Story by Ruchika Bajaj
Picture courtesy of Jaya Bajaj
Long train rides, jumping around from country to country, and good company is what has made Rahul Bansal’s travel experiences most memorable.
Finding the dedication to leave the bubble you call home may be difficult, but there is so much more to adventure in the world around us.
“The best parts about foreign places, isn’t the landmarks, it’s the culture and the people,” said Bansal, senior film production major.
As William Shakespeare, once said, “life is too short, so live it to the fullest…every second of your life just treasure it.”
So travelling to beautiful destinations, you may have never thought to experience may be calling your name. Here are some places you just can’t live without seeing.
“I had always wanted to go to London because it is constantly shown on tv shows and movies and looked like such an amazing place, indeed it was,” said Brittany Fradin, sophomore business major.
If you’re looking to travel around Europe, London is an marvelous place to start. With amazing historical landmarks and home of the Royal family, take some time to be a tourist in a fun and fast paced city. Staring at Big Ben, sitting on the London Eye, shopping at the stores that British celebrities are always seen at, and eating in British pubs was everything I needed, said Fradin. If you’re looking to eat healthy, the British pubs might not be the place for you. But on vacation who needs healthy, when you can be indulging in traditional roast and delicious bread pudding.
“The perfect place to take in all of the beauty of this world; just take a deep breath and let it all go along these beautiful canals,” said Jaya Bajaj, a first year law student at Northwestern University.
Be ready to put on your walking shoes and explore all of what Amsterdam has to offer. Starting with the canals, the van gogh museum, and some incredibly charming shops, and if you’re 18 or over be sure to check out the Heineken Factory. No trip is complete without its food though, indulge yourself in all the mouth watering options this city has.
“We had these incredible pancakes and waffles that were topped with all kinds of fresh fruit, I don’t think I’ve ever had a breakfast that good,” said Bansal. From its landmarks, to its food, to the laid back environment and people, Amsterdam seems to have its visitors leaving happy and with no regrets.
The Maldives, located just south of India, is essentially a collection of various islands, so whether you’re looking for a relaxing vacation along some clear blue waters or a nice honeymoon spot, this is the place for you. Don’t worry though, the Maldives has much more for you to see and experience than just the island culture. In the capital city of Male, women can be seen wearing head scarves and there is a designated Muslim prayer time and on the islands. Tourists can be seen sunbathing with drinks in hand or snorkelling in the crystal clear water. Whether you go he cultural route or the island route, you can count on the people on the island being friendly. And if you go at the right time in the year there is also an amazing phenomenon, where phytoplankton line the shores during the night- it ends up looking like stars on the sand and is really quite beautiful.
“So all in all Maldives' city motto “the sunny side of life,” sums up the island nation perfectly,” said Bajaj.
If you’re looking for a place to let loose, this may just be the place for you. “Walking everywhere, walking barefoot, and in your bathing suits is how it is, it’s just such a free spirited culture in Perth,” said Ellie Kantola, sophomore Studio Art major. Australia’s seasons are little different than what we have here in the US, when its winter here its actually summer there. So if you need a place to escape from the snow storms in New York, the wind chill in Chicago, or the rain in Seattle, head over to Australia and take in all it has to offer. Starting with a walk to the white sandy beaches, to surfing or windsurfing among the Australian waters, and end your day with some traditional and classic food. “The fish n chips are amazing, and meat pie is really big and absolutely delicious,” said Kantola. Be ready to have an incredible care free vacation with some of the most down to earth people.
“Asia and Europe collide in a beautiful cultural explosion,” said Bajaj. This is how Jaya Bajaj explained the beauty behind this city. Istanbul is very unique in that there are two separate parts of it: the European half, and the Asian half. Although the entire city is Muslim, the culture differs significantly between the two. If you are looking to experience the tourist side behind the city, the European side is your best bet. If you are trying to witness a new culture and see the life locals live make your way to the the Asian side, in which things are more residential. But regardless of what travel experience you are looking for, you are sure to find in in Istanbul. There is some exceptional history in this city with its mosque, the Hagia Sophia, and the heavily present muslim religion. “The mosques are absolutely beautiful, and The Blue Mosque was incredible depiction of Turkish architecture,” said Sahil Vij, freshman business major.
Not many people think of India, when they are looking for places to travel to but the culture and beauty is like no other.
