Where have you visited that you’re dying to see again? Answer the question, and you may win an iPhone 6. The rules are simple – write a blog post with pictures of the 5 places you most want to see again, link to Booked.net – Top Destinations to Go There, and then challenge 5 other bloggers to the competition. I’ve been challenged by fellow blogger A Bit of Culture. My nominations are at the end of this post.
I was all ready to start this off with Bruges, Belgium, as it’s probably the destination to which I most want to return. But, through a comedy of errors, neither I nor my three travel companions have any pictures of the place. And so I’ve altered my plans to instead include Munich, the main attraction on the trip that also saw me spend two wonderful hours in Bruges.
Munich is incredibly picturesque, with medieval city gates, Bavarian beer gardens, and a towering cathedral overlooking the town. Supposedly you’re supposed to be able to see the Alps in the distance, but, after braving the winding staircase, I am only rewarded with this view:
I went to Munich for Oktoberfest and nothing more. It is only retrospect that I’m kicking myself for not seeing more of the city and surrounding region, and so I’d love to return at a time when I’ll be less distracted by the siren song of one-liter steins of local brew.
I’m without a doubt an Anglophile, so what drew me most to Shanghai was its Continental feel oddly contrasting with elements that were uniquely Chinese. The French Concession has long boulevards populated with majestic, leafy trees and China-meets-Europe residential housing, while the Bund embankment is lined with historic, Victorian-style buildings. There are plazas surrounded by lively cafes, trendy art districts only accessible through an unmarked opening in a wall, and definitively Asian architecture lighting up the night sky. It’s cosmopolitan and historic, trendy and traditional, all at once.
Of all the cities I saw in China, Shanghai is my favorite. I’d love to get back there again.
I spent my formative years in Anchorage, so this is a bit of a cheat, but I haven’t been back in more than a decade. I miss seeing mountains out my window (it took me years to stop mistaking low clouds on the horizon for a distant mountain chain) and moose munching in my front yard. I miss skiing at Alyeska, visiting abandoned mines in Prince William Sound, and hearing the crack of calving glaciers in the distance. I miss the midnight summer sun and even the disturbing vibrations of oncoming earthquakes (something else it took me years to overcome, mistaking the rattle of every passing truck for a tremor). The Facebook feeds of friends still there fill me with intense envy, the experiences they have, the growth of places like Anchorage and Fairbanks that they get to witness.
I don’t know if I’d even recognize it anymore, but I hope I get to see my home again one day.
4. Kennebunkport, Maine
I haven’t spent much time in New England, which is ridiculous considering I’ve lived on the East Coast for the past seven years. I had the opportunity to go to Maine for a wedding and was simply blown away by the adorableness of Kennebunkport, a tiny fishing town. When I arrived at about 9PM, all the restaurants were already closed (in the end, that didn’t matter much as the fare was mostly inedible-to-me seafood). It was humid and chilly, the air smelling of saltwater and already-burning fireplaces. The streets were dark and unpopulated. It was both beautiful and creepy at once.
Weirdly, this is where George H. W. Bush has a summer home. “Summer home.” It’s actually a giant compound spilling over a rocky outcrop into the Atlantic Ocean, giant metal gates at its entrance, Secret Service lurking on the grounds. I guess the town itself is fairly conservative, too, but I mostly just enjoyed it for its classic New England architecture and hints of Stephen King.
Also, lots of local beer.
5. Japan (anywhere)
I had an overnight layover at Narita International Airport on my way home from China. Mostly this just consisted of me taking a shuttle to the Holiday Inn Tobu, sitting in the bar with several other lonely tourists as we watched one of the last matches of the 2010 World Cup, and trying to figure out what 700 Yen meant. But this sign at the airport is more than enough to make me want to go back to Japan ASAP:
So those are the 5 places I’d most like to revisit! I nominate the following travel blogs to come up with their own list:
Edited to add: apparently pictures DO exist of Bruges! A love-letter to the city will be coming at you in the next few days.