Welcome everyone to this month’s live chat. March is the start of an exciting month around here and if you’ve entered or voted in The Best City To Visit 2012 Travel Tournament preliminary round, I’ve got the match ups ready just for you. Scroll down to the chat to get a glimpse of the brackets. I’ll be breaking down the competing cities plus giving my predictions along with Wandering Earl and Barry and Julia who write Turkey’s For Life.
Click here to jump right into the chat happening for the next 3 hours! The Live Chat is only open from 2pm-5pm US EST; 7pm-midnight London GMT).Join me next month, Tuesday April 3rd!
They’ve both got entries in this year’s contest, Ljubljana, Slovenia and Fethiye, Turkey respectively and I can feel the competition building already. Manchester and London have already taken a few shots at each other and 3 countries are already facing off in the first round. Finally, I’ll be announcing a few changes to the chat format and more. Click here to jump into the chat!
Hi everyone, sorry I’m running late today, as I’ve been trying to please my cranky server.
Thought we were late, so glad you were, too! We’ll comment as ‘Barry and Julia’ to make life easier. Just been for a little ‘refreshment’ to keep us going! 🙂
Or you could be ‘Bulia’ or ‘Jarry’ 😀
Hey all! Looking forward to the chat tonight of course…hope all is well down there in Turkey!
All good here! Ready to let battle commence. 🙂 Hope you’re all well.
I’m ready to go as well…and have I mentioned that Ljubljana is an AMAZING city? I repeat, LJUBJLANA…well worth voting for 🙂
I’m sorry, what was that? Did you say ISTANBUL?
Istanbul? Never heard of it. We’re talking about incredible cities here, not dinky little no-name towns.
At least we can say we’re actually SITTING in our AMAZING city. We liked it so much, we moved here. 🙂
haha, I’ll have the brackets up soon, *almost* there, though wish I had some “refrshments” too right now…!
Think one of our comments has just disappeared. I was just saying, at least we’re SITTING in our amazing city right now. Loved it so much, we moved here! That’s dedication! 🙂 Bulia and Jarry – nice! Sip of wine.
By the way, Anil, Earl, Deniz: Where are you all right now?
Physically across the pond but mentally in Istanbul ;))
Physically and mentally in Fethiye – that’s us!
I don’t know, from what I’ve heard, if I were to visit Fetihye myself, I would come to appreciate Ljubljana even more 🙂
I’m actually in Bucharest though, so yes, you are a bit more dedicated than I!
Why do I have a feeling it is a terrible idea to be jumping into this chat while sitting in the most boring conference call ever? haha I envy you all!
haha, we’ll keep you entertained!
Seems like an ideal time to me!
Careful you don’t get caught Suze. 🙂 So Earl, you obviously prefer Ljubljana to Bucharest then?
Earl is obviously confused as to which city he prefers. He means to say Istanbul every time.
Not a lot of conviction there with Earl, is there Deniz?! Nooooo. Those of who have chosen the Turkish cities have a bit more passionate belief about us.
Well, Deniz is thousands upon thousands of miles away from her city…I’m a mere two or three countries over 🙂 Surely, that counts for something??
The fact that I live thousands of miles away and yet still acknowledge that it’s the best city in the world has to count for something too, doesn’t it?!
I do prefer Ljubljana, but Bucharest is just where I’ve ended up for now. I like it here as well…but as a city to visit, Ljubljana all the way!
But if Fethiye wins, I’ll make sure I get down there to see it for myself in the near future.
What’s the top draw of Fethiye for you both?
Too much to mention Earl, too much to mention. Would love to see you here though. Fethiye: Coastal, colder winters, hotter summers, mountains, history, working harbour, growing cafe culture, great hub for exploration of Turkey…perfect in every way.
That does sound like an ideal combination…the coastal aspect appeals to me…that’s what Bucharest and Ljubljana are missing.
We live right by the sea. Great to be so close to the water all the time; we see some amazing storms at night. The travel thing is good too. We can get an intercity bus to virtually every city in Turkey just from the bus station up the road. Airport is 30 minutes away, too.
See, we’re selling it to you aren’t we? 😉
haha I’m not worried about getting caught, its more that it’ll just further encourage my desire to quit and travel! Not necc a bad thing but best not to be done by ending a conference call with “peace out cubscouts I’m buying a one way ticket to anywhere not here” haha
You could choose one of the nominated cities to run away to. 🙂
Its tempting! Or maybe just a RTW to hit them all hmm….
