Wilde’s Tomb, in Paris, France

Lavish48 kissed Oscar Wilde's grave without flinching

Lavish48 kissed Oscar Wilde's grave without flinching

At Oscar Wilde’s grave, it’s customary to leave a lipstick kissmark on the memorial, so the large stone tomb is covered in little red and pink kisses, although there is an old sign on it asking to not deface or mark it up. – Lavish48

4. Pigeons in St. Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy

Tbassplayer washed his hands thoroughly after taking this picture

Tbassplayer washed his hands thoroughly after taking this picture

We did something that all tourists do, but we’ve refrained from up to this point. We fed the pigeons! We spent one euro each on a little bag of corn kernels and the pigeons were so excited that they would land on your arm and eat right out of your hand. Naturally when we saw a girl with one on her head, Karla had to go back and buy another bag and stand around until a pigeon landed on her head. I did the same thing. For the moment, our opinion of the flying rats improved. We still washed our hands immediately after. All and all, it’s probably the most fun we’ve ever had for two euros. – Tbassplayer

5. Handprints and footprints at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Cowboyjim74's wife with prints of the cast of Harry Potter

Cowboyjim74's wife with prints of the cast of Harry Potter

We strolled down 10 or 12 blocks in Hollywood looking for the names we recognized from television, radio, music and the movies. We eventually ended up in front of the Kodak Theater and then Grauman’s Chinese Theatre where many famous stars have left their hand and footprints.Cowboyjim74

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