This Year’s European Travel Wishlist

For anyone reading this from the future (or even the past, you never know when that kind of technological advancement will come into play) when I say ‘this year’ I’m actually referring to 2017. I’ve seen those same four digits popping up left right and centre so much over the last week and a bit that I don’t think my eyes register it as an actual number anymore. It’s like when you read or write the word way too many times so eventually it just looks like nonsense. This happens a lot with me and bubbles.

Bubbles.

Bubbles bubbles bubbles bubbles bubbles bubbles bubbles bubbles.

Now look away and then look back. Looks weird, right?

Another big one is curry. I work part time in an Indian restaurant and I see that word so much that I honestly question its very existence these days. I think it might be something to do with the double letters, which both curry and bubbles have in common. Oh, there we gocommon is another one.

While we’re on the subject of clarifying the title of this post, when I say ‘wishlist’ I mean more of a sort of bucket list-type thing, but there’s something in my subconscious that prevents me from calling it that. Bucket makes me think of that annoyingly catchy but pretty pointless song. There’s a hole in my bucket dear Liza, dear Liza. About that song… I’ve always thought that if Henry and Liza just cut back a bit on the back and forth sing-song then they could’ve got their bucket problem sorted so much quicker!

I bet you’re wondering where I’m going with this one. Yeah, me too.

Shall we move on? Let’s move on.

You may remember that a little while back (like, four days) I mentioned how this year I want to give the UK and Europe more of a shot in the travel stakes. There are so many places here that are actually super interesting, and in some cases pretty unique to the world, but I’ve never really given them a chance. I don’t even have a valid reason for it! I mean, people often travel a really bloody long way to come to this part of the world for a holiday so I guess it must be something special, right?!

Speaking of, one of my best buds in the whole wide world is hopefully (fingers and toes crossed!) coming all the way over to the UK from India at some point this year for a little visit. It’ll be the perfect chance for me to don my bus conductor’s hat and play tour guide, paying him back for all he did for me when I was in India. Molto exciting no?

For that reason this post started off as a UK-only wishlist, to act as a sort of reference/to-do list if he actually for when he eventually comes over, but on realising I haven’t yet thought of any places besides Castell Coch and Edinburgh, it morphed into what it is now – a European wishlist!

Italy

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll already have noticed I’ve been in a bit of a wistful mood lately when it comes to Italy.
I spent the first half of my Erasmus Year Abroad living in Forli, a tiny little town which was home to a few departments belonging to the University of Bologna, and when I wasn’t busy not turning up to my lectures I was off exploring other parts of the country: Rome, Florence, Milan, Venice, Pisa – basically all of the ‘main’ cities. There’s a lot left for me to see, though.
In my post-birthday reflective mode I published a list of 25 things I want to achieve before I turn 25 next October. Heading back to Italy was one of them. Maybe next time I’ll venture further south, to Naples or maybe even Sicily.

Croatia

*cue Game of Thrones theme music*

The ellipses are representative of the insanely long wait for the theme music to end. If you’re a fan you know what I mean. If you’re not a fan you still probably know what I’m talking about. Although I’m not quite up-to-date with the TV series just yet I have read all the current books in English and have even started to read the first book in Spanish (six months on and I’m still on page 5!) so visiting King’s Landing as well as all the other filming locations dotted around Dubrovnik and beyond would be an absolute dream! I’ll be honest, including Croatia in this list is a bit cheeky because I’ve already got plans (and plane tickets!) to visit in Feb/March, but needs must eh?

Berlin

I’ve visited Berlin before and while I did absolutely love it, the reason I want to go back again isn’t because I want to go back. My little sister’s currently studying GCSE History and as a result has developed some sort of weird obsession with Germany, particularly Berlin. We were watching TV one night not long after I got back from India and there was a scene set in Germany. “I love Germany. I really want to go to Berlin one day,” she said out loud. I guess in my absence she’d forgotten how easily influenced I can be when it comes to taking holidays. When I responded with “Okay, let’s go” she thought I was joking. I was not. All I need to do now is persuade my rather reluctant stepdad to trust me with his only biological child for a few days of educational German fun (and lots of pretzels). It’s a lot harder than it sounds, even though this is the same man who’s paying for a 4 day school trip to Amsterdam (seriously, what kind of school takes a busload of fourteen-year old kids to Amsterdam?!).

