10 Random Travel Facts

Travel facts, by Packing my Suitcase

When traveling, we are constantly discovering new places, things, cultures, habits. Some are different, interesting or curious for many of us, and they tend to stick in our heads. Few years later we still find ourselves telling the same story over and over again to our friends and family.

Ting, my dear friend, travel blogger and mother of Monkey, as she calls her sweet little boy, has written a very interesting post in which she shares 10 curiosities about places she has visited. She didn’t even need to ask me to take part in this idea and do the same, I fell in love with it before seeing my name at the end of the post.

I have been to some wonderful places, where I have learned many different things about the people, place, culture, wild life and much more. I always find it important to interact as much as possible with the locals and learn from them how life really is in that given city/country. So of course that throughout my travels, I have learned a few interesting things that I would like to share with you. Some of them you might have heard before, some might be new…

The Maldives

The Maldives, by Packing my Suitcase

This paradise where I spent my honeymoon, is constituted by over 1,000 coral islands and 26 major atolls. 99% of the Maldives is water, which makes it the smallest country in Asia, as well as the smallest Muslim country in the World. Did you know that?!

Germany

Munich, by Packing my Suitcase

Cities of Germany, like Munich, Dresden and Berlin were major bomb targets during the WWII, and until today unexploded bombs are still found in these cities. There were cases in which bombs were found under buildings or even by train tracks, you never know where they are.

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Marine Iguana, Galapagos Islands, by Packing my Suitcase

While I was volunteering at the Galapagos Islands – helping with reforestation – I learned that 20% of the marine life of the islands can only be found there. In other words, these species don’t exist anywhere else in the World, for example the marine Iguana. The Galapagos Islands is a very unique place when it comes to wildlife, where it is possible to see in shallow waters marine species normally only found in deeper waters, like the hammerhead sharks. I tell you… this place is a dream.

United Arab Emirates

Dubai, UAE by Packing my Suitcase

When I was in the UAE in 2013, I was shocked by the fact that I didn’t see very often Emirati people, but mostly foreigners. I thought that maybe it was because they are always at home or work. Later on, I discovered that only 15% of the population in the country is constituted by Emirati, the rest are foreigners!

Turkey

I couldn’t help but notice how people get the bill when in Turkey. As far as I remember, in every restaurant or cafe I went, every time I asked for the check, it came in a little box or basket. I don’t know where this tradition comes from, but I certainly found it cute, and had to make photos of the different types.

Switzerland

Geneva, Switzerland. By Packing my Suitcase

Even though Switzerland is a small country, with only 8 million people, there are 4 official languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Before moving there I knew about that, what I didn’t know is that there are cities like Bern, the capital, that speaks at least 2 of the official languages (German and French), others even 3. As I lived in Geneva and people only spoke French there (or English) I always wondered how it must be like to live in a bilingual city, probably something similar to living in Montreal, Canada.

Canada

Quebec, Canada. By Packing my Suitcase

Speaking of Canada, there are many interesting things about this country, some of them you only know once you lived there. Canada is as cold as Russia and Scandinavia. I mean COLD. So can you imagine how it must be like to start your car’s engine in the morning when the temperature is around -45C? Well, that is why they have what it is called a “block heater”, which requires electricity. Meaning that the cars need to be plugged into an electrical outlet, available at homes and also around the city. I am happy that Germany isn’t that cold!

Egypt

Marsa Alam, Egypt. By Packing my Suitcase.

As you may have heard, Egypt has been in political arrest for a while now. Even though cities on the coast like Hurghada and Marsa Alam – where I visited last year – don’t present risks when it comes to attacks, when entering my hotel in Marsa Alam, every car needs to be checked with a mirror in order to make sure that there are no bombs under it. It was the first time I experienced this.

Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden. By Packing my Suitcase.

Sweden is home of the famous Absolut Vodka, which makes us think that drinking alcohol in the country might not have so many restrictions. In reality, if you want to buy any alcoholic beverage with over 3,5% of alcohol, you need to go to a Systemboulaget – a state owned monopoly. In supermarkets you can only find beer.

