Sunday, July 10, 2011

6 Places to See Before Your Last Breath

(based on my experiences)

Our neighbors all over Europe are gearing up for the summer holidays - vacations - that basically everyone takes and travels all over the place. Since I'm not really going much of anywhere, I instead reflected back on some of the best travels my wife and I have taken. Here's a list of my top 6, places I think should be on everyone's list if you can make it!

1 - Victoria FallsWow. Simply wow. I love waterfalls. And this is hands-down the best I’ve ever seen. And it’s one of only two waterfalls in the world boasting a moonbow (I’ve been to the other one too!). Plus, if you’re adventurous, there’s a ton to do around the falls.

*Travel Tip - Know when the high and low water seasons are. High-water season makes the falls a wall of water that is unbelievably powerful and impressive. You’ll take on mist that makes the viewing a physical experience but also renders photography nearly impossible. Low water season looks drastically different but more clear to see and the white water rafting on the Zambezi below the falls is among the wildest rides in the world.

2 - Ruaha National ParkKilimanjaro is impressive, Ngorongoro’s like a zoo without cages. But if you want raw, rugged, beautiful, wild Africa, there’s nothing that beats the scenery and animals of Ruaha National Park. It’s a little bit more travel, as it’ll be a 6-9hr car/bus ride from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. But the drive provides some great scenery along the way, and the time spent in Ruaha will make you feel like a kid on an adventure of discovery. Ditch the paved roads and touristy sights of the easy access parks and take an adventure to Ruaha.

*Travel Tip - Connect with Riverside Campsite for inexpensive, cultural, personable safari planning and a fun place to stay. But you’ll have to get yourself to Iringa.

3 - Mont Saint MichelStunning, beautiful, and a lot of stairs. Loved our visit here and will go back. Amazing to imagine in a former time. Hoping the gov’t pulls through and ditches the built-up causeway for a bridge and brings back the bay. If still offered, the bay hikes at low-tide are a lot of fun.

*Travel Tip - Stay at least one night near MSM, but better to do so off of the island at a nearby B&B with a view than on. You’ll want to see it lit up at night. This is the second most visited site in France, so expect crowds.

4 - ZanzibarNow this is an island paradise!
Resorts are rustic, if you can call them resorts. The people are warm. The history is painful, as Zanzibar was once the center of East-African slave trade.

*Travel Tip - Flights from Dar are often just as cheap as the ferry, if you don’t mind tiny planes. Stay at least one night in or near Stone Town, even if your plan is to relax on the east side of the island. Tour the city, check out the doors, and don’t miss the nightly grill out on the beach! Try a Zanzibar pizza and all the fish skewers you can eat.

5 - (for the Americans) American Cemetery, Normandy, FranceThe history is surreal. Standing on the beach and imagining what went down is a spiritual event. Reading the stories and watching the videos in the museum absolutely made me proud to be an American, perhaps more than ever before. Walking the cemetery grounds is like being in Washington DC on foreign soil.

*Travel Tip - Combine with trip to MSM, as both are in the same route from Paris.

6 - Niagara Falls
Powerful. A lot of water. Worth a visit, and there’s plenty to do around the falls too.

*Travel Tip - Go in the winter. It’s cold, but the crowds and prices are about half of those in the summer. And seeing the falls surrounded by snow is beautiful and not something many people see. And stay on the Canada side. US side view is very limited.

1 comment:

Anne said...

Yes please! I want to go to all of these places!