If I’m able to go to one new place in the New Year it will be the city that was once the center of the world, Jerusalem. I like cities with long pasts, and this city has one of the longest.
Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of “Jerusalem: The Biography,” articulates my reasons for wanting to visit the Holy City better than I can.
“Jerusalem has always been a den of superstition, charlatanism, and bigotry; the desire and prize of empires, yet of no strategic value; the cosmopolitan home of many sects, each of which believes the city belongs to them alone; a city of many names—yet each tradition is so sectarian it excludes any other.
“This is a place of such delicacy that it is described in Jewish sacred literature in the feminine—always a sensual, living woman, always a beauty, but sometimes a shameless harlot, sometimes a wounded princess whose lovers have forsaken her.
“Jerusalem is the house of the one God, the capital of two peoples, the temple of three religions, and the only city to exist twice—in heaven and on Earth…”
Seems like a place worth seeing for yourself.
If you could travel to one new place in the New Year, where would you choose?
I put the question to key Live and Invest Overseas editors.
Here are their responses… our top travel picks for 2020…
From Offshore And Property Investment Guru Lief Simon:
Malta has been on my travel wish list for more than 15 years, and I’m thinking 2020 is the year to cross it off.
Before EU entry it wasn’t easy getting to this island nation. Most flights connected through London. Today, access to Malta is greatly improved from across Europe, meaning I no longer have an excuse to put off my trip.
It’s not the sun and the beaches that attract me but the history of the place. Everyone knows of the Knights Hospitaller, but Malta’s history predates the Order of Knights by millennia. These islands have been a crossroads of the Mediterranean Sea for centuries with the fortresses and temples to prove it.
I’m also interested to see the old houses where the animals were kept downstairs and the family lived overhead…
From Lahardan Financial Chief Investment Strategist Leon Wilfan:
If I’m able to go to one new place this New Year it will be Seoul, Korea.
This thriving metropolis has been on my list since my first trip to the region in 2016. Everyone I’ve met who’s been there has told me it’s one of the coolest places in Asia.
After doing some research, I can understand why.
First, Seoul is the epicenter of Asian pop-culture.
TV, movies, fashion, cosplay, and, of course, K-pop… all of these are things I’d like to have the chance to experience firsthand.
Then there is food.
Koreans are known for their BBQ dishes. Thinly sliced marinated beef (bulgogi), spicy shrimp (gochujang saewu gui), grilled pork belly (samgyupsal gui)… my mouth waters just thinking about it. Naturally, everything is served with ample portions of kimchi.
Finally, there’s Koreans’ unabashed obsession with alcohol.
I’m not a big drinker, but, from what I’ve been told, Seoul’s nightlife could rank among the seven wonders of the modern world.
I guess there’s only one way to find out.
Seoul, prepare yourself… I’m coming.
From Globe-Trotting Correspondent Paul Terhorst:
If we’re able to go to one new place this New Year, Vicki and I will be headed to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
A few weeks ago, I was surfing online travel sites and came across a bargain business-class fare on Delta, nonstop, Seattle to Paris and back. We jumped on it. We’re now booked into Paris on May 28, with most of the summer in Europe before we return on Aug. 5.
Where to go while in that part of the world?
I’m a history buff. World War I started with an assassination in Sarajevo. That murder exploded into a colossal failure of diplomacy that led to war. I’d like to see the assassination spot. I’d also like to learn more about the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s.
With history in mind, our top choice for a new place in 2020 is Sarajevo, Bosnia.
Beyond the history, we love European cities like Sarajevo with their cobblestone streets, old churches and mosques, tilting houses, red wine, compact city centers, bridges, good bus service, fruit in season…
We’ve been to Slovenia and Croatia to the west and to Romania and Bulgaria to the east. This trip would be to the central Balkan states, possibly including Serbia or Montenegro as well as Bosnia.
From Global Property Advisor Editor Monica Linares:
Top of my travel bucket list for 2020 is New Zealand. Since I was a little girl and saw Lord of The Rings, I’ve wanted to venture to visit what to me were magical lands.
I’m most interested in seeing Queenstown, the world’s adventure capital, with its water rafting, kayaking, hiking, cycling, rock climbing… concerts, markets, nightlife… and rich history.
Photos and video of this country take my breath away. I want to see if the real thing lives up to my imaginings…
From Overseas Property Alert Contributor Lee Harrison:
Lying just 50 miles southeast of Mexico City, Puebla is #1 on my travel list for 2020. It’s one of the largest and most beautiful Spanish-colonial environments you’ll find, yet it offers a low cost of living and inexpensive properties. I spent a few days traveling through the area in 1998 and have wanted to go back for an in-depth visit ever since.
Puebla is a town of around 2.5 million people—with an international airport—that manages to feel like a small community in many ways.
The zócalo (town square) is one of the best in Mexico. It’s an entire large city block, lined with sidewalk cafés and shops hidden behind the classic portales (arches) common to the squares of many colonial cities. The cathedral is magnificent, and you’ll find more than 70 other beautiful churches in the historic center alone.
The weather is fantastic, thanks to Puebla’s altitude of about 7,000 feet. The average high temperature is 77°F, with a seasonal variation of about ±5°F. Overnight lows average 49°F. This qualifies as “springlike” for most of us.
Among international travelers, Puebla is noted for its famous Talavera pottery, as well as for its mole poblano… a thick, dark, sauce made from toasted ground chili peppers, spices, chocolate, and about 25 other ingredients.
Puebla is not well-known on the “retire overseas” circuit, although a handful of expats do live there. This lack of a large expat community can be a positive for some and a negative for others… but it does create the feeling that you’re in traditional, old Mexico.
The cost of living and of real estate is surprisingly low. Homes here are priced in pesos rather than U.S. dollars—unlike in the better-known expat haunts—which gives dollar-holders a tremendous advantage at today’s exchange rates.
Here’s to a 2020 filled with voyage and discovery.