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Old 08-13-2010, 10:56 AM   #141
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However, the one time that I was completely disappointed was when we went to Bali. We were there for a liveaboard dive trip to Komodo. The dive trip was unbelievable, amazing, off the charts. Bali itself - not so much. We went right after the nightclub bombings in 2002 that killed a bunch of tourists. The tourist trade had practically dried up and the locals were pretty desperate. We were hounded and chased constantly by vendors. We could not get them to stop grabbing at us trying to sell us stuff. In addition, everyone wanted you to bargain for everything. They set prices ridiculously high, then expected you to bargain them down, but I hate bargaining and when I was hungry the last thing on earth that I wanted to do was bargain for the price of my meal. The island was spectacularly beautiful, but unbelievably dirty - mounds of trash piled everywhere. I'm sure others have had better experiences there, but it was one of my least favorite places ever.
ITA!! We had such great expectations for Bali, but were mauled, harrassed & abused by the locals. We were there in 2008 on a "pass thru" visit to Wakatobi Dive Resort, Sulawesi, Indonesia (which was AMAZING!). On the pass thru back we stayed at a 4 star hotel in the Nusa Dusa area...much less public harrassment but artificially mellowed for tourists IMO. Like staying under a Bell Jar for Tourists. Loved the Balinese dancing, ruins, temples....too bad they treat tourists like sh*t!

Love the locals in Fiji, just a short hop away. They are incredibly beautiful and friendly people.
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Old 08-13-2010, 04:13 PM   #142
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.....

Dullest big European city was Brussels.
+1.
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Old 08-13-2010, 04:16 PM   #143
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Dullest big European city was Brussels.
And I can't stand their sprouts, either.
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Old 08-13-2010, 05:04 PM   #144
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Dullest big European city was Brussels.
Yep, DW lived there 25 years ago when we got together and then, as now, Antwerp was a much cooler place.

I alsothink that Bruges/Brugge is massively overrated. On a recent vacation we were in St Malo, France and sat at lunch next to a US couple who were on a cruise from Barcelona to Amsterdam. They were sooo looking forward to Bruges, but we couldn't get excited for them. That could be because, unlike some who have posted here, we love Venice... we love getting lost there. We went out to Murano, found a square with a local restaurant, and ate among working people for peanuts.

Here's another tip for Venice: it can be hard to find a clean public toilet. One way to "go" is to use your vaporetto pass (Do Not Do Venice Without A Vaporetto Pass) to go out to San Michele island, which is always described as "Venice's cemetery", and use the facilities there. But we found the cleanest place was in the very little-known cemetery of Murano itself. No tourists, and some interesting graves (including some super headstones on the resting places of local glass blowers).
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Old 08-13-2010, 07:13 PM   #145
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we love Venice... we love getting lost there. We went out to Murano, found a square with a local restaurant, and ate among working people for peanuts.

Here's another tip for Venice: it can be hard to find a clean public toilet. One way to "go" is to use your vaporetto pass (Do Not Do Venice Without A Vaporetto Pass) to go out to San Michele island, which is always described as "Venice's cemetery", and use the facilities there. But we found the cleanest place was in the very little-known cemetery of Murano itself. No tourists, and some interesting graves (including some super headstones on the resting places of local glass blowers).
We love Venice.
Best cheap hotel is the LUX ( for the tolerant)
In the last year they have installed very clean very expensive (one Euro) public toilets right at the vaporetto stop san Marco

We go to Rome in October
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Old 08-13-2010, 07:24 PM   #146
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Here's another tip for Venice: it can be hard to find a clean public toilet.
Isn't that what the canals are for ?
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Old 08-13-2010, 09:53 PM   #147
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However, the one time that I was completely disappointed was when we went to Bali. We were there for a liveaboard dive trip to Komodo. The dive trip was unbelievable, amazing, off the charts.
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ITA!! We had such great expectations for Bali, but were mauled, harrassed & abused by the locals. We were there in 2008 on a "pass thru" visit to Wakatobi Dive Resort, Sulawesi, Indonesia (which was AMAZING!). On the pass thru back we stayed at a 4 star hotel in the Nusa Dusa area...much less public harrassment but artificially mellowed for tourists IMO. Like staying under a Bell Jar for Tourists. Loved the Balinese dancing, ruins, temples....too bad they treat tourists like sh*t!

Love the locals in Fiji, just a short hop away. They are incredibly beautiful and friendly people.
DW and I are looking forward to diving all those places once we get our kids situated. And can both take off 3-4 weeks minimum at the same time.
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Old 08-13-2010, 10:16 PM   #148
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I don't know if I would ever say I was "disappointed" in a destination, although maybe surprised at what I found when I got there. But to me, that is part of the trip. I dont think there is any place I have been that I regretted. But I am not hard to please, as long as I am traveling and not working.....






