Last night we had the pleasure of meeting Tony Wheeler, the founder of Lonely Planet. Tony is currently promoting his new book, Tony Wheeler’s Dark Lands, an account of traveling in the world’s least hospitable places, and if you’re lucky enough you might be able to meet him too.
On behalf of all the adventurous souls using Everplaces, we wanted to pick Tony’s brains and hear his thoughts on the next big off-the-beaten-track destination. A professional traveller for over 40 years and with over 150 countries under his belt, Tony has the finger on the pulse of the wild and unusual. And so, here it is:
Congo and Gorillas!
The border between Congo and Rwanda is one of the last places on the planet that you can see gorillas in their natural habitat, and deep inside the wild rainforests of Odzala-Kokoua National Park you can observe them in the splendor they call home.
“It is while walking and kayaking through the untouched Congo Basin, with parrots squawking, chimpanzees screeching, orchids lighting up the muggy greenery with vibrant pink hues, that you’re reminded of the real treat: of the privilege, in our crowded planet, of exploring such a beautiful, ancient virgin space” said The Telegraph’s Lisa Grainger after visiting.
Congo has a rough reputation so receives hardly any visitors, and you’ll encounter few foreigners, if any. Come to think of it, you probably won’t meet many locals either, since the country is sparsely populated and few chose to live in the humid tropical jungle area.
Sleep on the rim of an active volcano
While you’re in Congo, how about a hike up Mount Nyamulagira, in the Virunga National Park? This active volcano has recently been opened for treks and over night stays.
On the northern side of the volcano, you can watch lava spew out of the Earth directly from your camping group. It’s only 1.5 kilometers away from the action, but has been deemed safe by a volcanologist. Might want to sleep with your fingers crossed!
Image credits, in order of apperance: Michael Nichols of National Geographic, skyscrapercity.com, gocongo.com, enjoycongo.info
We met Tony at travel book shop Tranquebar: http://www.tranquebar.net/arrangementer
I ummed and aahed about whether it was ‘The Congo’ or plain ‘Congo’. I ended up settling on this.
Planning a city-break to Amsterdam? Everplaces teamster & Amsterdam native, Sophie describes her perfect day in the city with this awesome dawn to dusk Amsterdam collection.
My perfect day would be during spring or summer because the city feels alive and everyone is enjoying the sun on one of the many terraces, city beaches, in the parks or on their boats. If you can rent a bike for the duration of your stay, you really should as it’s the best way to explore the city. And if you really want to feel like a local you can rent a ‘sloep’ boat.
If you are in Amsterdam on a Monday go (in the early morning) to the Noordermarkt Fleamarket, a small but very cool and hip flea market, where you can feel the real ‘Jordaan’ atmosphere. Next to the market there is a place called Winkel 43, where they serve some of the best Dutch apple pies.
If you’re in to markets, the famous IJhallen flea market is also recommended. Located on the cool NDSM werf, you need to take a ferry to get there but it’s worth the trip. The market is held on the first or second weekend of every month and is a great place for treasure-hunting. After strolling around, sit down and relax at cafe Noorderlicht or Pllek.
Westerpark is one of my favorites places to visit. This used to be the site of Amsterdam gasworks and there is always something special going on here and with markets, summer concerts, congresses and festivals, it’s a great place for young and old. There are a few restaurants, cafes, bars and a cinema too. In the summer everyone is having a picnic or having a bbq in the park. Definitely don’t miss this place when you’re in Amsterdam!
Climb the Westertoren for a great view of the city. If you’re not into climbing (& who is?) but you want a good view of Amsterdam, go to Canvas at the 7th. Here you can relax and enjoy the view in the former canteen of Dutch Newspaper, Volkskrant.
The best places to go shopping is off the main streets in The Nine Streets area. Here you’ll find lots of small boutiques in between the canals & spread over nine little streets. There is a great mix of art galleries, book stores, designer shops, furniture shops, antiques shops, vintages clothes, and a lot of cool and creative clothing stores.
Amsterdam has a lot of interesting museums, and my personal favourite is photography museum Foam. A beautiful museum with eclectic exhibitions. It’s not too big and not too crowded, perfect in my opinion.
To get the best coffee in town you have to go to Coffee Bru, a warm neighborhood cafe in Amsterdam Oost. They serve the best coffee and they have good breakfast, lunch and delicious cakes. And if you want to eat some really really good chocolate (who doesn’t?) go to Puccini Bomboni.
