Chris Guillebeau’s 9 overrated tourist destinations vs. 9 alternatives

Chris Guillebeau came up with the 9 most overrated destinations and then offered alternatives to each of them.

I wanted to put them to the test, so I checked out what TravelPod bloggers thought about all 18 places.

1. Niagara Falls (Thumbs up)

Donhad thought Niagara Falls was "worth the trip"

Donhad thought Niagara Falls was "worth the trip"

“We had a whole day to do all the main tourist stops …..including a trip behind the falls, the Niagara experience (a movie in the round that rains and snows on you as you watch it). Up the space needle like tower for photos, a walk along the rapids, and of course the Maid of the Mist boat ride (WOW ….and in the front of the boat).” – Donhad

Alternative: Victoria Falls (Thumbs up)

Flolafol taking in the scenery of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe

Flolafol taking in the scenery of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe

“Swimming in Devil’s pool, a natural pool right by the edge of the Victoria Falls, white-water rafting the Zambezi, relaxing in a great chilled backpacker, spending time with wire Zimbabwean artists teaching me how to make my own wire baobab… the program in Zambia was hard !!!” – Flolafol

2. Grand Canyon (Thumbs up)

Jimandlaura thought the Grand Canyon was impressive

Jimandlaura thought the Grand Canyon was impressive

We entered the national park around 4pm, paying $25.00 for the privilege, and stopped off at ‘Grand View’ overlook for our first sight of the Canyon. Wow…it was as awesome as it looks on the telly! It certainly dwarfs the likes of Zion Canyon. – Jimandlaura

Alternative: Sedona (Thumbs down)

Bobnkaren thought the intense tourism in Sedona was "painful"

Bobnkaren thought the intense tourism in Sedona was "painful"

“It causes almost physical pain to see stupid retail shops built so near these breathtaking cliffs. It’s criminal. It just shouldn’t be. Arizona caved on this one–this should be a national park, not the purview of the wealthy.” – Bobnkaren

3. Bahamas (Thumbs up)

Hecqs really enjoyed Bahamas' Exuma islands

Hecqs really enjoyed Bahamas' Exuma islands

About 40 miles south of Paradise Island and an hour boat ride via IslandWorld Adventures….. We reached Saddleback Cay, a part of Exuma Islands. This is another out island adventure ….. I will say the best so far I had from Nassau. Lemon shark feeding shoreside in a clear aquamarine water… we were also greeted by the local stingray….. and a little historical tour of the island….. and a moment on a sandbar…. – Hecqs

Alternative: St. Kitts & Nevis (Thumbs up)

Ri-anne.cruz loved the seaside views at Frigate Bay in St. Kitts

Ri-anne.cruz loved the seaside views at Frigate Bay in St. Kitts

“First he showed us the town of Basseterre– a gracefully revived town and capital of St. Kitts. After decades of sleepy existence, this elegant and graceful West Indies town was restored from its shabbiness. Now with careful and sensitive restoration it revealed all the original charm and preserved its Caribbean architecture.” – Ri-anne.cruz

4. Paris in the summer (Thumbs up)

Gilmoregirls was impressed by the Arc de Triomphe in Paris

Gilmoregirls was impressed by the Arc de Triomphe in Paris

“Arc de Triumph more impressive than I expected. Decided as this was our last nigh in Paris that we would have dinner on the Champs Elysse and this was a good decision. Waiter was the typical French stereotype, suggesting what Madam would enjoy and being very attentive. Happily food and atmosphere lived up to expectations.” – Gilmoregirls

Alternative: Paris in the winter (Thumbs up)

Clandybar found great discounts and shorter lines in Paris in February

Clandybar found great discounts and shorter lines in Paris in February

“We only stood in line for about 10 minutes at the tower, then we were up the elevator and on our way. It was just as exciting as I imagined it would be. Great views! We had sun for the first part of the afternoon but the sky got grey by about 2:30 p.m. We made it up to the very top of the tower – a bit chilly in February but totally worth it. We were lucky that we didn’t wait until Saturday as the top level was closed due to bad visibility.” – Clandybar

5. Las Vegas (Thumbs down)

Alvrez got lost amongst the Las Vegas lights

Alvrez got lost amongst the Las Vegas lights

“Afterwards we decided to show the kids the neon of the Las Vegas Strrip again, but instead got hopelessly lost (yes, even with the GPS working properly!!) and eventually gave up and went back to the hotel to bed.” – Alvrez

Alternative: Any American Indian casino (Thumbs up)

Modernoddyseus squinting at the bright lights of the American Indian casino

Modernoddyseus squinting at the bright lights of the American Indian casino

“Casinos are only fun if you make them fun. Or, if you win. Then they´re really fun. Otherwise, casinos are just a bunch of dull people who mistakenly think they´re not just throwing their money into a hole in the ground.” – Modernoddyseus

6. Dublin, Ireland (Thumbs up)

Magicwoman82 in Dublin with a Bulmer's

Magicwoman82 in Dublin with a Bulmer's

“I am just back from 6 days in Dublin and I had a wonderful time. Many of you might now that I am madly in love with Ireland (and yes with you too Fernando 😉 ) and that I have lived there for 6 months back in 2007.” – Magicwoman82

Alternative: Smaller towns in Ireland

Neason's friend, Elaine hanging around in Stewartstown, Northern Ireland

Neason's friend, Elaine hanging around in Stewartstown, Northern Ireland

“This weekend a guy in my class invited all the 3rd years up to his parents house in Northern Ireland for his birthday… The house was amazing, it used to be lord someone’s summer residence and was a very impressive Georgian manor. There were 11 bedrooms (used to be 16 but they merged some ’cause it just wasn’t necessary to have 16 bedrooms in a 5 person household), at least 3 kitchens, an indoor swimming pool, tennis court, 2 lakes, stables, gate house and a big fountain in the courtyard. And it was all furnished in antique/period furniture. – Neason

