Best travel boasts, myths & legends

Wasted tales, India
Any travel tale that starts with 'When I was in Goa' is bound to end with 'we were wasted, man'. Sitting serenely between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, Goa's beaches host the infamous Full Moon Party that has given rise to more tales of student-traveller decadence than Woodstock has spawned hippies. Funnily enough it was the hippies that 'founded' the Goan party scene back in the '70s. If you squint your eyes and peer through the psychedelic waves generated by the trance tunes you'll notice a lot of them never left.

Sipping a bhang lassi is where wastage begins for many; get them legally for under US$10 at the Bhang Shop in Jaisalmer.

Mile-High Clubbing, USA
Until recently the idea of fornicating at 1500m was a lot more appealing than the reality of squirming around inside a cramped and poorly sanitised aeroplane lavatory. But thanks to Georgia pilot Bob Smith, amorous would-be clubbers can do it in comfort for less than US$300. Smith's Piper Cherokee is fitted out with a mattress and curtain so privacy is assured. The pilot says he has flown everyone from couples in their teens to swingers in their sixties.

Once admitted to the club, you receive a certificate of accomplishment and your sheet as a souvenir. Nice. Climb aboard here.

Broken Spectre, Germany
For thousands of years anyone lucky enough to witness this extraordinary optical phenomenon probably thought they were in the presence of God or undergoing their own spiritual rebirth. That’s because the spectator is confronted with an image of their shadow surrounded by a halo of light, usually around the head. The phenomenon mostly occurs near mountain peaks when the air is moist and the sun is low. The name owes its provenance to the Brocken, which at 1141m is the highest peak in the Harz Mountains that straddle the German province of Saxony-Anhalt.

BerlinLinienBus has a service to the Harz Mountain’s gateway town of Goslar; the trip costs around €40.


Every flight has more first-class hopefuls vying for an upgrade than there are reclining seats to fit them. We've all heard of the techniques designed to improve your chances – from wearing a tie, slipping the attendant a few loose notes, to pretending to be a celebrity in disguise – but what is the real likelihood of moving into the champagne and caviar set sans charge? Actually, close to zero. Most airlines' rules of conduct state that upgrading anyone without specific permission from a supervisor or from the captain (in emergencies) is a sackable offence.

Some airlines offer Y-UP fares that can increase your chances of getting an upgrade; also, joining an airline's frequent flyer club could swing things your way, maybe.

Treasure seeking, Canada
There's nothing like the promise of loot to inspire treasure-transfixed travellers to trek to a faraway island. In 1795 teenager Daniel McGinnis discovered a 'money pit' on Oak Island, Nova Scotia. He was convinced pirate treasure was buried in the log-lined pit, and so began over 200 years of treasure hunting that's revealed an ingenious system of booby traps, false beaches and tantalising glimpses of the treasure that still remains buried hundreds of metres deep. Wannabe Captain Jack Sparrows should be warned that four men died in 1959 while trying to excavate the gold.

Full details about the money pit and previous attempts to reach it can be found here.

Hiking Route 66 for kicks, USA
On the Road, Jack Kerouac's legendary Beat novel, has inspired generations of hikers around the world. The story features two young men hiking along Route 66 in a speed- and whiskey-fuelled search for the American Dream. The legendary highway is the 4000km grey ribbon tying Chicago to California. Hire a vintage car, put some jazz on the stereo, get your melancholy on and take off for the West Coast.

Read about the historic Route 66.

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