Was it the surroundings and culture of India? Was it my company in Nicaragua that made the trip bold? It is incredibly difficult to judge the charm of a destination objectively. After some reflection on the destinations I have visited, I have to conclude that it is super difficult to choose which ones are best.
Traveling for me is perspective. Perspective on the world and on other cultures in comparison with safe Denmark. Of course, I had a good gut feeling when I was asked which five destinations are my favorite - and which one I could have done without. The destinations that have stuck in my memory register are most often the ones that have also put Denmark in the greatest perspective. Here comes my personal summary of five go and a no-go destination.
90% perfection: Corn Island, Nicaragua
70 kilometers east of the Caribbean coast in Nicaragua do you find the island of Corn Island. However, I must point out that the company I was with was top class and possibly the reason for my amazing experience of the island. But beyond that, there was something uncommonly amazing about the island and the locals themselves.
Island community, yoga studios, local fish restaurants, jungle, luminescent plankton, blue water and white grains of sand on beaches so pristine that they feel like your very own. The list is long. Corn Island is the most peaceful, relaxing and entertaining island I have ever visited.
After four nights, I had already had the urge to stay forever. The only factor that made me not want to stay indefinitely was that the island turns off all power between 01 and 06 in the morning. That is, no air conditioning and no fan every night - in a temperature of 30 degrees. I can almost classify the island as pure perfection; sweaty perfection at least.
Bollywood - Hollywood in India
Despite a less fortunate start to the trip to India, I still feel like going back there and experiencing some of the places I did not visit in the first place. India is ten times bigger than our dear neighbor Germany, so there are plenty of places to choose from.
The plane landed a few hours late in New Delhi at the time in 2015. The empty, half-dirty streets, where a couple of homeless people roamed in the light of night, were the first impression we got from the taxi window - followed by the information that the hotel we had booked, did not exist at all. We were under pressure at three o'clock at night in New Delhi. Luckily we were dropped off at a tourist information office which was open XNUMX hours a day and which helped us through the night and the coming days. After that, it only got better.
We experienced everything we needed to, around the so-called 'Golden Triangle' between New Delhi, Jaipur and Agra - and what had been highest on my bucket list long: Taj Mahal. It was a dream come true at the Taj Mahal. We traveled on to Mumbai and subsequently to Goa. What I remember best from India is how the feeling of complete chaos could seem completely natural.
India is a great beautiful chaos. It is especially reminiscent of the Indian train stations where we were going on one of those cheap ones crowdede train rides - and where the toilet is just a hole down to the rails - that chaos has its charm. From culinary experiences in Mumbai and meeting the free cow on the streets to the Taj Mahal and the chaotic train stations. I look forward to experiencing the south of India too.
First India, then Italy: Fantastic, colorful and local in the Cinque Terre
Fantastic, colorful and local. By recommendation, I took the Cinque Terre on my already planned 8-day road trip through Italy. I managed to visit six cities in eight days in Italy and that was for me the definition of liberating.
The Cinque Terre means five cities, Rio Maggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso, and they are right next to where the waves hit the rocks. The facades of the cities stand in picturesque contrast with the waves of the sea. All five cities have a formidable view that you will not want to miss. They are connected by hiking trails of a total of 12 kilometers. If you do not have all day to hike the many kilometers, you can buy a train pass.
Pladask in love with Italy
I love the feel of Italy: the scent, the southern European rays of the sun, the sounds of the streets. Overall, my vacation in Italy was perfect. I had - unlike the rest of Denmark - only visited Italy once before, and I now understand the Danes' 'dependence' on the country. pizzas, ice creams, amazing views and red wine. I fell head over heels for Italy. The beautiful views of the Cinque Terre are high on my travel memories, and of course they are also on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Sore rods in San Francisco, USA
Overall, I'm not the biggest fan of United States - but it is inevitable that such a large country should not have anything good for me too. And they have. San Francisco is an incredibly cozy and charming city and definitely worth a visit.
In comparison to Los Angeles, I did not expect much from the city. But to my surprise, the two cities are not comparable. San Francisco's cozy charm shines through in contrast to the usual diagonal streets that every American metropolis has. The hills, in turn, also leave their mark; at least your legs are coming to work.
Home of the world's tallest palm trees: Salento, Colombia
A city with variety is something I can not get my hands down. The tallest palm trees in the world, coffee plantations and evening life - what's not to like? Salento i Colombia have it all. I arrived in Salento late at night in a hurried attempt to get to visit the place before my other travel plans overtook me. With a late arrival and only two nights in the house, I still managed to hike the famous trip through the valley Valle del Cocora to experience the only palm trees that can grow up to 60 meters high. The same day I trotted on and visited a Colombian coffee farm.
Gunpowder and coffee
Have you heard about yew? The Colombian version of bowling. A traditional throwing game where the throwing tools contain gunpowder and the goal is to make as much explode as possible. If you need more energy after the many hikes and visits to the Colombian coffee plantations, then tejo is something you should experience in Salento.
You do not have to spend many days here to see what is in the city. I managed to experience everything in the two nights. The place is great if you want silence in the local area - and I could have spent a day or two more.
A crossroads, and then you move on: Panama City
Panama is an incredibly delicious destination with lots of opportunities to experience different island cultures. But if you go there, try to avoid Panama City - or hurry up and watch the Panama Canal, check it off your list and then get going again. It is in my eyes a city that just needs to be overcome.
But why is it so? Absolutely all of the locals I was in contact with were either arrogant or rude. I felt a certain hostility towards tourists. It was as if I had crossed their borders just by stepping into their country. The city itself is not exactly interesting either. I just had too many bad experiences in Panama City for me to have to try it again.
So if you are in the country of Panama, cross the Panama Canal on your list and head for either San Blas or Bocas del Toro.
Have a good trip - wherever you go!