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. If you missed the countdown so far you can click on the links to read 100-91, 90-81 , 80-71 here and 70-61 here. 60 – 51 50-41 here. Finally 40-31 here and 30-21 here.
So we are down to the Top 20. It was very hard to separate many of these. How can anyone separate Venice and Luxor, London and New York? There do seem to be a handful of countries though that in my mind are just extra rich in history and culture and in absolutely no order at all these would be Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Great Britain and Iran. If I could only visit 5 countries, these would be the ones that particularly suit my interests. Of course if you just want to sit on a beach then there are probably closer and cheaper options!
20 New York. I want to arrive in New York in the old-fashioned way, by boat from England. Top of the list is the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and The George Washington Bridge. So much to see here and like most people, if I were to only see one place in the whole of North and South America, it would be New York.
19 Paris. Capital of France and home of The Eiffel Tour, Louvre Museum, Notre Damme and the Mona Lisa. A beautiful but surprisingly very small city, at least for a capital and even more so for one of such great historic importance. Not a place to go when on a diet, that’s for sure. Also maybe surprisingly, the only place I have ever travelled where I have been physically threatened by criminals (as opposed to corrupt police and officials elsewhere) just outside Montmatre Cemetery (similar to London’s Highgate).
18 Mount Sinai. The presumed location where Moses received the 10 Commandments from God. A sunrise over the desert not to be missed plus of course the monastery within the walls of which lies The Burning Bush. Just make sure you climb the right mountain which if you travel by yourself is not as obvious as you might think… I realised my mistake after just a few hundred feet 🙂
17 Kingdom of Northumbria from this beautiful and sparsely populated county of England has more in common with Scandinavia and Scotland than southern England. The highlights include Alnwick Castle, Bamborough Castle, Holy Island, Cragside Hall, Hadrians Wall and that’s not including the wild countryside and desolate sandy beaches. This is possibly my favourite place in the world.
16 Venice. Italy, like Britain is one of a handful of countries that is in another league when it comes to historic and cultural sites. The most unique of which is Venice. The city with canals instead of roads and largely decorated by booty stolen from the historic Constantinople, every trip to Italy has to include Venice.
15 Luxor. Home of the magnificent Temple of Karnak and just the other side of the Nile from the Valley of The Kings. After spending a few days here, do like I did on the way to Abu Simbel and base yourself at Aswan another site which I just don’t have room for on my list but which hosts remains of the only Jewish temple built outside of Jerusalem.
14 Armenia Like Georgia, nestled between Russia and the Middle-East. The country is so small that most of it can be seen easily from the capital Yerevan. Journey out to explore this ancient and ruggedly beautiful country. The Khor Virap monastery with its view of Mt Ararat and Monastery of Gegard are unmissable.
13 London Ok for many people this might be up in there top 2 or 3 but of course living just 20 miles from the city centre I have seen many though my no means all the sites to see. London has it all with only New York as a true rival. Beijing and Dubai might be getting more flash but it takes more than money and bad architecture to be truly cosmopolitan. It’s all about the mix of people, the opportunities and the spirit that makes London come alive like a living organism. If nothing else, its history, mix of peoples and standing in the world make it incomparable. In truth it would be easy to do a list of 100 places in London to see before you die. As usual, one never really makes the most of the places close to your home so the chances are that you will see more of London before I get round to it.
If you want an amazing 360 degree view of London from the top of the New Shard building click here
12 Yazd. Yazd is just one of several cities that I would like to visit in Iran but there isn’t room for all of them in my list. There are so many things to see here, In especially want to see the Zoroastrian Fire Temple and the Towers of Silence, but the old city, fortress and gardens are just some of the other interesting attractions to see here.
11 Shiraz and Persopolis There is enough to see in Shiraz to keep any historian happy. Beautiful tombs and mausoleums and walled gardens with cooling waters and fountains being the basis of Paradise, an Iranian invention. Shiraz is the city of Poets and Roses but if all this isn’t enough then nearby are the grand ruins of Persopolis, made thus when Alexander The Great oversaw their destruction thousands of years ago. Nearby is the burial site of the legendary Xerxes and Darius.
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. There have been lots of good guesses so far!
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.