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Old 04-25-2009, 06:13 PM   #16
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India is without a doubt my favorite country to travel in, though I'm biased because my studies/work have revolved around it for almost two decades now. Kerala and Himachal Pradesh are deservedly famous for their beauty and Rajasthan for its historical sites. My favorite cities there, all small-to-medium-sized by Indian standards, are probably Udaipur, Varanasi and Kochi. It's true that the really large cities can feel overwhelming and not much else for many tourists; with the exception of Delhi, which has a medieval Old City as well as the architecturally impressive federal government center, they're really quite young cities, dominated by the unappealing look of turbo-paced urban development on a budget. But no problem--this is a country so large and diverse you could fit virtually all of Western Europe into it, so there's so much else to see besides just the megacities and handful of predictable package-tour staples (Taj Mahal, Jaipur, Khajuraho).

I've traveled more in India than anywhere else, including my own country (US), but I've done some fairly whirlwind tours of lots of other places. I loved Guilin, Hangzhou and Hong Kong in China; Kyoto in Japan; and Bangkok. Rome, Lisbon and London are probably my favorites of the European cities I've seen, and Italy and Greece my favorites of the European countries I've visited. I also love to hike, and the Hautes-Pyrenees (France) is my all-time favorite destination so far for that. My favorite US cities to visit are probably San Francisco, New York City, and Washington DC; Hawaii is probably my favorite state, again especially because of the hiking. Charleston and New Orleans should not be missed if you're interested in Southern history and culture.

I've honestly never had a through-and-through lousy tourism experience anywhere. In my opinion, if you do your homework before you go, there's simply no excuse for winding up someplace that holds no interest for you, or finding that you allotted too much time to an otherwise unappealing place which happens to have one or two sites of interest.

Pretty much all my international travel has been tacked onto studies abroad (as a college and grad student) or work-related trips (conferences, research) since then. I just haul out my backpack and my hostel guide and see whatever I can of the area with whatever time and money I have left. I definitely prefer to travel with friends or family if they're on hand--for me, it's more fun to have someone(s) to share the experience with--but I can enjoy myself well enough on my own too.
Have you been to Gujrat at all? I'm a Gujrati, my family is from the Kutch area
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Old 04-25-2009, 06:16 PM   #17
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Also not a huge fan of Barcelona, which everyone seems to love.
Definitely agree with this. I went a lot when I lived in Spain but never really liked it. It's fun to go on St. George's day though - that was a nice experience. Everyone I know who has been raves about it and I know two people who lived there and went straight back again after university. I always wonder if it was a bit boring because I liked where we were living a lot more and it was much better in comparison.

I expected the place to look different from what I imagined. I remember looking for the Casa Batllo and we were sitting on a bench thoroughly baffled about where it was because according to our map we were right beside it. We were standing opposite it the whole time. I had always imagined the building to be really impressionable but we had been walking past it and never noticed.

Paris was much, much, much, much better than I ever imagined. I am trying to convince the man we should get the train down there this week. He's been telling me that we're going to go since last August
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Old 04-25-2009, 06:16 PM   #18
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Hawaii is probably my favorite state, again especially because of the hiking.
Which islands have you visited? And do you mostly do day hikes?

I've been to Hawaii several times (including Vertigo ), but it was mainly to visit my wife's Grandmother and to hit the beach. I'd love to do more hiking there.


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Old 04-25-2009, 07:56 PM   #19
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Have you been to Gujrat at all? I'm a Gujrati, my family is from the Kutch area
Yes, when I was in Pune as a grad student I had a friend and classmate who was from Bhuj and invited me along on a visit home during break. That was a very charming town (though I'm afraid badly damaged by the Gujarat earthquake in 2001; haven't been there since) and while there, we drove around to some of the villages in the Greater Rann, which is really a spectacular area. (I think I might've needed a permit to do that, can't remember anymore.) As an undergrad I'd also visited Ahmedabad, a fun city with some interesting mosques and markets and also a good base for visiting (by bus) the temple complex at Palitana, which is beautiful.

I've also always wanted to visit the national park in Junagadh (Gir), but haven't gotten around to that yet. I think you may be the first person with roots in Kutch whom I've encountered outside India--it's not a very populous area.
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Which islands have you visited? And do you mostly do day hikes?
Kauai, the Big Island, Maui, and Oahu. The former two are my favorites, but they're all beautiful. My brother-in-law lives in Hilo so I have family there too.