7. The Pyramids (Thumbs up)

Brianporter felt more than a sense of accomplishment in Egypt

Brianporter felt more than a sense of accomplishment in Egypt

“Few countries can match Egypt’s wealth of ancient monuments and temples; the relics of Pharaonic culture have been drawing visitors for centuries. On arrival in Port Said, we felt a sense of accomplishment, that we were about to set foot in a country that most dream of visiting. There is universal fascination with the ancient Egyptians who established a magnificent and enduring civilization that flourished from around 3000 BC to 30 BC, ruled by approximately 30 dynasties. Pyramids, pharaohs, mummies, King Tut and Cleopatra. How can you top that?” – Brianporter

Alternative: Jordan (Thumbs up)

Rose of Boydandrose floating in the Dead Sea

Rose of Boydandrose floating in the Dead Sea

“We arrive at the lowest point on earth, the Dead Sea whose shores are at 420 m below sea level. It is now 3 PM and the sun is already starting to drop into the horizon. We change into our bathing suits for a quick dip in the Sea. It has a dark sandy beach leading up to the water, then a fairly rocky bottom for the first 2.5 m and then it is sandy again. We walk about 10 m into the Sea and then sit down in the water. Instantly, it feels like you are on a tire tube (except there is no tire tube). It is one of the most interesting phenomenons we have experienced. There is no way you can sink.” – Boydandrose

8. Singapore (Thumbs down)

Stevewade eating Indian in Singapore

Stevewade eating Indian in Singapore

“We are exhausted but the second we arrive we decide we need to explore. A bite to eat (tasty as fuck duck red curry!) and a beer (well a jug of tiger) later i’m down 80 quid. We decide to go to a bar full of hookers even though we’ve no money and no desire to shag hookers which was retarded. Cream’s bank card doesn’t work in any ATMs so I’m funding his trip it seems, the hookers wouldnt believe him when he said he had no money, but it was genuine. I didn’t realise Singapore was like that, the bars are full of them and they are mostly ugly and demand drinks (nae chance!). It was all a bit weird actually, I felt akward and just wanted to enjoy my pure blonde.” – Stevewade

Alternative: Malaysia (Thumbs up)

Stevewade enjoying a party in the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur

Stevewade enjoying a party in the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur

“This place was way off the beaten track not another tourist in sight and certainly no white people. On the way we came across this bizzare ‘shop’ which had a long rectangular pool, around this pool were families with fishing rods fishing for shrimp, what they catch they take home to eat. Was so surreal. We also saw lots of local eateries and what we’re told is a Malay pastime, lots of people gathered in a restaurant eating and watching a film. When we reached the house we found inside a multicultural group of people from all over the world who either lived there permanently or were stopping off on their travels including a couple who have been cycling round the globe for the past 4 years. We got everyone on the rum and cokes, got tanked, talked about shit, played a great card game that involved matching patterns and grabbing a stick which was rowdy fun and we found out what everyone’s favourite dinosaur was thanks to probably the strangest opening question from a newly arrived couchsurfer. An unforgettable night and then the couchsurfer stayed with us and this morning we had a traditional breakfast in china town, me eating fried duck and rice, G chinese rice porridge wqith chicken and spices then toured round KL seeing the sights, twin towers, KL towers etc, both mightly impressive.” –Stevewade

9. Dubai (Thumbs up)

Jring stretching to reach the top of the famous Burj tower

Jring stretching to reach the top of the famous Burj tower

“On the face of it Dubai is very materialistic with a strong divide between rich and poor but beyond that there is plenty of culture to be had away from the luxury resorts.” – Jring

Alternative: Oman (Thumbs up)

Tobyh on the edge of Wadi Ghul in Oman

Tobyh on the edge of Wadi Ghul in Oman

“Well, it turned out to be about three hours round-trip, but was one of the best hikes I had done for a long time. The trail almost immediately passed over the rim of the canyon, and then hugged the edge of the canyon as it slowly descended, with spectacular views of the other side of the canyon, and the peak of Jebel Shams itself above. Not for the faint of heart, the trail was barely more than a goat path about 30cm wide, with a sheer drop off to our right – looking down, the bottom of the canyon was about 1000m below! I kept my eyes on my feet. Eventually the trail ended at an abandoned village of primitive stone huts, where some adventurous people had, incredibly, created steep agricultural terraces on the canyon side. A bit ghostly in the absolute silence of the canyon, we then re-traced our steps back to the start, stopping frequently to admire the awe-inspiring views.” – Tobyh

Uncategorized

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

11 Most Romantic Destinations in the World

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

1. Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

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

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

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

2. Sunset cruise in Key West, Florida

Jeffmx64 on a sunset cruise in Key West after their wedding

Jeffmx64 on a sunset cruise in Key West after their wedding

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

3. Plains of the Serengeti

Kasnsqueak on the Serengeti plains

Kasnsqueak on the Serengeti plains

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

4. St Lucia

Ri-anne.cruz in St. Lucia

Ri-anne.cruz in St. Lucia

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

5. Maldives

Eastcoastrod with his wife on their honeymoon in Maldives

Eastcoastrod with his wife on their honeymoon in Maldives

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

6. Seychelles

Excope had "vacation elation" after visiting Seychelles

Excope had "vacation elation" after visiting Seychelles

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

7. Santorini, Greece

Akopplin enjoying the beach on Santorini

Akopplin enjoying the beach on Santorini

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

8. The Romantic Road

Brian796's friends at Neuschwanstein Castle on the Romantic Road

Brian796's friends at Neuschwanstein Castle on the Romantic Road

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

9. Paris, France

Luahn and her boyfriend in Paris under the Eiffel Tower

Luahn and her boyfriend in Paris under the Eiffel Tower

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

10. Monte Carlo, Monaco

Brianandjulie had a romantic breakfast in Monaco on their honeymoon

Brianandjulie had a romantic lunch in Monaco on their honeymoon

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

11. Gythion, Greece (Historical Bonus)

Bogna found the place where Helen and Paris' romance began

Bogna found the place where Helen and Paris' romance began

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

Hot places

5 “germiest” tourist attractions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Wall of Gum in Seattle, Washington, USA

