Lonely Planet’s top 10 places to party

Another great list from Lonely Planet, the world’s top 10 places to party. I put the list to the test and found out whether TravelPod bloggers partied it up, or died of boredom…

1. Belgrade = Party Town

Some "barge-clubs" found in Belgrade, Serbia

Some "barge-clubs" found in Belgrade, Serbia

“This is a town that knows how to go out. There are bars everywhere, the river is chock-a-block with barge-clubs and apparently most of the ‘coolest’ venues are still hidden away in unmarked basements. With no budget airlines serving Nikola Tesla airport it is also pleasantly lacking in British stag dos.” – Jiewu

2. Montreal = Fun, but expensive

Goldenfrog88 at Sky Pub in Montreal, Canada

Goldenfrog88 at Sky Pub in Montreal, Canada

We went to the gay district again to a bar that was recommended. We started off on their third floor terrace and ordered Canada’s infamously weak and expensive drinks. April and I ordered cosmos and got vodka crans in a plastic cup with one once of vodka for $7 each. After an hour we went to the first floor where a drag-show was happening. The performances were excellent with impersenations of the slum dog dance, Tina turner, and Madonna. I was surprised there was no way to tip them! Lastly, we went to the second floor to dance. Griselda and Isabella left earlier than April and myself. I tried getting over the whole “I don’t belong in gay bars” and just started dancng by myself to see what happens. I ended up dancing with some guy who had had way too much with different intentions of my own but at least he was cute. – Goldenfrog88

3. Buenos Aires = so-so

Curtisejtaylor meeting Brazilians at a pool hall in Buenos Aires

Curtisejtaylor meeting Brazilians at a pool hall in Buenos Aires

I don’t know what it’s like to party in big cities, but Buenos Aires, I found, is nothing worth boasting about. Nothing out of this world, if you’re wondering. It was good. – Curtisejtaylor

4. Dubai = “a very fun time”

Tnowakow at a private New Year's Eve party in Dubai, UAE

Tnowakow at a private New Year's Eve party in Dubai, UAE

“The party was at a friend’s of Mona’s out in Jumeriah and we drove to a super market where he had cabs come and take us to the actual house (he didn’t want a bunch of cars at his place). It was a sweet looking villa with a pool outside and he had masks for everyone to wear before the New Year. He also had it catered with any kind of drinks that you would want. All in all it was a very fun time actually” – Tnowakow

5. Thessaloniki = “such a fun night”

Jhdavis' friend Allie, with her drink on the party boat in Thessaloniki

Jhdavis' friend Allie, with her drink on a party boat in Thessaloniki

“We sailed around the bay for 30 minutes and the boat took us down the other side of Thessaloniki and across the downtown area by Aristotle Square and the waterfront bars and cafes. The music was great and all the people abroad where so friendly. At the end, we made our way back down to the dock and left the boat. It was such a fun night.” – Jhdavis

6. La Paz = a little boring

Wadeoliver at the "green party" in La Paz

Wadeoliver at the "green party" in La Paz

“Boys with the booze arrived 8 with 1 10L bottle (looked more like a gas can) of rum and 20L of vodka plus mixers. Once everybody had a drink in their hand then the party really started. The arrival of 4 giant pizzas for dinner was fun (one slice = 3 normal) but because I wasn’t into the whole dance thing, I had had enough by 11:00. I had to unlock my door and leave it open while I went downstairs to give the key to Mike as the door can’t be left unlocked. Felt a little sick (ok, threw up a little), showered, bed 11:30. Mike woke me at 01:45 knocking on the door because he was too drunk to remember I’d given him the key! Then Jo is knocking on the door 5 minutes later and he’s having a conversation with her in his jocks out in the hall so not to disturb me more (he’s a nice guy) but as one of the guys chasing Jo passed by it must have been embarrassing!” – Wadeoliver

7. Cape Town = 24 hour parties!

Nat_yeo and her friends dressed up for a party in Cape Town

Nat_yeo and her friends dressed up for a party in Cape Town

“We gathered at Proc’s house for champagne and dress ups before heading off to the big party at Ratanga Junction Theme Park, where the party was kicking into full swing. It is quite a thing to arrive at the party. Each group crosses over a catwalk and is announced as they arrive with cameras clicking and video cameras recording – you really want to ensure you have put enough effort into your costumes! The atmosphere was fantastic, the crowd very friendly and the music was rocking! We had a great night partying hard until the early hours before sunrise when we made a brief visit back to Cinds and Sebs for a quick shower and change, then off to another party!

The other party was an outdoor trance party held in a secret location around Hout Bay. Soon enough, we were kicking up a dust storm at breakfast time. We had a load of fun – I made some new friends and met some old and even had a call from UK friends cracking on back home whilst I walked through the surrounding forest. We called it quits around lunch time for some much needed sleep – a fantastic way to end 2 weeks in Cape Town.” – Nat_yeo

8. Baku = giant wedding parties

Lok loved the dancing at a wedding in Baku, Azerbaijan

Lok loved the dancing at a wedding in Baku, Azerbaijan

“We then all drove to the village’s wedding hall (yes, weddings are the only events held here), honking all the way. Men and women were seated, at 20 long banquest tables, separately in the hall. It was packed with some 350 people. There were food, wine, vodka, live band and singers and a lot of speeches and dancing. They have a lot of arm movements when they dance – both guys and girls. I could not tell who are husbands and wives since they did not interact at all throughout the event.

