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Best country to go on holiday to: the first debate; what's missing?

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    Originally posted by Sporting View Post
    By the way, Cuban food and its bad reputation: why is this and does everyone who's been there agree?
    Well, one of the issues is that the country can't get a lot of the ingredients, I assume, due to the embargo and a lot of restaurants can't due to lack of money and rationing. For instance, I remember one of the salads I had was the sort of tinned potato salad that I haven't had for about 40 years. However, when you order the stuff that they can grow or rear there, it's good. By far the best food was the fried chicken or pork served with plantain chips, rice and beans at paladars. Anything more ambitious than that and you were buggered really. I am always underwhelmed by paella anywhere and had one of the worst ones ever in Havana. Why they can't make pizza properly I have no idea as they have the ingredients for that but they always seemed like the Bejam frozen pizzas.

    Actually, the best meal I had was at the other end of the island where they had native lobster and, at the all you can eat buffet at our resort, there was absolutely loads of lobster and it was the best lobster I have ever tasted (another food I find can be disappointing). At one point, they even made a lobster curry. Anyway, as Sam mentioned, apparently, Cubans aren't allowed to have lobster, it is saved only for tourists which means that there is a glut of it in restaurants and hotels for tourists. When you realise that, it almost puts you off it. Almost.


      Originally posted by Balderdasha View Post
      to study [...] geezers


        Group G:

        Georgia - you lot sold it to me over on the Covid thread
        Germany - need to go to Berlin
        Greece - need to go Athens

        Group H:

        Iceland - probably my favourite country in the world. Did Route One in the ice and snow last October and it was in parts the scariest and most exhilarating driving I've ever done. Hopefully will be able to do the about-to-open Route Two in the West Fjords next year.
        India - everything about the place sounds incredible. And maybe a bit of test cricket too .
        Iran - I remember reading a book about travelling overland from the UK to Australia and it sounds another interesting place.


          Group G - one of the weaker groups
          Greece is great. Good food, amazing history, great beaches and mountains. It;s got everything really.
          Georgia sounds really intriguing too
          Of all the various West African nations I would love to visit Ghana.

          Germany misses out through no fault of its own, just because I've spent a fair amount of time there.

          Group H
          Obviously I go to Hungary a lot, and as well as Budapest I would recommend Sopron and Pecs to anyone who is thinking of it. My older daughter is at university in Budapest, and that's a good reason to go, but there are too many tempting choices in this group that I really want to see
          India. Never been. Want to go to Kerala and Goa. The mountains of the north. The in your face energy of it all. And of course the food.
          Iran. I've been so close to getting there but some form of politics has always thwarted me. The cities and the architecture look fucking amazing. Everyone I've ever met from there has been great. the food is excellent. And a huge range of landscapes
          Indonesia. When people ask me where is the best place I've ever been, I find it almost impossible to answer, but usually I say Ubud in Bali. Everything about that place was amazing. And the rest of Bali, and Lombok. And that's just two out of hundreds of amazing islands. I want to go there right now just writing about it
          Would love to go to Iceland, and see more of Ireland, and Guyana, and Haiti and even Iraq. But they don;t stand a chance in this group.


            Originally posted by ad hoc View Post
            Haha, great typo, I'll leave it there for posterity!


              Georgia. European country I've yet to see a match in.
              Greece. As above, but I'd want a couple of weeks to see Athens properly
              Ghana. Would be my choice for a first visit to Africa

              Iceland. Another European country I've yet to watch a match in
              Ireland. I've been to Dublin and Waterford, but Pete McCarthy sold me on the west coast
              Indonesia. Take the wife to Bali


                Group G
                I am going to go with two European countries that I have never been to and really must
                Haven't really done a central American country so will go with Guatamala, I think.

                Group H
                Hungary - Have only been to Budapest a couple of times and would like to see the rest especially Lake Balaton.
                Iceland - heard lots of good things about it.
                India - seems like one of those countries you really must visit.


                  Group G

                  Georgia - in my expectations at least (based only on reading and photos), the most beautiful of the three Caucasus states. Tbilisi seems to be getting on hipster lists these days but that doesn't really put me off. Similar lovely architecture to Armenia, and close to the best food I've ever had (admittedly I've only had Georgian food in London, the stuff over there might be naff)

                  Germany - Always, always have a great time in Germany, and there's much of the country I still want to visit, namely Munich. Everyone I know who has been there comes back telling everyone it's their favourite city in Germany, so they must be onto something.

                  Greece - similarly to Egypt, has far too much to offer to the traveller to be skipped. Another country that I keep meaning to get to but haven't yet.

                  Group H

                  Hungary - I haven't been to Budapest, and really want to. General intent would be to batch it up with Vienna, Bratislava and then down to Belgrade on a capitals-of-the-Danube thing. Most likely won't get round to that.

                  Iceland - one of my favourite trips to do. Gorgeous place (though you do suffer from 'waterfall fatigue' after day two or so of driving around). The most endearingly odd, friendly and welcoming people (who have great accents, although not quite as musical as I find the Swedes). Plus, it looks so alien that you really feel like you've travelled a long way from home (even though in global terms, you really haven't)

                  India - gets the third pick because the others were a bit underwhelming or not great options. And you could fill two weeks and barely see a fraction of what's on offer, which is a definite plus.


