Is Uber Ruining Tourism?

Is Uber Ruining Tourism?

I have travelled to New York City several times, pre-Uber and post-Uber. Pre Uber was a lovely time when you could stand with one foot off the sidewalk and scream “Taxi!” Just like they do in the movies and the smiley yellow beast would glide up next to you and sweep you immediately off to your destination without any drama.

Times have changed.

A visit to The Big Apple last Spring has inspired this post. I was with my best friend in our hotel room excitedly getting ready for our Sex and the City tour which we had been planning for actual years!!

(Don’t laugh. )

The pick up address was outside the Plaza which wasn’t on an easy direct train route from our hotel.

“That’s cool, we’ve got plenty of time, let’s get a cab.” I said.

BIG MISTAKE!

Of course it was pouring down with rain. We had an hour to make a 15 minute cab journey. The rain didn’t help matters but no cabs were available. There seemed to be mysterious spots that New Yorkers would magically get picked up from. We even spoke to some locals and got tips and split up to face different directions of traffic, all to no avail. What were we doing wrong? Then we realised it. All of the locals were booking their cabs through Uber (an App used internationally for pre-booking private transport through a paid online account – a nifty idea in theory). But it’s not much cop when you’re travelling on a budget and have no internet access on the go!!!

We were down to 10 minutes remaining to make the 15 minute journey without wheels and now suitably soaking wet and pissed off. It was at this moment that all grown up ‘Adultey’ sense and logic left my mind and I actually burst into tears. Yup. Manahattan reduced me to tears, in public, in broad daylight. In front of other human beings.

Did we make it you ask?

Well things went from bad to worse. Against my better judgement I “Accidentally” stole a taxi from a New Yorker who had pre-booked with the fabulous app! Naturally, he challenged me. I turned to face him, tears streaming down my face and yelled “PLEASE!! PLEEEEEAAAAASE!!!!!! We’ve been waiting an hour, we’re going to miss our tour! PLEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAASE!”

He looked mostly confused.

And yes I am aware that this is not how New Yorkers interact with each other. Or humans, mostly.

But the chap gave in and let us take the cab. Through fear or kindness, I don’t know. But I’m going to go with kindness.

Sowhoever you were, thank you very much for letting us take your cab. It turned out to be one of the best days I have spent with my dearest friend and the tour was fantastic!

Cuddle Your Globe

Malta and Gozo – the good, the bad and the ugly

Malta and Gozo – the good, the bad and the ugly

I was fortunate enough to be sent on an educational visit from the Malta Tourist board some time ago.

It is quite an outstanding country with a brilliant history and many, many tourist attractions to excite the most discerning of travellers.

We will start with the good;

History. (very interesting but if history bores you then skip this bit)

The history of Malta dates back to the start of civilisation and is very intricate. It seems Malta was the object of desire for many countries and has been invaded and ruled by many. Malta had a Neolithic period and the remains of temples, dedicated to the goddess of fertility can be found today. Traces of the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, the Romans and the Byzantines can also be found. Christianity was brought to Malta in 60AD when st.Paul’s boat was shipwrecked there. Some 800 years later, Malta was invaded by the Arabs who injected an influence of their language on the Maltese. It then joined Sicily and was also ruled by the Normans and the Aragonese among others. The Knights ruled over Malta from 1530 to 1798 and then the French had just two years to reign. This was not welcomed by the Maltese who actually requested the British to assist them and the Brits ruled Malta from 1800 until 1964. At this point, Malta finally gained independence. Ten years later, Malta became a republic and finally joined the EU in 2004.

Azure Window

 

This stunning natural landmark is probably the most photographed place in the Maltese islands. It is a natural limestone archway and is on the island of Gozo (I will discuss this more later).

The Beaches


I wouldn’t say that Malta is a beach paradise as there aren’t many at all, but they prove its not quantity, it’s quality!

Temperature

Malta is about as far south as you can get in Europe and nestled in the Mediterranean. They have long summers with a good chance of a scorcher from May until September and the winter months are usually a nice milder temperature.

The Medina

The historical fort remains pretty much untouched and offers breathtaking views over the surrounding countryside.