Brazil

Blumenau, Santa Catarina. Source: Filipe Lopes (Flickr)

Blumenau, Santa Catarina.
Source: Filipe Lopes (Flickr)

For the Brazilians this is not new, but for the majority of foreigners it might come as a surprise. The south of Brazil, specifically the States of ParanΓ‘, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, there is a big German influence. Meaning: people have German last names, speak a funny German dialect, the houses are inspired on German architecture, there are cities called Blumenau, and there is even the typical Oktoberfest. This was certainly a surprise to W when I told him.

Did you know about any of these facts?

About Allane

A Brazilian living in Germany. Married to W. mommy to a baby girl and a Golden Retriever. Traveler, writer, aspiring photographer, diver, wine appreciator, Formula 1 fan, avid reader of historical and young adult fictions books. City girl, nature lover, believer of a better world, one little change at a time.

  • Great interesting facts! You’ve been all over! I’m so jealous πŸ™‚ Hope you continue to have a blast at home!!

    • Thank you dear Isabel πŸ˜€
      I am sure you will have great opportunities to travel around Europe sometime soon!! At least to Munich you have to go πŸ˜€ <3

  • Kat

    I scrolled up again to look at the last picture..erm, Brazil?? Lol…

  • Woah, I didn’t know that about Germany! Did you feel safe in Egypt though? I know it would have made me feel strange. I’ll be on the look out for the bill-box when I’ll be in Istanbul πŸ˜€

    • Yes, weird right? I only discovered this when I moved there!! There was a building in front of my gym where they found a bomb πŸ™
      I did feel safe in Egypt, In Marsa Alam there are basically only resorts… and I was diving all the long πŸ˜€
      Ohhh I hope you are enjoying Istanbul, I am following your pictures on Fb and Instagram and it makes me miss this amazing city πŸ˜€ I hope you have lots of fun!!!

  • Nice facts πŸ™‚ The one you noticed in Turkey is probably similar to Japan, where they give you money in a silver tray to avoid handling it by their own hands. This way it is more hygienic!

    • Oh really?? That is interesting πŸ˜€
      Maybe that is why they also do it in Turkey!!

  • Yes, very interesting facts…some are very revealing and are normally not get reflected in our routine visit nor mentioned in the tourist guide. It needs an eye for detail and an ear to hear new things from different people…the culture, the customs and the habits are sometime so different and unique it gets immediately registered in our mind.

    But things like only 15% of the UAE are Emirate is not known to all…Canada with a minus temperature of 45 is something one can imagine to live a life there…vehicles has to have different mechanism to start the engine, normal rule doesn’t apply in such extreme conditions. Maldives not doubt is a real beauty and one gets mesmerized in such unadulterated beauty created by nature…
    πŸ˜€

    • Happy that you liked the facts Nihar πŸ˜€
      Yes, there are some things about certain places that we have no idea at first.
      I enjoy observing the places I visit, and like to wonder things… like the fact about the UAE. It really intrigued me back then πŸ˜€

      Thank you so much for reading!! And sorry for taking so long to reply… I am still in Brazil enjoying my time with my family and friends πŸ˜€

      • I can understand, I knew you must be soaking in the vacation in it’s inimitable flavor of Brazil…

        Have a great trip and will catch up once you are back…many places and your wonderful insights to be discussed.

        happy vacation!!!
        πŸ˜€

  • Great facts! I’ve been to Brazil but I cannot imagine it looking like that! I guess Rio is very different though but I still cannot picture that building anywhere in South America!

