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Visit these or I'll set the Dalek Chef on you!
Your Top 10
Member Name: The Daz
Your Top 10
Advantages: Great destinations (obviously)
Disadvantages: I could only choose ten.
Pull up a chair, settle down with a cup of tea (coffee/juice/white diamond/whatever), and listen in. *adopts informative and reassuring voice, turns on elevator music*. Choosing where to go on holiday can be a difficult thing, after all, how many proper holidays will you have in your life? You need to pick somewhere that will satisfy everyone in your travelling party, balances the needs of entertainment and sightseeing with your budget, which, let's face it, is increasingly feeling the squeeze these days. Let me help you.
Right - enough of that. This isn't SkyTravel TV, and I don't care how much money you want to lash on you next trip. Listen in, and listen good, or else.... Erm....you won't benefit from my widely travelled knowledge gained from years of globetrotting adventures. That's what....
Easily the most cosmopolitan and varied city I've ever visited. You can catch a Baseball game at the Rogers Centre, get dizzy up the CN Tower, potter in warmth through the Underground City (PATH System of shopping alleys below the downtown), visit the scenic Toronto Islands, explore the Ontario Art Gallery and History Museum, go to the Beach, eat out at one of thousands of restaraunts, visit a lively bar, do some shopping in the swanky Bloor-Yonge district, walk along Queen Street West (hip and trendy), go to the colourful splash that is Kensington Market, check out Casa Loma (wacky), and much, much more. Backed up by the best Public Tranport System outside Europe, and with prices comparable to the USA, but with cleaner streets and better service, you're hard pushed to find anytime to be bored, no matter how long you visit for.
Ah, gay Paris.....Je t'aime... Actually, it's a top place, even if you leave out all that soppy romance lark. The Louvre, Musee D'Orsay, Napoleons' Tomb (Les Invalides), Notre Dame, L'Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concord, Musee Rodin. And that's only what I can remember. Alright, so it's busy - everyone is here at once! But for good reason is it the world's most visited city. Take a Batobus along the Seine, climb Montmartre to the Sacre-Coeur, potter through the shopping galleries of Les Halles, see the wacky Pompidou Centre, hang out up the Tour Montparnasse, see the cool office buildings of La Defense, enjoy the Viaduct of Arts leading off from the Bastille (where you can go to the Opera!). Oh, and that Eiffel Tower thing is supposed to be there somewhere....
Eclectic, lively, different. It's not remotely as Spanish as Madrid or Malaga. A mix of Catalan, Spanish and French influences abound here. If you can avoid the stag parties and drunk students, it's a cracking destination. Visit Gaudi's monumental Sagrada Familia (possibly the best church ever), his work is also immortalised at Parc Guell. Take a tourist bus on the loops of the sights - down to the beach and the Expo areas, see Frank Gehry's shiny fish, ogle the enormous Yachts harboured at Barceloneta, eat out (especially at the Dutch restaurant Fock!), go to the Chocolate Museum in the Old Quarter (mmmm), climb Montjuic, or cheat and take the cable car to see all the way across the urban sprawl. Hang out at La Veca Negra (Black Sheep - the best pub in town), or chill out at Café Opera at Plaza Catalunya. See the cavernous Nou Camp (Barcelona's footie ground), or the Stadio Olimpico. The Metro's good too!
Clean, thoughtful, varied, beautiful (and that's just the Scandies!). Oslo is an unlikely favourite, but it really is a great place to visit. Bygdoy Island has all the Museums to see: Kon-tiki, Viking Ships, Folk, Maritime, Polar Explorers - all there, close together. Take the tram ride up the steep Holmenkollen hill, past the outer suburbs and the giant ski jump to the top of the hills surrounding the city. Then go up the Tryvannstarnet (TV Tower), and see nothing but forest for hundreds (yes, hundreds) of miles.
Vigelands Park has some amusing sculpture (some of it's quite racy!), have a bite (definitely a fishy one) down at AkerBrygge, watch the local fishermen sell prawns cooked right from the back of their boats as they pull in, and remember you're never too far from a tram or bus stop to whizz you around. Only downside - all this cleanliness and efficiency comes at a price!
Jaw droppingly stunning backdrop of mountains plunging down to the sea frame this city's skyline. The Sea to Sky Coast Road weaves down past Grouse Mountain (dare you walk the Capilano Suspension Bridge!), and the flash suburbs of North Vancouver to the waterfront. Across the Lion's Gate Bridge and through the amazing Stanley Park, an Oasis of green life connected to the downtown promontory. Go to Canada Place (strange ship like pier), take the 5 minute ferry across the harbour and back just to see the views. Take the Skytrain (pilotless!) through the city centre to the Science Museum by the Rail station, and then walk back to Granville Island where all the hip shops, bars and cafes abound. Walk through Gastown, enjoy some Asian food (this is very much a Pacific oriented city) The shopping and hotels are world class, as is the friendliness and enjoyment you'll have here.
