National Geographic Traveler‘s 25 Best of the World destinations for 2020 in its last issue included 6 places Ruth & I have visited recently enough to consider them somewhat understood–the Grand Canyon, Tasmania, Turkey, Guatemala, and the city of Philadelphia. Our focus in Tasmania on our 2nd journey there was Launceston and its environs. We found a functioning Turkish shop down a small side street in Melbourne, Australia, which has a very large Greek community and an increasingly viable Turkish population. Philadelphia is home to the Mutter Museum, which is on our really bizarre list. In Istanbul, we especially enjoyed the spice markets and the Hagia Sophia, one of the world’s oldest religious institutions, and 2 other mosques.
Wales is also on this 25 Best list. We were there in 2019 and yearn to go back to explore the northern part of this great destination. We learned while there that its hard to get around in this part of Great Britain because there is little train service beyond Swansea and Cardiff. If you want to see interior and coastal Wales, it’s best to rent a car when European travel becomes possible again. The travel industry will, we predict, be slow to recover. We focused mainly on Wales south coast, found it very British, and loved the gorgeous Gower Peninsula.
Tasmania is a 5 Compass part of the Australian experience, and very different from the mainland. The first time we went there, we focused on Hobart, Tasmania’s capital, and the places near it like Port Arthur, an old 17th and 18th century penal colony on an isolated, hard to reach island that became in the 20th century the scene of the world’s first mass shooting in which 35 people were murdered and 23 were wounded. The Christchurch, New Zealand, mosque murders in 2019 resulted in the deaths of 51 people and 49 additional were injured. The Christchurch perpetrator was from New South Wales, Australia. The Port Arthur killer was from Hobart.