End the night at one of these cool spots or go to both of them. Start at Hannekes Boom, a bar with a beach feeling and a lot of cool hangout spots outside - and for extra style points arrive by boat! If you don’t want to go home yet, try it’s sister-bar Bloemenbar. This bar is more centrally located and also has a fun crowd.
This post is part of the initiative “100 cities to home swap in before you die” from Knok.com. You can check out and save Sophie’s Amsterdam collection on Everplaces. Collections are a great way to share your favourite places on Everplaces, or create mini-guides for visiting friends & family.
Originally from the Netherlands, Sophie Mulder is a photographer & Everplaces guest blogger living in Copenhagen. She loves hunting for treasures, discovering new places and a good cup of coffee.
Surrounded by beautiful nature, Ljubljana is popular for skiing in the winter & walking, climbing and cycling in the summer. It was not without good reason that they shot scenes for the film The Chronicles of Narnia here.
Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia (with just 280,000 citizens) is one of the smallest capitals in Europe, but weight for weight is filled with things to see and do that will satisfy students, hipsters, art & culture lovers alike - not to mention it’s really easy to get around.
Uroš Čringoj is a local. He has created a great Everplaces collection of things to see in his wonderful city. Here are some highlights:
The Castle of Ljubljana
Perched on top of the hill, the castle is the symbol of the city, and for those without strong legs it can also be reached by the funicular railway.
Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova
A beautiful museum with an extensive collection of work by Eastern European artists. The museum features often unseen art from behind the Iron Curtain as well as todays’ key works.
Drink, dine or dance the night away with beautiful views at one of the city’s most recognisable landmarks.
Located on the waterside, this market offers all kinds of locally produced food, fruit, vegetables, art and crafts. Open daily except Sundays.
The green heart of the city. Roughly five square kilometres criss-crossed by three grand horse chestnut tree-lined avenues.
Uros works for Ljubljana Tourism, a website for travelers visiting Ljubljana. Here you can find all you need to know about the sights worth seeing.
Everplaces for Business can turn your collections or content into beautiful branded travel guide apps. To have the right mobile guides ready for summer visit Everplaces Business new mini-site or get in touch.
By Tine Thygesen, CEO Everplaces. This post was also published as a popular guest post on travel tech site news site Tnooz.
In the recent month Everplaces went to a two traditional consumer travel shows, Herning Travel Show and ITB in Berlin, to see how travel companies promote their destinations. The shows were massive and included all the major destinations, airlines and travel companies in Northern Europe.
Many had used small fortunes on their stands, which did look impressive. But when it came to thinking creatively about marketing, we were disappointed, there was practically no digital touch to any of the marketing materials.
The goal for having a stand is to meet people, look them in the eyes, build a connection and get them to select you when they finally book their next travel in some months time. A highly competitive situation, so it I was surprised everyone opted for same traditional paper brochures, since they are notoriously ineffective for long term effect.
That fact is that 34% of people now book travel from their mobile, and 40% use their mobiles to find information*. This is a major opportunity for marketeers. * IBT World Travel Monitor
All exhibitors had a wealth of physical brochures, all beautiful colorful materials which would be a great marketing if it wasn’t because most people throw them away before they ever read them.
A big advantage to digital marketing over physical marketing is longevity.
Once a potential costumer has downloaded information about you and your offerings onto their phone they can find you again. This small detail is crucial because:
Digital marketing trumps when it comes to flexibility and cost savings.
Instead of producing expensive brochures that become outdated, or fail to hit the sweet spot, an app is flexible. (ok, perhaps not all apps, but an app made with Everplaces is). The app can be updated with new content to keep it up to date, or have the contents replaced if the existing content isn’t effective. This allows the marketing manager to test different material and different segments. Long term it offers serious financial savings for printing, because an app can be distributed over and over again.
As an alternative to big catalogues (which people are loath to carry around) I’d suggest a tiny little brochure in the shape of an app which encourages people to download the app in their own time. You’re much more likely they will take this tiny brochure than a big catalogue, yet it allows you to present as much information.
Once you have an app on people’s phone, you have the first foot in the door to start building a connection. That’s a whole other story which we’ll cover in another blog post.
Looking at the piles of paper brochures at the trade show I couldn’t help think how much rainforest we could have saved, and how much better results the travel companies would have got if they’d promoted downloads of branded apps with information and offers instead. After all our apps only cost $7500. You don’t get many brochures for that!