Valletta

 

Valletta is the capital of Malta and is insanely beautiful. They say it was built by gentlemen, for the gentlemen. Personally I think it is more beautiful, as if it’s had a woman’s touch. It can be quite touristy and is very vibrant. There are often events and festivals going on here.
Film Sets

Malta, for obvious reasons, is the setting for many films, most of the sets you can visit today. The most well known films shot on the islands of Malta include Gladiator, Troy, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Popeye (the Popeye village is a popular tourist attraction for families) and loads more.

The Beautiful Sea


The sea in Malta is famous for being so clear. This attracts divers from all over the world as there are some sublime dive spots for beginners or advanced. If you’re not a fan of diving you can head out on an amazing boat trip through the azure window, the caves and the famous blue lagoon which is water that is inexplainably, bright blue.

Chill Out Towns

 

If you hire a car, you can drive around and stop in almost any town for lunch and expect a view like this.

The Ferry

There is a public ferry service that operates regularly between Malta and Gozo and is very cheap.

Weddings

Malta is a popular wedding destination. The country embraces foreign weddings and it is far more simple than other countries to arrange, not to mention the incredible photo opportunities that are available 360.

The size

Malta is not huge, yet the vast amount of countryside, filled with towns and tourist attraction makes it feel so. You can easily drive the entire circumference of Malta in less than a day.

Now let’s roll onto the bad;

Tragedy

 

‘The pub’ is the famous spot where actor Oliver Reed died whilst having a beer filled break from filming Gladiator. Theories state he died from a heart attack. My sources in Malta told me that the real reason that Oliver Reed died was that he had ‘one too many’, fell backwards off his bar stool and hit his head, causing death. It is still a popular tourist attraction but in my opinion, a tragic loss.

The ugly…;

Beige

 

Literally, the only negative thing I can stay about this magnificent country is that Malta can be too beige. The buildings (despite being beautifully designed), the roads… Everything is beige and dusty. But even this has a silver lining. If you hop over to Gozo, it is a lot greener and prettier there.

Summary

It is a destination I would recommend to almost anybody and somewhere I would definitely return to.

To find out more, please visit http://www.visitmalta.com

Thanks for reading my blog peeps.

Cuddle Your Globe

xxx

Look Up More…

Look Up More…

I realised recently that most of us look within our line of vision to appreciate the beauty of a town or landscape. It occurred to me that this is cutting out maybe 60% of the actual view on offer and if we ‘look up’ more, there is so much more to be seen. It’s like you are seeing beneath the facade of what that particular location wants you to see and can appreciate the reality of this space.

I have taken some photos of a different perspective of towns and places and I feel that by seeing these, I have really seen the place.

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Homes and flats above the shops in the city centre, Hanoi, Vietnam.
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A stunningly unusual tree in Kerala, India.
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Flats and homes above businesses in central London, England.
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Beautiful art work for sale in Ubud, Bali.
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The white blob on the top balcony is actually a cat balancing on the edge, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
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The detail in the upstairs / terrace of this old house, Malta.
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The actual insane beauty of the Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain.
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Rooftops and flowers taken in beautiful Bali, Indonesia.

Why Jordan is the BEST Secret

Why Jordan is the BEST Secret

Two years ago, a friend and I headed to Jordan for a last minute ‘why-not’ break. I did not have high expectations and was hoping for a bit of sunshine and sightseeing. What I did not think was that I woukd have one of the best weeks of my entire life which was totally unexpected. A lot of people I know were concerned about political issues in countries close to Jordan, however I did not feel concerned at all. The locals are beautiful people, very friendly and slightly more relaxed Muslims than other parts of the Middle East in terms of how to dress and drinking alcohol.

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Jordan View

Day 1 – we arrived into Amman airport and met with our driver who we had arranged to be our personal driver for the whole trip, he charged about £300 and considering the miles we covered and his kind nature, it was very reasonable. We checked into the Blue Moon Hotel in Petra which was superb, great value and good standard for 4*. It was just a stone throw away from the Entrance gate to the famous Petra (where Indiana Jones was filmed).

day 2 – we woke early and headed into Petra which is quite expensive, about £50 entry but SO worth every penny. You need to be active as there was 5 hours, 18km and over 800 steps to reach the monastery at the top but the views and sightseeing alon  the was are beyond breathtaking. This is a place I feel everybody should see in their lifetime. It is really special.