Though if you do go that route we’d like audio to hear reactions. Something like this perhaps:
haha no I think I’d like to avoid burning bridges, its a globla firm so at least when I end up broke and scared somewhere I can work the “hi I worked in the NY office” angle and maybe they’ll let take pity and let me answer phones
I think I found that comment!
My last day in the Washington DC area, tomorrow Istanbul…
Jealous! Although we’re of course happy to be in Fethiye right now. Why is Deniz’s name not on your big banner at the top? 😉
I’m not part of your elite travel blogging club. Whomp whomp.
Who is? 🙂
Already, finally got myself together over here. I think it’s time for some brackets… 🙂
Technology is committing suicide all around me at the moment…
hey 🙂 I wasn’t sure if anyone could join in; thanks Julia 🙂
It’s a free for all here, Dee. Welcome. Hope you’re supporting the Turkish cities – but mainly Fethiye. 🙂
Complete chaos here!
Welcome to the chat Dee! And don’t forget about the beautiful small city of Ljubljana, Slovenia…a city about which a negative word has ever been spoken (most likely) 🙂
Fethiye Fethiye Fethiye! Went for the first time in 2005 and just keep going back, never thought I would do that
Same with us Dee. we never wanted to see the same place twice – but then we got a bit addicted. 🙂 Glad you’ve got good taste. Fethiye’s going to need its votes in the last 64.
Alright here are the brackets. Cities in the top 25 get to skip a round and sit on their own little line 🙂
uggh Chiang Mai!?!? Noooo! ArtofBackpackings LT Travel webcast last night spent the last 10 minutes talking about how awesome it is. My poor SF is going down in its first contested round 🙁
Or Macau…but I’m guessing CM wins that one. It seems like it’s all travel blogging expats there!
Yeah in my mind if Macau pulls off that upset I’m hardpressed to see SF beating it.(yes I am aware I’m essentially smacktalking my own pick)
Wow, looks like the draw for the football world cup! Hmmm Fethiye may be through to the next round but it’s going to be tough in the later round. Hope we have lots of people online on voting days!!
I’m guessing Venice is the first one you come across, can’t see Bran pulling that off but who knows. Earl might get the Romania vote going!
Earl won’t have any Romanian supporters once they find out he nominated Ljubjana!!! 😉
That’s alright…I wasn’t too impressed with Bran Castle anyway. Turns out Vlad the Impaler (the guy Dracula is based upon) never even lived there!
oooh harsh, the same can be said about most castles owned by royalty, they had too many to ever stay in them all. I want to go to Hungary and see where he was imprisoned.
Yeah, heard that. Good for tourism though. Wonder if they’ll beat Venice…
Gondolas vs. Vampires? Actually that sounds like a battle I’d like to see.
Hmm, think we’re hoping for a vampire victory on that one – no offence to Bran but we might scrape past Bran easier than Venice.
I think Bran is definitely the easier city to face…
Speaking of the match ups, I think Portuguese cities are looking like the early favorites along with a certain Fethiye 😉 Anyone notice Madrid vs. Valencia? Hard choice…
FETHIYE FETHIYE FETHIYE!!! We’ll own up to rooting for Istanbul, Izmir, Sydney and Manchester too – but only if they don’t come up against Fethiye. 🙂
I loved how London and Manchester supporters were already arguing in the vote comments…
Pity we most likely won’t see a Manchester v London faceoff. Simon got that going fairly strong on the prelim voting comments
So you won’t go down with your ship when Fethiye loses? You’ll suddenly cheer for cities that are even further away from you than my beloved Ljubljana is from me?
Lived in Manchester so it’s close to our hearts. Awww. We’re just showing love for the cities of the world, that’s all…that and the fact that Manchester is a cool city…but not as cool as Fethiye, of course.
Venice could be a tricky one, Barcelona too
Venice is going to very tricky, Dee! :/
Yeah, what’s going on with Portugal? It’s going to take me a million dollars and a full-time campaign team for Ljubljana to knock off Guimaraes!
If I remember rightly, Guimaraes had VERY good support in the prelims. Your days in this competition may be numbered Earl. 🙂
Their tourism board is incredibly mobilized, but I think as the cities narrow down they other regions might vote against them. I think you can corner the eastern European vote!
how do you even pronounce “Guimaraes”?!
Exactly…that should be an automatic disqualification for un-pronounceabilty.
And this coming from the man who chose the most difficult to spell city!
I have to cpoy/paste it every time! Spell check loses its mind when it sees
Hmmm…but Ljubljana is so fun to spell and it sounds so pretty when you say it right!
