Where have you traveled that was better than you had imagined? Where was a big disappointment?

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    Sep 27, 2016 11:06 PM GMT
    In recent trips, Glasgow, Scotland far exceeded my expectations. It's a beautiful and very friendly city.

    Berlin was disappointing with the exception that it has some of my favorite museums. Otherwise, I love Germany and Hamburg is one of my favorite cities.

    Which are your faves and NOTs?
  • ChicagoSteve

    Posts: 1276

    Sep 27, 2016 11:19 PM GMT
    Hong Kong for me was a big disappointment, did not meet my expectations, except I did really love riding on the Star Ferry in Hong Kong Harbor, and going to Victoria Peak. Paris exceeded my expectations! I loved every minute of the week I was there. What a great city, I loved the sights, the people and the food. Am going to go back.
  • roadbikeRob

    Posts: 14342

    Sep 27, 2016 11:31 PM GMT
    St Louis was the biggest disappointment for me. Instead of the beautiful, modern city as viewed from the Mississippi, instead it was mostly grimy, decrepit industrial areas, decaying slums and a lot of abandonment. Milwaukee more than met my expectations. It was a clean, well kept, prosperous city with friendly people, an awesome lakefront, beautiful architecture, and great food. If you depart from Milwaukee starving than there is something radically wrong with you.
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    Sep 28, 2016 12:00 AM GMT
    I love Vienna, Austria. It is very clean, very elegant and just breathes sophistication and a cosmopolitan life while being relaxed at the same time. My experience with Italian cities hasn't been that good. Although, Rome is beautiful with its spectacular bistros, cobbled streets and attention grabbing history, a lot of the people treated us with a certain amount of disdain. A street vendor out and out refused to sell us bananas and people looked down on us with a false sense of entitlement.
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    Sep 28, 2016 12:52 AM GMT
    Agreed that Milwaukee is glorious and that was such a surprise.
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    Sep 29, 2016 3:02 AM GMT
    Better than imagined?

    York and rural Yorkshire. Had never been to the north of England before. Beautiful; daily operating steam railroad; quaint seaside towns like Staithes - touristy, but not overrun.
  • mcbrion

    Posts: 305

    Sep 29, 2016 12:46 PM GMT
    Not that I went with expectations, as that is not how I travel. I travel to see the culture that exists in a city or country.

    So: Kenya. To see gazelles, elephants, zebras, antelope and other animals grazing in a vast expanse of land and Mt. Kilimanjaro in the background was like seeing the Garden of Eden as it once may have been. It was breathtaking and majestic, and reminded me how small "civilization" - and man - are in the scheme of things. One cannot beat Mother Nature for showing us the most beautiful parts of life.
    No disappointments in traveling, I think. Just observations about how others live and think.
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    Sep 29, 2016 2:43 PM GMT
    Truth is I usually go (or for years would be sent) without knowing what to expect. If I learned I'd be assigned there for any length of time I'd try to find whatever good things they had to offer, and MAKE it OK for myself. Did me no good to make myself deliberately miserable. I called it my "Thrive Where I'm Planted" philosophy.

    But I do remember the first time I rode down the Florida Keys, in 1973. On my latest motorcycle, bought just a month earlier in Georgia. I thought the Keys were magical, and still enjoy them, although less every year as they continue to be degraded by continued commercial development.

    In '73 things were a lot less crowded, less overbuilt, and much lusher with the kind of heavy vegetation you might associate with the tropics. With more swampy mangroves than today, and oddly fewer palm trees, which I believe aren't really native. But were originally introduced there by people. Key West was a little gem at the end of your 100-mile trip.

    Already a bit shabby, in a quaint, quirky & colorful way I came to love. With delightfully eccentric residents who seemed suited to their exotic surroundings, many living as though they imagined themselves to be perpetual beachcombers.

    And all through the Keys I always had the sense that I was really in the middle of the ocean, easier to appreciate when you travel by motorcycle. Even more so when you travel that route pedaling on a bicycle, which I've also done a few times.

    Because the Keys actually are fairly small islands far out from the mainland US, an archipelago situated between the Atlantic and the Gulf. With only bridges connecting them to make a trip by vehicle possible. One of these many structures, the aptly named "7-Mile Bridge" has to be that long to span the water at one point.

    Since the mid-1990s big cruise ships have been making port calls in Key West. The thousands of tourists flood through historic Old Town like a tsunami, then retreat like the tide going out as their ship readies to continue on its way. Large hotels have been built along the water, grabbing much of the limited beaches for themselves, and blocking the views.

    Land prices have skyrocketed, and the locals are becoming extinct, notably the once-numerous gay community. What had been charming has become contrived.

    And increasingly like living in a rather self-conscious theme park, complete with open-air tourist trams riding the streets, blaring their tour guide's descriptions over loudspeakers. Hard to find anything genuine anymore, that's not deliberately put there to catch the tourists' eye, as well as their money.

