My Bucket List for 2017 Is Completed

When this year began I had a wild idea: what if in 2017 I would travel to 10 different countries? In the beginning this thought was exhilarating and in my mind I was already making plans but, then, reality hit. How was I supposed to fit everything in 365 days? Well, I worked a lot, made a lot of compromises and everything I did was for this sole purpose.

I started with a country I am fascinated with: Turkey. I left aside magical Istanbul and headed straight to the country’s core in Cappadocia. This is the land of fairy chimneys, where legends used to live and castles made from clay still are there for you to wonder in. I marveled at the sky full of hot balloons and hiked through out-of-this-world valleys.

I continued with an adventurous trip to Nepal. I felt overwhelmed everywhere I went in Kathmandu. The capital’s region was definitely the most affected by the 2015 earthquake and I saw how people are trying to rebuild their homes, lives and history. I followed the footsteps of kings in Kathmandu, Patan and Baktapur and realized that I must widen my knowledge in history asap.

I then took a short “10 hours” trip to Pokhara, hiked the Sarangkot mountain and watched in silence the sunrise over Annapurna. I got lost on my way back and had monkeys flying over my head and all I could think about was “please don’t throw with poop in me”.

I left the heights of the Himalayas for the rocky beaches of Malta, a tiny island in the Mediterranean sea. I walked in one of Europe’s tiniest capital city, Valletta, enjoyed dramatic sunsets, ate the freshest sea food and hiked from one corner to the other of the island.

I backpacked through southern Europe and I started with the tiny and new state of Montenegro. Everyday I woke up at 5 in the morning just to have to myself the view over the fjord-like bay of Kotor. Magnificent, isn’t it?

Then I headed for Bosnia-Herzegovina, home of so many of my friends and a country I would recommend any history/culture lover to visit. From big cities like Mostar and Sarajevo to tiny villages like Blagaj and Pocitelj, this country has a lot to offer. I actually changed my plans just to spend more time here and I will definitely return.

This meant that I had a little less time in Croatia, my next destination, but I came back one month later to discover the magical National Park of Plitvice. If you are looking for a unique experience I would 100% recommend you come here. When I was there it rained cats and dogs and soon after a storm began, with lightning and thunders, but this did not stop the adventure.

My next trip was actually a guilty pleasure one as I headed to the neighboring country of Hungary to discover a hidden gem. No, I did not went to Budapest, instead I headed towards the small village of Pannonhalma. Many people come for the medieval building of the Benedictine Archabbey or for the monumental library of 360,000 volumes. I went for the lavender farm and I did not wish to leave it. I screamed of happiness and I had a huge smile on my face every minute I was there.

In the autumn season as temperatures started to cool down in Brno, I went to Spain, to Madrid – its royal capital. You could say that Madrid is overlooked as a travel destination, but I was always fascinated by its architecture and history. In fact, this city is a cultural hub, with over 80 museums and 2000 historic and artistic monuments, an entertaining center, with a bustling shopping and nightlife, and a foodie heaven, with a ridiculously excellent gastronomy.

Then I asked myself “which is the most western point I can reach without a visa?”. And the answer was quite simple: Peru. I danced samba in Plaza de Armas in Lima, I read a book by the Pacific Ocean, I touched buildings constructed by the Incas in Cuzco, I saw a rainbow that will not disappear (anytime soon), I hitchhiked my way to Machu Picchu Pueblo and everyday I woke up around 2-3 am.

The focus of my trip was to reach Machu Picchu and just take in the view.

As Christmas was just around the corner and the traditional markets are a must visit I went to the most famous one in Nuremberg, in Germany. Believe it or not, this Christmas market dates back to the 17th century and has over 180 stalls all filled with wooden toys, handmade decorations, freshly made gingerbread, roasted chestnuts, mulled wine and grilled sausages.

While I was there I realized that I have accomplished my goal: I visited 10 countries in 2017. And while I was sipping my wine thinking how blessed and grateful I am, a thought sneaked up on me: “So, this is done. What’s next?”.

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