Although I’ve seen my fair share of the world so far, there is still so much more that I haven’t seen. It was very difficult to limit myself to the top 10 places I still want to visit (in fact, I could only cut it down to the bare minimum of 13), but listed below are the sights that I still want to see before I kick the bucket:
1.) I’ve always been fascinated by mythology and archaeology, and that makes visiting EGYPT a top priority for me. The hieroglyphics and pictographs on the tombs were still in colour only a few decades ago, but nowadays the paint is mostly gone and only the engravings are left. The way things are going in the Middle East, I’d better go see them before there’s nothing left. Cairo, the Great Pyramid, the Sphinx, the Nile, the Valley of the Kings and Alexandria are all on my must-see list.
2.) GREECE, the land of the Olympian gods, has so much history to explore. This is where the great thinkers first dreamt up democracy, from where Alexander the Great set out to conquer the known world, and where such ancient tales as the Iliad, the Odyssey and the other great Greek tragedies take place. Athens, the Parthenon, Delphi and Santorini are on my to-do list.
3.) One of the world’s oldest civilizations, CHINA has an abundance of cultural historic sites that I can’t wait to see for myself, including of course the Great Wall, Beijing and the Forbidden City, the Terracotta Warriors, the Yangtze river and the Three Gorges valley, and perhaps even Hong Kong if time and money allows. I’d also like to see the Buddhist temples, buy a silk dress and maybe try some “interesting” local cuisine… At the same time, I would love to go to JAPAN, for no other reason than to see the cherry blossom trees in bloom.
4.)Where to start? I think I’d need at least a month just to touch on everything to see and do in the USA. All the familiar places from the movies – New York, Washington City, the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park, San Francisco, Las Vegas, New Orleans, the list just goes on an on. Not to mention watching a baseball game while eating a chilly dog!
5.) For most people, MEXICO is synonymous with the pristine beaches of Cancun or Acapulco, but to me it conjures up images of ancient stepped pyramids surrounded by the jungle, and visions of the Aztecs, Mayans and Toltecs performing sacrifices to their strange and bloodthirsty deities. It is also home to Chichen Itza, one of the wonders of the modern world, and on the spring and autumn equinoxes the shadow of Kukulkan, the great plumed serpent, can be seen slithering down its stairs. PERU is home to another wonder of the modern world, Machu Picchu, the “Lost City of the Incas”, situated high above the Urubamba valley. And to the southwest, the enigmatic Nazca lines crisscross the desert, to what purpose we can only speculate…
6.) My parents visited RUSSIA a few years ago and returned with beautiful pictures and interesting anecdotes about this country whose people are always depicted as the villains in movies. While Hollywood is trying their best to indoctrinate us all with visions of soldiers glaring suspiciously at foreigners, night clubs filled with the seedy underbelly of Moscow and grey, soulless buildings falling apart around their vodka-swilling inhabitants, there is so much more to Russia that the average tourist does not know about. Before the communists took over, Russia was the land of the Tsars and under their rule literature, music and the arts flourished. Their exquisite palaces are only rivalled by the picture-perfect scenery of the Russian countryside.
7.) The only country to be part of two continents, Europe and Asia, TURKEY is very high on my must-see list. Constantinople, better known as Istanbul these days, was the centre of the Byzantine empire and is layered with Christian, Jewish and Muslim historical and holy sites, most notably the Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace. Outside the capital, Ephesus, Troy, Kusadasi, Cappadocia and the Roman spa waters at Pamukalle are not to be missed. And since we’re in the general region, a quick flight to JORDAN will allow a visit to another wonder of the modern world, the astounding ancient city of Petra, which was hewn from the mountains in roughly 100 BC.
8.) Sugarloaf Mountain, the Statue of Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, the pristine sandy beaches and the wild costumes of Carnivale – need I say more about BRAZIL? And no visit to the country would be complete without a short stay in the Amazon to see species that are not found anywhere else on the planet and experience the amazing rainforest before the trees are all cut down for commercial purposes.
9.) SCANDINAVIA draws me mainly for one reason – the Northern Lights. While there, I would like to see a reindeer, perhaps travel by dogsled, and jump into the freezing water after a hot sauna. Apparently the scenery is beautiful, especially the Norwegian fjords, and the cities of Helsinki and Copenhagen are not to be missed. [UPDATE: DONE! Read more about our adventures here.]
10.) The subcontinent of INDIA has a unique and interesting culture. Although I don’t know much about the country’s history, I have seen enough images of it to know that it is so completely removed from what I’m used to that I am drawn to its sheer strangeness. I would like to gaze upon the river Ganges, visit the Taj Mahal as well as some Hindu temples, buy a sari and watch a traditional dance show.
I’m sure there are many sites and sounds of the countries mentioned here that I don’t even know about, just as there are many places not mentioned here that I would still like to visit. Please feel free to leave advice and suggestions of anything interesting that I’ve left out.
What is on your bucket list? Have you been to any of mine?