Pe urmele lui Dracula prin Bucuresti cu Questo, jocul de explorare urbana

Dracula quest

Un text scris de Viorel Voicu, unul dintre cei peste 45000 de oameni care au terminat un quest in cele 40 de orase din Romania (Cluj, Sibiu, etc) si Europa.

In 1897, fie ca a vrut fie ca nu, Bram Stoker a pus Romania si Bucurestiul pe harta lumii. Legendele care il inconjoara pe Vlad Tepes l-au facut o vedeta moderna si nemuritoare asa cum este si personajul cartii.

Azi am plecat la drum cu Miriam si cu Vlad (prin Questo si jocul lor de explorare urbana despre Dracula in Bucuresti) sa descopar orasul si ce s-a mai schimbat intre timp, in cei mai bine de 500 de ani care au trecut de la domnia lui.

Incep calatoria la Hanu’ lui Manuc. Pe zid, chiar la intrare, o placa memoriala imi spune ca in 1857 Bucurestiul a fost prima capitala din lume care a folosit petrolul lampant, aka kerosenul, pentru iluminatul stradal. Ce ti-e si cu marketingul asta, schimbi un cuvant doua si devii primul la ceva.

Imi continui drumul pe Franceza, cu o gelato alla nocciola in mana, de la Emilia Cremeria 🤤, si fac stanga spre piata Natiunilor Unite. La intersectia dintre Franceza si Tonitza, pe o banca, un domn canta la acordeon niste ritmuri dintr-un mic Paris demult uitat.

Trec podul peste Dambovita, ma intorc si ma uit la blocul Adriatica. Niciodata n-am inteles rostul constructiei ciudate, cu coloane, din varf. Azi am aflat ca se numeste glorieta si este uneori folosita ca punct de belvedere. Cea mai faimoasa glorieta este considerata cea de la palatul Schonbrunn din Viena. Mie si asta mi se pare frumoasa, in ciuda ruinei in care e azi, si pentru cateva momente am incercat sa-mi imaginez cum arata Bucurestiul la inceput de secol XX, din varful uneia dintre cele mai inalte cladiri ale vremii.

Merg mai departe prin spatele curtii de apel, traversez bulevardul Unirii si ajung la poalele dealului Mitropoliei. Mereu m-am ferit de zona asta pentru ca urasc sa urc dealuri 😅. Pe stanga, Gheorghe Cantacuzino si Al.I.Cuza se amuza de gambele mele de lebada care isi pun tot talentul la incercare.

In varful dealului, cladirea Palatului Patriarhiei pare adusa din Paris. Sunt impresionat de detaliile ornamentelor fatadei si de cat de bine au fost conservate. Ma simt mai degraba in fata unui magazin Bvlgari sau Cartier din Place Vendome decat intr-un loc ecleziastic.

Cobor dealul, gambele mele zambesc, si fac stanga pe 11 iunie pana la Cafe Antique. Visand la un flat white intru curajos in localul cu vitrina impanzita de plante. Printre toate margelele, tablourile cu viori, linguri de argint, degetare si jobenuri care spun cat e ora, vad doi ochi care imi intalnesc privirea. Ma simt ca Alice in Tara Minunilor. Nu e The Cheshire Cat, e Why Not 😻, o pisica adorabila, in varsta de 13 ani dar care, conform spuselor stapanei, inca vede si aude ca o adolescenta. O gadil de cateva ori sub barbie si imi continui drumul pe 11 iunie. Fara flat white. Nici urma de cofeina in Wonderland.

Pe dreapta imi atrage atentia Fabrica Club. Instant imi vine in minte imaginea FX Factory din Lisabona. Imi transmite acelasi vibe boem. Un loc unde pot sa beau un pahar de vin, sa citesc o carte sau just “hang” sub privirile unui Jack Nicholson urias. Ma intreb ce crede Vlad despre toate astea.