Auschwitz

Not your typical dream destination and just like with Croatia I’m kind of cheating by including it on this list seeing as I already have a trip booked for 2 weeks time. I’m not in any way excited for the trip – in fact, I don’t think I could say I’m looking forward to it, either. However, I really think that the only way to truly understand history and to ensure we don’t make the same mistakes again is by facing those mistakes head on, even if that means spending a harrowing day at the place where so many people took their very last breath.

Iceland

WARNING: This is where I go on a probably totally irrelevant tangent about something only vaguely related to the subject at hand.
When I was 4 I went to Disneyland with my father, stepmother, brother and sister. If you’re a regular visitor here you’ll already know that because it’s one of those things I mention in passing all the freaking time, but if you don’t know what I’m talking about you can read a brief summary of that trip by clicking here. So yeah, Disneyland. There was a little boy there we befriended who’s name was Inky. We went down the slide together more times than I can count (it was a really cool slide that sort of spouted out of a tree) outside of the apartment buildings in which both our families were staying and his parents spent a lot of the time in the hot tub. Inky was the first foreign person I’d ever met and ever since then I’ve always wanted to visit Iceland. That feeling has only intensified since seeing Amy’s insanely beautiful wedding photos from her destination wedding in Iceland.

Source: Independent

Athens

I’ve always thought that if I were to go to Greece then I’d go for the history and the ruins, not for the sun, sea and cocktails! I’m not knocking those who do go for a week long all-inclusive to Corfu, but for me Athens has always been top of the list when it comes to Greek destinations! Other than the whole array of incredible sites, I’d love to spend a few days eating nothing but authentic Greek food and aimlessly wandering through the streets of the city.

Tallinn

Riga gave me a taste of the Baltics and I’ve been left craving more. Torn between the Estonian capital of Tallinn or Lithuania’s Vilnius, after a lot of umm-ing and aah-ing Tallinn eventually won out. The cobbled Old Town looks like something straight out of a fairytale book and the architecture of a lot of the buildings look super similar to that of Riga, which I kind of fell in love with. I’m sure eventually I’ll find my way to Vilnius too, but for now a long weekend in Tallinn would be perfect!

Paris

Have you been? If not I bet you kinda feel like the only kid in the class who wasn’t invited to the Macaron-eating party in Paris. It seems that everyone and their brothers are heading to Paris these days.
I’ll be honest, until around mid-2016 France never really appealed to me. In fact I’d go so far as to say I was thoroughly anti-France. Not in an “I hate the French” kind of way, more in a “what is the actual deal with Paris” kind of way. But now I wanna goooo. It has to be one of two ways though: either full-on cliche couple’s romantic weekend in Paris eating croissants under the Eiffel tower while dressed in coordinating stripes or completely solo in an I AM WOMAN I NO NEED MAN kind of way. Whichever way it comes about, je veux Paris.



And done.

It’d be interesting to hear what others think about any of the above, any recommendations on what to do and what not. So if you have any input, feel free to let me know in the comments! Otherwise I’d love to know if you have any plans for Europe in the pipeline!

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55 Comments

  1. 8th January 2017 / 5:38 pm

    I love your writing style. It kind of reminds me of myself! Your list is amazing and includes some fantastic places. I just recently returned to Italy after not having visited for almost 10 years and it was just as amazing as I remembered! I’m also heading to Greece this year and would LOVE to see Tallin and the Baltic countries as well. We’ll see!

    • rhiydwi
      8th January 2017 / 8:58 pm

      Thanks Lynne! I’m a bit of a silent admirer of yours so that’s one hell of a compliment! Oh isn’t Italy an absolute dream?! Even though I lived there for 6 months it was nowhere near enough time to really see it all. Ooh Greece, how exciting! Looking forward to following along with your travels! 🙂

  2. 8th January 2017 / 7:05 pm

    Nice list! I absolutely love France, so I hope you will like it too! Italy is lovely as well, I like the area ‘Umbria’.

    • rhiydwi
      8th January 2017 / 9:01 pm

      Hopefully! Eventually I’d like to see more than just Paris, but where better to start? 🙂 Oh yes, Perugia caught my eye a while ago.

