100 Places I Want To See Before I Die (50 – 41)

Celebrating the publishing of my new travelogue Planes Trains & Sinking Boats I am continuing my countdown of top 100 list of places I want (and wanted) to see when I was a student.  The world has changed quite a bit in that time and there are plenty of places that I could go to before which I can’t practically do at the moment, I”m talking Iraq and the Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan amongst others.  However, Eastern Europe is now entirely visit-able and there are entirely new places which didn’t really exist as a tourist attraction such as Dubai.  Other places were dangerous then and dangerous now such as South Africa, obviously I mean wondering around on my own off the beaten track and not visiting Table Mountain.    If you missed the countdown so far you can click on the links to read 100-91, 90-81 80-71 here 70-61 here and 60-51 here.

50 Malta.  The ancient historic island in the Med full of things to see.  My favourites were the UN protected old city of Medina (home of Game of Thrones) and the nearby underground cave where St. Paul once preached.

Mdina

We had an ice-cream and a “Wudy” in Mdina Piazza so were surprised when watching Game of Thrones to see Sean Bean as Ned Stark have a sword fight here in Game of Thrones.

49 Budapest. The Second City of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and sat on the banks of the Danube River. I’ve seen it at night from the air and by its great buildings, I instantly knew where I was.  Hopefully I will get to see it on the ground one day.

Budapest

On the beautiful Blue Danube lay two cities formerly separated by the river, Buda and Pest united in 1873 to form Budapest.

48 The Menim Gate. Located in beautiful Ypres, Belgium is the scene of a daily ceremony commemorating the fallen of WW1.  Surrounded by the old WW1 battlefields and cemeteries this was the first foreign visit I made on my own and in its own way, none have been more memorable.

Menin Gate

Ever since WW1, at 8pm every evening the local fire brigade have performed this memorial services to the fighting Tommys

47 Bruges. Similar in many ways to Amsterdam but with a touch of York about it.  Bruges has more sites to see than most visitors have chance to see but the main central square dominated by the old clock tower shouldn’t be missed. Climb up the steps and witness the amazing performance at midday. Also take a wonder down the narrow streets, visit the lace shops, chocolate shops and try some chips and mayo.

Bruges

Perhaps the most beautiful city I have yet visited. Great for tapestries, chocolate, antiques and fine buildings.

46 St. Michaels Mount – Near the tip of Cornwall with its palm fringed beaches and gardens.  Connected to the mainland until a huge storm millennia ago, you can walk to the mount at low tide but you have to get a boat back at high tide!

St Michaels Mount

A fairy tale castle cut off from Cornwall by a massive storm 4,000 years ago.

St Michaels Mount Low Tide

At high tide you need to boat across but at low tide you can simply walk.

45 Moscow. Still in many ways an unknown quantity to regular travellers, perhaps because the Russian government is still not the friendliest in the world.  However, Red Square, St. Basils Cathedral , the Kremlin and all of the museums and galleries mean that Moscow is definitely a place I want to see one day.

Red Square, Moscow

It says a lot about me and probably Russia too that all 50% of what want to see in this huge country is in and around Red Square.

44 The Grand Canyon and Monument Valley.  I like deserts and I’ve seen the top of the African Rift valley in Jordan which was amazing but The Grand Canyon though not as wide has better cliff definition.  If I can combine it with a trip to the giant asteroid crater in Arizona then so much the better.

The Grand Canyon

One of the iconic images of North America, The Grand Canyon.

43 Mongolia.  I spent several years studying and reading about The Mongols.  As they were mostly nomads, there isn’t that much to see history wise.  What there is a lot of is space.  About the size of Western Europe and the population of Wales.  Stay in a Yurt, ride horses and be thousands of miles away from anyone.  Nice!

Mongolia Horses

The size of western Europe with the population of just Wales (not very much)… Mongolia.

42 Teotihuacan.  This Aztec city is located just 30 miles north of present day Mexico-City.  Having seen step pyramids in Egypt, it would be great to see this bigger and better preserved complex than the one at Saqqarra and see some of the great marvels of the Americas before the Europeans arrived.   Chichen Itza and Cancun.  A few hundred miles from the great Aztec centre lays one of the centres of another major American civilisation, The Maya. Home to more pyramids and ruins but it’s what I like to see.

Teotihuacan

Teotihuacan and Chichen Itza. These vast deserted cities are the most impressive ruins of pre-European Americas.