After 4 hours, the party at the wedding hall came to an end at 12:30 a.m. It was only adjourned to the bride’s home for more drinks and snacks.” – Lok

9. Auckland = high class style

Andanddan ringing in the new year in Auckland

Andanddan ringing in the new year in Auckland

“An hour or so later we wandered back into the foyer area, which was by this time buzzing with people, and we made our way back to the original bar. Another band, comprising a male and female singer, were now in full flow and had the crowd rocking and the dance floor heaving. At this stage we decided not to move on to the Loaded Hog as originally planned – this was turning out to be a good night and the price was right too!” – Andanddan

10. Tel Aviv = Shabbat culture

Egsolove partied every night when he was in Israel

Egsolove partied every night when he was in Israel

“I still have another night in Israel, and its going to be a good one. It’s shabbat, the party night. Israelis stay up very late, starting to party at 12:30 and not stopping until 5 or 6 sometimes. I’ve done this pretty much every night I’ve been in Israel. It gets exhausting for an American boy. But the culture here is amazing.” – Egsolove

Featured blogs

Pittsburgh TravelPod meetups

On my latest foray into the good ol’ U.S. of A., I met up with a bunch of awesome TP bloggers in Pittsburgh! VisitPittsburgh was kind enough to provide me with airfare and a hotel room during my stay there.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t all get together on the same night, so I met up with everyone in the area individually.

Here’s a run down of the awesome bloggers I met in Pennsylvania:

Jeremy, aka Jeremystravels, was only in town for Halloween weekend. He’s a frequent forum poster and just came back from a whirlwind tour of Egypt.

We met up for my first taste of the famous Primanti’s sandwiches and then joined his girlfriend Angie at Clearstory Studio for an amazing hipster-tastic costume party.

Jeremy and I at Primanti's on Halloween

Jeremy and I at Primanti's on Halloween

Jeremy and his girlfriend Angie all ready for the Halloween party at Clearstory Studio

Jeremy and his girlfriend Angie all ready for the Halloween party at Clearstory Studio

On Monday, Erwin aka mrshyguy and Allison aka jessnallie came out to enjoy the nighttime view of the Pittsburgh skyline at the Grand View Saloon. Erwin is a new member of TravelPod, just checking out the scene. Allison is quite the frequent blogger herself, writing about the trip she took with her daughter to New Zealand earlier this year.

Allison, Erwin and I at the Grandview Saloon

Allison, Erwin and I at the Grandview Saloon

Allison and I at the Duquesne Incline outlook at the top of Mt. Washington

Allison and I at the Duquesne Incline outlook at the top of Mt. Washington

And then there is Ray, Mr. Roundtheworld.

Later on in the week, I met up with Ray who happened to be in the area on his big giant American road trip to Florida. He has been a TP blogger for the better part of the last three years, writing and posting about all his adventures in Asia and Australia.

He picked up a shiny new TP water bottle and we shared some beers with my Couchsurfing host, Arunan at BBT (Bloomfield Bridge Tavern)

Ray at Fat Head's in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Ray at Fat Head's in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Ray with my Couchsurfing host at BBT

Ray with my host at BBT

TravelPod Buzz

TripAtlas’ 10 Safest Countries in the World

TripAtlas.com recently listed the 10 safest countries in the world.

“The Global Peace Index (GPI) moves beyond simple crime statistics alone, and looks at the actions of a government, the country’s relationships with the world at large, and the attitudes and demographics of its population.”

Let’s see what TravelPod bloggers had to say about that.

1. New Zealand

Kikiblogtrot in New Zealand

Kikiblogtrot in New Zealand

“I get to chat to local Kiwis who tell me about Christchurch and the life here, and not all of it is rosy and happy… far from it. They tell me about what they think of the racism and crime here. Something which I have to say I was surprised to hear about in New Zealand – it feels so much safer than some of the places I have been to before…” – Kikiblogtrot

2. Denmark

Pwong found the town of Christiana to be relatively safe

Twittg's friend Elisa on a trampoline in Norway

 

“Personally, I’d never live here, but the people seem to be happy and though crime has been on the rise in recent years, generally there is no trouble here.” – Pwong

3. Norway

Twittg's friend Elisa on a trampoline in Norway[/caption]“While traveling around Scandinavia, I heard people from most every country commenting on how crime has gotten worse with the influx of new immigrants from Afghanistan, Iraq and other parts of the Middle East.” – Twittg

4. Iceland

Cariverga in front of a waterfall in Iceland

Cariverga in front of a waterfall in Iceland

“I was lodged not directly in the hostel (no places…or whatever the reason) but in a nearby home of an old man (possibly, they got an agreement with him to accommodate surplus guests).

– Man, would you give me a key?
– Why? The door is open. We never close it.

OK. So, this is Iceland. No-crime-country. Previous year there were 2 car hijackings. Period.” – Cariverga

5. Austria

Danschedler was told that Vienna is safer than Budapest

Danschedler was told that Vienna is safer than Budapest

“I had already decided by now not to go to Budapest, which had been my next tentative stop, due to the riots that had broken out there. It probably would have been fine, but Pippi told me Budapest was, “…just like Vienna, but with crime,” so I decided to skip it.” – Danschedler

6. Sweden

Monk-san at an underground restaurant in Stockholm

Monk-san at an underground restaurant in Stockholm

“Stockholm is a clean place. There’s not much grafitti and crime seems low. In fact, I noticed that the rows of bikes stood outside the central station were mostly not even chained to themselves (to stop the wheels moving) let along chained to an immoveable object.” – Monk-san

7. Japan

Sean of Seanandkat in Ueno-mura, Japan

Sean of Seanandkat in Ueno-mura, Japan

“The area is nice and there isn’t hardly any crime and so I really had nothing to fear.” – Seanandkat

8. Canada

Weilnau found Whistler, BC to be a dangerous place

Weilnau found Whistler, BC to be a dangerous place

“Left with few options, Jason went to park at the municipal lot, which was free. Free indeed, but loaded with crime. Broken glass from car windows being smashed in, littered the lot and made us feel completely uncomfortable leaving our car, with all of our belongings, in such a place.” – Weilnau

9. Finland

Whitefox2008 petting a hairy cow in Yllas, Finland

Whitefox2008 petting a hairy cow in Yllas, Finland

“Would we visit Lapland again? Most definitely, yes. The appeal of Lapland is based on nature and landscapes. The most significant experience for me is plenty of snow, the tranquility, tidiness, abundance of winter activities, uniqueness and safety. Crime rate is low… I would recommend a visit to the Lapland.” – Whitefox2008

10. Slovenia

Slipperycoconut eating horse in Slovenia

Slipperycoconut eating horse in Slovenia

“We were told that there is no crime in the country and we felt safe walking back through town late at night. I later read that there was not a single murder in Slovenia in all of 2008. That makes we want to move there. The people all seemed pretty happy.” – Slipperycoconut

Featured blogs

Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Countries, 2010

very year, Lonely Planet tries to predict which countries will be the hot places to travel in the upcoming year. I took a minute to see what TravelPod bloggers thought about these countries in 2009.

Personally, I take issue with making a list like this. Who’s to say that New Zealand is “cooler” this year than it was last year? Are there really trends like this in travel? If they are, I believe they are manufactured by tourism agencies and the governments who support them, not by individual travelers themselves.

In no particular order:

  • New Zealand

  • Speat thought New Zealand was beautiful

    Speat thought New Zealand was beautiful

    “Well we are now in South Island and if we thought North island was beautiful you can just double it here.” – Speat

  • El Salvador

  • Ccchrissie loved the views of the countryside from Alegria, El Salvador

    Ccchrissie loved the views of the countryside from Alegria, El Salvador

    “Highest village in the country with amazing views from pretty well anywhere – don’t bother with the 100 steps!” – Ccchrissie

  • Germany

  • Jluetkehans and friends at the HofBrauhaus in Salzburg

    Jluetkehans and friends at the HofBrauhaus in Salzburg

    “We all had to share a litre of beer or so in the Hofbrauhaus (Katie may never have heard of it, but I assure you it is the most famous brewery in Germany, possibly in the world). There we had the good fortune to sit next to a Stammtisch, a special table reserved every Friday night by special Hofbrauhaus members. These men, largely older, are fully decked out in traditional lederhosen, jackets, and wonderful felt hats full of feathers, pins, and fur. They drink from special ceramic mugs, emblazoned with the Hofbrauhaus logo. On discussion with these men, we learned that their mugs are from the early 1900s, and have been passed down from father to son for generations.” – Jluetkehans

  • Greece

  • Pandb are enjoying Greece, even though it is rainy lately

    Pandb are enjoying Greece, even though it is rainy lately

    “We went for a day sail with Keith and Penny aboard Sea Trek and I was the only one brave enough to go for a swim before lunch. It was a lovely day out even if we did have to motor back! Yesterday Penny and I cycled around the lagoon, between showers, and saw a small group of flamingos that have just arrived here.” – Pandb

  • Malaysia

  • Dave of Daveandnat got along well with this restaurant owner in Malaysia

    Dave of Daveandnat got along well with this restaurant owner in Malaysia

    “At one of the traditional Malakan restaurants Christophe recommended, Donald & Lily’s, the 70 year old owner Donald sat with us while we ate and told us about the history of Malaka. After we had finished eating he invited us into his house which he had set out in a Feng Shui style. He was very proud of it as he had maintained a traditional Malakan layout. There were loads of ornaments and pictures and in the middle of the house was an opening out to the sky. Below this part was a lowered floor with a drain for when it rains. I would love to be sat in this room undercover when it rains, it must be really cool! He showed us pictures of his grandparents and their traditional wedding photos. It was an excellent experience and not something you could get in a museum.” – Daveandnat

  • Morocco

  • Landerh relished her surroundings in Rabat, Morocco

    Landerh relished her surroundings in Rabat, Morocco

    “Anyway the Oudaia is beautiful but you all probably know as much of its significance as I do. The “tour” ended on the garden and Kelsey and I went and had a coke in the restaurant. It’s probably the best seat in all of Rabat and I am fairly certain the world. I had found this picture before departing of some scenery of Rabat and had made it my wallpaper. As I’m drinking, I have a revelation. It’s right behind me. Magnificent.” – Landerh

  • Nepal

  • Carole91 can't stop buying photo books in Nepal

    Carole91 can't stop buying photo books in Nepal

    “So far Kathmandu is fab, it’s not too cold during the day but at night the temperature does drop. And yes it is shopping heaven here – if you avoid the tourist track. I am having a major problem with all the bookshops – there are so many beautiful photo books to buy – I am seriously considering investigating shipping costs! Food is great – the most difficult decision for today will be what do I eat tonight – Nepalese, Thai or pizza?” – Carole91

  • Portugal

  • Mike of Mikeandsuecuff spent a week in Lisbon, Portugal

    Mike of Mikeandsuecuff spent a week in Lisbon, Portugal

    “We left the west coast of Portugal for the big city. We went on the bus to Lisbon several times during the week-great city. Very friendly, very clean with a great buzz to it. The pavements are made of marble blocks in different patterns for different streets and squares. The buildings both old and modern are impressive.” – Mikeandsuecuff

  • Suriname

  • Els_and_peter's guide Stephanie looking for birds in her boat

    Els_and_peter's guide Stephanie looking for birds in her boat

    Els_and_peter wrote this haiku about their time in Suriname:

    “Birds, water, snakes, fish
    Dry season sun burns the land
    Red ibis at dusk” – Els_and_peter

  • USA

  • Travelingma watched the sun set at Morro Bay, California, USA

    Travelingma watched the sun set at Morro Bay, California, USA

    “The Rock is the home to many birds, including Peregrine falcons, although we did not see them today. To the north lies the beach strand, and to the south lies a sea break and the opening into the harbor. The tide was coming in as we arrived, so we parked and walked out to the rock. I ventured farther, over the rocks and out to the beach below the sea break. When I first started coming here, you could walk out on the sea break, but then someone was washed out to sea with a wave, so now the break is closed. But the tide was coming in, and there were magnificent wave crashes that towered over the break and cascaded down the side.” – Travelingma

Featured blogs

Photo of the Week: “… and again”, Mount Cook, New Zealand

I just love the crisp feel of this photo, I think the green moss helps make the snow on the mountain pop out of the background.

1.1240630920.mt-cookxxxx

“We awoke to snow covered ground but as we drove through the very scenic centre of the South Island the sun came out and we were treated to the most spectacular views of the snow covered majestic Aoraki, Mount Cook and the Southern Alps, as well as the brilliant blue glacial Lakes Tekapo and Pukki.” – Mertonkiwis

Photo of the Week

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

Dave and Angie’s insightful travel blog

Dave and Angie quit their jobs in the hopes of finding adventure. They ventured from Ireland and found it in Asia, the South Pacific and New Zealand. Their journey last about one year, and ended with them finding jobs and starting a new life in Wellington New Zealand.

Dave and Angie, fishing in Miramar

Dave and Angie, fishing in Miramar

Here are some excerpts from their blog:

From Myanmar:
When you arrive in Yangon and walk the streets it is like being in a different world. You will see old cars chugging around, pickup buses packed to the gills, grease shops, tea shops, scrap metal. The pavement is all cracked and broken and the streets are in bad shape. People have no money for powertools or machinery. Often you will see a row of woman working all day, 7 days a week in the paddy field for $1 a day. People don’t have much here and it is not because the country is poor. In fact it is quite mineral rich and teak is a major export here. However, anything good or valuable is taken by the government. The infrastructure is terrible, the roads are in ruins, yet at almost every town, bridge or village you must pay a toll to the government. – “Final Thoughts“, Yangon, Myanmar

From Vietnam:
On the ferry back from Ben Tre there was a motorbike with a small bamboo cage on the back of his bike. In this cage were some 10-12 dogs all on top of one another. The screams and yelps of the dogs was almost unbearable. My guess is that they were for consumption. It really was cruel how they were being transported. If this was back home, the driver would be arrested! – “Cack Boat Trip”, Ben Tre, Vietnam

Finally at home in Wellington, New Zealand:
After several days being bounced around various hostels (Downtown, Rosemere, Worldwide) in Wellington we found a really nice place to live up in the hills around Mt Victoria in an area called Roseneath. It is well fancy, compared with where we lived in Fairview. We have views overlooking Wellington harbour and we can watch the planes coming in and taking off from Wellington airport. My friend Barbara whom I once worked a funny job in a bookshop in St. Stephens green is living just down the hill from us, about 5 mins walk. It is so nice to finally empty the back packs and throw them in the attic! – “Settling in Welly”, Wellington, New Zealand

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

10 unexpectedly exciting destinations

Travel writer Ben Groundwater has come up with some destinations that are deceptively delicious. I thought I’d see what our travel bloggers had to say about the same places. In no particular order, here they are:

Utah, USA

Cmbuchholz in the desert in Utah

Cmbuchholz in the desert in Utah

Large canyons and several very impressive vistas off the interstate. Very difficult to explain how beautiful the scenery was, and not a lot of traffic on the interstate made for a very nice drive. Got into Moab about 8:30 and was a bit surprised. The city is a bit of a recreation mecca for outdoor sports. Has rafting on the Colorado river, hiking, 4×4 adventures, sky diving, etc. – Cmbuchholz

Croatian Islands

Hanna.patterson spent a day on a deserted island in Croatia

Hanna.patterson spent a day on a deserted island in Croatia

I would be remiss to write about Croatia without mentioning all of the water. The colors of the Adriatic Sea are beautiful! We spent a day relaxing out on an island and actually swam out to another island very near to the shore which is home to a Franciscan monastery. There were probably about 10 people on the entire island and it was very peaceful. – Hanna.patterson

Uganda

Rockobatty getting comfy with a silverback gorilla

Rockobatty getting comfy with a silverback gorilla

We began to have some lunch when myself and another fellow noticed some movement. We asked our guide what it was, and he replied that it probably was an antelope or something. Within a couple of minutes he said quickly put the food away that is not an antelope it is the gorillas, THEY WERE ONLY FEET AWAY. After we put our food away, we followed the trackers into the bush where we saw the first gorilla laying on his back in a tree just enjoying the sun. Soon there were gorillas everywhere: babies, teens and mothers. Brett was trying to get a good angle for a picture when you could hear some more just behind a bush near her, although this was no ordinary gorilla it was the SILVERBACK. He made very scary sounds, the trackers tried to imitate their sounds to let them now it was us. – Rockobatty

Bolivia

Joelrose on the salt flats of Uyuni

Joelrose on the salt flats of Uyuni

The Salar de Uyuni – nothing prepares you for this amazing bright white landscape – the result of an ancient sea which dried up over time and left 5 metres of pure salt across 12.000 km² of salt desert. It is situated at 3.650 metres above sea level so you get quite breathless moving about which we did a lot of as it is perfet for distance distorting visual illusion type photos (will upload these this weekend). – Joelrose