  3. 8th January 2017 / 8:52 pm

    Great list! If you do head to Greece, I would also recommend Santorini, which I actually preferred over Athens. With the iconic white-washed houses and blue domes, Santorini makes for a perfect postcard memory! The vineyards overlooking the Mediterranean are a nice touch as well, and it’s a great way for wine-tasting which for me was probably one of the best wines I’ve ever had! Hope you can make it to your destinations this year.

    • rhiydwi
      8th January 2017 / 9:04 pm

      I’ve heard a lot of good things about Santorini actually, and have seen a lot of great pictures. Did you get sponsored by the Santorini tourism board to write that comment? Haha, You’ve made it sound like an absolute dream!! Here’s hoping! And I hope 2017 brings you all the travel and adventure you hope for too 😀

  4. 8th January 2017 / 10:48 pm

    Berlin I can 100% recommend, since I lived there 5 years. It is purely amazing to be there right now, so many things happening. Iceland is simply overwhelming beautiful and Paris is also purely amazing. Great list with nice places to discover. You will have a fantastic travel year! 🙂

    • rhiydwi
      9th January 2017 / 10:34 pm

      5 years there? That’s incredible, I’m a bit jealous haha. Yeah, if I get around to even a handful of the places listed it’ll surely be a great year!

  5. 8th January 2017 / 11:28 pm

    Loving all these amazing destinations on your Europe list! I don’t know why but I’m basically obsessed with Europe! Every city just speaks to me! I totally did Paris in the full on cliche romantic couples getaway way and it was fantastic — but a girls weekend there would be amazingggg! Athens is spectacular. I did love getting the whole experience of doing the Greek Islands as well as the ruins and the city bit. And if you have some extra time, check out Thessaloniki, Greece — I’m sure you’d love it too!

    • rhiydwi
      10th January 2017 / 3:27 pm

      Hey there’s nothing wrong with being obsessed with Europe! It’s pretty great if I do say so myself 😉 I guess to have a full on cliche romantic getaway I’d first need a person to partake in said getaway haha. Thanks for the recommendation, I’ll check it out!

  6. 8th January 2017 / 11:38 pm

    Omg Tallin! If you go I will be INSANELY jealous! After speaking to a work mate and grilling her on her home country (I seem to do this a lot, I’m not sure whether they enjoy it or not but I want to know EVERYTHING about their country) Estonia, she said Tallin was beautiful! She described it as all the Russian charm but for way cheaper; HELLO! Plus that old city looks straight out of rapunzel or something. She did advise that around Christmas is the best time to go because the whole place is a blanket of snow like a fairytale and they have a massive tree in the old square with twinkling lights and cute markets around it. Basically I’m sold and I’ve been talking about Tallin ever since! Deffo go! The end.

    • rhiydwi
      9th January 2017 / 10:38 pm

      Haha I’m exactly same! A new girl started work this week at the restaurant I work at. She’s from Slovakia and I think I’ve scared her with all my questions.
      I imagine not only is it a lot cheaper than Russia, but a lot less terrifying too! There’s something about that country that makes me want to hide under my quilt all day, I don’t know what it is. A return to Tallinn from Bristol starts at £80 – at that price there’s no excuse not to go really! And your enthusiastic support of this plan just makes me even more excited to put it into action haha!

  7. 8th January 2017 / 11:44 pm

    I totally feel like we’re blogging soul sisters after reading this.
    And I know exactly what you mean about the GoT intro theme. My god–I have to fast forward every time and it’s still like 10 minutes long.
    I’m the same with Paris. I’ve never given a crap about going (same with London), so what did I do this year? Booked a trip to London and Paris! I kinda wanna see what all the hype is. I DID study French for 4 years haha. I hope you get to go to all the places!

    • rhiydwi
      9th January 2017 / 10:40 pm

      YES! I watched the first 2 seasons on box-set and I swear there was no option to skip the intro. All the other scenes, sure skip ahead. But the one part that is EXACTLY THE SAME episode after episode after episode? Nope, just sit and suffer with it being stuck in your head for the next 5 weeks.
      Oh wow, so you’re going this year?! So exciting! Yep, exactly. It’s no fun not being part of the Paris party, I want in!

