Extended Stays

Discussion in 'Geographic Location' started by Roger Hicks, Jun 10, 2006.

  1. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    My wife and I travel as much as we can: at least 8 weeks a year. Our record year was 6 months out of the country where we were living at the time.

    Where would other APUG members recommend for middling-to-long stays (up to 6 weeks, the maximum covered by our annual travel insurance)? A lot depends on living reasonably cheaply...

    Ignore the cost of travel because that's my problem (I live 300 km/200 miles south-west of Paris), but allow for the hassle of getting visas (otherwise we'd spend much more time in India). I'm 56 on June 15th and my wife is a little older so we don't want super-arduous stuff (no camping!), but equally, we have no problems with under-$20-a-night hotels/guesthouses in many countries.

    To give you an idea, some of our favourites have been:

    India (including Tibetans in exile)
    Mexico (especially Guanajuato)
    Portugal
    Slovakia
    Slovenia
    Hungary
    Greece
    Malta (except the wine)
    Transylvania (except the food)

    I know this sounds self-indulgent but hey, it's the way we've decided to live our lives. Any ideas? Oh, yes: and when would you recommend going?

    Cheers,

    Roger (www.rogerandfrances.com)
     
  2. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Australia...

    or, you could do what I did last year. Go to New Zealand and rent a motor home on the South Island and just drive around and look. You can stop almost anywhere and no one will bother you.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2006
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Poland is still quite reasonably priced (with the exception of Warsaw) and has many beautiful towns. I usually spend most of my time in Cracow when I'm there, which is a very cosmopolitan university town with a rich history, some wonderful Renaissance architecture, and many interesting events going on all the time.
     
  4. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Thailand. The people are beyond friendly, the food is fantastic, and unless you are in the ultra-boonies, you can have access to western-quality medical care if you need it. The architecture is fascinating, as is the history. It is a geographically diverse nation, and depending on the part of the country you are in, a temperate climate (in the north).

    Because of the lack of even primary medical care, I can't say Cambodia would be a good place to stay for six weeks at a stretch, but if you are in Thailand, you can easily visit for a week or two, which is highly worth doing.
     
  5. Phil Woodney

    Phil Woodney Member

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    Hi Roger,
    I don't know if you remember, but we discussed Sri Lanka on another forum sometime back. Well, we made our two week trip and it was fantastic! In short, wonderful people, great food, guest houses were clean and comfortable, and there are myriad subjects to photograph. And it's inexpensive. We traveled mostly with a car and driver and he stopped as often and as long as we liked when we saw something to shoot. Plus he varied from the itinerary whenever he thought there might be something we might find of interest. We also used trains which was a blast. Consider Sri Lanka!
    We're preparing for another long distance trip in August. This time to the U.S. My daughter is getting married and I haven't been back in 5 years, so I will not only attend the wedding, I'll get a chance to visit my family and make some photos of the place where I grew up. Can't wait!

    Phil
     
  6. gbenaim

    gbenaim Member

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    I'd second Thailand and add Burma to the countries you can visit easily while there. Another region much closer to you is the Spanish Basque country, not a 6 week trip, but we found it absolutely wonderful and underpriced, especially if you stay in rural homes/b&bs and drive yourself. Being so nearby, if you haven't spent some time there, you definitely should, especially outside the 3 big cities. And don't miss Vittoria, the one most tourists leave out.
     
  7. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    I would second Australia.
    My parents did a trek across the outback in their fifties, including camping. It was an experience they will never forget and the only way to truly see Australia's natural beauty.
    They organised the trip through Austravel and the company they did the expedition through the outback with was called Bill Kings. I think Bill Kings is now amalgamated into another company called AAT Kings but the safaris are still available and there are many companies who offer them at varying levels. (My preference would be a small group safari in a 4WD through the outback) although many offer luxury coach 'safaris' but you only see 'touristy' outback with these.
    As an aside, if you decide on Australia go between May and September. Unless you are comfortable travelling in 40 degree plus temperatures.
     
  8. André E.C.

    André E.C. Member

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    Slovakia as far as I`m concerned, I`ve been there in 2001 at the Tatras mountain range, if you like mountains and landscape photography Roger, that`s my advice, also very cheap! :wink:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tatra_mountains

    Portugal is my country and I know you`ve been there, therefore, I strongly advise that one also! :smile:

    Cheers

    André
     
  9. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Thanks everyone for great ideas.

