Thursday, March 31, 2011

Travel for erm....cats?

I love this post from the Lonely Planet blog, demonstrating their lovely sense of humor.
Lonely Planet for LOLCats

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Paris "Gothique"

Here's a cute little run down of some gothity gothic places around Paris to visit if you're of the gothity persuasion:

Paris Gothique

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Travel Writing as Punk Rock

"You don't mistake travel writing for punk rock.  Most of it isn't loud or raw enough."
A-ha, a challenge?
Given the opportunity, I think I would smash the podium or light things on fire....but that's me.  Check out this excellent round-up:
Travel Writing as Punk Rock: 15 Vital Matador Narratives

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

PRT's Guide to Sailing Through Security Check Points

We all despise long security checks and with the new scanners presenting a serious privacy concern, things are worse than ever. Unfortunately, nothing clogs up security check points like punk paraphernalia. Luckily there are some things that can be done to move it along in the least invasive way possible (unless you're looking for a good fondle, in which case that's your prerogative.)

First off, there's really no need to parade through the airport dressed like a rock star. Unless you're hunted by the paparazzi or have a special someone waiting on the other end of your flight, nobody is particularly concerned with their fellow passenger's impeccable taste in bondage trousers. The key is to dress comfortably anyway, especially if you've got a long international voyage ahead of you.
1. Don't wear your 20 hole steel toe Docs on the flight. Tuck them away in your luggage instead. Your fellow passengers are going to loathe you for taking ages to undo your laces to put the things on the belt and given that feet swell while in flight, you're guaranteed to want to ditch them first thing anyway. Most comfy shoes for a flight? Good ol' Chuck Taylors. They are easy to unlace to adjust to a comfortable fit while in flight and still remain functional. Have your shoes unlaced while you're still in line and be ready to go.

2. Do wear your skinny jeans. Go with something form fitting if possible. I have seen a marked difference in pat-down/scanner ratios with form fitting vs. cargo style baggy stuff. Same goes with gigantic t-shirts. Make life easy on yourself. Also be prepared to remove jackets, sweaters and hoodies.

3. Don't wear your studded belts and jewelry through security. If you can, take out piercings, how ever momentarily. I understand it's not always possible, but I'd rather take out my earrings than use the body scanner. Remember, excessive zippers can also set off the metal detector.

4. Do be cooperative but don't give in. Remember, if you're still asked to use the body scanner and that doesn't sit well with you, you can 'opt out'. Opting out is no fun either, I've been there. It is extremely invasive and I'm not saying this is a fantastic option either. The best thing to do is keep your sense of humor in a craptastic situation and this is no exception. Just try not to enjoy your pat-down too much, although I haven't heard of this happening yet, they might deem you too pervy for the plane.

5. Remember the fluid rules for carry on. Keep anything even vaguely resembling a weapon at home. Mace spray included. See the following if you're unclear:

6. Be prepared ahead of time to place all of your electronics in the bins. Keep anything that will need to get scanned in a general location in your bag. After you're through security you can adjust as needed. This keeps the line moving. Things you need to scan are: Laptops, iPads, e-readers, cell phones, mp3 players, pda's.

Keep the above in mind and your trip through security checkpoints can be painless. I have yet to use the full body scanner and I have only been subjected to a pat-down once since the new regulations kicked in, when I forgot the skinny jeans rule. If you follow the suggestions above, you're more likely to get waived on through after your standard metal detector screening and be well on your way to the gate while your friends are still removing their Docs and receiving eye rolls from less than impressed fellow travelers. You may not care, but remember, you may end up sharing very cramped quarters for hours with any one of those people you just pissed off.

Photo cred: Flickr Billypalooza (creative commons)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Great, Glittering North

I just wanted to share this beautiful film with footage of the Aurora Borealis as experienced in Norway.  Unfortunately I did not see the light show when I was in Norway this January and when I return in summer, it will be too bright to witness (the sun never completely sets that time of year, in Oslo it will get no darker than twilight).  So check out this film by Terje Sorgjerd , it gave me the chills:

The Aurora from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Lonely Planet piece for travelers in search of ink:

Here's a good article that touches on some more good points about getting inked abroad.  Check it out!
Lonely Planet's Tattoo Tourism

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Travel tweets...

I'm on Twitter, I've finally given in to the beast.  Hell, it took me forever to join Facebook...
I'm considering doing a specific Twitter feed just for Punk Rock Traveler, but for now find me @eve_ghost
I'll be tweeting about more than just travel (like music, my writing, misc. bullshit etc) but there will be many updates over the summer via Twitter as I explore Norway and wherever else adventure leads me.

Catacombes de Paris

So many of my friends have a thing for human remains and I must admit, although I no longer consider myself much of a goth, there's a lingering fascination for me too. There's something about confronting mortality and pushing the boundaries of comfort that draws tourists to sites like the catacombs in Paris. And it's not just for the demented, the tourists of all sorts come in droves.

Housing the remains of about 6 million souls, this ossuary is located near Place d'Enfer (how appropo) in the 14th arrondissement (Montparnasse). It was created in response to unsanitary conditions that arose in Parisian graveyards where only the rich could afford to be buried in a coffin. The rest were buried en masse. Until the graves were full, they would be left open, inviting all kinds of lovely diseases to be passed on to the populace. Thus, the ossuary was created using abandoned underground tunnels that were already in existence from previous use as rock quarries. When Saints Innocents Cemetery was exhumed these were used as a place to deposit all of those bones that had been amassed.

At first little more than a holding chamber, it was Louis-√Čtienne H√©ricart de Thury who directed them to be laid out in the fashion that they are today, femur upon femur lining walls, skulls in intricate designs. Sandstone carvings exist here and there, along with a series of eerie wells. Plaques with quotes ruminating on death are worked into the whole experience. It is truly a marvelous work of art, a historic treasure.

Some things to know before you go: Be prepared for a long, steep walk down many steps (and of course the walk back up again). If you're in no condition to walk 19 meters of spiral staircase, then forget it. 

Claustrophobics, also beware. The catacombs are popular, movement through is back to back in line with complete strangers and some areas are quite narrow. 

Leave yourself plenty of time. I spent well over an hour just waiting in line to get to the museum and then it can take a good 45 minutes or so just to walk through.

Sunblock may be essential for the long wait in line and you may want to bring water, however keep in mind that there are no bathrooms available. Although it can be sweltering hot outside waiting if you're visiting during summer months, you'll need to bring warm layers for your descent. It is quite chilly that far below the city!

Entrance fees are 8 Euro for adults, 4 Euro for kids. But please, think first before freaking out your offspring with this kind of heavy outing.  

No flash photography is allowed, and being that it is quite dark, you'll need to keep this in mind if you want to take photos without a flash.

I loved my visit to the catacombs. The place plays with your mind in profound ways, time becomes endless and the emotions that meeting death bring on can overwhelm. But by my journey's end, I personally emerged from the tunnels with a greater appreciation of life and a desire to live it to the fullest before I myself become nothing but dry-picked femur and skull.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Featured website: Vegetarian Photographer Travel Blog

Check out some lovely photography from a fellow vegetarian traveler.  A lovely blog.  The Vegetarian Photographer

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Punk Rock Bowling/Music? Well that's interesting!

Because I intend to cache my cash away for the impending summer in Scandinavia, I won't be attending this event in Vegas, however it looks like a blast.  It's got an excellent lineup of bands and hey, I am willing to admit that I love throwing large, heavy objects at things.  Well worthy of a road-trip!