Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Top Ten Places We Would Visit if We Stayed in Europe Longer

OK - I've already spent enough time talking about the trips we took while living in Prague. Today, I'm going to talk about the trips we didn't take.

Had we stayed in Europe for a bit more time, here are the Top Ten places we would have visited. These are listed in no particular order and, truth be told, some of the places aren't even in Europe. To make this list, it just has to be a place that is easier to get to from Prague than from New York.

  • Moscow & St. Petersburg, Russia
    This is definitely #1 on the list for the simple reason that - if I don't go to Russia now - I don't know when I will go. I can't see myself taking a vacation from New York just to Russia. I feel like the opportunity may have passed me by.

    R and I did have plans to go to Russia and talked about it quite a bit. But, we decided against it because (a) it was extremely expensive and (b) I heard foreigners were treated pretty rudely there. So we decided to go on affordable trips where people would embrace us. I may regret missing the cultural significance that is Mother Russia, but a trip during these last two years just wasn't in the cards for us.

  • Egypt
    Egypt is just the opposite of Russia. It's a place I really want to go to and I do see myself making a separate vacation just to go to Egypt. That being said, it's much closer from Prague than New York.

    My friend Brian spent a considerable amount of time in Egypt last year and he advised me not to go. He was a bit turned off by the people - for whatever reason. He's also my #1 nemesis - so the fact that he didn't want me to go to Egypt just made me want to go more.

    R and I had tentative plans to go to Egypt over Thanksgiving weekend in 2008, but she got a consulting gig in Portugal that was too good to pass up and we went to Lisbon instead. So that was that. But, like I said, I'm not too disappointed because I will get to Egypt one day.

  • French Riviera
    If I close my eyes and think of the ultimate Eurotrash vacation, I think of lounging on a beach in the French Riviera, sipping champagne and wearing all white clothes - with excessive amounts of jewelry and hair product thrown in for good measure. It doesn't matter if it is Monte Carlo, Cannes or Nice. The fantasy is all the same. Me wearing all white standing on a yacht with models and bottles and the French Riviera in the background.

    Now, if I actually went to the French Riviera, I'm sure the vacation itself would differ wildly from the images in my head described above. So it's probably a good thing that I never went. Still... I want to go and it's on the list. Maybe I should wait until I have enough money to experience the vacation that's in my head.

    (A quick side note to accompany my food blog from Monday. My freind Brewsta - who operates one of the best food blogs in Prague - says the Oysters in Cannes are better than anywhere else. Just another reason to go here.)

  • Stockholm
    I've heard that Stockholm in the summer is the most beautiful city in Europe. The city spans a bunch of islands and the temperature is pretty mild - in a good way.

    But that is also part of the problem. The best time to see Stockholm is the summer, but it's not a beach destination. When the summer time hits, I want to go to the beach. I want to be lying in the sand, jumping in the water, diving, etc. Not going on vacations to visit the cultural capitals of Europe.

    Had I been living in Europe during my high school years, I am sure I would have made my way to Sweden. That's because I used to LOVE blondes. Now, I'm much more of a brunnette fan. So I'm sure that played a role in the fact that I have not been to Stockholm.

  • Copenhagen
    My nemesis Brian once told me that Copenhagen was his favorite city in Europe. I think he told me that because he specifically knew that I had not been to Copenhagen. Fuck that kid. Does he think he's better than me?!?!?!? I want to go to Copenhagen just out of spite.

  • Golfing in Ireland or Scotland
    My friend Mark and I had planned to go to Ireland last year for a round of golf. The trip fell through for a variety of reasons and we ended up golfing in the Czech Republic instead. But, you know what, I'm kind of glad the trip fell through.

    Don't get me wrong, I still very much want to golf in Ireland, Scotland or both. But not now. Not yet. I'm not a good enough golfer yet. When I have a realistic shot of breaking 90 on a regularly basis, I will book the first flight to the UK with my golf clubs in hand. But not now. Not yet.

  • Turkey - Cappadocia
    One of our favorite trips was our five day stint in Istanbul, Turkey back in March 2008. I would love to go back and spend a full 2-3 weeks in Turkey. The country is so huge with so much to explore. And one such area is Cappadocia. Just look at the photos below and you'll see why...

  • Fjords
    Another entry from Scandinavia on this list. As you can tell, I have never been to Scandinavia and really want to go. As far as pure beauty goes, it would be hard to beat the Fjords in Norway.

    To be honest with you, I don't even know that much about this area. I have only seen pictures and they blow me away.

  • Ice Hotel
    Actually, this isn't on my top ten list. This is all about R. I'll let her explain..

    So, yes, this is a place that I truly wanted to experience and I do think that one day I WILL!

    Picture this.. you arrive at the airport and are greeted by your personal sled diver who will take you to the ICEHOTEL. You are given warm outer clothing at the airport and your luggage is taken directly to the hotel. Meanwhile you just sit back and listen to the silence as the sled driver along with 15 reindeer take you to a magical hotel made of all ice!

    For those of you that hate the cold... You only spend one night in the ICE hotel and the other nights in a more traditional WARM hotel. At the ICE HOTEL, you are outfitted with special clothing to keep you comfortable to remain in the hotel surroundings.

    There are amazing excursions available such as forrest snow mobile ride, Moose watching tours and of course the mystical Northern lights- which happen in this part of the world! And as a dog lover, you have many opportunities to meet the many dogs that are used with sleds. "In JukkasjÀrvi and its environs, there are more dogs than people."

    This is an adventures I truly want to take one day! Just look at these pictures!

  • Cycling in French Wine Region
    I always thought it would be great to go on biking tour of France. Especially the wine regions. I love cycling, I love french food and I'm a big fan of wine... what's not to like.

    The problem is that I don't trust myself to just hop on a bike and start riding from one town to another. My sense of direction is not good enough and I wouldn't know where to stop. If I were to do this properly, I would want this to be part of an organized group. The kind of group where they take your clothes and belongings in a car from one hotel to another and you just have to merely ride along and follow the group leader.

    I looked into these type of tours quite a bit when I first moved to Prague and I was SHOCKED by the prices. A 5 day trip will cost over $4000 per person - and that does not include my travel to France. With these kind of prices, a trip like this may just remain a pipe dream.

Of course, there are many more places that we would have liked to visit had we stayed in Europe. Morocco, Dubai, Sardinia and> Belgium all come to mind. And this list doesn't even include some of the best aspects of Europe - those little towns and villages that are off the beaten track. Places full of history that still feel like they did 100 years ago. These are some the places I enjoy most.

The good news is that we're still (relatively) young and I don't plan to stop traveling any time soon. Hopefully we'll hit these places - and a few more - sometime in the future.

Check back tomorrow for R's favorite pictures that she took in Europe...


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