World Guides Travel Blog

July 2011

This is where we let you know all about what's going on with our website and the world of travel, with destination reviews, current travel news and topical travel-related stuff to discuss with your friends. Please let us know if you want to comment on anything - Contact us.

July 25, 2011


Picture of the beachfront at Faro, in the Portuguese AlgarveThe start of the school holidays signals a mass holiday exodus with millions of people hastily throwing their belongings into suitcases and heading off to their chosen holiday destination. Whilst most people prefer to book months in advance, there are always a few people - me included - who can't help but leave everything until the last minute. So I read a recent online article on this year's top holiday destinations with interest. A chance to get some last-minute ideas?

Despite currency concerns, traditional Mediterranean destinations still look to be high on the list of favourites for Europeans, with Spain at the top. It's not hard to work out why. From the Canary Holidays to the Costa del Sol, Spain's resorts have all the makings of a great holiday - namely, sun, sea and sand. Then there's the British love affair with France, which looks set to continue. And as for Italy, well, few of us can resist the temptations of la dolce vita.

For those who don't mind flying long haul, the USA looks set to lure holiday makers in their droves with the promise of theme parks, Californian beaches, those wide open spaces and the glitzy glamour of cities like Las Vegas. This year, Thailand is also attracting attention. No longer just a classic haunt for gap year students, places like Bangkok and Phuket are proving to be more and more popular with mainstream holiday makers.

So many great holiday destinations, so little time...

Posted by Sue at 10:21:59 on 25/7/2011

July 22, 2011


Or in this case the power of the missing word.

Recently, World Guides was delighted to launch its guide to Kenya which included a section on the towns and cities of the country. On this page was mention of the Kenyan city of Kisumu an ordinary city if it wasn't for the fact that US President Barack Obama's father was born here.

You can see where I'm going can't you... Yup for whatever reason, despite the stringent editing process that all our guides go through, the all important word father disappeared into the ether.

So to clarify matters for all those bloggers and conspiracy theorists out there searching for evidence that the US President is not legally entitled to his position - World Guides was making no claim to the President's birth place and has no confirmation of this information with any documentation or proof.

So this highly embarrassing 'typo' has now been corrected on our site, however, I'm sure if you really want you can find screen shots of the original posting all over the Internet.

As to whether this error was a publicity stunt to encourage Kenyan Tourism or to advertise the World Guides websites for free, well that's something I'll leave to the conspiracy theorists...

P.S. Piece of advise to the website claiming Obama's birth place claims came from 'Official Kenya World Guides'. World Guides are not official guides and have never advertised as such - thus you may wish to change your meta titles etc. After all one word can make all the difference - take it from people who know!

Posted by Ceri at 14:50:53 on 22/7/2011

July 16, 2011


Photo showing the Sahara DesertJust this week, a honeymoon couple apparently lost in the Canadian Wilderness sparked off a massive manhunt. The pair, who had been exploring the countryside in a camper van, hadn't made contact for a few weeks and, naturally, their families were starting to worry. When they were at last spotted, it transpired that they'd decided to change their travel plans and had, well, simply forgotten to tell anyone.

Considering the amount of technology out there that's designed to help us keep in touch, there's probably no excuse for going incommunicado nowadays. Mobile phones, email and Facebook are just a few ways you can say 'hi' every now and then - or if nothing else, just get a neighbour to check that you really did lock the front door.

That said, I've got a lot of sympathy for the honeymooners who are, no doubt, more than a little embarrassed about the media fuss. Whether you're on a two-week holiday or the road trip of a life time, it's natural to want to forget about everything for the duration - including life back home.

Reading the news item, I couldn't help but think of a motorbike trip through the Sahara Desert that I made with my partner. It was 1990 and the Gulf War was about to kick off. Back then, Internet cafes were unheard of and mobile phones were in their infancy. Keeping in touch boiled down to either sending a postcard, a remarkably slow process, or finding a public phone.

