Top Travel Destinations
I am often asked, “Out of all places you have been, which is your favorite?” My answer is that I enjoyed every place that I have been. I know this is a diplomatic answer and after this past election year, you don’t want to hear another person acting like a politician. But it’s true; every place I have been does have at least one positive aspect. However, there are some locations that do stand out. The following are some of my favorites.
|The Pyramids stand out from far as well as near|
10. The Irish Pubs – (Australian bars aren’t bad either). The pubs in Ireland are alcohol-filled cathedrals. The woodwork and history in these places are amazing. Usually, it is easy to find good music and the Irish people are very hospitable. The easy exchange between patrons is also a bonus and visiting pubs is truly a social gathering in Ireland. Australia’s bars are nice as well; not so much for the architecture but for the carefree attitude displayed by the Aussies.
9. The Bazaars, Istanbul, Cairo and Morocco – There are numerous enjoyable markets throughout the world, but especially enjoyable are the sites and sounds in many Arab markets. Cairo has a good market and the markets of Morocco are special because of the local Berber goods that are sold there. The Grand Bazaar is Istanbul is massive and extensive.
The number of items available is what is striking. The typical things associated with Arab culture can be found here. Lamps can be bought but no matter how hard you rub, there won’t be a genie appearing. Also available are belly-dancing outfits and live animals for sale. Perhaps the most enjoyable part of the markets is the spices and local remedies that supposedly can cure everything from snoring to sore feet.
8. Jemaa l-Fna, Marrakech, Morocco – The main square in Marrakech is always alive with activities. The square is as intriguing in the day as at night. Snake charmers, belly dancers and musicians perform throughout. The red-clad water boys make sure that no one goes thirsty. There is a wide variety of food to try in the square as well.
7. The Red Light District, Amsterdam, Netherlands – Even though it’s a bit dodgy, it’s worth seeing as it is unique. The streets are designated by women, in other words, one street has the blonds, another the brunettes, etc. In addition, there is a large amount of conspicuous drug use, which includes people shooting heroin right on the side of the street. Less distributing are coffee shops that include hashish on the menu.
|There is no substitute to an African safari to watch the animals|
5. The Great Cities of Europe – London, Paris, Rome. These are all amazing cities with an incredible feel to them. Just walking through the streets of these cities, visitors can feel how vibrant they are. There is something for every type of person whether it be museums, theaters, bars or sporting events.
However, there are additional cities that are worthwhile in addition to the “big three”.
Amsterdam and Copenhagen have a refreshing, carefree style. Budapest and Prague are beautiful and now have a developed tourism area. Heidelberg and Innsbruck are traditional towns within the Alps. There are many more European cities that are worth visiting.
4. Taj Mahal, Agra, India – The country of India is an intense experience. The masses of people, the cows in the street and the beauty and complexity of its cities illustrate this. Nowhere is this more evident than in Agra, home of the Taj Mahal.
An afternoon can easily be spent just gazing at the Taj. The color of the building changes as the suns moves across the sky. The reflecting pool in front of the Taj also is beautiful throughout the day. Looking away from the Taj, at the nearby river, one can see how poor the city is. The Taj is a short break from the realities of India.
3. The Pyramids, Cairo, Egypt – The pyramids stand out from far as well as near. A view from the flight into Cairo will leave an impression. However, an up close look will, of course, be better. Getting up close and touching the pyramids and contemplating the history behind the pyramids is advisable. Looking at the pyramids and understanding how they were built adds to the amazement.
Also enjoyable is the trip out to the pyramids. One option is to walk though the sand and visit some of the smaller plots before stopping at the pyramids. Another possibility is the camel ride out, which is very touristy but adds to the ambiance.
|The temples of Angkor, Cambodia are a surreal place to visit|
Camp life can also be fun. Seeing the stars at night with no interference from the city lights is truly amazing. Falling to sleep to the noise of the animals is soothing. Waking in the morning, a cold shower is more refreshing than a cup of coffee. Shooing away monkeys from the food supply, it is time for breakfast and then another trip to meet the animals.
1. Angkor Temples, Cambodia – This is a surreal place. The actual complex takes three full days (via Honda moped) to appreciate. Some of the temples have deteriorated while others are complete and detail intricate stories. All are unique and require time to visit. The forest is reclaiming many as the trees tear apart the temples. The temples are best viewed at sunrise and sunset.
The scene around the temples is also of note. The affectionate Khmer people meet visitors at every temple and sell anything and everything. It can be annoying if you let it be, but if you are calm this will add to the Angkor experience.