My top ten places to visit in a lifetime

Everyone I know is tired of me constantly saying that I want to set foot on each continent. In the article about the benefits of travelling, I shared with you not that long ago, I mentioned that I was working on a list of places I want to visit and things I want to try at least once in my lifetime. Well, here it is!

Please note that I had a water gun pointed to my head, so I could only list 10.

1. Walking on the Great Wall of China

I’m starting with this one because it’s probably going to be the first I cross off my list, as I’m leaving for China in less than two months. A friend of mine recently ran his first marathon, part of the race taking place on the Great Wall. I probably won’t be as daring as he was and settle with a chill walk instead, but nevertheless. I’ll be staying in Beijing for 5 months, so while I’m at it, I might as well visit the South of China, to face the Terracotta Army and climb the Yellow Mountains!

2. Taking a gondola ride in Venice, Italy

One more thing to know about me apart from being a Frenchman: I’m just a regular everyday normal guy, with a tendency for romanticism. It shouldn’t surprise you then, to learn that I’d like (read “must”) go to Venice, the city of love - I know Paris is supposed to be the one, but… meh. It’s a rather simple wish but it’s good enough for me! And in order not to make it too much of a cliché, we’ll eat pizza on the boat.

3. Looking down the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA

Actually, I want to do an entire road trip on the iconic Route 66 (ok, cliché), and finish the journey in the Grand Canyon. I’ve heard that when you get there, there is a board that reads “One minute. Don’t read. Don’t talk. No photos. Just look… and see”. This place has always been filled with mysteries for me. A Hualapai Indian legend says that the canyon was created by one of their heroes, Pack-i-tha-a-wi. After a big flood, he struck the ground with his knife and moved it further until the canyon was formed and the water flew out into the Sea of the Sunset. The next day, when the sun shone, the ground had solidified and turned into what we today call the Great Canyon.

4. Swimming with dolphins in Cuba

Ok, I’ve just shared my childhood dream with you guys. Ever since I watched Flipper & Lopaka, I’ve been dying to try this. A friend of mine did it a couple of years ago and she said it was amazing: they can actually carry you out of the water on their nose (which is actually called a rostrum by the way). Cuba is known for this kind of tourism and you can try it at various different places across the country - and hey, you might even get there on a Chevy Impala from the 60’s.

5. Witnessing an Aurora borealis in Iceland

I used to be a huge fantastic novels reader - among those were The Golden Compass (they have also made a crappy movie out of it). In the book, auroras are described as something like a bridge to another world. The child inside me still believes that if there is a such a passage somewhere, the auroras are the key to it. But even if you didn’t believe in magic, you would still want to see this natural phenomenon with your own eyes, just for the beauty of it. Basically, an aurora happens when particles from the Earth’s atmosphere collide with Sun particles. They look as though a colorful veil of light was being deployed over the Earth, and it is just marvellous.

6. Dancing in the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

I consider this to be nothing less than the biggest party in South America, with spectacular costumes and outstanding music. Over 200 samba school parade the streets, each promoting their unique style. If you have the chance to go to Rio in February, do it! One word of caution though: thieves during the carnival have been on the rise for the past few years - mind your pockets. But don’t let it ruin the experience. And before leaving Brazil and its sandy beaches, I’ll go around the Amazon Forest. As long as it’s still there, that is….

7. Getting lost in the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt

Obviously, I’ve read all the Asterix comics. The most famous one is perhaps the one that takes place in Egypt - they made a genius movie based on it. At some point, the valiant Gauls gets stuck inside a pyramid - and that’s completely credible. I love the Egyptian mythology - did you know that most pyramids were build on the western side of the river Nile, so that the divine pharaoh’s soul would join with the sun during its descent? It’s not for nothing that the Great Pyramid of Giza is one of the Seven Wonders: it’s the largest and only one that survived until the modern times. But because this is place with such a historic background doesn’t mean I won’t take that noseless-Sphinx selfie.

8. Contemplate the Taj Mahal in India

The edifice was built by Shah Jahan in honor of his late wife - his favorite one at least. But not only is the Taj Mahal a wonder in itself - its backstory is marked by a couple of interesting legends as well. The most debated one states that Shah Jahan, obsessed with symmetry as he was, had initially planned to build a replica of the Taj Mahal in black marble on the other side of the Yamuna river. But that was before his son overthrew him.

9. Going on a safari in Tanzania

I’ve always considered Africa as home of a deeply diverse wildlife. Tanzania alone is a paradise for those who want to observe animals in their natural environment. Tarangire National Park lets you observe the famous animals of the savanna. Ernest Hemingway is said to have described the Lake Manyara as the “loveliest in Africa”. And why not complete the trip with the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest inactive and intact volcanic caldera?

10. Scuba-dive on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia

My uncle taught me the basics of scuba-diving in Marseille, France. Despite having watched The World of Nemo on multiple occasions, I would not have imagine there was an actual whole other world down under. And from the pictures I’ve seen and documentaries I’ve watched, it’s nothing compared to the Great Barrier Reef. And should you not be too much into scuba-diving, you can always observe this natural wonder thanks to the Google Underwater Street View!

Obviously, there are plenty of other places I want to go to and I had to shorten it quite a bit. Is there one that you feel I should definitely go to? Send me a message!
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