It was Christmas Eve and we'd decided it was about time we let our families know we were safe and not languishing behind a sand dune somewhere. At the post office in the Algerian town of In Salah we booked a slot for the one telephone line that emerged from that sleepy desert town into the outside world. On Christmas Day, we queued patiently. Eventually, my call was put through and my mum's voice filtered through the wires between a small town in the north of England and North Africa. They'd all just finished their Christmas dinner, she told me, and were about to tuck into some mince pies. I told her our location, roughly summarised as 'in the Sahara'. Oh, aren't you through it yet? was her reply. We wished each other a happy Christmas: she returned to the festivities and I contemplated a lunch of bread and tangerines. Maybe people just worried less back then...

Posted by Sue at 21:28:33 on 16/7/2011

July 8, 2011


Aerial view of the Machu Picchu ruinsA lost-then-found city high up in the Peruvian Andes celebrated a very important birthday this week. It's exactly one hundred years since Machu Picchu, better known as the Lost City of the Incas, was revealed to the world by Yale archaeologist Hiram Bingham. Today, Machu Picchu is Peru's most popular tourist destination. This year, it's estimated that 750,000 visitors will head to the iconic ruins.

Thought to have been built by the Incas in the 15th century, the pre-Columbian city of Machu Picchu was eventually abandoned. No one really knows why. Safe to say, though, it soon became totally immersed in jungle creepers, closely resembling an Indiana Jones film set.

Revealed in all it's glory, the sheer scale of the ruined city is hard to take in. In 1983, Machu Picchu was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Since then, it has also been added to the list of wonders of the world. As South America's most famous archaeological site, it has become a symbol of national Peruvian identity.

Whilst the Incas no doubt took the vertiginous climb to Machu Picchu all in their stride, most modern visitors choose a more relaxing way to get to the top. It's now possible to travel there by train, making the scenic journey a far simpler - and more civilized - affair. For those intent on getting there under their own steam, Inca-style, allow a little more time and be prepared for a long hike.

Posted by Sue at 13:52:35 on 8/7/2011

July 3, 2011


Picture of the central tennis court at WimbledonAs revellers return from Glastonbury, that iconic outdoor music festival, it's time to turn our attention to another great British event played out on grass - Wimbledon. The Wimbledon Championships have been held in a corner of South-west London since 1877 and it's true to say that they've acquired a certain British flair and charm over the years. Not to mention a few foibles.

Take strawberries and cream as an example. Wimbledon just wouldn't be the same without the iconic dessert, usually washed down with a glass of Pimms. Or the sight of a famous face or two in the Royal Box. During the course of the past two weeks, various members of the Royal Family have made an appearance in the Centre Court audience. So too have some well-known cricketers, footballers and the odd TV celebrity.

Then there are the strict dress codes. Competitors may have tried to push the boundaries in the past, but rules are rules. They still have to wear tennis gear that is predominantly white in colour. There are even long-standing traditions about how you get a seat to watch matches at Wimbledon. A public ballot is held each year and debentures are sold. For those who really, really want a much-prized centre court ticket, it's essential to bring a tent and sleeping bag, so that you can stand (or sleep) in line for as long as it takes. And unlike most major sporting events, sponsorship is still spurned by the Wimbledon organisers, the All England Club.

That's not to say that Wimbledon hasn't rung in a few changes. Since 2007, all Wimbledon champions, whether male or female, have been rewarded with the same amount of prize money. And whereas, until a few years ago, a shower of rain meant a lot of hard work for the groundsmen reponsible for pulling the tarpaulin over the court, nowadays we have a retractable roof. It makes perfect sense for the schedulers, but I can't help but feel that something of the unpredictability of Wimbledon has been lost in the process. After all, it was during these weather-inspired lay-offs that TV viewers of old got to catch up on matches from earlier in the day. During particularly wet summers, it was possible to view endless footage of matches that extended back into the annals of Wimbledon history, to the glory days of McEnroe and Connors.

Anyone for tennis?

Posted by Sue at 17:41:10 on 3/7/2011