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The Terrific Travel Thread

Outside of board games, one of my biggest (though admittedly quite infrequent) hobbies is traveling. I try to get out of the country at least once a year, even if I often cheat by going to the UK which is close by and relatively cheap to get to.

Anyway, I love hearing about other people’s travels too, so I figured I’d start a thread where we can share experiences and suggestions when it comes to everything from travel destinations, local cuisine, and what gear to use when traveling.

To kick things off, I’ll start with this question:

What is your dream travel destination, and why?

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I guess I’ll go first, too!

So, my dream travel destination is actually one I’ve already been to - Japan. I was in Tokyo back in 2012, and it is probably the greatest trip I’ve ever been on. I fell in love with the city and country, and I’m aching to go back. So much so that I’m currently studying Japanese with the goal of being fluent enough in it one day to be able to travel the the more remote parts of the country, where people generally do not speak English as much or as well as they do in Tokyo (and even there, English is far from common).

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Mine too. My wife and I have been twice, and absolutely love the place. We’ve had to be sensible and buy a house rather than go again, but we will go back again, that’s for sure.

I’d love to visit every island. A winter holiday in Hokkaido and a tropical one amongst the islands south of Kyushu are my dream trips of the future…

Speaking of learning, Duolingo have recently added Japanese to their app. I’ve found that my initial attempts to learn hiragana through books etc. have made learning through Duolingo pretty good, but I don’t think it’s great for someone with no previous knowledge of the Japanese alphabet(s).

Yeah, I’m using Duolingo, but only as a compliment to the classes I’m taking. I don’t think that Duolingo alone would be enough to teach you even the basic of Japanese, as the exercises don’t have any kind of grammar explanations or anything, but as a way to keep your knowledge alive it works well.

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We spent a few weeks on Hokkaido, and despite being one of one 3 “westerners” we say the whole time there and not speaking any Japanese, we had surprisingly few problems getting around. So I’m sure you have no troubles at all.

One of the highlights of the trip was wandering through the outskirts of Sapporo, looking for somewhere to eat, but it was just in the middle of the suburbs. We came to a building that had the blue banners outside (really need to work out what these mean!) and popped in to find a little hole in the wall local sushi place, literally seated 8 people, and the chef and his 4 patrons welcomed us enthusiastically like long lost friends. There was only one menu - whatever the chef was cooking, so we a had 3 or 4 courses of exquisitely simple food, but tasty and fresh and some ridiculously cheap price like $10. Much smiling and nodding and everyone was happy!

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Dream vacation? A lot of stuff…there are so many historical places I want to visit…

Last week I have been to Ribe in Denmark which has a great Viking Centre! They are building Viking ships there and I talked to a shipbuilder for a long time. I love stuff like that.

But I also want to go back to Yellowstone National Park and spend more time there to explore everything and see more of the nature off the roads. I have been there two years ago and I miss the bisons.

I also want to do a whole American Civil War battlefield tour, only visited Gettysburg up to now and that was so fascinating!

Auschwitz is also a place high on my list and not too far away.

I also never been to Rome, the many tourists are detering me but it is so full of Roman history. And don’t forget Pompeji, I’ll see that one day for sure!

You can see that history and nature are the two main factors for me in regards to travels :slight_smile:

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I’d love to go to Iceland. It looks incredible, and bonus for maybe seeing the northern lights :slight_smile:

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I would suggest to visit Rome in October! I went last year, it was still warm enough to wear shorts and t-shirt and still not as crowded as it could’ve been. And make sure to spend enough time getting lost on purpose, that’s just the best!

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My favourite destination (not so much a dream as more a thing that happened once, sometimes twice a year during my childhood) is Quiberon peninsula in Brittany. The tides of the wild coast and the rich cultural heritage of the place get me every time, not to mention the regional delicacies. And for all you Welsh speakers out there, the Breizh language is the closest living relative to welsh.

I’ve already been to my top travel destinations! :smiley:

First on my list was New Zealand. I was there for 2.5 weeks and visited both North Island and South Island. It’s silly, but I wanted to visit because of the Lord of the Rings movies, haha. It just looked so beautiful! A nice bonus I wasn’t expecting when I got there was that the food is amazing! All of the ingredients are incredibly good because there’s no factory farming there. The eggs were especially amazing; the yolks were almost orange! :open_mouth:

We stayed at a beautiful house on the coast in Tairua, went to Hot Water Beach in Coromandel where we dug sand to allow the hot water springs to fill shallow pools and sat in them like they were hot tubs, then had to leave or keep digging when the tide came in. We went to Otorohanga Kiwi House and saw super cute little kiwis that run around like ridiculous cartoon characters, then went to a geothermal park in Taupo to see geysers, bubbling mud, and colorful acidic pools. There was an area with lots of caves; I went to one with lots of tiny glowworms (that had a tame eel in the river that would let you pet it!) while my friend went on an 8-hour spelunking thing that involved rappelling and jumping into dark holes. And of course we went to Hobbiton! :slight_smile:

As fun as all of that was, I think I enjoyed South Island more! We went on a small (100 people) overnight cruise to the fiordlands. I didn’t even know there were fiords in New Zealand! There were kayaks on the boat and they led short excursions, but it was raining and slightly too cold for me to just go in my swimsuit so I skipped it. I did get to see dolphins and even a little penguin, though! And the fiords were so beautiful and lush. We stayed at a lovely house in Queenstown right by the lake. The glacial lakes have some mineral in it that makes the water look like a lovely Caribbean blue. We went to Mount Cook National Park. :mountain: They have several cabins that are basically right new to the base of the mountains. It was spring when we went, and the entire area was filled with purple, pink and yellow lupins. We went on a flight over a glacier on the mountain, which is pretty awe-inspiring. We stayed in Akarua, a little French (!) town on the coast that had several vineyards, and went on a boat trip to swim with dolphins! :dolphin: Eee!!!