  8. 9th January 2017 / 1:21 am

    Paris has been on my list for the longest time too. Your post is very fun to read.

    • rhiydwi
      9th January 2017 / 10:41 pm

      Thanks Yulia! 🙂 Hope you get to visit pretty soon.

  9. 9th January 2017 / 1:30 am

    That’s a great list right there. Iceland would be fantastic. What a great story about Inky, too. Really nice that you’ve carried that memory with you for so long and found inspiration in it. All the best to you this year.

    • rhiydwi
      9th January 2017 / 10:42 pm

      Yeah, it’s pretty funny that I remember very little else from that holiday but Inky? I could probably recreate him out of Lego! Thanks, same back at you!

  10. 9th January 2017 / 3:44 am

    I hate you a little bit for getting that stupid bucket song in my head haha! Sounds like you have a fun year ahead and I can’t wait to read all about it!

    • rhiydwi
      9th January 2017 / 10:42 pm

      Hahah I am so sorry. If it’s any consolation I hate myself too. Thanks for reading!

  11. 9th January 2017 / 9:07 am

    Great to see Berlin and Tallinn on your list. I lived in Berlin for 6 months in 2013 and absolutely loved the experience! I’ve also been to Tallinn 3 times, coming by the ferry from Helsinki. I’m in love with the old town there 🙂 Happy travelling!

    • rhiydwi
      9th January 2017 / 10:52 pm

      The Old Town looks so magical in pictures, I can’t wait to hopefully visit!

  12. 9th January 2017 / 9:15 am

    Good luck with your list. I went to Tallinn last week actually and loved it. Absolutely stunning city to visit. I will have a blog post in the next few days with things to do and see, plus places to eat that you may like.

    Love all the other places on your list. I have been to a few of them such as Paris and Berlin and they are also great places to go.

    • rhiydwi
      9th January 2017 / 10:51 pm

      Oh that’s awesome, I’ll keep an eye out for that post!! It’s never too early to start planning, even if the trip is currently in its hypothetical stages.

  13. 9th January 2017 / 11:17 am

    So often you see people just chase the next country before fully experiencing a place they’ve been to…IT’s great to see you embrace places you’ve been and a desire to get back 🙂

    • rhiydwi
      9th January 2017 / 10:50 pm

      Thanks! I don’t think there’s anything wrong with going back somewhere you’ve already been. Especially if you liked it! Creature comforts and all that jazz 😀

  14. 9th January 2017 / 11:53 am

    I’ve been to Paris about 6 times and I didn’t really get it until a friend showed me round their favourite cafés and we had brunch every day! I think there are a lot of other French cities that have loads to offer and feel more French less touristy. Bordeaux for example, where i lived for 9 months has everything in my opinion! Maybe I’m biased but it has the coast a short train ride away, beautiful vineyards and medieval villages to explore, and the best food and wine I’ve had in France, also bars and shops and a gorgeous city centre with a beautiful riverfront. Can you tell I miss it!!!

    • rhiydwi
      9th January 2017 / 10:49 pm

      To be honest knowing my tastes and what I do and don’t like, I reckon of all the places in France, Paris is the one I’d end up liking the least. So whether or not it wins me round with this Parisian charm I’ve heard so much about, it can only go up from there! I’d love to eventually get around a bit more of France though, especially the little medieval villages you always see in people’s Instagram pics! Maybe if I ever learn to drive a French roadtrip would be in order. You’re certainly selling Bordeaux to me, I’ll tell you that!

  15. 9th January 2017 / 12:18 pm

    Your travel wishlist looks incredible. Look forward (in a non-morbid sense, if that makes sense?) to reading about your trip to Auschwitz; it’s a place that I’ve long wanted to go, and studying accounts of the Holocaust during the final year of my degree made me all the more intrigued. I find that visiting historical places – be it concentration and extermination camps like Auschwitz, cities like Hiroshima, or museums documenting the tragedies – is the best way to come to terms with the past and educate ourselves so that history doesn’t repeat itself. On a lighter note, Iceland looks awesome – I’m torn between wanting to visit in winter to stand a chance of seeing the Northern Lights or summer for the hiking possibilities! I’ll have some posts up on Paris in the near future (only four months or so in the making!) – not my favourite city, but I can understand the appeal and there is tons to see/do/eat there 🙂