    • Thank you Ayla πŸ˜€ Happy that you found something interesting!!
      Yess, the south of Brazil has a lot of German influence!! Brazil had a big mix of culture, the North is very different form the South in many aspects πŸ˜€

      I hope one day you get the chance to visit the south of the country. I know that I need to go there and take my hubby… he will probably think he still in Germany πŸ˜€

  • I may sound a bit full of myself, but I knew pretty much everything you mentioned (through my travel experiences or because i know someone who is living or has lived in some places you mentioned), except one : Brazil ! I’m so so surprised, I wouldn’t have imagined that !!! πŸ™‚

    This is a great idea ! πŸ™‚

    • hahaha I guess this one was new for many people πŸ˜€
      You are an impressive World traveler, so I am not impressed that you knew almost all of them πŸ˜‰ but I am glad that one was new for you πŸ˜€
      Happy that you liked the post!

      • I really liked it ! It was fun and I’ve learned something πŸ™‚

        • I have to visit this part of Brazil and show it to you! You will be amazed πŸ˜€

  • Great post Allane. Such interesting facts – especially the one about German influences in Brazil! And that you can’t buy alcohol in Swedish supermarkets! Who knew! I do now. Thank you for taking part, it’s been fun learning more about your travels πŸ™‚

    • Thank you so much Ting!! I am so happy that you enjoyed the post!! Thank you for inviting me to take part, it was a great idea, I had lots of fun writing this post on the airplane and it gave me many ideas for future posts πŸ˜€

      This German influence in Brazil is something new to many people… even to the Germans… my hubby is really impressed with this fact πŸ˜€ I need to take him there once!!

      Sorry for taking so long to reply… I am still in Brazil spending some time with my family, so it has been kind of busy around here πŸ˜€
      Hugs from Brazil to you!!

  • What kind of beer has only 3.5% alcohol content? In Russia fermented milk is stronger!

    • hahahaha true right??? Well, in Germany they even have beer without alcohol, though I never tried it!!

      • We have that too, in Russia. It’s just WRONG.

        • hahahahaha true!!! Its weird!! I guess they just dont want to live without beer, even if there has to be no alcohol in it!! haha!

  • Sha

    Haha, I shall consider myself enlightened. .but in japan, they also make the practice of putting in change on a platter which they will return to you, even at the convenience store such as 7-11. I thought that was a pretty cool practice but may delay the next paying customers though. Oh well, they are a gracious society.

    • hahaha cool!!! Ohh my, even at convenience store?? That I didn’t see in Turkey!!

      On the left side? In Germany people stand on the right side, so people can go faster on the left side πŸ˜€ good to know this fact about Singapore!!
      Ps: sorry for the late reply, things are busy here in Brazil with the family and friends πŸ˜€ thank you for your lovely support on Instagram, I love reading your comments <3

      • Sha

        Lol, yes, don’t get confused over which side to stand on. And no worries, just enjoy yourself since you don’t usually get to see your family. ..

        • hahaha ok πŸ˜€

          Thank you dear! I am back in Germany and already missing sunny Brazil!! πŸ˜€

  • I knew a few (Maldives, Switzerland etc.) but I certainly had no idea about Sweden and its alcohol rules – I wonder why the system is that way.

    • Its pretty weird right?
      As far as I know it is because there is/were many cases of alcoholism in the country… so alcohol became expensive and more restrict!!

      Thank you so much for stopping by πŸ˜€

  • How lovely Allane! I like your list a lot – and great info dear! Love the writing concept of this post πŸ™‚ May I join as well in the future? Have a great time in Brazil! xx

    • So happy that you liked it dear πŸ˜€
      Please do feel free to join in!! I would love to read some of your interesting travel fact, which Im sure are very cool πŸ˜€

      Thank you!!! I am already missing my mom and sis, even though Im leaving on Friday! I wish I could take them back with me to Germany πŸ˜€

  • So glad I don’t live in Sweden. Now I’m off to go bomb-hunting πŸ™‚

    • hahahahahaha Germany is completely the opposite right? Buying alcohol isnt a problem at all πŸ˜€

      Ohh my, yes… when I moved to Munich they found 2 bombs in Berlin, near the train tracks… they showed on TV when they were disarming it πŸ™ scary!!

