I was at a farewell party yesterday for a friend moving back to Switzerland, in a stunning Soho apartment where one wall was adorned with Burmese drawings kept behind glass. This sparked a conversation about places I’ve been to and places I dream of visiting.
No surprise, I woke up with wanderlust this morning and started running through the list of countries and cities I fantasize about. So I decided to share my list of the first five dream destinations that came to mind, together with the reasons they appeal to me.
This mountain kingdom in the Himalayas holds an almost mystical appeal. It’s among the world’s most isolated nations, steeped in the Buddhist tradition and pristine landscapes perfect for long hikes. It’s ultra pricey though, due to the strict government-imposed measures in controlling the influx of tourists.
This archipelago off the coast of Tanzania in the Indian Ocean calls me for its interesting culture – an eclectic fusion of Arab, Indian, Portuguese, British and African influences. The islands are known for the spices as well as the legendary Stone Town, a World Heritage old quarter within Zanzibar City.
I’ve heard wonderful things about Syria’s capital, said to be one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities, with labyrinthine streets and bustling markets. Years ago when I lived in England with a Syrian roommate, she used to bring back the most delicious baklava bought at the Damascus market.
This island nation in the North Atlantic off the western coast of Africa calls me for the music, like the soft morna balads popularized internationally by Cesária Évora. There’s a lot more of the rich musical tapestry to explore in Cabo Verde – the upbeat funaná, the batuque dance…
This little-known country right next to Greece is one of Europe’s last frontiers. It has two beautiful coastlines, the Adriatic Sea to the west and the Ionian Sea to the southwest, and a revived capital city of Tirana that’s booming due to the creative governing by the ex-artist mayor Edi Rama.