Tim’s Bucket List Top 10

After my bucket list post, I set Tim a challenge to pick his own top ten. The poor guy spent three weeks trying to decide! But what came out on top, and do we share any dream destinations? Read on to find out…

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The phrase ‘bucket list’ is used a lot in travel talk. It has always been an excellent bit of marketing, essentially companies telling you “one day you’re going to die, you better buy our products before that happens”. But there’s another thing about the bucket list that I find funny… very few actually exist. I often hear people say things like “Egypt? Oh that’s on my bucket list”. Now it would be very strange to reply “Oh really? Please show me!” but I think their response would be that their bucket list isn’t actually written down anywhere. This was certainly the case for me until I started on this entry, so I had to write my bucket list. I then had a think about why each destination was on there and managed to choose my ten favourites.

10. Northern Lights (Scandinavia) I can already hear my wife saying “Ooo do you want to go to Finland to see the northern lights?” “No” I will reply “Far too cold”. I think a bucket list is the right place for a destination like this. Before I die? Yes. Definitely. In the next 6 months? Probably not. As you’ll see as I count down my top ten, I love a natural wonder. The aurora borealis looks stunning in photos and I want to see it in real life one day, just not yet. A solid number ten.

9. Deep South USA I want to go to the US for the culture. Yes I really did just say that. The country that my friend describes as “a car park” does have a few highlights: the Manhattan skyline is stunning and I’ve always wanted to see the natural sights; the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, the Everglades, etc. However, this top ten entry is for a trip I’ve always dreamed of: the deep south for New Orleans; tapping my feet to the music, drinking watery lager into the small hours with some chatty locals, eating steak cooked as if it were chicken, renting a V8 and hitting the highway… this is my dream.

8. Turkey An easy and popular choice for northern Europeans, Turkey is a beautiful country with great weather and beaches. But to make my top 10, it needs more than that and the extra points come from its history. Let’s approach this chronologically. Firstly Troy, the fortified city at the centre of events in Homer’s The Iliad, has now been conquered by a fleet of a thousand tourists. Next, Roman history. The jewel in the crown is Ephesus, which was the second city of the Empire for a period, but there is loads more to see from this period. Loads. Then onto the capital. Originally Byzantium, it was rebranded as Constantinople, the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, and became the richest and most powerful city in Europe. It later became Istanbul and the architecture shows an amazing mix of cultures. Lastly a mention to Gallipoli, such an important battlefield for Australians and New Zealanders as a representation of the beliefs and commitment of these fledgling nations during World War 1.

7. Egypt I suppose similar to Turkey, with sunshine, beaches and history… but actually it is properly unique. As far as seeing the works of an ancient civilisation go, Egypt wins, hands down. I guess the only turn off is the tens of thousands of other people trying to see the same sights at the same time as you, but it still has to be done.

6. India Hard to sum up in one paragraph but I’ll give it a go. A fascinating culture that has given the world religions, yoga, amazing temples and one particularly beautiful mausoleum. All this is mixed in with huge castles built by feuding warlords and the attractive, if scarring, marks of European colonisation. It’s also big enough to have some amazing natural sights; mountains, rivers, mangrove swamps and a long and varied coastline. Last of all they make the best food in the world. Need I go on?

5. Indonesia A huge diverse country with a rugged coastline, tropical beaches and lots of historic temples. I want to go to Indonesia for all of this, plus the monkeys. Okay, I’ll admit it. The monkeys are the main reason for this bucket list entry.

4. Peru Machu Picchu isn’t the only reason but it’s the biggest one. I want to emerge from the mountains and jungle to the lost city after a 4 day trek like I’m the one who discovered it. (Before taking a train from the nearby station to a luxury hotel for a burger).

3. Costa Rica You may have started to spot some themes appearing in my list; natural sights, wildlife and history. As I get closer to the number 1, spot some of these start to ‘peak’. For Costa Rica, it’s the natural sights, jungle, volcanoes, beaches, mountains. I want to hike across them all and catch some wildlife while I’m at it!

