THE BEST PLACE I’VE EVER VISITED

Someone asked me the other day what was the best place I’ve ever visited.

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I thought about Paris: when I was 13, I visited Paris and it changed my world view completely. I’ve been there maybe eight times now, and I still absolutely love it. It’s beautiful, it’s iconic, it’s old and new at the same time.

But then I thought about Marrakech, my unlikely home away from home. Djeema El Fna (the main square) is the centre of the world, where all the action is. I love the food, the souks, the riads, wandering aimlessly, getting lost for hours…

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But of course there’s London, my adopted city. It’s grey, it’s gritty, but it’s perfect. Everything happens here, and I still choose to live here every day.

Then last year we travelled the Balkans, and visited Jordan, and the year before we were in Iceland and saw the Northern Lights.

I can’t choose, and that’s the best part. There really is a whole world out there… and I’m only getting started.

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What’s the best place you’ve ever visited?

I WANT TO LIVE THERE: What I say every time I travel

My dream was always to live abroad. Many years of hard work and a Master’s degree later, I succeeded! I left my home country and never looked back.

Funnily enough, moving countries actually put me off doing it again, so I have no plans of relocating. But I can’t help myself – every time I visit a new place, I immediately start imagining how great it would be to move there!

Here are three places where (I daydream) I could live:

 1. Marrakech, Morocco

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Growing up I wanted to live in Paris. The French capital was the first place I visited in Europe and it completely changed my world view.

Then a few years ago I went to Marrakech and got that same feeling all over again: now I’m absolutely obsessed with the place (I’ve been four times), the souks, the food, the amazing energy.

How I wish I had a whole riad to decorate!

2. Berlin, Germany

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It took me a long time to go to Berlin, and I so shouldn’t have waited!

The city is absolutely great – there’s so much to see and do. There are lots of different neighbourhoods where you can spend days finding new interesting places. And there’s so much to learn about the country’s history, with remnants of the Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie serving as reminders of how much the place has changed.

Get a flat in Prenzlauer Berg for the best Sunday brunches ever.

3. Belgrade, Serbia

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I visited Belgrade at the end of my Old Yugoslavia tour. The city is very understated, so it’s not as if there’s tons of things to do.

But then we hit the bars, and it was THE BEST. There are so many places around, from cocktail bars to French bistros, and the prices are amazing!

A great place to buy a little flat and hang out a few weeks per year.


Where you would move to if you could?

WISHLIST: New York

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I went to New York over 12 years ago, in 2002. It feels like that trip was a lifetime ago.

Back then I wasn’t even above the legal drinking age yet (!) and the city was still very much recovering from 9-11.

But I still remember how much I liked the place. At times, it was like stepping inside a film: everywhere you went there was another highlight I’d seen on tv many times before.

Somehow I never went back – for a long time all I wanted was to be in Europe as much as I could. Now that I live in London, I feel like another visit is well overdue.

Plus the city has changed too: Williamsburg is now all the rage, and the High Line seems amazing!

Where would you go back to?

WISHLIST: 3 amazing and unusual stays

I usually book my holidays thinking about all the things I’m going to see and do. But sometimes hotels can be destinations in their own right. Here are three amazing stays that I would love to visit!

1. THE BALANCING BARN, SUFFOLK, ENGLAND

Photo by Living Architecture

This place is part of Alain de Botton’s project Living Architecture. It looks absolutely amazing – who wouldn’t love to spend a few days in a floating silver barn with a swing right underneath it?

2. CAPPADOCIA CAVE SUITES, TURKEY

Photo by Cappadocia Cave Suites

Turkey has been on my wishlist before – there’s just so much to see and do there. Staying in a luxury cave hotel where you can watch hot air balloons go by? Count me in!

3. A TREE HOUSE IN FRANCE

Photo by Cabane dans les Arbres

Well, this is a bit more than a tree house: it’s a tree house modelled after a French château. Perfect for a romantic getaway, as you can relax sipping French wine in the hot tub.

Amazing!

WISHLIST: Have you heard about Philae recently?

Philae has been all over the news recently because it’s the name of the spacecraft that successfully landed on a comet.

But Philae is also this amazing island in Egypt:

Photo by Ivan Marcialis (https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcialis)

It is a Unesco Heritage site, which was relocated in the 70s because of the construction of a dam.

I had never heard of it before the comet landing, but now this place is definitely on my list!

