10 worthy tourist traps

TravelPod bloggers get to every nook and cranny in the world. Including some of the most visited “tourist traps”. I sifted through the blogs and found that these so-called traps aren’t always as bad as they seem…

1. Great Wall of China

Broc_and_bailey's Canadian friends on the Great Wall

Broc_and_bailey's Canadian friends on the Great Wall

We had an early start as we were heading to the ‘Great Wall’.It took us 2hrs to get there,then we had 3hrs on the wall, lunch & 2 hrs back again! We got a cable car up, to save time (nothing to do with being lazy)! The wall was really good, it was really foggy so the views weren’t the best! We were on the way back down to the 2nd part but met up with 2 Canadian guys who twisted Brocs arm (was really hard) to have a beer, so we had a rite laugh with them for about a half hr, so our time was limited for the 2nd part! got as far as we & got this slide down, that was really slow to start with but ended up being really fun! Lunch was gorgeous, 7 different dishes & rice! got a taste of everything! were sitting with a few local, who were giving us funny looks as we tried to master the chopsticks! one of the girls even ordered us a fork, but we didn’t give up!! – Broc_and_bailey

2. A beer house in Munich, Germany

Bobstine eating wurst in Hof Brau Haus

Bobstine eating wurst in Hof Brau Haus

We had lunch at the Hofbräuhaus and watched the brass band. We met a nice young man from Hungary over lunch. He’s visiting friends of his wife and was lunching alone while she and her friends went shopping. He currently lives in Switzerland and is a bond broker; so we had a good conversation with him about offshore accounts, the economy, politics and relative costs between Europe and the USA. – Bobstine

3. Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee

Kayaker902's parents at Graceland

Kayaker902's parents at Graceland

As we toured the grounds I started feeling slightly transported to the 60’s. Very much 60’s decor which was how it was when he lived there, it just made things seem different. He had a very elaborate house for the time period, however, today I am sure the TV and other things that made Graceland seem so elaborate people would just say yeah everybody has those. Anyway, as we started through the house I really just didn’t get. It wasn’t until the meditation ground that this strange feeling hit me. I really can’t explain it, it just felt really weird. Now let me explain the meditation garden is where Elvis’s twin brother is buried along with his grandmother and parents and Elvis. Thus that might explain the really eerie feeling I had. – kayaker902

4. Tiki Village Theatre, Moorea, French Polynesia

Cmj enjoyed the Tiki Village dinner even though it was "contrived"

Cmj enjoyed the Tiki Village dinner even though it was "contrived"

That evening we splurged on a dinner theatre show at the Tiki Village. It was of course a contrived and stereotyped package for tourists, but a very well done one. Dinner was excellent and the show was great fun. We were a bit baffled when the traditional fire dancers cleared the sand stage to let Joseph usher Mary to the manger, but decided it was better not to ask questions while the chieftain led the carolers in silent night. – Cmj

5. Venice, Italy

Warrmb7's friends in Venice

Warrmb7's friends in Venice

once we got off the bus at the beginning of Venice we had to navigate our way through the city’s narrow streets and attempt to find out way. Venice is full of small streets that lack names and seem to go the most roundabout ways to get to places so we were pretty lost before we finally found our hostel after about an hour. The evening was spent exploring the city streets and trying to find a place that had good food, was near the canal and was not terribly expensive….nothing like that existed so we settled for an expensive meal of pizza which turned out to be worth all the money we spent. We stayed out until about 2am exploring and arrived back at our hostel, weary and ready for sleep. – Warrmb7

6. Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia

Explorerjones' cottage in Williamsburg, Virginia

Explorerjones' cottage in Williamsburg, Virginia

We are staying in a cute little cottage right in the center of Williamsburg which as Luke said “this house is like in colonial times except if this were colonial times they wouldn’t have books and puzzles out about colonial times.” That’s a curious, engaged traveler for you! – Explorerjones

7. Sally Lunn’s, Bath, England

Addicted2travel visited Sally Lunn's House in Bath

Addicted2travel visited Sally Lunn's House in Bath

We passed Jane Austen’s house, saw the Royal Crescent which is a super huge building shaped like a crescent that faces a park, went by Pulteney Bridge which is a bridge that has shops on both sides of it, walked around the Bath Abbey which is another beautiful cathedral, and passed Sally Lunn’s house which is the oldest house in Bath. Overall, I would say Bath is one of the cutest English cities I’ve seen that is just fun to walk around. Super cute! – Addicted2travel

8. New York City Harbor Tours

Missmizon enjoyed the view of the skyline from her New York Harbour Tour

Missmizon enjoyed the view of the skyline from her New York Harbour Tour

We managed to find a 72 hour ticket which allowed unlimited use of the hop on hop off tours, a cruise on the river, the ferry to the Statue of Liberty, access to the Empire State Building and a night tour of the city. Tickets in hand we took a walk down to the ferry terminal to river cruise which was really nice as the weather was good and we got some excellent views of the city, some of New Jersey and the Statue of Liberty (hence the 101 pictures!). – Missmizon

9. Tower of London, London, England

Travellingross was deeply impressed by the Tower of London

Travellingross was deeply impressed by the Tower of London

I had seriously under-estimated what this was and very impressed in the end – i was thinking dungeon’s and a tower, but nooooo it is actually the original castle of William the Conquerer in 1066 and adapted & re-constructed many times by pretty much every monarch since. Fascinating stuff; especially the Crown Jewels (no photos allowed), torture rooms, beheading location, inscriptions/graffiti on the walls from all the prisoners, the moat which is now drained and basically a lawn. Spent a lot longer here than anticipated, but well worth it. The Jewels were fascinating, but way overly commercialised (you view them from a horizontal escalator!) and sooooo many people. tourists everywhere. I wonder what Henry 8th would think if he saw this place now. So much history, and where people were murdered/tortured/beheaded there are now ice cream licking fat tourists with cameras around their necks posing in front of the place that people had their heads chopped off or imprisoned for years. Totally bizarre in my mind when there is still a Sovereign reigning over this Kingdom and it is still a castle with full status. I don’t think u should commercialise history until it is truely history. But who am i to talk – i paid £17 to get in the gates. But i am respectful of what this place is, i mean Elizabeth I was imprisoned here to stop her being Queen because of her religion. Being able to stand in the same place that this happened is surreal.

10. Montmartre, Paris, France

The_stamms loved visiting Montmartre, even if it was crowded

The_stamms loved visiting Montmartre, even if it was crowded

We took the train to Montmartre (which seemed even more crowded than we left it), but since the weather was beautiful, we joined the masses in walking around, getting great pictures of my favorite church painted for me by my husband, Sacre Coeur, and watched the artists in the square at work. – The_stamms

Featured blogs

Best 16 Museums in the World

Virgin vacations put out this list a while ago of the best 16 museums in the world.

I believe this list is a little American-centric, but I decided to put it to the test and see what real travelers thought about each one anyway.