2. Vietnam and Cambodia Vietnam is probably worth a couple of weeks but I’ve tagged Cambodia on because it’s next door and will only take a couple of days. While the combination doesn’t win any of the top three prizes in natural sights, wildlife or history, the colonial history, scars of war and Angkor Wat makes it score very highly in the latter. Plus it has mountains, coastline, jungle and Halong Bay to tick off one of the other boxes.

1. Safari (Kenya and Tanzania) Winner of the wildlife sub-category and the overall prize, this is the place to see big cats, which are up there with monkeys as some of my favourite animals. Plus there’s loads more; giraffes, elephants, rhinos, buffalo, wild dogs etc. all roaming across picturesque landscapes.

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So! Overall, we have six matching bucket list destinations – Deep South USA, Egypt, Peru, Costa Rica, Vietnam & Cambodia and African safari. I’m sure it won’t be too long before we’re booking our way to one of these, and I can’t wait! 

How does Tim’s list compare to yours?

My first impressions of Cuba

Cuba is definitely the place to go at the moment. Desperate to visit before tourism threatens to change the country forever, travellers are arriving in their thousands to grab a slice of the Cuban pie.

Last August, Tim and I touched down in Havana with dreams of salsa parties, beautiful scenery and rum-induced hangovers. We had a couple of days in the City before we set off on an organised tour, but how did our first impressions differ from our dreams? I’ll let these direct excerpts from my travel blog explain all.

Hotel standards are slightly lower than we’re used to

Hotel Nacional Havana

Our hotel, Hotel Nacional de Cuba, was wonderful – it is a huge building in a really palatial style. It’s one of the oldest and most famous hotels in Havana. We checked in and took a few minutes to refresh ourselves in our room and enjoy the view when there was a knock on the door. A friendly waiter was standing there with a bottle of champagne in hand to welcome us. We were so touched!

While we waited for the champagne to cool down in its ice bucket (Havana in August is HOT!), we had a quick wander around the hotel grounds. It was a really nice day – hot but pleasant, so we enjoyed walking around the garden. We went back up to the room and drank our champagne while sitting and looking out over the sea. It was perfect!

Now, Hotel Nacional is considered “luxury” and to us, it was. But I can imagine people being disappointed if they are used to sparkling white sinks and, dare I say it, westernised features like plasma TVs. The Nacional is clean, but not clinically so, and has everything you should need from a hotel room. A toilet, a bath, a bed, a window, a door to get out and explore Havana… because, of course, that’s what you should be doing!

There is such thing as typical Cuban cuisine

On our first night, we decided to eat dinner at a restaurant on the front of the hotel overlooking the sea. It promised traditional Cuban delights – grilled meat and fish with black beans and rice. Not particularly inspiring perhaps, but they were simple flavours cooked perfectly. Our meal was actually very tasty. Good job too, as it would become our staple diet over the next two weeks!

Breakfast is… strange…

We went down to the restaurant for breakfast, which was an unusual mix of eggs, pastries, yoghurts, bread, chilli con carne, rice, er… burgers… yum! It wasn’t until we stayed with a Cuban family later on in our trip that we realised breakfasts are usually much better than this. I can only assume the hotel was trying to please everyone, French and Mexican alike!

Private tours are a great way to see the City

Havana from above

Havana is huge. Much bigger than we thought it was going to be, with sprawling avenues, maze like alleyways and things to see on every corner. We wanted to get our bearings and learn more about Cuban history and culture, so we decided to book a private tour with the Havana Tour Company. We met our tour guide, Yune, at the Hotel Inglaterra in central Havana and immediately felt at ease. Yune had lived in Cuba all her life and spoke excellent English, so she was the perfect person to show us around.