The same can be said about Ljubljana (yes I copy pasted). At least San Fransisco is easy…being popular enough to be in song titles helps as well
That is easy…but it’s no Ubud, York or Fez 🙂
I was running around on YouTube for a video example but only found many, many European Culture Capital videos. The campaign is in full swing!
I’m going to try! And I’m confident for the first two rounds. Prague will be tough but they have too many pickpocketers…and Ljubljana has virtually none of those (most likely).
What underdogs are you all rooting for? I’d like to see Paramaribo do well but if they get to the next round…TOUGH
Fethiye of course. We’re HUGE underdogs. 😉 Manchester will do well, hopefully, too.
Istanbul is clearly the under-est of dogs in the competition.
Leh, India…now that’s an underdog. I’d love to see it win a couple of rounds though.
I’d like to see Cairo and Luxor as well. Egypt could use some good travel press these days.
Oh, and almost forgot about York!! BEAUTIFUL city. Loads of great pubs – as well as the historical interest, of course. Would like to see York do well.
Betsey who chose it said it was her favorite and in between Edinburgh (her pick last year) and London (which had already been taken).
Yeah, it is a special city. Hope people vote for it. Just realised there’s potential for us to meet Valetta. 🙁 Love that city, too.
then please vote for it! 🙂 Let’s see the under dog prove everyone wrong.
If you beat Berlin, I think it will be huge momentum against Barcelona!
Random question, how is the site loading for you? It’s been having problems for the last 24 hours. That’s what I get for making coding changes at 2am…
It’s been loading fine for me, I was on it last night and again this morning without any issue (9pm and 10AM NY time)
It’s been loading okay for me as well…about an hour before the chat I had some trouble getting on but that lasted about five minutes only.
Thanks! Glad to hear it…
My laptop is odd and I always struggle to get your site to load (it’s not our internet connection because your blog loads easily on Barry’s laptop.) Tonight, all is well for us on my laptop…so far.
Thanks, that’s good to hear since I won’t get a chance to make many changes before my flight. Or multiple flights I should say with very long layovers. The things we’ll do for cheap tickets…
Fethiye isn’t underdog but you, Istanbul, and San Francisco have the day off! Earl has to get through this weekend 🙂
That’s because he chose an underdog city! 🙂 We’ll just chill with our day off and prepare the troops for future battle.
That’s the problem…you’ll chill, thinking you have it all made and then, when Venice arrives you won’t be able to motivate the troops. They’ll be hungover. Ljubljana will be in battle mode from day 1 until the day it declares victory.
You might well be right with regards the being hungover! 🙂 Venice is going to be sooooo tough. Be fun to see what happens though.
Would actually love to go to Ljubljana so we may even vote for you in the next round.
The Slovenian battle march?
Well, Fethiye definitely gets my vote over Venice!
Yeahy, thanks! (Never been to Venice, actually.) Just looked at the rest of the draw and I can see our troops getting very battle weary very quickly. Glad we’ve chosen some other cities to support, too. 🙂
I’m thinking Vientiane won’t pose much of a threat. And again, it doesn’t sound nearly as cool as the word “Ljubljana”!
Who makes it to the final four?
I’m thinking Berlin, Ljubljana, Cape Town and Sydney…
Thanks for the support, Earl!
He’s skipping out on the Turkish places on purpose.
It’s just what I think will end up in the Final Four, not what I want to see there (except for Ljubljana naturally).
Oh,love Berlin, too. Too many choices. And we need to also vote Sydney for the lovely Ms Gourmantic. Final four…need to check the draw again.
I do like Berlin, my favorite in Germany. Which isn’t saying much I guess, so let me change that to “in the world”.
Berlin is your favourite city in the world??? A few years since we were there but we had a great time. Would love to go back to see how it’s changed.
Whoops, I meant “one of” my favorites. Nowhere can take Istanbul’s place for me 🙂
That’s why I double-checked. Hopefully, no one will see this comment – agreed on the Istanbul thing. 😉
I was surprised to read Anil’s comment too…makes a lot more sense now.
I think Sydney will be there too.
Granada, Rome, London, Istanbul
If I’m following the draw correctly, Fethiye could meet Granada. So Final 4, we can swap Granada for Fethiye. 😉
I like Granada in there! Too bad one Spanish city will be eliminated already this weekend…but not Granada. You’ve got until next Tuesday not to worry 🙂
Anil, sorry, but I still don’t know how to vote! I need some more explanation 😉
Sorry about that, I should have done a better job explaining. There will be a few rounds of votes throughout March, I’ll post them here. But since Granada was in the top 25 in the first vote, you’re safe until Tuesday March 6th. Then the voting will begin and you’ll be against either Tallinn or Mandalay.
thanks Anil! 🙂 I will vote for other cities too! so I’ll be following the whooole championship!