1. Musee du Louvre, Paris, France

Dan of Dan-and-dee with an elaborate tomb in the Louvre

Dan of Dan-and-dee with an elaborate tomb in the Louvre

To be perfectly honest, we both enjoyed the outside of the Museum (ie the architecture of the buildings), more than the inside, the pyramids alone were spectacular and a lot less people to move between for a photo, or even just a glimpse!Dan-and-dee

2. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, USA

Inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Jimandlaura

Inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Jimandlaura

Took the subway uptown to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Wow, what a place. We loved it and we only scratched the surface. Particularly liked the modern art (Hirst, Pollock) and the ancient Japanese silk prints. You could spend a week there and still not see everything. Great cafe too!Jimandlaura

3. Vatican Museums, Vatican City, Rome, Italy

The ceiling in the Vatican Museums

The ceiling in the Vatican Museums

The museum was extended in 2000 for the millennial year celebration of Christ’s birth, and the renovations included a large spiral ramp leading to the entrance to the museums. We had fun by challenging the group to run up the spiral ramp while they took the escalator.

We saw a number of interesting sculptures while waiting in a courtyard to enter the first of the museums. One was of a pine cone from 1 AD or 2 AD, that was a symbol of fertility and was first made as a Roman fountain. In the courtyard, we also learned about the story and significance of the Sistine Chapel. The chapel is used as the place where the cardinals choose the next Pope. It was named after Pope Sixtus IV.

As we walked through various parts of the museums, I was surprised to see some art from Ancient Egypt and Greece, even including two marble sculptures of Diana the fertility goddess and Diana as the goddess of the hunt. Worship of Diana was notorious in the New Testament. It seemed to me as though the presence of the artwork indicated the idea that the church acknowledged and saw itself as the fulfillment of many earlier traditions and religious practices. My interpretation could, however, be incorrect.

I was awestruck by the tapestries depicting various events in Christ’s life. The tapestries were housed in a darkened room and one of them gave the impression that Christ’s eyes were following you as you walked past. Another interesting room was a room of ancient maps.Woodsfamily

4. Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy

Ruthperelstein on the terrace of the Uffizi Gallery

Ruthperelstein on the terrace of the Uffizi Gallery

Tuesday we visit the Uffizi Gallery. This is another place where you have to have a reservation. It does make it less stressful and you do beat the lines, which are long and full of grumpy tourists.

The Uffizi Gallery has the greatest collection of Italian paintings anywhere, including Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. It is beautiful. The time periods this museum are not my personal favorites but again the sculpture knocks us out.

Building of the palace was begun by Giorgio Vasari in 1560 for Cosimo I de’ Medici as the offices for the Florentine magistrates — hence the name “uffizi” (“offices”). There is also a corridor that extends for the end of the building along the Arno river and through the Ponte Vecchio to the Pitti Palace that is no longer used by was the way the elite could travel without stepping a foot into the dangerous streets.Ruthperelstein

5. Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain

Juliana of Paul-jules at the Prado Museum in Madrid

Juliana of Paul-jules at the Prado Museum in Madrid

We got to our hotel, and headed out to the Prado museum immediately. It is one of the best museums we have seen on the trip. It has a large number of El Greco paintings. He has become one of our favourite artists. It also has many by Raphael, Reubens, and Durer.Paul-jules

6. The State Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia

Fishtails04 found the State Hermitage overwhelming

Fishtails04 found the State Hermitage overwhelming

The State Hermitage, located in the former Winter Palace of the tsars, in St. Petersburg, houses one of the finest art collections in the world, with more than three million pieces – it seems that Catherine the Great liked big numbers in more than just her lovers. And that’s the problem really: it’s estimated that to walk through each of the galleries would total about twenty-five kilometres – i.e. it’s just too big to cover in an afternoon. It’s also too excessive in style for me to really enjoy: all busily decorated floors, marble pillars, highly decorated ceilings, heavy furniture, dark portraits of gloomy monarchs, imposing sculptures, huge crustal chandeliers, and gold and gilt opulence. As the guidebooks says, “One must visit the Hermitage on a visit to St Petersburg…”, and it was worth it to gain an appreciation of its scale, but I felt something of a failure when, after an hour and a half, I’d had enough and, with that sense of panic I experience in large department stores when I can’t see a way out, started frantically searching for an exit.Fishtails04

7. J. Paul Getty Center, Los Angeles, USA

Inside the J. Paul Getty Center with Jeznkez

Inside the J. Paul Getty Center with Jeznkez

At length the road wound up through the hills and we arrived at the J. Paul Getty Centre, which is a gigantic art museum, housed in a purpose built series of monoliths amid the verdant grounds. The museum is perched on a hill in the Santa Monica Mountains, looking over L.A. and out to sea.

We had nowhere near enough time to do justice to the whole four buildings, each of which contains different styles of Western art from the Middle Ages to the present, but had a good look around and enjoyed the peaceful and exquisitely conceived gardens, interwoven with sculptures and water features. The whole complex is constructed from Travertine (1.2 million square feet of it) which is a fossilized, textured stone that reflects the bright Californian sunlight, imparting the whole place with a luminous, ethereal glow. Overall an incredibly successful public space and a great example of modern architectural design and realization. And all free of charge!Jeznkez

8. Musee d’Orsay, Paris, France

Londonpenguin at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris

Londonpenguin at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris

Our long walk ended up at the Musee d’Orsay. I headed straight for the Impressionists upstairs, and leisurely made my way back down. Happened upon the Salle des Fetes, which is a glorious burst of gold, crystal and mirrors. I also found the Art Nouveau rooms and was really enjoying them when the announcement came over the loudspeaker that the museum would be closing in 15 minutes, which was half an hour earlier than we had been told. Slightly disappointing, but it was definitely worth going back to.Londonpenguin

9. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA

The Enemans standing in front of a fountain at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC

The Enemans standing in front of a fountain at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC

The style of the buildings downtown is such a far cry from anything else you’ll see. There were times when I thought even the Greek Gods would be impressed. I was surprised to see how brand new the art gallery looked, despite having been open for sixty years. The marble floors were pristine and the walls were un-scuffed as if it had been built last week. I was particularly anxious about the Ansel Adams beach photography gallery on display for a limited time.Jeneman

10. Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France

Mamakarpus at the Centre Pompidou in Paris

Mamakarpus at the Centre Pompidou in Paris

I really wanted to see the Pompidou Centre, so we went looking for that. It took us forever to find it, it was so annoying. We kept looking at the map backwards, so we were wandering around forever. Oh well. We eventually found it and it was pretty cool. It’s a modern art museum. I honestly didn’t care about going in to see the art, but I wanted to see the building and the fountains right beside it. So I was happy.Mamakarpus

11. Tate Modern, London, England

Laohallo's friend at the Tate Modern in London

Laohallo's friend at the Tate Modern in London

After borough markets we headed over to tate modern which is a modern art museum. Im blaming Tammy for picking this tourist attraction. Lets just say the art is very strange and modern. It was a good laugh though.Laohallo

