Celebrating the publishing of my new travelogue Planes Trains & Sinking Boats I am continuing my countdown of top 100 list of places I want (and wanted) to see when I was a student. If you missed the countdown so far you can click on the links to read 100-91, 90-81 , 80-71 here and 70-61 here. 60 – 51 and 50-41 here.
Before we get down to the next ten entries I thought that I would write a bit about my ethics of travelling. To me it is very important to mix with ordinary local people and not lock myself away from them on private coach tours or 5-star hotel complexes. I don’t particularly want comfort and definitely not a taste of home. I want something new and different that I will remember forever. I will always stay in a rather down-market hotel or apartment block if possible. Most of the places I go to I know that I am rich in comparison to the locals if not by the standards of my home country. I never flaunt any wealth, which isn’t hard as I don’t like gadgets or designer clothes.
It doesn’t matter where I am but I will only eat where locals eat or buy local foods from markets and eat later. I think it is important to spend my cash amongst local businesses who need my money and might even get to like me as a person rather than give it to a large organisation (much as I do at home actually). Also if a local eats there it is likely to be good quality and affordable food even if not what you’re used to which is part of the fun.
40 Cordoba, another historic site in Andalusia and again one with Arab origins. The Cathedral and castle are a big draw as are the Roman bridge and the Medina of Azahara. There are several palaces, museums and churches to enjoy here.
39 Krakow. A beautiful city in Southern Poland which in my mind has all the benefits of Prague and none of the drawbacks. Nearby are two very important sites for different reasons; the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz and the beautiful wonder of the underground Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá hundreds of feet below the surface. I had wanted to go to Krakow for years when I studied The Mongols and learned that when they attacked the city, a trumpeter sounded the alarm from the church tower until he was shot through the neck by a Mongol horseman. Ever since, the trumpeter has played and stops at the same note as his unlucky forebear.
38 Baalbeck is just one of the amazing sites to see in Lebanon. People have been living and building here for about 9,000 years. Heliopolus or The City Of The Sun is one of the highlights. It’s a good 2 full days of sightseeing and there aren’t that many foreign visitors as the whole place is controlled by Hezbollah but don’t let that stop you as they like guests and are only really interested in your money.
37 San Francisco. Would very much like to see the Golden Gate Bridge, visit Alcatraz Prison and see the future sight of Star Fleet Headquarters in one of America’s most liberal cities.
36 Florence and Pisa, two beautiful cities. Florence noted for its fine galleries and museums with enough to fill the average holiday. A short day trip away is Pisa for its famous leaning tower.
35 Gibraltar. A little bit of England at the bottom of Spain complete with red post boxes, unarmed police and Marks and Spencers. With the magnificent Rock of Gibraltar, full of tunnels a runway crossing the main road from the ferry terminal and the only spot in Europe with its own apes.
34 New Orleans in Lousiana, USA, formerly belonging to King Louis of France which is probably goes a long way towards its reputation for good food and music and a mix of old and new world streetscapes. A worthy diversion for international tourists who want to get beyond New York and Disneyland.
33 The Great Wall of China this is the place I would most like to see in China having already seen sample of the Terracotta Army in the British Museum exhibit. It would be really great if I could see Hong Kong too it must be said.
32 Alexandria. Alexandria is in Egypt but feels unlike the rest of Egypt due to its historic links with other Mediterranean ports. Go to see the catacombs, the pillar, Qaitbegs castle and hopefully in the future, Queen Cleopatra’s underwater palace. Considering the amount of time I spent there, I had a fair few adventures in that city getting lost in the underground tombs in the dark, fearing for my life in the worst slums I have even been too and being questioned by police about having a bomb in my bag! All the stuff that makes for a good trip in my book.
31 Cricket Ground in Carribean. I love cricket, especially the original 5-day matches. Unfortunately I live in an English county without a major team and my nearest main ground is Lords, the home of cricket which is next to impossible to get into though I made it once. I’ve long dreamed of watching a match in the Caribbean. I don’t much care where, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, Jamaica they all have unique qualities. What could be better than having a drink, listening to a steel band watching cricket with the Caribbean in the background? Not much in my opinion.
Remember, I am running a competition to win a copy of my new travelogue Planes, Trains & Sinking Boats. The book is available on Kindle from all the Amazon UK USA sites and will very shortly be available on the Apple iTunes iBookshelf for use with iPhones, iPod Touch and iPads. A paperback edition is for sale at Lulu and on Amazon USA and Amazon UK and worldwide.
The reader who can guess what is number 1 on my list will receive a free signed paperback copy of Planes, Trains and Sinking Boats. If no-one can guess number 1 then the person whose guess is highest on my list will receive a free e-book. Send me an email with your guess or leave a guess in the comments below.
For the next 100 days anyone who follows my blog and purchases either Let Me Help or Planes, Trains and Sinking Boats on Amazon Kindle or in E-book format from Lulu or iTunes iBooks then I will send you a free E-book of the other title, just email me a screen dump proof of purchase.
Also, anyone who purchases a paperback copy of Let Me Help in the next 100 days and sends me proof of purchase I will send a free e-book format book to you. I would ask that if you buy Let Me Help, you buy it from either Lulu or the more expensive copy on Amazon as the cheaper copy provides me with no royalties as the Publisher has now closed.