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Inspire me. The world is your mollusc...

(41 Posts)
MrsTerryPratchett Fri 30-Jun-17 06:17:17

Places I've loved:

New Zealand
(yes I know they aren't similar)

Places I've hated:
(That's it, literally nowhere else. Just LA. It's awful.)

I want to go somewhere with my elderly but adventurous mother (can't carry a back pack but still much fitter than me) and my DBro. It's probably a last hurrah in some ways. Last chance to indulge a shared love of slightly shitty, minorly scary travel.

Mum doesn't want anywhere with really shit food, beds as hard as China or too touristy. DBro needs culture, architecture, likes people who don't engage too much (he's very much high-functioning spectrum). Me, I need adventure, weather that is neither too sweltering nor too cold (24-27 degrees is perfect!), interesting people who aren't too focused on tourists (so China good, Thailand bad).

Suggestions so far, ranged from maybe to hell no:
Mongolia (I want to save it for the TransSiberian with DH one day)
Tibet (already been sort of)
Iran (Southern, not the scary bits)
Pakistan (fancy it but you know)

TravellingFleet Fri 30-Jun-17 06:24:11

I really loved central Bulgaria - very interesting indeed culturally, monasteries, beautiful walking in the hills and mountains, Plovdiv is stunning, etc. It wasn't somewhere I would have thought of going (a friend and I are exploring Europe one country at a time) but I was hugely impressed. I've been recommending it to everyone adventurous since I came back!

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 30-Jun-17 06:29:03

I've been recommending it to everyone adventurous since I came back! See, that's exactly what I'm looking for. And Google images agrees with you!

Although I'm telling everyone Nicaragua is terrible to save from ruining it. grin

TravellingFleet Fri 30-Jun-17 06:40:39

We wandered round Plovdiv old town in high summer saying 'why is this not full of tourists?' Beautiful and slightly crumbling Ottoman Empire old houses, then just 5 mins away Roman amphitheater and Belle Époque shopping street. The funniest was eating at a pop-up restaurant in a courtyard run by 3 young chefs - they apologetically explained they were only doing a 7 course tasting menu, so it would cost £16, and could we afford that.

I must visit Nicaragua - but there's such a lot of world to see!

Uzbekistan sounds great (I've been to other Central Asian countries but not there) so that would def be a strong contender for me.

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 30-Jun-17 06:47:57

Nicaragua; we were in Managua and the Corn Islands. Utterly perfect. I wrote a long post but that sums it up.

everthinkyouvebeenconned Fri 30-Jun-17 06:52:19

I loved Cuba. Culturally amazing. Great Art Dance and music. You get away from Western distractions of advertising (there is none apart from Government signs) and smart phones tablets etc as you can't get connection

The food isn't great at all (I'm not a foodie so it didn't bother me). Tourists are treated really well and there is no hassle it is so so safe Go to Havana drink Cuba libras and get in a classic car. Stay at the hotal National and listen to jazz. Go to the waterfalls in the mountains Take a trip to Santa Clara to see the morselum of Che. If you want to go to the ballet book ahead (we didnt) We met someone who stayed at Costa the ballet dancers airbnb. So therefore many ways to stay

There is so much to do. People are lovely.


everthinkyouvebeenconned Fri 30-Jun-17 06:53:42

Next on my list is Costs Rica

TravellingFleet Fri 30-Jun-17 07:27:17

Cuba is a good idea - I had a lovely holiday there some years ago.

TravellingFleet Fri 30-Jun-17 07:30:38

I'm off to Mauritius and South Africa this year and Mexico and Malaysia next year - I got a few books out of the library and did a spreadsheet of what appealed (taking it all far too seriously...) and was surprised at what came out of my research. Mexico hadn't been on my mental list originally, but I listed thing after thing I'd like to see there.

welshweasel Fri 30-Jun-17 07:35:50

I was going to say trans Siberian but see you've already got that planned! India would be amazing, can be done as cheaply or not as you like, amazing luxury hotels or cheap hostels, second class train travel or a driver. Sri Lanka for the same reasons.

Attie17 Fri 30-Jun-17 08:53:45

I second Cuba. It was utterly amazing, especially if you stay in people's houses. Food is often best in host houses rather than restaurants. And the mojitos and daiquiris and Cuba libres are the best in the world. There is music everywhere and the architecture is so, so beautiful. Magnificent colonial houses in various stages of life. We spent time in Havana, Santa Clara, Trinidad and Cienfuegos and the areas surrounding them - all wonderful. Did some great walks too. I wouldn't bother with the big beach resorts if you are looking for adventure, but the rest of the country is brilliant and relatively easy to get around.