    • rhiydwi
      10th January 2017 / 2:53 pm

      That just reminded me I’ve been meaning to go back and read your Hiroshima post! I totally get what you mean about looking forward in a non-morbid sense. Like, I don’t know how to describe how I’m feeling about the trip itself. I’m excited to go but not in an excited way, if that makes sense? It’s odd. Oh yes, definitely!! This year I seem to have developed a thing about going to war museums/memorials, and I feel so much more educated as a result.
      Don’t restrict yourself, why not go for both? 😉 I’ll keep an eye out for you Paris posts! I say that like I don’t already keep an eye out for all your posts haha.

      • 10th January 2017 / 5:15 pm

        It’s a bit of a difficult feeling to articulate isn’t it? I find those sorts of museums fascinating – art museums don’t really do it for me, but anything related to a conflict and I’m there. One of the top things on my year abroad to-visit list when I was in Alsace was to go to Le Struthof – the only Nazi concentration camp on present-day French soil. One day I’ll go back to Alsace and make sure I visit – but without a car it was just impossible (no public transport links!) Haha, well in time hopefully I’ll manage both, but I’ve heard Iceland is expensive so patience will be key!

  16. 9th January 2017 / 2:13 pm

    Of your list, I’ve only been to Berlin myself, but it is an incredible place! Iceland is high on my wishlist as well, I wish you all the best in your travels for this year! <3

    • rhiydwi
      9th January 2017 / 10:46 pm

      Thanks Jackie! I have some pretty good memories of my last trip there but it was all a bit rushed. Next time I’d like to go a bit slower and take it all in a little more.

  17. 9th January 2017 / 10:01 pm

    Looks like a great list! I haven’t been to many of these places yet. Italy is pretty high on my list. I would love to spend a few months travelling around on the trains.

    • rhiydwi
      9th January 2017 / 10:43 pm

      Oh Italy’s incredible! And the train system by far one of the best I’ve ever experienced, second only to Germany. But nothing compares to Germany when it comes to timekeeping really.

  18. 9th January 2017 / 11:57 pm

    Bubble is a weird word. I agree. I loved Athens and Iceland and am predicting you will too. I think everyone needs to go to Paris, just to check it out. It severely disappointed me (long story), but others seem to like it (or, hate it), so I suppose there is still a certain je ne sais quoi AS THEY SAY IN THE WAY OF THE FRENCH. Keep seeing Tallinn pop up everywhere, too. It’s annoying, because I was thinking of going before I left the UK and just ran out of time, sob, sob. I hope there’s a UK travel wishlist that’s coming along soon too (prod, prod). 🙂

    • rhiydwi
      10th January 2017 / 2:50 pm

      One of the weirdest around, definitely! Looking at other people’s posts and pictures and everything I don’t think there’s anything not to love about Iceland! Athens too. Yeah I’m getting the vibe that Paris has a pretty distinctive marmite effect – nobody just likes it, it’s either love or hate. Aww man that’s a shame! Next time you make it to this side of the planet you should definitely go, I’m hearing great things!
      Hahaha yes, definitely a UK one in the makings..

  19. 10th January 2017 / 1:14 am

    I’m totally obsessed with Iceland too! Seriously hoping to get there in 2017. Paris is good…I loved it the first time when I visited at age 14…then when I went there solo back in 2012 I actually hated it. I felt really lonely. Met a random guy & we decided to have wine under the Eiffel Tower one night then he got angry that I didn’t want to make out with him and go back to bed with him. Also lost my deceased grandmother’s ruby ring. So that’s probably why I didn’t enjoy it so much…but I’m sure you’ll love it!

    • rhiydwi
      10th January 2017 / 2:44 pm

      Oh crikey Paris wasn’t very good to grown up you by the sounds of it! Such a shame about your grandmother’s ring 🙁 I think Iceland is THE place everyone wants to go this year! I was actually reading about it the other day, and apparently the country has the massive 2010 volcanic eruption to thank for putting it on the map. Who knew volcanoes were good for something eh?

