It’s that time of year–when, for a week, thanks to the Today Show, I can’t seem to get that Carmen Sandiego ditty of my PBS-watching youth out of my head. Today marked the first day of Matt Lauer’s 10th “Where in the World” trip, and he revealed his location to be the Skeleton Coast, Namibia.
Noted for its “haunting beauty and unconfined space,” our own Patricia Schulz describes the Skeleton Coast as “a little explored desert paradise of wide-open spaces–undeveloped, unpeopled, and far from civilization” in the new 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. Its name btw, refers to the treacherous, barren shoreline, where shipwrecks and whale bones litter the fog shrouded beaches. But what else? There’s seal breeding ground (pups arrive in late November or December…maybe Matt should extend his stay!), awesome flocks of pink flamingos, and massive shifting dunes around granite shelves and veins of schist (if you saw the segment this morning, you saw Matt skiing down a sandy dune!).
Only Matt (and probably his producers) knows where he’ll end up next, but here’s the itinerary that Patricia Schultz would have recommended for his week on the go. (And, hey, maybe he’ll show up at one of these hot spots tomorrow!)
5 suggested destinations in various regions of the world where Matt has not been:
1) Lake Bled, Slovenia An emerald-green glacial lake, Bled was the favorite getaway of Tito, former president of Yugoslavia. The restaurant at Tito’s former residence is one of the area’s best (and you can spend the night) — with views of the Julian Alps, and the tiny island with an 11th century castle at the lake’s center.
2) Hanoi, Vietnam In the narrow, crowded tree-lined streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter — one of the city’s most charming neighborhoods — flag down a cyclo (a pedal-powered rickshaw) to navigate the enjoyable chaos. Streets are lined with hole-in-the-wall merchants stores, food stands, traditional cafes and the occasional centuries-old temple.
3) Sepik River, Papua New Guinea An expedition down this mysterious river leads to the world’s last unspoiled reservoir of nature, culture and tribal art. In villages reachable only by boat, life has only just emerged from millenia-long isolation.
4) Bruges, Belgium The “Venice of the North” is a romantic stuck-in-time city of medieval architecture and willow-lined canals was once a prosperous trading hub — today a beautifully preserved city of important small museum and atmospheric inns and restaurants.
5) Iquitos and the Peruvian Amazon Brazil may get most of the attention, but Peru is one of the best places to experience the incredible biodiversity of the Amazon — at the point where they claim the river originates, 2,400 miles from where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean.
And, did you know that every place that Matt has been over the past 10 years is one of the 1000 Places to See Before You Die? (That’s an impressive checklist he’s got going — though he might want to step up the pace from just 5 places each year!) Check out this gorgeous slideshow of destinations via the Today Show, of highlights from Matt’s past trips.