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  • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

    Originally posted by Gurtholfin View Post
    If it's me and my wife and kids, that would be perfect and I actually like the Bahamas. When we go to the Keys and this may sound odd, Lake Superior, we look for just those qualities. It's also why St. John was so appealing to us compared to St. Thomas.

    With the larger group dynamic though, we'd most certainly end up in an all-inclusive very touristy area in the Bahamas. They were looking into Atlantis.
    Ah yeah, forgot you're going with a group. That always changes things.

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    • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

      Originally posted by Gurtholfin View Post
      I get seasick. In addition, I like to be up early and walk the beach at sunrise and have the option of grabbing my snorkel at any moment and get in the water. I'd go crazy confined on a ship.

      I believe that where we are looking at on Antigua has some topographical features - SE corner. From photos, there are high spots nearby. From reviews and sat images, there is abundant snorkeling right off shore and there is a sheltered bay for kayaking, etc.

      Did you like the island on its own, not necessarily comparing to other destinations?
      Well, for the most part, you are at an island when you wake up. Most places you arrive between 7 and 8am, so unless you are an early riser, or if it's just a late port, well.... As for the confinement idea- I hear that fear all the time, and even worried that before my first trip. In actual practice, by the time you get to the sea day, one finds themselves looking forward to it, as you are exhausted from doing stuff on all of the islands. As for the sea sickness- what I'm suggesting has two points where it's a problem- leaving San Juan, and returning. That's the only time you are fully exposed to the Atlantic- being inside the islands really makes it nice. But you made an important point on an earlier thread- this is a group thing, where it's likely that you will choose an all inclusive resort, which isn't on your radar for your family in the first place. For a group vacation, finding a little something for everyone, I've found that cruising is a very good value.

      Antigua specific- I didn't see it as much different than St Marteen. Which is to say not mountainais, but hilly. It's not covered in trees like Puerto Rico or St. Lucia is, but more of a low brush. It's seems to be more famous for the sailing, as there are multiple rehgattas through the year- we even did a sailing race excursion- just like St Marteen. For what you have said you like, I would steer far more toward St Lucia, or even St. Kitts- lots more non-water stuff available.

      As for liking specifically- we've been there 3 or 4 times. I can't recall as it's just not been that memorable.

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      • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

        Originally posted by alfablue View Post
        Antigua specific- I didn't see it as much different than St Marteen. Which is to say not mountainais, but hilly. It's not covered in trees like Puerto Rico or St. Lucia is, but more of a low brush. It's seems to be more famous for the sailing, as there are multiple rehgattas through the year- we even did a sailing race excursion- just like St Marteen. For what you have said you like, I would steer far more toward St Lucia, or even St. Kitts- lots more non-water stuff available.

        As for liking specifically- we've been there 3 or 4 times. I can't recall as it's just not been that memorable.

        Ugh. I'm trying to work myself up to be the fly in the ointment and push for St. Lucia/St. Martin. It's not so much about any of these places not being a nice destination - I'm sure they all are in their own way. It's more about securing the best possible experience for everyone, but especially for my kids.

        I'm pretty easy. Give me a beach, some sunshine and a fruity rum drink and I could be happy all week. Hell, I was happy in Sheboygan on the shores of Lake Michigan last summer although that may not have lasted beyond the 3 days we were there.

        But seeing something that is unique or getting to experience something unique or new is what I want my kids to remember from these trips.

        Part of my family is happy to just have the decision out of the way. Why keep looking when we can just decide and stop stressing?

        I'm of the mind that let's keep looking until we find the best.

        Now to decide whether to continue the fight. I believe I'm right though and everyone will benefit if they follow my lead. But who doesn't, right?


        -sigh-

        Wish we could afford more trips so that I could just do this and then also do our own thing but we can only afford one of these every couple of years. First world problems, I know.

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        • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

          One thing to add to St. Lucia- they grow coco there. And there are small companies who sell the chocolate from that coco.

          And coffee- they also grow coffee there.


          Let alone mangos, bananas, guava, etc.

          I think both St Lucia and Antigua grow cane, which tranlsates into local made rum. aka the necar of the islands.

          Good luck- certainly a good problem to have.

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          • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

            Originally posted by alfablue View Post

            I think both St Lucia and Antigua grow cane, which tranlsates into local made rum. aka the necar of the islands.

            Good luck- certainly a good problem to have.

            Yeah, the very definition of a first world problem...

            Which island in the Caribbean will I go to for a week?

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            • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

              Originally posted by alfablue View Post
              One thing to add to St. Lucia- they grow coco there. And there are small companies who sell the chocolate from that coco.