12. Museum of Modern Art, New York City, USA

Julesjb found this statue in MoMA's sculpture garden

Julesjb found this statue in MoMA's sculpture garden

After that I then went across to Manhattan to see the MOMA (Museum Of Modern Art) which was amazing. All my favourites were there including Cezanne, Magritte, Picasso and Dali. I also saw a few Jackson Pollack’s which I thought were very impressive in terms of scale and use of paint.Julesjb

13. British Museum, London, England

Harmony at the British Museum in London

Harmony at the British Museum in London

It was spectacular and we could not believe the size and the amount of artifacts, especially since it was free to get in! We saw the Rosetta Stone, a massive Easter Island head, many beautiful Greco Roman sculptures, and much much more.Mikeandharmony

14. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, USA

Ineednewears found solace in this room at the Guggenheim museum

Ineednewears found this to be one quiet place in the Guggenheim museum

Who would have thought that on a windy, rainy, cold Friday evening dozens of people were willing to queue underneath the semi-permeable dripping roof of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in their damp clothes and soaked shoes just to get in for close to free (for some, pay-what-you-can comes frighteningly close to nothing). I pictured a Friday night at the “Gugg” along the lines of a Friday night at the library or much like a sheep pasture with but a few bodies scattered around in the far corners, but what I got involved much more arm-against-arm rubbing and additional queuing as the spiral-shaped interior, seven-levels high, filled up.

I complained not about the crowds but about the barriers along the spiraling platform being too low, and constantly feared toppling over to free fall and be torn open by one or more of the suspended cars on my way down. Ineednewears

15. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, USA

Toddfamily had a "Rocky moment" at the Philadelphia Art Museum

Toddfamily had a "Rocky moment" at the Philadelphia Art Museum

The next day we spent the morning on a bus tour of the city and ended up at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. We really enjoyed this museum too and were once again lucky to join a tour with a very knowledgeable guide. We met Mark at the front of the museum afterwards and had a little Rocky moment on the front steps – those of you who know the first Rocky film will know this scene!Toddfamily

16. Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA

Traveled loved the Chicago Art Institute

Traveled loved the Chicago Art Institute

We took the Metro to Union, then walked down Adams to the Art Institute. We saw more exhibits in one day than I recall seeing on any of my previous visits. We started off in the European area, then lunched at the cafe, which was surprisingly satisfying, and finally we took a couple more hours to walk through the American and photography exhibits. One my favorite works of the day was one that probably does not receive the attention it deserves, located in the corner of the same room as “American Gothic” by Hopper, called “Nightlife” by Motley. But of course, I also loved almost everything I saw there.Traveled

Featured blogs

Local Expert for London, England: Nicole Boys

Nicole Boys is quite knowledgeable on all kinds of exotic locales from South Africa to the Galapagos Islands. She’s been active in the TravelPod forums for the past few months. It’s been great getting to know her, and I wanted to know more, so I asked her some more questions about herself:

Why did you become a Local Expert?

My friends often call me the ’fountain of all knowledge’. No I don’t know everything but I do have the ability to store copious amount of information about random things. The thing is I like helping people out and giving advice to people who have never traveled to the places I have been before. I am used to friends asking me about how to find cheap accommodation, which night bus to take or even which bar in the city I can recommend for a good night out – and they live in London! So, I thought why not be able to recommend things to people that are coming to London for the first time.

Nicole with friends in South Africa

Nicole (on left) with friends in South Africa

What are the best and worst things about living in London?

London to me can never be boring there are so many things to see and do. I love the cosmopolitan feel, the fact that you can walk around the City and get lost in the small lanes only to find something you never knew was there. I think the best thing about being in London is to every now and then act like a tourist – visit historical places, take in a show, sit by a roaring fire in a cozy pub or just meander around the countless markets.

If I think about the worst thing about living in London, it plays havoc with my hay fever during the summer months. I am also not such a huge fan of travelling on the underground for long periods of time but do love the mixture of people that all group together. You can take in all sense of fashion without feeling like you are staring as no one really cares what they look like – in London you can be what you want to be.

What are the top five or 10 things for travelers to do in London or outside of London?

I am not sure you can limit the things to do in London to just the top 5 or top 10. However, I believe you haven’t been to London if you haven’t:

1. Explored London from the River Thames. Whether it is a boat cruise from Embankment to Greenwich, or a cycle ride from Waterloo to Rotherhithe or just simply soaking in the atmosphere anywhere along the south bank.

2. Viewed the many art galleries. From the sometimes way out exhibits at the Tate Modern to classics at the National Gallery.

3. Strolled around the London Borough Market. With mountains of fresh produce you can stock up on cheeses, cakes, jams and delicacies.

4. Watched a theatrical show. It doesn’t have to be the most popular or expensive show to feel you have been a part of the west end. The excitement of just attending even if you have to pick up those binoculars to actually see the stage is a thrill in itself.

5. Stood in front of Buckingham Palace. Everyone is fascinated with the Royal Family so this is a definite must – watching the changing of the guards or even exploring the palace itself.

6. Indulged in a high tea at either the Dorchester, Savoy, Ritz or Browns Hotels

7. Taken a photo of yourself on the Greenwich Meridian after you have taken in the views across London or star gazed at the Greenwich Observatory.

8 Caught a train out to Windsor Castle or Hampton Court.

9. Joined that social scene at one of the trendy bars and nightclubs in Soho.

10. Photographed Houses of Parliament and Big Ben during the day and at night.

What are some of your best and worst travel experiences?

Some of my best experiences – reaching the top of Dead Woman’s Pass on the Inca Trail, snorkelling with sea lion pups in the Galapagos, joining in the dancing at the Rio Carnival, driving a campervan through the outback in Australia, watching the land crab migration in Cuba and going back to my home country – South Africa – to just relax in quite surroundings of the African bush.

My worst travel experience would be catching the train from Luxor to Cairo and then being hassled constantly in the Cairo market that I never even got a chance to buy anything – very frustrating.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

My proudest accomplishment was realising that I was stuck in a rut and needed to make some big changes in my life. When I quit my job after 6 years in the City and decided the best way to make some big changes was to embark on a 15 month trip, I had mixed reactions. Friends and family supported me and thought I was brave to venture off on my own. Colleagues at work wished me luck on ‘finding myself’. Obviously the words of a non-traveller – I didn’t go off on my trip to find myself but rather remind myself of who I was, what I valued in life and to get away from the pressure I had been putting on myself. It took me three months on the road before I felt myself starting to relax. I was proud of myself for making the decision that lead to a wonderful 15 months of experiences.

Another accomplishment (which may not be such a big one) was putting myself out of my comfort zone and abseiling 100m into a dark cave in New Zealand. I hate the sensation of not feeling my feet firmly on the ground – but I did it with a big smile on my face.

Where are you planning on traveling in the future?

This is a tough question as there are so many places I would like to see. I would like to climb Kilimanjaro next year although I am a bit put off by the way the last celebrity hike has made it a must on everyone’s checklist.

What do you do with most of your time?

During the day I am a sales and marketing manager for an Ayurvedic company. Working in the Health and Beauty sector is a new industry for me and I enjoy finding out new things and of course having the opportunity to try out new products and treatments.