Wonderful! It’s always a fun one to see how things go, good luck!
As much as it worries me, I think Guimaraes will be in the final four…
Tucked away in that left corner is Sarajevo; I think they’ll advance quite far before getting noticed for some reason…
They did okay in the prelim round, didn’t they? Not sure.
5th overall but quietly so toward the end.
Wow, definitely ones to watch then! If they win THAT would be an interesting place to visit.
Yeah I’m inclined to think you’re right on this one, I can see Sarajevo knocking off a few without much issue or attention.
wow! it’ll be a tough battle!
Granada will be the winner. of course, but we will have to face Barcelona or Berlin before getting to the final!
That will be *very* interesting either way. I don’t know what’s an easier match up for you, tough one…
both B’s are tough ones, and 2 of my favourite cities in the world!
Speaking of Berlin, will anyone happen to be there next week?
I’m interested to see how Honolulu v Reykjavik pans out this weekend since both were on the short list my friend suggested for an upcoming trip. I wanted Iceland, she wanted Hawaii
I haven’t been to Hawaii yet so I can’t say but love Reykjavik and Iceland. Along with Oman, it’s one of the most alien looking places I’ve ever been to.
That is a tough call…very tough. I’m a fan of both and would not be able to choose between the two at all.
Really? Interesting, I hadn’t heard anyone described Reykjavik that way before, though being from the US and having traveled a lot here part of Reykjavik’s appeal was that it’d be very different from anything here. We went to Maui and Oahu when I was a kid and I’ve spent plenty of time on other US beaches so to me going to Honolulu wasn’t going to offer a different enough environment and I like that feeling you get from walking off a plane and feeling awed over the fact that in the span of a few hours you’ve managed to end up somewhere completely different
That does make perfect sense. I’m just a huge beach fan and have spent 1.5 years working on board cruise ships that circled the Hawaiian Islands non-stop. So I really came to love Honolulu in the end. And as much as I loved Reykjavik, it was the other parts of Iceland, such as Akureyri and Isafjordur that really felt as if I was in another world.
Think we’d agree with you Suze and definitely vote Iceland on that one.
Hi everyone — what about Greece?
Hi Jeff, are you going before or after May?
What about Turkey, Jeff! 😉
Despite doing everything on a budget, not too sure on the money saving aspect Jeff but we’ve been to a few places in Greece and love it! Whereabouts are you going?
Thessalonica? My thinking was that, in light of debt crises, etc., now would be a good time to find affordable tickets to Greece…
You may be right with the tickets. Alcohol and food have gone up a little as the government have put higher taxes on many things to recoup some cash. Nothing too drastic though. The whole Thracian area is beautiful we’ve been to Halkidiki (just south of Thessaloniki). Don’t know if you’re a foodie but the food scene in Thessaoloniki is supposed to be amazing. If you’re travelling in that area, Xanthi, heading east towards Turkey is great, too.
I’m consistently seeing articles that its best to go to places with struggling economies, like Greece, because of the deals being offered to travelers. Would you agree with that suggestion? I’d assume those discounts are being seen more at hotels then at hostels, but wondering if there’s other ways discounts would pop up (restaurants are my next thought).
Generally this is the case, although Greece’s tourism industry hasn’t been hit too hard by the economic crisis. Luxury travel is a big portion of their 15-18% tourism GDP and the Greeks can’t lower prices too much since they don’t control their own currency. It may be a bit cheaper but not particularly cheap like Iceland was after their banks collapsed a few years ago.
That makes more sense to me then some of the other stuff I’ve read. So where would be the place to go for “economic crisis” deals (if there is such a place?)
Egypt immediately comes to mind. It was *very* cheap when I was there last May and apparently even more so now. They’ve lost nearly 60% of their tourism income since last January 25th.
There are also ‘negative media’ deals…Mexico for instance is very cheap if you stay away from the 2 or 3 main tourist areas. The rest of the country is struggling with tourism because of the negative press the country is receiving due to the drug issues, making it a bargain to explore.
And it’s an incredibly safe country if you stay away from the border with the US!
Yes I’ve noticed a fair amount of chatter amongst the travel blog community about Egypt really getting a bad rap. How do you guys weed out the hype and determine what may be a good opportunity to take advantage of lower rates, less crowds, etc? I’d be a solo female traveler so while I want to take advantage of “negative media” deals I also don’t want to put myself in too risky a scenario.