6. The Pyrenees.
Ok - so you need to enjoy mountains and walking past/up/down/along them for this. Awe inspiring scenery abound in the Central stretch of the range that weaves from Cauterets in France across to Benasque in Aragon. The Ordesa Gorge is an amazing trek through light forest, up past ribbon waterfalls, via a chained path up to a lunar plateau that stretches across from Spain to France, and slices through the border at the Breche de Roland, leading down to Gavarnie and it's monumental cirque and waterfall. You won't even have to scale any summits if you don't fancy it, as the long distance paths all circumnavigate them. Stay at one of the excellent refuges/hostels perched high up in mountain passes and see who else is brave/mad enough to join you up there. The stunning peaks, excellent paths/trails, varied villages enroute, and friendly locals will convince you to return, even if it is quite a lot of exercise!
7. Las Vegas.
Ok - Lost Wages isn't for everyone, but to me it's a Neon Paradise. If you can exercise some willpower, or lock your wallet away, then you can safely have a racking time in the bottom corner of Nevada. See the biggest Hotel/Casino's imaginable - Treasure Island (pirate ship battles in the lake outside), Stratosphere (rollercoaster atop a huge tower), New York, New York (rollercoaster through copies of landmarks), MGM (biggest Casino floor ever.....it took me 5 minutes to walk to the loo!), Caesar's Palace (amazing frescoed underground labyrinth of shopping and dining), Fremont St Experience (laser lit canopy spanning a long street), and then there's even more shopping, all you can eat buffets, Wedding and Divorce Chapels (free Casino Chips with every 3rd Marriage! Folks). If you get bored of all that, venture out to Lake Mead and goggle at the concrete immensity of the Hoover Dam, or zoom over the Lake and the desert landscape in a helicopter.
Unfancied but delightful destination. Great beaches a short train ride away. Amazing food, good transport, and eclectic nightlife. Visit Belem for amazing Custard Tarts (Pasteis de Belem), the Belem and Columbus monuments (with museum). Go to the newer development further up the Tagus River for the amazing Oceanarium the Vasco de Gama Tower and great shopping. Take the scenic old tram as it rattles its way up to the Alfama village for a taste of pre-industrial Lisbon. See the old town near the waterfront at Baixa (not so old, it was all wiped out in a tidal wave following the 1755 Earthquake). Go to the excellent Calouste Gulbenkian Museum for Art and Antiquities.
Eat some more Pasteis, mmmm. Take the train out to Estoril and relax with the trendy people.
Plenty to do, very cheap, friendly people, impenetrable accent!
9. Ottawa (Canada again, I know!)
Not at all as boring as media would suggest, Ottawa is a really great place to visit. Top transport links whisk you seamlessly around the sights. The rather British House of Parliament, in their Gothic grandeur, the Chateau Laurier, the bustle of the Byward Market and all it's street stalls and shops, the jaw breaking sandwiches at the various Deli Houses, the huge memorial to War next to a clever sculpted disc that lays out the city in metal to help you navigate, the genius that is the Museum of Civilisation across the river in Gatineau, the impressive National Art Gallery (complete with enormous Spider sculpture outside), the Currency Museum, the Museum of War, the excellent hotels (all those politicians to cater for), and also the great views from Nepean Point. For a busy Capital City, there's no shortage of things to do.
You may mock, just because it's in England, or coz it's full of Geordies who ye divvent understand pet, y'knaa, but The Toon is a brilliant place to visit. Huge regeneration has catapulted Tyneside into the list of places you must see - if only to see where all your Tax is going! The Baltic Art Gallery, the Millennium Eye Bridge, the Centre for Life, the Sage Centre (looks like Starbug from Red Dwarf), the clever engineering of the Tyne Bridge, the romance of Dog Leap Stairway and the alleys that plunge down to the Quayside. The Castle (not very New), the city walls in Chinatown, and Chinatown itself, a marvellous location. The bars, and pubs, and cafes, and more pubs, and more places to eat. Grey Street and his Monument, the shopping (particularly the Escher like Maze that is Fenwicks and Bainbridges inside Eldon Square), Pink Lane, the Bigg Market, the Laing Art Gallery, Jesmond Park, the Angel of the North (a few miles away overlooking the A1), the spiffy hydrogen bus that ferries you along the major streets, St James Park (home of the Gods, no matter how useless they may actually be), Gateshead (coz it's quite nice really), more pubs, and finally, the Metro - which takes you to all sorts of nearby places with strange names: Cullercoats, Wallsend, South Shields, even (whisper it) Sunderland.
There - all of these places I have visited - just so I can tell all you Dooyooers how marvellous they are, and to encourage you all to visit them variously and forthwith! If you don't visit some of these, or disagree too much with my choices, I'll set the Dalek Chef on you, with full Whisk Alert enabled!!
Also - it beats thinking up a complicated review about a Museum or a Music Record, as it's Month End and I haven't the time or the inclination!
Summary: A sample of my travelling wisdom.