We had booked a full day tour and spent the morning walking across the City to see all the main sights – Central Park, a replica of the Washington monument, the Museo de Revolución, a fruit market, lots of old squares, a cigar shop (where we had a free shot of rum!), some ‘art’ (such as a naked lady holding a fork and riding a cockerel) and Calle Obispo – a good street to pick up souvenirs.

Christ of Havana

During the morning, we had drinks at the roof terrace of the hotel Ernest Hemingway used to stay at, which had wonderful views over the City including a statue of Jesus (á la Rio). Yune joked that Jesus is striking that pose so he can hold a cigar in one hand and a mojito in the other 🙂

The photos aren’t free

Havana ladies

This is something worth noting if you’re ever in Havana. Those beautiful ladies dressed up in traditional Cuban wear? They make their money from having photos taken with tourists, and they have to pay the Government for the privilege. Don’t be surprised if they chase you down the street demanding CUC – they’ll be completely out of pocket if you don’t.

We found these two lovely ladies in the Cathedral square. They are very friendly and always willing to chat. Before this photo was taken, the lady on the right gave Tim a right smacker on the cheek, leaving him with a huge lipstick mark. He was mortified!

After leaving the Cathedral square, we continued along the streets taking in all the sights and sounds before stopping to buy some fresh corn off a street vendor. It was delicious but probably a bad idea as it was then time for lunch!

Private restaurants are worth digging out

Paladars are private restaurants that are almost always cheaper and better quality than the government owned establishments. You can tell them apart as they may look slightly more run down and may not have the luxury of air conditioning as they are purely funded by their private owners.

Our tour guide took us in to one of her favourite paladars, NAO, which is definitely worth a visit if you’re ever in the area. We had a set menu of two drinks (alcoholic if you wanted – my head was already spinning with mojitos back at Ernest Hemingway’s hotel so I settled for a lemonade), a starter of fried croquettes, crisps and roots, a main of fish, rice and beans and ice cream for dessert. We were so full afterwards, but extremely satisfied. A brilliant live band serenaded us as we ate, which only added to the atmosphere.

It feels like a time warp

Havana chevy

After lunch, we walked down to the seafront where our guide and her driver took us for an afternoon tour by old American car. One of the overwhelming messages we heard about Cuba before we arrived was that it feels like a time warp. Driving along in our open top Chevy Bel Air, we knew exactly what that meant. Practically every car we passed was from the 1950s, filled to the brim with locals hitching a lift back home. Couple this with run down buildings and a noticeable lack of wi-fi, Cuba does feel like America, only 50 years ago. But perhaps that’s just because there’s no Starbucks in sight like every other modern City. And I, for one, don’t see that as a problem.

We had a great trip in our car. Our driver took us to Revolution Square, through a posh area with big expensive houses and down to the river. We then drove around the Miramar area where there are lots of foreign embassies including our own.

We finished our tour at El Torre – a skyscraper with a bar on the 33rd floor where we drank piña coladas whilst looking out over the City. It was a great way to finish.

The malecón is the place to meet the locals

After we said our goodbyes to our guide, we decided to walk along the malecón (the sea wall) to take in the sights and sounds of Havana as it drifts off to sleep. We were surprised at just how full the wall was of couples and friends talking, dancing and listening to music. We must have walked for miles towards the City looking for a quiet spot to sit, before deciding to head back to our hotel bar for a night cap.

There is no salsa festival

The next morning, we were walking back along the malecón when a couple of friendly locals started talking to us, asking where we were from. They told us about a salsa festival later on in the day that we should definitely go to. They also told us we couldn’t get in to the City the way we were walking because it had been closed for mosquito fumigation. Why don’t we follow them to find another way in?

I enjoyed talking to them (great excuse to practise my Spanish) but Tim wasn’t so sure. When the couple started leading us away from the centre towards some residential streets, Tim said thank you very much but leave us alone now please. At that moment, their whole demeanour changed. They asked us for money for their baby and looked seriously pissed off when we refused. They stormed off back to the seafront, supposedly to try it on with other unsuspecting tourists.

