I talked to my cousin Tom recently and we reminisced about Zürich, Switzerland. We both agreed that it was the most expensive destination we had ever experienced. Zürich ranks 3rd on Trip Advisor’s “Most Expensive International Cities” list. The most expensive is London. The grand total for hotel, taxi, cocktails, and dinner for 2 is $518.01. That’s for 1 day in London! The rest of the list, in descending order, holds few surprises: Oslo, Paris, Stockholm, New York, Moscow, Copenhagen, Sydney, and Singapore. Trip Advisor’s “Best Value” city is Hanoi. This information is based on summer, 2012 travel.
When we were in Zürich in 2011, Ruth & I talked to a young woman at a car rental agency who had just moved back home after living in Seattle for several years. She said she was struggling to remain independent and had no money for fun. No restaurants. No movies. All her income went for basic living expenses. The previous evening Tom, Ruth, & I dined at a modest Italian restaurant and our bill came to $120 for very little. Tom found a solution, however. The next 2 nights we ate quite well in the food court of Manor Department Store.
If you’re now 18 or older and want a true moving adventure, apply to Mars One. According to Patrick Kevin Day of the LA Times, this Dutch company plans to establish a colony on Mars by 2023 and they’re currently looking for volunteers. You need to be at least 18 because you’ll be 28 when you arrive. The first group of 4 pioneers will be joined by new colonizers after a few years and then every 2 years after that. This is a one-way deal. Those chosen will enter a full-time training program for an anticipated 2022 blast-off. Talk about the ultimate travel destination!
This is the time of year when 2013’s-best-earthbound-destinations are appearing in articles. The Sunday, January 13, New York Times travel section, for example, suggests the best 46 places to go this year. The list has some predictable choices–Ireland, Paris, Washington, DC–some enticing countries and areas I’ve been to–Australia’s Kimberley, Montenegro, Lithuania–and some cities I’d love to see but haven’t yet–Porto, Portugal, Pecs, Hungary, Marseille, France.
If you like year-end travel mind teasers, check out the San Francisco Chronicle’s 2012 Geo Quiz (google sf chronicle 2012 geo quiz and click on the 3rd entry down). This annual brain stretcher is a great party activity. To get you started: what are the only 2 countries in South America that do not border Brazil?
Here’s another geo question that introduces the subject of tomorrow’s blog. Which U.S. city of about 100,000 has a modest house you can tour that was home to 2 presidents, 2 governors, 1 former CIA Director and Ambassador to China, and 1 first lady?