There are few European destinations that I wouldn’t not want to visit. And over the years I’ve talked about the places I dream about seeing-Prague, Amsterdam,Provence, even Tallinn, Estonia. But as is the case with all travel aficionados, new “I want to visit spots” often develop and so I thought a post was due in order for me to expound a bit more on them.
While I’ve been to England twice (although my last time there was almost a decade ago!), I never made it to its northern neighbor. With my pale skin and red hair, Scotland seems like the perfect place for me, namely due to the fact that I would blend in (always a plus when traveling)…well, I’d blend in until I started speaking. But in all seriousness, Scotland looks like a beautiful country, one that is teeming with history, an area that I love. With cosmopolitan Edinburgh (the views offered from the famous Calton Hill look amazing) and then of course the Highlands, landscapes so striking you’d think they were photoshopped, Scotland to me seems like an all-around incredible place. While it would probably be easy enough to visit Edinburgh for a (very) long weekend, thanks to direct flights to there from New York, I just don’t know if I could go all the way there and miss out on seeing something like the image below. What do you think?
I lived in Spain for four months while a college student and never once did I make it north of the capital of Madrid. On my first ever trip to Europe, I did see some (and by some I mean a fleeting some) of Northern Spain-specifically the cities of Pamplona and San Sebastian, but it was on a high school tour, I was 18 so yeah, enough said (read: do-over). Driving through the Pyrenees however, was something I’ll never forget though. Although my heart is aching to return to Seville, my Spanish home, a big part of me also wants to go to the North. It’s tough because even though Spain is obviously nowhere near the size of the United States, as European countries go, it’s still pretty big. So when travelers visit Spain, they generally either head north or go south…unless they have copious amounts of time and money at their disposal. My dream trip to Northern Spain would include visits to the cities of Santiago de Compostela (where pilgrims arrive after finishing the Camino de Santiago), Oviedo (thanks Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Bilbao because well, as an art lover I just need to see the Guggenheim Museum there even if I’m not the biggest fan of modern art. And then of course I just want time to drive through the countryside, so many of the villages in the regions of Galicia and La Rioja (wine lovers), look simply beautiful. I think one of the biggest reasons I’d love to visit Northern Spain is that from a language, cultural, and “appearance” perspective, it would all just be so different from what I was used to. I do want to mention that a dream of mine is to one day walk the Camino-but since that takes a little bit more time and effort to plan and actually do, I would think that a week in Northern Spain playing the part of tourist (i.e. not pilgrim) is probably somewhat more realistic and feasible (at the current time).
There is so much of Central and Eastern Europe that I would love to see, with Croatia being at the top of the list (I’m a sucker for countries with amazing coastline). A few weeks ago I had a random conversation with a pretty big-wig travel blogger. I lamented over the fact that Croatia was so hard to get to. She responded back with “it’s actually not, just hop a plane to England or Germany and then one more to Croatia and voila.” Sometimes I wish the “professional” travel bloggers would realize that for many Americans, if you don’t live in or near Washington D.C. or New York or some other major American city, it’s actually not that easy or quick (f0r me to get there, it would involve a flight to a major American city, then an initial flight to Europe, and then a final one to Croatia). But I digress…I love “walled cities” and even though I’ve only ever visited a scant number, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to see more. Croatia’s most famous tourist destination is of course a walled city located right on the Adriatic Sea (Dubrovnik), with a history that dates back to the Middle Ages (remember how much I love history). Split is another city in the Dalmatian region I’d add to the list and is most famous for its Roman ruins. I think I would be happy just to aimlessly wander, soak in the ambiance, and partake in the food (although I’d skip the octopus and other tentacled sea creatures).
Have any European cities recently entered your travel radar?