Tim was right to be wary – it was only when we were talking to our G Adventures CEO the next day that he told us there is no salsa festival, the City is not closed because of a mosquito infestation, the couple was just trying to part us from our hard earned cash. Other members of our group weren’t so lucky – one couple was even marched in to a darkened room where the door was shut behind them and they began fearing for their lives. It turned out to be a black market cigar shop, but when they refused to buy, they were allowed on their way.

Of course, not all the locals are like this, by any means. You just need to be careful.

There’s more to rum than mojitos

Making guarapo, Havana

Eventually, we made our way to the Havana Club museum of rum and enjoyed a tipple while waiting for our tour to start. Our guide took us around the museum with 20 or so other people, telling us all about the process of making rum from harvest to distilling. At the end of the tour, we were each given a shot of rum and time to look around the souvenir shop.

In our first 72 hours in Havana, we of course tried mojitos, but also piña coladas, daiquirís, Cuba libres and a delicious drink called guarapo which is pure sugar cane juice and white rum. We even found a great bar in Havana that handed us the bottle of rum and let us pour as much as we wanted into our glasses. They also let us press our own sugar cane juice using a windy manual contraption (unofficial name). No wonder our drinks were so cheap!

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Havana is a wonderful City and we learnt a lot in our first 72 hours there. We were excited about seeing more of the country, but knew that returning to Havana for the last part of our holiday wouldn’t be a disappointment. There was still so much to see.

Have you ever been to Havana? What were your first impressions?

48 hours in Copenhagen

For Tim’s Christmas present, instead of a pair of socks, I organised a surprise weekend away to Copenhagen. Neither of us had been before and I knew it offered both history and culture to keep Tim happy. So when I saw some bargain easyJet flights in early January, I jumped at the chance to book them.

Last Friday, we finished work early and headed to Gatwick to start our 48 hours in Copenhagen. Here’s how we spent them.

Sleeping in a designer hotel

Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen

The Absalon Hotel in Copenhagen is one of the largest and oldest in the city. Having recently undergone extensive refurbishment and interior design by the Designer’s Guild, it’s a stunning hotel decorated in blues and greens, with welcoming sofas, funky lighting and digital fireplaces in the bar where we enjoyed delicious cocktails on both nights at the hotel. If you’ve heard anything about Copenhagen, I bet it’s that it’s expensive. Now, this is true, but the drinks at our hotel were reasonably priced and you could get a pint of beer and a (very) large glass of wine for under 100DKK (about £10). That’s London prices to us Brits, so nothing we weren’t already used to paying back home.

The hotel is just a few minutes’ walk from central Copenhagen train station, so within easy walking distance to most of the major sights including Tivoli Gardens (which is unfortunately closed until April) and City Hall.

Overall, it’s warm, inviting and the perfect place to thaw out after a freezing January day in Scandinavia. Speaking of which…

Sheltering from the cold

Ducks at Rosenborg Castle

We had heard Copenhagen was going to be cold in January, so we prepared with lots of layers, winter boots and thick coats. Trouble was, we were travelling with carry-on bags only, which meant we had to wear most of our luggage on the plane! After a very warm flight, the Danish air actually came as a refreshing change until we realised just how cold it was.

However, most of Copenhagen’s beauty is on the outside – the picturesque parks and fine façades of buildings – so it’s a shame to spend all your time inside. So we put on our layers, stiffened our upper lips and felt grateful not to be at work. It must have been somewhere between 0 and 1°c, as the ducks were able to both swim and walk on the moat surrounding Rosenborg Castle.

To avoid freezing completely, it was necessary to find refuge every so often in perfectly heated museums and bars. Everywhere has coat hooks and lockers to leave your coats so that you don’t end up ironically overheating once inside.

We were also lucky enough to see snow on our last day, just as we arrived at the airport to leave (impeccable timing, Denmark!). It was very impressive that nothing seemed to grind to a halt like it does in the UK. The airport simply revved up its de-icing machines and started to clear the runway as if it was just a normal day in the office. The Brits could definitely learn a thing or two from the Danes when it comes to snow!

