There are many destinations that have a bad reputation or stigma that they can’t seem to shake. These places get slammed by the travel media, bloggers and tourists who can’t get past the outdated, inaccurate or superficial criticisms. Not every destination is created equally, but I can always find qualities I like in every place that I visit. There have been many times when I’ve told people that I’m heading to a country, for example, Morocco, Bosnia or Cuba and people question why I would ever go there. They are dangerous, war zones or the food is terrible, they tell me.
Below is a collection of posts from travellers who have had positive experiences in destinations that have had a bad reputation over the years. One of them is about Istanbul and since this was written, the city has been a victim of a suicide bombing that killed 11 foreigners in Sultanahmet district. I visited Istanbul in 2014 and would do so again, despite the attack. So, while these stories are positive, remember that any place in the world has its own dangers and no traveller is immune to that. But with common sense and an open mind, most of the world can be experienced in safety.
If you’re traveling outside of the car-free walls of the old medinas, taxis in Morocco are a cheap, effective and readily available way of getting around. They aren’t always comfortable, they usually lack seatbelts, and you’ll likely get out smelling like exhaust fumes, but they work.
The first thing you’ll notice is there are two types of taxis, Grand and Petit (if you don’t know what those words mean en francais, don’t go to Morocco) The grand taxis, which are Mercedes Benz diesel sedans ranging from the 1970s to 1990s, are typically for going from one town to another, or for in-town trips with four or more passengers. They are also mandatory for some lengthy local trips, for example in Casablanca, if you’re making the 40-kilometre drive to the airport. In North America, we think of luxury and refinement when we think of Mercedes sedans. But in Africa, they are all about longevity and reliability. These 240D and 300D sedans are the backbone of transportation on the continent and play a large part in keeping it running as well as it does. In Morocco, that’s no exception. These Mercs don’t have sat-nav, rain sensing windshields, they can’t park themselves and many don’t have airbags. The two that we took didn’t even have seatbelts. One of them had removed all of the plastic vent covers in the interior and for some reason, blocked them up with wood. But they ran and they got us to our destination. Continue reading “Taxis in Morocco: How to avoid getting ripped off”
Can you identify a car by the sound of its engine? Do you know every turn of Laguna Seca by heart? Do you say Rosso Corsa, and Giallo Modena instead of red and yellow? As a kid, did you have posters of cars on your walls instead of bands? If you must take your car in to get serviced, do you politely ask them to not to wash it? Are any of your pets named after famous race car drivers?
If you aren’t an expert on North American geography, if you don’t have distinct memories of your Grade 6 Canadian geography class, or if you aren’t from the Canadian Maritimes, chances are, you’ve never heard of the tiny little islands of St. Pierre et Miquelon.
1. Iceland’s Highway 1 is a ring road that circles the entire island. While it’s good to get off the ring road and explore a bit, this highway makes the country incredibly accessible and, if you plan it right, you won’t ever need to backtrack. Many of the major sights are located very close to the highway too, so they obviously picked a good route. Every Iceland road trip starts with the ring road!
2. If you’re sticking to the marked highways, it’s nearly impossible to get lost. Arm yourself with a good map and even a rookie driver will have no problem navigating. There are so few roads, it’s pretty hard to get it wrong. All the sights are very well marked, too. If you’re renting a car, say no to the GPS – you won’t need it! However, if you’re going off-roading at all, ignore this advice! Continue reading “Top 10 reasons for an Iceland road trip!”
Anybody who has ever been excited about the upcoming release of a new car knows what spy shots are. We’ve all seen them of cars being tested on the Nürgburgring or up north somewhere in the frozen arctic. Car manufacturers must test their new lines in the most extreme conditions, whether that is being abused on a demanding race track or being driven across a winter wasteland. Continue reading “Death Valley car testing – extreme heat testing of Jaguar F-Type”
The stretch of land between Modena and Bologna is what many people call Supercar Alley, and for good reason. It is home to Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Pagani and Ducati. And there are some great options for experiencing them all. Bologna isn’t on many people’s Italy agendas, even if they really love spaghetti Bolognese. But the best base for a day in Supercar Alley isn’t too far from other more popular Italian cities. Continue reading “A supercar sidetrip”