Matt's top 10 places he'd love to visit - Matt signs off from NQ
- List in no particular order
I talked earlier today about using Google Maps to visit places I wouldn't otherwise be able to see, but here, in no particular order, are places I would jump at the chance to visit in real life.
Just look at the picture! Why wouldn't you want to visit this incredible island with its auroras, hot springs and mountains?
Iceland has just seemed like a magical place to me for years and it may well be the easiest place for me to get to out of all the ones on this list!
Nazca Lines, Peru
It's probably a bit cliched now, but I still fancy going to see the Nazca Lines in the flesh. There is an enduring mystery about them and looking at pictures doesn't really give me any idea of their scale.
I think the fact nobody knew they were there until aeroplanes were invented and somebody flew over the desert is quite astonishing, and I would like to take part in being within the first 150 years of people to see them after thousands of years of them having passed out of public knowledge.
I'm not sure exactly what I'd do once I got to Antarctica, but the idea of stepping on the final, practically uninhabited continent is rather like the idea of stepping onto the moon, it feels like that part of the world is such an alien place, and I like the idea of going somewhere because it is entirely different to everything I'm used to.
I also like the idea of stepping on all seven continents, at the moment I'm only on three, or maybe two, depending on where you define Asia as starting.
Another location in Peru, but quite different from the Nazca desert. Cusco is built upon an ancient Incan city standing high in the Andes mountains and the history of the place really intrigues me.
I guess I would only linger a few days before moving on, but there was a YA book I read as a teenager set in Peru that mentions Cusco, and the Nazca Lines, and reading about those locations in the book has informed my desire to see them with my own eyes as an adult. I think the book was called Evil Star, although my memory is a bit vague.
There are many good reasons to go to Alexandria, but the most prescient for me is it's where my grandfather was from. I never met him as he died before I was born, but by all acounts he led a rather fascinating life and I feel a call to go there and see the city for myself.
Of course the history is abundant, with the famed lighthouse and library which holds many significant early texts. The city itself is incredibly old, sitting in, more or less, the cradle of civilisation and I think there is a lot of fascinating stuff to be discovered simply by being there.
Mountains seem to be a bit of a recurring theme in this list, I've only just noticed, but given the recent deaths on Everest due to queues on the Hillary Step, I have little ral desire to climb the famous mountain.
No, it's Nepal's capital city itself I want to see, with its buddhist culture and just general all round different-ness to the UK. A friend of mine went to do a nursing placement there a few years ago and she came back with a bizarre mix of stories; from following monkeys around roofs to going to a buddhist temple before ending up playing pool in a bar and going out to a club all in one day.
It seems like Kathmandu is a city that's got quite a lot going on.
Yosemite National Park, USA
I like the occasional bit of hiking, and though the peak and lake districts are nice, as well as Snowdonia being quite fun, I never really feel like I've goe on an adventure if I can simply return to public transport in a few hours.
Yosemite looks to me like a hiking holiday but just bigger by far with countryside more breathtaking and wild. There are options for me to do similar things a lot closer to home, and I'm sure I shall, but Yosemite just looks amazing.
Most of the entries on this list so far have been for their natural situations, but I've always fancied going to Tokyo to experience a thriving culture incredibly different from what I'm used to.
I quite like the idea of exploring Japan, its history and natural beauty in one big holiday, but the only city I want to visit for itself, rather than its proximity to something, is Tokyo, and I'd make going there my priority.
Atlas Mountains, Morocco
There have been a few entries on here about mountains, but I'd quite like to see this desert landscape with mountains and feel like I'm making a journey through ancient times while doing it.
North Africa, for familial reasons if nothing else, has a lot in store for me, I feel, and the Atlas Mountains just seem like a place I want to visit, there's not much more I can say than that.
I could also include Socotra Island here too, but as it's off the coast of Yemen, it's probably reasonably impossible for me to get there right now.
Madagascar has been an island for a long time, and is separated enough from the coast of Africa that its eco-system has grown quite differently to anywhere else on the planet. 90% of the flora and fauna on the island is found nowhere else on Earth and I want to see it with my own eyes for that reason alone.
My guess is it will be the closest thing anyone on Earth can experience to walking on an alien planet and looking at its vegetation.
Madagascar is culturally quite interesting as well as the island's settlers came from South East Asia rather than Africa, so there is now quite a mix of cultures across the country.