Hey Roamans! So I thought I would kick-start my travel blog by taking a stroll down memory lane to highlight the ten most memorable destinations that I have visited thus far. If it isn’t obvious already, I love to travel, and all the destinations I’ve visited have stayed with me in some way or another, however, there are a few which stood out a little more than others. Of course memorable doesn’t always mean good, but luckily most of my travel experiences so far have been fun-filled and have generally left me yearning for a do-over. In compiling my list I also thought about places I think may deserve a second chance despite sour experiences. So without further ado, here we go:
- Milan, Italy– Now according to my other half this is the city of which we do not speak (let’s just say he didn’t quite take to the city due to a series of unfortunate events). However I think Milan is quite lovely, especially for all the fashionistas out there, it’s like shopping heaven. Exciting sites to see include Sforza Castle and La Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II which happens to be right next to another famous site, Il Duomo.
- Orleans, France– This city became a second home for me when I lived and worked in France for the first time. France is such a beautiful country, but I believe many people tend to be a little too obsessed with the concept of Paris and ignore the very quaint countryside areas that I find to be the real gems of France. Orleans is one of these little gems. There are beautiful castles that can be found on the outskirts of the city centre, amazing markets offering fresh produce and awesome wine from the Loire Valley, scenic rivers and vast woodlands that just make you feel like you’re on the set of an old Elizabethan movie. My best memories of Orleans were during the Christmas season (I LOVE Christmas). There are usually lights draped everywhere and a lovely Christmas market where you can enjoy tasty treats like vin chaud (mulled wine) and one of my favourite French dishes, tartiflette (yummm!). For the history and culture buffs, Orleans offers places like the Musée des beaux-arts d’Orléans and an annual Joan of Arc Festival which goes on from the end of April to the first week of May usually. Orleans is also just a 45 minute train ride away from Paris, so if you feel like taking a quick day trip away from the city of lights, give this quaint town a try.
- Lake Como, Italy– This is such a beautiful and idyllic looking town in Italy, and I initially decided to go there for the same reason everyone decides to go to Lake Como, to see George Clooney’s house. Turns out there were a lot more beautiful things to see than just George’s house. Take a boat ride around the beautiful lake or view the interesting artistic statues around the town. I’m a sucker for scenic places and Lake Como was definitely one to amaze the eyes. If you’re ever in Italy this town is definitely day trip worthy.
- La Dordogne & L’Occitanie regions, France– Honestly, thus far, these are some of the most beautiful regions I have seen in France. It is quite a marked difference from what one sees in Paris but definitely in a good way. I was living in a small town called Excideuil at the time and so I really got to see a lot of what these regions had to offer. There are amazing caves to explore, historic sites to see, great chateaus and vineyards for all the wine lovers like myself (may I recommend Monbazillac, you won’t regret it). Some of the awesome places I visited include Beynac, Rocamadour, Padirac, Montignac, Bergerac & Perigueux.
- Berlin, Germany– I only got to spend two days in this city unfortunately, but I got to see quite a lot during that time thanks to a free city tour which really hit all the major sites that every tourist needs to see while in Berlin. Berlin was a little of a sour experience for me as people were being a little grumpy and callous on the street and this made things a little frustrating for me and my travel partners especially as it concerned help with directions when trying to get around. Otherwise, I did get to see a lot of the history behind the city and I have to say it is quite worth the trip. I think Berlin is definitely one for the second chance list; maybe people were just grumpy because it was so cold at the time.
- Athens, Greece– Have you ever read a book, that describes a place or culture, and think “I neeeeed to visit this place.”? Well Greece was that place for me since childhood. For some odd and inexplicable reason I loved Greek mythology as a child (who does that?), and I always dreamt of seeing the temples of the gods and the famous Parthenon. Of course it didn’t help that I later went on to study Literature, as I developed a whole new obsession about seeing the ruins of old amphitheatres where many historic Greek plays were presented. So fast forward to the day I finally get to see this exotic and intriguing country. There I was fidgeting with excitement as the plane landed. I walked out of the airport and took a big whiff of the crisp, cold night air with my travel companions in tow. As we skipped down the street on our way to our destination it began to snow and we were in winter wonderland heaven until the next morning when I realized something was blocking the sun from my window. What could this be? Snow! Yes, snow taller than my 5ft 7” frame. So this whole snow storm deal really messed with all the sight-seeing we had planned for Athens but I was determined to at least see some of the places I read about before. Well unfortunately determination doesn’t always lead to success. I got to see the Acropolis from afar and also the Temple of Olympian Zeus but not much else because evil snow decided my dreams weren’t important (at least I got to try moussaka). Needless to say Athens is one for the do-over list, not just because I didn’t get to see as much as I wanted, but also because my sister accidentally broke my flash drive with most of the pics I took while there (luck of the bloody Irish I have I tell you). I was lucky enough though to experience the nightlife in Athens (somehow along the way we had a snow-fight in a bar), and thanks to the wonder that is Facebook not all was lost with the flash drive. So here are “some” pics of my time in Athens…
- Bordeaux, France– This is another lovely city I really enjoyed in France, and is definitely on my do-over list. The city has quite a magical and entrancing feel when you roam through it. The lights are alluring, the people are hospitable and the nightlife is great. One of my favourite attributes is how pedestrian friendly the city is. You can feel free to use the tram which runs throughout the city centre, but when I travel I really prefer to walk and experience all the little nooks one is more likely to encounter on foot. There is also a lovely biannual carnival called La Foire aux Plaisirs with rides, games to be played and yummy Nutella crepes and churros to be had. Needless to say I was quite in love with this city and plan to return, especially for the wine tours I didn’t get a chance to do while visiting.
- Paris, France– It would be impossible to compile this list without including the gorgeous city of lights; a city so beautiful at night it can make you feel in love even when you’re single. I’ve been lucky enough to have visited Paris quite a few times now and I can tell you, it never gets old. I always look at the Eiffel Tower like it’s the first time; I’ve walked on the Champs Elysees again and again just to see the glamorous street and stores I had seen many times before. Paris definitely has a permanent spot on my do-over list, especially since now I have acquired extended family there.
- Venice, Italy– Trust me when I say this is one for the bucket list if you haven’t already been. I had seen so many pictures of this place but WOW, I was so in love the very moment I saw it. Venice is another one of those European cities that just fills your heart with joy and wonder when you enter it. The canals filled with tourists enjoying their gondola rides is quite the beautiful sight and the best gelato I had while in Italy was in Venice. Add this one to your roaming list for sure.
- Rome, Italy– By now if you haven’t realized, Italy has a special place in my heart and no place therein do I love more than I do Rome. I literally walked around this entire city to visit all the amazing sites I could, I even walked to the Vatican (can you tell I like walking?). Must see sites include the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps and the Roman Forum. Rome will always deserve another roam for me.
So what have I learnt from compiling this list of the most memorable destinations I’ve visited? Well for one, my camera choices back then were questionable and secondly, I realize that I have seen so much yet have barely scratched the surface of all the amazing wonders this world has to offer. I am so anxious to capture more of the world’s beauty (with much better camera quality) and to find more adventures ahead to document. Keep roaming guys!