When I was a kid there was only one thing I ever wanted to be. Indiana Jones! Okay, there was a brief period that I wanted to be Airwolf too, but we won’t dwell on that. The thing is, as I grew older I slowly realised that it was never going to happen. That my hero was just a character in a movie and no matter how much I wanted to, I just wasn’t going to be him.
But then when I really got older I got hit by the travel bug, and began to discover locations around the world that were not only in the movies themselves, but actually brought out my long hidden inner action hero, brought out in me that same spirit of fun and adventure that I had when I was that kid pretending my dad’s belt was a bullwhip! Countries and places where I could explore and feel alive, places where I could forget I was a grown man and just for a moment act as if I was my childhood idol! So in honour of that here’s my top 5 ultra manly places where you can pretend to be Indiana Jones! After me! Da da da daaaaa, da da daaaaa ….
5. Campo San Barnaba and the grand canal, Venice.
Yes I know I said manly, and a romantic city filled with culture, art and architecture is hardly the epitome of good old fashioned testosterone filled machismo, but it doesn’t have to be, even Indy dressed up in a suit once in a while.
And besides, you can still relive the infamous chase scene and blow up a few boats on the canal! Okay, maybe don’t do that, but definitely visit Venice if you ever get the chance, the whole city has remained seemingly unchanged since the Renaissance, and still has that unmistakable air of artistic and cultural rebirth. The Campo San Barnaba church served as the exterior to the library in the Last Crusade and is well worth a visit! Don’t start smashing up the floor tiles though! The Italian Polizia di Stato are notoriously challenged in the sense of humour department. But they do look spiffy in their designer uniforms!
Supposedly the setting of the Obi Wan club in the Temple of Doom, (which was actually filmed in London), Shanghai still boasts the oriental opulence and 1920s art deco architecture that epitomised the opening scenes of the film despite now also being one of the most renowned international metropolises in Asia. So get dressed up and hit the infamous clubs and casinos, you can even pretend for a moment that you are here to do a deal with Chinese triads! Just don’t call anyone short round, they won’t like it!
Technically the Egyptian locations in Raiders of the Lost Ark were shot in Tunisia, mostly in the holy city of Khairouan to be exact, and okay, so I’ve never shot a sword wielding madman in the chest or played hide and seek with straw baskets in a bazaar, but what can be better than exploring ancient monuments and delving into tombs up to five thousand years old when you are getting your inner history geek on? Any self respecting archaeologist or historian, even enthusiastic amateurs like myself, know at least a little of the history of this fascinating and enigmatic civilisation. You may not be able to find the mythical city of Tanis, but you can certainly ditch the tour groups and explore the grand sites of Karnak, the valley of the kings and of course the ultimate symbol of Egyptology itself, the Giza plateau. So do yourself a favour and don’t let the recent troubles put you off coming here, this amazing country is well worth a visit.
You may have to do a little more than nick an old statue to be chased by an angry mob of natives with spears, and the last time I checked you didn’t have to leg it down the Inca Trail to avoid being crushed by a huge boulder, but nothing screams manly pursuit like crashing through the jungle looking for an ancient civilisation! Even if this is actually Peru and not Hawaii where the Peruvian scenes were filmed. So you may have to go on an organised trek to see Machu Picchu, and there may be a load of other travellers and backpackers hiking the famous trail with you, but we’ll just ignore that and pretend they’re not there! You’re still in a jungle and that is still man test worthy of any budding Indiana Jones! Extra points if you knock a spider off someone’s back!
1. Petra, Jordan.
Jordan’s premier attraction and the ultimate location for any Indiana Jones fan, get your inner Indy on and ride a horse through the siq canyon to the magnificent city carved into the side of a mountain. This world heritage site and modern wonder of the world is worth far more than the usual day or two package tour, and you should take your time exploring the colonnaded streets, the royal tombs and monasteries and the iconic treasury to get the full experience of this legendary world wonder. I did not buy a fedora, rent a horse and ride through the Canyon in the early morning when there was no tourists about humming the Indiana Jones theme tune! Honest!*
*Okay I lied. I did.
So let travel rekindle your childlike sense of adventure and live life like you are 10 years old again! Live life like you are Indiana Jones!