Paulleck1975's friend Graham contributing to the wall

Paulleck1975's friend Graham contributing to the wall

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

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

Lavish48 kissed Oscar Wilde's grave without flinching

Lavish48 kissed Oscar Wilde's grave without flinching

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

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

Tbassplayer washed his hands thoroughly after taking this picture

Tbassplayer washed his hands thoroughly after taking this picture

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

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

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

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

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

Hot places

50 places to see before you die

BBC came up with a list of 50 places to see before you die and see them you did! TravelPod bloggers have covered all of them. How many places have you seen? Will you see them all before you die? I’ve seen 11, how about you?

1. Grand Canyon

Willandluce on Guano Point in the Grand Canyon

Willandluce on Guano Point in the Grand Canyon

We woke up just in time to catch our transfer to Boulder City from where we boarded a small prop plane and after a bumpy flight over the Hoover Dam, landed at the West Rim of the Grand Canyon. There waiting for us was a helicpoter which then took us down the 4,000 foot drop into the pits of the Canyon and landed us on the banks of the Colorado River. – Willandluce

2. Great Barrier Reef

Stevenmoody snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef

Stevenmoody snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef

We had a total of 3 stops each with about an hour to an hour and a half free time to snorkel around the area. It was amazing to think I was 60 km away from land and I was snorkeling in the ocean which was only 10 meters deep where we were! Saw so many amazing things in the water including the Nemo and Doris fish! A turtle and a Shark!!! I tried to swim close enough to shark and got within about 15 foot of it and just about got a picture. – Stevenmoody

3. Florida

Lgthib at Sanibel Island, Florida

Lgthib at Sanibel Island, Florida

While walking over the inland waterway to get to Bowman Beach, the girls spotted a manatee and watched it amble under the foot bridge we were on and swim off into the distance. The tide was too high for great shelling today on the sand, but Bri & Gabi went in the water and dove for shells, finding lots of nice treasures. Squadrons of pelicans flew low across the waves, and groups of White Ibises marched along the wet sand probing for food with their long, downward curving bills. – Lgthib

4. South Island, New Zealand

Leehorscraft and friends on the South Island

Leehorscraft and friends on the South Island

We arrived at Lake Rotoiti, which was mind blowing, possibly my favourite bit of scenery in NZ. The lake is beautiful, surrounded by gorgeous snow-capped mountains. It took my breath away. – Leehorscraft

5. Cape Town

Horvathck1 climbing to the top of Lion's Head Mountain

Horvathck1 climbing to the top of Lion's Head Mountain

Today after work the interns arranged a hike up Lion’s Head mountain because of the full moon. It is apparently tradition here in Cape Town. The trail wraps around the whole mountain, beginning as gravel/clay paths, and ending with large boulders you must climb with ladders, chains, and just your bare hands and feet (with shoes, of course). It was a challenging but REALLY fun hike, and the view from the top was my favorite thing I’ve seen yet!!!! There was a group of South Africans singing at the top–it was an incredible experience. We just sat, talked, and watched the sun set and the full moon come up, while eating some bread and cheese, and some brought wine. To be sitting at the edge by myself, thousands of feet above the city, legs dangling, and watching the golden/orange ball sink under the horizon of the ocean was probably a highlight of my life so far — a moment I will never forget. The beauty of God displayed in his creation tonight honestly left me speechless. I wish I could wallpaper my room with that 360 degree view. – Horvathck1

6. Golden Temple

Nomadic1 at India's Golden Temple

Nomadic1 at India's Golden Temple

Once you enter the complex you find yourself in a massive high walled courtyard with a huge, square pool of water in it that takes up all but the edges of the courtyard. In the center of that pool sits the aptly named Golden Temple. It was just after mid-day and the sun was shining brightly causing the gold covered temple to gleam. Supposedly, the temple is gilded with over 750 kilograms of pure gold. It certainly looked it from where I was standing. – Nomadic1

7. Las Vegas

Kirstine of Andyandkirstine outside her hotel in Las Vegas

Kirstine of Andyandkirstine outside her hotel in Las Vegas

It’s entertainment at its most vulgar. It’s the only place I have ever visited in the world where it seems you can get anything you want at any minute of the day. Just walking up the street slurping on our yard of frozen margarita in novelty glasses, we saw a midget elvis shaking his pelvis in the street and a rap-off eight mile style which was being filmed..awesome. – Andyandkirstine

8. Sydney

Tracymiller visited many of the sights in Sydney

Tracymiller visited many of the sights in Sydney

I made my way to the water where there are an array of different harbours. I found myself in Darling harbour to start which is quite touristy but very pleasant and picturesque. This is where i spent most of the day, just taking in the sights such as the Maritime museum, the aquarium…which i usually don’t bother with but was well worth it with a grand display of sharks, dugong, sting rays, plethora of fish and what not…all in a huge walk-in aquarium, so that itself took 2 hrs. And the rest of the time just took pictures of the harbour, and enjoyed the sun and the waterside cafes. Then i walked to Port Jackson harbour where the iconic Sydney Opera House is, for dusk to get some pictures…was a bit slow as it was dark by the time i found it. – Tracymiller