              And coffee- they also grow coffee there.


              Let alone mangos, bananas, guava, etc.

              I think both St Lucia and Antigua grow cane, which tranlsates into local made rum. aka the necar of the islands.

              Good luck- certainly a good problem to have.
              I don't think St. Lucia is really known for their rum; Admiral Rodney is probably the top of the line but I wasn't tremendously impressed with it when I had it on the honeymoon.

              On the other hand, they do grow cocoa; we did a fantastic plantation tour where the nursery supervisor takes you around to show you the various stages of growing and production, then you get to make your own chocolate bar from beans, cocoa butter and sugar. Highly recommended. Here's someone else's blog post about the tour.

              They also have literally more mangoes than they know what to do with. When on our way around the island, we would often see cars pulled over and people just picking them off trees by the side of the road. One taxi driver told us that, in their most recent general election, a major campaign issue was how best to turn this surplus into an economic asset for the island. This may have been an exaggeration, of course, but there is definitely a huge bounty of fresh mango and it will be served with many meals.
              Cornell University Men's Hockey
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              • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

                Originally posted by jmh View Post
                I don't think St. Lucia is really known for their rum; Admiral Rodney is probably the top of the line but I wasn't tremendously impressed with it when I had it on the honeymoon.
                Having it and being known for it are very different. They also have it on St. Kitts, but it's just ok. What I really like is getting rum from different islands- the British method on Barbados is different than the French method on Guadalpupe which is again different than the Spanish method on Puerto Rico.

                And they are all really interesting and good in their own ways.

                I love my rum.

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                • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

                  Originally posted by jmh View Post
                  I don't think St. Lucia is really known for their rum; Admiral Rodney is probably the top of the line but I wasn't tremendously impressed with it when I had it on the honeymoon.

                  On the other hand, they do grow cocoa; we did a fantastic plantation tour where the nursery supervisor takes you around to show you the various stages of growing and production, then you get to make your own chocolate bar from beans, cocoa butter and sugar. Highly recommended. Here's someone else's blog post about the tour.

                  They also have literally more mangoes than they know what to do with. When on our way around the island, we would often see cars pulled over and people just picking them off trees by the side of the road. One taxi driver told us that, in their most recent general election, a major campaign issue was how best to turn this surplus into an economic asset for the island. This may have been an exaggeration, of course, but there is definitely a huge bounty of fresh mango and it will be served with many meals.

                  I realize that if I look I can find crime reports on anywhere in the world and have found them on any island that we might want to go to. Any thoughts on St. Lucia?

                  Reports say that crime is on the rise, but that can be a relative thing I would think. Any concerns from your perspective?

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                  • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

                    Originally posted by Gurtholfin View Post
                    I realize that if I look I can find crime reports on anywhere in the world and have found them on any island that we might want to go to. Any thoughts on St. Lucia?

                    Reports say that crime is on the rise, but that can be a relative thing I would think. Any concerns from your perspective?
                    The most unsafe I felt on the trip was when taxi drivers took twisty mountain roads significantly faster than I would've considered reasonable. That being said, we really didn't get out a whole lot. We considered doing souvenir shopping at the big outdoor market in Castries but opted to go to a mall near our hotel in Rodney Bay (what can I say, we're from New Jersey and Long Island, it's in our nature), which was exactly like shopping at a mall in the States. Also, there are a couple of big weekly outdoor festivals on Friday nights, the Anse la Raye Fish Fry and the Rodney Bay Jump Up, which we decided to pass on so I couldn't say for sure exactly what they're like, but seem like the kind of thing where tourists might get targeted by pickpockets (along with the Castries market). Generally speaking, though, it's a country that gets a large portion of its economy from tourism, and IMO you'd be more likely to get ripped off on the exchange rate than by a mugger or something like that. I mean, don't get drunk and go wandering around poorly-lit streets at night, but that's just common sense.
                    Cornell University Men's Hockey
                    NCAA Champions: 1967, 1970
                    ECAC Champions: 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1973, 1980, 1986, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2005, 2010
                    Ivy League Champions: 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1977, 1978, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1996, 1997, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2012, 2014, 2018

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                    • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

                      Originally posted by burd View Post
                      I don't know what is involved in making the short hop to Izmir, Turkey from Athens, but the Ephesus ruins nearby are amazing. Paul did spend time in Ephesus, as did Mary.

                      At 93, you Dad must be quite a guy to do this.
                      Yes, he's still pretty active.