Country Netherlands

Kathryn77 found an amazing sand castle in Scheveningen

Kathryn77 found an amazing sand castle in Scheveningen

Scheveningen is the setting for an international sand sculpture competition each year in May – as I was there on 1st June, I only saw one sand sculpture, so I’m assuming that’s the one that won, as it was very well protected. Now THAT was a sandcastle!! – Kathryn77

New Zealand

Codownsean went sperm whale watching in New Zealand

Codownsean went sperm whale watching in New Zealand

The whale watching tour was great. There were two different sightings in spite of the choppy seas – well by choppy I mean 10 metre swells. The boat journey was frightful. After the whales we moved on to see some dolphins and fur seals. All grand stuff. – Codownsean

Moscow, Russia

Promking22 saw Eurovision in Moscow this year

Promking22 saw Eurovision in Moscow this year

Lowlights included: Belgium – A guy dressed as Elvis convinced he was the real King and that Elvis was a fat, dead, copycat. Czech Republic – gypsies led by weird dude in a red cape. Finland – bringing out their own Vanilla Ice…..and making it through to the final?? The Hosting – A model constantly showing her discomfort around her old co-host trying to get too close. We thought the winners of the night were Iceland and Turkey and the two poms that sat next to us. Possibly the only other people that spoke English. – Promking22

Namibia

Dwfromuk got to see some cheetahs

Dwfromuk got to see some cheetahs in Namibia

The morning we arrived here, we got to experience a cheetah run. The CCF has a number of cheetahs in large enclosures that were orphaned and can’t be released back into the wild. The resident cheetahs need to be exercised on a regular basis and we got to see it first hand, in fact we were inside the enclosure with three cheetahs. Totally and amazingly brilliant! – Dwfromuk

Tasmania

Tracymiller is adjusting well to life in Tasmania...

Tracymiller is adjusting well to life in Tasmania...

One day i went to a place called Liffey Falls, with beautiful falls in a lush, green forest. Another day a drive to the coast, a place called Low Head, where the ocean meets the Tamar River..nothing much there except beach, coast on both sides, lighthouse, a small town (small is big in Tassie) and nobody around. Lucy and I went to Josef Chromy vineyard for lunch which was just lovely. It’s set on a lake with hills all around and a nice terrace to sit outside…and a vintage bottle of sparkling wine always helps as well. – Tracymiller

Hot places

100 things to do before you die, TravelPod style (Part 5)

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

41. Go to the top of the Empire State Building in New York City

Twinkfran makes it to the Empire State Building

Twinkfran makes it to the Empire State Building

Day two I go to the top of the Empire State Building to see the amazing views over the city and then catch the circle line boat ride to see the Statue of Liberty. – Twinkfran

42. Feel the mist from Niagara Falls

Jtopping visits Niagara Falls on his Great American Road Trip

Jtopping visits Niagara Falls on his Great American Road Trip

The aura of the falls was present the moment we crossed the bridge into Canada. You could see the mist from the falls even when you could not see the falls themselves… We headed out to the falls around 10 pm, and got to see fireworks over the water and the light show that happens nightly at Niagara via the Canadian side. It was a spectacular sight to see, the water changing colors and the mist from the water all around you. I could have sworn that it was raining at one point, even though there wasn’t a cloud in the sky… The next morning, we did the journey beneath the falls where you can get within feet of the bottom of the waterfall. You could stand there for about a minute and be completely soaked, poncho or no poncho. – Jtopping

43. See rock band REM in concert, finally!

Giulianat got great shots of REM in Milan

Giulianat got great shots of REM in Milan

We had a great evening and after waiting three hours in the queue out the front we were rewarded with access to the mosh pit just 5 metres from the stage! I can tell you the lead singer Michael Stipe is a fantastic performer and it was great dancing around and singing with Alessia and the rest of the crowd to songs I knew and also the newer ones that I’m not so familiar with. – Giulianat

44. Enjoy writing more

Hsb deeply enjoyed writing her blog in Argentina

Hsb deeply enjoyed writing her blog in Argentina

I’m only here for a few days, and I’m obsessed writing this blog…! Well, it’s still time well-spent, as I enjoy writing, and I have definitely enjoyed reminiscing about Bolivia. It’s given me an opportunity to slowly re-live it, and has forced me to remember views and images that would have otherwise been relegated to the back of my brain forever. – Hsb

45. Start a travel club

Nancy.chappell attended a travel club meeting in Oxford, England

Nancy.chappell attended a travel club meeting in Oxford, England

Today we had a lazy morning and then they drove me to High Wickam at noon for my luncheon of Women Welcome Women Worldwide, the travel club I belonged to off and on for the last 20 years. There were about 122 of us there to celebrate the 25th anniversary – mostly from the UK, also France, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and 4 of us from the states. – Nancy.chappell

46. Visit a Vineyard

Jimandnat sample wine in Argentina

Jimandnat sample wine in Argentina

We caught the bus about 45 minutes out of Mendoza to one of the main wine-growing regions to visit some “bodegas” (vineyards). So we decided to all hire bikes, and we chose to hire a tandem which added much hilarity to the whole experience. The afternoon was gorgeous, warm, blue skies and sunny and we were cycling along tree lined avenues in the countryside and then popping into vineyards in between so it was fabulous fun. We visited a few bodegas, La Rural which is the biggest wine producer of the area where we got to have a look at some of the old equipment, like old grape-presses and lots of other little quaint bits. And then we got a free tasting of a Malbec, which is the red wine which the region is famous for. – Jimandnat

47. Explore Australia in an RV

Serenitynow playing in a park in Perth, Australia

Serenitynow playing in a park in Perth, Australia

The magnificent Kings Park is described as the jewel in the city’s crown, and one of the largest inner city parks in the world. We spent the afternoon hear and wish we could have spent longer. The park overlooks the city and provides excellent views. It is meticulously maintained with cultivated gardens and natural bushland along with many grassy lawns, all featuring grass like that of a golf course. – Serenitynow

48. Go adventuring in New Zealand

Apoc100 boating around New Zealand

Apoc100 boating around New Zealand

On the way we were very lucky to see some wild dolphins swimming next to the boat and they got quite close the boat so naturally I had to take 100 photos in the span of a minute. We also saw several waterfalls such as the Stirling Falls which created a beautiful rainbow in the light, and many “temporary waterfalls” that appear only when snow melts. These temporary waterfalls look like veins on the side of mountains that fall slowly towards the lake, usually forming bodies of ice on the way. Apoc100

49. Trek The Annapurna Circuit in Nepal

Jimmyandkristen hike the Annapurna Circuit

Jimmyandkristen hike the Annapurna Circuit

In a couple years, the circuit as we know it will be gone. The whole point is that it is a working road…but one without motorized vehicles. The only way to get to these places is to walk. The road will, as some bloggers have written, “ruin” the circuit. And I suppose for Trekkers it will. The road will make it so that you can pretty much drive almost all the way to the Throng La (Throung Pass), and will turn that achievement into a 3-5 day trek, not a 15-20. – Jimmyandkristen

50. Eat tapas in Spain

Jeffandash eat tapas in Barcelona

Jeffandash eat tapas in Barcelona

We just got back from a restaurant with some tasty tapas for dinner. Tapas are little appetizers and Jeff tried all kinds of new food…salmon eggs for example! Jeffandash

TravelPod Buzz

100 things to do before you die, TravelPod style (Part 3)

This is part three of a 10 part series that will feature some of our users’ inspiring 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?

21. Watch the sun rise from the middle of the ocean

Q09elle's photo of a sunrise over the Pacific Ocean

Q09elle's photo of a sunrise over the Pacific Ocean

There is something about water that calms people, or maybe it’s just me. Yes, I need water to survive, but there`s something more than that to me about ocean … This is a view from a town called Kozu. It is close to Odawara, if anyone is familiar with that area.Q09elle

22. See a wild tiger

It's fuzzy, but that's a real wild tiger that Indianature captured in this photograph

It's fuzzy, but that's a real wild tiger that Indianature captured in this photograph

Taking a last peek through our binoculars before we left, we heard Prema cry out that the tiger was under a tree. What sharp eyes she has. Sure enough, there it was, sprawled majestically under a tree barely a few metres away from the calf. Perhaps the tiger had been there all along while we were up. Perhaps not, or the crows would not have come near. Nor was there any tell tale animal smell. All excited, we stayed put, eyes glued to the binocs.Indianature

23. Smell the sweetest flower

Richardbarrow88 had a chance to smell sweet flowers in Bangkok

Richardbarrow88 had a chance to smell sweet flowers in Bangkok

Even if you cannot get here for the flower festival, the park is a refreshing break from the city and a chance for you to refresh your lungs and smell something beautiful for a change.Richardbarrow88

24. Help/volunteer at an elephant sancutary

Beka feeding elephants at a sanctuary in Thailand

Beka feeding elephants at a sanctuary in Thailand

Basically I had a great time and I loved working with the elephants. It may sound like an obvious things to say but they really are big! Majestic, intelligent and very funny to watch and I can understand why people go back year after year.Beka

25. Learn to surf

Romero on their honeymoon in Australia learning to surf

Romero on their honeymoon in Australia learning to surf

I got up on the board and I was actually riding the wave! It was so cool! I was the first one of the day to get up and actually ride the wave. I fell off close to shore and it wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be. The hardest part was getting back out to the deeper water where everyone was. I kept getting POUNDED by the waves as they would crash on me, and they would send me back underwater.Romero

26. Grow a tree

Eddakath planted trees on the barren hills of China

Eddakath planted trees on the barren hills of China

I seriously can not remember once in my entire life ever being asked to plant a tree on Arbor Day nor do I actually ever remember hearing about Arbor Day until I moved to China.Eddakath

27. Fly in a bi-plane

Jenandjeffmilum in the pilot's seat in New Zealand

Jenandjeffmilum in the pilot's seat in New Zealand

It’s amazing that in NZ you can get into a two seat open cockpit high-performance stunt plane and in a few minutes you are not just flying the plane, but are actually doing rolls and loops. The thrill of flying his own stunt maneuvers made this a highlight of the trip for Jeff. The flight was capped off by the stunt pilot taking back the controls and taking the plane through his repertoire of crazy stalls, rolls, upside down flying, and five-g loops. Too much fun.Jenandjeffmilum

28. Visit a nude beach

Chattermouth visited a nudist colony in Australia

Chattermouth visited a nudist colony in Australia

The next day we took a day trip to a local commune, complete with a nude beach, meditation centre and vegetarian café. I happily participated in all three, but I’ll spare you the details. About 200 people reside in this totally self-contained community-dreadlocks and unleashed hounds seemed to be a requisite for membership. But the food was excellent, I had homemade pumpkin and almond pie. Yum. Later on, we lazily floated down a river in inner tubes. Relaxation at its finest.Chattermouth

29. Go on a round the world adventure

Krissy before she embarks on her round the world trip

Krissy before she embarks on her round the world trip

Well the time I was anxiously waiting for had come, my backpack was packed (now that was a challenge!) and I was ready to go, at least that’s what I was telling myself! Krissy

30. Be in Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day

Maw922 on St. Patrick's Day in Dublin

Maw922 on St. Patrick's Day in Dublin

St. Patrick’s Day activities were very interesting in Dublin. It is true that bigger celebrations are held overseas in America. The parade was not as big as I thought it would be and there were a lot of American bands that played in it and I did not see any Irish dancing or hear any Irish music. – Maw922

TravelPod Buzz

16 Most Livable Cities in the World… and more

Mercer releases its list of the most livable cities in the world every year. Here’s a list of the top selections, complete with thoughts from TravelPod bloggers who have been there. I went up to 16 because Ottawa is the city where I live!

