It's been a pretty eventful travel year for me. I've been to France a few times, Argentina, China, England, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Hawaii, and more states around the US. Looking back on the places I've been, there are a few stand outs for me. So here are the best and worst of my 2016 destinations.
Best - Cape Town
My end of the year trip started in the planning stages as a way for me to set foot on my 6th continent, and many people who had traveled to Cape Town, raved about how great it was. As my planning evolved to add Dubai, I personally started to get more excited for Dubai than Cape Town. Dubai is a flashy city and I really could not wait to see all that it had to offer.
Once I landed in Cape Town, the whole area won my affection and my focus shifted quickly away from Dubai and back to Cape Town. Downtown Cape Town is nothing to write home about, but the surrounding area is so full of vibrant history, nature, and people, you just can't help but fall in love with it. My driver put it an interesting way, Cape Town has an insect that bites you and does no harm, but once it does you can't help but want to come back. While a funny little tale, it is true on some level, the city and surrounding country are so captivating, you almost immediately realize you'll be back.
The Cape of Good Hope, Cape Point and the associated national park is a must see destination. Rarely have I been to a place with so much natural beauty.
Worst - Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires like Cape Town was an effort to grab my 5th continent, but Buenos Aires had quite the opposite effect on me. Landing at the airport, I almost immediately felt uncomfortable, and there are very very few cities that have ever done that to me... honestly it's the only one so far. While my taxi driver was great, the attendant wanted money from me just for showing me where the cars were. We literally walked 200 ft at most... no I don't have any cash for you.
Once we got into the city, it quickly became clear that the name "Paris of South America" was a very poor name. There were a few spots that reminded me of Paris, but for the most part, those buildings that did remind me of Europe were every 7th building or so, the remainder of the buildings looked run down, weathered and in major disrepair.
Walking the streets, 2 separate people attempted to scam me. Shops were not open on the weekends, the main avenue felt like it was ignored and no one really liked the city in which they lived.
Eventually I did find a nicer part of the city, but that still left me unimpressed. I found a single art museum I enjoyed, other than that, I left with a sour taste about Argentina and South America in general. The people were rude, and generally unfriendly, quite literally the opposite of what I've found almost any other place in the world. Argentina left me with a desire to visit any other part of the world except South America. Maybe that's a harsh point of view, but I have no desire to go back, much rather go to South Korea again where I felt welcome and had many interesting things to do.
Next year approaches fast and I'm thinking about my next destinations. On top of my list is Hong Kong, I've long wanted to visit what has been described as an amazing city. After that, there are many European countries I have yet to make it to, and I feel the need to focus more on Europe this year.
There are no definite plans in the works yet, but this year will hopefully become bigger than 2016.