9. New York City

Pelooyen under the Brooklyn Bridge

Pelooyen under the Brooklyn Bridge

Sitting under the Brooklyn Bridge on the Brooklyn side. The view is PHENOMENAL. I have always wanted to be here and now I am here. I just sit and soak up the view, as well as take lots of artsy photos. I am amused and fascinated by a orthodox jewish school excursion who are taking the kids to see the bridge for the first time. – Pelooyen

10. Taj Mahal

Martininindia in front of the Taj Mahal

Martininindia in front of the Taj Mahal

I’m not exactly the most euphoric person out there, but the Taj Mahal is simply marvelous. We went at 6am before the tourist crowds arrived. The white palace looks exactly like on pictures, but there is something hypnotizing about the monument that doesn’t let you take your eyes off it. Kipling called it “the embodiment of all things pure”, for me it’s more the emanation of perfect harmony. No matter from what angle or distance you look at it, it always looks balanced and never overbearing or pretentious. Anyways, in the morning light, you can see the countless nuances of the white marble; every single building block and every gem in the marble inlay unique, but as a collective the perfect unity – ‘e pluribus unum’. I don’t want to push the analogies to far, but I get a similar sense when I look at an Indian bazaar or busy street: ordered chaos. – Martininindia

11. Canadian Rockies

Mady142's three sisters in front of the "Three Sisters" mountain range

Mady142's three sisters in front of the "Three Sisters" mountain range

We drove to Canmore so that I could get a photo I’ve wanted to get since I was in Banff with Mike in 2004. The 3 sisters in front of The Three Sisters mountain range. – Mady142

12. Uluru

Kkherbst and friends at Uluru

Kkherbst and friends at Uluru

Then we checked out the cultural center briefly before doing a very short into walk at Ayers Rock. That’s the large rock you always see when they advertise Australia. We watched the sun go down on it while drinking some beers and having some quality relaxation time before heading to the local grocery store to pick up candies for the night. – Kkherbst

13. Chichen Itza

Claraz8's family at Chichen Itza before her wedding

Claraz8's family at Chichen Itza before her wedding

Leading up to our wedding celebration we had a week packed with amazing adventures. Friends and family began arriving on Saturday the 20th and we had a blast. From scuba diving off the Isla reef, to dinner in Playa del Carmen, to Chichen Itza and cenotes on Wednesday, and good old fashioned lounging around at the beautiful Le Meridien pool the week could not have been any better. – Claraz8

14. Machu Picchu

Codownsean at Machu Picchu

Codownsean at Machu Picchu

It is breathtaking and awe inspiring and I really just cannot beging to take in what I’m looking at. The sense of expectation after the 4 day hike and the sense of reward are conflicting and I just find it so hard to take in. We carry on down the trek – stopping at every corner for a different photo. Truly unbelievable and already – this has become the new highlight of the trip. Surely nothing else can surpass this. – Codownsean

15. Niagara Falls

Reneltrek enjoying the sunshine in Niagara Falls

Reneltrek enjoying the sunshine in Niagara Falls

The Canadian side has the best views. The city is one big roadside attraction. I have not seen so many people since Mardi Gras in New Orleans. It was an international crowd; we didn’t hear a lot of English. The Falls are a natural spectacle surrounded by a carnival. At night they had fireworks and a light show. It was a fun 4th. Niagara Falls should be experienced once in a life time. – Reneltrek

16. Petra

Richymariner at the monastery in Petra

Richymariner at the monastery in Petra

Today the tour took us to the insanely vast site of Petra. The place is huge, and walking through the Siq tothe treasury is worth the price of admission alone! It is very popular and as such the best photos without too many people can be obtained later in the day (when the light is better anyway). Also took in the Royal Tombs (had a geek out moment with the scene from Mortal Kombat 2!) and took the long (but definitely worthwhile) walk up to the monastery and sacrificial high places. – Richymariner

17. The Great Pyramid of Giza

Kmidgette on the Great Pyramid

Kmidgette on the Great Pyramid

Giza was amazing! The site contains the Pyramids of Menkaure, Khafre, Khufu, and six smaller Queens pyramids. I was able to climb all the way up to the sarcophagus rooms of both the Great Pyramid of Khufu and the Pyramid of Khafre. Giza also includes some smaller tombs including the Tomb of Seshemnufer IV and Senegemib. This is also were you find the Sphinx. I hired a camel so that I could go off into the desert for a great view back at the pyramids! What an awesome experience! – Kmidgette

18. Venezia

Jamierand enjoying the canal views in Venezia

Jamierand enjoying the canal views in Venezia

We spent most of our time just wandering the streets on foot. We walked across the Rialto Bridge to the Rialto district where we found the outdoor markets. That is where we did most of our shopping, and enjoyed some excellent dinners of homemade basil ravioli, and excellent fresh produce. There are also a lot of fish vendors selling pretty much anything you can imagine. It’s a little tough to look at the waters around Venice and then go eat seafood. Not exactly the crystal clear seas we saw on the other side of the country. – Jamierand

19. Maldives

Eastcoastrod and his wife in Maldives

Eastcoastrod and his wife in Maldives

The resort was spread out over two islands, consisting of a combination of beach and water villas, six restaurants, two bars, two spas and Maldives finest underwater wine cellar. There is also a diving and sea sports centre, a gymnasium, an inviting swimming pool, and beach chairs and hammocks set up all over the two islands; all this in the middle of the Indian Ocean with an endless horizon of sea, sky and clouds in sight. Indeed, Robinson Crusoe would have been so green with envy. – Eastcoastrod