    And so for me, Key West represents a bit of both this thread's conditions: once had been better than I had imagined, an amazing revelation, and today becoming more of a disappointment. I still go, perhaps seeing it through the nostaslgic lens of over 40 years ago. And knowing where the "real" Key West remains, away from the show made for the stampeding day visitors.
  • Destinharbor

    Posts: 4433

    Sep 29, 2016 4:01 PM GMT
    Northern Ireland was beautiful. The coastline is spectacular and you and follow it around down into Connemara County in the Republic. Cliff diving, hiking, diving (cold!) just driving. The entire country seems to be highly prosperous and the people are proud of home and you just never see anything that isn't clean and orderly and scenic.

    Did a leisurely drive up the French riviera and for the most part was in love with every day and everything we saw and did. But I just didn't get Marseille. Seemed touristy and dirty and boring. Cannes didn't do much either. Although fancy and glitzy, just seemed like the kind of place Donald Trump would be impressed with. Excessively retail. Money, money money. Far and away the best spot on the coast is Nice. Though I loved Montpellier for its intimacy and history.
  • JackNNJ

    Posts: 1051

    Sep 30, 2016 5:44 AM GMT
    Ireland cuz I got drunk as fuck.

    Ireland cuz the weather sucked.
  • mwolverine

    Posts: 3384

    Oct 03, 2016 1:10 PM GMT
    Churchill and Roosevelt also loved Vienna, thus didn't bomb it during the war.
    It was the capital - center - of the Hapsburg Empire before that.

    ricky1987 saidI love Vienna, Austria. It is very clean, very elegant and just breathes sophistication and a cosmopolitan life while being relaxed at the same time.
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    Oct 03, 2016 5:10 PM GMT
    mwolverine saidChurchill and Roosevelt also loved Vienna, thus didn't bomb it during the war.
    It was the capital - center - of the Hapsburg Empire before that.

    ricky1987 saidI love Vienna, Austria. It is very clean, very elegant and just breathes sophistication and a cosmopolitan life while being relaxed at the same time.


    Sorry - you are quite wrong here. The Americans and Brits bombed Vienna a lot. 20% of the city was destroyed by allied bombing raids. Even though there were no strategic targets there. The indiscriminate allied bombing of civilian targets (as late as 1945) destroyed the great Vienna Opera House, which the Austrians were not able to rebuild until 1955. The bombing of Vienna, though not as prolonged as other targets in Germany, was typical of Churchill's plans to destroy as much as possible of German (and Austrian) civilian housing. Perhaps the destruction of civilian Dresden also has escaped your learning? The massive bombing of civilian targets would be considered war crimes today - but we must remember that the law of war was written by the victors - so of course nothing they did was considered at all improper.
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    Oct 04, 2016 12:04 AM GMT
    Berlin Hated it. Austria & Switzerland thumbs up!

    P.s. 1970s Disneyland was the pits. At least Knott's Berry Farm had huge tortoises.
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    Oct 04, 2016 12:17 AM GMT
    bon_pan said
    Berlin Hated it. Austria & Switzerland thumbs up!

    P.s. 1970s Disneyland was the pits. At least Knott's Berry Farm had huge tortoises.

    I was assigned to West Berlin in the late 1970s. In keeping with my "Thrive Where I'm Planted" philosophy. The Army shipped my car there, the traffic didn't bother me, I got to travel all over, including other parts of Europe. I attended incredible serious music concerts, but also very simple but equally wonderfully things like nighttime outdoor Christmas festivals (Weihnachtsmarkt), while a light snow fell and children's choruses serenaded with carols. I also learned how to decorate a home Christmas tree in German fashion.

    And do a thousand fascinating things year-round in a culture all new to me. Taught myself cross-country skiing. Yes, in Berlin, a city of parks. I could get lost for half a day skiing in the Grunewald forest. Plus saw the landmarks, and scars, of WWII. History was everywhere.

    Never been to Disneyland. But did visit Disney World here in Florida a number of times, beginning in 1975. Found it enchanting & wondrous. Everything I expected, and in many ways more. Less so today. The entire Orlando area has turned into a commercial gimmick, a glitzy, hi-tech Las Vegas for kids and their parents.
  • JackNNJ

    Posts: 1051

    Oct 04, 2016 12:43 AM GMT
    Deep into a vagina.
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    Oct 04, 2016 1:48 AM GMT
    Mind you I was a wee lad back in the 60's. Going through Checkpoint I enjoyed laying in the back of Dad's Buick Century...a huge monster...and sticking my tongue out at the border guards. Once Mom caught me and almost had a heart attack. Lol. I delighted in that.

    Anyway, it, otherwise, was boring and concrety but Mom loved shopping at the KaDeWe.
  • mwolverine

    Posts: 3384

    Oct 04, 2016 6:12 AM GMT
    Sorry you took such great umbrage with my half sentence summary in a travel thread.