Imi continui drumul pana la intrarea in Parcul Carol. Pe stanga, terasele de pe trotuarul larg imi aduc aminte de Paris. Pe dreapta, un domn trecut de cateva tinereti urla catre cineva: “Daca ar fi dupa mine te-as rupe in bataie!” si imi reamintesc ca sunt in Bucuresti. Ma rog sa nu “fie dupa el“ si intru in parc.

Undeva, printre copaci, sta ascunsa fantana George Cantacuzino. Fantana e mult spus. Cred ca apa nu a mai curs de ceva vreme. Insa nu am putut sa nu fiu impresionat de cat de mult seamana cu fantana Mariei de Medici din Jardin du Luxemburg, din Paris. Chiar cred ca ar putea fi la fel de grandioasa daca ar fi reconditionata.

Imi inchei calatoria la replica cetatii Poenari si il las pe Vlad “acasa”.

Nu stiu cum i s-a parut lui Vlad, Bucurestiul de azi, insa mie imi place. Eclectic, cu urme ale trecutului, modern, incercand sa scape de obiceiuri vechi dar fara sa-si piarda traditia, un mic Paris care isi cauta identitatea, intr-o continua schimbare si adaptare. Asa… cam ca mine 🤓

Mai multe jocuri de explorare urbana din Bucuresti, gasiti aici. Aplicatia Questo pentru iPhone-uri o gasiti aici, iar cea de Android aici.

 

The best way to visit Sibiu: Questo Walking Tour and City Game

Visit Sibiu

The other day, I invited two enthusiastic and adventurous friends – one a local, the other a German to explore the city of Sibiu in a modern, innovative way.

I figured it was about time to upgrade my approach when showing friends around since I discovered Questo and its super exciting quests.

discover sibiu

Having stumbled upon it a while back myself, I became intrigued by its ability to delight my neurons with one dopamine boost after the other. I guess the thirst for adventure has always been close to my heart, and Questo seems to master the recipe of feeding my appetite one quest at a time.

Curious to learn more, I discovered that each route a.k.a. quest is based on a specific theme: a movie, a book, a historical fact, or just a local legend. In London, for instance, travelers can explore the city as Sherlock Holmes or Isaac Newton, while in Paris they can play as Hemingway or Picasso. Don’t know about you out there, but the little Sherlock in my head is jubilating to the prospect of one day going to London and solving its great clues and mysteries.

Coming back to Sibiu, my friends and I had two options to pick from: we could either defend the city’s fortress or discover the 7 towers of Sibiu through a walking tour, which is also a city game. We chose the latter and felt ready to embark on the 3,2 km journey that promised to unveil the stories that shaped the city’s identity.

walking tour game

First, they had to download Questo and create an account. One minute later, they were done and ready to unlock the secrets of Sibiu. And in spite of the angry-looking clouds outside pointing out the obvious – the high probability of us getting really wet – we decided to give it a go nonetheless.

One of my favorite thing about Questo is its flexible approach: you can always pause the game and come back to it later. Exactly the kind of feature that might come in handy when you’re running around with kids, hiding from the sun or the rain, starving or simply looking for a break.

visit sibiu through a walking tour

The game was on: venturing on less crowded paths, the girls activated all the sensors that made them aware of their surroundings and started paying attention to the beauty slowly disclosing itself one building at a time.

Touring around the old citadel and exploring hidden passages, Debi and Eva joined the club of the 45.000 explorers who finished at least one quest while walking more than 120.000 kilometers all around the globe. Pretty fantastic club to be joining if you consider that circling the earth one time takes about 40.075 km.

Questo has over 100 available walking tours and city games created by a growing network of local content creators and is currently present in 40 European cities such as London, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome or Berlin.

As the game got more intense, I couldn’t help notice the big smiles and constant laughter of the girls that were thrilled to discover new perspectives of this beautiful city. Apparently, Booking.com and People’ Choice Award knew what they were doing when they choose to reward Questo for its impressive strategy of disrupting the travel industry.