20. The Great Wall of China

Maaske and her family spent a year on the road, stopping in China

Maaske and her family spent a year on the road, stopping in China

Admittedly, we can’t say we can recite the historical significance of each part and how, when and why a particular section was built but we stare in amazement at the sheer enormity of the Wall and see not stone placed upon stone but the story it tells. When I walk the Wall I know that far more than we think is possible is actually possible. The Great Wall was built 400-2000 years ago over 5000 km long on top of mountain ridges that you and I would not normally even hike. The wall is an inspiration to me that great things are possible when we work together. – Maaske

21. Victoria Falls

22. Hong Kong

23. Yosemite National Park

24. Hawai’i

25. Auckland

26. Iguassu Falls

27. Paris

28. Alaska

29. Angkor Wat

30. Himalayas

31. Rio de Janeiro

32. Masai Mara

33. Islas Galapagos

34. Luxor

35. Roma

36. San Francisco

37. Barcelona

38. Dubai

39. Singapore

40. La Digue

41. Sri Lanka

42. Bangkok

43. Barbados

44. Iceland

45. Museum of Qin Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses

46. Zermatt

47. Angel Falls

48. Abu Simbel

49. Bali

50. French Polynesia

Uncategorized

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

20 best views in the world

Once again, another list recommended to us by mmbcross aka Martin Crossland, a Miami tour guide and regular in the TravelPod forums.

Here’s the list, with accompanying TravelPod member photos

1. The Grand Canyon from the South Rim

Kristenjohn at the Grand Canyon

Kristenjohn at the Grand Canyon

2. Hong Kong Island from Kowloon

"View of the city and our ship" by Aniseh

"View of the city and our ship" by Aniseh

3. Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

"Into Phang Nga Bay" by tsveti

"Into Phang Nga Bay" by tsveti

4. Manhattan from the top of Rockefeller Plaza

"View from Top of the Rock" by Buckeyeclayfan

"View from Top of the Rock" by Buckeyeclayfan

5. Istanbul skyline from the Bosphorus strait, Turkey.

Sproutfamily cruising on the Bosphorus Strait

Sproutfamily cruising on the Bosphorus Strait

6. The Ngorongoro Crater from North Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Tanzania

Shumphlett at the Ngorongoro Crater

Shumphlett at the Ngorongoro Crater

7. St. Paul’s from Waterloo Bridge, London.

St. Paul's Cathedral from Waterloo Bridge by Nklenske

St. Paul's Cathedral from Waterloo Bridge by Nklenske

8. The Golden Gate Bridge from the Marin Headlands.

Ellenwillow at Marin Headland

Ellenwillow at Marin Headland

9. Machu Picchu, Peru.

Jev at Machu Picchu

Jev at Machu Picchu

10. The Yucatan Peninsula from the top of Chichen Itza, Mexico

Ahartry on top of Chichen Itza

Ahartry on top of Chichen Itza

11. Florence from the loggia of Villa San Michele, Italy.

Jillflorant enjoying the view of Florence

Jillflorant enjoying the view of Florence

12. Paris from the Pont des Arts, France

Pont des Arts in Paris by Worldtaste

Pont des Arts in Paris by Worldtaste

13. The medina of Fes from the Palais Jamai, Morocco

Chooklotto overlooking the Fes medina

Chooklotto overlooking the Fes medina

14. Annapurna from Sarankot, Nepal

View of Annapurna from Sarankot

View of Annapurna from Sarankot

15. Sydney Harbour from Taronga Zoo, Australia

Samcohen1987's view of Sydney from the zoo

Samcohen1987's view of Sydney from the zoo

16. The Potala Palace from across the Lhasa River, Tibet

Potala Palace from across the river by Scottshangguan

Potala Palace from across the river by Scottshangguan

17. The Parthenon from Mount Lycabettus, Athens, Greece.

Mount Lycabettus' view of the Parthenon at night by Joseph_hillier

Mount Lycabettus' view of the Parthenon at night by Joseph_hillier

18. The Lemaire Channel, Antarctica

The Lemaire Channel by Rogersusieq

The Lemaire Channel by Rogersusieq

19. The City Palace from the Lake Palace, Udaipur, India

City Palace by Jbscott36

City Palace by Jbscott36

20. The temples of Bagan, Myanmar

The temples of Bagan by Markl

The temples of Bagan by Markl

Hot places

Top 10 most disappointing tourist spots in the world

eTurbo News recently listed the 10 most disappointing tourist spots in the world. TravelPodders seemed to disagree with all but one of the 10 on the list. Here’s what they have to say:

1. The Eiffel Tower – TravelPod verdict: Not so disappointing

Jcharwell's dinner in Paris

Jcharwell's dinner in Paris

“I then headed to the Eiffel Tower lawn to enjoy some vino and watch the sunset. After a bottle of wine and a spectacular view, I headed for the top to the Eiffel Tower.”Jcharwell

2. The Louvre (Mona Lisa) – TravelPod verdict: Not so disappointing

Mona Lisa at the Louvre

Mona Lisa at the Louvre

“A week or so ago, I had he pleasure of finally seeing Leonardo DaVinci’s Mona Lisa. Admire from afar, like a true beauty, is all that one can do – but it was amazing none the less.”Klauridsen
3. Times Square: TravelPod verdict – Not so disappointing

Times Square with Kristenjohn

Times Square with Kristenjohn

“We had a wander around all the streets, we went to M & M World, possibly the best place on Earth!!”Kristenjohn
4. Las Ramblas, Spain: TravelPod verdict – Not so disappointing

Kwt1981 in Las Ramblas

Kwt1981 in Las Ramblas

“We all loved the area around the Museum of Modern Art, Las Ramblas -artsy, small winding cobblestone streets, shops, cafe’s, old, young – fantastico!” – Kwt1981

