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Rachel Zhang′s Wishlist
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Largo do Carmo, 1200-092 Lisboa, Portugal
In 1755, Lisbon was all but devoured by an earthquake so strong that it still ranks as one of the most destructive in recorded history. One of the few structures to survive somewhat intact was the Carmo Convent—an impressive feat,...
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Kylemore Abbey, Pollacappul, Connemara, Co. Galway, Ireland
Before reaching this incredible castle, you will be astounded by the beautiful pastures and lakes along the roadside. Lambs occasionally trot across allowing a great opportunity for photos. Upon reaching Kylemore, you will enter through a quaint...
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Orval 1, 6823 Florenville, Belgium
You cannot visit the current Orval Abbey but for a small fee you can visit the Orval Abbey ruins. By the 12th century, this Cistercian abbey isolated in the Gaume Forest had become one of the most famous and richest in Europe. After a film on...
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Piazza Santa Chiara, 1, 06081 Assisi PG, Italy
The stories around St Francis of Assisi are relatively well-known, and of particular interest with the election of a Roman Catholic pope who took his name. St Francis was born wealthy and eventually had a spiritual awakening which let him to...
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Domkloster 4, 50667 Köln, Germany
August 6th, 2004 As a non-religious person, I am still a big fan of church architecture. Its hard to get more iconic than the Cologne Cathedral. If you visit and arrive from the train station, you are dumped out directly beside it. Climb the...
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76400 Fécamp, France
Walking around Fécamp, a major town on the Alabaster Coast of France, you cannot miss this beautiful church. Although ancient documents (1006 and 1088) attest to the establishment of the church of Saint-Etienne, it is very likely that it already...
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You'll have never seen a place more green. Hundreds of shades of it, with waterfalls and babbling brooks. Gleninchaquin is something out of a dream—yet it's the beautiful reality in Southwest Ireland. This family-owned park, overseen by Donal and...
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Aiguille du Midi, 74400 Chamonix, France
France's Chamonix Valley is one of the most scenic places on the European continent. It's a narrow river valley which houses everything from rock-climbing centers to pulsing bars and pubs, and on both sides of the river the peaks of the French...
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Manawatu-Wanganui 4691, New Zealand
This huge, single-day hike is in the running for the "Best Day Hike in the World" contest. If you're spending time in Taupo on the North Island of New Zealand and you love a challenging hike with unbelievable topography, be sure to give yourself a...
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Utah, USA
As its biblical name implies, Zion National Park has the appeal of a place out of time. Established on November 19, 1919, the canyon and its surrounding landscape feel like a natural temple, full of arches, hoodoos, and imposing walls, some of...
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Florida, USA
This is your view from the top of the Diamond Lake Hike, which starts about 12 kilometers outside of the town of Wanaka. The views are so beautiful from the summit that it's nearly impossible to ever head back down the mountain. The track starts...
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1 Chapmans Peak Dr, Hout Bay Harbour, Cape Town, 7806, South Africa
When you're staying in Cape Town, be sure to get out to Hout Bay on the Cape Peninsula to witness a sunset that I'm convinced is the most beautiful one I've ever seen. I love the Chapman's Peak Hotel in Hout Bay. Even if you're staying in Cape...
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Lion's Head, Signal Hill, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa
Lion's Head is a mountain in Cape Town between Table Mountain and Signal Hill. Lion's Head peaks at 669 metres (2,195 ft) above sea level. The peak forms part of a dramatic backdrop to the city of Cape Town. It can be climbed during the day- it is...
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Pont Drift, Botswana
I love the Mashatu Game Reserve in Botswana, near the Limpopo River. The opportunity to explore the 25,000-hectare reserve by bicycle or by foot is something that rarely happens on a safari. You can arrange morning and late afternoon walks with...
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Dewey Point, California, USA
There's an absolute gem of a hike in Yosemite National Park that anyone who loves a good winter snowshoe hike should do. It's a seven-mile out-and-back trek from Badger Pass to the inspirational Dewey Point, which is on the south rim at just over...
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Lake Matheson, West Coast 7886, New Zealand
Lake Matheson is a magical little spot near Fox Glacier. It's a great place to take a walk at sunset, before enjoying dinner and some local wine at the Matheson Cafe. On a clear day, the reflection in the lake proudly displays all the reasons to...
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Urupukapuka Island, Northland, New Zealand
There are 144 islands in the Bay of Islands on the North Island of New Zealand, and Urupukapuka (the largest of them all) aims to please. Check out the island's website to help plan your day, which will be a fabulous and full day that includes a...
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Fjærland, Norway
The Flatbreen hike in Norway is officially in the running for "Best Day Hike in the World," in my book. You'll gain 3,100 feet in elevation on the way up these stunning, glaciated valleys and mountain passes. Depending on your pace and the...
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Castle Hill 7580, New Zealand
This 10-day tramping (that's Kiwi for "hiking") trip on the South Island of New Zealand is hard to beat. This will be your first hike of many, all of which connect you to a land so beautiful that it's impossible to ever leave. Kura Tawhiti is a...
