I love new beginnings. While I’m somewhere between shocked and stunned that we’ll pop cheap champagne to welcome a new year in just six weeks, 2015 to me is already filled with dreams, uncertainty and travel itineraries. I’ve never been to any of the places below (shock horror!) so my imagination may well be absolute nonsense but you’re welcome to share some of your know-how with me.

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via Didier Jansen

1) Reykjavik, Iceland

There’s this thing about Iceland. I’m not even sure if it’s the pure landscapes, the wide nothingness, the crisp fresh air, its ponies (will I get into some kind of cliché hell here?) or just the idea of a lonely island that’s distant enough from a crazy busy continent – but I cannot wait to set foot into Reykjavik in the new year. There’s a few cool spots that I’ve collected from blog or magazine articles, like the ice cream shop Valdis, Cafe Haiti, the cultural centre Tjarnarbio and the sushi restaurant Sushibarinn. Katja’s got some great general Iceland tips here. I can also highly recommend this local blog, not the least because of its stunning photos.

2) Oslo, Norway

Norway, I love you and I always will. So far I’ve only traveled along the west coast, Bergen and its surrounded mountains but I have heard so many good things about Oslo, its coffee, its museums, its vibes. My best friend lives there at the moment and I’m planning to join her for at least a month… Places I can’t wait to check out are the park Myraløkka in the north, the fish shop Fiskeriet, the stunning Oslo Opera House, the espresso bar Fuglen, and a pub called Revolver. This trip already can’t go wrong!

3) Tel Aviv, Israel

I cannot wait to check out the cultural scene in Tel Aviv and getting a taste of Israel’s indescribable history. I’ll probably be one of those people that’s being dragged into a pilgrimage and then ends up changing her whole life around as a consequence. Ha. I’ve had friends of mine stay there in summer when the political situation in Gaza escalated once again. Upon arriving they said, they found loads of signs at the airport advising them where to run when a bomb strikes/goes off. They said something like “you have three seconds or you’re dead”. That’s charming. Oh, hi Mum! Besides, a certain orange low-cost airline offers stupidly cheap return tickets from Berlin at €130. Check out this awesome guest post for more inspiration from Israel.

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4) Istanbul, Turkey

I want to see a sunrise in Istanbul, or seven of them. I want to eat local food, close my eyes and taste all its wonderful flavours. I want to talk to elderly people who take a stroll in the warm September sun. I’ve once been there for a short layover before sunset but wasn’t able to get a proper overview of the city. Istanbul also seems like a pretty good place to be based in if you’re into all things Middle East. Cairo and Beirut are a short drive or flight away. Syria is too, but I’m not sure if I want to explore just how close they are at the moment… The heartbreaking bit is that Syria used to be an outrageously beautiful country and hopefully will be again one day. Anyway, check out this series for street photography from Istanbul.

5) Budapest, Hungary

The reason why Budapest has been on my radar for ages is ridiculous. I once had a rather unforgettable first date where the (albeit handsome) chap started talking about “romantic weekend escapes” and mentioned Budapest as a possible option. No rush, Sir, no rush. I was super weirded out and then kept recounting everything I knew about the city (not much) which didn’t make the situation any less awkward. But somehow the way he dreamily described a sunset, the old town and the shabby chic of its architecture is stuck in my head and I want to see all this for myself. (Needless to say there wasn’t a second date.)

6) A sailing boat, Anywhere

Ok, you got me – cities are not all I dream of… The rest of my fellow Travelettes had a giant boat party in Croatia this year and I really fancy some seaside action myself – maybe one that’s a bit quieter and far away from any land. There’s just few things in life that I love as much as the ocean, so the idea of being exposed to just that and (hopefully) a bit of wind and blue skies is more than appealing. It’s also an idea that’s probably only romantic in my head but we will see whether this plan turns into reality.

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What are your plans for the new year? Will I see you in any of the cities!?

All photos taken by Caroline Schmitt, except stated otherwise