5. Statue of Liberty: TravelPod verdict – Not so disappointing

Paulandcarolyn at the Statue of Liberty

Paulandcarolyn at the Statue of Liberty

“Today we went to see the Statue Of Liberty and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum on the ferry. Not the best day weather wise – very overcast and hazy. Very interesting though and worth the trip.”Paulandcarolyn
6. Spanish Steps, Rome: TravelPod verdict – Big disappointment

Christineraymo at the Spanish Steps

Christineraymo at the Spanish Steps

“We walked to the Spanish Steps, not a very big deal, just a bunch of kids sitting on an really big staircase. Stairs were about the last things we wanted to see at that point.” – Christineraymo

7. The White House: TravelPod verdict – Not so disappointing

Nietsreuef at the White House

Nietsreuef at the White House

“Architecture here is magnificent. The Capitol, White House, Museums, Treasury Department, National Archives, National Gallery of Art, Old Post Office, to name a few of the best.”Nietsreuef
8. The Pyramids, Egypt: TravelPod verdict – Not so disappointing

Justinrowe in Egypt

Justinrowe in Egypt

“There’s no denying that The Pyramids are spectacular. It is just astounding how the Ancient Egyptian managed to construct such enormous monuments.”Justinrowe
9. The Brandenburg Gate, Germany: TravelPod Verdict – Not so disappointing

The Brandenburg Gate at night

The Brandenburg Gate at night

“From there we headed through the impressive Brandenburg Gate to the Reichstag, the German Parliament.”Meganandkevin

10. The Leaning Tower of Pisa: TravelPod verdict – Not so disappointing

Duomo and the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Duomo and the Leaning Tower of Pisa

“Chris and I were the very first people to climb the tower today and what a spectacular sight it was to behold Tuscany at such a young hour of morning.” – Katieandchris

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

Matt Huckabee: Local Expert for Tennessee

Matt Huckabee is one of TravelPod’s newest Local Experts. He hails from Tennessee and is always eager to volunteer some expert information on this part of the U.S. He’s also demonstrated quite a bit of knowledge on Europe. He’s definitely a great guy to have around and he brings a lot to the TravelPod community.

Why did you become a Local Expert?

I became a Local Expert because I wanted to share my niche of the world with people. I really enjoy where I live and I want others to understand and explore the natural beauty that is Tennessee.

Matt Huckabee, Tennessee Local Expert

Matt Huckabee, Tennessee Local Expert

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

The single best thing about living in Tennessee is the seasons. I grew up in Florida and we had nothing but mild winters and hot and humid spring-summer-fall, so the changing of the seasons was a wonderful change for me. I love the outdoors and Tennessee provides an excellent playground for me. Hiking, biking, kayaking, and bungee jumping, Tennessee has it all.

One of the worst things about Tennessee is the lack of snow. Seriously. I like the snow and we don’t get near enough of it down here.

What are the top five or 10 things for travelers to do in Tennessee?

Gosh, that’s a tough question. Tennessee is such a diverse state it’s tough to nail down 5 or 10. I guess if I had to name some they’d be:

(no particular order)
1. Enjoy the outdoors (especially the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it’s the most visited National Park)
2. Visit Graceland and Beale Street in Memphis
3. Eat the Barbeque
4. Enjoy the country music scene in Nashville (Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium, Honky Tonks, etc)
5. See a football game in Titans Stadium or watch the Volunteers play in Knoxville
6. See Rock City

What are some of your best and worst travel experiences?

My worst travel experience:
I had just graduated from high school and my parents sent me and a friend to Europe for two weeks! It was going to be a great trip. Of course, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. We flew to Atlanta but our connection to JFK had to leave half full because of weather concerns (??) so we missed our connection to Paris. Needless to say the airline jerked us around enough that when we finally arrived in Paris a couple of days later we were totally exhausted. We also had to spend a week in Paris and Normandy with no luggage. Fun times!

My best travel experience: Same trip as above actually. We were in Normandy for the 60th Anniversary of D-Day. There was a big memorial early in the morning and we had to wake up at the crack of dawn, but it was totally worth it. Walking on the beaches in the early morning mist, watching the waves crash on the shore and thinking about the great sacrifice that took place there. It was life changing.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

My proudest accomplishment is achieving my Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America. It was the culmination of about 9 years of work and a huge service project with over 300 man-hours. Whew!

Matt Huckabee in the Tennessee mountains

Matt Huckabee in the Tennessee mountains

Where are you planning on traveling in the future?

I have a busy Spring/Summer actually. In May I’m flying to Raleigh, NC for a wedding, in June I’m heading to Europe for three weeks (Paris, Amsterdam, Munich, Interlaken, Rome), then in July I head to New York for another wedding, and later in July my dad, brother, and I are rafting the Grand Canyon.

As for more long term goals, I keep a list of all the places in the world that I want to visit someday. It’s really long and I continually add to it, but some of the highlights are: The Galapagos Islands, Singapore, and Tokyo.

What do you do with most of your time?

I work full time as a Researcher. I work with a virus called respiratory syncytial virus and right now I’m looking at how the virus changes from season to season and to see if that influences how strong it is. In my spare time I enjoy reading, playing golf, hanging out with my friends, and volunteering. I also dabble in this forum on the web, it’s called TravelPod, perhaps you’ve heard of it?

What’s a typical day like for you?

Well I get up around 6:30 and get ready for work. Then it’s work from 8-5pm. After work I drive home. Sometimes stopping at the library or at the gym. When I get home I usually check email/twitter/forums and cook some dinner. Then repeat. It’s pretty boring when I write it out actually *tear*

On the weekends though I love to play golf with friends and I’m volunteering at the library.

What’s your favourite part of the TravelPod forum?