You can click on the other cities and find more blogs about them on TravelPod.

1. Vienna, Austria

Llucas at Schonborn Castle

Llucas at Schonbrunn Palace

Today we visited Schonbrunn Palace, and tried to figure out just who was who. – Llucas

2. Zurich, Switzerland

Hardiek says "it's as cold as it looks"

Hardiek says "it's as cold as it looks"

The prices are stratospheric! That’s in the upper stratosphere, right at the stratopause, next to the mesosphere, where temperatures are supposedly about the same as on the ground here.Hardiek

3. Geneva, Switzerland

Megmary in Geneva

Megmary in Geneva

What I’m trying to say here is that Geneva is beautiful. And very clean. – Megmary

4. Vancouver, Canada

Beach near the city in Vancouver

Beach near the city in Vancouver

I checked out Stanley Park, it’s like a mini national park right next to the city. – Jess_stewart

5. Auckland, New Zealand

Jamesburford's friends at the docks in Auckland

Jamesburford's friends at the docks in Auckland

It has a similar feel to the Australian cities and is clean and modern but is just so much smaller. – Jamesburford

6. Düsseldorf, Germany

Jrutledge in the streets of Dusseldorf

Jrutledge in the streets of Dusseldorf

About 83 percent of Dusseldorf was destroyed in World War II. The parts they’ve rebuilt display beautiful modern architecture. – Jrutledge

7. Munich, Germany

Beer and pretzels with Sarahindenmark

Beer and pretzels with Sarahindenmark

All the sites in Munich are really really close together so it’s a great walking city. – Sarahindenmark

8. Frankfurt, Germany

Azcelt loves Frankfurt

Azcelt loves Frankfurt

The city nicknamed Mainhattan or Bankfurt holds a special place in our hearts as we lived here for many years. – Azcelt

9. Bern, Switzerland

Travelingdiva was a little cold in Bern

Travelingdiva was a little cold in Bern

It’s easy to get around, well signed, and a lot of the sights are fairly close together. The only problem was that it was incredibly cold there and I could have used a few more layers. – Travelingdiva

10. Sydney, Australia

Codownsean bridge climbin' in Sydney

Codownsean bridge climbin' in Sydney

It is a pleasant place full of character in spite of the teaming tourists – though market day today ensures that its busier than normal. – Codownsean

11. Copenhagen, Denmark

The devil frightening tourists in Copenhagen

The devil frightening tourists in Copenhagen

We rested up from the long train ride and then we went to the National Musset. They had a really great exhibition on the pre-modern peoples up until the Vikings and also on the history of the Danish people. – Deacnightowl88

12. Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington from on high

Wellington from on high

The next afternoon we had to scrape ourselves out of bed because we wanted to go to the National Museum, Te Papa. We weren’t disappointed. – Alandrach

13. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Ninabrosig walking around in Amsterdam

Ninabrosig walking around in Amsterdam

Also on Saturday it was very warm and in the evening we had a lot of fun visiting the red light district and sitting at a coffeeshop. – Ninabrosig

14. Brussels, Belgium

Brittany-randy in Brussels

Brittany-randy in Brussels

The train/tram system here is quite confusing, made worse by the fact that paper maps of the system are (seemingly) impossible to find. – Brittany-randy

15. Toronto, Canada

Danfa at the top of the CN Tower

Danfa at the top of the CN Tower

After visiting the tower we headed down to an ice rink we had seen from the tower. We hired some skates and got down to the frozen pond. Dan got around several times but I only made it around once but with only 1 spill!!! – Danfa

16. Ottawa, Canada

Szm52 at Parliament Hill in Ottawa

Szm52 at Parliament Hill in Ottawa

I have walked along the ice canal and been Snow Shoeing (this is basically wearing tennis rackets on my feet), I tested out a night clubs (wherever you go the nightclubs are the same), I have also tried a local Canadian dish called Poutine (this is Chips. Cheese and Gravy) – Szm52

16. Berlin, Germany

18. Melbourne, Australia

19. Luxembourg, Luxembourg

20. Stockholm, Sweden

21. Perth, Australia

22. Montreal, Canada

23. Nuremberg, Germany

24. Oslo, Norway

25. Dublin, Ireland

26. Singapore, Singapore

26. Calgary, Canada

28. Hamburg, Germany

29. Honolulu, United States

29. San Francisco, United States

29. Helsinki, Finland

29. Adelaide, Australia

33. Paris, France

34. Brisbane, Australia

35. Boston, United States

35. Tokyo, Japan

37. Lyon, France

38. Yokohama, Japan

38. London, United Kingdom

40. Kobe, Japan

41. Milan, Italy

42. Portland, OR, United States

42. Barcelona, Spain

44. Washington, D.C., US

44. Osaka, Japan

44. Lisbon, Portugal

44. Chicago, United States

48. Madrid, Spain

49. New York, United States

50. Seattle, United States

Hot places

9 travel jobs for the newly unemployed

Travelandleisure.com has come up with a list of the top vacations for the newly unemployed.