Definitely understandable and in the end, the best resource is other travelers who are in or have recently been to the country you are considering to visit. They will tell you exactly what it’s like to be traveling there…this is how I ended up in places such as Syria, Lebanon, Mexico and Honduras (during their period of unrest back in 2009).
And I think you’ll find that most of the places you would be concerned about visiting will prove to be some of the safest, even for a solo female traveler. It’s hard to imagine at first, but once you arrive in a country such as Mexico or Lebanon, you quickly realize that there was nothing much to fear at all.
haha Earl I hope you’re right! Thanks for the advice guys 🙂
Generally speaking, most places sound worse/more dangerous in the media than they are in reality. Connecting with other travelers is a good way to find out what life and travel in a place is like. For Egypt, I would recommend getting in touch with Giulia whom I met in Cairo last year:
You’re welcome Suze, hope that conference call went by a bit easier!
And the top article on her homepage is “Is it Safe to Visit Egypt after the Revolution?”. Thanks Anil, I’ve been contemplating Egypt specifically for my own travels, but I’ve also got a 16 yo sister potentially headed there this summer (albeit through an education program) and things like Giulia’s article will go a long way towards easing my mothers concerns!
A reader (Jeff) on Twitter was asking me just now how to save money in Greece and invited him over. Thought it we were a good group for that topic…
Valencia is beautiful. Just went there in November. I thought about picking that one, but I’ve always wanted to go to Asia. Taipei, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok… some good picks! 🙂
A beautiful city and of course where one of the most impressive pieces of modern architecture is 🙂
Yes.. but I can’t build up Valencia too much now. Have to work on talking up Hong Kong!
😀 of course not!
Not sure. Thinking May or June (at the earliest) but no specific plans.
Jeff, if you can possibly go before May 15, it will save you significantly in general. Not sure if it’s a possibility for your plans but if it is something to consider.
…what happens May 15?
Nothing specific, but it’s when the holiday season more or less starts and prices in general go up noticeably. I don’t recall the figures released but if you can go before then it’s one of the better ways you can save overall on your trip.
When do they typically come back down? End of August?
Getting reassurance on our Facebook page. It appears the people who are commenting aren’t fans of Venice and some weren’t aware of Bran. Feeling better now! 🙂
More troop rallying! A Mediterranean battle at hand…now if there ever were an underdog, Bran is it!
Underdogs are dangerous!
when do we get to start voting for the cities to move up on the grid? Some are already in the slots- but there are others waiting to make it to the the first round.
The voting to round out the remaining 64 cities begins tomorrow early in the day. The cities that advanced already were the top 25 in the preliminary round but come Tuesday, every city remaining will have to face a challenge!
Hong Kong for the win 🙂
Bright Lights, Crazy Food, Dragon Boat Races! What isn’t there to love!
Get out of your comfort zones!
Sorry all, but we need to sign off. Great big THANK YOU Anil for inviting us. It’s been fun. Really looking forward to the rest of the competition. See you all around in the draw – and we’re sure we’ll all come out the other side smiling! 🙂
THANKS AGAIN! x
Thank you very, very much for being a part of the chat today. Talk soon and good luck in the contest!
Have a great night you guys!! Hope to see you at some point soon!
I’m confident one of these months we’ll all get to do the chat from the same location. Perhaps in the winning contest city wherever that may be… 😛
That would be fantastic! I like the idea of traveling to the winning city for such a chat. But if I knew about that possibility I would have nominated Sana’a.
What is this name change to “Fethiye”? Last time I checked, you guys were Bulia/Jarry. :)) iyi geceler!
There’s about 30 minutes left of the chat today for this month but next month I’ll be mixing things up. Changing the times around a bit and perhaps going video. If you have any feedback though it would be great to hear from you.
Time to go back to being productive at work, thanks for the fun chat, and I appreciate all the advice! Sorry for taking things a bit off the topic of bracketology, safe flights Anil!
Thank you and it’s always more fun when things go off topic here! Talk soon…
Enjoy the rest of your day Suze! You definitely brought up some excellent questions…
Ok everyone, I’m going to begin wrapping things up. I appreciate your time and special thanks to my guests this month Turkey’s For Life and Wandering Earl. Their sites are full of great travel information, stories, and photos definitely check them out.
Good luck in the tournament this month too for all of you entered and voting! I’ll have a new chat format for April, until then if you’re in Berlin, Istanbul, or Moldova this month and want to meet up, let me know!