    As you note, by WW II standards even "20%" destruction isn't "a lot" but almost minimal. You bring up the example of Dresden, but one could similarly look at the devastation in Berlin, Budapest and Warsaw, or Stalingrad (never mind bombings in Japan).

    Saying "as late as 1945" misses the point that the war barely came to Vienna before March 1945 (that's when the famed Opera House was damaged), just prior to the offensive to take Vienna in early April of that year. The first Allied bombing wasn't until 1944, targeting oil refineries and related facilities (which are strategic targets). Nearby targets in Wiener Neustad were already bombed in 1943.

    American bomber crews were explicitly instructed to avoid damaging the Opera (which had already been damaged by fire; not sure if it took a direct hit but it was not targeted), Schonbrunn (its zoo would not be so lucky) and the Stephansdom (which was tragically damaged by a fire set by looters).

    How much of your "20%" was the result of Soviet artillery in April, 1945?

    HikerSkier saidSorry - you are quite wrong here. The Americans and Brits bombed Vienna a lot. 20% of the city was destroyed by allied bombing raids. Even though there were no strategic targets there. The indiscriminate allied bombing of civilian targets (as late as 1945) destroyed the great Vienna Opera House, which the Austrians were not able to rebuild until 1955. The bombing of Vienna, though not as prolonged as other targets in Germany, was typical of Churchill's plans to destroy as much as possible of German (and Austrian) civilian housing. Perhaps the destruction of civilian Dresden also has escaped your learning? The massive bombing of civilian targets would be considered war crimes today - but we must remember that the law of war was written by the victors - so of course nothing they did was considered at all improper.

  • eM_Jay

    Posts: 90

    Oct 05, 2016 9:47 AM GMT
    UAE was a major disappointment for me. Not that the place was wrong or bad, it just didn't fit in well with me i guess. Went in expecting something like Morrocco with a bit more bling, and all i got was overpriced everything and stuck-up locals (maybe i brought out their bad side-who knows). Paris too was slightly less than my imagination gave me, but it wasn't too big a deal. The atmosphere was just really grimey and heavy, while i was expecting jazzy and enlivening. Again, maybe i just got the raw end...

    Pretty much everywhere else has been great, but if i pick the best it has to be Kenya and Thailand. Both have been amazing for me and they gave me much more warmth, culture, friendliness and vitality than i went in expecting. The people in both places were very surreal and open, giving a dose of life in their culture that opened up my mind a lot. I also had some meaningful times there, either going out and learning about the wild on my own, or staying around others and trading stories. Thailand's islands also made me feel a bit like Robinson Crusoe in my head and that's a definite plus, haha icon_biggrin.gif
  • KevinTruong

    Posts: 20

    Oct 05, 2016 5:56 PM GMT
    Thumps up: Copenhagen, love every minute that i spending there
    Thumps down: Cyprus, nothing to see, gay life there suck, because of there culture, nobody have a facepic on their gindr profile but tourist.
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    Oct 06, 2016 9:06 AM GMT
    Best experience: New York city, hm, I'd say this city has everything. Awesome gay scene and some of the hottest guys there.

    Worst: Paris, now now, even though Paris has the arts, architecture and domes, monuments, I don't know, the gay scene wasn't really happening there and
    maybe because of the language barrier, I have no idea what they're saying. I think I only seen 1 gay bar in the Marais district. Having said that I would gladly
    go back though. Lol, well Kim Kardashian was robbed here, so is it still safe?? icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Oct 17, 2016 2:57 AM GMT
    Dunno... The places my work has taken me tend to be remote, middle-of-nowhere, and often toxic. Either that, or conference centers in various cities around the world. But the conference rooms all look the same.

    The high desert in New Mexico comes to mind as a place that really grows on you. But you have to spend a few seasons there to get the feel of the place. "Land of Enchantment" is actually pretty accurate.

    NYC is hands-down the most disgusting and horrifying place I've been. Well, maybe 1978 San Salvador.
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    Oct 17, 2016 3:04 AM GMT
    bon_pan said
    ...but Mom loved shopping at the KaDeWe.

    That's where I bought my first cross country skis and boots! Wonderful place, near Kurf├╝rstendamm (Ku'damm), a main Berlin thoroughfare. Berlin was my home for 2 years. BTW, KaDeWe is the German abbreviation for Kaufhaus des Westens, meaning department store of the West. A fairly large place, sorta like Macy's in NYC, I think Europe's largest. And the food department on the top floor was to die for, at least when I lived there.

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  • fuzzyNOLA

    Posts: 3

    Oct 20, 2016 2:44 PM GMT
    Rome was better than I even imagined. And the place I went to my first gay bar.

    Provincetown was a bit of a let down. It was beautiful, but the atmosphere wasn't what I was expecting.