My mate Abigail King, is Blogger in the Spotlight, and today, she shares her Top 10 Places to Visit in 2013..
The place you’ve always wanted to go. You know, the one you read a book about, watched a cartoon about or gazed up at the cinema screen back when you were young enough to dream without caring what other people thought. Go there, to that place, and don’t be swayed by lists like this.
1. Go somewhere safe
Really. It’s tempting to think you’re daring and adventurous by heading into the latest war zone but unless you’re highly skilled and highly sought after, you’re more likely to end up as a burden. The world is huge. Vast. There is more to see than any one person can manage in a thousand lifetimes. Don’t restrict yourself to a shortened one just to kind of “be cool.”
2. That said…let’s throw some place names into the mix from number three onwards
So, Top 10 Places to Visit in 2013, let’s see ..
Is Colombia safe? Well, some parts remain off limits but Bogota and the coast around Cartagena still satisfy most government recommendations. And on a personal level, I certainly felt welcome and well regarded when I visited in 2012. You’ll find sky-piercing mountains, tropical beaches, colonial architecture, fresh fruit, movie history and more. Go now, before the rest of the world finds out about it.
4. Darwin & the Northern Territory, Australia
New flight routes connected Asia to Australia’s Top End last year making it quicker and easier to make it Down Under from anywhere, er, Up Over. Darwin itself has a frontier town vibe with gleaming streets, a Beer Can Regatta and plenty of fun. But the real highlight is the rust-red national parks just a few hours’ drive away that spread for miles and brim with magnetic termite mounds, Aboriginal art and crocodiles.
5. The UK
Great Britain & Northern Ireland had one hell of a 2012 with all those Diamond Jubilee celebrations followed by the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. Go this year instead to catch the fading memories and to benefit from the less congested hotels and transport networks. Besides, word’s out that the Queen is looking for a new parachute partner…
Istanbul is always a great city to visit in my opinion but its latest outing into the world of James Bond guarantees it a spot on many a 2013 list. Watch Skyfall, get inspired and then check out the city’s smoky blue minarets, modern designer culture, intoxicating markets and tasty street food.
Given the ongoing political situation, visiting Burma or Myanmar remains a controversial choice. Yet the relaxation of its borders after years of solitude means that travellers are spilling in and that flight routes getting easier day by day. I’ve yet to go myself (although I’m heading there later this year) but previous reports a land of south east Asian beauty and a friendly welcome from a people unused to foreigners.
Think all there is to do in the Caribbean is sip rum and lie in the sun? Think again. Barbados still basks in the recent glory of its UNESCO World Heritage List status, granted for its garrison in Bridgetown But the whole island brims with history, as well as fields of sugar cane, a ferocious eastern coast, tranquil beauty on the west and some fiery pepper sauce throughout. Then there’s swimming with turtles before you do finally lie back and start considering that rum.
9. Basel, Switzerland
In every chocolate box there is one foil-wrapped sweet that could be anything. It could be fudge, it could be coconut. It could be an artificial orange or strawberry cream. Yet open it up and it’s a melt-in-the-mouth extravaganza.
Perched on the border between Switzerland, France and Germany this unsung European gem has medieval architecture, lively beerkellers, world-renowned art and of course, chocolate. It also has boats that cross the river pulled solely by the currents and a year round Christmas shop that makes baubles for the Pope. Intrigued? You should be…
While South Africa usually hogs the headlines, I’d like to gently nudge Botswana back into people’s minds. In particular, the country’s outstanding Okavango Delta. Eight hundred miles from the Atlantic and a thousand from the Indian Ocean, the Okavango Delta looks like a miniature version of the earth from the air, an expanded jigsaw of land swirls amid deep and spreading blue. Its water seeps up through the soil, having landed as monsoon rain a thousand miles north in Angola. It’s long been protected but it’s always worth seeing. Why not make 2013 the year?
Just a quick reminder. That’s right. Go back to point number one. That’s the most important one on the list.
Best wishes for a happy, meaningful and prosperous 2013!
About this week’s Guestwriter:
Abigail King is a writer and photographer who swapped a career as a doctor for a life on the road. She blogs about luxury, culture and unusual journeys at Inside the Travel Lab and you can find her on Twitter at @insidetravellab