Ultimate travelist
Travel

The ultimate travelist: my top 10

A couple of days ago I stumbled upon on an article on the blog of the lovely Charlie where by looking at the Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist, she built her own. I wasn’t even aware there was such a list published by Lonely Planet. Thus I went ahead and found it, in the form of a checklist. There you can discover how many of the places you visited and how many are still missing.

My result is a mediocre 56 out of 500. In all honesty, I don’t find that interesting at least 100 of the places in that list so my aim is lower. Yet I wondered, what is my ultimate travelist? After much pondering and a couple of difficult decisions, there it is 🙂

Mongolia

Mongolian Yurts
Photo by Audrius Sutkus on Unsplash

If there’s a place on this list that I have been looking forward to visit it the longest, it’s definitely Mongolia. An huge fan of the history of the Mongol Empire as myself, it couldn’t miss this ultimate travelist, could it? I think I first started dreaming about visiting Mongolia when I was 6 or something, looking at a documentary about central Asia: I was utterly fascinated by the vastitude of the steppe, the flat plains that left the most possible space for the eye to look on all 4 directions, the blue of the sky with quick clouds passing through.

I was hooked since then. I went on studying Mongolia’s history has an hobby and wrote a short essay on the life of Genghis Khan at school (I was 12). As Russia is on the path of Mongolia from Europe, I will probably manage to visit it on a long journey coming from Moscow (which is also on my list). Can’t surely wait!

Salar De Uyuni

Salar de Uyuni
Photo by Samuel Scrimshaw on Unsplash

Bolivia is full of amazing places, like the mines in Potosì or Tiahuanaco (another of my favourite). But if I have to choose only 1 place in Bolivia to visit, it will have to be the Salar De Uyuni.

The sheer amount of space in all directions, a recurring theme for me, and the lunar-like aspect of it all makes for a place unique in the world. I do need to make a Peru+Bolivia trip one day for sure, if not for just beating my fear of heights…

Registan Square

History, islamic art and the memory of past richness all mix in this legendary square in Samarkand. The sheer name of the city evokes fabulous princes amassing goods from the Silk Road, large empires rising and crumbling in a single century, a developed city representing civilization among a sea of nomadic tribes since when it was named Maracanda back in the Greeks’ time.

Registan Square in Samarkand
Photo by wikimedia

Particularly though the Registan square is an assembling of various monuments like rarely visible elsewhere in the world. It is a symbolic place of the greatest past richness and history, in a city born out of keeping outside the steppes and its raiders and protecting the merchants from them.

For me in particular it is a place like many others in this travelist that represent history and art when all around it there’s none of it. A theme that recurs in my preferences. Plus, the islamic art of that period is one of my favourite ever.

Moorea

Another easy entry in this list. If there was a specific place on this Earth that I would consider paradise, I would point the finger on the map at Moorea.

Moorea bay
Photo by Marty B

I was last year in Mauritius, which is totally an amazing place, and I do admit that I liked a lot because it looks so close to a Polynesian island like Moorea. Yet I am sure the original will blown me away in a manner that no other places could. Turquoise waters, green lush forests, tall peaks that towers over the sea, the calm attitude of polynesian people. There’s so much there that would make for a perfect beach vacation that a high place on my ultimate travelist was obvious.

Teotihuacan

So many places in Mexico. Tikal, Palenque, Mexico City itself with its grandiose Museo de Antropologia. A tour of the whole Mexico is absolutely due. Yet the single place I want to visit the most in Mexico is Teotihuacan. Mostly because it is still greatly mysterious and because it is in size one of the handful historical places in Central America rivaling with the largest in the Old World.

Teotihuacan

Plus, pyramids. Big ones. I have to see the pyramids in the New World after the ones I saw in Egypt 🙂

Moscow

I live in Poland. I love Warsaw, which many here find grey, uninspiring and remembering of the communist past of the country. I tend to disagree. Thus, it is only obvious that Moscow would make this list as the bigger sister of Warsaw.

Moscow by night
Photo by Serge Kutuzov on Unsplash

Perhaps it is also the fascination with the large spaces I have, surely a bit of it resurfaces here too. Or perhaps the fascination with places that have a lot of history to tell. Also. Moscow is the most “at the border of civilization” place I can think of in Europe. Not in the meaning that there aren’t more remote places, Iceland or Cape North come to mind for instance, but Moscow is like the easternmost boundary of european history, for so long the “enemy” of most european countries and a place of huge power. More east and we enter asian history.

Since when I read a few books on WWII I was hooked on 2 places, Berlin and Moscow. The former I visited 4 times already, yet Moscow remains unexplored.

Rajasthan

A land of colorful contrasts. The amber of Jaipur, the ochre of the Thar desert, the brown of the Mehrangarh fort, the Pink city and the blue of Jodhpur. So many colours and so much history, a crossing of islamic and hindu art and culture, other than having geographical marvels like the desert and the mountains in the north.

Rajasthan colorful building
Photo by Ravi Shekhar on Unsplash

I’m sure Rajasthan is on many travellers’ ultimate travelist. Along with the nearby main cities of India, is a must visit for me.

Namibia

This is the most recent addition to my ultimate travelist. It was born of the Namibia Special that the guys of Top Gear released back in 2016. Beside being extremely funny, the episode showed me an amazing mix of dunes, red terrain, long blue sea waves and an unexplored oceanic coast that got me hooked. Again, vast spaces and vibrant colours are like a light to a moth for me.

Namibia's mountains
Photo by Alan J. Hendry on Unsplash

Also worth considering that Namibia may be one of the best road trips that could be done. Large, unexplored and mostly devoid of people. Perhaps only Bolivia would top it. One day, perhaps 🙂

Iran

Arguably one of the countries with the longest history, Iran has the incredible mix of huge spaces and a rich art, with variegated architectures going from the Persian Empire times, through multiple Iranic dynasties and islamic reigns, without excluding Turkish, Mongols and Semitic influences.

Persepolis
Photo by Hasan Almasi on Unsplash

Isfahan, Yazd, Mashad, Shiraz, Tabriz have all an incredible number of Islamic monuments and mosques that is unparalleled in the world. Add to that mountains, sea, lakes, deserts, tall dunes and a rich cuisine that reflects the millennia of history and foreign influences and Iran couldn’t have missed this ultimate travelist.

Iceland

Iceland Panorama with Church
Photo by Rudolf Kirchner

On a whole different atmosphere, Iceland is a mix of volcanic areas, green hills (in the good season), viking atmosphere and dramatic views. Quite isolated, mostly empty of people, which never hurts, Iceland has not much in terms of arts but I feel it would be one of the best places for a trip alone due to its security, modernity but especially lack of rush, excess of tourists and splendid nature. At least if you are aiming to get away from everything for a few days alone, Iceland fits perfectly. Plus somehow I feel at home in scandinavian/viking areas so that’s a big plus.

And you? What is your ultimate travelist?

Cover photo by WanderLabs on Unsplash

Neapolitan programmer, traveller and metalhead, co-author of PaperSounds blog.

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *