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Published: September 26th 2018
TOP 10 OF EVERYTHING
Well, okay, maybe not quite everything.
Though I’ve been doing my damnedest to cram in as much as I can for the last couple of decades, not even I can claim to have been anything like everywhere.
Even so, to mark 10 years since my first post on TravelBlog, I thought it might be fun to make a list of my personal favourites, if only to start some heated discussions.
So, without further ado, let’s kick of with the big one...
1) Earth : I may be a little biased, but it’s still by far the best planet I’ve ever set foot on. And quite frankly in my opinion anyone thinking of moving elsewhere needs their head examined.
2) There is No 2. If anyone out there does have any suggestions I'd be more than interested to hear them. So just maybe it's time we started looking after No 1 because, as the saying goes, there is no Planet B.
Once again, can’t claim to have been
to them all, but of the quarter I’ve sampled these are my pick of the bunch.
1) Palau : Nobody Does It Better
2) Nepal : The Valley of the Shadow of Death
3) Laos: Leave the Best to Last
4) Papua New Guinea: Heaven is a Place on Earth
5) Australia: So good I moved there!
Then it’s quite a gap back to...
6) Vietnam: 22 years ago it would have been at 1)
7) USA: possibly the most underrated travel destination in the world
8) Botswana: wild things
9) Belgium: from 11) to 20) would likely all be European, but this petite delight is the only one to break the 10
10) India: you’ve not lived till you’ve been... Would You Like Lies With That?
Tough gig this, as I actually don’t much like cities, so those on the list must be pretty special...
1) Sydney: and by quite some margin...
2) San Francisco: hilly happy hippy heaven
3) Recife: everyone flocks to Rio, but if you want to see the real deal at Carnaval, check out Pelhourinho in Recife. Total madness!
4) Edinburgh: once again subject to bias, but I actually like it
more since I left.
5) Amsterdam: 88 beautiful canals and once hell of a tongue-twister.
6) Wellington: windy but welcoming
7) Salamanca: sandstone, sangria, salchicha, sensational
8) Hanoi: 20 years ago at least, it was a surprisingly unspoilt third world city.
9) Vienna: Absinthe, Beethoven, Freud, Klimt, Lauda... quite the Liszt!
10) Luang Prabang: another controversial one, as it’s pretty tiny for a city, but Wikipedia can’t be wrong, can they?
TOP AUSTRALIAN DESTINATIONS
If you're headed down under, these are the must see spots...
1) Far North Queensland: so good I’ve called it home for 15 years
2) Margaret River: fine beaches, fine forests, fine wine
3) Byron Bay: laid-back life
4) Whitsundays: cruise between 74 beautiful islands
5) Sydney harbour: Manly-The Rocks ferry, possibly the world’s most scenic commute
6) NSW Snowy Mountains: ski in winter, hike or bike in summer
7) The Kimberleys: proper outback fun, but you’re gonna need a 4WDrive!
8) Blue Mountains: beautiful hiking a stone’s throw from Sydney
9) The Dandenongs: beautiful hiking a stone’s throw from Melbourne
and Surrounds: Victoria has Snowy Mountains too!
TOP UK DESTINATIONS
Back in Blighty, here's where I'd be headed...
1) Cornwall: Rugged coastlines, cute towns, surf, sand and sun (well, maybe!)
2) Skye: a craggy land that time forgot
3) Oxford: your IQ raises ten points as soon as your feet hit the ground. Good pubs too!
4) Snowdonia: Wales’ wild wonder
5) Edinburgh: 4500 listed buildings, world’s biggest arts festival and one hell of a New Year
6) Lake District: for wanders lonely as a cloud
7) Glencoe: but perhaps not if your name’s MacDonald...
8) Brighton: Rocks
9) The Cotswolds: you age 10 years on arrival. Don’t forget the pipe and slippers...
10) Loch Ness: mythical creature hunt
TOP 10 MOST OVERRATED
Don't believe the hype...
10) Climbing the Statue of Liberty: Queue on a steep staircase for an hour with someone’s bum in your face for a three second peek of a very dull view.
