Place Reviews (Thursday)

Category Archives for Place Reviews (Thursday).

Traversing Tokyo’s Two Tallest Towers

I was just six when I first wanted to ride a bullet train and climb the Tokyo Tower. Now, four decades later, I have done both. The Bullet trains still rank amongst the fastest on the world but the Tokyo Tower is no longer the city’s tallest structure. That distinction now belongs to the Tokyo Sky tree.  I was able to scale both last month (and ride a bullet train -review next Tuesday!) Tokyo Tower -opened 1957- 332.9 metres (1,092 feet) Designed as a telecommunications tower with two observation levels at 150 metres (490 ft) and 249.6 metres (819 ft).…

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Why Japan is in my Top Five countries! 

I have just had a week in Tokyo, Hiroshima and Kyoto (with a dinner in Kobe and a lunch in Osaka!). Japan was the 69th country to get to! Sadly it has taken me so many decades to finally get there! Why is Japan so amazing? Seven reasons why Japan has made it to my Top Five countries: 1. Easy to get around I was blown away by the phenomenal transport infrastructure. What impressed me was the brilliant signage which meant navigating the trams (streetcars) in Hiroshima, the Shinkansen and the Tokyo metro so easy. You…

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My Favourite Hikes in the World

I love hiking and have now explored rural paths in a dozen countries now. I was trying today to come up with my Top Ten hikes in the world. I got to 14 in my Top Ten! It made me realise how much more of the world, I have yet to hike! My Top Four: The Milford Sound Track in New Zealand, a 53.5 km walk which starts at the head of Lake Te Anau and finishes at Sandfly Point in Milford Sound. The track may only be walked in one direction and takes four…

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How Big is that Island? The World’s Top 25 islands mapped.

I love gazing at maps. This map of the world’s 25 largest island nations and territories hooked me in. Seeing the actual sizes to scale makes you realise how big some island groupings are. Take Indonesia, for example. It is eight times bigger than New Zealand! The difference in size between the UK, home to 65 million and NZ, home to 4.5million, is not that much different. That tiny smudge on the north of most maps is Greenland, and yet it is about one-third the size of Australia! I have been to 12 of the top 25.…

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Mesmerising Mont St Michel

One kilometre off the French coast lies a small rocky, cone-shaped island in Normandy called Mont Saint Michel, one of the most mesmerising and romantic places on the planet, I have visited. I stayed for two nights. Verdict: My Overall Rating: 87% Global Ranking:  The “Mount” is the third most popular tourist attraction in France, with over three million annual visitors a year. It is beaten by the Eiffel Tower, and the Palace of Versailles, neither of which should be a surprise! Mount Saint Michel was declared a historic monument way back in 1874 and was designated as…

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#Auschwitz, the most sobering place on the planet

Remembering my visit Auschwitz. Over 1.1 million men, women and children lost their lives here. Verdict: My Overall Rating: 100% Global Ranking: Listed Tenth Museum in the world by TripAdvisor. In 1979, the concentration camp was designated as one of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.  Why it should be visited: History, Negatives: Crowds Would I return?:  Yes.  I would choose a period that is as “off seasons” as possible. It is a dilemma about the crowds because in reality, every human should come here. In fact, all politicians should come and see this place (and Hiroshima), before taking…

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Spectacular, Stunning Stonehenge

Verdict: My Overall Rating: 84% Global Ranking: Listed seventh amongst Historical Landmarks to See Before You Die (I have seen 32 of the top 50) Why it should be visited: History, Spiritual place Negatives: Traffic, Crowds Would I return?: Yes, in a heartbeat. Bear in mind that there are many other stone circles through which have fewer crowds Location and Orientation Stonehenge is probably one of the most famous stone monuments in the world. It sits on a chalky plain north of the Salisbury, England about 88 miles south-west of London.   Archaeologists and historians believe that the site…

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Celebrating Cebu

Bohol, Boracay, Cebu and Palawan are some of the most popular places in the Philippines for foreign tourists. We checked out Cebu, on this occasion for a special vacation. Verdict: My Overall Rating: 55% My Ranking out of my top 200 Cities: 184th place Global Ranking: Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) ranked Cebu 26th among 28 APEC cities surveyed in 2015. Why it should be visited: Beaches, Food, Spanish history Negatives: Traffic, Traffic, Traffic and Crime, Crime, Crime Would I return?: No- we had a great time here but I would choose to see other Filipino cities first. Location and Orientation Cebu is…

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I ride that Famous Train through a market (And how You can do it)

Have you see pictures or videos of that train which goes through a market in an Asian country?. As the train moves through the market, the market stands are moved out of its way.  Here is the market being set up again after the train has passed through: From the moment, I first saw such a video, I became obsessed with getting to that market. Finally, I have done it! Location and Orientation The market is a genuine working market located in Thailand in a town called Mae Klong which is just 70km (40 miles) from…

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Heavenly HELsinki – Eighth Best City in the world!

I have just paid my first visit to Finland (my 68th country) and to its compact but option packed capital. Definitely felt at home, after a very short time. Verdict Regular readers will know, I rate every airline and every city I encounter.Helsinki was easy to rate! My Overall Rating: 85.6% Ranking out of my top 200 Cities: 8th place- Narrowly behind Wellington (New Zealand) which has a very similar look and feel to Helsinki The Economist Ranking: 9th Most livable city Why it should be visited: Stunning architecture, easy to get around, brilliant museums, great art, food…

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