Hotel Horror Stories: as soon as I saw that title I knew I wanted to be involved. There's just something we all seem to ignore about hotels, namely that thousands of people stay in their rooms every day/week/month/year (depending on size) and turnaround times between occupants HAS to be tight. If you really feel like giving yourself some serious second thoughts about ever staying in a hotel again, take a look at this Quora feed (but promise you'll come back after). We kicked off with the question we all want to see answers to.
What is the biggest surprise you have ever found in your hotel room, or shower?
Of course the usual combination of "creatures that shouldn't be there" came up, including "A dead cockroach lying in the middle of the shower :( At least it was dead!" by @SunCabo and a "Frog in the bog in Kanga Camp" which @thesafaririch was kind enough to show us with this accompanying visual representation:
Something stranger happened to @AtTheDrop, who found "Another person! That I didn't know". Who was in the right place?
Personally I'm always surprised to find a completely unstocked minibar - does that count?
Tell us your worst hotel customer service story, juicy details please
@always5star showed us almost the definition of poor service "when customer service thought this was the way to fix a leaky plumbing". Points for resourcefulness though. Full points.
Istanbul has long been a city that has fascinated me, it really doesn't need much to bump it up my list of destinations. I have a shelf full of books on its history, although nothing really post-1931'ish. So my "current knowledge" is probably quite poor (which I won't often admit). That's why this blog post, by @annaselundberg is one of my favourites of the week. Anna was fortunate enough to land an invitation to a Dutch-Turkish wedding in Istanbul - it didn't disappoint. From the Grand Bazaar, to Hagia Sophia, to The Blue Mosque (which is apparently "not particularly blue" - it's the tiles on its interior that give it the name), Anna takes us on a historical and architectural journey and then to the wedding itself, adorned with a multitude of fezzes and Dutch bonnets! Plus, you can't beat that view, straddling Europe and Asia:
Next up is a place close to my heart, as told by through the medium of photography by @RHTog. There are some genuinely excellent images here so I won't ruin them with further words on the topic, I'll let some of Raymond's photos do the talking. Check out his Facebook page for more.
I took part in the latest Twitter Chat operating under the hashtag #TravelSkills with the eye-catching title of 'The Hidden Gems of Europe'; bringing to mind quiet little towns uninterrupted by globalisation, exquisite scenery unchanged for centuries and the type of places we seek when travelling in order to avoid the usual touristic traps. I was definitely interested in hearing what this group had to say about where in Europe is still considered 'hidden' and unexplored, by many of us at least!
This week's chat was helpfully moderated by absolute experts in the travel industry: @cjmcginnis and @JohnnyJet along with deluxe river cruise company @USEmerald.
First question came out looking for immediate names of places we could consider as 'Hidden Gems' with:
"After London, Paris and Rome, which 3 capital cities should travelers see in Europe? Why?"
Much discussion and naming of a multitude of cities ensued but @TravelCuts summed it up well with: "Budapest, Zagreb & Warsaw. So much culture + history to discover in Eastern Europe & you’ll def have a unique experience!"
@LifeofTravel gave us a diverse response listing some cool spots very worth visiting: "Lisboa, Belgrade & Berlin- for history, cuisine & 3 very different european cultures!" while @BBC_Travel provided one solid answer we're excited to hear: "Dublin’s on the rise - it’s being called the Silicon Valley of Europe!" What with so many international companies calling Dublin their European base, such as @Google, @LinkedIn and @Etsy, there's a real buzz about the city full of young professionals from all over the world.
Other capitals mentioned were: Prague, Reykjavik, Madrid, Amsterdam to name a few.
Siamac and Julieanne are avid world travellers, sun worshippers and enjoy sharing recommendations of treats they've encountered along the way. With this blog and Concierge99's Top 5 Guides, they can help you make the most of your travels, giving you an opportunity to find interesting and unique things to do wherever you are in the world.
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