As we were wandering, I stumbled upon a very familiar image: that of bored, exhausted tourists in big groups taking selfies in the exact same locations, waiting for the guide to stop talking so they can all grab a bite and sit down. I smiled as I was observing Debi and Eva’s experience that seemed to be quite different: they stopped to marvel at the great architecture at their own pace, cheering each other’s progress and feeling like an authentic team.

At the end, curious to see whether my observations matched their experience, I’ve asked them to express their feelings and this is what they said:

We’ve all agreed that the proper English translation to this is: Questo is the besto!

Comment participer au jeu d’exploration urbaine pour couples à Montmartre?

Romantic walking tour in Montmartre

Le Samedi 31 Août, dès que l’horloge sonnera 11 heures, vous serez conviés à découvrir Paris à travers les yeux d’un couple imaginaire, perdu dans la ville. Invitez votre moitié (ou votre crush) à un après-midi sous le signe de la découverte, du divertissement et de l’excitation!

En utilisant notre application d’exploration de la ville, vous allez explorer des endroits incontournables ou au contraire cachés, tout en découvrant leur histoire…

COMMENT MARCHE LE JEU ?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnW2112yE6M

Vous serez guidés pas à pas le long du parcours et devrez résoudre des énigmes tout en relevant les petits détails dissimulés dans le paysage qui vous entoure.

Chacun votre tour, il vous faudra relever des défis tout en jouant le rôle des deux amants imaginaires perdus dans Paris.

Saurez-vous réunir les amoureux perdus?!

COMMENT PARTICIPER?
1. Téléchargez l’application gratuitement
2. Choisissez votre itinéraire et achetez l’accès
3. Rendez-vous au point de départ prévu
4. Suivez les indices, dénichez les petits détails et découvrez les histoires!

*Prix*
€9.99 pour un groupe de 5 personnes ( L’application permet jusqu’à 5 personnes d’explorer en même temps en utilisant seulement un téléphone).
Heure de départ: 11:00
Point de départ: Station de Métro Blanche
Durée : Environ 1 heure et demi
………………………………….

À PROPOS DE QUESTO

Questo est un jeu d’exploration grandeur nature qui permet de suivre des indices et de relever des petits défis afin de découvrir des nouveaux endroits et connaître leur histoire.

Chaque parcours (quête) s’appuie sur un terme particulier, qui peut s’inspirer d’un film, d’un livre, d’un événement historique ou simplement d’une légende.

10 Amazing Things To Do in London Tomorrow

to do in London tomorrow with Questo, the city exploration game

So, destiny’s mysterious forces lead your way to London tomorrow. Now, if fate has been as benevolent as it can be, you will be walking on these streets in the shoes of a traveler. If there’s no travel involved, at least you probably have a day off and it’s pretty clear that you don’t want to waste it watching the grass grow. As, probably, each one of us has shamefully posted at least once on social media: a new day means new possibilities, we want you to enjoy the most awesome things to do in London tomorrow.

1. Watch a play at the Globe Theatre

Nested on the bank of the Thames River, this theater is a place that makes sure Shakespeare’s art will have more lives than a big family of cats. If you can understand that this guy is as important to the British culture as dreadlocks are to the Rastafarians, and if you, yourself, feel proud belonging to the same species with such a genius, go and watch a play at the Globe Theatre.

Also, you must already know that the price of a theatre opera in London is not exactly a trifle, but you can find plays for as little as 5 pounds at Globe Theatre.

2. Go up The Shard

Have you ever reached the top of a mountain or discovered a beautiful narrow street? Can you remember the feeling you had?

That is the exact feeling what the view from the highest skyscraper in Western Europe will make you feel. Views that stretch 65 kilometers, and enclose some of the most iconic London tourist attractions: Big Ben, River Thames, London Eye, and Tower Bridge, among others.

Not to mention that you can sit for a drink at any of the multiple bars, and sink in the special vibe of the city, while the sun outside begins to hit the bricks.

