When I first met my husband we decided to sell all our belongings, put careers on hold and spend 365 days travelling around the world. We visited 20 countries, did not work a single day, and regard it as the most amazing year of our lives. 13 years later, we have three young daughters and often ponder what it would be like to recreate our round the world trip with our kids? Here’s my Listopedia Bucket List of the best places to take your kids.
This vibrant, colourful city offers a wonderful mix of history, culture, architecture, food and religion. I would love my girls to experience places like Aya Sofya and the Blue Mosque. I’d introduce them to apple tea in a carpet shop, explore the markets together and feast on an Adana Kebab (my favourite in Turkey) and Turkish Delight. The people are amazingly friendly which makes this a really enticing family destination.
This ancient city, carved into the rose coloured rock, is awe-inspiring. The entrance of The Treasury, one of the most famous sites in the world, stands 30m wide and 43m high – fit for a giant. It would surely capture the imaginations of our girls.
The last remaining of the ‘Seven Ancient Wonders’, this pyramid is an inspiring sight for all ages. Built without cranes, or cutting machinery, this site would make a great construction puzzle to solve – better than any Lego set.
The wildlife of the Amazon was an absolute highlight for my husband and I and it would be amazing for our kids see monkeys, an anaconda, capybaras, caimans (a kind of alligator), pink dolphins or even swim with piranhas.
Less chaotic than Bangkok, Chang Mai offers a wonderful introduction to Thai culture, history and food. Markets to teach the kids the art of bargaining, beautiful temples to visit and street stalls serving my girls favourite meal Pad Thai. I would take my girls elephant trekking in the jungle.
A small island off the coast of Sicily, Stromboli is a permanently active volcano. The fit and adventurous, like my husband, can climb Mount Stromboli and get up close and personal with volcanic explosions. I would take my young children to a more relaxed vantage point for an evening display of volcanic fireworks after dining on the best Margherita pizza we found in Italy. There’s beautiful snorkelling in the crystal clear waters, and the black sand beaches are interesting too.
Paris is my favourite city in the world and we’re taking the girls there in July 2014. I can’t wait to picnic under the Eiffel Tower, sail toy boats in Jardin des Tuileries, and take a Bateau along the Seine. They might demand crepes and croissants for 3 days but it will be magic sharing Paris with my children.
The start and finish lines of the 120m sprint track still exist in the Stadium of Ancient Olympia, offering a chance to imagine what the Olympics were like back in 776BC. I can imagine my girls wanting to race each along the track. The site of the games every four years until 393AD, it’s remarkable how these ancient ruins tell a story which leads to our modern day Olympic Games.
Hiking the Inca Trail is best saved until our children are a little older, but a visit to Machu Picchu would be amazing at any age. Perched on a hilltop more than two kilometres above sea level, these ruins and surrounding landscape are breathtaking. As mist swirls around the ruins it feels like you have gone back in time. A wonderful place to inspire my girls to learn about the Inca civilisation and the joys of exploring.
My husband is a New Zealander, I’m Australian, and visiting Gallipoli was a powerful experience, especially on ANZAC Day. We would love to share this with our girls, to bring history to life for them as they look back up at the steep cliffs. We have our names in the ballot for the 2015 ANZAC Day memorial service (100 year anniversary) but would happily take them any time, any year.