From: D Ball on
Greetings, all,

I'm in search of online sources of walking self-tours. Here are two--
if you know of any, please share them!

This month's National Geographic Traveler magazine includes a walking
self-tour of Venice's Dorsoduro, which is a neat neighborhood and
perfect for a Med cruiser who's stopping at Venice, but has visited
and seen the major attractions before. At the end of the article,
there was a pointer to their online collection of city walking tours,
which includes a few more that might be port cities on a cruise, e.g.,
a tour of the Travestere (historic Jewish) neighborhood of Rome,
another place for a return visitor; Melbourne; Vancouver; Valparaiso;
Istanbul; etc.

http://traveler.nationalgeographic.com/more-maps

(As I flip through this issue, I also see a feature on Miami, an
overview of "Five Great Excursions in Rio" on their Port of Call page,
bits about Hanoi and Porto and more, all of which could relate to
cruising!)

The only thing I don't like about the Nat'l Geo maps is, few have a
printable version of the text details of the places noted on the
walking tour map.

For that sort of thing, I've always liked the walking tours at
Frommer's online--you can print off the map and descriptive stop-by-
stop detail and go.

>>Marcia headed to Victoria, BC, are you reading?! To illustrate the Frommer's guides, here's the link to their Walking Tour 1 for Victoria; you have to go to the Maps link in the left nav menu to pull up the corresponding map.

http://www.frommers.com/destinations/victoria/0185020033.html

--------------------

Now for my question: There are tons of downloadable MP3 audio walking
tours for travelers, and I actually downloaded one but ended up not
trying it while touring solo in Kyoto last summer.

Do any of you have any experiences with using audio walking tours?
Pros/cons?

I've hesitated for a few reasons: I fear the experience might insulate
you--I like absorbing the unique city and people sounds of a
destination, and I might miss the bigger picture of life around me if
I'm focusing just where the audio's directing; it seems it'd be hard
to walk and talk if you're with companions--and thus the experience
becomes even more insular; and I'm concerned that if I'm busy
listening to an audio, I might miss the sometimes subtle safety
signals at intersections or other audible warnings that can be
important to a walker in an unfamiliar city (remembering our first
trip to the Netherlands and the local pedestrian who averted disaster
by telling us to "stop, there's a bike coming!").

-------------------

Thanks for your feedback.

Diana Ball
Austin, TX
From: Tom K on
On 4/4/10 7:21 PM, D Ball wrote:

>
> Do any of you have any experiences with using audio walking tours?
> Pros/cons?
>

The heck with that idea... I'm thinking about a slight variation on your
idea...

An MP3 PUB CRAWL... through places like Dublin, Copenhagen, Amsterdam,
New York City. I say we patent the idea right now!!!!!

You and me Diana... we become billionaires....
From: D Ball on
> The heck with that idea... I'm thinking about a slight variation on your
> idea...
>
> An MP3 PUB CRAWL... through places like Dublin, Copenhagen, Amsterdam,
> New York City.  I say we patent the idea right now!!!!!
>
> You and me Diana... we become billionaires....

OMG that's hilarious, leave it up to you and your local beer games!
The only problem I foresee with that one is, the more you drink, the
louder you talk, so the volume ratchets higher and higher = Howl at
the Moon crawls. I like it!

Diana
From: gmbeasley on
On Sun, 4 Apr 2010 16:21:56 -0700 (PDT), D Ball <dianakball(a)gmail.com>
wrote:
>Greetings, all,
>
>I'm in search of online sources of walking self-tours. Here are two--
>if you know of any, please share them!

I don't like to do too much walking, but I DO like having walking
tours because they go into detail which the ship's maps and other
guides often do not. However most of the walking tours which I know
about are not really in port cities except for Fromer's Walking Tour
of Hamilton Bermuda
http://www.frommers.com/destinations/bermuda/0091020033.html
St George, Bermuda
http://www.frommers.com/destinations/bermuda/0091020034.html
and Sandy's Parish Bermuda (which I haven't done all of)
http://www.frommers.com/destinations/bermuda/0091020035.html

Some ports like Philadelphia and Boston have self guide walking tours.
There's a self guided walking tour Norfolk VA
http://www.discoverourtown.com/VA/Norfolk/Attractions/51152.html

The other tours that I know of that are not ports are for places like
Beaufort NC, Beaufort SC, Mobile, AL, Fort Walton Beach, Ormond Beach,
and Titusville, FL, New Iberia, Crisfield, MD, Sainte Genevieve, MO
Edenton, and New Bern NC, Denton, TX, Colonial Beach, Hampton,
Reedville, and Smithfield VA. These are places where you go to the
Visitor's Center or Historic Society and get a little folder with a
map and information about the buildings that you will see. We
usually drive them instead of walking, and I direct Bob and take
pictures of the buildings and tell Bob what the guide says about them.

