I already mentioned Detroit as being number 40 on the list of the New York Times places to go in 2008. Sad to say, I have only been to the airport in Detroit. After posting about this city, I agree that the capital of the automobile and Motown is indeed a place to see this year.
Places to go lists such as the New York Times version can either make a person feel as depressed as hell that one can’t possibly see all of the places mentioned in one year, or fairly smug that one seen as much as one has. As for me, I’m happy I’ve been to some places, but still tipping towards the so many places, so little time and not enough money to even make a dent reality check.
1. I’ve been to Oslo, although I was young, broke and can’t remember much about it except for this Canadian guy I met who I was enamored by to the point that meeting him was far more important than any glacier I may have seen. I still have the sweater I bought.
I’ve also been to San Francisco, New York, Prague, London, San Diego, Tuscany, Vietnam, London and Munich–all on the list at various points. That’s it. I have so much more to see this year and the two places on my itinerary so far, Mexico and Williamsburg, Virginia aren’t even mentioned.
When picking from such a list, here are my suggestions for making a choice based on the places I’ve gone. I’ve linked the destination suggestions with past Gadling posts. If you click on the links, you’ll go to posts with a variety of angles.
2. For a culture different from your own, but one that is affordable and accessible to tourists, I’d head to Vietnam. I’ve been here five times and have never been disappointed. If I were you, do not stay in a top-tiered hotel, but in a family run place. Much more interesting. Sitting downstairs visiting with the family who owns it is a cultural treat.
3. Laos is on this list though, as a place more edgy than Vietnam. I’ve never been to Laos, but know people who have and they’ve also had great experiences. If you want a place not so tourist ready, this would be more of an adventure.
4. If you want to be wowed by history, art, landscape and architecture, plus a sensual delight in food, I’d pick Tuscany, although according to some reports I’ve read, it’s getting filled to the brim with tourists. Still, if you rent a car and can drive out into the countryside, that might help offset the crowds.
5. For a place where you can easily see pomp and circumstance and a sweeping sense of a country that has had a huge impact on the world, head to London. The last time I was there, we only had a day. I was traveling with my husband, my then 9 year-old daughter and 1 1/2-old son. We walked, took a double-decker bus, took the Underground and took a taxi to make tracks, but managed to have a lot of fun and see what we wanted to take in without wearing ourselves out. I remember hitting the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, the Thames River, The Tower of London, The British Museum and Trafalgar Square.
7. Munich was another place I breezed through when I didn’t have much money. The beer hall was fun, and a contrast to the other things I did. I spent some time at Olympiapark thinking about the Israeli athletes who were killed here and seeing the pool where Mark Spitz swam. I must have been woozy on beer, bratwurst and a period of life when I was eating mostly bread and cheese to make the traveling dollars stretch. My shoes were taped together with electrician’s tape. Okay, this feels depressing and not why Munich made the places to see list. If you have wonderous Munich experiences, do tell.
8. Old Town in San Diego is a shoppers heaven. I’m not much of a shopper, but I love the shops here and the history of the buildings. We visit relatives in San Diego, so we don’t hit it up as a tourist destination. One thing I would like to do is take a fishing boat ride. We’ve only fished on a pier. If you go to San Diego, don’t miss Neiderfrank’s Ice-Cream. It’s special indeed.
9. San Francisco was probably my favorite city in my across the U.S. sweep after the Peace Corps. The most memory producing activity I did was the tour of Alcatraz Island. Highly entertaining and informative. The bonus is the chance to see San Francisco from the vantage point of across the water.
10. New York City, though, is my most favorite place in the world. If you don’t take the time to walk several blocks, say from 42nd Street to the East Village, your missing out on an interesting time.