      • Christ! Haven’t seen anything like that so far luckily! πŸ™‚

        • hahaahaha in Germany you won’t have a problem with that.. never πŸ˜€

  • Hihi, some really funny facts. πŸ˜€

    Kind regrads,
    Christina

  • Jenny Trozell

    Funny that you mentioned Systembolaget πŸ˜‰ SkΓ₯l!

    • hahaha yes πŸ˜€ I found it interesting when I was in Stockholm the first time… so on the second time I asked some locals about it so I could understand why buying alcohol in Sweden was so restrict in comparison to other European countries πŸ˜€

  • Some really interesting facts here! I had no idea that part of Brazil had a strong German influence! It also blows my mind that only 15% of the population of the UAE is native. Who knew?

    • Crazy huh? hahaha
      Yes in Brazil we have a very strong German influence in the south. Some cities really do look like Germany, and it is also the colder cities if the country πŸ˜€

      I was also impressed with this fact about the UAE! I only noticed when I went there, and was intrigued that I almost didnt see locals!

  • Great facts – thanks for sharing…..

  • What interesting facts! I actually never heard about all of them…and that’s why I love reading your blog! I find the bill box in Turkey very cute too and like little treasure chests, never seen anything like it. Maybe it is to prevent coins rolling on the floor or something, or the bills flying away when it is windy πŸ˜€

    Didn’t know your cars got checked with mirrors in Marsa Alam. I had that experience to when I visited Indonesia on two occasions. Each time the car pulled up to the drop off point just before the foyer, the security guards came and looked at the car underneath and asked the boot to be open. Sometimes they also opened the doors to look inside. A bit unsettling but better safe than sorry. I hope you’re enjoying Brazil!!! πŸ™‚ <3

    • So happy that you enjoyed learning new things here on the blog Mabel πŸ˜€
      Sorry for the late reply, things are busy here in Brazil!

      Oh my, I didn’t know they also checked the cars in Indonesia, I would never guess that!!
      Apparently in Egypt is a normal procedure everywhere!
      As you said, better be safe than sorry πŸ˜‰

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience!!
      Hugs from Brazil!

      • I am sure you are enjoying your time in Brazil. And I am wondering why you are responding to comments! Have all the fun in Brazil your home country. Blogging can wait a bit! πŸ˜€

        Looking forward to hearing about your hometown and seeing all the lovely photos! Already so nice on Instagram!

        • I am only responding the comments because I miss talking to people like you πŸ˜€ so dont worry, responding to the comments even on vacation is a pleasure!!

          I am so glad you are enjoying the photos on Instagram… soon you will read about my hometown πŸ˜€

  • loveandroad

    Great Post Allane!!

    Love the fact you talked about Brazil. We used to live 1 hour driving from Blumenau and when it’s Oktoberfest time the city looks like a little Germany!

    Happy Travels!
    Nat

    • Thank you Nat πŸ˜€ happy that you liked the post!!
      Awwwnn how amazing… sadly I still haven’t been to the South of Brazil, even though I have been planning to go in the near future πŸ˜€ maybe next time I visit Brazil I will do that!!

      Happy travels to you too πŸ˜€

  • Well, I’m from the Canadian prairies, so I definitely know about block heaters πŸ˜‰ I love the little baskets for the bills in Turkey! What a nice touch.

    • hahaha yes you do πŸ˜€
      Back when I lived in Canada I didn’t understand why my homestay mom used to plug the car hahaha, today I do πŸ˜€

      I also love the little baskets, there are so many types <3 lovely idea!

      Thank you so much for reading πŸ˜€

  • I love this post! Very interesting facts! Most of these I did not know! So then I learned many new things about many countries! πŸ™‚
    Have a great weekend!

    • Thank you Hanne πŸ˜€
      Happy that you liked it and learned some new things!!

      Hugs from Brazil πŸ˜€

  • Fantastic list! Didn’t know before that Brazil had such a German influence! Would be fantastic to go there one day!

