I’m obviously not an expert in the field as I don’t work in the tourism industry, but I’ve traveled 12 times this year to 8 different countries, and I’m still counting. Half of the destinations I meticulously chose to taste, sense of popularity or the other way around: because it’s not popular enough.
I sometimes do get complimented on my choice of destination with the following question: Why did you choose this particular place? I’ll have to be honest with you, I do not have a fancy-shmancy answer to this:
Because I’ve always wondered about this place
It’s not overly touristy
Because it felt right
Because it was cheap
I cannot give you a philosophical answer, as I don’t have one. I’m a weird/special individual who doesn’t like to follow the crowd. Yes, I like to stand out and that does often reflect in my choice of travel destinations. That’s why I would like to share my not-so researched, not-very scientific top 10 – in no particular order – of travel trend destinations for the upcoming year 2018, a.k.a my bucket list of destinations I would like to go to, but probably can’t afford.
Suriname: Let’s face it: Suriname is pretty unknown to most of you. I know Suriname because it’s an ex-Dutch colony and I grew up with Dutch television. It made me curious about this country. It’s one of the few countries in the world where Dutch is spoken, therefore a country I’ll be able to speak my second language without any problem. It’s also the country where, except Paramaribo (the capital city), there is nothing much else to see but the jungle (at least, that’s what they made us believe in Dutch classes at uni! You can’t know unless you go!). Yet, this makes me curious about this South American country that has always fascinated me. And I’ll be honest with you, I love the food and the accent of the Surinamese (is this correct???). So, enough reasons to go for the Food Traveler that I am. Is it easy to go there? If you fly from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, you’ll have direct flights to Paramaribo with KLM, Caribbean Air, Tui Fly and Suriname Airways. Flights are +- 9hs, Suriname is very cheap for a westerner budget.
Israel: Israel has done a lot of efforts to get that tourism flowing, and with success! I flew twice in less than a year (July 2016 & February 2017) for as little as €190 with Brussels Airlines. Not only BA but also El Al (Israel’s national airline) has cheap fares these days (around €250 from Brussels), etc. The thing with Israel is that it has agreements with the European Union considering airport taxes, and that’s why fares dropped significantly the last few years. I couldn’t be any happier with this as I can fly to Israel (from Brussels) for as little as 130 euro. If you follow me on social media or my YouTube channel, you know I’m Tel Avivit by heart. It’s my ultimate favorite city in the world because it’s so cosmopolitan, metropolitan, gaypolitan or any politan you like. It’s on the Mediterranean sea (which is, in my opinion, the best sea in the world (totally not bias whatsoever!). And has the best food and most good-looking people in the world. I would write books full of why I love it so much, but I guess it would become a little awkward because I wouldn’t be able to shut up about it. So Let’s go to the third country on my list!
Colombia: the country of Shakira and The Farc. But in my world, the country of J. Balvin, Maluma and Gabriel Garcia Marquez (No, the third guy is not a reggaetón artist). To Netflix freaks the country of Pablo Escobar, therefore the country of NARCOS. I just feel like Colombia is getting more and more popular but also more and more accessible as people are less afraid of going to a country that has such a criminal past. Prices to Colombia or not so competitive from Brussels Airport and there is no direct connection, so it takes you quite some time to get there. It’s an affordable country and suites a Westerner budget by far. I’m curious about Bogota, Cartagena, Medellin, Cali, and Barranquilla. Cartagena and Barranquilla are booming due to there beautiful beaches. Colombia is on my 2018 bucket list and can’t stop thinking about it.
India: a couple of airlines opened the doors to the city of Mumbai, Brussels Airlines is one of them (Shiiit, they should pay me to promote them! #Hint). India is a huge and rich country and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the food. I have been curious about this country for EVER, but since I’m a big fan of the YouTuber Ivana Perkovic from Travel Vlog Iv, who is in love with India and has been there 4 times, I’ve been getting more curious with the day, and trust it’s safe for a solo female traveler to go around in India. I obviously want to visit Mumbai, New Delhi, Agra (Taj Mahal), Goa (cliché), Kochi, Jaipur, and Bangalore. I will need at least 1 or 2 months to do it, but it’s also on my bucket list. India can be accessed by direct flights with Brussels Airlines or pretty much any big airline in Europe (Turkish Airlines, British Airlines, Air France). India is very cheap for a westerner’s budget.
