Every year, I make a list of places I would like to go to. And then end up going to completely different places. But that never stops me from making the list. So today I decided to make a list of destinations I would love to visit over the coming year. Let’s see how many of them will materialize.
1) Marrakech: I know this is cheating, since I have already been there this year. But still counts as part of 2008 travel list. And if I may recommend, definitely a place to go to. Desert, mountains, culture, food, arts crafts, the old, the new – everything in one place – that’s what you have with the magic of Marrakech. You can read more on it here and see the pictures here.
2) Libya : Putting Libya on the list is a leap of faith – I am right in the process of trying to get a visa, and I must say the whole process has been difficult, to say the least. But if the Visa Gods be kind, I will be there – to see the beautiful Roman ruins at Leptus Magna and Sabratha, to camp out in the great Saharan deserts, spend some time in Tripoli and hopefully get some good Mediterranean sea air.
3) Prague: Prague was on my 2007 list, but I didn’t make it. Hopefully 2008 will be different. Situated on the River Vltava in central Bohemia, it is supposed to be is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. As if to drive home the point, statistics show that it is one of the most visited cities in Europe.
4) Heidelberg: How could I have lived in Germany and missed Heidelberg? I know I know. But then, the cities closest to you are the ones you often end up not visiting. Now that there is a five hour drive between me and Heidelberg, I think I will make a weekend trip to this city of castles. Heidelberg is also a beautiful university town and the difficult part of this trip will be deciding whether to go there in March for the Heidelberger FrÃ¼hling Music Festival or in June for the fireworks display Heidelberger Schlossbeleuchtung or in September for the Altstadt Autumn Festival. Tough choice.
5) Budapest & Bratislava: Eastern Europe is the general theme for the year. What with the opening of the borders of 9 more countries to the Schengen area, for those like me who have always found visas a hassle, the options have just dramatically increased. I can hardly wait to visit the beautiful cities of Buda and Pest and soak in the steamy healing waters Hungary is famous for. Bratislava may not be the most beautiful of cities, but there is something about the sound of the name that makes me want to visit it – may be it reminds me too much of Baklava, and just makes my mouth water.
6) Warsaw & Krakow: Ah, Poland, here I come! Krakow is supposed to have one of the most beautiful city squares in whole of Europe. I have seen quite a few impressive ones, the last one being Djmaa El-Fna ( I know, it is not in Europe, but still), so I am curious to see what is so impressive about the Krakow square. Curious I am to see Warsaw too – popularly known as the phoenix among cities – rising literally from the ashes, every time it was obliterated.
8) Tallinn & Riga: Four hours apart, I probably shouldn’t club Tallinn and Riga together. I would most likely do them in separate trips. Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is one of those hidden gems that escape the eyes of the regular tourists. And I hear it is Europe’s newest party scene whatever be your inclination, though I am very far from being a party tourist and am much more intrigued by the history and beauty of the place. As for Riga, I have no idea what you could see there, but wouldn’t it be cool to go to a place where everyone spoke Latvian. I have no Latvian friends, and I have never heard the language – sure, I could google up a Youtube video, but nothing beats hearing a language in its natural habitat, does it? And usually, exotic languages come from exotic places.
9) Milan : Non-exotic, main stream and borderline boring, I know, Milan is so last century. But I must go there to shop. A pilgrimage to the Prada warehouse and non stop shopping in the quadrilatero della moda is firmly in the cards. Girl friends willing to ditch their better halves and come armed with credit cards and shopping shoes are welcome to be my travel companion, especially if you don’t wear the same size of clothes as I do.
10) Holland the unknown: Last year, we did most of the usual suspects in Holland – Hague, Rotterdam, Gouda, a night trip to Maastricht, Aalsmere, Enkhuizen, the Friesien islands up north – we have exhausted most of the places you would find in a guide book. It is time to haunt some locals, fish out some hidden treasures in this country and explore!
So there, that’s plan for the year. It is not cast in stone, so any suggestions are welcome. And I hope may be the list, and eventually the travelogs when I get round to write about the places I visit, would help you choose your own travel destinations.