In my spare time I focus on being creative. I occasionally write feature articles for the SA Promo Magazine’s Travel section and I have an online shop on Etsy where I sew to order African themed tablecloths and placemats as well as my photographs.

What’s a typical day like for you?

My typical day involves the usual admin stuff of working life, thinking of new marketing ideas, interacting with others on social networking sites and lately sprinting down the hill to get my train on time. I have only been working for the past 2 months since getting back from my 15 month trip so now that I feel like I am in a routine again I will be adding, swimming, yoga and Spanish classes to my list every week.

What’s your favourite part of the TravelPod forum?

Reading everyone’s thoughts and ideas. The longer you are on the forum the more you feel like you get to know people but I do always wonder if people have an online and offline persona! Is that really you…?

TravelPod Local Expert profiles

100 things to do before you die, TravelPod style (Part 4)

If you’ve got a life-goal, chances are, someone on TravelPod has already done it! Here’s part four of things to do before you die, as compiled by TravelPod members.

31. Diving in Antarctica

Blairn99 went diving in the frigid Antarctic

Blairn99 went diving in the frigid Antarctic

The depth was only around 15m and the vis is much better. There were hundreds of star fish lots of Kelp weed again and an iceberg that had grounded right in the middle of where we were diving. – Blairn99

32. Learn another language

Wolfieboy69 went to Buenos Aires to learn Spanish

Wolfieboy69 went to Buenos Aires to learn Spanish

If the Spanish lessons had proved a thorn in my side then there was a silver lining, which was getting to know some of the students in the other classes and I thoroughly enjoyed their company. – Wolfieboy69

33. Travel by yourself

Jack of Laurenandjack continued on his own through India

Jack of Laurenandjack continued on his own through India

I am now traveling alone, as Lauren decided to go home. I wanted to keep going to experience solo travel and to see the sights of the south. I miss Lauren dearly, but I must say I am having a great time going solo. Being alone makes for many more opportunities to meet interesting people and change my mind on a whim. I have met more people out here than I can count, sometimes I’ll make a friend and we’ll travel together for a day or so or until our itineraries branch. I continue to be reunited with people I’ve met and last seen hundreds of kilometers away. – Laurenandjack

34. Experience Beatlemania in Liverpool

Kaylashoe at The Beatles Story exhibit in Liverpool

Kaylashoe at The Beatles Story exhibit in Liverpool

Ohh the Beatles pilgrimage- a highly necessary excursion on my British invasion tour. – Kaylashoe

35. Visit Stonehenge

Alanna.holloway was disappointed by Stonehenge

Alanna.holloway was disappointed by Stonehenge

In the afternoon I went out to Stonehenge which was on my to do list before i left the UK. This was actually pretty disappointing – it is an amazing monument but you can’t actually get anywhere neat it and you can’t walk through it. Also there are tourists everywhere. oh well – still was something I had to do. – Alanna.holloway

36. Shop at Portobello Road Market

Jennie's Portobello Road Market treasures

Jennie's Portobello Road Market treasures

First stop was Portobello Road Market! The holy grail of all flea markets/antique shops. The road went on for blocks and blocks and we didn’t see all of it, much less all of the shops along the road. – Jennie

37. Explore London’s sites, sounds and fun stuff

Ethansamjencol visits Tower Bridge

Ethansamjencol visits Tower Bridge

After lunch we caught the river boat town to tower bridge (much to Ethans delight) and then did a tour of London Bridge. We also saw it open right up and let a cruise ship through. – Ethansamjencol

38. Try the Amsterdam cafes and brownies

Ksunderhill tried the space cake and lived to tell the tale

Ksunderhill tried the space cake and lived to tell the tale

Two hours and 1 and a half space cakes later, chocolate was the winner in my book, we or at least I am completely in my happy place. Must say this is just what I remember from college, totally relaxed, feeling like I am floating. Trying to type right is posing a very challenging task. – Ksunderhill

39. Gamble in Las Vegas

Semi-backpacker's friend, Caro gambles in Vegas

Semi-backpacker's friend, Caro gambles in Vegas

Caro gambled a big $1.00 and I gambled a whopping $5.00. Hey, like I said, we were on a budget! – Semi-backpacker

40. See the Grand Canyon by helicopter

Brent-n-toby over the Grand Canyon in a helicopter

Brent-n-toby over the Grand Canyon in a helicopter

Our helicopter ride took us into the canyon below the rim level, the drop as you pass the edge of the canyon is spectacular, one minute you are skimming the trees then the ground just drops away as you swoop down the canyon. – Brent-n-toby

TravelPod Buzz

100 things to do before you die, TravelPod style (Part 2)

This is part one of a ten part series that will feature some of our users’ inspring travel goals.

A while ago, whereshegoes started a forum discussion about 100 things to do before you die. Here’s part of the list that was cobbled together with help from the rest of the TravelPod community. What would you add to it?

11. Accept my weaknesses

Travoholic has accepted one of her weaknesses

Travoholic has accepted one of her weaknesses

She went through my application form, questioning some of the answers I’d given and trying to gauge my opinion on certain things. There was a little knowledge quiz which I aced and all seemed to be going great. UNTIL… my weakness! Common sense! The problem is that I am well known for not having much of it. So eventually the interview rolls around to ‘what if’ and scenario type questions. I think I must have come across as the most indecisive person in the world, flip flopping back and forth with every new point my interviewer raised. – Travoholic

12. Have a good relationship with my mom

Katieontherun with her mom on a cruise

Katieontherun with her mom on a cruise

My Mom won a cruise and decided to take me along. We never would have dreamed of buying cruise tickets, but since we got a free ride, we made sure we enjoyed it as well!Katieontherun

13. Learn Aikido

Everardt participating in an Aikido seminar in Floridia

Everardt participating in an Aikido seminar in Floridia

On the weekend I attended an Aikido seminar. It felt great to be able to move the body and mind again as I have for so many years. It’s very funny training Aikido in Italy – you kiss the instructors and the other students, the lunch break is 4 hours and you go and have a full meal with wine, beer, grappa, etc.Everardt

14. Find true inner peace

Tompsblogs found peace in Maaloula, Syria

Tompsblogs found peace in Maaloula, Syria

Stripped of opulence and spared of vastness, this small place seemed almost to speak directly to my soul, filling me with peace. Indeed, for the first time since my reluctant Catholic childhood, I found myself humbled into dabbing my forehead with the Holy Water in a Benediction of sorts. High praise indeed I should say from someone who generally considers himself an atheist.Tompsblogs

15. Learn how to fly a plane.

Liammichelle got to fly the plane over Victoria Falls

Liammichelle got to fly the plane over Victoria Falls

Sometimes it is worth getting up before the sun, for Michelle it is a half hour micro-light trip over Vic Falls. Without a doubt her best experience, Michelle found herself free and exposed as she flew over the falls. It was the closest thing to having wings! Brilliant way to see one of the natural wonders of the world, the spray, Livingstone Island, Zambezi River and various posh hotels. Then flew over Long Island and saw giraffes, hippos, crocodiles, zebras and even a bird and her chicks in a nest. They are look pretty small from above. Having told the pilot that she’d done a few flying lessons, he let her take control, that was it, her trip was made!Liammichelle

