Returned Peace Corps
Volunteers of South Florida

Travel Tips…. for your bucket list

By Greg Zell (Nigeria) Part 1 -

There comes a time when one needs to prepare a travel bucket list, I put Paris at the top of my list and then the pandemic hit. I can always be convinced to go back again. I have led two groups there. I have been to 68 countries. Here are some things you should see or consider your life incomplete. It does not mean there are no other worthwhile sights in the country. These are just musts.

CHINA Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, The Bund – all interesting; food on tours, repetitive, bland; MUST SEE THE TERRA COTTA SOLDIERS IN XIAN. They are unbelievable. The Chinese have built a beautiful museum around them.

HONG KONG – Ho hum since the British left. High tea at the Mandarin Oriental hotel.

CAMBODIA – ANGKOR WAT: Most tour companies make you see a lot of rock piles beforehand.

JAPAN – What a heavenly land; real sushi without cream cheese or avocado; fine dining; beer, sake, Suntory whisky

JNDIA – Agra: Taj Mahal; New Delhi: The garden where the Mahatma was assassinated. His last footsteps are marked in concrete. Ranthambhore National Park tiger reserve – Tigers are the least nocturnal of cats and among the noisiest. We saw no tigers but heard them. Very scary. There are lots to see on a north India tour.

LAOS – Is this lovely land really a police state?

VIETNAM – Ho Chi Minh City: Traffic; construction; traffic. The Mekong Delta which affected so many American lives,

THAILAND – Bangkok: The royal palace; High tea at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. The River Kwai Commonwealth cemetery and WWII museum.

SINGAPORE – Raffles Hotel, home of the Singapore Sling; It’s red; it’s cherry; no booze taste; you could drink 4 or 5of these. DON’T.  The hotel has a Byzantine dress code. The doorman will find a reason to deny you the main door to the Long Bar. Go to the pool bar entrance on the side of the hotel. National Zoo nighttime safari: ambient lighting creates a moonlight effect the animals love as do visitors in a tram. One of the greatest zoos in the world. Everything else in country is BORING. So plan a day trip to the Kingdom of Malaysia.

MALAYSIA - Malacca: Site of the great Linda Whitmyre; quaint architecture in Chinatown; the hole that was the first burial site of St; Francis Xavier; when the Brits kicked out the Portuguese, Frank was dug up and taken to Goa, Portuguese India.            Kuala Lumpur, the capital, is also an option. 


JORDAN – Petra, lost city of the Nabateans. Even walking in the siq (entryway) is unforgettable. Aqaba: The Turkish fort was recreated in Spain for the film Lawrence of Arabia. Walking the ruins is believing.

TURKEY – Istanbul: Hagia Sophia. Roman waterworks building.

GREECE – Athens: Parthenon.

SLOVAKIA – Bratislava, the capital, is scenic; Andy Warhol museum in his ancestral town; Presov was the site of Helenka Dudley.

AUSTRIA – Vienna: Pastries.

POLAND – Warsaw: A city tour explains why the city looks like it was created by set builders; Auschwitz-Birkenau looks like you have seen it in films. You still need to experience it live and in person especially the shrine to St. Maximillian Kolbe in the cell where the Nazis starved him to death. Krakow was not damaged in WWII and deserves a visit.

GERMANY – Berlin: The Germans are reconstructing the city into a world class capital; Munich: On Sunday in the central park.

DENMARK – Copenhagen: The Little Mermaid; pastries; little sandwiches (4 or 5 make a meal); Stroyet closed street shopping mall.

HOLLAND – Amsterdam: Heineken’s beer; Van Gogh museum; Indonesian cuisine.

BELGIUM-Brussels: Museum for Central Africa; see artifacts from the Stanley/Livingston expedition; mussels; beer; chocolate.

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