>This month's National Geographic Traveler magazine includes a walking
>self-tour of Venice's Dorsoduro, which is a neat neighborhood and
>perfect for a Med cruiser who's stopping at Venice, but has visited
>and seen the major attractions before. At the end of the article,
>there was a pointer to their online collection of city walking tours,
>which includes a few more that might be port cities on a cruise, e.g.,
>a tour of the Travestere (historic Jewish) neighborhood of Rome,
>another place for a return visitor; Melbourne; Vancouver; Valparaiso;
>Istanbul; etc.
>
>http://traveler.nationalgeographic.com/more-maps
>
>(As I flip through this issue, I also see a feature on Miami, an
>overview of "Five Great Excursions in Rio" on their Port of Call page,
>bits about Hanoi and Porto and more, all of which could relate to
>cruising!)
>
>The only thing I don't like about the Nat'l Geo maps is, few have a
>printable version of the text details of the places noted on the
>walking tour map.
>
>For that sort of thing, I've always liked the walking tours at
>Frommer's online--you can print off the map and descriptive stop-by-
>stop detail and go.
>
>>>Marcia headed to Victoria, BC, are you reading?!
>To illustrate the Frommer's guides, here's the link to their
>Walking Tour 1 for Victoria;
>you have to go to the Maps link in the left nav menu to pull up the corresponding map.
>
>http://www.frommers.com/destinations/victoria/0185020033.html
>
>--------------------
>
>Now for my question: There are tons of downloadable MP3 audio walking
>tours for travelers, and I actually downloaded one but ended up not
>trying it while touring solo in Kyoto last summer.
>
>Do any of you have any experiences with using audio walking tours?
>Pros/cons?
>
I've done those audio tour things in places like Bath and Stonehenge
and in Pompeii. They don't work for me. I am a fast reader with good
comprehension and I like to keep moving - the narrative is too slow.
If it were print I would skim it in about 1/8th of the time it takes
to say it and be on to the next place.

When we are just walking to somewhere, Bob goes much faster than I do,
but in something like a museum it is the opposite- he goes through and
reads all the signs and looks at the exhibits, and I go in and look at
the exhibits, scan the written material, take a picture (where allowed
- and generally if photos are not allowed I don't go), and move on to
the next thing while he's still reading the first one. So with an
audio tour he really listens to all of it and I just can't stand still
that long.

>I've hesitated for a few reasons: I fear the experience might insulate
>you--I like absorbing the unique city and people sounds of a
>destination, and I might miss the bigger picture of life around me if
>I'm focusing just where the audio's directing; it seems it'd be hard
>to walk and talk if you're with companions--and thus the experience
>becomes even more insular; and I'm concerned that if I'm busy
>listening to an audio, I might miss the sometimes subtle safety
>signals at intersections or other audible warnings that can be
>important to a walker in an unfamiliar city (remembering our first
>trip to the Netherlands and the local pedestrian who averted disaster
>by telling us to "stop, there's a bike coming!").

When I did this with my grandson in Pompeii, we took one audio tour,
and we both listened to it. I have been royally slammed by people who
weren't there for the noise pollution that they think would have
resulted. Except that we were there early and there wasn't anyone
else around us. Plus, the noise of the flesh and blood guides and
groups was much more noise than we were making.
From: D Ball on
Hi, Rosalie, thanks for your feedback. You enjoy the details as much
as I do, and I always love hearing about your many travels. Lots of
good tips in there!

I think I'm a Bob when it comes to art museum audio guides--I often
have to tell my bunch to go ahead and we'll meet up later. But I don't
go for them much at site attractions--I'm like you, they're usually
too slow, so my mind wanders and then I get lost in the audio. I tend
to do better there with a live guide.

Although, I'm recalling the last audio tour we took, in December at
the Reichstag dome in Berlin--absolutely brilliant. Everyone gets a
headset as you enter, and the audio guide explains the unique
architecture, related Berlin history, how parliament works, points out
city buildings you're viewing, etc., as you walk the spiral ramp to
the top. I'm guessing it was 30-45 min. max; so maybe my issue is not
just pace, but length of time tethered to static content.

Did you get your next trek with grandchild settled?

Diana