16. Parasail

Gonetilwhenever parasailing at Airlie Beach

Gonetilwhenever parasailing at Airlie Beach

We were strapped into the harness and then attached to the Parachute. A few tips and safety checks later we were airborne. We shot out to full extension, about 30 meters above the water, and straight away decided to invert so that we were hanging upside down, with nothing but the harness holding us in – it was pretty scary letting go that first time, praying that the harness would hold! – Gonetilwhenever

17. Dive the Great Barrier Reef

rtw_-_2007.1174962120.dsc07631

Danielandrachel dove the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is stunning and an excellent place to dive, the corals are beautiful and there is an abundnce of marine life ranging from tropical fish including clown fish (nemo), rays, sharks, turtles, cuttle fish, eels and even a whale shark which unfortunately I did not get to see.Danielandrachel

18. See Bob Dylan live

Lizconnie attends a free Bob Dylan concert in San Sebastian, Spain

Lizconnie attends a free Bob Dylan concert in San Sebastian, Spain

The middle of August brings a huge jazz festival, but while i was there, the city was building its way up there!! A free Bob Dylan concert on the beach added to the hippy style of this town.Lizconnie

19. Run A Marathon

Cezzah ran the London Marathon

Cezzah ran the London Marathon

One word to describe the marathon – hot. It was frickin boiling, there were people dropping like flies all over the place.Cezzah

20. Get married

Coryandlaura got married in Florence

Coryandlaura got married in Florence

The music played as my father walked me into the most beautiful, historic room. Paulie and Christina were our witnesses and were standing off to the side of the Vice Mayor’s desk. The entire room was bathed in red and gold. Gilded mirrors and antique tapestries decorated the walls. Ben stood as our translator next to the Vice Mayor who wore the colors of Italy across his chest. My grandfathers bible lay next to our rings on the Vice Mayors desk. Daddy gave me away and Cory gladly accepted. It was all perfect. I couldn’t stop smiling. The ceremony was dignified. The Vice Mayor married us in Italian and Ben translated. Stefano and our family took millions of photos. We signed paperwork and then started all of the wedding photos.Coryandlaura

TravelPod Buzz

Top 6 reasons to visit the South East UK

Darrenstravels has explored Europe, Australia, the US, China and the Middle East, but his home is in Southeast England. Here’s his list of favourite things to do in the South Eastern part of the UK.

1. London

There is no place like it on earth. It’s got everything you want (and don’t want) in a place. Two thousand years of history; a whole mixture of cultures; fantastic entertainment; worldclass museums; stunning architecture and so many nationalities blending into one. It has it’s problems, sure, but I love the place. Everyday I find something new there. Each inner suburb has it’s own theme, it’s own way. It’s awesome.

Pukky and her mom in front of the London Eye

Pukky and her mom in front of the London Eye

So, with all of that sight seeing I really did learn a lot about the city of London. The British were also very nice and helpful. Mom and I ended up asking lots of people lots of questions and they were all very happy to help. – Pukky

2. Thousands of years of History

Southeast is full of History. Take all the Castles, for instance: Off the top of my head, there is Leeds Castle (1119), Bodium (1385), Dover (Roman to World War 2), Hever (13th century), Rochester (11th century)…plus then all the old houses and Roman forts all over the place.

Oh and there is of course the two World Wars. The skies of Kent played host to the air battles between England and Germany. As a results there are tons of fortifications, monuments and hidden things all to do with those times.

Darrenstravels friend Helen and Leeds castle

Darrenstravels' friend Helen and Leeds castle

It was built in the 12th Century, was home to a ton of Royalty, then opened to the public in the 1970’s. That’s the gist of it, anyway. – Darrenstravels

3. The Countryside

Sure, it’s not quite like the moors or the Lakes. But it is very nice. We have amples of forests, lakes and marshlands to explore. Factor in all the crops grown, including of course Hops, of which we have the famous Oast Houses that tourists love, as do Estate Agents. There are few things more enjoyable than going for a walk in early spring, with the new born Lambs trotting about.

Oast houses in the English countryside

Oast houses in the English countryside

Our weekend explorations have taken us to many places in Kent. – Theskinners

4. South Coast

One word: Brighton.
Two more words: Camber Sands.

The former is a cool, trendy and slightly edgy students paradise, full of cool clubs, restaurants and stores. The later is the South Easts best beach….with huge sand dunes and masses of kite boarders.

Brighton beach with Shanemilli

Brighton beach with Shanemilli

We got very cheap tickets to take the train down to Brighton and all I really knew was that it was a popular beach destination – not in the fine white sand with coconuts version that Thailand can boast, but more the rocky, chilly but sunny British type. – Shanemilli

5. The land of Dickens and Chaucer

Can you read? Then you know of the above two. A ton of Dickens’ work is based in Rochester; and of course Chaucer is best known for The Canterbury Tales, based on those on a Pilgrimage to Canterbury. Both are in Kent.

The streets in Canterbury with Darren

The streets in Canterbury with Darren

Canterbury has a decent town centre, with a lot of very old buildings left and cool independent stores. – Darrenstravels

6. The Edge of Europe

The UK is indeed an Island (or two, actually). However we are linked to mainland Europe through a rail tunnel, of which is based in Kent. Being just 16 miles from the coast of France, we are at the edge of Europe. Two hours train travel will get you to Paris or Brussels. Two hours flight time and you can be in almost any Northern, Central or Western European country….and all those places are served by cheap budget carriers, based at Gatwick and Stanstead.

Darrenstravels lives in central Kent and thinks Tourists are overlooking the area.

Hot places

Top 10 places in the United Kingdom

Uktokyoite is an expert on both the UK and Tokyo, hence the name. Her top 10 list comes from the TravelPod forums.

1. London – capital city with so much going on I’ll let you find your own way round ; )

Nickolt in London

Nickolt in London

We went to the Tower of London. Expensive to get in (17 pounds for me, 14.5 for Ricardo) but well worth it. – Nickolt

2. Haworth – West Yorkshire home of the Bronte family. If you like their books you can visit their home – otherwise go anyway for the olde worlde atmosphere of the cobbled streets and shops

Mrsmac in Haworth

Mrsmac in Haworth

I had always wanted to come here and it was a much higher class than the alternative of Blackpool that Fletcher had proposed. – Mrsmac

3. Center Parks Nottingham – set in Sherwood Forest this is a great get away – no cars allowed so you can bomb around on a bike all day long. Great wave pool too!

Sutiramisu in Sherwood Forest

Sutiramisu in Sherwood Forest

Countless characters dressed up in medieval costumes, open air theatre with fire eating jesters, and a sensational skirmish between Robin Hood and the evil Sherriff of Nottingham. – Sutiramisu

4. Cambridge or Oxford for some genteel viewing and you have to check out the university buildings of either or both places – magnificent!

