Saturday, June 12, 2010

10 "unusual" places I'd like to visit

It's been almost a year since I've needed a passport to travel. Seeing my friend Yulia (from Vienna) last week got me to thinking about the world out there. Although I probably won't be going anywhere anytime soon, it's fun to dream, especially of places I'd like to visit that are considered exotic, unusual, or off the beaten path. Here's my current Top Ten list of places in that category that I'd like to visit someday. Note that these are in random order, not in the order I'd like to visit.

1. Cappadocia, Turkey. I read about Cappadocia in Michael Palin's book New Europe -- then saw it in the New Europe DVD. It looks like a wonderful place to see . . . from a hot air balloon. Apparently, people still live in the cave dwellings. If I ever go, I hope someone will invite me inside their cave house. 
2. Granada, Spain. I want to see the Alhambra in person, but until then, I can take a virtual tour.
3. Torres del Paine National Park, Chile. Ever since I saw this photo (or one similar to it) a few years ago, this place has called to me.
4. Orkney Islands, Scotland. I saw a documentary about Skara Brae a couple of years ago and have wanted to go there ever since. I don't know why, but I've got a strong "gut feeling" that I have an ancestral connection to this place.
5. Cape Town, South Africa. My cousin Gordon, who sailed the seven seas during his 20+ years in the U.S. Navy, declared this to be the most beautiful port city in the world. And have you seen the view of Table Mountain and the city in the opening video scenes of the 2010 World Cup? WOW!!!
6. Bora Bora, French Polynesia. I never thought much about going here until I read James Michener's Hawaii earlier this year. Now I want to go, and I want to stay in one of those hotels on stilts over the water, like this one.
7. Machu Picchu, Peru. This shouldn't need explanation! Actually, we were supposed to go this year . . . but the stars didn't align the right way.
8. Angkor, Cambodia. More than just Wat, this multi-temple complex was built during the 12th century but nearly encroached upon by the jungle over the centuries. A 19th century French explorer described it as being more grand than anything left by the Greeks or Romans. Given the opportunity, who wouldn't want to see this place?
9. South Island, New Zealand. Everyone I know who's been here says it's one of the most beautiful places in the world. I'd like to see for myself.
10. Iceland. This one is hard to explain, but I think it has to do with something I remember from elementary school. My teacher said the Danes called Iceland "Iceland" to try to discourage people from immigrating there because really, it was a nice place and not icy at all. But they wanted people to go to Greenland, so they called it Greenland as encouragement, even though it's really more like Iceland. Hmm, how's that for reverse psychology? Oh, and I like geysers. Or at least I think I would like them. I've never seen one . . . yet! (No, not even Old Faithful. Someday!)

Is anyone else out there interested in seeing any of these places? What would your Top Ten list look like?