Where to Go?

Old Feb 1st, 2020, 02:52 PM
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Where to Go?

So. We have friends posting to Ghana in the spring and naturally I must visit them. DH knows of a workshop he will be at in India (Mumbai) in early autumn so I am planning my Ghana visit around his India trip. We'd like to meet somewhere after our respective visits for a holiday before we return home to the U.S. The following are the back-of-the-envelope destinations we dreamt up, but we are certainly open to just about anywhere else.

1. India
2. Saudi Arabia
3. Jordan
4. Portugal

We lived in Central Europe for the past seven years and had the good fortune of traveling quite a bit. (Doha, Cairo, Marrakesh, Pakistan, Armenia; and a good amount of continental Europe). India seems like a natural choice; Jordan and Saudi Arabia sound exotic; and Portugal is on the list because somehow we forgot to visit when we lived in Europe.

The question is: if you were in this situation, where would you go? And, where would you not go? We enjoy all of the ~usual~ tourist activities like history, culture, food, and so forth. Outdoor activities like hiking would be a plus. The time frame is about 3-5 days, not including travel.
fourfortravel is offline  
Old Feb 1st, 2020, 03:11 PM
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Well, I personally wouldn't go to Saudi Arabia - we lived there for four years, long before they opened the country to tourism, which is fairly recent from what I understand. If you do go, be prepared to take your lives into your own hands on the roads - those folks make the Italians look like old lady drivers. I kid you not, you will see some very scary and dangerous stuff on the roads.

I'd go to Portugal, only because I've never been and it's on my list, but I'd need much more than 3-5 days there.

Good luck with your decision.
Melnq8 is offline  
Old Feb 1st, 2020, 04:31 PM
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I love small, pretty Portugal.
And we just returned from Jordan and want to return there.We loved the historical sites, the food, the people.
Our guide told us about all the Syrian refugees who were entering Jordan, escaping for their lives.. He was questioned about how the Jordanians felt about accepting them. He answered that they need help so of course we offer them a home. They will prosper and enrich Jordan. They have pathways to citizenship for them too.. How refreshing it was to hear this!
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Old Feb 2nd, 2020, 06:39 AM
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"If you do go, be prepared to take your lives into your own hands on the roads"

Haha. Thanks for the heads-up. We have been through Moscow and Pakistani traffic; and I through Belarus with a driver I will never forget. Riyadh and Jedda just sound like they would be worth the awful 23 hours of flight time back home.

HappyTrvlr, we had a whirlwind late-evening dinner in Amman as part of Royal Jordanian's "Zuwar Dining" experience. For the cost of a tourist visa, one is met at Passport Control by an official; our passports were stamped; and we were escorted to and from a restaurant in Amman to enjoy a dinner of traditional Jordanian foods. Dinner was at a restaurant inside a restored fortress atop one of the many hills in the city. In my research I had read that the restaurant was a top place to dine for both the setting and the food, a conclusion with which we both agreed. Naturally this fabulous marketing put Amman (and the rest of Jordan) as a destination to consider.

Portugal might be rising. We can time all of the travel to coincide with DD's autumn break at university. As we are sponsoring her lifestyle we would be paying for her travel to one place or another, so we might as well visit with our daughter! But where to go for just a few days? I think I'll post on the Europe forum...
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Old Feb 2nd, 2020, 10:05 AM
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Well, that's barely enough time for Lisbon with a day trip (click on my name for my Lisbon TR). It's not much for Jordan either, Petra needs three nights.

Since you will already be in India, with visas, I'd be inclined to stay there. From Mumbai you could go to Aurangabad to visit the caves at Ajanta and Ellora, maybe stopping in Pune on the way back to Mumbai, or fly to Kochi to experience some of the south.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2020, 11:19 AM
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"Since you will already be in India, with visas..."

I won't have an Indian visa, just DH. I am heading to Ghana and he to India; our wild thinking is that we could "meet" somewhere for a few days before returning to the U.S.