A fruit market in Cambridge

A fruit market in Cambridge

Cambridge is beautiful, made up of 31 colleges which are collectively Cambridge University, all so stunning. – Libbee

5. Northumberland – we used to stay in a farmers cottage for our holidays when I was a kid – only way in was to drive through 5 fields – we used to argue about who got to open the gate! Great memories therefore it’s on the recommend list.

Latestarter in Northumberland

Latestarter in Northumberland

The landscape was surprisingly varied and very beautiful. – Latestarter

6. Edinburgh – class and a Scottish accent wrapped up in the same package – fantastic – don’t forget the Edinburgh Festival

View of Edinburgh with Bblakely

View of Edinburgh with Bblakely

What a city! I drug my boss along for company, he’d never been either, and we took a bus tour around the city, and toured the Edinburgh Castle, and climbed a tower! Whew!!! – Bblakely

7. Cleobury Mortimer – in Shropshire way out in the countryside – find Birmingham on the map – look West and find Kidderminster and then keep going west towards Wales – a real countryside experience

Cazjb in Shropshire

Cazjb in Shropshire

We walked through the little alley ways and looked at the shops before stopping for a cup of tea in a quaint little tea room. A lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon. – Cazjb

8. Nottingham – great shopping by day and apparently the ratio in this city is 3 girls to 1 guy – or it used to be anyway – not sure anymore…

Nottingham in the rain

Nottingham in the rain

Left Nottingham after two weeks of tearful goodbyes and endless trips to the charity shops of Beeston. – Jonandjen

9. Newcastle – check out the geordie accent and get a taste of how different parts of the UK are from each other. Try a stotty cake or some pease pudding for good measure

Uncle_davros' friend in Newcastle

Uncle_davros' friend in Newcastle

It was fun being in Newcastle, seeing the baby Harbour Bridge again, but seeing that the museum was closed, we either need to come here again, or maybe walk the wall again !!! – Uncle_davros

10. Cornwall – gorgeous – enough said

Inadar hiking in Cornwall

Inadar hiking in Cornwall

We selected the Cornwall region and hiked from St. Ives to the Lands End. We completed this trail of approximately 35 kms over three days. This is among my most memorable trips. – Inadar

Hot places

Top 10 Free Attractions in Europe

Here’s TripAdvisor’s list of the 10 best free attractions in Europe, complete with TravelPod blogger comments.

1. Pantheon, Rome, Italy

Ronmystyk at The Pantheon

Ronmystyk at The Pantheon

The only sad part was knowing that the marble and gold in the Basilica was stripped from all of the Roman monuments like the Colosseum and the Pantheon. They were left in ruins for the profit of the church. – Ronmystyk

2. National Gallery, London, England

England's National Gallery with Sshmalone

England's National Gallery with Sshmalone

I am certainly not an art history fanatic, and wasn’t quite sure I would enjoy going to the National Gallery. But, it is really, really something to see such famous pieces of art in person. – Sshmalone

3. Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, England

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter with Dannielle

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter with Dannielle

We did get to see an authentic old workshop and the office that was above it. The history stuff was good and our guide actually made some stuff with the molds and we got a Scottie dog of bronze that she had cut. Dannielle

4. Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France

Felicityseeker in front of Notre Dame cathedral

Felicityseeker in front of Notre Dame cathedral

We didn’t see Quasi Modo, but we did see some amazing gargoyles. – Felicityseeker

5. St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral, Brussels, Belgium

Jcastellan visits St. Michael's Cathedral

Jcastellan visits St. Michael's Cathedral

Continued walking and came tot he cathedral of St Michael. Where I paid money to see the archeological remains underneath, it was a rip off – I saw some old bricks. – Jcastellan

6. Duomo – Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence, Italy

The Duomo with Katieandchris

The Duomo with Katieandchris

Our wait to enter was short, thank goodness, and upon entering, overwhelming awe struck me. The only thing Chris could make out in the dimly lit atmostphere was me wiping my eyes. Seeing such beauty in all the fine craftsmanship was just too much all at once. – Katieandchris

7. Retiro Park, Madrid, Spain

H_hurst in Retiro Park

H_hurst in Retiro Park

Nothing like that where I live, that’s for sure! I could have spent the whole afternoon there, just lazying away the day… – H_hurst

8. Westminster Abbey, London, England

Sarahindenmark at Westminster Abbey

Sarahindenmark at Westminster Abbey

Much more interesting than St. Paul’s. Unfortunately, you can’t take pictures inside. – Sarahindenmark

9. St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice, Italy

Jahr28 at St. Mark's in Venice

Jahr28 at St. Mark's in Venice

This was absolutely amazing seeing and walking through architecture from the 1300s. – Jahr28

10. Giant’s Causeway, Bushmills, Northern Ireland

Giant's Causeway in Ireland with Jest491

Giant's Causeway in Ireland with Jest491

Walked out to the Giant Causeway (hell of walk, 156 steps up the side of cliff). The causeway was formed during the early Tertiary period some 62 – 65 million years ago over a long period of igneous activity. – Jest491

Hot places

Billy Pittenger: Local Expert for New York state

Billy Pittenger is one of TravelPod’s newest Local Experts. He volunteered to help out in the New York forum, but his help on South America has also been priceless. Here’s what Billy has to say about New York:

Why did you become a Local Expert?
I saw that there were two experts for New York City, but they didn’t really talk about the rest of the state. All my knowledge of New York is about the rest of the state, not the city, so I figured I should share it.

What’s are the best and worst things about living in New York?

Best 2 things – New York has something for everyone, no matter what you want, you can find it somewhere in the state. And secondly, NYC is the best hub in the US for direct flights to pretty much every corner of the world.
Worst thing – Winters are horrible if you’re having to deal with it day in and day out, shoveling snow, going to work, etc.

What are the top five or 10 things for travelers to do in New York outside of NYC?

Wine tours of the finger lakes
Skiing in the Adirondacks
Horse-racing at Saratoga Raceway
Stay at the Sagamore in Lake George
Catch a race at Watkins Glen
Go bob-sledding at the Olympic Park in Lake Placid
Drive down a 2-lane road through the Adirondack Mountains in the fall as the leaves are changing

Billy "rockin' the Fiat in Brazil"

Billy "rockin' the Fiat in Brazil"

What are some of your best and worst travel experiences?

Best – Landing on an isolated lake in the outer reaches of Alaska in an amphibious plane, then rafting down a river for 6 days with no cell phones, email, or other daily distractions. Another would be trying to drive a souped-up V8 Pontiac Trans-Am down the highway during a blizzard in New York…and not dying.
Worst – (Knocks on wood) I haven’t had too many bad travel experiences. But getting a flat tire on the moving trailer during the drive from Alabama to New York sucked pretty hard.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

Managing to graduate with an B.S. in Engineering from RIT while simultaneously holding down 5 part-time jobs.

That and completely surprising my wife when I proposed. I answered the door on one knee when she came back to her apartment (in Rochester, NY) from work…and she thought I was in Michigan on a co-op. I still smile when I think about the look of confusion on her face before she figured out what was going on.

Where are you planning on traveling in the future?