3. Discover London’s maritime past by playing a mobile city game in Greenwich

Cutty Sarl

You could easily spend one day in this neighborhood without letting out a single yawn of boredom, and probably the most unimaginative thing here will be the cliché photo with the two feet on each side of the Meridian Line. At least, be wise enough and don’t make it public! But rather admire the views before you, over this financial capital of the world, and indulge yourself in all the time you need to reflect on this.

Then, go and discover the Maritime Museum and Cutty Sark Boat, get a feel of London’s maritime past and get ready for what will probably be the most memorable hour and a half of your day: a city exploration game. Play the role of a cabin boy from the beginning of the 19th century dropped into the modern Greenwich, complete the Questo mission, and discover this mysterious side of the city. Without exaggeration, this has all the chances to become the most fun activity in London. There are also quite a few similar exploration games in different parts of London.

4. Eat at Borough Market

There is no better place that gives you a sense of what a local’s day to day life looks like than a food market. And you can bet there is no other market like this one. To begin with, how many 100-year-old markets have you visited so far? Mexican markets flourish with tacos and quesadillas, Japanese markets are abundant in fish and rice, while the Spanish ones are packed with paella and tortilla.

But what can you possibly find in the biggest market of a city like London? This city, which has been sheltering communities from all over the world during the last centuries. Well… at least a diversity spree, we might say.

Indulge in whatever your heart demands: cheese, olives, fruits, cookies and cooked foods from around the globe, but don’t leave without grabbing a coffee at Monmouth. And only after you make your way by the Thames towards Tate Modern.

5. Take a magical walk around Westminster

Things to do in London tomorrow - Wizards of London with Questo

How about an ordinary stroll through one of London’s most iconic neighborhoods – Westminster?

You may pretend to feel the gravity in the air as you pass by the Palace of Westminster, with your oversized camera dangling around your neck. You may also fake a thrill when hearing the Big Ben chime and might even try to detect a sign of life on the face of the guards at Buckingham Palace, as you take a cheeky selfie. Then pose inside a phone box, and next to a red mailbox, and in front of the tube entrance, and by the gates and no 10 Downing Street. And with a man with a hat and a cute pug?

But then again, how about a more exciting alternative? Play a city exploration game and instead of a clumsy tourist, play the role of a powerful wizard flying around London Bridge. Solve riddles, find magical stones while enjoying Westminster as you never have before!

6. Visit Tate Modern

If you ever pretended that art is by no means a topic that goes cold on you, this is the Londo place to be in tomorrow. Masterpieces collected from the 16th century until today put a great emphasis on female artists, and you will always find all kinds of exhibitions hosted by the museum. Even if you only claimed to be an artistic soul for any other veiled intentions at that specific moment, you can still give to this pyramid-shaped museum a chance… at least for its free entry in a city that has not built a reputation for being kind with the wallet.

7. Explore Camden

A restless being, rocker, hipster, hippy, alternative, in any way… a bit eccentric, either in appearance or in the way of thinking? Is this you? Then, you will feel in Camden Town like fish in the water.

Plunge into the bar that best fits you and be ready to enjoy loads of live music, and breath the same air that artists of all kinds, because this is a Mecca for misunderstood creative souls of London. If your stomach starts to bang its fist on the table, calm him down quickly with an order of anything you like in Camden Market.

8. Take a stroll through Notting Hill

… but enough with places that don’t guarantee a photo able to catapult your popularity to hundreds of likes. We’ve lost enough time by now. All the colorful buildings, antique boutiques, markets, former mews, flower shops and charming coffee shops in Notting Hill should hit the newsfeed’s jackpot.  Anyways, leave room in your schedule for cocktail sipping in one of the many pubs and bars here.

9. Grab a beer in Soho

It is said that no trip to London is a real trip to London without visiting Soho. You can easily spend an entire day in this intriguing neighborhood, but you should know that the day light (and its absence) changes the appearance of these streets in every way. During the day, you might want to wear your more orthodox face while preparing to become an excellent pronunciator of “Oh, look how beautiful”. Soho Square, along with the beautiful architecture, will give you plenty of opportunities for that (and if you want to go further wearing your angelic behavior, you can even choose to go to Soho Theatre).

