Log in

No account? Create an account
The Curious Tourist
20 most recent entries

Date:2008-06-20 03:21
Subject:New York City, NY

Hello. I'm Rachelle.

This location has probably been done a thousand times on here,
and you all have more than likely grown absolutely sick of these posts;
however, I just got back from making another trip to New York City
before I move there in a few months, and decided you might be interested
in seeing some of my more interesting photos.

(these are combined from another trip there, as well.)


More photos.Collapse )


2 comments | post a comment

Date:2007-04-08 22:23
Subject:today's; Illawarra, NSW, Australia

2 comments | post a comment

Date:2007-03-01 15:19

Again, sorry for the x-posting, but one more (ok 2 more) quick Japan questions. Again, we're going to be in Tokyo for a few days, staying in Yokohama.

-We are thinking of doing a city tour or some day trips. Has to be in English as neither of us knows any Japanese. Any recommendations on specific travel companies/tour operators? What was your experience? Pros/cons-things you wanted to see but didn't, or places you went but didn't want to?

-Also if you have any suggestions on guidebooks-pros and cons-greatly appreciated!

Thanks again!!!

post a comment

Date:2007-02-26 12:23

Hello, all. Apologies in advance as this is x-posted to several communities. My boyfriend and I will be spending a few days in Tokyo, Japan. Flight and hotel are done. We've never been and really know nothing about the area. We're going to get a guidebook and do some web research, but if anyone has any suggestions, tips or places to check out in or near Tokyo I would greatly appreciate it!!

2 comments | post a comment

Date:2007-02-17 22:50

okay, so this is a weird question, but I'm trying to travel from Paris to Athens around April 6th. I'd like to be there for Easter. What would be the cheapest way to get there? I tried using Orbitz.com and found a ticket for $180 or around 140E, but is the ferry from Italy to Greece cheaper? Or a flight from London? OR is there a city I could fly into that would be cheaper? How much is the train? Any, ANY information would be helpful on travel to and in Greece. Thank you thank you thank you.

2 comments | post a comment

Date:2007-02-08 17:31
Subject:Airport Query!
Mood: hopeful

I am hoping someone can help or point me at a website :)

My partner and I want to go to The Black Forest for a week in August. We have no idea which is the best airport to fly into from the UK? (London Luton/Stanstead/Gatwick)

We can dive and plan on hiring a car as we hope to base ourselves at Baden-Baden and explore from there :)

Any hints, tips, hotel recommendations, other info all welcome and needed!

2 comments | post a comment

Date:2007-02-02 22:55
Subject:Trip to New Orleans

Here are some pics from my recent trip to New Orleans. I was there from January 23 to January 30, 2007. x-posted to my journal.

It's so easy to fall in love with New Orleans. This was my second visit to New Orleans--my first visit was in April 2004. This time my husband had a conference to attend so I decided to tag along. The French Quarter is great--it's open for business but tourism is way down. We remember long lineups, full bars,  and having to make dinner reservations in 2004. There was none of that this time. People were super-friendly and everyone kept thanking us for visiting and asking us to tell our friends that New Orleans is a great place for a holiday. So here I am, tellin' y'awl 'bout it.

There's been a lot of press about the crime rate in New Orleans post-Katrina. But honestly if you use your common sense, no one will bother you. Some of the other spouses of the conference attendees were surprised when I said I was walking around the French Quarter by myself.  As long as you stick to crowds and major streets, there's no problem. I even spent Friday night on Bourbon Street by myself  because my husband had a networking session to attend. I sat at the bar and had dinner at Acme Oyster House, walked along Bourbon Street and then listened to the Paulin Bros. jazz band at Preservation Hall. It was awesome.

It was, however, sad to see the devastated areas outside of the French Quarter and Garden District. Entire neighbourhoods, apartment buildings, suburban malls and hospitals are completely abandonned. There are still a lot of scars from Katrina all around the city, 18 months later.


4 comments | post a comment

Date:2006-08-22 11:48

For you domestic travelers, hopefully this will be useful information!

Last weekend, we rented a car from Dollar Rent a Car at the San Jose airport. The desk clerk who rented the car to us, Erlie, was really helpful and pleasant (above what I would expect, or I wouldn't have mentioned it). The car was average, a pretty typical Dodge Stratus, but the price, $16 per day, made it worth it.

We returned the car yesterday morning, and my boyfriend realized later, when we were through airport security and buying breakfast, that he had left his watch in the console of the car. It's not a Rolex but it is a fairly nice watch, and we thoroughly expected it to be pocketed and never seen again.

