Here’s my current top 10 list (+ 5 more), in no particular order (except #1 & 2, which I hope will be my next destinations):
1. Paris & the Dordogne and Provence areas– Paris is a place I need to know. I went there 20 years ago and have missed all it has to offer since, but its museums and architecture have been calling me. And these other 2 parts of France are too nice to pass up (so I hear). I like the idea of Dordogne not being as crowded and touristy.
2. Italy– OK, another obvious one, but I just love Italy, and there are so many places I haven’t been– Cinque Terre, Amalfi Coast, Pompeii… Plus, the last time I was in Rome, I announced that I would never come back! It’s time to forgive Rome its chaotic, crowded nature and explore it again. We may try to do Christmas time in Rome next year.
3. Salvador, Bahia, Brazil– I haven’t been there but it’s my kind of place: historic, cultural, and beautiful (in architecture and nature). There is amazing music, grand colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, lively & unique culture, and great beaches. My husband went last year and has been raving about it since. Plus, it’s on the New York Times’ list of places to go in 2010 and has a new gallery of Auguste Rodin sculpture.
5. Copenhagen– this city represents what I love about many European cities– it’s modern, progressive, clean, and at the heart of the green movement. Check out “Green Copenhagen.”
6. Japan– I went to Japan last summer for just 3 days, and I loved it! Lots of history, friendly people, great aesthetic, and a lively modern culture. I definitely left feeling like I had to go back. Next time I would base part of my time in Kyoto. We spent just several hours there but the city, with its numerous temples, hills of Japanese maples and cherry blossoms, and museums, deserves a few days.
8. Costa Rica (or somewhere else in Central America)– Again, never been but want to go. Every time we fly to Brazil, we pass over Central America when we’re about half way or less to Brazil. Central America is pretty close to the U.S., there’s lots to do there, and I love animals and nature.
9. Turkey– The more I hear about Turkey, the more I want to go there. I love architecture, including mosques, so visiting the famous mosques in Istanbul and seeing the amazing Roman ruins would make me happy. But there’s also a vibrant culture, great markets, and some really beautiful scenery, all of which I can’t wait to experience someday.
10. California– I live here, but dang, there is so much to do here (see my previous post), and I’d like to have at least one place on my list that I think I can actually get to soon! For me, places new and old (to revisit)– Yosemite, L.A., San Diego, Muir Woods, Calistoga, Monterey, and on and on…
11. Berlin– There is so much buzz about this city, people saying over and over that you need 5 days minimum to visit its wealth of sights, so it’s piqued my interest. Plus, I was in Berlin’s huge, ultra-modern, brand-new train station 3 years ago on our way from Amsterdam to Prague– just based on that station, my husband and I regret not having stopped for a few days.
13. Buenos Aires– There are many, many places in South America that are worth visiting; I didn’t include them because after all my trips to Brazil, I’m in the mood for travel to places that are not around there. However, I should at least mention one, and if I had to pick only one, it would be Buenos Aires for its architecture, cafes, culture, and cheap prices.
14. China– China is another place that intruiges me more and more. I know that I will love its ancient history, its modern cities, its temples, and its incredible natural beauty. Plus, I have a soft spot in my heart for the Chinese since so many of my students are from there, and I find most of them to be really lovely people.
15. Vietnam– Last but definitely not least on my list is Vietnam. Last semester my students (who come from all over the world) did a presentation called “Great Destinations in My Native Country.” This was a wonderful assignment because the students got to show the best of their native countries and the rest of us got to learn about so many amazing places in the world. Everyone was blown away by the images from Vietnam. What a beautiful country! And the people are possibly the nicest I have ever known.