So that was an amazing trip. :slight_smile:

Last year we went to Utah, which was the second place on my list. I just really like the red rock and weird formations. I knew it there was going to be a lot of hiking so I actually prepared by running three times a week for a couple of months before the trip. I hate running! In addition to lots of hiking, we also did zip lining, a hot air balloon ride, and canyoneering (rappelling). My favorite thing we did was hiking the Narrows, which is basically hiking up a river in Zion.

As for other places I’d like to visit, I kind of want to see Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and I’m curious about visiting London, mainly because my friend said that when she goes there, it feels like returning to the motherland. :wink:

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I’ve been to Iceland! For like… Two hours? I had a flight to Boston that had a two hour or so layover in Reykjavik. Iceland looked incredibly pretty when we were flying in - you could see water frozen on the mountains and everything! I would really like to go back there and stay for a week or two.

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I have very conflicted feelings about Rome. It is a city incredibly rich in culture and history… but the problem is that the city knows it. It is incredibly tourist trap-y. It costs money to get into pretty much everywhere, and you’ll have people coming up to you trying to sell you things.

I’m happy that I went to Rome, and it was cool seeing buildings like The Coliseum and The Pantheon up close, but I have no real desire to go back.

This brings me to another point about traveling, which is that I rarely find myself compelled to visit the really big tourist attractions. I much prefer to check out the hidden places that attract the locals. Traveling for me is more about trying to immerse myself in the culture of a place, rather than checking off items on a list of “got to see”.

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Ha, that’s like me having been to Hawaii but really only just because I had to change planes there on my way to Vancouver from Australia.

I’d definitely recommend Iceland. The landscape is so surreal, it’s an incredible place. Entirely carbon-neutral too, I believe…

Also, Penis Museum.

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One of the things to remember is never go into a restaurant that sells spaghetti and meatballs! Look out for one that has supplì. I found it rather easy to leave the beaten paths because Rome is also quite big.

But there is so much to see for free, you can almost skip the sites that want an entrance fee.

The selfie-stick vendors pride themselves guessing your nationality and asking you in your language. I was everything from French, English, Dutch and one time Swedish. That was just hilarious to me. :grin: Find joy in the weird things I advise you.

A couple weeks ago, I got to spend about a week in London. I’m quite an anglophile, and this was my first time travelling there as an adult, and it was great. I relistened to the History of the World in 100 Objects podcast before going to see the actual objects at the British Museum. In Greenwich, I got to see Harrison’s original timekeepers and toured the Cutty Sark. Got given a tour of the British Library’s Treasure Room by a friend who studies old texts. Got rush tickets for a West End play. Went on the Harry Potter Studio tour and saw the facade of 221B used in BBC’s Sherlock. Strolled through Borough Market…

I’m also trying to learn Japanese (it’s going very slowly), partly in order to visit there. I really want to visit Okunoshima.

I too would like to get more about the local culture than just be tourist, take some pictures to say I’ve been there, and leave unchanged. But I don’t really know how to go about that. Got any tips for who isn’t the smoothest social operator?

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Haha, I’m far from the smoothest social operator. So far my trick has been to know someone in the city I’m going to. :stuck_out_tongue:

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I have an unfair advantage here. My family moved across an ocean every 18 - 24 months from the time I was born until I was in college, and in the process I’ve been able to live in, or at least travel to, almost all of the places I’ve ever wanted to go to in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. In the process I’ve crossed the equator twice, and the date line nine times (since I started out in Seoul, and ended up in New England, that makes me a full day younger than I should be! That’s how that works, right?) Furthermore, my job has also afforded me the opportunity to travel extensively throughout the United States as well, which makes me currently the only person I know that has been to all 50 states (by which I mean I’ve actually spent time in each state outside of an airport).

But, if we’re talking about someplace I would like to see that would be completely new to me, then it would have to be coastal Turkey and Anatolia. My fascination with the late Bronze Age means that there are a whole slew of spots from the ancient Greek colony of Miletus, to Hisarlik and the ruins of Ilium (Troy), and especially Boğazköy where the ruins of the Hittite capital, Hattusa, lie. I’ve been lucky enough to have been to many of the places described in the Homeric tales and surviving diplomatic texts: most of the extant Mycenaean (Greek) sites, and most of the important historical sites in the Levant (Syria, Israel, and Jordan), and Egypt . Personally, I’ve always been most fascinated by the Hittites, and yet, despite their Bronze Age superpower status, they are largely forgotten today by everyone except academics. Nevertheless, I would love to stand within the ruins of Hattusa trying to hear the Storm Gods of Hatti bellowing across the plateau.

Besides, the other Bronze Age behemoths, Assyria and Babylon, are not accessible to me at the present, and frankly I think my days of international travel (with the exception of Canada every now and then) are over. Ah well, it’s not like I’ve never been anyplace! :wink:

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I think all I did was take you to various places to eat, haha!

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And a game shop!!

Seriously though, eating new food is one of the best things about travel! And also, I find, a pretty good way to learn about a culture. What, and how, they eat says a lot about a people.

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