Five life-affirming trips for your bucket list
Summer vacations ahoy!
Hola Global Jigsaw,
For the last quarter of a century, travel has been a way of life for me. During this time, I have lived in eight different countries for extended periods of time and never stopped wondering at the glories that the world shelters within its nooks and folds. In some ways, trying to choose my favourite places is like being forced to choose between my children: both an impossible and unfair task. There is something amazing about everywhere, as long as we judge the place for what it is, rather than for what it is not.
And yet there are some spots that are special. It is with some reservations that I list (in no particular order) the following five travel experiences as my favourites, for the weight of what I have excluded bears on my conscience. And yet, when I searched my memories, it was these bucket list-worthies that came to me most readily.
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1) Meteora in Greece: Suspended somewhere between heaven and earth are the cliff-top monasteries of Meteora in central Greece. More than 20 of these were built here between the 14th and 17th centuries, by monks seeking solitude, and later, refuge from the Ottoman conquest of the territory in the mid 15th century. These Greek Orthodox sanctuaries are ecclesiastical marvels of engineering. They appear to fly amongst the clouds that shroud the sandstone cliffs atop which they were constructed.
Pic credit: Pallavi Aiyar
Today, the monasteries can be accessed by roads that have been cut into the mountain sides, saving visitors hours of climbing, which for centuries was the only way in. Frescoes in the Byzantine style adorn the renovated interiors.
As I watched the sun set over the extraordinary rock formations of Meteora, the golden aura appeared as if lifted straight from a Greek icon. Even my sceptic’s heart was bathed in spirituality.