See more on everplaces.com/business
Everplaces are super stoked to announce the launch of a new series of city guides in partnership with global tour company Urban Adventures.
The city guides feature the favourite local spots and insider know-how from the Urban Adventures team, who are located in the cities covered. The guides are built on Everplaces self-publishing app technology.
City guides to Amsterdam, Toronto, Berlin & Melbourne are already available to download in the App Store & more will follow soon. The series is planned to include at least 15 destinations.
Using branded apps to connect with customers
Urban Adventures is a global day tour company with a liking for digital technology. When they wanted to create something special to give to their customers, traditional printed material just didn’t cut it.
Using the Everplaces platform, Urban Adventures started creating city guides so their customers could have local advice with them throughout their trip, also after the official tour was over.
“Most of our customers stay on in their chosen city for an extra 2-4 days so we wanted to find an interesting & innovative way to help guide them through the rest of their stay. Everplaces helped us to create a series of stunning travel apps that our customers love.”
Tony Carne, General Manager, www.urbanadventures.com
The app also makes for a memento of the trip afterwards, and makes it easy to connect with Urban Adventures again when you visit one of their other 82 destinations.
Urban Adventures chose to curate their own content, having local staff in all the cities. With Everplaces’ platform the content can be easily updated and adjusted going forward.
To download the free guides search “Urban Everplaces” in iTunes.
Urban Adventures is a global day tour company offering small group day tours in over 80 locations in six continents. It’s a part of Intrepid Travel.
Everplaces for Business is a new app building service for hotels and companies in travel. It allows brands to build beautiful mobile brochures and city guides in a matter of hours. For further information visit Everplaces Business new mini-site or get in touch.
Visiting New York this spring? Everplaces guest blogger and NYC resident Nimurak gives us the low-down with her personalized 24 hour guide to New York.
24 hours in NYC is almost an oxymoron. It’s impossible to see all of Manhattan, let alone New York City in limited time. There are tons of guides that point out the major landmarks. However, it’s the numerous shops, restaurants, great spaces and people that make New York City the incredible city that it is.
To make the most of your 24 hours, wake up early, grab a cup of coffee and head down to the South Street Seaport to walk along the cobblestone streets and catch the best view of the Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn. I recommend grabbing breakfast at my Sunday morning favorite, Made Fresh Daily. The intimate eatery provides magazines and books to read in your leisure, as you eat or sip on an endless cup of coffee.
Next, you can cab or walk over easily to Chinatown, one of the most culturally distinct neighborhoods in NYC. While tourists typically visit this area to purchase faux designer goods, the true experience lies in the side streets. If you want to blend in, order a Bubble Tea or grab a cone from Chinatown Ice Cream Factory.
If you’re traveling with any female friends/family, it’s necessary to do a bit of shopping in Soho. Spend a couple hours exploring Soho, ensuring to explore the little boutiques. One of my favorite stores is called Kiosk that curates unique items from around the world. It’s one of those stores that you won’t find anywhere else. For lunch, I recommend Balthazar, a NYC classic. Felix is another great option (that will be kinder to your wallet), and a popular spot to people watch.
After refueling, it’s time to do a bit more walking around, so head over to the Highline. The park is fairly new (open to the public in 2009) and therefore, often disregarded in most guides. The Highline preserves New York history through old railroad track structures from decades past. Sit among the green plants above the rushing streams of traffic and enjoy the peaceful, yet ironic experience.
If you’re like most visitors, you’ll want to walk through Central Park. Head uptown and explore the different trails, and paths. At some point, you’ll begin to wonder what’s for dinner. (Don’t all trips revolve around when and where to eat?) Stop at the Museum of Modern Art to dine at The Modern. The NYT recently gave the restaurant 3 stars (as of March 2013). Plus, if you have time to walk through the museum before dinner, experience some of the best modern art collections. There are millions of other great restaurants, so feel free to browse through my other Everplaces collections, if you’re looking for something else.
Boys and girls, 24 hours in NYC hasn’t ended yet. I meant the full 24 hours because nightlife is a vibrant part of this city. For drinks and nightlife, it really depends on what you’re looking for. For the best bespoke cocktail, I recommend going to Little Italy and checking out the Mulberry Project. Or you can snag a cannoli and sit at a café. If you’re looking for a lively night, head to the meatpacking area to the Standard Biergarten for a beer. Once you’re in this area, there are plenty of clubs nearby. Or if you’re looking for something a bit more low-key, cab down to the Lower East Side, abundant with bars. Either way, it will be very easy to extend your 24 hours into the early morning.