I really enjoy looking at the Photos of the Month. It is amazing to see the places people have visited and the way in which they capture them. The pictures almost tell as much about the photographer as they do the actual place.

Want to know more? Ask questions about Tennessee in the TravelPod forum

TravelPod Local Expert profiles

Top 10 blogging destinations

This year’s top 10 blogging destinations are pretty predictable. The top three haven’t changed since 2003! London, Bangkok and Sydney are your favourite destinations to blog from. Here are the rest, and a quality example of popular activities from each destination.

1. London

Latest quality entry: “London” – London, United Kingdom

Gfleming's view of Big Ben

Gfleming's view of Big Ben

Gfleming spent an inexpensive and classic weekend in London, paying only £14 for a bus ride there.

2. Bangkok

Latest quality entry: “Bangkok!” – Bangkok, Thailand

Jimandnat at the Royal Palace

Jimandnat at the Royal Palace

Jimandnat did the rounds in Bangkok, visiting the Royal Palace, the Reclining Buddha and Chatuchak Market.

3. Sydney

Latest quality entry: “Sydney’s where it’s at!” – Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Danstrip2009 at Sydney Harbour

Danstrip2009 at Sydney Harbour

Danstrip2009 marvelled at Sydney Harbour and at the architecture of the Sydney Opera House, on her way to the beach.

4. Paris

Latest quality entry: “First few weeks in Paris” – Paris, Ile-de-France, France

Samchalmers in Paris

Samchalmers in Paris

Samchalmers toured the French Alps, saw the Eiffel Tower and took a trip down the Seine River.

5. Beijing

Latest quality entry: “The Forbidden City” – Beijing, China

Scottshangguan in the Forbidden City

Scottshangguan in the Forbidden City

Scottshangguan is one of TravelPod’s Local Experts for China. He loves Beijing and the Forbidden City, a must see for visitors to China.

6. Buenos Aires

Latest quality entry: “Bienvenido a Argentina” – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Tango dancers in Buenos Aires

Tango dancers in Buenos Aires

Vicky193 saw some tango dancers and visited La Boca, Recoleta, Palermo and San Telmo. She mentions she was warned of rampant crime, but witnessed none.

7. Singapore

Latest quality entry: “Singapore so far” – Singapore, Singapore

Tumblehome at the National Orchid Garden

Tumblehome at the National Orchid Garden

Tumblehome visited the National Orchid Garden and took in the sights of the city from a river tour last week.

8. Rome

Latest quality entry: “Rome” – Rome, Italy

Coreythess choosing gelato

Coreythess choosing gelato

Coreythess hit all the major sites in Rome, Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Colosseum, the Pantheon and the Forum. Oh yes, and of course, he sampled the gelato.

9. Melbourne

Latest quality entry: “Getting to Oz and first days in Melbourne” – Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Kkherbst and Dame Edna

Kkherbst and Dame Edna

Kkherbst hung out in Federation Square, met some “quokkas” and enjoyed all the free amenities for tourists, including a free 1.5 hour tram tour of the city.

10. Auckland

Latest quality entry: “Ode to a Lost Love” – Auckland, South Island, New Zealand

Elopfamily dropping his ring!

Elopfamily dropping his ring!

Elopfamily had an extreme adventure, traveling throughout New Zealand for seven weeks. They saw glaciers, went camping, hiking, bungee jumping and generally had a blast.

Looking back at the top 10 places you’ve blogged from in the last few years, not much has changed. Your top three stayed the same since 2003!

Here’s to 2009.

Where are you going?

TravelPod Buzz

Washington, DC Local Expert: Bill Windsor

Bill Windsor is one of TravelPod’s newest additions to the Local Expert ranks. He hails from Atlanta, Georgia, but is thoroughly familiar with the Washington, DC area. He can help you with traveling in areas throughout the United States.

I asked him about his travels and this is what he had to say:

Bill Windsor, Washington, DC Local Expert

Bill Windsor, Washington, DC Local Expert

Why did you become a Local Expert?

I became a Local Expert because I was impressed with a blog site dedicated to travel. As I am immersed in information about travel to DC as we prepare to open a travel business there, I thought it would be a good way to contribute.

What are the best and worst things about living in Washington, DC?

I don’t live in Washington DC. My opinion is that the best thing about living there would be that there is so much going on. The worst thing about living there would probably be that there is so much going on.

What are the top five or 10 things for travelers to do in your area?

Washington DC is all about history and government. The Mall is the center of the action. The Capitol, The White House, the Smithsonian museums, all of the major monuments. One of my favorite lines from the Movie The Castle (an Australian movie that isn’t well-known, but that we rank as one of the top 5 movies of the thousands we have seen) is “It’s the vibe of it.” The totality of all the buildings and monuments is so impressive and so special to see…that the top thing for travelers to do is to enjoy “the vibe of it.” I also like quirky stuff, so The Awakening Giant, the world’s largest typewriter eraser, the Watergate, and locations where spies operated and movies were filmed are all exciting to me.

What are some of your best travel experiences?

My wife and I drove to all 50 states on two-lane roads. Our business cards said: “We are traveling to all 50 states writing a book about the places we go, the sights we see, the peole we meet, and the pie we eat.” We met interesting people every day, including two people who floated across the Atlantic Ocean on a raft and a couple who pedaled across America in two giant shoes. We met artists, waitresses, doctors, desk clerks, gas station attendants, tow truck drivers, mountain sculptresses, snow cone makers, a Gideon Bible deliveryman, the woman who has lived across from the White House in a tent since 1981, and many others. We enjoyed 181 pieces of pie.

148 days, 29450 miles, over 2500 towns, 14,341 photographs, 181 pieces of pie, and much more. We saw everything from the Grand Canyon to the World’s Largest Ball of Twine. We have written a book about the experience, and www.roundamerica.com includes the full contents of the book. There are detailed journal entries from each day.