I thought El Salvador was brilliant too. It's far, far off the beaten track. It felt like we were the only tourists in San Salvador: we had the palace/government building to ourselves to explore. Again great buildings, both old and new, like the cathedral. And an excellent art gallery. The countryside is where is really shines though. Look up pics of the Santa Ana volcano or maybe don't and save the surprise - it's a brilliant hike to the top that isn't too tough and worth any stress when you get there. The Flower Route is magical too - great food, wonderful markets, beautiful scenery and excellent waterfalls.

Costa Rica is a nature lover's paradise - but very touristy. And super friendly, so maybe not suited to your brother.

2014newme Fri 30-Jun-17 10:49:30

South Africa

paradoxicalInterruption Fri 30-Jun-17 10:53:47

Peru. Had a fantastic 5 weeks there with a friend - the buses are super brilliant to get you round and really modern. Internal flights are good too.

There's jungle, high mountains, more ancient stuff than you can shake a stick it - deserts, fab train journeys and boat journeys.

You can stay in nice b and b and hotels for v little money and we found the food was just fabulous. And while Macchu Picchu is very touristy it has to be seen. There are other 'undiscovered' cities as well.

It's a lovely place to travel round.

paradoxicalInterruption Fri 30-Jun-17 10:55:12

Oh I'd love to go to Iran too - it sounds absolutely incredible.

Friends have just come back from taking themselves round Egypt - had a fabulous time.

EnglishGirlApproximately Fri 30-Jun-17 10:57:51

Guatemala is incredible. Lake Atitlan, Antigua then Tikal. Antigua has everything from hostels to top end hotels so you can easily be adventurous without slumming it 😊

EnglishGirlApproximately Fri 30-Jun-17 10:59:40

South Africa was brilliant as well. I took 4 weeks going from Cape Town to Joburg and didn't even scratch the surface tbh. Really easy to get around,culturally very different but without the hassle of major language barriers

WhatHaveIFound Fri 30-Jun-17 11:07:58

I've been to both Iran and Pakistan. Iran would be better for a holiday (unless you're trekking in the mountains in Pakistan) and probably safer too.

Bhutan is fantastic though the visa is quite expensive from what i remember.

Would also recommend Cuba. Or how about Morocco? I've been 4 times and never had a bad holiday.

NotCitrus Fri 30-Jun-17 11:52:14

Azerbaijan, could do Turkey before or after to compare and contrast?

Plexie Fri 30-Jun-17 11:58:34


TravellingFleet Fri 30-Jun-17 12:04:23

Could I have some recs for Cape Town and SA more generally? I've got a specialist tour booked for my niche interest, but have an extra few days at start and end

mummymeister Fri 30-Jun-17 12:12:29

Southern Florida including the Keys
West coast of Canada

we like going somewhere a bit different and doing different things. really did love Belize and would go back.

EnglishGirlApproximately Fri 30-Jun-17 12:15:43

travelling what sort of budget for Cape Town?

slug Fri 30-Jun-17 12:42:13

We're off to Japan next year (DD's post GCSE blowout treat).

I second Bulgaria, have holidayed there twice and love it. Keep away from the beaches where the tourists congregate. Sandanski (home of Spartacus), Plovdiv and Veliko Tarnavo are all worth a look. Romania is also stunning.

I secretly fancy going to Samakand. We've also twice tried to go to Georgia but have been thwarted both times (floods and family issues).

Would recommend the Trans Siberian. It's not for everyone but I loved the stark beauty and monotony of traveling through the steppes, picking up a bit of Russian on the way. My elderly uncle and aunt did it 16 years ago and came back with good tales. The food isn't for everyone though it may have improved since I did the trip in 1996.

TravellingFleet Fri 30-Jun-17 13:05:35

Slug - I did the Trans Mongolian in 96 too! Fabulous experience but we still laugh about how awful the food was.

EnglishGirl - if I say money no object, what would you recommend?

EnglishGirlApproximately Fri 30-Jun-17 13:35:48

If you want flashy I'd go for the One & Only at the V&A waterfront. Fabulous location and beautiful hotel. However, I loved Camps Bay I'd move there if I won the lottery! The 12 apostles is gorgeous if a bit showy, the Atlantic View is more boutique and chilled out.

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