During the night, on the other side, you can easily forget about the 10 commandments and unleash the real beast. Ok, maybe we exaggerate a bit. But these neon-lighted streets are the perfect place to get a sense of what locals mean by a crazy night out. Undoubtedly, partying in Soho is one of the things to do in London by night.

10. Give a chance to Saint Paul’s Cathedral

If you have to choose only one Christian site while in London, go for Saint Paul’s Cathedral. We are not saying that those 528 narrow stairs will be easy to climb if catching the bus is the only sport you practice, but the views from the top are worth every single drop of sweat. And you don’t even need to be the biggest fan of God to get melted in front of the astonishing thorough architecture that coats this building roundabout.

Anyways, the biggest surprise will be found in Whispering Gallery when realizing that your whisper can be heard hundreds of meters away, you will surprise yourself.

Now that you know these 10 amazing things to do in London, which of these are you going to give a try tomorrow?

The Most Fun Activities in London for your City-Break

Fun activities in London

You’ve just arrived in London for a few days and don’t know where to start exploring? Whether you want to have fun like a local or just discover the off-beaten path of the city, you’re in luck – down below you’ll find five of the most fun activities you can do in your London city-break.

Hint: the touristy stuff was intentionally left out, so you can actually discover the true essence of the city.

TOP 5 Fun Activities for a City-break in London

1. Go Ape – Literally

If you’re up for adventure and climbing trees, you could use an adventure park. Check out the Go Ape venues in London to climb the treetop platforms, defy the obstacles and get your adrenaline high. They’ve got multiple routes and their difficulty level varies from beginner to advanced. Even though these activities require a basic degree of physical fitness, you can easily swing like Tarzan (or Jane) on the zip-line.

You can choose from six different adventures, including Forest Segway. This is a one-hour trip with an all-terrain Segway through the forest trails and is the best way to explore nature and spot wildlife.

Price: Prices range from £18 to £55, depending on the ticket and location you choose.

Duration: Between 1 and 3 hours

Location: Alexandra Palace, Battersea Park, Chessington, and Trent Park.

2. Play a City Exploration Game with Questo

Sightseeing doesn’t have to be boring – not when you can explore the city as an undercover hero on a quest! All you need is your phone and Questo, the city exploration game.

There are plenty of routes to choose from and once you selected a quest, you become the main character of the story. You then receive a riddle that can only be answered by walking around the city and following the clues. For every right answer, you get a short story of the place you just visited and a new riddle that will help you solve the entire mystery.  

One of them is The Wizards of London, where you play the role of Theodgar, a powerful Wizard that vowed to protect his goddaughter. During the adventure, you will get to visit iconic places where the Harry Potter movies were filmed and keep the dark forces at bay.

The best part of the game? In only a couple of hours, you can get to discover amazing places in London that only a few people know about.

Fun activities to do in London: Questo - the city exploration game

Price: Between £13 and £18 per quest (available to groups of 5 people or less)

Duration: Between 1 and 2 hours, depending on the quest

Location: Throughout the city. The starting point differs from quest to quest and is available in-app for iOS and Android.

3. Pay a Visit to Alcotraz Prison Cocktail Bar

Ever wondered what it’s like to be locked up in a cell? Wonder no more and go visit Alcotraz, the first theatrical cocktail bar in London. Once you get convicted and enter the gate of Alcotraz, don’t expect a menu of cocktails to choose from. After all, you’re in prison, and alcohol is not widely available at all times. Instead, you’ll get an immersive experience of what life in a penitentiary might look like, including the art of smuggling alcohol into the carcel.

If you want to serve your cocktail (and time) in style, you can book your cell here.