Nicole Murakami is a digital strategist & Everplaces guest blogger living in New York. She loves social media, discovering new places and grilled cheese.
Collections are a great way to share your favourite places on Everplaces, or create mini-guides for visiting friends & family. Got a collection that you’d like to share with us? Send a mail to tom[at]everplaces.com.
Photo credit: nebulux76
Michael Palin, English comedian, actor & author has famously written his way around the globe. His travels have taken him to Eastern Europe, the Himalayas, the Sahara Dessert, both the North & South Poles, and most recently Brazil.
Everplaces were lucky enough to talk to Michael about his travel experiences, and his new novel The Truth; a tale of a luckless writer who travels to India in search of environmental corruption, his principles and the truth.
In Around the World in 80 Days you travelled through some 20 (I think) countries over land and sea; whereas your most recent series, Brazil, looks deeper into just one country.
Some people like to race around collecting stamps on their passports, while others prefer to get a deeper feel of a culture. Where do you sit? Has this changed with experience?
I’ve never been interested in tick-box travelling. For me the essential value of travel is to make a personal connection with the place you are in and the people you meet. This requires more than just an overnight visit and I’ve been very lucky with my BBC travels to have time to get to know people and experience the country a little more deeply. But never enough time!
In The Truth, the protagonist travels to some rich, far-flung locations (& some mundane ones too). How did you research the locations, are they drawn from personal experience, and how much is fiction?
In The Truth, I needed to find out about potential environmental hot spots. I had read an Amnesty International report on what was happening with the aluminium plant in the Nyamgiri Hills in India and I spent a week out there researching this particular story. It had all the elements that I really wanted to incorporate in the book, but as ever with a work of fiction, not everything happened as it does in the book.
Your novel touches on the effects of globalisation and progress, where tribesmen use laptops and westerners pen & paper. When you travel are you a pen & paper man, or what technology could you not do without?
I’m very much a pen-and-paper man when I travel. I always take a notebook – made by a company in Glasgow – with me, and make all my notes by hand. I add to these notes with some entries on a personal voice recorder.
I admire those societies who can make a lot out of very little and don’t like being dependent on electricity or digital communication. But things like Satnavs and smartphones have become tools which you can’t really ignore.
Technology has undeniably made travel easier and the world smaller, and smartphones have put a map and phrasebook in everyone’s pocket. Is this a good thing, and does this make stumbling upon that rare tourist-free secret harder?
I think the most important thing about travelling is to have some unique personal experience. Some of the most unforgettable moments in my travels have not been programmed or set-up, or found on a website, they are the accidental encounters, the surprises, the unplanned moments, strange foods, unusual landscapes, unfamiliar music. Yes, stumbling into experiences you’d never expected is very important to me.
You’re a man of many talents. What plans do you have for the future?
In the spirit of spontaneity I never plan too far ahead. I want to keep working, exploring, discovering new places and new things. There is no App that does this for me, I just have to keep a sense of wonder and curiosity about the world and try and do something fresh each time.
Michael Palin’s second novel, The Truth / Sandheden is out now. If you’re lucky enough to live in Denmark, Michael will be speaking on the 22rd March at the Royal Library, and you can sign up to the event here.
We have created a short collection of Michael’s favourite places from his travels which you can view here.
Thanks to Keith Bergman @ Hetland Books for helping to set this up.
Photo credit: Basil Pao
Proud to be nominated for design award
It’s probably no surprise to most of you that Everplaces loves good design. Everything we do, build and share is considered a part of our brand, that’s why UX and design have such high priority for us.
We believe that user experience and the feel of a product is just as important as the functionality of it. And that it’s becoming increasingly more important.
Our co-founder Angelica Vargas is a designer and oversees the design processes both on the development and marketing side. She deserves most of the credit when we’re looking sharp.
Today we’re nominated for Best Design at TheNextWeb’s startup awards. We’re very proud to be in that exact category.
Image courtesy of designyoutrust.com
At Everplaces we love meeting our users, and we often get such nice visits from all over the world.
Today we got to meet with Sarah Lambersky, the winner of our Valentine’s competition.
Sarah is originally from Canada, and is passionate about travelling and, as we discovered, tea. She has been living in China and the Czech Republic and has just relocated to Copenhagen.
You can follow Sarah on Everplaces for inspiration for your future travels.