5. Tanzania (Zanzibar): I need some Africa in my life! Even though Tanzania is not on top of my Africa bucket list, it’s worth to have seen this country before you die. Tanzania has a rich geography, including the world famous Kilimanjaro and island Zanzibar. I know Zanzibar is quite famous by Israeli tourists and that made me curious. I’ve seen many pictures and these beaches and they are to dream of! Tanzania and Zanzibar are popular destinations on airlines’ lists and can be accessed by many airlines but not directly from Brussels Airport. Tanzania is very accessible budget wise.
I hope you liked my not-so researched/ not-so scientific top 5 of world destination. In a next edition, I will share my top 5 of European destinations I would like to travel to.
You know I’m a Tel Avivian by heart, and if you don’t know, check my YouTube Channel and Instagram for my Tel Aviv adventures!
But what does a Tel Avivian by heart do all day long in Tel Aviv? EAT OF COURSE! That’s why I created a list of my top 5 places to have breakfast/lunch/dinner in Tel Aviv. 5 must-eats that maybe, very maybe, even locals don’t know of.
Shlomo & Doron is by far my favorite hummus place in Tel Aviv. Don’t get me wrong, there might be other places in for instance Jaffa, where people swear to have had the best Hummus in the whole of Israel, but Shlomo Ve’Doron is MY favorite. Why? Firstly, it’s a hidden gem in Kerem HaTeimanim (Yemenite Vineyard), my favorite neighborhood in Tel Aviv! Secondly, it has masabacha and shakshuka hummus = warm hummus dishes, GOOGLE IT!). And thirdly it only has a Hebrew menu, which means tourists have not found this place (yet)!
2. Buba Jachnun
Finding a nice place to have breakfast on a Saturday, is like looking for a lost earring while being in a club! Most places you’d like to go are closed, so you can only have food in touristy places! Yuks! So, one Shabbat morning, I felt like having Jachnun in a proper place, I found Buba Jachnun! Only open on Shabbat, and you know why? Because Jachnun is only eaten on Shabbat! (Not in my world! But still…) BINGO! for 25 NIS you get two big gooey pieces of Jachnun dough with shredded tomatoes and schug, coffee or tea.
3. Sabich Frishman
This is a popular one! Next to Yemenite dishes, my favorite dishes in Israel are Iraqi. Sabich is one more typical Shabbat dish, but this one is eaten every day, at every meal. It’s a pita pocket filled with grilled eggplant, salad, Iraqi mango salsa, egg, etc. This place only sells Sabich, but it’s annexed to Frishman Falafel, who sells, well… FALAFEL! 🙂 But try when you’re in the city center of TLV, the long lines speak for themselves.
Well, I told you Iraqi food is one of my favs, so when I discovered Azura, I fell in love! Azura sells al kinds of Iraqi-Kurdish-Jewish food. Yes, IT’S A THING! But the must-try dish here is Marak Kubbeh, Kubbeh Soup which is a kind of dumpling made of bulgur, filled with minced meat. You’ve got to choose from 4 to 5 different Kubbeh soups and they are all as delicious! I’m a big eater, so if you’re like me, order a plate of rice with beans or mujaddara (rice with lentils, and fried onions). WORTH THE BLOATED WALK AFTERWORTHS!
5. HaBurika Center
Last but not least: there is one spot I couldn’t miss when I go to Tel Aviv and it’s most definitely HaBurika Center. This place is a stand on the Carmel Market and sells Burika (not borekas!!). Burika is the Hebrew word for the North African dish called Brik. It’s basically phyllo dough with an egg and potato inside, then fried in vegetable oil. The only difference at this place and I don’t know whether it’s because they’re Lybian or it’s an Israeli twist to the original, but at HaBurika Center you get in in a pita with salad and other yummie sauces and I don’t know what (honestly, I just eat and enjoy, don’t question what’s inside). For 20 NIS you get a big pita, filled with other vegetarian yumminess, enough to fill your stomach for lunch (or dinner, really!). You can’t miss the guy who makes the burika, as he screams all day long: “BURIKA, BURIKA, BURIKA! SHALOSH SFINSJ B’ESER!” (Translation: “BURIKA, BURIKA, BURIKA! THREE SFINSJS FOR 10 SHEKELS”) because yes, he does sell sfinsjs as well, these yummie North African doughnuts topped with sugar. Follow HaBurika Center on Instagram, you’ll be in for a treat: @haburika_carmel_market
I hope after describing these 5 places you’ll be hungry enough to try them! You’re in for a big carb section, but hey, no one diets when in Tel Aviv!