For some of the previous places mentioned, I would say:
  • Niagra Falls - the falls are amazing, the area is now (sadly) over-commercialized
  • Disney - if you don't go with a child's mindset, you are wasting your money.
  • Venice - I thought it was neat. I mean....there are no roads. Watching a police chase or an ambulance rushing to its' destination by boat is sort of different....
  • Rome - I love old architecture. The city itself was crowded and scary - but I thought the sites were great
  • Mt Rushmore - again, I was impressed. All I could kept thinking was "Damn that's big". Wouldn't make it a 2 week trip, but worth seeing if you are anywhere in the area.
  • Grand Canyon - another place I kept staring at in awe saying "Damn, that's big"
  • I also loved just about any "old" smaller city in Europe (Salzburg, Maastricht).
Other places not mentioned that I think are noteworthy are Mesa Verde (Colorado), Alaska (esp. Denali), and the trip up to Eagle's Nest (Hitler's retreat in Germany). I found each of these to be very memorable experiences.


The one thing I will say surprised me was the Eiffel Tower. We saw the from the distance the night before (all lit up) and it was beautiful. Should have stopped there. The next day when we went to see it up close. It looked like a rusted erector set to me. I was sort of surprised how unattractive I thought it was.

Oh, and the Mona Lisa. It struck me as much smaller than I expected. Of course, I have no idea why I was thinking what I was in the first place.....
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Old 08-13-2010, 11:03 PM   #149
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Recently cruised Royal Carribean transatlantic. Six of the sixteen day cruise were spent at sea. Enjoyable excursions at port in 5 countries once we arrived. Pros and cons but will likely fly across Atlantic in future. Very loonnnggg six days. Spent too much at the art auction - captive audience.
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Old 08-15-2010, 02:10 PM   #150
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Bridgetown Barbados was a disappointment for me. Freeport Bahamas was also not great. Montego Bay suffered from bad ocean. Loved St Lucia and St Martin.

I liked Brussels but then only spent 2 days and 2 nights there.

Bern in Switzerland is pretty bad.
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Old 08-20-2010, 11:12 PM   #151
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I have several

1. Jamaica - Like others have said, my hotel felt like a prison. Security told us not to leave the property for our safety. Did a couple times anyway only to be hounded to buy beads, drugs, etc. Why go there when places like Grand Cayman exist?

2. Honolulu - I hate to say it because I do love Hawaii, but it's like Miami beach with nicer water. I wan't exactly miserable there don't get me wrong, and the food was better than the other islands


For something positive, how about places better than you ever expected? - My vote is Alaska!
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Old 08-21-2010, 09:57 AM   #152
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I have several

1. Jamaica - Like others have said, my hotel felt like a prison. Security told us not to leave the property for our safety. Did a couple times anyway only to be hounded to buy beads, drugs, etc. Why go there when places like Grand Cayman exist?

2. Honolulu - I hate to say it because I do love Hawaii, but it's like Miami beach with nicer water. I wan't exactly miserable there don't get me wrong, and the food was better than the other islands


For something positive, how about places better than you ever expected? - My vote is Alaska!
+1 on both Jamaica and Hinolulu - the two most disappointing

better than I ever expected? Hands down - New Zealand and Antarctica
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Old 08-21-2010, 10:00 AM   #153
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Better than expected?

Venice, Italy! I had heard all kinds of horror stories, so had very low expectations. But I thought it was wonderful!

I love art, architecture and history and Venice brought the three together in such an amazing way.
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Old 08-21-2010, 05:15 PM   #154
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Better than expected:

Guadalajara, Mexico. Very rich colonial culture and architecture. Close to Tequila, which was well worth a visit.

Chile (all of). Didn't know what to expect, and was very pleasantly surprised. Beautiful country, lovely people, very diverse, modern.
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Old 08-22-2010, 11:22 AM   #155
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+ Dubrovnik - Complete surprise. Loved the architecture and its location on the Adriatic.

+ Ville Franche - Wonderful quaint little seaport yet a short train ride to both Monaco and Nice.
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Old 08-22-2010, 12:49 PM   #156
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Biggest disappointment--Afghanistan. Who knew that it would be hot, dusty and decidedly third world? I know that I was shocked...
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Old 08-22-2010, 04:28 PM   #157
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I had to think about this one for awhile.
Biggest disappointment - the pyramids at Giza - You walk around them and you can not help thinking 'all they did was pile rocks on top of each other.' After that I didn't really care about how they did it or why. The Valley of the Kings was interesting.

Better than expected - Nepal - this was 25 years ago, so I'm guessing it changed some.
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Denali Today
Old 08-24-2010, 11:05 PM   #158
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Denali Today

Here is what Denali looked like today. The vertical rise you see is about 18,000 feet. Amazing
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Old 09-12-2010, 09:45 AM   #159
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Here is what Denali looked like today. The vertical rise you see is about 18,000 feet. Amazing
Beautiful! And we live in the Rockies.
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Old 09-12-2010, 09:56 AM   #160
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Vegas.... I am not a gambler.

I am glad I went just to see it. We enjoyed some of the shows... but if we ever return, it would only be for a day or two... passing through.
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