“Nature at its finest, untouched by time and development,” said Bajaj.
There are many cities in India, and each have something extremely different about them. Nature here is like nothing one has ever seen before, there are a lot of areas to hike, and wild animals to see. But nature isn’t all one must take in when here, the temples are a true depiction of the religions present in Kashmir and there aren’t enough words to describe the beauty of them. As unfortunate as it is to admit that terrorism has plagued such a region, it is what has saved much of the nature and landmarks. That may sound a bit odd, but its true. It may be the furthest thing from industrialized and developed but that is what makes it a place like any other. “The beautiful landscapes and culture makes it a tourist's dream destination,” said Vij.
The place where movies like Sisterhood Of The Travelling Pants and Mamma Mia don’t even do it justice. If these two movies didn’t have you wanting to explore the beautiful cities of Greece, though maybe this will.
“In Greece, you can feel the culture and history in the air around you – just by standing there you become a part of it,” said Brittany Walsh, junior History and Creative Writing major. The Ancient Greeks have influenced so much of modern day life, so seeing the place where they made their marks as individuals is many tourist biggest and greatest satisfaction. The Greeks were central to nearly every advancement of the modern human race, from science and technology to art, language, and literature. And the ruins all around Greece especially the ruins of Delphi and those in Athens are spectacular. “There's something amazing about knowing that you are standing in the center of something so much bigger than any of us, a place where so much we understand was first explored and advanced,” said Walsh.
Cinque de Terre, Italy:
There’s something about a city on the coast of Italy that has 5 remarkable towns within it that are all connected by train. And that wasn’t all that had Akhil Mathur in love.
“Sight Seeing. Atmosphere. Culture. Good Vibes. The city seemed to have it all,” said Mathur, sophomore Business major. The way the city was built is already so phenomenal its no doubt that visitors are having an even more phenomenal time. Five different villages spanning over 8 miles only connected by train and ocean, if that isn’t something to see then what is. With the opportunity to go from town to town, embark on beautiful vineyards, and breathtaking hiking trails, there is no time for boredom. Be ready for extravagant views of the countryside, and the warm water of the ocean. I was definitely ready to pack up after hearing about this coastal town.
Art and literature have heavily influenced the country of Spain, but the culture is one like no other. “The culture is rich and vibrant, with a great emphasis on religion,” said Chris Rodriguez, sophomore Human Biology major. You have to be ready to keep up with the locals here, they live a very relaxed life with longer days and shorter work hours. With the museums, food, and nightlife, Madrid will keep you entertained. “The bar hopping and a clubbing is a must,” said Rodriguez. If you aren’t into the going out scene, don’t worry there are plenty of artsy cafes to explore and historic museums to appreciate. And on a day you are just looking to relax, sit on the grass, maybe picnic with some tapas, be sure to check out El Parque de Retiro. “Spain is different, but its life changing,” said Rodriguez.
Know that we covered Madrid, and the late nights and good times there, its time to look at the small, bright colored city of Sevilla. “The architecture is fun and beautiful and it is nothing like any city I’ve visited before,” said Meghan Fasano, sophomore Screenwriting major. There’s a river that goes through the city that the Spaniards will go to with their instruments and bottles of wine to relax and whisk the day away. Be ready to experience love at first sight for once in your life, the locals will be kissing you on the cheek when they meet you and act like they’ve known you a lifetime. If that isn’t a loving and caring culture, I don’t know what is. If you are looking to have a great traditional experience during your vacation, the spring time would be the best. With its springtime fair everyone is out dressed in in traditional flamenco dresses and ready to dance, eat, and drink the day away. “The people are gorgeous and city is just magical,” said Fasano.
There’s no place that can give you a greater global outlook on life quite like Kenya does. With the safari tours, famous restaurants, breathtaking greenery, and nature it is bound to be a trip for the books. Kimaya Singh’s outlook on the world was completely changed after her ten day trip in the Masai Mara. “Seeing the way animals interacted with each other and with nature made me realize how complicated we make our lives,” said Singh, sophomore Public Relations and Advertising major. It’s not every day that you get to see a cheetah kill a gazelle right in front your eyes and for Singh it was “hands down the best moment of her life.”
A trip to Kenya is sure to be a surreal one and who knows you might even discover your spirit animal after getting in touch with all the nature it has to offer.