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View from the Monastery – Petra

Inside Petra, there is an abundance of horses and donkeys they will try to offer for ‘free’ but they will ultimately charge you and frankly, watching people on the back of a donkey, unattached whilst it was limping up hundreds of steps on the edge of a cliff path without railings made me nervous to say the least. Walk it if you can! You can also do a sunset visit into Petra at night time which I hear is incredible.

On return to our hotel, our driver met us and took us out to Wadi Rum Desert where we got in a jeep and were taken into an awesome camp site in a small clearing in the rocks. The tents were spacious and fairly clean and there was a much larger tent where all travellers met for dinner and drinks and music and had a BBQ under the stars, it was truly spectacular and felt so liberating to stay somewhere without wifi, houses or even electricity to charge my devices, total relaxation.

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Inside the Desert Camp – Wadi Rum
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6am View of the Desert Camp From the Shower Block

Day 3 – One of The guides onsite escorted us On a day trip of the desert which was superb. It started with rock climbing (this was moderate and not overly challenging) which was excellent fun, then I was allowed to drive the jeep through the desert, then the guide used the jeep to do some terrifying but exhilarating tricks in the jeep (which had no seat belts!) then we went sand boarding, I had never done this and it was fantastic and felt very safe! We had tea with some locals who were wonderful to talk with. We had lunch with the guide which was delicious and after visiting a cave (where I fell into a pond, but I will breeze past that) we took a camel ride out of the desert back to civilisation.

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Beautiful Wild Desert Animals – We were allowed to play with baby goats and let them out of their pen for a while.

Our driver met us outside the desert and we began the long drive to the Dead Sea where we checked into the 5* resort, the Movenpick. It was a superb resort with excellent facilities for a relaxing break to the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is infamous for its salt water which is so high in salt that nothing lives in there and offers many health and healing benefits. What interested me more was the fact that the water was so salty, apparently you can sit on the top of the water and float. How could it do this with someone as heavy as me? Well, it does work! Make sure you don’t shave for 24 hours prior entering the Dead Sea and do not go in if you have any cuts because it will sting! Buy some Jelly Shoes (like when you were a child) as it’s very rocky and slippy when entering the sea, these will become your best friend. It feels very surreal when you are there; it is 420 metres below sea level and it is just an incredible experience. They say the sea level here is decreasing by 1 metre every year and in 90 years the Dead Sea may be gone altogether – get yourself out there now!

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Movenpick Resort at the Dead Sea
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People Literally Floating On Water

We travelled in February which was a great time to travel weather and season wise. It was hot, but not too hot. It is much much cheaper in Jordan that Dubai and a totally different, incredible journey. In terms or value, I was gobsmacked at how reasonable it was. The whole trip staying in 4/5* accommodation, including flights, travel and spending money came to around £800pp. What a bargain!

If you are looking for a fun, safe, sunny adventure that is a bit different from the norm, then Jordan is your one.

Hello globe trotters

Hello globe trotters

My name is Lou (Louise if I am in trouble). The main thing you should know about me is that I not only adore, but I live for travel. The rush of endorphins that I receive when I leave the strange flying room filled with 200 strangers compressed farts and step out in a new world is what gets me through each day. The possibility of experiencing a new culture or seeing something that I know I would never have the opportunity to see at home is invaluable to me and I feel that seeing the world has made me into the person I am today. From standing in a field with a kangaroo only meters away to a group of heterosexual males holding hands and being affectionate with one another because that is ‘normal’ for them; I believe that absorbing ones self into a different way of life is the best way to really live.

I have been very fortunate in that I have managed to see such a large part of the world already and have ticked a lot of countries off of my ‘list’, I have traveled for business, for luxury pleasure and have also traveled solo around south east Asia with nothing but a backpack. I worked in the travel industry for six years and am full of useful travel hints and tips from where to book your trip, where to go, what to pack and what to do when you are there. I recently read somewhere that the average person spends 7% of their time on holiday, so I think its important to fill this with the best experiences that are possible, but I cannot promise I wont try to convince you to stretch that 7% a lot higher! I intend to share many of my stories and tips with my readers so your travel experiences will be superb. Enjoy 🙂