…Wells, Somerset! Yes, this weekend, I’m going to head down to England’s smallest city which I trust will be snow-free by then! Not only am I going to work towards one of my challenges to ‘explore 10 English cities’ but I’m going to tick off another experience….’sleep in a four poster bed’. I’ve never done that and I might find that it’s no big deal at all but I guess that I’ve just never had the chance to sleep in one. So, why not! The tiny city is full of history and fascinating architecture and there are a few photos I’ve seen online which I’d like to recreate too such as Vicars Close which claims to be the oldest residential road in Europe going back to the 14 century. Weather forecast is going to be changeable but I think there should be sunny skies and that always makes for a good photo opportunity.
Just about two miles out of Wells is the Wookey Hole caves which look extraordinary with their lit up walls. Now, I get claustrophobic so going into caves is a big deal for me but I made it to the Hell-fire Caves in Buckinghamshire last Hallowe’en so I can do this. And, again, the pull of photo opportunities is a big one. I am so excited!
Between exploring Wells, my overnight stay and going to the caves, that may take up my time but I’m also thinking about ‘popping’ along to the Avebury stones in Wiltshire on my way home which tends to be visited less that nearby Stonehenge. And, yes, this will be a tick towards yet another challenge: ‘visit 5 UNESCO sites’.
So, a weekend to make progress on my bucket list and, to cap it off, I’ll be able to write up TripAdvisor review #100 (and about another 3!) when I get home! Any other keen TripAdvisor people out there? What’s your favourite place that you’ve visited and reviewed?
Me! I absolutely love TripAdvisor! I don’t use it for hotel bookings, well, not so far but I use it to leave my own reviews, post photos, etc. and to motivate me to leave the house! Yes, I know that the ‘badges’ don’t really mean anything and it’s not as if the points accumulated from contributing to the website bring discounts or any recognition but, in a very shallow way, there is something just a little bit motivating when I get a new badge!
So, I’ve written 92 reviews so far, everything from National Trust properties to The Shard, London; from the Palace of Versailles in France to Dartmoor National Park in the south west of England. Most of the time, the reviews I write are very positive as I will have chosen somewhere that should be great to go to. But I did a left a 1/5 review for a luxury themed hotel in Germany which was in the style of a Portuguese monastery and we found that the beds my children were in cupboards! Yes, cupboards….I could have cried! Points from reviews might be deducted for ridiculously slow or poor service but generally I’d like to think that my positive reviews reflect the kind of positive person that I am!
My reviews cover 114 cities, 412 photos and over 20,000 points. So, if I go anywhere like for a meal out or something as part of my challenges, I’m soon on TripAdvisor when I get home. Or if I’m home one day and think that I fancy getting out, I’ll search an area to see what places are listed that I haven’t gone to and head that way. It might be a park, a beach or a famous landmark. Now, tell me if you think I might be taking advantage here but I plan to go on a UK road trip later this year (hopefully in May) and I need to stay in 2 more luxury hotels until I get my ‘luxury hotel’ badge (as you have to stay in 3 altogether) so my excuse to my hubby about my chosen accommodation might have TripAdvisor in mind!
And there’s nothing better when you get a ‘like’ for a photo taken or a review that others found helpful. Here are some of my photos on TripAdvisor that others liked (Bodiam Castle, Palace of Versailles and Canterbury):
So, yes, the badges don’t technically mean much……but secretly they do to me!
Just found out that I’ve achieved one half of a challenge! One of the things I’d like to do before I turn 50 is to have 5,000 people read my TripAdvisor reviews and also have 50 people say that my posts were helpful. And ta dah! I’ve reached 5,000 people!
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been exploring some UK cities like Canterbury, Bath and Dover, and I’ve a few photos that I’ve been pleased with. And it got me thinking ‘How can I share my photos with other people?!’ Not that they’re worthy of some award but just that they’re pretty decent….to me. Well, TripAdvisor means that I can review locations wherever I go and bearing in mind that I plan to travel quite a lot over the next few years, this is ideal. However, what I then discovered was that TripAdvisor contributors get ‘badges’, so you get the ‘new photographer’ badge when you share one photo, ‘beginner photographer’ for 3 photos, junior photographer for 5, photographer for 10, senior photographer for 20, etc. I’ve current got 43 photos on my profile so I’ll hit a milestone for my next badge when I get to 50. And yes, this might all sound rather fickle as, hey, it’s just a website telling me that I’ve ‘achieved’ a badge but it is a real incentive to get out there, explore, review and share it with others.
I’ve 20 badges in all including hotel reviews, restaurant reviews, senior contributor, etc. but I’ve now managed to have 5,000 people read my reviews including 411 for the Dark Hedges in Northern Ireland (Game of Thrones filming location) and over 900 for the stunning village of Castle Combe in the Cotswolds. I only posted these and some others about 2 weeks ago! But now I need to aim to make each review count and be seen to be helpful.
Happy weekend people! x