Tripcents Bucket List Destinations: JJ McMillen

June 26, 2018

As everyone on our Tripcents teams are avid travelers, we want to share all the amazing places we've been to personally. And of course, all the places we hope to discover in the future! Share with us your favorite destinations so we can add them to our Tripcents recommendations!

 

Irkutsk, Russia

 

Latitude: 52.29778

Longitude: 104.29639

 

 

 

Admit it, you've always wanted to go on the Trans-Siberian Railway. It's the longest railroad in the world and the adventurer, nerd, or little kid in you wants to see it. Cue - Irkutsk. Other than being the de facto capital of Eastern Siberia, this city is the most popular stop between Moscow and eastern Russia. What will you find here you ask? Amazing frozen lake hikes on Lake Baikal, 19-century architecture, gilded churches, and some pretty damn good food.

 

The de facto capital of Eastern Siberia, Irkutsk is by far the most popular stop on the Trans-Siberian Railway between Moscow and the east. With Lake Baikal only 45 km away, the city is the best base to explore the lake's western shoreline. Travelers who visit historic Irkutsk may be pleasantly surprised by what they find. Decorated wooden houses stand beside standard Soviet block apartments, plus wide boulevards with not too much traffic for a city of more than 500,000 souls. Irkutsk was the site of many bloody clashes between Russian factions in various revolutions. It also served as a place of exile for intellectuals, artists and others, which may be why the city has five universities. Several churches, including Ascension Church, and geology and history museums call Irkutsk home.

 

The de facto capital of Eastern Siberia, pleasantly historic Irkutsk is by far the most popular stop on the Trans-Siberian Railway between Moscow and all points east. With Lake Baikal a mere 70km away, the city is the best base from which to strike out for the western shoreline. Amid the 19th-century architecture, revived churches, classy eateries and numerous hostels, plentiful English-speaking agencies can help you plan anything from a winter trek across the lake's ice to a short walking tour through the city.

 

Things to do: Drive or charter a tour to Lake Baikal, only 45 km away, if you're there in the winter - take a trek across the lake, eat and drink in 130 Kvartal

 

In recent years Irkutsk has seen something of a tourist boom, spawning a municipally funded information centre, detailed city maps planted at strategic points and a handful of freshly conceived museums, as well as the blockbuster 130 Kvartal project, an entire neighbourhood given over to typical Siberian timber buildings housing new restaurants, bars, cafes and the odd museum.

 

 

New York, New York

 

40.7128° N,

74.0060° W

 

Oh New York, what a wonderful melting pot that beats to the pulse of its own drum. When you get to this fine destination, you'll have a choice of five boroughs to explore where you'll find everything from iconic tourist destinations to mom and pop gems that haven't changed in decades. New Yorkers are constantly on the go, but you, my dear visitor friend, have it made. Here for the world class eats? Lucky for you, lunch tables are often a lot easier to find. Here to get your drink on? Happy hours are a dime a dozen. Here to enjoy Central Park? Get at it while the going's good and everybody's working.

 

Things to do: Eat, a lot. One of our favorites? Rudy's Bar & Grill in Hell's Kitchen - get a free hot dog along with your tall boy and shot. Then go ahead and eat a pastrami and rye, New York style pizza, and papaya juice and hot dogs - because why not? You're on vacation, just shove it all in. Also, don't be bougie, get a metro card, your wallet will thank you.

 

After eating, stroll through Central Park and relive all your movie fantasies. Then shove your way through the throngs of people in Times Square and check play ticket deals at TKTS. Then there's also Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, fondly cuddling a certain part of the bull on Wall Street for luck, Chelsea Market, Brooklyn Bridge, Grand Central Terminal, Chinatown, Little Italy, Soho… the list of things to do never ends.  At the end of the day, pay your respects at One World Trade and the September 11 Memorial & Museum, walk the High Line, admire the street art, and then splurge a little and admire the view from Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center. Or don't take our advice and be a true tourist at the top of The Empire State Building, because movies?

 

Jericoacoara, Brazil

 

Lat: -2.7956

Long: -40.514

 

 

A land of pristine beaches where a diverse ecosystem still thrives and fresh seafood is cheaper than fast food at home - need we say more? Mercifully protected from the ugly side of modern "development," Jeri became a National Park in 2002. This is a dream coastline for windsurfers and kitesurfers and also sports some amazing natural vistas and sand dunes worth getting sand in places where the sun don't shine. Since it's a little hard to get to (the closest city is Fortaleza with a travel time of 6-7 hours), you won't be dealing with crowded beaches or trashed natural sites.

 

Things to do: rent your own dune buggy, detox from social media, and catch the amazing sunsets - Jericoacoara is one of the few places on Earth where you can witness a Emerald Sunset, where the sky turns bright green just as the sun slips below the horizon.