Price: Prices start from £35

Duration: 1h 45 mins

Location: 212 Brick Lane

4. Try FootGolf or Foot Darts

Don’t know what to choose between football, golf or darts? Now you don’t have to! FootGolf and Foot Darts might sound weird, but truth be told, they’re quite amazing.

FootGolf challenges your precision, as you’re supposed to kick a football to enter the hole. You can play it on typical golf courses where they allow it, or on a specially-designed FootGolf course.

On the other hand, Foot Darts implies kicking a Velcro football to hit the bullseye on a big, inflated darts board. It’s like the typical British pub experience, unless it’s outdoors, and you’re doing both the darts and the football.

Price: Footgolf prices start at £14 per adult and £10 per child, but groups larger than 4 people are offered group discounts. For Foot Darts, the price starts around £30 per adult.

Duration: A standard session lasts 60 mins, but if the group is larger, it can be maxed to 90 mins.

Location: There are multiple venues where you can play both FootGolf and Foot Darts, two of them being Golf Kingdom (for FootGolf) and Powerleague Shoreditch (for Foot Darts).

5. Experience the Post-Apocalypse World at Bunker 51

Bunker 51 is a nuclear bunker with a history tied to the Cold War, which now serves as the perfect place to enjoy laser tag, paintball or airsoft. If you’re rather into psychological thrillers, you can book an escape room or take part in one of the zombie experiences that run for 2,5 hours.

The bunker is located near the Thames River so you can enjoy the best view after having saved the world from all kinds of dangers.

Price: Prices range from 15 to 50, depending on the activity you choose.

Location: 3 Herringham Rd

Duration: Between 30 mins and 2 hours.

Have fun!

Questo: one of the winners of Phocuswright Battleground, the competition for innovative travel startups

May 16th – Bucharest, Romania

Questo, the city exploration mobile game has won the People’s Choice Award at Phocuswright Europe, one of the biggest travel conferences in the world held in Amsterdam on 15-16th of May 2019. The votes were cast by an audience of savvy travel executives and investors who chose the best startup in the Phocuswright Battleground competition out of the top 8 most innovative travel startups in EMEA.

Here is the pitch that led to the award:

“We were delighted to feature a diverse set of innovators on stage bringing fresh solutions to the travel industry. We look forward to seeing them thrive and shape the future of the travel industry,” said Phocuswright’s manager, research and innovation, Michael Coletta.

Questo, the innovative travel startup, wins award at Phocuswright Europe

Questo is currently present in 40 European cities like London, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome or Berlin. The city exploration game helps tourists explore cities by solving clues in order to discover new places and stories about them. Each route (quest) they explore is based on a specific theme, which can be inspired by a movie, a book, a historical fact or just a local legend.

In London, for instance, travelers can explore the city as Sherlock Holmes or Isaac Newton, while in Paris they can play as Hemingway or Picasso.

“This award represents an important recognition for Questo and offers a strong signal about how tours and activities will be disrupted by technology and gamification,” said Alex Govoreanu, CEO of Questo.

We have received significant interest from top tour operators and travel agencies in Europe that will help us market our game to tourists traveling around Europe. Because we are disrupting the $160+ Billion global market for tours and activities, we attracted the attention of several high-level investors as we are about to launch a funding round this summer that will help us boost our growth globally.” Govoreanu added.

So far, more than 40,000 people finished a quest while walking more than 100.000 kilometers to discover popular and hidden locations, as well as local stories using Questo. As of today, the app has over 100 available quests created by a growing network of local content creators. They can be purchased inside the Questo iOS and Android apps, on TripAdvisor, on GetYourGuide and Booking.com, for prices ranging from 8 to 30 Euro. Questo is also a previous winner of the Booking.com Booster Lab 2018 in Tel Aviv.

The company also works with brands such as Samsung or Bitdefender, tourism agencies and other companies to create custom quests that offer a unique travel experience for their customers and employees.

Resources

Website / iOS_app / Android_app

Press Kit: Logo / Team_photos / Screenshots

Announcement of Phocuswright Battleground winners here