    • Thank you πŸ˜€ happy that you liked it!!
      It is a wonderful region of Brazil, I hope you do visit it someday!! πŸ˜€

  • Learned a lot from reading this! πŸ™‚

  • wow! I had no idea about the German influence in Brazil! Also – in Egypt they were checking cars etc like that with mirrors back in the 1990s, it’s always been a worry since a bus was blown up in the mid 90s I think full of tourists. great post!

    • Yes πŸ˜€ interesting right? The south of Brazil pretty much looks like Germany πŸ˜€

      It makes sense that about Egypt I guess…but I thought this was a common procedure only in major cities. Its better to guarantee the safety everywhere πŸ˜€

      Thank you πŸ˜€ happy you enjoyed the post!!

  • Cool facts! Some that I have known before but most of it I have never heard of. Gotta plan my further trip to see more of the world.
    Nice post, Allane πŸ™‚

    Greetings from Vietnam

    Angela

    • Thank you dear Angela!! Happy that you liked the post πŸ˜€
      The World is full of surprises… we learn from it every day!!

      I wish you lots of happy travels around the World πŸ˜€
      Hugs from Brazil!!

  • Hey! the cars being checked in Egypt? Its done in almost all the luxury/5 star hotels in India as well!
    and about 15% natives in UAE, I am shocked as I am from UAE! Guess, I need to sharpen my knowledge about that place πŸ˜›

    • How cool that you are from the UAE!! You are the first one I meet πŸ˜€
      Oh well, I have to admit I was shocked by this fact, I knew that there were lots of foreigners in your country, but had no idea it was that much!! The World keeps surprising me πŸ˜€

  • Some great facts – though I knew about Blumenau πŸ˜‰

    • Thank you πŸ˜€
      hahaa awesome that you knew about Blumenau!! The Germans are always surprised when I tell them that in Brazil we have a city with this name πŸ˜€

      • I researched it for an article I wrote on surprising cities… there’s a beautiful German city in Venzuela too

        • Ohhh really?? That I never knew!!
          I know that in Argentina there is a lot of German and Italian influence, but I still haven’t been there yet!

  • Shikha (whywasteannualleave)

    A fascinating read Allane! I never knew about the Romansh language in Switzerland or that most of the population of USE aren’t local!

    • Thank you Shikha!! Happy that you liked and found some new information πŸ˜€

  • Gaareal

    I know about Canada, just because I live in Canada πŸ™‚ I know the facts about Switzerland also with their languages.
    Never knew about Munich…very interesting!! πŸ™‚

    • hahaha cool πŸ˜€
      Yes, there are many curiosities about Munich and Germany in general!

      Thank you for the comment!

  • Hi Cheryl thank you so much for your comment! I am happy that you find the post interesting!
    I hope you enjoy Turkey, people are so nice there!
    Ohhh so I am guessing you also froze in Canada… do you live there? πŸ˜€

  • Amazing!!! Are you going to work there?
    I have never been to Cairo, only to the coastal towns of Egypt Marsa Alam and Sharm-El-Sheikh.

  • That is wonderful!! I am sure you and your daughter will an amazing experience in Cairo, wow πŸ˜€
    I hope you enjoy your time in Egypt to visit other places too… if you like the sea/beach, you have to go to Marsa Alam and Sharm πŸ˜€

  • Very interesting facts Allane! I knew some of them especially of course about the places that I have visited such as Switzerland and Germany – I even knew about the German link to Brazil as I think I saw it on a travel show once but certainly not all the facts such as about the Galapagos and the Maldives. You’ve been to some very interesting and varied places, not to mention living in different parts of the world too!

    • Thank you Rosemary πŸ˜€
      Ohh really? I’m impressed that you’ve heard of the German community in Brazil, many people are very surprised by this fact!
      Yes, I have been to many places… and hope to explore Asia a bit more in the future πŸ˜€

      • Yes I heard it on a tv show once and our German teacher mentioned it once in our German classes but most people wouldn’t know. I have a feeling that Gisele Bundchen might have German ancestry too?!