We mostly do day hikes there, yes--it's nice to have that option in Hawaii because it rains so much. My top recommendations would be, go to Kauai and hike Waimea Canyon and Koke'e (they're right next to each other) and the Na Pali coast (for that you pretty much have to camp, but oh Lord is it worth it), and/or go to the Big Island and hike Volcanoes National Park and the Waipio Valley area, with an evening excursion to the top of Mauna Kea for sunset, stargazing and maybe, if you're lucky, a spectacular view from above of Kilauea fountaining.
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Old 04-26-2009, 08:32 AM   #20
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best places:
01 all of New Zealand... just the best!!!
02 Chile (Patagonia, crossing the andes to Bariloche/Argentina, Valparaiso, NP Huerquehue)
03 Brazil (the island morro de sao paulo, salvador de bahia, paraty)
04 Cape Verde Islands
05 Rarotonga/Cook Islands
06 Canarian Islands (La Palma, Cran Canaria)
07 Greek Islands (Amorgos, Naxos etc.)
08 Königssee (Bavaria)
09 Rügen Island (Baltic Sea)
10 Prague
i very much like travelling. it always gave me a lot of energy.
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Old 04-26-2009, 09:57 AM   #21
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since i've never travelled out of the country (though that will change this summer), my responses won't be as interesting as everyone else's.

best: so far, i've liked chicago and new orleans the best. chicago, to me, is a nice big city but it's not overly intimidating or anything. plus there's lots to do there. and new orleans is a great city, with a nice vibrant culture. perhaps it's because i live in memphis so i've been exposed to a lot of the cajun culture, to me it's just such a great city. beautiful architecture, nice people, great food. i was there a year after the hurricanes, it'd be nice to see how the city's improved since then.

the worst city so far has been hot springs. there's just fuck all to do there. that's what happens when you try to plan some city that's not too far away but you don't have the internet to do research. not to mention the weather was horrible the whole time we were there.

also, i'm glad to see how many people are listing new zealand as a top pick. i'll be there this summer and although i know i'll have a great time, it's just reassuring i won't just like the company, but will also like the country.
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Old 04-26-2009, 10:05 AM   #22
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close to home, i'd definitely advocate wellington in summer. beautiful city, you can walk almost anywhere.

i'd also say the southern alps, and the south island west coast have to be seen to be believed. it's real frontier country over there, and so beautiful at the same time.

can't say i ever really dug christchurch, and i know i'm not the only one who thinks that. it's a very odd place, but it does have some attractions.

places like taupo and rotorua, and the desert road are also spectacular.

having spent most of my life in auckland, i really don't care for the place, but it gets rave reviews from everyone i know who visits, so it can't be all bad.

worst place i've been in new zealand has to be lower hutt. i swear to god, everyone had an extra finger, toe or head.

in australia, i lived in sydney but it was some time ago. it's very nice, if you're in the right areas, and the harbour is to die for. the fact that everyone says melbourne is better means it must be a hell of a place. canberra gets a bad reputation, but if nothing else the drive from sydney is nice. i also loved the blue mountains national park, katoomba and also the central coast.

at the same time i also enjoyed the gold coast in queensland. it was nice, if not very touristy. hang away from surfer's paradise - closer to palm beach/currumbin and you've got a very nice area. i can't say i felt much love for the time in spent in brisbane.

let's see...further away, i loved inverness and kirkcaldy in scotland. i also have fond memories of glasgow and edinburgh. i'd love to go back to scotland and the uk in general. i don't know how i felt about london - it was almost exactly 10 years ago and it was hard for 11 year old me to take it all in, but i'd love to try it again. i'm not fond of the super sized cities, but i wasn't overawed.

the united states. here's where i have an opinion contrary to the rest of the world. i was there only a few months ago and spent time (albeit very little) in california, utah, arizona and a lot of time in tennessee.

one thing i will say right off the bat - the entire time i was in the states i didn't meet one asshole. everyone was as nice as you could imagine. the only person i didn't care for was the woman from california on one of my planes who was more interested in her iphone than saying hello to the guy who had to stand up to let her get to her seat. the people come across as genuinely friendly, and everywhere i was i felt completely welcome and i look forward to moving to the states later this year.

i spent the majority of my time in memphis, and it seems like a nice little city. it kinda feels like a more colourful auckland, albeit slightly rougher around the edges. nashville also seemed nice. i'm not in a rush to go back to los angeles, twice i've been there (albeit limited time again) and twice it didn't feel like my favourite place. i'm trying to think of these places sans the company, which may distort my view a bit.
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Old 04-26-2009, 11:18 AM   #23
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Best/most secnic - probably some mountains in India
Worst - probably Atlantic City, NJ
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Old 04-26-2009, 12:23 PM   #24
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Ive been to almost every state In the U.S. on tour with my band, but my real goal is to get to India, I want so much to go
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Old 04-26-2009, 05:22 PM   #25
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Dream out Loud! You will make it to India!
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Old 04-26-2009, 09:44 PM   #26
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by three months from now i'll have lived in 6 countries.

i'm not bragging, i'm just saying that i'm better than all of you.
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Old 04-26-2009, 09:48 PM   #27
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Old 04-26-2009, 09:57 PM   #28
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What an awesome experience to have lived in so many countries. Which ones?
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Old 04-26-2009, 09:58 PM   #29
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if they're all in europe it's the same diff.
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Old 04-26-2009, 10:06 PM   #30
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by three months from now i'll have lived in 6 countries.

i'm not bragging, i'm just saying that i'm better than all of you.
5 for me!
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