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As usual in late winter, I’m spending a lot of time wrapped up in travel fantasies. Indulge me by sharing: what’s the coolest archaeological site you’ve ever visited? Which would you most like to see?
I love travel and was blessed to do quite a lot in my single days. I’ve been to the Roman Forum and Pompeii. The pyramids and Luxor. Chichen Itza and Tulum. Ephesus. Jerash. Petra. The cities of the old Silk Road. Stonehenge. Masada. Mesa Verde.
Chichen Itza was cool because some of it was excavated, but you could still wander through the jungle at will checking out old mossy ruins and drinking in that “I’m in a ruined city” feel. Petra is amazing for similar reasons; it has that feeling of “Indiana Jones” mystery to it (appropriately enough, because the famous scene from “Last Crusade” was shot there.) I’ll always have a particular soft spot for Bukhara, since I spent two years in Uzbekistan, and took multiple friends and relatives to see it. Samerkand is great too, but Bukhara has a kind of intimate feel to it that I particularly love.
I’d like to visit Great Zimbabwe someday, and perhaps go to Cambodia or Thailand. And Peru! I’d love to see some Inca ruins. I can’t decide whether Easter Island would be worth it. In some ways it sounds very cool, but would you just get there and say, “Heads! OK, let’s go”? Not sure. Has anyone been?
It’s sort of a shame that so many important ruins are in places you don’t really want to be right now, like Iraq and Iran. But maybe some of our military folks have seen those too? I’d love to hear about it if so.