To-Go List: Europe
I didn't really have enough time to tour Europe back when I visited in 2013. The two months I spent there was solely for work. I had free weekends but they were only sufficient for out-of-town visits. Plus, I was there during one of the worst springs in Europe. I visited in April yet it was still freezing then.
Just recently, I was so surprised when I came across an article from Yahoo! saying that 2016 might be our last chance to see the northern lights before they dim for about a decade.
It upsets me so much to think that I still have to wait ten years before I can scratch it out of my bucket list. I cannot express how huge of a fan I am of the nordic countries. It is my dream to stay at the Juvet Landscape Hotel, to participate in viking and jazz festivals, to witness the scandinavian culture, to see the midnight sun and, to photograph the Aurora Borealis. Iceland is a photographer's dream.
So I had to do some research.
I found out that flights to Europe are far cheaper when you depart from Thailand. One-way flight from Bangkok to Oslo can cost as low as ₱7,000 (around $150). If I stick with such plan, I can save as much as ₱18,000 ($400) from my flights alone. Plus, I just received my International Student Identification Card which means more discounts on hostels. BTW, hostels are often more expensive in the nordic countries.
I am yet to plan this out properly (I'll keep you guys updated about this) but I'm really considering on scheduling another eurotrip on late autumn next year or anytime after my board exam. I also made this my inspiration in order to be more tenacious with my review. If I won't pass my exam then rewarding myself with this trip would simply seem irrational.
Anyway, I am also planning to visit countries outside of the north atlantic region. Flights around EU are much cheaper compared to travelling around Asia because there is a high competition among low-cost european airlines like Ryanair, Wizz Air and EasyJet. Good thing the schengen visa already allows one to travel to most countries in Western Europe.
I've also been looking beyond the usual european destinations. I have narrowed down a bunch of off the beaten paths I found and added them to my itinerary.
So here's my top 10 to-go list : europe edition
10. Clos Montmartre, France
Clos Montmartre is a 1500 square meters of vineyard space covertly tucked behind the Sacré-Cœur in Paris. Clos Montmartre was born in the 1920s, when a group of well-known artists living here wanted to block a real estate project — so they planted grapevines. Today, it is planted with 1762 vine stocks of 27 varieties, including Gamay for the most part but also Pinot, Merlot, white Sauvigno. It products at least a ton of wine each year.
9. Lucca, Italy
I've been to Lucca before but only spent an overnight. There was something about this town that made me feel so at home, everyone was very accommodating. Lucca’s physical beauty is almost overwhelming. But the true magic comes from the juxtaposition between historic beauty and Lucca’s youthful spirt. The cobblestone streets provide a dramatic backdrop for rotating contemporary art installations and pop-up markets, which offers travelers an opportunity to experience a town’s past while being part of its modern evolution.
8. Glen Etive, Scotland
Glen Etive is the home of James Bond's famous ancestral home scene in Skyfall. It pictures a spectacular view of the scottish highlands. It is also a great place for hiking and camping.
7. Feldsee, Germany
Feldsee is located in Feldberg, the highest mountain in the famous Black Forest in Germany. Feldsee is a lake that was formed by glaciers in the last ice ages. Every single autumn photo taken in Feldsee looks so stunning and since I thought I'd go there on the very same season next year, why not add it to my list!
6. Jukkasjarvi, Sweden
Jukkasjärvi, a small village 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle with a population of 900 residents and about 1000 dogs ( I love dogs!), is where the world’s first and largest hotel built of snow and ice is located. They said the local church is one of the prettiest in the region, and there’s a Sami camp that does a good trade in reindeer sled tours and wildlife trips.
5. Longyearbyen, Norway
Longyearbyen is known as the northernmost town in the world. Longyearbyen is the main town of Norway's Svalbard archipelago and the area's primary port and administrative center. The town sits on the Isfjorden (ice fjord) on Spitsbergen, the largest island of Svalbard. Longyearbyen was established in 1906 and today has a small population of around 2000 inhabitants. The backdrop for Longyearbyen is stunning. It is also considered as one of the best spots to witness the midnight sun. But I'm not quite sure I'd get to see it though because I'm intending to visit in autumn.
4. Dubrovnik, Croatia
Sitting on the south coast of Croatia, Dubrovnik may be steeped in history, but it’s a city with a very modern side, too. Within its solid walls, Medieval houses, ancient palaces and historic churches rub shoulders with chic boutiques, stylish bars, modern hotels and bustling eateries. Plus you've got the beaches and islands of Dubrovnik’s Adriatic Riviera right on your doorstep.
3. Cappadocia, Turkey
Cappadocia is a miraculous nature wonder! Before, I've only known Cappadocia as one of the most important places in the spreading periods of the Christian religion. I had no idea it looks this overwhelming until I watched Winter Sleep. The region of Cappadocia in central Turkey is home to one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world – deep valleys and soaring rock formations dotted with homes, chapels, tombs, temples and entire subterranean cities harmoniously carved into the natural landforms.
2. Moravia, Czech Republic
In case you might think I'm lying about Moravia, google it. Yes - this wondrous scenery actually exists! The Czech Republic's other half, Moravia, is frequently overlooked by visitors. Moravia's colorful villages and rolling hills do merit a few days of exploration. I would love to lay down on top of its hills and just look at how its undulating fields tell an agricultural tale without any distracting elements—just fluid, linear silk surfaces.
1. Seyðisfjörður, Iceland
The top spot goes to Seyðisfjörður, a beautiful fjord in the east, boasting of natural beauty, culture and great food! If you love Ben Stiller's The Secret Life of Walter Mitty just as much as I do then I bet this place looks familiar to you. It is where they shot the skateboard scene. Seyðisfjörður is a promising little fishing and tourist town. It is surrounded by mountains on all sides with the beautiful Mt. Bjólfur to the West (1085 m) and Strandartindur (1010 m) to the East.
Images from Wikimedia Commons
Do you know any other destinations I should be adding to my list? Perhaps, other adventures remote from much-traveled regions? Let me know!