I called the company and 20 minutes later, someone called back to tell me that the watch had been found! Today, someone called me to ask how I wanted the watch returned to me, and they made arrangements to have it shipped to us via DHL.

Kudos to Dollar! It takes a lot to impress me, but this level of honesty is enough to make me a loyal customer.

2 comments | post a comment

Date:2006-08-12 16:18

For a month or two, a friend and I have been kicking around the idea of a dream trip to Senegal, Africa. For such an exotic continent

does anybody have any tips about going to Africa? I'm sure plane tickets will be close to $1000...or even more.

But any tipsters? did anybody take a trip to an exotic continuent like that?

If not, we're also thinking about going to two or three countries in Asia such as Thailand or Malaysia. Any tips regarding those places?

thank you in advance.

1 comment | post a comment

Date:2006-07-29 12:21
Subject:Hotel to avoid: Sleep Inn Boise Airport

I don't know if this is information any of you will ever use, but I felt the need to pass it along so that everyone else can avoid our experience.

Last month, my boyfriend and I were passing through Boise, Idaho, and stopped at the Sleep Inn near the airport for the night. The first room we were assigned had wet carpet and a wet vac in the floor, so we didn't get beyond the door of that room before we changed rooms. The next room seemed ok and we settled in for the night. I turned off the light and got into bed, just to feel something on the sheet. I turned on the light and pulled the sheet back to find a fingernail clipping, a pubic hair, and a stain on the sheet. I was very upset but also very tired, so I told the desk clerk about what we had found and asked for new sheets to put on ourselves rather than change rooms again. We changed the sheets and got into bed, just to have the a/c start making noise and emit a burning smell. We spoke to the front desk and after redressing and repacking, we moved to yet another room. Finally, 90 minutes after our initial check in, we were able to settle in to bed and try to sleep.

The next morning, my boyfriend went down to the desk, spoke to the manager, and requested a refund of our room charges. Her response was, "how do I know that the stain wasn't from you and your girlfriend?" He was aghast; not that it should matter, but we are both mature professional adults, and to be accused of that kind of dishonesty was appalling. He got the refund, but given the manager's apathy and insulting demeanor, it didn't make us feel much better.

I wrote a letter to Choice International, the parent company detailing our experiences and mailed it 7-10 days ago. Yesterday morning, my boyfriend's credit card company called him asking if a $5000 charge recently applied to his card (like within the last 24 hours) by Sleep Inn Boise was valid?!!?? Of course it wasn't. I'll let you draw your own conclusions, but I sent the letter and 10 days later, my boyfriend's credit line is tied up with a large fraud charge initiated by that hotel. Choice's customer service people says they can't do anything about ANY of this, since all Sleep Inns are independently owned and operated, so we get to get satisfaction through that specific hotel or not at all.

I will definitely give a vote of no-confidence with my hotel dollars in the future, and I won't be staying at any Choice International hotels ever agin, since there doesn't seem to be any accountability if a property mistreats a customer. FYI: Choice Int'l's hotels include: Sleep Inn, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban , Econo Lodge, and Rodeway Inn.

4 comments | post a comment

Date:2006-07-07 22:57
Subject:new in madrid

hi. my name's Liz and I'm new to both the community and Madrid. I arrived last week and have been trouble meeting people. This is made worse by the fact that I don't speak Spanish. So if there's anyone out there from Madrid who would like to hang out sometime and show a newbie around, let me know! I'll be here till Aug 6th. Gracias!

post a comment

Date:2006-06-19 15:04

I just got back from a short trip to Oregon last week. I thought I'd post some photos here. We drove from Vancouver, BC, to Portland, Oregon, taking the (very busy ) I-5 highway. It was about a five -hour drive to Portland. We stayed one night/one day in Portland and visited the Japanese Gardens and the legendary Powell's booktore. Then we drove along the 99-W highway to the Willamette Valley wine region, about 45-minutes outside of Portland for a couple of days of wine tasting and good eating. On our way back to Vancouver we stopped at the Japanese Gardens in Seattle.

2 comments | post a comment

Date:2006-05-21 23:56

I am planning this grand road trip for sometime within the next year or two. It's not across the country Westward like many, or around the country completely, but rather down the Eastern seaboard to Jacksonville, slightly west, north on the eastern side of the Mississippi river, start heading back east from Chicago (I believe I circle the Appalachian mountains, not because I don't like them, but because I'll hike them some other day), then take a northern detour into Canada, and finally trickle back down to good old Boston, Massachusetts.