9) Bondi Beach: Australia’s most famous beach and not even close to its hundredth best.
8) Hollywood: the whole of LA really, but Hollywood in particular. Outstandingly naff.
7) The Long Bar, Raffles Hotel, Singapore: Final Stop at Fantasy Island
6) Liverpool: Principally famous for The Beatles, who left as soon as they could afford to. I did the same, only with fewer screaming girls.
5) Surfer’s Paradise: possibly the second most famous beach in Australia and, astonishingly, even worse than Bondi.
4) Koh Samui: or 100 other spots in Thailand (and around the world) which were much better before all the tourists arrived.
3) Paronella Park: in the 1930s some random Italian built a papier mache castle in the middle of nowhere. It’s now unfathomably Queenslands No 1 tourist attraction. Total Rubbish.
2) Taj Mahal: Princess Diana came here and famously sat looking sad. I can see why.
1) London: I’ve tried, I really have. I even lived there for 6 months. Hated every second.
10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT TRAVEL
It's not all sun, sand & sex...
10) Tour Groups : No matter how idyllic
the spot, it’s instantly ruined by the arrival of a tour group shuffling by showing vague (if any) interest as they're bombarded by the well rehearsed spiel of the guide, wondering quietly to themselves what time they’ll be getting their next ice-cream. I’d rather be shot.
9) Overly Loud Talkers : why is it that whenever you’re in a small crowd, one little group will be making 90% of the noise, despite having the least enthralling of conversations. Historically Americans seemed to get the rap for this, but more recently many other countries are producing more than their fair share of loudmouthed idiots and the Americans are distinctly minor league. Don’t forget the earplugs.
8) Full Moon Parties : A thousand idiots smashed out of their tiny minds on a beach celebrating that the moon is straight in front of them and the sun straight behind. Happens every month. Get over it.
7) Five Star Hotels : Curious establishments which try to convince people with more money than sense that they’re better than the rest of us. Dull unfriendly clones with no individuality or character, just like the people that stay
6) Drinking Games : just when you thought the night couldn’t get any worse, someone starts playing drinking games.
5) Overly Officious Officials : the less powerful they are, the more powerful they think they are.
4) Travel Bores : They’ve done more things than you, they’ve been more places than you. And for some reason, they think you’re even vaguely interested. Tossers.
3) Folk Who Just Won’t Leave You Alone : sometimes it’s money... do you want to buy a bracelet/ go on my tour/ stay in my guesthouse. Fair enough, we’ve all got to earn a crust. But the worst ones don’t even want money, just random strangers who latch onto you and attach themselves by some invisible bungy cord and show no sign at all of ever going away, totally impervious to unsubtle hints or long awkward silences. 99% of folk are very nice, but these guys are part of the one slightly weird percent that aren’t. And 1% of 7 billion-plus turns out to be quite a few.
2) People Who Travel With Guitars : They’re hip, they’re funky, in
touch with their inner soul. And they’re just aching for someone to ask if they play guitar so they can knock out an impromptu (and inevitably dire) singalong, which they’ll claim gets them back to their blues roots and is in no way just a shameless ruse to pick up girls. If you were any good, mate, you’d be back home doing it for a living.
1) Bob Marley at Sunset : Like Irish pubs which aren’t in Ireland, Bob Marley at sunset might actually be quite cool in Jamaica. Which goes no way at all to explaining that wherever I go, from Brazil to Borneo to Bali, beautiful beach sunsets are forever ruined by some dickhead putting on the miserable droning cliche of Bob Bloody Marley to toast the final rays. Makes me want to Get Up, Stand Up and smash the bloody speakers. I half expect to see some bloke coming round with a little ceremonial sword so we can all slash our wrists. Dude’s been dead well over 30 years... isn’t it time the music died with him...
Luckily despite these 10 irritating things, there’s 100 more I love about travelling,
which makes me think it’s high time to get back on the road again.
Till then feel free to let me know your personal bests (and worsts) so I can check them out when I finally go.
Here’s to the next 10 years guys!
Andy (and Debbie!) X
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