We continue to travel, photograph, write, and eat pie. We have taken two trips this year — “In Search of Elvis and the World’s Largest Chili Dog” and “From Atlanta to Paris and Back…by Car”. We plan another 50-state trip — 2009 or 2010, depends on the demands of business.

What is your worst travel experience?

We try to operate with the philosophy that there are no bad travel experiences. One of our 10 Rules of the Road is “Make the best of every situation, If it seems boring or ugly or wrong, look again.” Getting a traffic ticket on Day 3 of our 148-day trip was a bummer because we weren’t guilty. But our encounter with Officer Vincent Passarelli became one of our most told stories and it became a running gag on the trip. Then it ceased to be funny when we fought the case in a kangaroo court, and I was sentenced to a week in jail for speeding . But it became funny again when we appealed and got our fine back (fine paid in lieu of a week in the pokey).

What is your proudest accomplishment?

My proudest accomplishment is a wife of 37 years, two wonderful children, and the two smartest, most beautiful, most special granddaughters to ever walk the face of the earth!

Where are you planning on traveling in the future?

My wife and I plan to continue to travel on two-lane roads until we have seen every sight of interest to us in the United States. We have a massive database, and we are working to get it fully developed so www.roundamerica.com will have our photos and stories about everything one might see in America.

What do you do with most of your time?

I am a serial entrepreneur, so I work. I start new businesses. I retired from the big office, big staff day-to-day business at the age of 53. My focus now and I hope forever is on travel and photography. I am developing GPS travel products that I hope will become very popular. My wife and I love music and movies. We spend as much time as we can with the two smartest, most beautiful, most special granddaughters to ever walk the face of the earth!

What’s a typical day like for you?

I am a serial entrepreneur, so I have many businesses. I spend most of my time working with a team of people who are helping me develop this massive American travel database and organizing all the photos and stories about the places we have been, the sights we have seen, the people we have met, and the pie we have “et.” My laptop is almost always with me, and the Blackberry is always with me.

When traveling, we have developed the ability to load the sights we want to see into our GPS unit, and we travel from point-of-interest to point-of-interest with the press of a button. When we arrive at our sights to see, we see photos on our GPS unit and hear a narrative about the various points-of-interest. It makes traveling a dream! We also keep our heads on a swivel as we drive as the most exciting thing to us is finding a teepee motel or a family of giant people in the middle of nowhere that you didn’t know anything about.

Talk travel with Bill in the brand new Washington, DC forum

TravelPod Local Expert profiles

Halloween blogs from TravelPod

Happy Halloween everybody! People celebrate Halloween differently all over the world, and our travelers know how to do it in style wherever they are.

Here is a cute story from Zolab. He’s traveling with his family in Japan, celebrating Halloween with karaoke and pachinko.

Trick or treat in Tokyo

Trick or treat in Tokyo

Tonight we went trick-or-treating with Meredith and Isa. It was weird to not be in New Jersey with my friends and I was kind of sad for a while. But then I started collecting candy and it was okay. I like to hang out with Meredith and Isa a lot. There were lots of kids on the streets in all kinds of costumes, but none of them were too scary. I got a lot of candy and am about to fall asleep now before I count it. Tomorrow we are going to spend the night at their house – that will be fun!

– from Karaoke, Pichinko, and Halloween, Tokyo, Kanto, Japan

The Halloween decorations at Disneyland Paris have been up for a while. CDspring enjoyed them on Wednesday in France.

Halloween at Disneyland Paris

Halloween at Disneyland Paris

While the US versions have kinda gotten stuck on Nightmare Before Christmas, this park had tons of “Pumpkin People” statues and displays through out the park. They even had pumpkin people in their shows. When we arrived, there was a multi-language Villians show going on in the main plaza which was very cool (Diana was loving it). There were a bunch of pumpkin people in the show that looked very creepy but cool looking. I told Diana that if the color scheme of the displays were “red”, it would be quite disgusting. However, the orange made it feel like pumpkin juice and not blood.

-from Disneyland Paris, Paris, France

Bambbles is an English teacher, working in Chengdu, China. She brought her whole class to McDonald’s and had a Halloween party at McDonald’s. The photos are really cute, and everyone learned how to say “black cat” and “Happy Halloween”.

Bambbles dressed as a "black cat"

Bambbles dressed as a black cat

I got all dressed up as one of their new vocab words (black cat) and biked over to McDonald’s, where they were having the party. I think I had a few people look at me like “what is she wearing, crazy foreigner!” and may have caused a couple others to almost crash their bikes.

-from Halloween Party at McDonald’s, Chengdu, Sichuan, China

Featured blogs

Catholic Mass with Pope Benedict

As the Pope’s tour of France comes to an end, I’m taking the liberty of highlighting some TravelPod blogs about people who made their way to observe Sunday mass with the leader of the Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict

Pope Benedict

Schmans1 took some incredible photos, just steps away from Pope Benedict, before he delivered mass in Vatican City.

250,000 people in the streets of Paris to see the Pope

Rnriggins watched as over 250,000 people lined the streets of Paris to hear the Pope speak. He took the opportunity to head to the top of the Eiffel tower, just in time to shoot some great aerial photos of the city, teeming with life.

Carneyt2 and her friends at World Youth Day

Carneyt2 and her friends at World Youth Day

Carneyt2 bluffed her way into World Youth Day ceremonies in Sydney, where she came upon gigantic crowds of pilgrims waiting for mass with the Catholic leader.

Have you seen the Pope? When and where?

Tell me about it in the TravelPod travel forums.

Louise Brown

TravelPod Community Manager

TravelPod in the news