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Agert Pakhuis Pass, Clanwilliam, 8135, South Africa
This is the trip of a lifetime—there's no better way to describe it. Beginning in the dynamic and colorful city of Cape Town and finishing at Londolozi Private Game Reserve in Sabi Sand—the very pinnacle of animal-viewing experiences—this trip is...
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Lake Aloha, California, USA
Welcome to Northern California's Desolation Wilderness, the perfect place to hike near South Lake Tahoe. Lake Aloha is a well-deserved and divine place to take a dip after having tackled the climb up from Echo Lake. I'd suggest parking your car at...
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Wildcat Canyon Rd, Orinda, CA 94563, USA
You'll love the views you'll have of the EBMUD Watershed while you're hiking or mountain biking along Nimitz Way in both Wildcat Canyon Regional Park and Tilden Regional Park. The views really open up once you're in the area considered the Bay...
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Terrebonne, OR 97760, USA
Even on a cold, gray day in winter, this state park is something to be celebrated. (The last time I was this impressed with a six-mile hike I was in the diverse and mind-blowing landscape known as the South Island of New Zealand.) Smith Rock State...
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US-101, North Bend, OR 97459, USA
This is a hike that, on a day when the weather is cooperating, is a transformative experience—it's just that beautiful. I lucked out when my arrival to the John Dellenback Dune Trailhead coincided with a break in the rain and clouds I'd seen all...
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Row River Trail, Dorena, OR 97434, USA
On a recent road trip hiking and biking my way through Oregon, I fell hard for the entirely car-free, 17 miles of paved biking/walking trail just outside of Cottage Grove called the River Row Trail. Pine forests, roaring rivers, Dorena Lake—it was...
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Fish Creek Falls is that easy gem of a short hike to do with your kids or elders, as long as you can avoid the crowds. It's located five miles east of downtown Steamboat Springs in the Routt National Forest and the parking lot typically fills and...
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It's impossible to capture the scene with a photo. As you move along the well-marked trails on the Western Summit side of Rabbit Ears Pass, the trees appear to lean in and study you as you go. There are seven set trails to choose from at the...
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2305 Mt Werner Cir, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487, USA
New to winter sports and Steamboat Springs, I've been searching out trails on in and around Ski Town USA where I can run or snowshoe, to get my bearings. On Friday I took the gondola with skiing colleagues to the top of the ski hill and found a...
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Poljana Paska Miličevića, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Of the cities I've seen world-wide the last 12 years on the road, Dubrovnik, Croatia is an absolute 'Top Five' for me. It is beautiful, historical, magical at night and one of the more walkable towns on earth. The cost to access the walled walk...
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Franz Josef Glacier, West Coast 7886, New Zealand
Brace yourself for the physical pull you'll feel as you approach the dramatic, 7.5 mile long glacier named Franz Josef, in Westland National Park in New Zealand. Together with the nearby 12 mile long Fox Glacier, you'll be astounded by this unique...
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Multnomah Falls, Oregon 97014, USA
Even a day spent only hiking through and along waterfalls, can't quite prepare you for the beauty of the 642 foot Multnomah Falls. You can hear it as you approach on foot and the first glimpse leaves you needing to plant your feet firmly in one...
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Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
The secret to having a good time in Bagan has nothing to do with getting there - all that takes is faith in a Burmese pilot and his ancient aircraft, or an unwavering belief that your 13-hour bus ride from Yangon will actually deliver you to the...
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Ecuador
Technically, you don’t have to be a science geek to appreciate a cruise to the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador. That said, basic knowledge of the archipelago as the inspiration for Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution certainly won’t...
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San Pedro de Atacama, Antofagasta Region, Chile
San Pedro de Atacama is a beautiful adobe-esque town on the edge of Atacama Desert in Chile, just west of the Bolivian border. I took this photo in near by Valle De Luna, while I was mountain biking through a virtual moonscape of natural...
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2520 Peniche, Portugal
Hire a boat out of Peniche, Portugal, when available, and travel six miles offshore to the pristine Berlenga Islands. Then hike, kayak, snorkel, and swim the day away. Pack a picnic lunch and feast on the beach. The perfect day in paradise.
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Peru
Piranha fishing...pink dolphin sightings...holding a caimen...beautiful day explorations by skiff and canoe along the Ucayali River and in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. Add to jaw-dropping explorations, the 5-star comfort of the Aqua Amazon...
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Paradise Bay, Antarctica
The Antarctic weather was unpredictable and often inhospitable throughout our 1-week expedition cruise. Dramamine came in really handy the last day as we sailed the Gerlach Straight. I popped them like candy before cautiously eating dinner. Just a...
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Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania
As easy as it would be to spend an entire trip to Zanzibar lazing around on soft-sand beaches, it’s well worth skipping an hour or two of sunbathing to see Stone Town, the ancient district of Zanzibar. With its narrow cobblestoned streets,...
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708, Costa Rica, Provincia de Alajuela, Bajos del Toro, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is known for waterfalls, hot springs and other natural wonders, but many have become overcrowded due to an increase in tourism. If you are planning to hire a car to explore Costa Rica by land, you'll find this breathtaking waterfall...
