Ever since I could remember, traveling has been a huge part of my life as I love to explore new places. I have lived abroad outside of Malaysia for most of my childhood and in my nineteen years of life, I have explored 20 countries.
Most of the countries I have travelled to are in Europe. Living in Germany and the UK undoubtedly made it easier for my family and I to explore neighbouring countries because of the cheap flights and accessible railways.
But here’s the thing: Since moving back to Malaysia six years ago, I have not travelled overseas even once! But come January 2019, I’ll be participating in the inter-campus exchange programme to the UK campus.
I want to make it my mission, while on exchange, to explore some of my favourite places I remember traveling to when I was much younger (and when I mean younger, I mean really young).
That said, here are the top three places I want to re-explore:
- London, England
Putting London in this list is a no-brainer.
I call London my favourite home away from home, out of the countries I have lived abroad. There is something about this city that makes me feel so nostalgic yet refreshed at the same time.
London is that city with a balanced mix of history and modernity. You have the British Museum and the National History museum and then a few streets over, you’ll find yourself at Selfridges in Oxford Street, indulging in some *accidental* retail therapy.
What I love most about London though, compared to what we lack in Malaysia (in my opinion), is the accessibility of public transport. You can get to anywhere, from anywhere.
In the winter months, it will obviously get very cold with temperatures daring to go below O degrees Celsius. I must remember to keep warm and brave through it when I visit and wait patiently for the warmer months to come… hopefully. London weather can be so unpredictable.
If you haven’t heard about Interlaken before, it’s because it’s this rare gem of a place waiting to be discovered. With a population of less than 10,000 people, this quaint mountainous town is located in the Bernese Oberland region of central Switzerland.
- Interlaken, Switzerland
Interlaken has been my number one favourite place in Switzerland for some time now.
The countryside of Switzerland is known for its beautiful cottages and in Interlaken, they are not short of them. The small town is decorated with emerald-coloured waters of two lakes: Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.
It is best to visit Interlaken during the spring and mid-summer, when it is not too hot, and not too cold. It’s also the best time to experience the blooming flowers in sight. It’s a recipe for Instagram feed spam galore.
Interlaken apparently has some of the best hiking and skiing trails due to their dense forests and alpine meadows and glaciers.
Skiing is one of those activities I always told myself I wanted to do, but never really got to doing it. I’m willing to change this in 2019.
If Switzerland is on your list to explore, don’t skip out on Interlaken. This little town boasts more than you think.
- Venice, Italy
Situated in Italy’s northeastern coast, Venice is one of the top destinations in the world for holidays. It is nicknamed “The City of Bridges” as the city is situated on 118 small islands and they are connected by more than 400 bridges.
Popular attractions include the landmark basilica-dominated square, Piazza San Marco, Saint Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace.
I’ll never forget the classic gondola rides that navigate the canals, as per the picture below.
In the summer, Venice gets overwhelmingly crowded with millions of tourists from all over the world. Like Interlaken, it is best to visit during mid-spring to early summer if you don’t want to experience a stampede.
My mission for the next year is to explore as many places as I can, whether I have visited those places before or not. You can always learn something new from re-exploring your past travels. If you are thinking of exploring Europe, don’t miss out on these gems.
Until then, let’s save up and cheers to a wonderful new year.
By Nurin Raja