We decided that we won’t be doing any long haul trips in 2014. It gets expensive (because of air tickets), and we figured that it’s a lot nicer to take “regular” breaks rather than one huge 3-week holiday in the middle of the year and then having to wait till Christmas for the next vacation. This is going to be a challenge for us since we love visiting people back home and are totally nuts about Japan. Seriously, is there anyone out there who would love to sponsor our next Japan holiday? We’re planning to cover the Kansai region, Kyushu and Okinawa next. People tell us we should explore new countries and not be fixated on Japan. That’s like me telling you “Don’t breathe in oxygen, try carbon monoxide.” The land of the rising sun holds a special place in our hearts. We don’t visit Japan thinking it’s THE BEST place on earth. We visit it because of the memories we share.
I do, however, agree that we should give ourselves the opportunity to start a new adventure on continental Europe. So, here’s my list of the top 5 European cities that I would like to visit in 2014.
A German friend from Köln said Munich is very different to Frankfurt. It’s so clean, people are so posh and things are very orderly. I need to see it for myself. It is famous for its Oktoberfest and since I’ll be getting a dirndl this year, I could wear it again next year for THE REAL thing. Just don’t spill beer on me. And if I go to Munich, I MUST MUST MUST, by hook or by crook, visit Palace Neuschwanstein. It would be excellent if we could stay over at a traditional German B&B to visit Lake Königsee too.
Badly damaged in the war, Dresden has rebuilt the city to become one of the most popular German cities. I am fascinated by the photos of the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) that I see online. Yes, I would travel miles to see a beautiful church. Not trying to be religious here, but whenever I enter God’s home, I feel so at peace.
What do you do when you visit a spa town? Go for a spa, of course! There’s a thermal bath that we want to visit – Friedrichsbad, a Roman-Irish bath. This isn’t your usual sauna experience. Apparently there are 17 stages to go through, and the soothing, rich in minerals thermal water comes from 2000 meters deep springs! I miss spa getaways!
I have to see this city for myself. I need to savour the macarons myself. I must bring along anti-histamine to eat macarons. I will decide if the French are the best cooks. I want a romantic kiss under a beautifully lighted up Eiffel Tower at midnight. I want to sit at a cafe and people watch. Now, isn’t that what people do when they visit Paris apart from visiting museums? Let me tell you what we’ll really do. Spend 2 hours in Book Off (Japnese bookshop) and another 2 hours at Uniqlo. After that, we’ll visit Chinatown to find good Chinese food, if it exists in Paris. Then, we’ll proceed to do the touristy thing. Is that a sin? Bookshops always come first.
Dan has been there a couple of times (lucky him!!!) but I haven’t. So he said we should row down the tiny canals in gondolas together! That sounded romantic to me, until he mentioned deadly, blood sucking mosquitoes in summer nights. Oh well, I’ll put up with them as long as I get authentic pizzas, pasta and freshly baked bread.
To me, Germany is a huge country. I love our host country and I think it’s really beautiful (ignoring most of the so-called arty graffiti). We want to see more of it too and that’s why I’ve chosen 3 German cities to visit next year. At the same time, we do want a significant change in scenery too hence, Paris and Venice are on the list.
If you’ve been to any of these cities recently and have tips to share with me (be it restaurants, accommodation or attractions), please do comment below! Apart from Venice, the other cities will probably just be long weekend getaways so it would be great to know what are the “must see” attractions! If you’ve blogged about these cities, don’t be shy – just leave a direct link to your post. 🙂
P.S – If you’ve not read my post on Beijing, you can check it out here. Don’t forget to participate in the “What type of traveller are you?” Poll at the end of the post!