  20. 10th January 2017 / 11:27 am

    Aw that’s such a sweet memory about Iceland, thank you for the shout out also! I hope you get to go, obviously I recommend it haha.

    Italy and auschwitz are high on my list too. I hope you get to go to all of these places so I can enjoy reading about them on your blog haha.

    http://fourcatsplusus.co.uk – Amy

    • rhiydwi
      10th January 2017 / 3:28 pm

      It’s mad, I remember hardly anything about America. But Inky? Absolutely everything! He was the beginning of my fascination with all things foreign and strange haha! No problem, I think everyone should see your wedding pics just because they’re so bloody nice!

  21. 10th January 2017 / 9:06 pm

    Loved reading this! Italy and France are on my list for this year, too. I went to Berlin last year and absolutely loved it. Like you, France didn’t really spark my interest until pretty recently, but now I’m very excited to see it. I also love how much personality you put in your writing!

    • rhiydwi
      11th January 2017 / 12:55 pm

      If I had to choose I’d say Berlin is one of my favourite cities but can’t quite put my finger on why! I think France has sparked a lot of people’s interests this year, very exciting! Aw thanks Lianna, and thanks for reading 😀

  22. 10th January 2017 / 9:23 pm

    For Paris to compel you in such a way is quite infectious – looking forward to hearing what the future holds and if a new perspective emerges once there.

    • rhiydwi
      11th January 2017 / 12:55 pm

      Thank you David!

  23. 11th January 2017 / 3:03 pm

    What a great list! I have visited most of them and they are all amazing (Except for Paris, which after two trips to the french capital, I still suffer from Paris syndrome 🙂

    Athens is just amazing.. all its history, cities, culture, people… I would recommend you to head to the highlands (Meteora, Olimpia, Nauplia…) and then visit the cosmopolitan islands (party in Mykonos, relax in Santorini..).
    But overall, although enjoying so much the visit to Auschwitz from Warszawa and to Italy, where I’m planning to settle for a while and learn italian, the MOST AMAZING COUNTRY is Iceland. I lived there for about an year and it’s just speechless!!!!!!! All those landscapes, nature, people.. you are gonna enjoy 2017 so bad! 🙂

    • rhiydwi
      12th January 2017 / 12:25 am

      Oh wow, you’re like my travel hero! Hopefully I’ll get to see a lot more than just the main city of Athens, but it’s all dependent on when I go and how much time I have! How exciting that you’re settling in Italy! I lived and studied there for 6 months in 2013, sooo much pizza and pasta was eaten, it was incredible!
      Your comments are making me so excited to see Iceland and I haven’t even booked anything!

  24. 11th January 2017 / 3:14 pm

    Berlin, Iceland and Auschwitz are on my list too – I’ve wanted to see all three for quite a while now! I actually wanted to go to Berlin last year, but ended up going to Istanbul instead. Hopefully this year! (I went to Munich in December which was amazing, so I definitely want to go back to Germany at some point!)

    • rhiydwi
      12th January 2017 / 12:26 am

      Oh Istanbul is somewhere I’d love to visit too! It very nearly made this list but then I figured one more would be overkill haha. I was in Munich December 2013, isn’t it just wonderful at Christmas time?!

  25. 12th January 2017 / 7:53 pm

    Great travel list. Croatia is on my list and heard the Christmas markets there are amazing! Cheers to great travels in 2017!

    • rhiydwi
      13th January 2017 / 3:07 pm

      I’ve heard the same thing! Can’t decide whether Christmastime or the height of summer would be best..

  26. 15th January 2017 / 7:18 am

    To tell you the truth, when you started with bubbles and curry, I thought you had gone a bit loony. But I loved your style of writing and I hope you get to show your Indian friend all around. I was in Europe last year and I had a gala time. You should visit Colmar in France. Paris is a city with which you either fall in love or hate it. I loved Paris and I have already been there three times. 🙂

    • rhiydwi
      15th January 2017 / 4:25 pm

      Haha thank you Soumya! 😀 I’m hoping I’ll be one of the lovers, not the haters. I really really really want to love it. Fingers crossed! I’ll be sure to keep Colmar in mind for future trips!

    • rhiydwi
      20th January 2017 / 12:54 pm

      Yeah I definitely will, it’s all booked for Feb/March! So excited!

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