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Pack Your Bags! Our Writers’ Top Choices for Places to Visit This Year

by Robert Adams

We asked our writers from around the world to tell us where they will be traveling in 2020. They share their stories and experiences in every issue of PASSPORT magazine, and, like each of us, they are ready to hit the road again.

Team Passport • Photo by Aslysun

We asked our writers from around the world to tell us where they will be traveling in 2020. Each of these individuals knows what it means to travel to new places, meet fascinating people, and immerse themselves in the culture of different countries. They share their stories and experiences in every issue of PASSPORT magazine, and, like each of us, they are ready to hit the road again. So pick your favorite place from their recommendations, pack your bags, and let the adventures begin again!

 

Centre Place in Melbourne (Photo by Keitma)

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

I have fond memories of the trip I made to Melbourne earlier this year for a wedding. With many guests traveling from afar, the happy couple were eager to showcase their city. In addition to the ceremony and grand reception in the State Library, we enjoyed a winery lunch, a beach club party, cocktail-hour gatherings at rooftop bars, and family dinners at cool local restaurants. Taking time out from the wedding party, I made a pilgrimage to see the mural painted in 1984 by iconic gay pop artist Keith Haring on a wall in the Melbourne suburb of Collingwood, which, along with neighboring Fitzroy, is the center of everything hipster and bohemian. It is also home to Melbourne’s vibrant queer scene, so it’s a great place to be day or night. The city’s renowned NGV, Australia’s oldest, largest and most-visited art museum, was hosting a major exhibition of the work of Keith Haring and his NYC art scene compatriot Jean-Michel Basquiat, so I was able to double-dose on Haring. When we begin to travel again after this pandemic, a revisit to Melbourne will be in order. Until then, we can all enjoy some of Melbourne’s attractions virtually, including the Haring/Basquiat exhibition at the NGV.

—Stuart Haggas

 

Prague (Photo by Yasonya)

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC

I suppose I am biased about the city of Prague. I’ve loved Praha before most Americans knew how to spell Czechoslovakia, before anyone heard of Kafka, Smetana, or Martina Navratilova, its famous natives. Of all Europe’s cities, it leads in old-world charm. No bombs destroyed its ancient tower, its castle built in the ninth century, or the famous Charles Bridge built in the fourteenth. That bridge, which spans the Vltava River below, invites a stroll past today’s souvenir vendors and musicians, while its religious statues keep watch on the way. Prague is a city known for its beer, but I know its hot dogs are the greatest! So is its glass. Chandeliers and goblets sparkle in shop windows and in the dazzling Moser Museum. Best of all, the friendliest of European cities opens wide its doors to Americans, and virtually everyone speaks English.

                                                                                                —Marlene Fanta Shyer

 

Paris (Photo by Catarina Belova)

PARIS, FRANCE

My niece graduated from college in May. I had planned to take her to Paris in June, and our flights and rooms had been booked. An extravagant gift, to be sure, but as much an indulgence for the sentimental uncle as the 21-year-old recipient. For two years, just after the turn of the century, I lived in the 10th Arrondissement, by the Canal St. Martin, then just budding into the bloom of urban chic it’s since become. It was both a first taste of adulthood and a second chance at youth for me. I was borne by a new continent, free to be myself from Day One. When I think about ushering my niece down the same cobblestone alleys, into the same fragrant gardens and ancient café-bars that served as my threshold to a new chapter of life, it feels like writing poetry. I lived in Paris when the twin towers came down, another time the world felt fragile, when we found the hope and courage to carry on. I want to go back and move forward. Sometime in the year ahead, I will take my niece to Paris. And perhaps two decades from now we’ll return together to raise a glass to resilience and reinvention.

—Jim Gladstone

{You May Also Enjoy:  10 Most Romantic Places In Paris}

 

Berlin (Photo by Canadastock)

BERLIN, GERMANY

Berlin exudes liberation. There’s no better place to celebrate the end of stay-at-home orders. Under quarantine, meditation apps only get me so far in finding inner freedom. I want to see freedom, to smell it, and if the mood is right, to taste it. I miss getting rejected at Berghain after waiting in line for 2 hours—even those nights lead to mysterious encounters. In Berlin, you may wear whatever, sing whenever, and kiss whomever, as long as you pay for your bus ticket and don’t jaywalk. And it’s not just about clubbing. It’s biking full speed down former airport runways at Templehofer Feld. It’s jumping naked into one of the 3,000+ lakes nearby. There’s a sense of freedom to do whatever and connect with people authentically, where nobody expects you to be a certain way. Berlin represents the opposite of quarantine. I’ll also want to be one of the first to use the new airport they have scheduled to open in October.

—Allister Chang

 

Bologna (Photo by Kanuman)

BOLOGNA, ITALY

In spring 2019, I returned to Italy after 15 years of travel to other destinations. Instantly I was reminded of all the reasons I originally fell for Italy: the food, wine, history, architecture, and endless other discoveries. But more powerful is the simplicity of Italy’s nature to purely enjoy life. In Bologna, in the north-central province of Emilia Romagna, bliss became even clearer. The city has such a progressive history, built on academia and culture, and wonderful people who welcomed my wife and me like old friends. There’s a strong, fun LGBTQ community, so the city feels especially familiar. Plus it’s easily walkable, with incredible museums, lovely parks and piazzas, unforgettable restaurants, and so many other entrancing elements. It’s also a dreamy city to get lost in. Since that week, we find ourselves thinking of Bologna often, and have kept in touch with our newly made friends. We can’t wait to return, and could even see ourselves living there someday.

—Kelsy Chauvin

{You May Also  Enjoy:  Rediscovering Florence Italy}

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