41 The Forbidden City at the heart of Beijing was for 500 years the Imperial centre of China. Comprising of 980 wooden buildings this huge ancient complex is the epitome of old China that interests me so much more than glass towers bedecked in neon lights ever could.

The Forbidden City

Between Heaven and the Earth lies The Forbidden City.

Remember, I am running a competition to win a copy of my new travelogue Planes, Trains & Sinking Boats.  The book is available on Kindle from all the Amazon UK  USA sites and will very shortly be available on the Apple iTunes iBookshelf for use with iPhones, iPod Touch and iPads.   A paperback edition is for sale at Lulu and on Amazon USA and Amazon UK and worldwide.

The reader who can guess what is number 1 on my list will receive a free signed paperback copy of Planes, Trains and Sinking Boats.  If no-one can guess number 1 then the person whose guess is highest on my list will receive a free e-book.   Send me an email with your guess or leave a guess in the comments below.

For the next 100 days anyone who follows my blog and purchases either Let Me Help or Planes, Trains and Sinking Boats on Amazon Kindle or in E-book format from Lulu or iTunes iBooks then I will send you a free E-book of the other title, just email me a screen dump proof of purchase.

Also, anyone who purchases a paperback copy of Let Me Help in the next 100 days and sends me proof of purchase I will send a free e-book format book to you.  I would ask that if you buy Let Me Help, you buy it from either Lulu or the more expensive copy on Amazon as the cheaper copy provides me with no royalties as the Publisher has now closed.

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About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including a #1 seller, I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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11 Responses to 100 Places I Want To See Before I Die (50 – 41)

  1. Boyer Writes says:

    Stephen, I have been to Mongolia two times. The first was in the early 90’s after they declared their independence from Russia and went to teach English and then later when I went back to help in Christian missions. My suggestion, if you want to go there, is not to wait too long. I keep in touch with some of my students and things are becoming so westernized and changing so rapidly that much of the old culture may be lost. If you do go, be certain to see the museum telling about their Independence and some of the old monasteries. The Russians tried to destroy the Buddhist religion and many of their temples were destroyed as well. One large one is out in the Gobi that is probably safe because it is highly respected as a tourist spot. Nancy

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    • I am a little jealous to hear that Nancy! Did you enjoy your time there? It is such a shame when people want to modernise and they ditch their own cultures and ways of life. There must be ways for them to have the best of both worlds.

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      • Boyer Writes says:

        Stephen, I am hopeful that there are those who will see the need to keep traditions as well as the new. I am not certain. Yes, my time there was extremely interesting and I found the people to be very warm and friendly. Of course, all my students said their dream was to come to America. One did visit me two summers ago and had never be out of Mongolia. Want an experience for her. She was in charge of a committee to clean up trash etc…so I took her to a modern land-fill and she got pictures and information. I asked if they had done anything about change, and she said “no”. My most interesting memories were getting on a packed bus with sheep as riders; having a man up under my umbrella in the pouring rain…which I was told later by students he would have never done that if he had seen I was a foreigner. He bowed to me as we caught the bus. Another interesting moment was when I went to a Museum and the guide was taking a Japanese person around…neither spoke the other’s language…Mongolian or Japanese…so they chose English. That was great…for I understood the whole tour! The first trip the teens were begging on the street….a few years later they were washing cars outside a hotel for they had learned something about free enterprise. Now, the economy is a whole new ballgame. You may want to see my blog that I wrote some time ago. http://boyerwrites.wordpress.com/2012/05/19/mongolia-the-land-at-the-ends-of-the-earth-is-changing/

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  2. Pingback: 100 Places I Want To See Before I Die (40-31) | Stephen Liddell

  3. Ingrid D. says:

    I am happy to see that you included the Menin Gate! It’s not so known amongst tourists, but it is indeed impressive!

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  4. yarrpirate says:

    Mongolia is stunning, and for all the right and wrong reasons. It is quite unique in many ways. I think it is the one country you could just sit down and right a book about, without a story.

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  5. Pingback: 100 Places I Want To See Before I Die (30 -21) | Stephen Liddell

  6. Pingback: 100 Places I Want To See Before I Die (20 – 11) | Stephen Liddell

  7. Pingback: 100 Places I Want To See Before I Die Top 10 | Stephen Liddell

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