A friend recently returned from a ten-day trip to Italy with absolutely beautiful, impressive, and gorgeous photos of Rome, Venice, Siena, and Capri, the photos of Siena -- a "side trip," she explained -- offering numerous pleasant surprises.
I will admit I was a little jealous looking at these shots, but I'm pleased to say that that I was more happy than jealous, and therefore I was happier than I was jealousier. (I know that's not really a word; I just made it up.)
Anyway, the whole thing reminded me that as little as I have traveled in my life, having not left this country since 1980, that I have a list of my own, a list of my top-ten preferred foreign destinations, in order, as follows.
1. Scandinavia. Okay, so that's really four countries, so maybe this should account for four entries, and if it did they would appear in this order: Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. And they preferably would be visited by cruise ship.
2. Finland. And no, it's not the same thing, because Finland is not a Scandinavian country. Nordic, yes; Scandinavian, no.
4. Ireland. (I know, Mom, it's one rung below Italy. I'm sorry.)
5. The Netherlands.
6. South Africa.
9. Uruguay. I know, other than the whole "Who wants to go to Uruguay?" thing, these last three make up the "Southern Cone" and all that, and really, I should group these three together, like I did with Scandinavia, which would allow this list to extend to a count of twelve. And so see the associated continuation of this list below.
12. Czechoslovakia. Oh, wait. That's two countries now, isn't it?
What was the point of all this? Well, I guess I was putting it all to paper, or to the web, to serve as a reminder to me, and maybe to some of you, that we need aspirations, just a little something to look forward to, even if that something is thousands of miles, and dollars, away.
[Afterthought: England, France . . . been there.]