                      We had a wonderful time. Our hotel in Athens was right on the square in front of the Parliament building. The last day (Sunday) there was a massive protest of the rise in the Neo-Nazi party, and the area was choked by protesters, police, and Greek Army.

                      We spent 4 days in Athens, 1 day in Corinth, 1 day in Olympus, 1 day at a resort on the Ionian sea, and had a blast.
                      Fighting Sioux Forever

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                      • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

                        Originally posted by MadTownSioux View Post
                        Yes, he's still pretty active.

                        We had a wonderful time. Our hotel in Athens was right on the square in front of the Parliament building. The last day (Sunday) there was a massive protest of the rise in the Neo-Nazi party, and the area was choked by protesters, police, and Greek Army.

                        We spent 4 days in Athens, 1 day in Corinth, 1 day in Olympus, 1 day at a resort on the Ionian sea, and had a blast.
                        Glad you had fun. To clarify, those demonstrations are against the neo nazi's who have what is considered too much influence in the gov't.
                        Typically they occur out of tourist season. There has been a number of incidents that are immigration related in this regard. None violent, but none the less...
                        MTU: Three time NCAA champions.

                        It never get's easier, you just go faster. -Greg Lemond

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                        • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

                          Originally posted by MadTownSioux View Post
                          Yes, he's still pretty active.

                          We had a wonderful time. Our hotel in Athens was right on the square in front of the Parliament building. The last day (Sunday) there was a massive protest of the rise in the Neo-Nazi party, and the area was choked by protesters, police, and Greek Army.

                          We spent 4 days in Athens, 1 day in Corinth, 1 day in Olympus, 1 day at a resort on the Ionian sea, and had a blast.
                          Sounds like a great trip! Any particular recommendations for Athens, other than the big names like the Parthenon and the like? Not sure if I mentioned upthread but my wife's brother is getting married in Athens (or, more specifically, in the suburb where his fiancee's parents live), and I'll be there with my wife and a bunch of her relatives for a few days in late May before we head to Santorini for some island relaxation.
                          Cornell University Men's Hockey
                          NCAA Champions: 1967, 1970
                          ECAC Champions: 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1973, 1980, 1986, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2005, 2010
                          Ivy League Champions: 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1977, 1978, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1996, 1997, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2012, 2014, 2018

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                          • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

                            Originally posted by jmh View Post
                            Sounds like a great trip! Any particular recommendations for Athens, other than the big names like the Parthenon and the like? Not sure if I mentioned upthread but my wife's brother is getting married in Athens (or, more specifically, in the suburb where his fiancee's parents live), and I'll be there with my wife and a bunch of her relatives for a few days in late May before we head to Santorini for some island relaxation.
                            We got tickets for the open double-decker tour bus at our hotel, which allow you 1 full day of jumping off and on at various sites. My brothers and their family climbed Mount Lycabettus, the highest point in Athens, for some great views and pictures. Be sure to see the Acropolis Museum, at the base of the Acropolis. The museum is on stilts above a neolithic excavation. In the museum are the very few front stone pieces from the Parthenon that the Brits didn't steal in the Early 1800s (Elgin Marbles).
                            Outside of the city, Corinth was also very enjoyable. Above it is the Corinth Acropolis, with fortifications from the 3rd or 4th crusade. In the town of Corinth is a canal from the Aegean to the Ionian seas, dug at sea level around 1900. The Ancient Athenians tried to dig it too, but didn't complete it.

                            Edit - The Canal was first attempted by Emperor Nero, not the Greeks.
                            Last edited by MadTownSioux; 03-31-2014, 12:28 PM.
                            Fighting Sioux Forever

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                            • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

                              Thanks!
                              Cornell University Men's Hockey
                              NCAA Champions: 1967, 1970
                              ECAC Champions: 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1973, 1980, 1986, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2005, 2010
                              Ivy League Champions: 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1977, 1978, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1996, 1997, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2012, 2014, 2018

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                              • Re: A Thread for Travel: Trips/Advice/Ideas

                                I'm off to Bruges, Belgium and to Amsterdam for the keukenhof gardens starting on weds. Can't wait to see some of the sights in Bruges. I understand the flowers are spectacular in Amsterdam..

                                The Museum at the Acropolis is very good, but I'd choose the Archeological Museum of Greece as better. Both are well worth a visit.

                                It's interesting that Ancient Corinth( Korinthos to the greeks) is not the site of modern Corinth, which allows you to visit it. In Sparta, the modern city was built right on top of the ancient one, so there is very little to see now. Some, but not all that much.
                                MTU: Three time NCAA champions.

                                It never get's easier, you just go faster. -Greg Lemond

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