        • hahaah yes, she does. Her family have German roots πŸ˜€
          Yes, the south of Brazil, Argentina and Chile, there are lots of German influence. All after the WWII.

  • The Galapagos is the most wonderful place I have ever visited. I can only tell that it’s worth it πŸ˜€
    I would love to return there!!

    Yes… this thing with the bombs here is unpredictable πŸ™ pretty sad.

  • Oh my in February? Yess, pack lots of thermals πŸ˜€
    Depending on where you are going is going to be very cold. But not least beautiful, Canada is amazing. I hope you enjoy your time there πŸ˜€

  • Thank you dear πŸ˜€ happy to bring up some new information about these places to you πŸ˜€

  • hahaha happy that you liked it, and hope you your OH enjoys the post too πŸ˜€

  • I love these fun facts! Im surprised about the German influence in Brazil. I knew a lot of Germans migrated there after the war, but wow! πŸ™‚ #MondayEscapes

    • hahaha interesting right?
      Yes, the influence is big, and people here in Germany are often impressed when I tell them about it πŸ˜€

  • Kathleen (Kat)

    Oooh, I never knew that there are still bombs not discovered yet, yeah you’re right, we may never know (shudder). Fyi, major hotels in India, Indonesia and Philippines also check for bombs underneath the car..and all metro passengers in Delhi have to be frisked and bags checked before boarding the metro at platform #MondayEscapes

    • Unfortunately yes πŸ™ not long ago the found another one in Berlin! Pretty crazy!

      Oh really?? I had no idea about that. Good to know, as next year I hope to go to Asia πŸ˜€

  • That’s good to know! I was very surprised when I went there, because being the country of Absolut I would never think it was like this, so I decided to make a little research to understand why πŸ˜€

  • hahahha really? Ooops!! It’s a great idea for a post, I loved doing it… it was hard to pick only 10 πŸ˜€

  • Hi Laura! Yes, Brazil has a big German community in the south πŸ˜€
    As for Canada, I lived in Winnipeg for a year and I remember that. Interesting that now they are selling wine in the grocery stores, that’s a progress πŸ˜€

  • hahahaha I realized that when I visited!
    I know they speak both languages, but prefer French πŸ˜€ I love that town!!

  • hahaha yes πŸ˜€
    Interesting isn’t it? People here in Germany also don’t know about this, so they always get really surprised when I tell them πŸ˜€

  • hahaha yes! Who knew right?
    I agree with you and I am the same. There are things you simply don’t find on guide books!
    I love learning these things about the places πŸ˜€

  • The Galapagos was the most amazing place I have been on this planet, and I would love to return there <3 so I can highly recommend it to you!
    Yess, I also will never forget when we were arriving in Male and when we took the seaplane πŸ˜€ I was so scared, but it was soooo beautiful!

  • French and English πŸ˜€

  • I love to learn things about the UAE from people who live there. I find it such a interesting place, so different!! You are right, as a tourist is probably way harder to see them. Before going there I had no idea it was like this. Thank you for the info πŸ˜€

  • From what I have heard it’s mainly because they are private people and are mostly indoor, especially the women. But I haven’t spent enough time there to understand more, but it is indeed something interesting!

  • Thank you dear πŸ˜€
    Yes, this one about Brazil surprise many people!

  • hahahaha yess, thank God I live in Germany!!

  • Yes!! It’s a bit weird to have the car checked for bombs, but it’s better this way πŸ˜€
    Yes, in Chile and Argentina too there are big German communities, Italian too πŸ˜€

  • Hi Nicky!
    Thank you so much for the comment.
    The Galapagos is a dream, it was certainly a unique experience to have work as a volunteer there.
    I would love to return, but nowadays the flight tickets are sooooo expensive to go there πŸ™
    If you have the opportunity go, you won’t regret it πŸ˜€

  • How nice that you spent your childhood in Canada… then you surely remember how cold it is πŸ˜€
    Thank you, yes, I have been to wonderful places, every single one of them were very special πŸ˜€