 

Futamichoe, Ise, Mie, Japan

 

Lat: 34.495380

Long: 136.706146

 

This spot, my friends, is for the romantics, the culture buffs, and the dreamers. Futamichoe is home is Meoto Iwa - a pair of sacred rock formations peeking out of the water on the coast of Ise Bay. Known as "the Wedded Rocks," they represent a husband and wife and are surrounded by a rope, called a shimenawa, that's replaced three times a year in a ritual ceremony. Great as a day trip from nearby Kansai or Nagoya, it's also worth it to stay in one of the traditional local hotels and catch the sun rising behind the rocks and the silhouette of Mount Fuji in the distance. Picture credit: Alpsdake/Wikimedia commons

 

Things to do: Visit between May and July to catch the sun rise BETWEEN the two rocks - you heard that right - between - it will make for an epic 'gram or mental memory. Also visit Ise's Grand Shrine, the most important Shinto shrine in Japan. Note, keep track of the tides, the two rocks are not separated during low tide.

 

 

Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina

 

Latitude‎: ‎-50.471054

Longitude‎: ‎-73.05739

 

 

Going to keep this one short - because nature is simply spectacular. How can you say no to baby blue glacial lakes, sub-Antarctic forests, and the mouth dropping Perito Moreno Glacier. Don't like that glacier, no worries, there 46 other major glaciers for you to instagram. Fly into El Calafate, reminiscent of a charming ski town.

 

Things to do: For you mountain climbers - climb Mount Fitz Roy, and feel small next to towering walls of ice.

 

 

Tasmania, Australia

 

41.4545° S

145.9707° E

 

South of the Australian mainland, you'll find this isolated gem of an island bordering the bottom of the world. Fly into Hobart, a beautiful seaside city with a thriving arts and culinary scene. Although there is no end to the stunning views of Tasmania's amazing landscape, also take the opportunity to learn about the tragic Tasmanian Aboriginal history woven into the very land you're admiring.

 

Nature lovers are guaranteed to get their fix of rainforest, beaches, mountains, islands, and lakes. Another selling point of Tasmania is the simple fact that's it's cheaper than most of the big cities on Australia's mainland.

 

Things to do: Check out Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park (voted one of the world's best beaches), take a gander at the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), join the festivities at the Dark Mofo - Hobart's version of Burning Man, check out the view from Mount Wellington, drive to The Garden Bay of Fires for dazzling coastal views, admire the Cape Raoul Cliffs, and don't forget popular Port Arthur.

 

Cape Town, South Africa

 

Lat: -33.918861

Long: 18.423300

 

Cape Town is simply gorgeous - no other way to describe this coastal city on the southern coast of Africa. Imagine - famous Table Mountain smashed up against a modern city with more than its fair share of beautiful beaches. On top of it all, Cape Town also gives you access to an award-winning wine region where you can get your fill of crisp whites or the region's signature Pinotage. Amazing seafood, game meats, or traditional South African fare more your style? This city has it all. Wildlife lovers will love swimming with penguins or taking a road trip to join a safari. Last but not least, Cape Town is also home to one of the most beautiful coastal drives in the world - Chapman's Peak Drive.

 

Things to do: Take a sunrise hike up Table Mountain or locals' favorite Lion's Head, visit the Cape of Good Hope, go to Blouberg Beach for an epic view of Cape Town, get your fill of remarkably well-priced wines on the Stellenbosch Wine Route, and rent a scooter and drive the amazing coastlines.
 

San Francisco, California

 

37.7749° N

122.4194° W

 

Oh San Fran, the Bay Area, one of our favorite cities here at tripcents. A foodie's dream, SF is home to a dizzying diversity of food scenes with a top notch wine country to match (Napa Valley anyone?). Although the original Wild West has given way to a seemingly never ending tech boom, vintage saloons and speakeasies can still be found to wash your farmers' markets eats down. Now that you're full - of booze, seafood, sourdough, Irish coffees, ice cream, sushi, tacos, farm to table fare, or whatever your taste is - waddle yourself up San Francisco's glute burning hills to take in views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Victorian rooflines, and beautiful city with the sparkling bay as a background.

 

If you find yourself feening for a road trip, the drive to Muir Woods is absolutely gorgeous, or take a little more time and drive a portion of Highway 1 for supreme coastal views. Yes, we just used the word supreme to describe a view. Not sorry. Getting boozed up more your style? Hit the Sonoma and Napa Valley wine countries - there's even bike tours of the valley or a train, so please don't drive if you're going to drink rather than 'taste.'

 

Things to do: first off, touristy things - just do them, you won't regret it - gawk at the sea lions sunning at Pier 39 and grab chowder in a sourdough bread bowl in Fisherman's Wharf, followed by steamed dungeness crab with garlic butter. Then ignore your stomach pains and roll yourself over to Ghirardelli square to top it off with a brownie sundae. To top it all off, you need some booze in your life, so grab an Irish coffee at Buena Vista Cafe. Take a food break and check out the museums and Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, walk the twisting curves of Lombard Street, and get up to Land's End for the views. Hungry again? We thought so - eat your way through the Ferry Building or check out Dolores Park and then grab a top notch burrito in the Mission. Then there's also the ferry and tour to Alcatraz, or Sausalito, or Angel's Island - so we give up - do it all and cheers to San Francisco with a Anchor Steam Beer.

 

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