Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Kid's Perspective - Top 10 Things to Do

I asked Salome to list her Top 10 favorite things to do or places to visit during our world trip, and following is first half of the list. (The second half will follow soon.) I look forward suggested additions, comments, complaints, etc.

1. Playground next the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain. You may be familiar with architect Frank Gehry's creation of titanium-plated geometric shapes, but you might not know that right next door is a fantastic playground, which Salome has dubbed the greatest in the world. Kids can spin, slide, swing and climb on equipment painted in bright, primary colors, while their parents snooze on the adjoining green lawn. The park and museum sit alongside a peaceful river through the center of town.

2. MBK Mall, Bangkok, Thailand. Sure, Salome is a shopaholic, just like her mom. But if you can't find something you simply must buy in this multi-story shopper's paradise, you won't find it anywhere. On the lower floors are the typical department stores, but as you climb the escalators to the upper floors, you can find warrens of merchant stalls selling everything from jewelry and electronics to textiles and leather. Obliging sellers will burn copies of pirate DVDs, which customers select from fat display catalogues. And don't miss the food court, which features mouth-watering international delicacies, including Thai, Chinese, Indian, Greek, Italian and Japanese dishes, at incredibly cheap prices.

3. Galapagos Islands boat cruise, Ecuador. Imagine a string of islands 600 miles off the coast surrounded by the cool blue water of the Pacific. Each island hosts its own unique species of birds, reptiles and mammals, and all of the animals are unafraid of humans, who troop through their home on daily basis. Swim with sea lions, wade with rays, check out blue-footed boobies and their hatchlings, and snorkel with giant sea turtles. If you go, take one of the smaller boats with fewer than 20 passengers for an intimate, unhurried glimpse into the living laboratory of Charles Darwin (just make sure the boat has hot water and private bathrooms in each cabin!)

4. Mountaintop Park, Schliersee, Germany. Schliersee is a tiny resort village about an hour south of Munich by train. An hour's hike takes visitors to the top of a small mountain, which offers views of the town spread out along the shore of a lake. The park at the top features children's activities such as trampolines, a coin-operated roller-coaster and a luge ride that runs in a plastic half-pipe to the bottom of the mountain. A tram takes guests who don't favor a hike or luge ride up and down the mountain, and a cafe serves sandwiches and large glasses of Delicious German beer.

5. Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany. Okay, beer is the claim to fame of this annual Bavarian bash. But don't skip the attractions outside the beer tents, which are just as much fun. The midway includes thrill rides, games, and enough food booths to satisfy any fair-food connoisseur. The most unusual attraction might be the Devil's Wheel, a large, circular wooden platform that spins at high speed. Fair-goers crowd onto the wheel, which spins faster and faster, tossing off players like beanbags. Once the crowd is reduced to a few hardy survivors, the attendants swing a weighted bag, trying to knock them off the spinning wheel. Finally, they use rope lassos to snare the remaining holdouts. All the while, the audience screams and cheers from the bleachers surrounding the Devil's Wheel. Salome actually tried this and lasted to the end of the kid's competition.


  1. Thank you for sharing this, I remembered my stay there in Bangkok.
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  2. Instead of a playground I would suggest a coin operated kiddie rides facility that would be much safer to visit in a new country.