Travel

Oh, the places you should go

A new year always brings the promise of fresh and exciting experiences. In 2017, my new year’s resolution, in relation to travelling, is to visit a wide range of places, with each having its own lessons to teach its visitors.

Having grown up in Singapore, a small metropolitan country, visiting places surrounded by nature and unspoiled by modernity has always appealed to me. Since I have also been eager to go to Spain, I decided to pay the Canary Islands a visit during my spring trip to the Spanish region.

The Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago off the coast of Northwestern Africa, are well known for their breathtaking beaches and volcanoes. Its dramatic landscape includes the forested peaks of Gran Canaria’s mountainous area, the surreal waterfalls of La Palma and the sparkling blue waters of its largest and most populated island, Tenerife. To me, the Canary Islands are an extremely underrated region filled with the wonders of nature.

Next up is a vibrant country that is slightly closer to home- India. I have wanted to go to India for a while, as I have always been drawn to the country’s rich culture. One nugget of information that moved me about India was about the maintenance of the Taj Mahal.

My parents, who visited the palace last year, were told by the local tour guide that the secret to its maintenance has been passed down through generations of only one specific family who have maintained it since it was built, and no one outside that family line knows the special techniques they use, or is allowed to work on its preservation.

The respect that some in India have for tradition is apparent in even the tiniest details, and deeply inspires me. I would love to learn more about the Indian lifestyle.

Another Asian country I want to go to is Nepal. Nepal is primarily Buddhist and Hindu, and has beautiful temples. One of the most famous temples is the Pashupatinath temple and is a surprisingly popular tourist attraction despite its connection to death. It is a temple that many Hindus go to in order to live out their last days, as Hindus believe that dying in the Pashupatinath temple will allow one to be reborn as a human.

While it may be considered morbid, I think that clinging on to your faith in the face of death among those who share your religion is a beautiful thing, and I would like to visit this temple. Being a Catholic, I am also itching to learn more about other faiths such as Hinduism and Buddhism. The Nepalese are a very religious people in general, and every religion has something that we can learn from.

Out of all the countries that I plan to visit in 2017, Austria is the one country that is most likely to steal my heart. As a history student, it is particularly appealing to me. The origins of modern-day Austria date all the way back to the time of the Hapsburg Empire, and the country still retains architecture from that medieval period. Austria also has a significant artistic value, with its capital, Vienna, having been home to two of the greatest and most influential composers, Mozart and Beethoven. Vienna is also known for its magnificent Imperial palaces, such as the Hofburg Palace.

The breathtaking architecture of Vienna can also be found in its common streets, making it seem like a land from a fairy-tale. Being a musical lover, I also want to visit Salzburg, the place where Sound of Music was filmed, just to go on the Sound of Music tour and belt out the musical’s songs at their respective locations.

Salzburg was also the birthplace of Mozart, and his birthplace is preserved as a museum, which displays his childhood instruments. Salzburg seals its appeal with a gorgeous view of the Eastern Alps and a plethora of baroque buildings. Austria is definitely top of my list this year.

22/01/2017

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beverlydevakishen



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