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my passions are travel, photography, and gardening and animals/birds. Travel always includes walking, either long distance or day hiking. Prior to any travel, extensive research on the places we intend to visit; Tripadvisor has figgured greatly in this research, especially with accommodation which can be hit and miss. Also the Rough Guides and Lonely Planet. We (a retired couple) always backpack light, in the off seasons, dislike and will not queue for a long time to see anything. Off seasons travel has the advantage of being able to arrive in a city or town and view your accommation before accepting. (prepared with a list of options and locations gleaned from guide books to assist) If we love a place we stay longer, if first impressions are not favourable...move on. Forward travel research is essential for such decisions. Many times we come across some place interesting and unexpected...these are the memorable gems of the travel experience.