Currently in Brazil. But I’m trying to be able to join the Traveler’s Century Club before I’m 30 (less than 4 years to go). So lots of traveling in the future…
May 3 – traveling Sao Paulo to France, then England, back to home in New York
May 14 – road trip to Chicago, then Detroit and Toronto
May 20 – Alabama.
May 31 – 2-week trip to London, Cornwall, Guernsey, Jersey, Wales, Isle of Man, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Ireland.
July – Then will see what deals we can find on Caribbean cruises.
Sept – Most likely to Russia for a job for a few weeks.
October – Back to Brazil, hopefully can take vacation before work this time.
2010 – Travel to every country in Europe

What do you do with most of your time?

Working a lot…and when not working, traveling or planning travel. Planning to get a motorcycle this summer to keep me occupied if there aren’t any new jobs to travel to.

What’s a typical day like for you?

Working days? Wake up early…~5-5:30am, work for 10 to 16 hours, dinner, watch a TV show, plan a little more of the next trip, then sleep.

Non-working days? There is no such thing as typical!!

What’s your favourite part of the TravelPod forum?

Being able to find insider info to pretty much any part of the world. It’s much better to hear about a place from those who have been there.

TravelPod Local Expert profiles

Top 10 places in England

Here’s a competing list to Sian’s list. Travelmonster who is another contributor to the TravelPod forums, has created her own list in the TravelPod forum discussion on the best places in the world. Here are her favourite places:

1. Cornwall

Fort Pendennis in Cornwall

Fort Pendennis in Cornwall

“The sun was starting to burn off the fog…so everything looked surreal…as if rising out of the sea.” – Galavanttravel

2. New Forest & Dorset

Cheli in New Forest

Cheli in New Forest

“The weather was cold last night and I was fascinated by the thin, generously patterned glassy ice which sealed almost every puddle of water, large or small. It made a fntastic cracking noise when I tapped it with my foot, which was lots of fun!” – Cheli

3. London

Smiling_nomad at Parliament

Smiling_nomad at Parliament

It was so fascinating to stand in the room where Robin Cook declared his resignation in reaction to the UK’s pending involvement in the Iraq war; to learn about Lenthal and his defiant and incredibly brave act against Charles I, and to witness the current-day superstitious acts of members of the House of Commons rubbing the feet of Churchill or Thatcher. – Smiling_nomad

4. Cambridge

Phillipsb1 "punting" down the river

Phillipsb1 "punting" down the river

It is somewhat of a tradition in Cambridge to go ‘punting’. Punting is taking a boat, somewhat like a rowboat, and a person stands on the way back. – Phillipsb1

5. Peak District

Bandglittle walking in Derby

Bandglittle walking in Derby

Like anywhere in England, the countryside in Derbyshire is covered in walking trails. This is a sight we pass on the way to Elvaston Castle.- Zento

6. Lake District

Shrubberies checking out the archaeological excavations

Shrubberies checking out the archaeological excavations

We spent 3 hours at Vindolanda, and could easily have spent longer. – Shrubberies

7. York

Fountains Abbey with Britt.mark

Fountains Abbey with Britt.mark

On to Fountains Abbey – established by 13 disgruntled monks in the 1200’s who stuck it big on Who Wants To Be A Medieval Millionaire and became the richest monastery in the known world. Absolutely awesome place. – Britt.mark

8. Chester

Latestarter in Chester

Latestarter in Chester

It’s several years since I was last in Chester and I’d forgotten how lovely it is with the quaint old buildings, riverside walk, tearooms and shopping. – Latestarter

9. Stonehenge

Stonehenge with Kamyp

Stonehenge with Kamyp

Stonehenge is a love it or hate it kind of place for most people. I fall into the love it category. – Kamyp

10. Stratford Upon Avon

Roberth at Shakespeare's house

Roberth at Shakespeare's house

The sheer quantity of preserved buildings is incredible. – Roberth

Hot places

10 best places in England

TravelPod forum regular, Sianeth compiled this list of the best things about England in the TravelPod forum discussion on the top 10 things about your home. Do you agree?

1. London town (specifically, go up to Primose Hill at night and look down over the lights of the city – awesome)

Evelyncagney on Primrose Hill

Evelyncagney on Primrose Hill

“At the weekend I had a great night out in Camden with the gang and eased the hangover with Sunday lunch and a stroll in Primrose Hill with Jenny, Steve and Paul.”Evelyncagney

2. Lake District

Traylertravels on Hadrian's Wall tsk tsk tsk

Traylertravels on Hadrian's Wall tsk tsk tsk

We got up the next morning & headed to Hadrian’s Wall. Now if you tell anyone that we climbed on an ancient Roman archeological site, we will just deny it!!!!Traylertravels

3. Peak District

Bandglittle on top the Heights of Abraham

Bandglittle on top the Heights of Abraham

The cable car ride is spectacular, the views amazing, and we are told this is the Peak Districts oldest attraction [not the cable cars just the mountain and caves].Bandglittle

4. Yorkshire Dales

Sianeth in the Yorkshire dales

Sianeth in the Yorkshire dales

We were given a guided tour of the Cave, complete with ridiculous hard hats.- Sianeth

5. Bath (slightly biased, but beautiful!)

Didi.smith in Bath

Didi.smith in Bath

Bath has been lovely! Probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to in my life!Didi.smith

6. Stonehenge

Bgtraveler2009 at Stonehenge

Bgtraveler2009 at Stonehenge

It was really windy and it’s fairly quiet so there’s definitely a mysterious, eerie air about the place. – Bgtraveler2009

7. York

Britt.mark at Clifford's Tower

Britt.mark at Clifford's Tower

“Strange city – not dirty but drab and maybe a little depressing but with a million arresting features everywhere you look and everything is dated pre 1800.”Britt.mark

8. Chester

Matt_and_ames in Chester

Matt_and_ames in Chester

We found Chester to be a very pretty town.Matt_and_ames

9. Oxford

Bodleian Library in Oxford

Bodleian Library in Oxford

“Oxford is amazingly beautiful. In the summer there are literally thousands of college and English language programs there – one can barely walk down the street.”Jchiarie

10. The moors and beaches of Cornwall

Travelmonster at Perranporth Beach

Travelmonster at Perranporth Beach

“It’s fantastic being in Cornwall, wide open spaces, trees, rivers, rolling countryside and fresh spring air – I can breathe again, wonderful!!”Travelmonster

Hot places

Top 9 disappointing European attractions

Bootsnall.com has come up with a list of the most disappointing attractions in Europe.

I have personally visited most of them, and agree. Here’s what some other TravelPod bloggers have to say:

1. Mona Lisa: TravelPod verdict –> Disappointing

Lunababy at the Louvre

Lunababy at the Louvre

“We saw the Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa. Personally, I think I am waaay prettier than both of them, lol!! ” – Lunababy

2. Gondola rides in Venice, Italy: TravelPod verdict –> Not so disappointing

Cheap gondola ride!

Cheap gondola ride!

