January 29, 2015

5 destinations I'd love to visit

Earlier this week my oldest sister boarded a plane and set off for a sunny week in Costa Rica. Instead of being jealous of her, I decided to use her lust for adventure as a jumping point to plan my own adventures. My own sense of adventure is more tied to historic locations and outdoor adventures then soaking up the sun on a beach. So some of these locations are pretty far off the beaten paths. But I would much rather go exploring in a new location then waste the entire trip sipping drink in a pool chair.
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Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand
The Waitomo Caves are located in the southern Waikato Region of the North Island of New Zealand. The caves are known for it's population of glowworms found exclusively in New Zealand. There is a guided tours through the cave which ends with a boat ride through the Glowworm Grotto, which takes visitors onto the underground river of Waitomo. It's here where the roof of the cave comes alive with a sky of glowworms giving off the only light.

I would be a pretty bad Lord of the Rings fan if I didn't mention the Hobbiton Movie Set tours, or the Weta Cave. And of course, Hiking. New Zealand looks like an amazing experience.

The rock sculpture of Decebalus, Romania
Along the River of Danube at the Iron Gate lies a rock sculpture depicting Decebalus, the last king of Darica. I first saw pictures of the sculpture on pinterest and dismissed it to be The Gates of Argonath, from The Lord of the Rings. It wasn't until early last year did I discover the sculpture to be real and located in Romania

Romania is not high on my list of places to travel. So my likelihood of seeing is sculpture in person is quite low. But if for whatever reason I do travel to Romania or Serbia I will without a doubt take a boat tour down the river Danube to see Decebalus.

Jarlshof on Shetland Island, Scotland
On the southern tip of the island of Shetland, Scotland lies the Jarlshof Prehistoric and Norse settlement. Jarlshof is notable as it has been described as "one of the most remarkable archaeological sites ever excavated in the British Isles". The site contains more than 4,000 years worth of history dating as far back as the viking-age.

Speaking of Viking. Shetland is also home to the Lerwick Up Helly Aa fire festival held annually each year to mark the end of the yule season. The festival celebrates the isles' history, includes a procession of men dressed as Vikings, and the burning of a replica longship. If you're into Vikings, like I am, then visiting the festival is a must.

Haiku Stairs on O'ahu, Hawaii
When I was nineteen I visited the island of O'ahu with a few of my relatives. During an island tour as we travelled along the Pali highway our tour guide, Garfield* who pointed out the Haiku Stairs. A foot trail of 3,922 metal stairs that ascends to Pu Ľu Keahiakahoe Summit. The staircase is remnants of a station built by the US navy in 1942. When the Naval base decommissioned in the mid 50s' the station was used by the US Coast Guard until 1987. When the station and trail was closed to the public.

The Haiku Stair is now a "closed" trail. The trail is not sanctioned by the state and it is currently illegal to access. Due to the popularity of this illegal hike, guards are stations at the base of the staircase and turn away anyone hoping to climb. Doesn't authority know anything? make something illegal, and it will be all the most tempting for people to do? Unless the trail is reopened to the public I will try not to be tempted to break any laws to climb the staircase. But I'm not promising anything.

Extra: In a Love Link post two years ago I shared the story of Chase Norton, the first recorded person to hike the entire Ko'olua Summit. This story is definitely worth the read if you're considering going hiking on O'ahu in the future.

Of all the destinations listed Ireland is the most likely of places I'll travel too in my near future. As both Braydon and I want to go. My own want of going to Ireland ties back to my niece. Way back in 2002 my sister Dawn gave birth to a baby girl name Ireland. So naturally I've been wanting to go to the country my niece was named after.

As Ireland is one of the few countries I want to visit without a set location, It would be in my best interest to pick up a travel guide from my favourite guidebook publication. Yes, I have a favourite guidebook publication.
*Yes, seriously. That was his name. He told us a story about how all children born in Hawaii had to be given christian first names over traditional hawaiian name. And his parents decided to name him after the famous cat. I've never check to see if his story is true or not. But his name has always stuck in my head. He also told us his wife was obsessed with Elvis Presley and her favourite movie is Blue Hawaii. He was the most memorable tour guide I've ever had.

Glowworms by Ian Crosser
Decebalus Rex By Alin Stancioiu
Jarlshof by dragon-hunter
HaikuLadder by David Chatsuthiphan of Unreal Hawaii
Ireland by my good friend Aaron Turner.

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