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Great PaulVDV 2021-04-15 13:01

Hello Kasia,
I also once spent an afternoon in Paraguay and two afternoons in Argentina. Twice from a border town in Brazil. However, I do not count these countries among the ones I have ever visited.
You have of course gained experiences there, but you cannot say that you have learned a lot about the country.
I like the photo taken through the airplane window very much. The mountain range looks indeed very enticing.
Were the croissants tasty?
I remember that in Laos and Cambodia they also have French baguettes but I think you should stick with the Asian food :)
So your main photo was taken at the international airport. Do you also have a picture of a cafe in Almaty itself?
Best regards, Paul

  #11  
Old 04-17-2021, 07:46 AM
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Hi all,
1.
In autumn 1968 I went with my mum to Yugoslavia (I was 22 y.o., what times!). It was impossible to go to Czechoslovakia (it was invaded at that time) so we went by Lviv. Later on we visited Hungary, Beograd, Mostar, Sarajevo, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Postojna, Bratislava. In 1968 there were just 4 countries: Soviet Union, Hungary, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia. On today map: Ukraina, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Montenegro, Slovenia and Slovakia. later, I was in most of these new countries, but not yet in B&H and Montenegro. But as I was in the area, and I count them.
2.
If I went from Warsaw to Lisbon by train, not leaving it, would I visit the countries on the way?
3.
This is a joke on TE (earlier, when there were maps). If I stay on one side of the river but on the photo is another side, what is the country? In my case, it was Zambia (I stood in Zimbabwe) and Angola (I stood in Namibia). And what about flying above?
4. In Four Corners, in the USA, I stood on four and I had my left hand in Utah, my right hand in Colorado, my right leg in New Mexico and the left leg in Arizona.
Have a nice weekend
MAlgo
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Old 04-17-2021, 11:36 AM
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I may change my mind and disagree with you now Paul - in my books, you have been to Paraguay. :-) You haven't got a stamp, you have no photos of famous landmarks but you've just said it was a curious place. You saw something unique, counts as a visit!

I have been to Chechoslovakia, Soviet Union and Yugolslavia. But I have since visited Chechia, all countries that used to form Yugoslavia and the Ukraine (which was the part of USSR I visited as a kid) so at least I don't worry too much about it. ;-)

I didn't stop at that and visited most of the former Soviet Union republics. Alas, not Russia itself!

Korea is quite possible but do you think there are still people alive out there who have been to the Austro-Hungarian Empire? 103 years old or older. :-D

Have a nice weekend All.
Kasia
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Old 04-17-2021, 01:09 PM
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I have been to West Germany, East Germany and reunited Germany. Do they count as three?
Gert
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  #14  
Old 04-17-2021, 06:28 PM
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Hi,

In a political sense, West Germany, East Germany and the united Germany are three different countries. But whoever was in all three has currently only visited places of one country.

It doesn't really matter to me.
Sometimes people ask me how many countries I have visited. Then I answer with the number of countries in which I have visited places and where I had at least one overnight.

I think it would be nice to visit all the countries of the former Soviet Union and keep Russia as the last one.

I used to dream of visiting all the countries of North, Central and South America and skipping the United States.
But during the last months of my career, my colleagues convinced me to go to NYC ...
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Old 04-18-2021, 12:53 PM
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Some countries unite and some split. I might lose one country in the near future if/when Nagorno Karabakh reunites with Azerbaijan.

I don't collect countries. If I tried a bit harder, I would have hit 100 or so by now. But I've visited several countries repeatedly (4 times in Japan, 2 times in Nepal etc.). However, people often ask me so I made an effort to count them. I count every place that is either a widely-recognised, well-established country or a territory that calls itself a country and you cross a formal border to get there, such as Transnistria, Iraqi Kurdistan, Nagorno Karabakh or Kosovo. And I count every visit that involves planning what sights to see and take photos of, even if it doesn't include and overnight stay. E.g. I spent 10 hours in Dubai and saw most of its major attractions. But I slept on flights at both ends of my stay. If you went to see the capital of your own country, left in the morning and returned home in the evening you wouldn't say you've not been there, would you? When I was younger, I used to go on one day trips to Europe, for example I took an overnight bus from Poland to Vienna and returned the same evening. On another occasion, I flew to Barcelona in the morning and flew back to the UK in the evening.

