If New Year’s has come and gone, and we’ve all gotten back to our daily routines- at least, those of us who aren’t currently buried under ten feet of snow. For most of us, this means back to daydreaming about the fantastic locales where we’d much rather be. Sipping wine on the French Riviera, running with the bulls in Pamplona, taking a selfie with God in the Sistine Chapel (and then getting tossed out by touchy Vatican guards).
Of course, nothing helps the illusion like the pictures we or our friends have taken while abroad. Often, our photos end up our most cherished souvenirs from a trip long since concluded- but while paging through the images from your last vacation, is it possible that something seemed a little too… predictable? France, Italy, Japan, Brazil… these are common destinations for a reason, but everyone’s been there! Next year, why not have something unique to look back on? Here’s two countries in particular you won’t regret seeing.
This landlocked Southeast Asian state is a truly fascinating place, a multi-ethnic nation with a complex culture and a famously friendly population. Lao cuisine (the first thing to consider in any journey!) almost always starts with a base of sticky rice and herbs like lemongrass, on which marinated meats, stews and curries are often added. Lao street food is a backpacker’s dream, and the exchange rate means all you’ll have to watch is your waistline.
(Photo by Matyas Rehak) Spicy papaya salad, Laos
But just as important are the scenery and above all else the people of Laos-historically the region has been the crossroads of Southeast Asia, from the vast mountain ranges of the north, to the western border snaking along with the magnificent Mekong River, all the way down the southwestern panhandle and its sprawling rice paddies. The people of Laos are as generous and outgoing as their country is beautiful, and that’s why the nation tends to pull everyone who visits back for another trip.
Who knows how many incredible photo opportunities there could be on a trip to Laos? You’re sure to find something memorable in this grand patchwork of dozens and dozens of living cultures.
(Photo by Galyna Andrushko) PhotoTime is programmed to tag every picture of the Mekong with ‘beauty’. True story.
If your only exposure to this former Yugoslavian territory has something to do with that world-famous Balkan nationalism, you’re selling yourself short. Croatia is a beautiful country filled with beautiful people, and any European tour would benefit greatly from adding it to the itinerary.
Croatian cuisine is primarily Mediterranean, but the country has embraced the slow food movement like few others, meaning meals are something to be savored and enjoyed- a nice departure from our own fast food mentality. But it’s the sights in Croatia that really make it a destination to be loved- there’s no end to the scenic vistas from which to take images of the classical architecture played against the crystal clear waters.
Peppers stuffed with rice and meat, Croatia
Croatia may not be the first country that comes to mind when one thinks of the Roman Empire, but in fact it’s home to some of the most well preserved Roman ruins in the world- like the magnificent forum in Zadar, a little piece of history that makes for some rather stunning photo opportunities. After all, half of your friends have pictures of the Colosseum and the Spanish Steps. There’s a lot more history off the beaten path, and Croatia is as good a place as any to start looking for it. Croatia’s natural sights are no less engaging, with some of the most spectacular mountains and beautiful coastline packed into the nation’s rather small borders.
(Photo by Matej Kastelic) Rovinj situated on the north Adriatic Sea Located on the western coast of the Istrian peninsula
So, whether it’s fantasy or reality, where’s your special getaway? Share your photos with us at email@example.com