In my short life I have already traveled a bit and have already seen quite some of the world.
I won’t number these because I don’t want to rank them. These are all amazing places. I wish I could go back to many of them, but there’s still so much of the world to explore!
I will include many pictures in this post. Many will be pictures I have made, but I don’t have (good) pictures of all these places so some I will take from the net. Click on them to enlarge them! Additionally, I will create links to the Wikipedia pages, in case you’d like to read more about any of these places.
In 2009, my boyfriend (Tim) and I made a trip through Southern France by car. Although we visited many places, four particular ones stick out to me.
We visited three of the Cathar Castles: Chateau Peyrepertusse, Chateau de Queribus and Chateau d’Aguilar, three 12th century castles, now ruins, which lay a few kilometers apart and are very close to Carcassonne (which you probably know of the board game).
Especially the visit to Chateau Peyrepertusse was special. When we were up in the ruin (after a very steep climb), the sky started to turn green and black and thunder broke loose. We were sent away quickly by the monument staff, but it was amazing to see because the castle lies high on a mountain.
Carcassonne is something special, too. Extremely touristic, naturally, but certainly special. It’s an old fortified city – the old fortress was finished in 1853, but the city already exists since the 5th century.
In 2010, Tim and I made a camper trip through the US. We went there in March, so most of mid-western US was still covered with a blanket of snow. Among the many places we visited was Yellowstone National Park. Tim had been here before and knew that in summer it’s extremely busy, but when we were there, it was deserted. We were the only ones in the park except the rangers, bison and other creatures. We hiked through the snow, which is one of the scariest things I’ve done in all my life, we got lost on the trails a few times and at one point, in the snow, every large rock started to look like a grizzly. We survived, but walking through three feet of snow for four hours takes its toll, trust me. Nevertheless, it’s one of the greatest experiences in my life.
The Gambia and Senegal (Kaolack)
My aunt and uncle lived in The Gambia for seven years, between 2001 and 2009. In those seven years, my mom, brother and I visited them maybe five times. I’ve gone there twice on my own, one of those times my uncle took me to Kaolack, Senegal, too. Going to Africa has opened my eyes – even though The Gambia, then, was one of the more prosperous countries of Africa, it was still very poor compared to the Western world. Kaolack, however, was something different altogether – when we drove into the city, there were kilometers of trash fields first. While we drove through, I saw people bury their trash, or burn it. Going to Africa, especially on such a young age (I was 13 when I first went there, 14 when I went alone), has made me wonder about certain things and has given me, maybe, a bit more realistic view on the world.
I had never been to London, interestingly, before last summer. Technically, compared to the US or Africa, it’s around the corner for us. But what an amazing city! We went to the British Museum, which was a place I wanted to visit from a very young age. We walked through the museum for five hours and still haven’t seen all of it. The city itself is vibrant and the people were generally lovely. I can’t wait to go back!
Barbados is an island in the Caribbean. My parents took my brother and me there three times when we were little, I think the first time we went I was 6, the last time 9. I can still remember much of our travels there clearly. It was absolutely amazing and ever since I have a soft spot for the Caribbean. We, as a family, had so much fun there. As soon as I can afford it, I will definitely go there and explore more of the islands (I think my fascination for pirates is partly to blame on our travels to the Caribbean, lol).
I visited Venice in October 2010, with my dad, as a surprise gift for my birthday. We went there Saturday evening, and left again Sunday evening – we didn’t even spend 24 hours there. In those few hours there, we walked across the entire city, visiting places such as the Piazza San Marco, St. Mark’s Square. We even climbed up the San Marco Campanile (Bell Tower), from which we could look out over the entire city. Venice is something else, let me tell you. It’s an amazing city. I felt extremely inspired by it – that I turned to writing fiction is actually partly to blame on my visit to Venice. Venice most certainly is a place you must have visited in your life at least once.
New York City
Tim and I visited NYC in February, 2008. I had seen so much of the US on TV, before my first visit to the US. When we finally arrived, I felt like an ant. Everything is so BIG in NYC. We mainly went there to shop – the $ had never been as low before and we could get tickets cheaply at the time. We visited all the main spots – Times Square, Ground Zero, we went up on the Empire State Buidling, the Flatiron building, Wall Street, you name it. The only thing we didn’t do is take a cab – we traveled all over the city by subway, which was an experience of itself. The six days we were I think I wore out a pair of shoes.
My dad lived in Barcelona for three years or so, and I visited him and his girlfriend probably four or five times. Tim joined me twice. I’ve seen a lot of Barcelona, my dad was an excellent guide! Barcelona is a terrific city. I’ve been to parts that are a lot less touristic (Barrio Gotíco particularly). Of course, I have seen all the Gaudí buildings – the most amazing of them of course the Sagrada Família (unfortunately I haven’t been inside, yet). If you ever go to Barcelona, don’t spend too much time on la Rambla, it’s honestly overrated. Make sure you visit la Boqueria - a huge market. You’ll be amazed at what they sell there!
In 2000, when I was 11, my dad took my brother and me to Greece. We had already been there a few times before (Crete, Samos, Scopelos, etc.), but this time we would make a trip across the Cyclades with a large sailboat. Another family, friends of ours, was with us, too. We sailed for a week, total, and in that time we visited small and large islands, inhabited and uninhabited islands. Especially the uninhabited islands were special – we went on shore and felt as if we were alone on the world. The seas were blue, the beaches white and on the horizon was our boat with the pirate flag we had put in the mast. At one point that week, a storm raged on sea, and of course we were in the middle of it. I had looked out for dolphins all week, but that was the only time I saw them – when the waves were higher than our boat and they swam through them and with us. I had never felt as satisfied in my life. We also visited Athens one day, saw the Parthenon but didn’t climb up to it because it was scorching hot that day. Hopefully, one day I will return to see it (luckily I already saw most of what was stolen from it in the British Museum ;p).
Utrecht, the city I live in! Personally I think it’s the greatest city of The Netherlands. We live in the city center, with a view on many historic markers, for instance the Dom Tower. We have canals that run through the city, much like in Amsterdam. However, unlike Amsterdam, you can sit along the canals here, which makes for a great atmosphere, especially in summer. Utrecht is not a large city – currently 308,000 people live here. It feels like a small city, too, but because it’s in the exact center of The Netherlands, it’s an important transport hub, and a lot of companies are situated here.
When I come home from wherever I’ve been, I always feel right at home when I walk into the city center. It’s a lovely feeling! Honestly, I’m very lucky to live here
Where to next?
I have a huge list of places I want to go. Australia, Japan, Egypt, India, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, Tibet, Russia, Canada, Suriname (my grandmother was Surinamese), Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Ireland, Sweden and Norway, to name a few… There’s so much still to explore!
What are countries, places or cities that you have visited that you think everyone should have visited? Which countries or places are on your wish list? Please share, I’d love to hear your stories!