Sunday, April 24, 2011

Fun Travel Tips

Some of us live for the weird-and-wacky facts when it comes to traveling. Yes, you can crack open a guide book and start reading from the beginning, but when you're seeing something truly amazing—and for the first time—you need to back up your wonder with a fact or two. BBC went around the world to get interesting factoids about popular tourist destinations the world over.

Mt Everest
Did you know that the movement of the tectonic plates is actually pushing Mt Everest higher and higher? It is growing by about 4 mm a year, which probably makes those who scaled it years ago consider going back for another round, just because.

BBC Says: “A trip to Everest Base Camp brings you face to face with countless climbers, a colourful tent city and truly extraordinary mountain views. Because the mountain is still stretching skywards, save your legs; hike those foothills sooner rather than later.”

Lodging During Your Trip
Consider checking out the best hotels in China, Tibet's neighbors, when touring this neck of the woods.

Mexico City
Mexico City is sinking faster than Venice! Who would've thought? The soft lake bed beneath the city is not stable, which means that Mexico City sinks an average of 10 cm a year—10 times faster than Venice. When you visit the Angel of Independence, you'll see 23 steps added to the monument to help visitors reach it—the city is sinking around it.

BBC Travel: “Fight that sinking sensation by floating on the ancient canals at Xochimilco. Each weekend, this World Heritage Site transforms into fiesta-filled waterways packed with party boats, musicians and marimba players.”

Lodging During Your Trip
Presidente Intercontinental Mexico City

Vatican City
Vatican City isn't just a place where you can visit an ATM and have the option of punching away in Latin. In addition to that little curiosity, you'll find the the Vatican Swiss Guards are dressed in traditional garb inspired by Raphael—yep, the one from the Renaissance.

BBC Travel: “Point out the population (800), number of citizens (450), licence plates (SCV, CV, international abbreviation V) and flag (yellow and white), not to mention the anthem (Pontifical Hymn) and coins, which are legal tender throughout Italy and the European Union.”

Lodging During Your Trip
Hotel Majestic Roma

Want to tango? Buenos Aires is the place to do it. Exploring the city is a must-do, obviously, but the tango has quite a few rules of etiquette. Will you explore the world of Argentinian dance with a tall, dark stranger?

BBC Travel: “Gentlemen, fix the lady with a long look; if she returns your stare, just give a gentle nod. Ladies, sit with your legs outstretched so a man might stumble at your feet. An encounter occurs; an invitation can follow.”

Lodging During Your Trip
Faena Hotel + Universe

The London Metropolitan Railway was the first subway in the world, making it an essential visit for train enthusiasts and London lovers alike. Despite the press Paris gets for its subway, it was actually the fourth erected in the world.

BBC Travel: “Riding today's Circle Line from Paddington to Covent Garden and the London Transport Museum retraces part of that original route. The museum has one of those original sulphur-belching engines, the Metropolitan No 23.”

Lodging During Your Trip
Andaz Liverpool Street

Well, we all know that Venice is sinking, although certainly not as fast as Mexico City. Taking a gondola might be a totally touristy thing to do, but general water taxis are a regular necessity for Venetians.

BBC Travel: “But as you go grandly down the Grand Canal, ponder a few factoids. Each elegant craft is made from 280 pieces of eight different types of wood. The left side is larger than the right by 24cm, producing a list to starboard, while the slender, raised bow means increased maneuverability.”

Lodging During Your Trip
Ca'Segredo Hotel

Uluru's red cast is actually rust, which helps it glow red at sunset. This monolith—the world's largest—has a reddish hue due to oxidization in the desert. Russet red would quickly turn to a sad grey if it weren't for the chemical transformation.

BBC Travel: “It is curious to think that without a little rust, Uluru would not be red at all.”

Lodging During Your Trip
Sheraton on the Park

Now just tuck these facts into the back of your mind, book a trip to somewhere exotic, and get ready to dazzle your friends with your knowledge. Unlike a boring travel guide, these little tips about Mexico City, Vatican City, and Mt Everest will impress in a minimum number of words. Actually, they'd be great for Twitter, too, so why wait to share?

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