“We learned of a service provided by the Gondola Association with the intention of improving the image of gondoliers. For only fifty cents each we could cross from one side of the canal to the other! After a lot of walking and searching we found the traghetto (poor man’s gondola) station where we boarded a rather plain gondola for the short trip across the canal to the Church of Saint Maria Della Salute.” – Cullism

3. Manneken Pis, Brussels Belgium: TravelPod verdict –> Disappointing

Manneken Pis in Brussels

Manneken Pis in Brussels

“We made our way down to check out the Manneken Pis, which is the peeing boy fountain that Brussels is famous for. It was actually a lot smaller than I thought it would be!” – Phillipsb1

4. Saint-Tropez, France: TravelPod verdict –> Not so disappointing

Coast of Saint-Tropez

Coast of Saint-Tropez

“Arriving in Saint-Tropez, we were surrounded by a myriad of people. Artists displaying their works for passersby, paparazzi trying to capture that million-dollar photograph of the various celebrities and wealthy elite, crew and passengers of the luxury yachts tied up in the prestigious port of Saint-Tropez and evening dinner goers on their way to a night of good company and gastronomy.” – Mimosa79

5. The interior of the Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain: TravelPod verdict –> Not so disappointing

Saktophe inside La Sagrada Familia

Saktophe inside La Sagrada Familia

“It was fascinating though to see how Gaudi got his inspiration from nature and how some of these shapes and textures (trees, leaves, fruits, honeycombs, minerals) were incorporated into the design. He was an architect, artist, engineer, mathematician and scientist all in one….what a genius!” – Saktophe

6. London Bridge, London, UK: TravelPod verdict –> Disappointing

Travelinbuskers under London Bridge

Travelinbuskers under London Bridge

“After discovering our first pay toilet : ( (rip off!) we got on a boat and sailed down the Thames River under the London Bridge (which we discovered is not the big pretty bridge, but an old, dirty, small one)!!” – Travelinbuskers

7. Little Mermaid statue, Copenhagen, Denmark: TravelPod verdict –> On the verge of disappointing

The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen

The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen

“It was worth seeing because we found ourselves near it by chance, but If I walked all morning or rode a tour bus across the city to see this statue, I would be sorely disappointed.” – Tbassplayer

8. Dublin Castle: TravelPod verdict –> Not so disappointing

Outside Dublin Castle

Outside Dublin Castle

“I loved the atmosphere of the house, and the wooden paneling was spectacular – but then I love dark wood, and you had the feeling it had darkened to such a rich hue over the centuries from studious polishing with beeswax perhaps.” – Grindelwalders

9. Live Sex Shows in Amsterdam, Netherlands: TravelPod verdict –> Not so disappointing

Live sex show in Amsterdam

Live sex show in Amsterdam

“While I found absolutely nothing sexual about the show, I’m glad I went and saw it. I can now say I’ve seen a sex show in Amsterdam.” – Kitty161

TravelPod Buzz

April Fools Day jokes on the road

Just because you’re traveling doesn’t exempt you from pranks and jokes on April Fools Day.

Here are a few wandering pranksters’ shenanigans we’ve heard of:

Hellotara emptied out her flat’s entire kitchen cabinet last night:

And the cupboards were bare...

And the cupboards were bare...

Darren and I just finished up emptying out the kitchen pantry entirely, so that when everyone wakes up tomorrow, they will have no utensils, plates, cups, pots, pans, etc. We hide everything in our laundry room cabinets and in two other closets in the flat.

-from “London on Lockdown” – London, England, United Kingdom

Andy1985 had his hostel room toilet papered by some fellow travelers in Argentina:

Andy's room toilet papered

Andy's room toilet papered

They thought it would be a good idea to toilet paper our room and steal our bags, but we managed to work out who it was and steal all their blankets and pillows and hide them in our lockers, but neither one would admit to it so it was a pretty interesting April Fools day this year.

-from “very hungover” – Bariloche, Argentina

Shawnte519 watched as her roommate found her room newspapered:

Jenna's room was newspapered

Jenna's room was newspapered

Our neighbors thought it would be a good idea to newspaper my roommates entire room!! She’s such a good sport.

-from “Still hanging in there . . . .” – Sydney, Australia

TravelPod Buzz

10 most dangerous cities in the world

RealClearWorld.com recently released their list of the most dangerous cities in the world.

Let’s see how our travelers fared in these circumstances

10. London, U.K.

Julie1227 in front of Big Ben

Julie1227 in front of Big Ben

9. Saskatoon, Canada

J_and_j pass grain elevators in Saskatoon

J_and_j pass grain elevators in Saskatoon

8. Norilsk, Russia (in Siberia)

No blogs: Foreigners banned since 2001

No blogs: Foreigners banned since 2001

7. Johannesburg, South Africa

Johannesburg Skyline by Ianvictoria

Johannesburg Skyline by Ianvictoria

6. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Hippler in Rio de Janeiro

Hippler in Rio de Janeiro

5. Detroit, U.S.A.

Foreman on Detroit's streets

Foreman on Detroit's streets

4. Caracas, Venezuela

Jamesandjulie at a rally in Caracas

Jamesandjulie at a rally in Caracas

3. Linfen, China

Ruudbatta at a wedding in Linfen

Ruudbatta at a wedding in Linfen

2. Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

Billiegreenwood in Ciudad Juarez

Billiegreenwood saw big guns in Ciudad Juarez

1. Mogadishu, Somalia

Usmcsniper finding water in Mogadishu

Usmcsniper finding water in Mogadishu

TravelPod in the news

The credit crunch and the “irresponsible” traveler…

Well the global economic crisis have caused quite a few people to go on the hunt for a new job. But some people, like Donmiller just leave everything behind and go on a jaunt through Southeast Asia.

Donmiller on his way out the door!

Donmiller on his way out the door!

For the second time this decade, I find myself unemployed with no prospects for remedying the situation. Last time this happened was in 2000 as a result of the dotcom crash. I could do the wise and mature thing and finish up the outstanding house projects, search frantically for gainful employment and generally hunker down for what could be a long siege. Or throw caution to the wind and leave it all behind. I have a load of frequent flyer miles that need to be used and have a very low standard of living. So leaving wisdom and maturity at the bus stop, I am heading to Southeast Asia next Tuesday.

– from “Headin’ Out” – Seattle, United States

Johnsa32 also threw his caution to the wind. Here’s how he describes his trip to Japan this winter:

Johnsa32 in Japan

Johnsa32 in Japan

As we plunge further into the Credit Crunch and the pound loses value more everyday, I thought I would quit my job and visit the most expensive country in the world – Japan. Wish me luck.

-from “Adventures in Unemployment” – London, United Kingdom

Vhenschke aka Valeska and Max have been going around the world, traveling and working. Leaving jobs and finding jobs. Right now, they are searching for a job for Max in Dublin, but he has consistently found himself jobless.

Valeska and Max

Valeska and Max

Poor Max, he has been plodding away on the job search for a few weeks now and nothing is coming up for him. He is applying for science jobs, which would be the ideal, but he is also applying for anything. He has gone into cafes, shops, juice bars, etc asking if they are hiring and the standard response is “no, we’re not hiring at the moment”.

TravelPod in the news