WISHLIST: Train journey through Transylvania

Photo from Wikipedia

I’m already dreaming of all the places I’ll visit next year. The list is already longer than my holidays allow, but there are just so many places to go!

One place I really want to visit is Transylvania: Dracula’s castle, medieval villages, beautiful countryside… and all of that by train – sounds perfect!

Fly to Romanian capital Bucharest then make your way to places like Brasov, Sibiu and Sighisoara, stopping along the way. There are lost of Unesco Heritage sites in the region as well.

Image from Wikipedia

Instead of going back to Bucharest, head to Hungary to end your trip with a relaxing break in one of the thermal baths of Budapest.

I can’t wait!

TRAVEL WISHLIST: THREE AMAZING LITTLE PLACES

Here are a few places that have been on my mind recently:

TREBINJE, BOSNIA

I heard about this place from our hosts in Belgrade, who were really excited about it. This town is close to Mostar, and judging by the pictures it looks amazing!

BLED, SLOVENIA

We didn’t go to Bled last year when we visited Slovenia, but this place has been on my list since. The church in the middle of the lake is the main attraction, and it looks beautiful!

PAMUKKALE, TURKEY

Natural hot springs in a setting like this? That’s all I need to know really.

TRAVEL WISHLIST: JORDAN

Jordan is one of the top places in my list at the moment, but I want to get it right (which basically means ensuring I have time to see everything I want there).

The main reason I wanted to visit at first was Petra:

Photo from Wikipedia

The place looks absolutely amazing! And you can even see it live through this great Earthcam.

But now that I’ve started doing some research I’ve realised there’s much more to see: a day trip to the Dead Sea is a must, and visiting Wadi Rum must be a surreal experience:

Photo from Wikipedia

HOW TO DO IT:

  • Go: there are plenty of flights from the UK, but tickets are not cheap at around £400 return.
  • Weather: avoid the summer as temperatures get way too hot.
  • Travel around: buses and taxis are the easiest way to travel around in Jordan, are not too expensive, and can be booked when you’re there.
  • Stay: Petra Guesthouse is the best accommodation in Petra in terms of location, but don’t forget to spend a night in a Bedouin tent for a unique experience.

TRAVEL WISHLIST: AMSTERDAM

Pretty much everyone I know has been to Amsterdam, but somehow I missed the boat.
But with the Rijksmuseum finally reopening after ten years, I decided not to wait anymore, so this August I’m finally going for a long weekend in the city!

HOW TO DO IT:

  • Go: There are lots of options for flights, but it only takes 4h40 on the Eurostar, which is more convenient.
  • Stay: Accommodation is not particularly cheap, but there are options for all tastes.
  • Do: for a cultural break, follow the Rijksmuseum with a visit to Anne Frank’s house and the Van Gogh museum.
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The Rijksmuseum (photo from Wikipedia)

TRIP PLANNING: A WEEK IN EASTERN EUROPE

This trip has been in the cards for a while, but now we’re finally booking flights and accommodation.

THE ITINERARY:

There were lots of options, but we’ve decided to do the following:

  • Flying from London to Dubrovnik (Croatia): there we’ll spend a couple of days;
  • From Dubrovnik we’ll take a day trip to Montenegro, ideally to visit places like Kotor and Budva. Apparently tours can be easily booked when you’re in Croatia, but Amico Tours seems to be a good option if booking in advance.
  • From there we’re getting on a bus to Mostar (Bosnia). Until recently I didn’t even know this place existed, but now I’m obsessed!
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The bridge in Mostar (Photo from Wikipedia)

  • From there we’re getting on a train to Sarajevo, which I’m really looking forward to.
  • Finally, another bus journey and we end our trip in Belgrade (Serbia), where we’re spending two days before coming back to London.

HOW TO DO IT:

Flights:
Many companies fly from London to Dubrovnik, including Norwegian, Easyjet and Monarch.
From Belgrade to London there are less options, Jat Air being the most frequent.Accommodation:
There are lots of options at very affordable prices. We booked everything from Hostelworld.Getting around:
This is the trickiest past of planning this trip as buses are not available for booking online, but timetables can be found in websites such as  www.libertasdubrovnik.com and www.centrolines.ba.
Forums suggest that this shouldn’t be a problem.

How long to go for:
We’re going for nine days in total, which fits well around work.

When to go:
We’re going in April when it should be warm but not too hot. High season is in the summer but temperatures can be too high, especially if travelling by bus.