Devouring Danish cuisine

Kodbyens Fiskebar, Copenhagen

Copenhagen is a foodie hotspot with some of the best restaurants and Michelin starred chefs in the world charging gastronomical prices (Ha. See what I did there?) Yet, we wanted to stay modest and see what we could get for less than 150 DKK (£15 a head) per meal. You’d actually be surprised at the quality and amount of food available!

Here’s our pick of the bunch:

  • Danish pastries for breakfast at Absalon Hotel. Danish pastries are probably my favourite breakfast item of all time. Whenever they form part of a hotel breakfast buffet, I always eat one. Or twelve. Actually known as Viennese pastries in Denmark, they’re a Danish adaption of an Austrian recipe, but delicious all the same. Breakfast at our hotel was a plentiful cold buffet with cheese, ham, yoghurt and fruit, but I survived on Danish pastries alone. Total price: Free!
  • Smørrebrød (open sandwiches) at Peder Oxe. This was probably my favourite meal of the whole trip, Tim and I shared 3 open sandwiches from their list for lunch – smoked herring with sour cream and dill, shrimp with creamy dill sauce and two cheeses with chutney. We had a cosy table next to the open fire and couldn’t have been happier with our delicious sandwiches washed down with two glasses of Danish beer. Total price: 240 DKK (£24)
  • Fish and chips at Kodbyens Fiskebar. The meatpacking district is one of the most popular areas to eat in Copenhagen with great quality food at very reasonable prices. After a bit of research, we chose Kodbyens Fiskebar, which promised an extensive fish menu in a lively restaurant. We hadn’t booked a table and were nearly turned away at the door as it was packed. Lucky for us, a couple hadn’t turned up for their table and we were very glad they hadn’t! We were able to take their seats and ordered water, beer and two choices from their ‘middle’ menu, mussels in a cider sauce and fish and chips. The fish had a smoked Danish twist and was served with deliciously seasoned chips. Yum yum yum. Total price: 300 DKK (£30)
  • Danish beer at The Taphouse. The Taphouse has 61 beers on tap from around the world in a very cosy room decorated with sparkly fairy lights. It was a great find, just around the corner from the Town Hall so perfectly located to take a break from sightseeing in the most European way possible. In choosing our two small glasses of beer each, I randomly picked numbers from the board while Tim was much more considered about his decision, selecting based on his love for pilsner. We both enjoyed our beers along with two packets of salt and vinegar crisps. Total price: 182 DKK (£18)

Seeing the sights

The Little Mermaid, Copenhagen

Copenhagen has loads of things to see and do, but before we booked our trip, we didn’t actually know what any of them were! After researching using travel blogs, guidebooks and the Copenhagen card, here’s what was on our ‘must do’ list:

  • Canal boat tour. Our Copenhagen card got us free travel on the canal boat tour that took us along the canals to the neighbourhoods of Nyhavn, Christiansborg and out to the sea to get a good view of the new Opera House and the Little Mermaid’s back
  • The National Museum of Denmark is free to visit and houses collections dedicated to Denmark’s history and culture. We learnt about the Vikings, Nordic traditions and culture, as well as exhibits from other continents and countries so there’s always something new to learn
  • City Sightseeing bus tour. I love a bus tour. I think it’s a great way to see the City from the comfort of a seat, but still affords you the opportunity to hop on and off to visit the sights you must see up close. The mermaid tour took us past some of the most famous buildings and statues in Copenhagen with an audio guide that gave us more insight into life in the city
  • The Little Mermaid is a statue based on Danish author Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale. The statue is a bit out of the way of most other sights, so we were very grateful when our bus tour stopped at the sight for 5 minutes to let us all get off and take photos. Otherwise, I’m not sure we would have made it!   
  • Rosenborg Castle was built for King Christian IV as a hunting lodge and summer house. Of course it was. It’s simply not big or imposing enough to be his everyday residence, right?! In all seriousness, it’s a magnificent building quite typical of Danish architecture. The Castle is now home to exhibits from Christian’s life, the crown jewels and beautiful grounds. Plus entry was included in our Copenhagen card, so everyone’s a winner!
  • Rundetårn is a great way to see the whole City from above thanks to its viewing platform at the top. Plus, with a slope winding its way all the way to the top, it’s not even strenuous to get up there! The core of the tower is hollow, and there’s a glass floor near the top for people brave enough to stand on it. I only just managed it by holding Tim’s hand and taking very tentative steps!
  • Nyhavn is probably the most photographed area of Copenhagen, and certainly one of the most recognisable. It’s a lively area with good restaurants and bars but, scared of falling in to a tourist trap, we avoided them. For us, it was a nice place to wander and take photos of the sailboats moored up alongside colourful and disorderly terraced buildings
  • Amalienborg Palace is the winter home of the Danish royal family and has been turned into a museum with exhibits from the royal family’s lives. To be honest, the building is more impressive than the inside, but as entry was included in our Copenhagen cards, it was worth a visit
  • Tivoli Gardens was on our must-do list, but unfortunately it is closed in January. It’s worth checking opening hours and days before you book so you don’t miss out. There’s still plenty to see without Tivoli, though!

Wasting time in the airport

It wasn’t until we had raced through airport security and eaten dinner at gorms restaurant that we checked my easyJet app to find out our flight was 2.5 hours delayed. Oh no! Turns out there was a technical problem with our plane so we had to wait for another one to become available from Finland. I’d rather that than fly on a dodgy plane!

We wasted time by shopping around for souvenirs, spending our easyJet meal voucher on chocolate and searching for a seating area (they’re surprisingly rare in Copenhagen airport!) until it was finally time to get going.

In the end, we landed about 3.5 hours later than scheduled, but this wasn’t enough to dampen our spirits after a wonderful weekend in Copenhagen.

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Overall we had a fantastic 48 hours in Copenhagen and it was enough time to see and do everything on our ‘must do’ list. It was also a great way to kick start 2016, which is set to be my most travel filled year ever! I just hope it won’t be the last European mini break of the year…

Have you ever been to Copenhagen? What were your favourite places to visit?

My Current Bucketlist: 2016

The more travel research I do, the longer my bucket list gets. In fact, I’m convinced it’s never going to get any smaller and yet, I don’t want it to. I love the thrill of visiting new countries and getting a new stamp in my passport. I love it so much that I can’t imagine feeling that there’s nowhere else I want to go. Every time I tick something off, I add another place, or two or three.

I couldn’t possibly write up my entire bucket list – we really would be here forever – so, for now, here is my top ten. I’ll revisit this list this time next year to see how it’s changed.

