who doesn’t have places they want to see again? for an american, living abroad in europe is often about seeing new cities and countries, but i’ve found that revisiting a place can be it’s own separate story with new activities and adventures.
that said, i’ve been tagged by jessi & sara to take place in this prompt these five destinations are always rolling around the old noggin’ whenever the next foreseeable chance might be. these are all places i’ve spent time in and loved quite a bit, and of course, they all have their own special story. so without further ado, the top five places i would jump at the chance to make it back to.
number five: BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (2006)
budapest seems like a city that, like prague, grows on you more every time you visit. i’ve only been once eight years ago on my first big central europe trip (you know, the europe trip you have when you’re invested in digging deeper, once you’ve been to london and paris) in still has a mysterious hazy aura (i think that’s the forgetfulness talking) to me, and the fact that we don’t live so far away and alex has never been make me want to return sooner rather than later. this is probably the place we’ll return to sooner than the other four.
good times: the luxurious szechenyi baths, getting educated about the fascist and communist regimes in hungary at the house of terror, and oh, the goulash.
number four: AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS (2004, 2006, 2007)
this city is so special to me as it’s the first i ever loved (besides singapore). i mean, really loved! this city is drop-dead gorgeous. the canals, the quaint houses, the streets… they exude this sense of beautiful otherness i have never seen before and still have seldom seen since. most people think of it for its party reputation, but there is so much more going on here than that! i have very happy memories of my three times here with my college buddies. and sometimes on a rainy spring day, i really miss it.
good times: too many to name! paddle-boating through the canals, really learning about how to do cheese right at the cheese shops, admiring my favorite van goghs up close, wandering around the red light district, leidseplein at night to name a few.
number three: JAPAN (1999)
my first international trip outside of north america made a huge and long-lasting impression on me and i am dying to go back. my time was largely spent in the akita prefecture in rural areas so i would love to really get to know other areas of this country. alex is also very keen on all things japanese, so i really hope we can go together one spring to experience the sakura in all their glory.
good times: staying with a wonderful host family, attending a traditional lantern festival, camping on the beach, the greenery, the fun treats (vending machines!), and all the karaoke bars.
number two: ICELAND (2011)
this icy island in the north atlantic had been on my dream list forever (okay, since college, but come on, that’s when it starts to really count) but my experience was far from the pretty picture all of the tourism websites claim. i know i must have missed something, however, and soon after my return, iceland has been on my mind to do over and to really do right this time! but next time it will be in a more pleasant time of year… or during airwaves. because, airwaves.
good times: trekking up the coast in the snow and fog to visit reyka vodka distillery on the reykanes penninsula, horseback riding through lava fields, the blue lagoon, and seeing deer hunter live at nasa.
number one: SCOTLAND (2012)
guys, scotland is just my favorite country. no two ways around it. i would live there in a heartbeat if i could! it was everything i hoped it would be like and then multiplied by a hundred. and once i decide to stop doing this expat-ing thing, we are dead-set on spending several months trekking around some more, this time delving even deeper into the highlands and islands to the north and coming back around to discover scotland’s east coast which i have not yet had the pleasure of seeing. i am in love with its west coast and isles so it’s going to be pretty tough to beat! and of course, we have to go back to claim our rent (one dram of laphroaig) on the isle of islay.
good times: being shell-shocked at the beauty of the small isles, finally finding bonnie prince charlie’s cave, waitressing in a 19th century dining hall, fishing for mackerel off of the west coast, building a cozy fire and relaxing with sheepdogs, ordering an egg roll at a sheep auction and naively inquiring what was in the egg roll (hint: it involves an egg and a roll).
and there you have it! so i choose kate, courtney, natalye, anna, and erica to share your destinations (and have a chance to win a new iphone while you’re at it). happy travels, or at least, travel dreaming.