There are a few countries I have no intention to visit, e.g. USA. But then, as Paul said, nothing is ever set in stone. I had no burning desire to see Australia but I won a trip to go there there. C'est la vie! :-)

Interesting questions from Malgo... Counting countries you fly over would be pushing it in my opinion. But travelling by train? It can be a grey area. You can see quite a lot and even take photos without setting foot on its soil.
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Old 04-18-2021, 03:29 PM
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With the "one night rule" I would argue. From Guatemala, I could go without a visa for half a day to Honduras. For me, the main interest there are Copan ruins, so when I saw them, it was enough for me and it counts. There is no need to sleep in San Marino or the Vatican. Also, I saw almost the whole Lichtenstein but I went for a night to Switzerland because it was cheaper (!).

But one thing is to answer the question: How many countries have you visited? and then to impress with the number like 90 or whatever, the other thing is what you FEEL. For me, and I am sure the same is for you, to be in the country is to experience it - to know the people, nature, kitchen, language, monuments etc. For instance, I was two days in Helsinki, but what I know about Finland? So I think rather I was in Helsinki, not in Finland. I was on Crete and Corfu, but I don't feel I was in Greece. I have seen quite a lot on Zanzibar but I don't feel I was in Tanzania. If I went even for a few days to New York, it wouldn't be enough for me to think I really visited the USA. The same I can tell about Moscow, or Beijing, or...And so on. In most countries, I was more than once or I spent enough time to see the most important for me places.

The result of this discussion is that if I could, I would take my backpack and I would go somewhere even tomorrow...
Malgo

PS for Kasia. Why no intention to see the USA? For me, as to nature, nothing in the world beats American NP. My big dream, to go by train all the way East-West.
PS2. What about the Oceans? I have seen 4 and I was close to the fifth.
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Old 04-18-2021, 07:02 PM
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I don't know what Kasia thinks about the USA.
But I always liked it a lot when (before my visit to NYC in Oct. 2019) people in Belgium asked me how I liked America and then I started talking enthusiastically about Mexico, Nicaragua, Colombia, Peru, Chile and Brazil while I actually knew they meant the USA.
Most people here in Belgium talk about America when they mean the USA.

In NYC I was very pleasantly surprised by its population. I met Brenda an another friend of mine.

PS: A long time ago I stayed one night in San Marino
Is it possible to spend the night in Vatican City? This seems so weird
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Old 04-18-2021, 07:10 PM
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The one night rule actually comes from statistics that were compiled years ago in Belgium to determine how many residents travelled abroad.
If I recall correctly, you must have stayed abroad for three consecutive nights for it to count as a trip abroad.
As a result, I coudn't count Luxembourg. But then again, that was just the Belgian government's idea of a trip abroad. No one else cares about that.
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Old 04-19-2021, 08:28 PM
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In Britain, to be away from your country (for the purpose of establishing your residence in the UK) you need to spend 2 nights abroad. That counts as one day abroad as the days when you leave and return to the UK don't count. So a weekend trip doesn't count as being away from the UK. If the country you travel to uses the same criteria, and you travel there every weekend, it will turn out that in the year you spent 365 days in the UK and 104 days in another country. Sounds a bit crazy...

I've definitely seen 3 oceans. Not sure about the Arctic Ocean (northern Iceland?) and the Southern Ocean (New Zealand maybe?).

I find it hard to explain why the USA is not on my travel wish list. Many countries aren't. My trips are usually about something that fascinates me, like a culture or countries that are undergoing change or places rarely visited. Or, on the other hand, cold landscapes, where I go to "recharge my batteries". There are some iconic sights in the US that I wouldn't mind visiting, like NYC or Yellowstone, but it's not a priority.

Also, it feels like a big bureaucratic country and that puts me off. For the same reason I've not been to Russia yet (even though I'd love to go) and I've only ever been to China on the way somewhere else.

PS. China definitely counts as a country I have visited. I spent 6 nights there on 2 separate occasions. One of those nights I spent driving a shared taxi from Tashkurgan to Kashgar, with the rightful owner of the aforementioned vehicle nodding off in the seat next to me and 3 Pakistani men sleeping in the back seat; another night, squeezed between fellow passengers during the 18 hour train journey from Kashgar to Urumchi. But the other 4 were proper nights in hotel beds. :-)

(I can hear Gert yawn, he's already heard all these stories...)

My third stay in China, a 15 hour stopover on the way to the Philippines in March 2020, got sadly cancelled, for the reasons I don't need to explain.

But, like Malgo, I don't agree with the one night rule. Vatican City is a perfect example.
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Old 04-19-2021, 09:09 PM
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I read, Kasia, that your train ride from Kashgar to Ürümqi took only 18 hours. Yes, trains are running faster and faster in China.
In the year 2000, my train still needed 30 hours to reach Kashgar from Ürümqi.

I've seen only 3 oceans.
But I've been in deserts in 13 countries. You three probably in more.
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