    If anyone else has any, I'll add that group travel (no matter how small the group, except us!) is out.

    Again, much obliged to everyone.

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  10. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Or you could come this way - Norway isn't cheap, but the landscape is unique. And the summer provides good photography light for 24 hours every day (except when it's raining).
     
  11. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

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    Vietnam. Lovely country and people, beautiful scenery, awesome food. Start in the north-east (Ha Long) if it's summer, the south if it's winter and work your way in either direction. Don't stick to the coast, also go inland. The hotels are very reasonable.
     
  12. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    You don't mention Italy in your list Roger, I would think that would be a beautiful and photogenic country to visit, and cheap and easy to get to from your home in France.
     
  13. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Ole,

    Unfortunately, 'cheap' is a prerequisite. I hope to spend a few days in Norway sometime, though.

    Dear Johnnywalker,

    Some friends have just come back from Vietnam, raving about how wonderful it is. Your recommendation strengthens my desire to go there. It's high on the list. Any visa requirements?

    Dear Ben,

    Thanks for the suggestion of Italy, but I've tried it and can't stand it. I've been there twice (not counting changing planes in 1954). The first time (on a motorcycle in the early-to-mid 90s) we were rear-ended after 45 minutes in the country: Frances would have been killed without a good helmet, and as it was, she couldn't walk for three days.

    Several years later -- around 2002 -- we went back with the Land Rover. In a hotel car park, one car-space from the hedge, some idiot shot beween us and the hedge. Five seconds later he'd have had the door off and possibly Frances's leg as well. We saw 5 serious accidents in 3 days in Italy (at least two probably fatal) and NO other serious accidents in the rest of the month in Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Germany...

    I've driven/ridden in a number of countries regarded as dangerous -- Malta, India, Mexico, Greece -- but I've never been consistently scared as I was in Italy.

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  14. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Try New Zealand Roger!!!! It is fantastic.
     
  15. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

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    Roger, I'm not sure about the visa requirements, except to say be sure to have them in order before you get there. I was told by my Vietnamese client "don't worry about it - I'll look after it when you get here". Well, to make a long story short, he managed it in the end, but I was sweating razor blades for a while. Although the customs people were very polite, they were going to follow the regulations. Finally someone produced a paper that made it all ok. Next time I made sure I had the visa before I left.

    I believe you have to have six months left on your passport before they will give you a visa.

    I don't know if ANA flys there from Europe, but they are a good, inexpensive airline (related to Evergreen shipping out of Taiwan).

    Most of the time I was there I had a car, driver, and "minder", but I stayed there a month on my own with no problems at all. English isn't ubiquitous, but I managed to get some medicine for a sore throat with just sign language. Later the pharmacist came by my hotel to see how I was, and I got an invite to go to his house for a "Tet" holiday celebration. Not one person in the house spoke English, but I had a great time.

    The scenery is awesome, and the villages, towns and cities are great places for street and people photography. There are some ethnic people in the interior but they are not used to tourists and I would have an interpreter or guide with me if I decided to visit them.

    If you decide to go, for me the "do not miss" places are the islands in the north-east (Ha Long province), and the Central Highlands. I'm sure there are others, but I haven't seen the whole country. I missed the northwest, and the most southerly regions. You wouldn't be disappointed wherever you decided to go.
     
  16. unohuu

    unohuu Member

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    the Iberian Peninsula. Spain, Portugal, perhaps the Canaries, quick trip to Morocco if desired.

    Luke
     
  17. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    Ride the train from Paris to Pyongyang
     
  18. Cooki

    Cooki Member

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    Canada, at least during the summer. if you come in the winter expect it to be fairly cold.
    Cooki
     
  19. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    Not withstanding the votes for New Zealand from Robert.

    You may very well enjoy Turkey, given the places you have already travelled. Very old culture, wonderful architecture, great food and friendly people.
    The Aegean coastline - Istanbul to Bodrum (with a short stint out to Pamukkale known as the 8th wonder by the Turks) is a fantastic trip that you can do in about 2-3 weeks.

    If you wanted to spend longer and do some serious travelling; head East inland and go ruin and handmade carpet hunting.

    Very cheap - can live on $20/day. Beware the 'first to a crossroads has right-of-way' rule. Driving is mad, but not like Italy. Different temperament in the drivers.

    My other suggestion would be Thailand or Vietnam.

    Not sure about the Visa requirements coming from France.