Some of our travel bloggers have given up everything and pursued their new career while traveling. Here’s a selection of some of the best blogs about it:

1. Farm your way around the world:

Lucy.cooper worked for her stay at a farm in Ngunguru, New Zealand. It’s a popular way for backpackers with small budgets to travel the world.

Lucy.cooper WWOOFing in NewZealand

Lucy.cooper WWOOFing in NewZealand

2. House Swap:

Redbikini‘s mom arranged a house swap for her in Australia, right on the beach.

Redbikini and mom on the Australian coast

Redbikini and mom in Australia

3. Sail Off Into the Sunset:

Nikihead became a yachtmaster after sailing from Australia to New Zealand.

Sailing the Pacific

Nikihead ailing the Pacific

4. Take Classes in a U.S. National Park:

Keggebeen‘s kids took the “Junior Ranger” class at Yellowstone National Park.

Exploring a wolf den in Yellowstone

Exploring a wolf den in Yellowstone

5. Stretch Your Savings with Yoga Teacher Training:

Bonniebzdok spent four weeks learning to teach yoga at a center in Baja, Mexico.

Bonniebzdok with her yoga instructors

Bonniebzdok with her yoga instructors

6. Finish Your Novel in a Medieval French Village:

Maddewar found her own little retreat in Perpignan, France.

The medieval town or Perpignan

The medieval town of Perpignan

7. Become a Chef – Or Just Eat Like One:

Ericsophie learned how to cook in the Thai style in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Learning to cook in Thailand

Learning to cook in Thailand

8. Work the Slopes:

Robertbeddow became a ski instructor, where else? In Verbier, Switzerland.

Learning first aid in the Swiss Alps

Learning first aid in the Swiss Alps

9. Save the Whales, or Whatever Else Needs Saving:

Tvpitz volunteered with Earthwatch to help protect the Pantanal in Campo Grande, Brazil

Tvpitz taking off for the Pantanal

Tvpitz taking off for the Pantanal

TravelPod Buzz

Baby tuataras found in the wild

Back in January, I brought you news of a birth of the endangered reptile, tuatara in a New Zealand zoo.

Today, New Zealand conservationists are celebrating the discovery of baby tuataras in the wild. They were found in Karori Wildlife Sanctuary.

Here’s a bunch of travel blogs from Karori:

One of my personal friends and a very lovely lady, Annek spent the day in the sanctuary and took some incredible photos.

Karori Wildlife Sanctuary

Karori Wildlife Sanctuary

In the morning Virginia’s friend Kathleen dropped us off at Karori, a predator-free wildlife sanctuary just outside the city. They are undertaking an impressive amount of forest and wetland restoration there and we saw our first saddlebacks whilst walking through the reserve.

-from “Wellington” – Wellington, New Zealand

Kirksabroad’s entire family took a trip around the world and enjoyed “Children’s Day” at Karori Wildlife Sanctuary:

Dylan and Millie enjoying the view

Dylan and Millie enjoying the view

It’s quite a breathtaking place for somewhere so near to a big city. It’s a completely protected wildlife sanctuary and it even has a disused goldmine to explore, where we got a good sight of some wetas, though no glow worms unfortunately.

-from “Childrens day at Karori sanctuary” – Karori, New Zealand

Spanish blogger Patoysandrix spent a few rainy days in Wellington and went to the park when the rain stopped:

Patoysandrix in Karori Park

Patoysandrix in Karori Park

When we saw the first ray of sun we run to Karori Park (Rivendell for The Lord of the Rings fans) and we walked through the rainforest for a morning.

-from “Go All Blacks!” – Wellington, New Zealand

TravelPod in the news

Henry the tuatara fathers babies at age 111

This just in, a really old endangered lizard fathered a batch of baby lizards. He was assumed to be well past the mating age, but today, veterinarians were surprised when a bunch of healthy tuataras were born at the Southland Museum and Art Gallery in Invercargill, New Zealand.

We were lucky to have some intrepid travelers visit Henry in the past. Here are a few blog entries about him:

Rzdonz spent 10 months “bumming” around New Zealand in a van. They met Henry in 2007 when he just wasn’t breeding:

Henry the tuatara

Henry the tuatara

The gardens are located right next to the Museum which Robin stopped into for the toilet and saw that the Tuataras we had been hunting for in the gardens were actually in the museum. We checked out the Tuataras which are literally living dinosaurs. They are small, stumpy iguana-looking lizards that managed to survive the mass extinction of the dinosaurs. There was one named Henry that may be the largest (fattest) tuatara alive that has a bit of an attitude and has to be kept in a separate enclosure because it attacks any other tuataras, he won’t even breed. After we had a look at the photography and other exhibits in the museum we got back on the road and once again found ourselves on our way to Colac Bay.
-from “Bluff to Colac Bay” – Colac Bay, New Zealand

That all changed the next year, when Mertonkiwis stopped in on Henry back in October, some of his eggs had just been laid:

Henry the tuatara

Henry the tuatara

“In the gallery is the Tuatara House with Henry who is over 100 years old and has just fathered 11 eggs, which should hatch whilst we are here.”
-from “The very friendly city” – Invercargill, New Zealand

Claire, aka Probablylost traveled to Invercargill with a choir. They spent a few hours playing outside the museum on the playground. They also took a minute to say hi to Henry.

Claire sitting on Henry

Claire sitting on Henry

We went to a museum that had some nice photos and paintings and the rare Tuatara (Henry was born in 1880!). There was also a probably-not-yet-named baby tuatara.
-from “At The Bottom of The World, Practically” – Invercargill, New Zealand

TravelPod in the news