                    Germany, Greece and Guatemala are the three countries in this set that I've already visited, and I'd be happy to go again to all 3. Germany and Greece I've barely scratched the surface, I've explored a lot more of Guatemala, and it contains one of my favourite places in the world (Tikal) - the food wasn't great, though.
                    Of the rest, Georgia seems interesting, and I've loved any Georgian food that's crossed my path. Ghana would be also be a potential choice, and here I have no idea what the food's like.
                    I think I'm winding up all European, though:

                    Another group of countries I have not yet visited. I would love to go to Iran, though I don't know how possible that is these days. Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia and Ireland would all be on the long list.
                    This time all Asian:
                    Last edited by S. aureus; 22-05-2020, 22:10. Reason: Guatemalan food comment



                      H - tough group.


                        Some results:

                        Group E:

                        Croatia 12
                        Czech Republic 7

                        Costa Rica 7
                        Cuba 6
                        Cyprus 5

                        Denmark 5
                        C?te d'Ivoire 2

                        Dominican Republic 2
                        Djibouti 1
                        Dominica 0

                        (I chose Costa Rica so according to the rules Czech Republic qualify)

                        Group F:

                        Ecuador 8
                        Egypt 8

                        Finland 8
                        Ethiopia 6
                        Fiji 6
                        France 6

                        Estonia 3
                        El Salvador 1
                        Equatorial Guinea 1

                        Eritrea 1

                        (Egypt go through for same reason as above)

                        France knocked out in group stages shock!!!


                          Group G:

                          Georgia (above posts about the excellent food have convinced this foodie)
                          Ghana (never been to West Africa and seems a good starting point)
                          Germany (friendly people, loads to do and explore. My partner would be happy, however, never to have to put up again with what she sees as the arrogance of the Bavarians)

                          Group H:

                          Iceland (landscapes)
                          India (food, culture, landscape)
                          Indonesia (the sheer variety appeals, though one month would hardly scratch the surface)


                            Two really tough groups.

                            Group G

                            I have to make sure Greece gets on my list, I've only been to Corfu so have got about 499 other islands to explore, never mind Athens. Even if the best bits of Athens are in Bloomsbury.

                            I want to visit West Africa, and my sister spent some time teaching in Gambia and said she had a great time. Plus I think it's more geared up for tourism than the others?

                            Last choice, purely because I've already been to Munich and Berlin, sunbathed in Grenada and have been to Mayan ruins in Belize and Mexico, will be Georgia. It sounds like my sort of place, that mix of somewhere ancient finding its fit in an increasingly westernised world. Kiev felt like that when we went there.

                            Group H

                            I love Ireland, Budapest might be my favourite city in Europe, and Signora Rogin and I went on honeymoon to Indonesia. In any other group I'd have those three right there. But this list contains three places I've always wanted to go and never have - India, Iceland and Iran. Can you get a beer in Iran? Like in the hotel bars, at least? If not, India, Iceland and Indonesia. I do love the thought of bronze age cities in deserts, but I'm planning a holiday here, not an archaeological dig.
                            Last edited by Rogin the Armchair fan; 23-05-2020, 14:02.


                              Alcohol, legally anyway, is a complete no-no in Iran, even in hotels.


                                Guatemala - never been to central america and it sounds fantastic

                                Germany - friendly and berlin is like the epicentre of 20 th century european struggles

                                Ghana - work colleagues from there make it sound interesting

                                india - spent nearly 1 year there 39 years ago. amazing place.

                                iceland - on bucket list

                                ireland - cycling the west coast


                                  I may add that for my Iceland trip I might very well be alone as my partner would freeze her (imaginary) bollocks off there.


                                    Group G
                                    (The) Gambia - I like a big river, would be nice to take a boat up it, in theory.
                                    Georgia - OTF peer pressure
                                    Greece - have never been

                                    Group H
                                    Haiti - Lots of coast, mountains, interesting history... and voodoo
                                    Indonesia - Hugely populous, yet its impact on the wider world seems tiny. Perhaps it's really dull. I'll find out. I will return with the scalps of the OTF hackers.
                                    Islamic Republic of Iran - just fascinating





                                        G: Georgia, Germany, Guinea-Bissau

                                        H: India, Iran, Ireland


                                          Will be closing these two groups around lunchtime today.


                                            Georgia, Ghana and Greece. Haven't been to any of them.
                                            Iceland, India and Indonesia. Iran just finishes fourth, for me. Very close-run thing.





                                                Results groups G and H:

                                                Group G:

                                                Greece 13

                                                Georgia 11
                                                Germany 9

                                                Ghana 6
                                                Gambia 4
                                                Guatemala 3
                                                Grenada 1

                                                Guinea-Bissau 1
                                                Guinea 0

                                                Gabon 0

                                                Group H:

                                                Iceland 12
                                                India 11

                                                Indonesia 9
                                                Iran (Islamic Republic of) 9

                                                Ireland 5
                                                Hungary 3
                                                Haiti 1
                                                Honduras 1
                                                Iraq 0

                                                Guyana 0


                                                  Groups I and J:

                                                  Group I:

                                                  Korea (Democratic People's Republic of)
                                                  Korea (Republic of)

                                                  Group J:

                                                  Lao People's Democratic Republic


                                                    Japan is the winner of the whole tournament for me - I would like to go there even more than an Ashes series in Aus.
                                                    Jamaica has cricket and rum and beer
                                                    Italy comes third, but a distant one

                                                    Latvia - my mate liked Estonia, and Latvia's quite close. Plus, Marian Pahars

                                                    I would normally want to go to Laos, but I bloody hate studenty travellers who talk loudly in pubs about "Oh, I remember one time in Laos..." so am unfortunately unable to vote for it.