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It is amazing how many people have “a trip around the world” or a number of exotic, culturally significant or spiritually uplifting destinations to visit on their bucket lists, as if we were nomads at heart (which perhaps we are).
Equally interesting is that some people have more things on their bucket list than anyone could achieve in a whole lifetime, and others have few or even none.
For both of these, and for travel lovers of all shapes and sizes, here is the ultimate bucket list of “must-see” places. It is not necessarily a practical list; some of these places are all but inaccessible, others in some way dangerous, including countries burdened by poverty, racked by disease, ravaged by war or suffering in the wake of some terrible (or man-made) catastrophe. Some of them will also be way over the average person’s budget.
However, we need to dream before we can act: in the words of a very wise North American Indian: “Truly rich is he who has more dreams in his soul than reality can destroy”. Some of these places one might actually visit, but in our dreams, we can visit them all.
Muscat`s prime tourist attraction and the only Mosque in Oman which admits non-muslims, the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque was commissioned by His Majesty himself in 1992, commenced in 1995 and completed 6 ½ years later. Slightly austere (though magnificent) in its sandstone exterior, its interior is rich and opulent. It houses both the second largest hand-woven carpet and the second largest crystal chandelier in the world, as well as exquisite stained-glass windows, mosaics and tiled floors.
The Sultan Qaboos Mosque is only 11.7 km east of Muscat airport (8 minutes by car).
At 10.990 square kilometres, Jamaica (which means “the land of wood and water”) is the third largest island of the Greater Antilles in the Caribbean Sea. It is famed for its reggae music, its Blue Mountain Peak Coffee and its gorgeous beaches; Bob Marley and Ian Fleming (writer of the “James Bond” books) both came from Jamaica. Frenchman`s Cove is one of the loveliest beaches in the world, with tropical vegetation, soft white sand and clear blue water. Moreover, in Jamaica it is always summer. Enjoy!
The closest airport is the Ian Fleming airport, 93 km west of Frenchman’s Cove (just under 2 hours by car).
For a taste of unspoilt rolling green hills, enchanting little villages and modest, friendly people – not to mention great cuisine – you can’t beat Croatia`s little-known Zagorje region. Known in Croatian as “Hrvatsko Zagorje” to distinguish it from the Zagorje municipality in Slovenia, the Zagorje region was formerly a part of the Austrian empire. It lies to the north of Zagreb in what is known as Krapina-Zagorje county, the main town bearing the unprepossessing name of “Krapina”. The region is also well-loved for its castles, museums and thermal baths.
Krapina lies just over 70 km due north of Zagreb (47 minutes by car).
A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995, evidence suggests that Visby on the Island of Gotland was occupied as early as the Stone Age. Today it is a favored holiday destination of Swedes and other Scandinavians and of international tourists alike; in the summer, thousands flock here to enjoy the immaculate beaches, unspoilt natural scenery and Visby`s many festivals (particularly the annual Mediaeval Festival, which takes place each August). Expect romantically rose-draped cottages and some of the best ruined churches you’ve ever seen: Visby is known as the “City of Ruins” or the “City of Roses” alike.
Visby has its own airport, just over 5 km northwest of the town center (8 minutes by car or 4 minutes by shuttle bus).
Table Mountain is the name given to a strange flat-topped mountain, 1.084,6 metres above sea-level, which overlooks the city of Cape Town, a port and coastal city on the northwest peninsular of the Atlantic coast. Visitors can access the summit of Table Mountain by cable-car in five minutes; more energetic and intrepid hikers can use one of the over 900 hiking or climbing routes, which are graded according to difficulty. However you choose to get up, the experience of the summit is a rare and unique one. Many rare species of flora and fauna indigenous to Table Mountain can be viewed, and the summit offers a number of restaurants, from which you can watch the sunset over a glass of your favorite tipple. Stupendous!
Cape Town airport is located just over 25 km east of Table Mountain; guided tours are available.