I would like to, in theory, do this entire thing by car, and with at least one friend.

These are not all of the destinations, or neccesarily destinations at all, but simply a way of sketching out the basic route:

the grand ideaCollapse )

With the exception of Boston, any suggestions about culture, lodging, what to see and do, or what to avoid about any of these places is useful.


3 comments | post a comment

Date:2006-04-23 12:43
Subject:Austin, Texas

For those who have never been to Texas, I'm sure that your first idea of any city in Texas includes trucks, boots, hats, country music, oil wells, and flat, dusty land. Allow me to shatter that impression :) Since Austin was a wonderful surprise to me, I'm going to write this to the crowd who know nothing about Austin.

Read more...Collapse )
So I'm out of time and out of quick ideas, but Austin is an uber-fun town. Come visit us!

post a comment

Date:2006-04-23 12:40

We have a lot of members and watchers of this group from seemingly all over. I think it would be great if everyone could post a little review of where they live and what every visitor to their city should absolutely see. I can't wait to see a cool list of all of the places I should visit next!

Post your city review as an individual, new contribution to the community so as to give visitors to our group lots of food for thought!

2 comments | post a comment

Date:2006-04-23 11:20
Subject:Eastside Cafe Austin, TX

Eastside Cafe

My history with this place: The first time I ate here was in July 1995. It was my first extended trip to Austin - which was quite magical. I came with a friend I made while getting my teacher certification, and we stayed at a friend she had made while in the Peace Corps in Kenya. In other words, I was staying at some guy's apartment that I did not know whatsoever, but it wasn't creepy because Jen was there, too. I trusted her completely, so therefore I trusted him. This guy was a character for sure, but the most striking thing about the trip was that he really took his hosting seriously. He was the BEST HOST EVER. He also knew all the good places in Austin. He showed us a brochure that he used called "100 Things to Do in Austin." During my first day in Austin, I bought a black spiral at an Eckerd's on the Drag to keep a travel journal. I named it after the brochure, and I took about 30 minutes each night before I fell asleep to jot our happenings down. I hope that it is still around somewhere, because it would be fun to read what I wrote about all these places that I take for granted now. When I find it I will be sure to post some of my entries, but I'm sure that in my Eastside Cafe entry I made comment about the waiter being attractive. Many of my waiters that trip were attractive, and I noted each one in "100 Things to Do in Austin."

The special thing about Eastside Cafe is that they grow all their vegetables and herbs in a garden behind the restaurant. Just this thought alone makes the food taste better.

Randy and I are aware that we need to start eating healthier food. All I could think of was sushi or vegetarian friendly places, which for some reason always seem to be more health conscious. Eastside Cafe isn't vegetarian, but they are vegetarian friendly.

Going to Eastside tonight was such a good idea. I have always stayed away because I remember the restaurant as expensive, but tonight the prices didn't seem so very bad to me.

What we ordered:
I had half an order of artichoke manicotti - I will never make manicotti sans pistachios again
It came with soup. I had the mixed berry mint solely out of curiousity.
It came with one vegetable. I had the broccoli. I just love well prepared broccoli.
Randy had the sesame catfish.
It came with soup. He had the artichoke mushroom which was so very delcious. I am certain we will be buying the cookbook shortly.
It came with a side. Randy had the pecan stuffing, which I think was veggie and was very very good.

We shared the pumpkin gingerbread cake, and I think it may have given me a stomach ache. Well it wasn't the cake exactly. It was that I had eaten a bunch of junk during that period before dinner where I was super hungry. The gingerbread just didn't mingle well with the junk. I think the junk didn't appreciate the wholesomeness of the Eastside Cafe food.

Overall nice time. If I do get the cookbook, I will share any recipes we make.

2 comments | post a comment

Date:2006-04-23 11:05

1:00 lazy morning, Gilmore Girl watchin', late shower

2:00 lunch at Town Lake, peaceful, delicious 7-up rolls

3:30 driving home, almost there, my fiance, Randy, decides he wants to go to a benefit book sale for Literacy Austin, requiring a trip to the grocery store for cash

4:30 endless browsing for books, did not buy anything for myself since I don't think we have the room for books at our apartment right now, bought tons of gifts for my nephews and niece though, with one adult book: At-Swim-Two Birds by Flann O'Brien for my eldest nephew Michael.

7:00 walked out of booksale $16 poorer - actually my total was $14, but I had been asked if I wanted to donate to Literacy Austin, after thinking, "What was the $3 entrance fee and the $14 purchase of books for?" I complied and donated $2 - one for Randy and one for me/ yes, I'm a sucker/ yes, the book shopping was 2 1/2 hours, don't ask, I have no idea where that time went,

7:05 Outside I hear Alejandro Escovedo. I knew he was playing an Earth Day show, but I knew I didn't have the money to go and thus didn't really look up where it was supposed to happen - which was evidentally across the street from Bookfest.

7:10 Settle down onto a bench in front of city hall but across the street from performance. They can block off the space with fencing, but they can't prevent the sound from carrying. Alejandro plays some songs I'm not familiar with but are nonetheless gorgeous, as well as songs I know and love: "Rosalie", I'm guessing the title to this one. I recognize it, though: "I Like Her Better When She Walks Away", and the Stones' "Beast of Burden." I couldn't see because we were sitting behind the stage, but I think David Garza was singing with Alejandro on that one.

8:30 Roky Erickson takes the stage. We actually get off of the bench to go see him through the fencing - even though it exposes us for the cheapskate cheaters we are, but we sacrifice our dignity because it's THE Roky Erickson. He starts with It's a Cold Night For Alligators and encores with I Walk With a Zombie. Incredible. He also played Creature With an Atom Brain, Interpreter, Bermuda, White Faces, Don't Shake Me Lucifer, Two Headed Dog, Starry Eyes, and You're Gonna Miss Me, among others. Incredible, seriously. I'm not exaggerating. I got Randy to consent to a song we can cite, when pressed to do so, as our song, Starry Eyes, although Randy kept pushing I Walked With a Zombie, which I was and am still close to agreeing to.

10:00 Magnolia Cafe for supper, because it's where you go eat after a good show anywhere near downtown. We had just settled into our salad, when Roky and his entourage walk in. How's that for serendipity? We think maybe one of the people in that group was Doug Sahm's son, because we could have sworn it was actually Doug Sahm himself, although it was likely the clothing and hat contributing to that illusion.

11:00 One salad, hibiscus iced tea, mahi mahi, and peanut butter pie later, we were on our way headed home. We passed the very first place I told Randy I loved him and got to take in the same romantic view of the capital building. I know it doesn't sound like a romantic view. You'll have to trust me on that one.

11:50 home, messy, home

post a comment

Date:2006-02-07 19:36
Subject:La Quinta, California, and Joshua Tree National Park

I just got back from a trip to La Quinta, California, which is just outside of Palm Springs.

We flew from Vancouver to San Diego, then rented a car and drove from San Diego to La Quinta.

I officially want to be a snowbird someday. As you can tell by my gushing, I fell in love with this region of California. I like the desert, it's such a contrast to the lush and rainy environment of the Pacific Northwest. It's an easy 2.5-hour flight from Vancouver to San Diego, and when we stepped off the plane, it was like being transported to the month of July: 28 to 30 degrees Celsius and sunshine every day. It's been raining in Vancouver for the last two months, so every fifth sentence that came out of my mouth for the first two days of my trip was, "I can't believe how warm it is.. etc etc."

I took a tour of The Living Desert, an animal and nature preserve in Palm Desert. And I also went on a 4x4 Jeep excursion through a canyon near the San Andreas fault line.

I was a little disappointed with Palm Springs, the city itself, I didn't think it was that great, even North Palm Canyon drive which is touted as a popular shopping district wasn't that great. The El Paseo area of Palm Desert is much nicer.

Sunday we drove through Joshua Tree National Park. A beautiful park!

A bunch of pictures behind the cut!

Read more...Collapse )

5 comments | post a comment

Date:2006-01-25 11:41

Hello fellow travelers. My name is Grace, I'm new here so I thought Id make my first post about my home town Yelm, Washington.


When people ask where I'm from I just say Olympia, no one knows Yelm and it's a funny name and there's not much to do here. But one of the great things about Yelm is our beautiful view of Mount Rainier, the highest and third most voluminous volcano of the Cascade Range.
Image hosting by Photobucket
I took this photograph before the rain kicked in, I think we've had 29 straight days of rain.

