Monday, 1 August 2011

Things I've learnt

I realize I have been a bit slack on the blogging front recently, probably because we are back home now and I have nothing interesting to write about. However I have talked to several people who are keen to travel and have asked for advice. So I thought I would write a blog on things I have learn't while traveling, specifically in Europe.

1. I hate Athens
I realize I have ranted about this before, but seriously, if I was going back to Greece, or going to Greece the first time, I would spend only 1 day in Athens. Plenty of time to see the Parthenon and get out. There is very little to see and do in Athens and its a very dirty city. You can catch a ferry from Athens to most of the other islands. You will enjoy Greece more by traveling round the islands rather than staying on the mainland. Also I think the lack of english or even non greek signs lead to my hate of the area.

2. You don't need to speak the local language.
With international travel these days being so easy, you will find most Western European people will speak some English. However don't be a rude prat and learn to at least say hello, thank you, good bye and yes and no in the local language. Its not that hard and it really goes a long way.

3. Avoid people with maps
A common pickpocket scam is people posing as tourists with maps asking if you speak english. The map is there to hide what their hands are doing. They could be genuine tourists but don't risk it and play dumb if they ask if you speak english. Also the same rules apply to people selling stuff on matt's and people trying to give you things for free. Avoid at all costs and say no. Remember you can be prosecuted for buying illegal goods if you buy from illegal street sellers.

4. Get lost
A lot of times you will find you will be wandering around a city with your nose stuck to a map. All very well if you are genuinely lost but if you know where you are forgo the map and take a wander rather than taking transport. Venice is a great place to do this. You will see a lot more things on the way than you would have if you take transport and often things you never expect you stumble upon.

5. Plan but don't over plan
A rough idea of what you want to do in an area is a good idea, it saves a lot of time wasting, especially if you don't have access to the internet when you are there. In big cities like London a lot of attractions are in the same area so planning to see things close to each other saves a lot of traveling time. A degree of flexibility is needed though, sometimes your feet will just give up and you wont be able to walk any more. 

No comments:

Post a Comment