I don’t know about everyone else, but I am ready to close the books and head for the hills. My brain is fired and eager to experience what I’ve missed about the world over the past nine months. It seems fitting to explore National Geographic’s Best Spring Trips of 2012. I have pulled out a few of the picks that interested me the most.
National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of when Japan presented the US with 3,000 cherry trees. Between the months of March and April, the cherry trees are in full bloom and prettier than ever. During this time, there are daily events and special events that occur to celebrate the relationship between Japan and the US. This would be a fascinating festival to experience. I can just imagine all of the history that you could learn while in such a gorgeous setting.
Coast Path in Wales
Up for a hike and have two weeks of free time? How about a walk around the country of Wales? The longest continuous path around a country will be completed in May. This path is 870 miles long and follows the coast along the beaches and cliff edges. For those who are less excited about a two-week hike, there is a bus service that will tour along stretches of the path. A trip like this would be incredible but not quite as relaxing as I would want after a stressful semester.
Istanbul is a city rich with ancient character and tradition. In April, the city holds the International Tulip festival. Every color of tulip is planted all across Istanbul, which makes for a beautiful scene. The Istanbul Music Festival celebrates its 40th anniversary in June of this year. This is one of the city’s oldest festivals and it holds a high amount of prestige, hosting some of the most famous musicians and artists in the world. To be able to listen to some of these musicians would be absolutely jaw dropping.
The Lakes and Volcanoes in Chile
In the center region of Chile, there are ten national parks with dozens of lakes and white-water rivers. Oh and not to mention, ten volcanoes. If white-water rafting isn’t your thing, try flying through the rainforest on their zip-lines. The parks also offer tours through some of the cultural history of Chile, like bee-keeping and weaving. Now what has me sold is taking a long soak in the natural hot springs. Sounds like the perfect solution for my R & R craving.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina
Who says you have to leave the US to experience nature’s beauty marks? If you are within a day’s drive for half of the US population, you couldn’t turn it down. The Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage is held in late April. People from many different environment backgrounds, like botanists, entomologists, park rangers, and even storytellers are holding tours through the wooded wonderland of some of the Earth’s oldest mountains. If you’re looking for a peaceful walk through the woods, this has your name written all over it.
Man, now I just wish I wasn’t taking summer classes. Oh well. I hope some of you can enjoy these wonderful places!
By: Carali Van Otteren
(Photo by @heylovedc under a Creative Commons license)