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Sec Gozalandia, San Sebastián, 00685, Puerto Rico
As with many other natural wonders in Puerto Rico, there isn't a clearly defined marker. Normally, to find Gozalandia, you would first have to visit it with a local, because getting directions there can be complicated. Lately, there is talk...
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Chamarel, Mauritius
A waterfall, the seven colored earth, a fantastic viewpoint of valleys, peaks and islets, a restored Ebony Forest Nature Park, miles of pine-apples, sugar, banana trees, tea and hardly mentioned - coffee. The funny thing is that no-one in...
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In Mindo I decided to try canyoning, which is walking down a waterfall. At the top of the narrow muddy jungle trail next to the falls a guide strapped me into a harness and put me on a rope. He showed me how to belay myself with my dominant hand,...
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39 Camp St, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand
Starting with the scenery offered being some of the most naturally stunning in New Zealand and only accessible by joining this Routeburn Canyoning trip! The elements involved were simply thrilling, we jumped into crystal clear pools of water, went...
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Supai, AZ 86435, USA
There’s a reason this is one of the most iconic spots along the Grand Canyon. Located on the Havasupai Indian Reservation and hidden deep within a 20-mile round-trip hike, Havasu Falls’ sparkling turquoise waters are a popular...
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Messenia, Greece
Often described as a Greek paradise, the Polilimnio Waterfalls in Polilimnio Gorge offer something different from Messenia's usual beaches. Visitors are immersed in a scene of lush greenery, gushing cascades, and green lakes filled with...
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Eagle Creek is a waterfall lover's paradise. Thirteen waterfalls are crammed into a six-mile stretch. I made the 12-mile roundtrip in November as part of a photography project I was working on. The trailhead is located very close to the Bonneville...
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Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Thailand
While you're in Thailand, be sure to escape the colorful chaos of Bangkok and head toward the historic capital of Ayutthaya, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The best option to get there would be by train and they run frequently from Bangkok's...
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Situated not far from Meknes, between Fes and Rabat, the Roman ruins of Volubilis stand as a testament to a culture that changed the world forever. In the fertile area that the ruined city is located, it's difficult to remember you're in Morocco....
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Adare, Co. Limerick, Ireland
This castle was erected with an ancient ring-fort, around the early part of the 13th century. It became a strategic fortress during the following turbulent years. It was the property of the Earls of Kildare for nearly 300 years until the rebellion...
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1495 Villers-la-Ville, Belgium
In 1146 a dozen monks and some lay brothers, with the blessings of St Bernard (not the dog!) headed to what is now Belgium and founded the abbey. It had been neglected and then revitalized during its second golden age in the 1800s where some of...
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Easter Island is a strange, remote, and magical place. After a full day of wandering around this tiny island, we were fortunate enough to witness an absolutely breathtaking sunset over the Pacific. The "beach" here is made up of pitch black...
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Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Better known as the Tomb Raider Temple since its starring role in the Hollywood movie of the same name, Ta Prohm has at least as much star quality as Angelina Jolie. Cloaked in dappled shadow and locked in the embrace of the vast root systems that...
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807-2 Boseong-ri, Boseong-eup, Boseong, Jeollanam-do, South Korea
South Korea. To the world it is bright neon lights, fuel-efficient cars, genetic research and kimchi. The Land of the Morning Calm is deservedly lauded as a spreading ground for future tech and well known as the K-pop powerhouse, though Seoul is...
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Uetliberg, 8143 Zürich, Switzerland
While visiting Zurich, some friends took me to Üetliberg, which was, quite literally, a winter wonderland. Walking the trails amidst the beautiful icy trees was surreal. It was freezing, but we didn’t mind – the coffee awaiting us at the lodge at...
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Middle East
Cleopatra bathed in the Antique Pool at Hierapolis--before a great earthquake knocked several pillars into the pool. Fed by natural spring, the warm water is said to have healing qualities. My kids and I enjoyed the bubbles; they stick to skin and...
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Troy Rd, Moscow, ID 83843, USA
The Palouse Scenic Byway is 208 miles of unique rolling hills of agricultural landscapes. The winding roads of Eastern Washington and Western Idaho have a surprise around every curve and over every hill that will delight the eye with the natural...
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Zimbabwe
Seeing the Victoria Falls is truly amazing. I've been lucky enough to view the falls from both the Zambian and Zimbabwean sides, and I have to say that I am partial to the Zim side. Better value for money, unique lodges and camps and better views...
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Makgadikgadi Pans, Botswana
Quad biking in the Makgadikgadi Pans in Botswana is available from the Uncharted Africa camps - Jack's Camp, San Camp and Camp Kalahari. I stayed at Camp Kalahari (the most affordable of the three) and really enjoyed it's simplicity and charm. Fly...
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Waitomo, New Zealand
I’m not afraid of heights, but I’ll admit that peering over the ledge into the 100-metre (about 330 feet) decent awaiting me sends me into a bit of a panic attack. I can’t see the bottom of the cave, as a thick layer of mist fills the gaping...