If one ever decides to visit Yelm (I don't really know why they would want to, other than to visit me) they should definitely check out the bike trail. It goes through 4 towns, and runs along lake Macintosh. The trail ends in the beautiful Tenino park. It was once the Burlington Northern Railroad, which historically operated from 1869 through the late 1980's. It's a really smooth ride, and its pretty flat, so anyone can do it.

Another thing that attracts many people to my little town would be the school of enlightenment, "founded by and based on Ramtha and his teachings and metaphysical system of thought" Ramtha a spirit that this little bitty lady, JZ Knight, channels. Some say it's a scam, some say it's wonderful. All I know is that we now have people from all over the globe in Yelm, and I like that.

We also have the ghetto fabulous Yelm bowling alley. A must if you're into the trashy seedy cultures of the US. After bowling a few rounds, head over to Mikeys Pub for a beer. I'd go with what on tap though, I once got a heineken there that was dated 1996 a few weeks ago, that can't be good right?

Well, that's Yelm. It's not one of those places you have to see before you die, but it's my home town.

9 comments | post a comment

Date:2006-01-24 22:57
Subject:2006 Virtual World Tour - Starting Point - Week 1

Okay so I am a few weeks behind in starting out on my around the world (virtual) tour. Thanks goes to graceelizabeth our newest member for lighting a fire under me.

2006 Virtual World Tour - Starting Point

Location: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada
Coordinates: 46.5° N 84.5° W
Population: 75,000
Google Maps Link

Nicknames: The Sault, The Soo


What a better place then to start my virtual world tour than in the town I grew up in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. One of Canada’s oldest cities, it was founded in 1668 by Jesuit missionaries on the south shore of the St. Mary’s rapids. The Soo, as it’s called by locals evolved over the years as first a trading post, portage around the St. Mary’s rapids and later became a steel producing center, and paper mill. The city has become the Twin Soos as there is a Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan on the US side of the border and Sault Ste. Marie Ontario, on the Canadian side.

A lock system enables large ships to travel between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. The International Bridge links the two cities. Sault Ste. Marie is approximately an 8 hour car ride from Toronto, Ontario or a 50 minute flight. Coming from the US, the Soo is approx 7 hours drive from Detroit.

The Sault has a lot to offer travelers, especially at this time of year in terms of out door sports, such as X-Country skiing, downhill skiing, tobogganing, skating, and snowmobiling.

Assuming I had a week in the Soo here are some of the events activities I might try to squeeze in.

January 27 to February 5th 2005 – Bon Soo Winter Carnival.

The Bon Soo Winter Carnival has been going strong for more than 30 years and features a variety of events including snow sculptures, skiing, skating, sleigh rides, and the ever popular polar bear swim. The polar bear swim is not for the feint of heart, this isn’t one of those run down to the water’s edge and stick your big toe in events, no, no, this is cut a hole in the ice and dive in! Don’t worry its all supervised and there’s a shack for you to warm up in. There is also entertainment and lots of food at the Carnival too.

Agawa Canyon Snow Train

The Agawa Canyon Train tour is beautiful at any time of year, but people rave about the beauty of the Snow Train. A day trip the train leaves about 8 am and returns that night in time for supper

As the train winds its way northward, a rugged winter wonderland will unfold before you. Snow laden trees will give way to panoramic views, towering trestles, snow-choked rock cuts, frozen lakes and waterfalls transformed into fantastic ice sculptures by the cold breath of winter.
Your tour is narrated and our on board tour attendants will share some of the history of the region and the Ojibway, miners and loggers who called this rugged wilderness home. They will also make sure you have plenty of time to get your cameras ready as the many scenic points of interest roll past your window.
At mile 102 you will begin to descend 500 feet over the next twelve miles to the floor of the famous Agawa Canyon, where the locomotives will be switched for the return trip. Unfortunately, due to low temperatures and snow accumulation, passengers are not able to detrain at Agawa Canyon.

I’ve never taken the snow train, but I would love to try it someday.


Unfortunately the lock tours aren’t operating during the winter months, but definitely something to keep in mind if you come back during the warmer months. A great way to see both cities from the water and learn a bit of the history of the locks.

Tobogganing at Finn Hill
A local right of passage is tobogganing or tubing down Finn Hill in the winter. Family fun for everyone.

Okay next stop Toronto…

[I am still toying with the format of these posts for the World Tour so let me know if there are other things you want to see like places to stay or palces to eat. Considering other than the Soo and Toronto most of the places I will never have been coming up with reasonable suggestions of places to stay or eat might be a shot in the dark].

4 comments | post a comment

my journal