Top 10 Places You Must Visit Part 2
We hope your travelling shoes are knotted tight and your passport is still at the ready, if our first round of places to go in 2015 didn’t inspire heavy dollops of wanderlust and ship loads of curiosity, the following fabulous five are sure to tantalise even the most cautious spirit into action.
We know what you’re thinking, Cuba is remotely risky. Dismiss your immediate reaction (unless it was packed with enthusiasm) and open yourself to the myriad of confronting, though fascinating possibilities of this middle of the road island, wedged between the US and Latin America. Let the rhythm of post-Castro Havana flow through you, as a slow, seductive samba rumbles across the airwaves, emanating from the dusty, developing streets, as historic buildings are restored by careful hands and the people welcome you into a deliciously vibrant melting pot of cross-cultural experiences. Melt into paradise as the mesmerising thrum beats of a Santeria ceremony sinks into your days, providing an every present soundtrack to exploration, gastronomic discoveries and extreme experiences.
Must See: Havana
If you’ve ever desired to delve deep into a truly visceral city, Havana will not disappoint. An electric juxtaposition of cultural fusion (and we do mean true fusion, as global pirates, the Spanish, the Mafia and colonial settlers are reflected in its landscapes, edifices and crumbling quarters), and brutal natural beauty, Havana has become a destination for those seeking the unique. Every day is a melee of senses, as they battle each other to grab the next snippet of stimulation, as you take a tour of traditional sites by day and join in on the salsa dancing at night.
New Orleans, US
Does music run through your veins, rushing into a crescendo and a mournful G minor, a boisterous string of notes or the hypnotic spell of a blues number, guiding your feet from place to place, searching for the perfect sound? New Orleans is a city ravaged by nature, as vestiges of Hurricane Katrina’s destruction still stand, fringing the city with memories. Magic seems to wind in and out of the pagoda railings, twining around your mind and pulling you deeper into the swinging setting of authentic speakeasy’s, piano bars and taverns. Watch revellers throw beads off the verandas or join in, creating your own shower of colour before skipping off to enjoy an aromatic taste experience, sampling one or two of the many fusion restaurants.
Must Do: Music, Bourbon and Aromas
Though New Orleans is brimming with old world charm in its calmer moments, travellers are drawn to its rollicking, albeit legal, debauchery. Bourbon drinkers beware, New Orleans houses some of the heaviest and most addictive drops in the world; swirl your glass and clink the ice, listening to one of the many jazz acts warm up before launching into a captivating set. If you’re searching for extra spice, dare to wrap your lips around the local Cajun recipes…It may change the way you think about food.
Step into a city carved from history, as Turkey unrolls before you, a magic carpet of new discoveries, bewitching landscapes and nuanced cultures, existing side by side in harmony. Imagine an era of courtiers, sultans, eunuchs and ridiculous wealth, or a time when enterprising artisans who were determined to create fascinating places of worship in chimneys, hiding from persecution. Turkey has witnesses a varied and extensive history, recording the ebb and flow of societies as they thrived and fell. From the ruins scattered along the Silk Road and around the city, to the cat calling vendors and lively marketplaces, Turkey is an opportunity to sink your teeth into something more than an authentic kebap, dripping with juices and local flavours. The legacy of Turkey is symbolised by its beauty and panoramic vistas; dive into the cerulean blue Aegean and snorkel the waves and whitewash, gallop across the coast of Cappadocia, your butt glued to the saddle and your eyes skittering between across an indescribable countryside.
Must See: Cappadocia Underground
When one reads “underground” in relation to a destination, it’s natural to slip into a stream of hidden clubs and secret vices; beneath the breathtaking spires and stone formations of Cappadocia is a city of houses and churches, purposely obscured long ago to avoid detection. The scenery itself is sublime and the concept romantically foreign, though visitors will find something for any speed or desire, from hot air ballooning over the rides and valleys, to ancient tapestries and frescoes. Indulge every sense you have.
If you regularly read our blog, you know we are in love with India, a seductive affair between spirit and destination, though there are many faces of this bygone golden paradise of kings. First time visitors be aware, India may crawl onto your last nerve and push your buttons occasionally; in Delhi, it’s hurried and harried, a surging commotion of conversation, people and more elbows than you can avoid. The poverty is striking, heart-wrenching even, and you may feel frustrated by the political power plays of the upper class; though for all of its drawbacks and tipping points, India will spill your preconceptions and open your eyes. From the ultimate statement of love, the Taj Mahal, to the ancient city of Jaipur (the whole Rajasthan area, really), you’ll be amazed at the vitality and opulence of this emerging nation state and perhaps puzzled by its many juxtapositions.
Must See: Jaipur
The Pink City, The City of Victory, the Capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur is an astounding experience, attracting and arresting thousands if not millions of travellers every year. From the reverent Govind Devji Temple, the puzzling Jantar Mantar, to the iconic Amber Palace and intimidating Jaigarh Fort, Jaipur is truly a destination steeped in equal parts history and spirituality.
Our planet is diverse, bewildering and surprising, running an ever-evolving gamut of extremes, from the blistering heat of the tropics, the aridity of the deserts, to the polar caps of the north and south poles. And its south you’re headed, as the ice blankets and mammoth glaciers of the blue and white continent come into view and you’re tempted to break free of the ship, as it cuts a path in the frozen sluice of ice and salt water. Of course, that wouldn’t be advised, though the spy-hopping whales, playful penguins and silky seals make their aquatic waterpark look so tempting, as if we’re missing out on a safe starboard refuge. Pull onto the ice and get ready to dogsled across the snowy wilderness, camping out under a blanket woven with millions of stars and the colourful lights of Aurora Borealis.
Must See: Everything!
So, there you have it, a list of ten places you need to visit in 2015 (and every year after, you won’t be able to stay away). Have we missed your favourite destination? Let us know in the comments below.