  1. See the wildlife and other natural wonders of Costa Rica
    Costa RicaThere’s no denying that Costa Rica is a stunning place, blessed with a dazzling array of amphibians and mammals, waterfalls and volcanoes and a year round tropical climate. It also has beautiful beaches when you need a change of scenery and a break from the jungle. But beyond that, it’s a fascinating country. Having abolished its army in the 1950s, moved to run on 100% clean energy and the phrase ‘pura vida’ (pure life) meaning hello, goodbye and how are you, it’s a place after my own heart. Costa Rica has a very deserving spot right at the top of my bucket list, and I hope you’ll agree, it’s easy to see why.
  2. Sip caipirinhas on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Rio de JaneiroBrazil has featured on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. I have been drawn by its delicious food and rum cocktails (I hope they’re as good as the Las Iguanas versions…), mountainous scenery and non-stop carnival atmosphere. Plus the view you get from standing next to Christ the Redeemer must be pretty awesome too, don’t you think? While I’m there I’d also like to check out the Iguazu falls – just as impressive as Niagra, but a whole lot warmer. Rio will have the world’s attention in summer 2016 as the Olympic flame arrives to mark the start of the Games. I’ll be watching Rio on my TV in cold, rainy England, wishing I was there too.
  3. Go on safari in Sri Lanka (yes, Sri Lanka) 
    Sri LankaSri Lanka isn’t a place everyone thinks of when they hear ‘safari’, but it should be. The country is home to some beautiful animals including leopards and deer as well as the highest concentration of Asian elephants in the world. Not only that, you can also spot whales and dolphins off the coast of Mirissa in winter. Sri Lanka is full of Buddhist temples and relics (including a tooth from Buddha himself), beautiful scenery and lots and lots of tea. I’m delighted to say I will finally have the opportunity to visit in April 2016 as we set off on a Wild About Sri Lanka, where we can see all this and more…
  4. Visit Cape Town and see lions in Kruger National Park, South Africa
    South African safariSouth Africa is a place that seems to have it all; at least, everything I want to see – animals, beaches, cities, good wine, nature… I want to go wine tasting in the vineyards of Stellenbosch, look down on Cape Town from Table Mountain, and come face to face with the lions in Kruger National Park. Although Kruger is often accused of offering overly commercial experiences, I think it’s a great introduction to African game drives. Having never been on a safari outside of Kent (I’ll blog about that later), Kruger seems to me a safe place to observe wild animals in a country that offers much more besides.
  5. Trek the Inca Trail in Machu Picchu, Peru
    Machu PicchuPeru, and Machu Picchu in particular, is fast becoming my next destination of choice for 2016. I mean, just look at it. As its popularity increases, there are rumours it may close to preserve the ancient sites, so I have to get there before that happens. Plus, it’s a strenuous hike up to 4,000m above sea level, so I should try to go while I’m still young and reasonably fit. Granted, you can now reach Machu Picchu by train, but where’s the fun in that? I love the idea of sleeping under the stars with your fellow hikers after a hard day’s trek, with a pretty spectacular view as your reward. I just hope I get there soon.
  6. Tour Eastern Europe with stops in Prague and Budapest
    Pictures of Prague and Budapest look like something out of a fairytale. I’m told the gothic spires of both cities look even more beautiful in person. And it’s always nice to have somewhere close to home on your bucket list – means you’re even more likely to be able to tick it off your list, right?
  7. Visit the ancient temples of Indochina with a tour of Vietnam & Cambodia
    Vietnam and Cambodia appear frequently on travellers’ wish lists, and they certainly deserve a place on mine. Both are full of natural beauty, from the coastline of Ha Long Bay in Vietnam to the jungles of Cambodia. A tour of Cambodia wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Angkor Wat – a huge temple complex and the largest religious monument in the world. Can I just go now?
  8. Float down the River Nile and see the Valley of the Kings in Egypt
    When I was eight years old, I did a school project on Ancient Egypt. We learnt about the people, their customs and beliefs, and were shown pictures of the pyramids and Sphinx in Giza, and the temples of Luxor. Since then, I’ve wanted to see them for myself, and I hope it’s not too long before I do.
  9. Learn to tango in Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Buenos Aires is one of those cities I’ve never heard anything bad about. In fact, many of my friends consider it to be their favourite city in the world. With a perfect combination of European architecture and Latin American lifestyle, it’s like Spain, only better.
  10. Eat gumbo and listen to live jazz in New Orleans, USA
    New Orleans has had more than its fair share of natural disasters, but it’s fighting back with a booming tourist trade that I can’t ignore. Imagine the scene. Your belly is full of hearty gumbo – a southern Louisiana stew – as you head towards a live jazz club to sip bourbon while tapping your feet to some of the most talented musicians in America. Perfect.

My mind is now buzzing with all these places I want to visit. Maybe 2016 will be the year I finally get to tick some of these off? I’ve also asked Tim to post his current top ten on the blog, so watch out for that soon. I wonder how different they will be!

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What’s on your current bucket list? Have you been to any places on mine?