This seems to be turning into much more of a travel problem than it might be worth. I was so hoping to take advantage of our being across the pond to tack on a city break somewhere, but that doesn't seem to be working. I might have to return to the drawing board, or scrap the notion altogether.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2020, 12:30 PM
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What about Morocco? Royal Air Maroc (now a member of the Oneworld alliance) has nonstops from Accra to Casablanca, and from Casablanca you can fly all over Europe or to JFK. You could stay in Casablanca, or day trip (or overnight) out to several interesting Moroccan towns.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2020, 12:58 PM
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Well, if you can manage five days, I would go to Lisbon. Or Nice. Both are my default options if I'm in London and the weather is lousy.
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Old Feb 7th, 2020, 10:46 PM
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With just 3-5 days I would also take ease of travel to get to any destination into consideration.
You can use Google Flights to see where nonstop flights from Accra go (just leave destination box empty) on your preferred days of travel.
While it is not on your list, technically, Istanbul would be my first choice as it is a major hub also for Asia. So both you and DH would be able to get there nonstop.
There is also a nonstop flight to Lisbon on certain days from Accra, but the one-way fare looks pretty steep (not sure how much money you want to spend on this mini-vacation).
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Old Feb 18th, 2020, 06:29 AM
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Lisbon would be wonderful! That was my first overseas trip and that was all it took to have me hooked

I love Iceland as well. We are returning this summer for a much longer trip. But with 5 days you can see quite a bit, and of course there is a ton of hiking.
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Old Feb 19th, 2020, 09:17 AM
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Of your list I'd go to Jordan. It's high up on my list and I want to get there before long, thought-intensive travel is a chore for me. I also want to go to Portugal but I think that's more doable in my later years than Jordan is, especially if I want to hike in Petra. None of the other destinations on your list intrigues me.

Not on your list, a safari destination. I would take literally any opportunity to go on safari, so being that close (relatively) and not doing it, well....it would kill me. Or, Sri Lanka. My safari planner has introduced a trip for next year there and it looks spectacular, I just can't make the dates work. It's all wildlife focused, so if you have no interest maybe it's not worth consideration.
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Old Feb 19th, 2020, 12:36 PM
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Lisbon would be okay if you can get the right flight connections. It doesn't need a huge amount of time especially if it's mainly Lisbon and not touring from there.

Rick Steves actually has a good City Walk podcast for Lisbon that can be done in a day easily.

I liked an overnight in Sintra, which allowed me to hit some of the busiest sites first thing the next morning (such as Pena Palace). It isn't difficult to catch the train if you do it from an airport hotel. That worked for me, I stayed at the Star Inn on my inbound flight (a late arrival) and then left after breakfast to Sintra. I stayed one night at (recommended) Casa da Pendoa Sintra. I had three more nights in Lisbon and could have used a fourth. I walked on some of the streets in the Alfama, but the lines were too long to go into the Castle.

For Sintra and the Jeronimos Monastery in Belem, you need to be efficient with transfers and prepurchase tickets if possible, or to buy a package ticket, to avoid the tourist hordes. I made a few tactical errors, including not usinig Uber to get to Belem, not buying the package ticket for the Monastery, and wasting time at Pasteis de Belem. You can get good Pasteis at dozens of places, they are not worth waiting in line there!!! It basically cause me to miss the Gulbenkian. Also be careful of site closure days.

Uber makes it easy to get around, so you don't need to rely on the Metro if you don't want to.

For Sintra and the Jeronimos Monastery in Belem, you need to be efficient with transfers and prepurchase tickets if possible, or to buy a package ticket, to avoid the tourist hordes.


Last edited by mlgb; Feb 19th, 2020 at 12:50 PM.
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 05:25 AM
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"What about Morocco?"

Hadn't considered Morocco as I've been to Marrakesh, but it's worth considering. Thanks!

"Not on your list, a safari destination."

We always wanted to go on safari...until multiple friends shared their travel stories. The daily driving around plains looking for animals became tedious; and there is zero chance I can 'lounge about any resort' for an afternoon even after rising before dawn to look for animals. Sri Lanka, perhaps...

Lisbon seems to be rising out of simplicity now. DS is relocating to the U.S. West Coast for a dream job, so I now have to convince myself I want to visit the Bay Area, too. So much travel to plan, so little time. It is a good woe to have.
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