9 Best Countries Americans Should Visit by the End of 2016

The holidays are upon us. Christmas is coming. If the thought of Christmas does not warm your cockles – if, rather, it invokes a sense of dread – then here’s a list of countries you might like to go instead of staying home.

1. Italy 

visit italy

Famed for its food, wine, and couture fashion, Italy is worth paying a visit at any time of year; though, depending on the season, some places are more appropriate than others. We would say that Milan, at this time of year, is especially nice; it has a festival celebrating the feast of Sant'Ambrogio and its Christmas market is full of goodies. You could also go skiing in the north of Italy.

2. Switzerland

switzerland

Scenic Switzerland. The smell of resin, fresh air, open expanses— for such things is Switzerland famed. Bordered by Germany, France, Austria, and Italy, Switzerland has four national languages and is something of a melting pot. You can go and visit Italian-speaking Ticino; you can go and visit German-speaking Lucerne; you can go and see the Matterhorn; you can go ice-fishing in Lake Geneva.

3. Austria

visit austria

What a country! We'll tell you what, Austria is where it’s at. Vienna, Salzburg—both of them are wondrous cities of culture. This is the country of Freud. This is the country of Mozart. This is the country of Krampus. Krampus, a horrible, horny monster, punishes children who have been disobedient. He is the dark antithesis of Santa. Take your little American kiddies to Austria this Christmas and, if they get up to any monkey business, whisper, ‘Krampus is coming.’

4. Azerbaijan

azerbaijan

Not the best country in the world, but it’s not bad either. Its medieval buildings are its prime attraction, but it has some nicely-shaped new buildings as well—real nice and curvy. If you’re thinking of going to Azerbaijan, be warned: by going to Azerbaijan, you’ll be supporting the economy of a country whose government puts people in prisons for arbitrary reasons: for speaking against its corruption, for example.

5. Venezuela

visit venezuela

Speaking of countries with corrupt governments, we need to look no further than Venezuela. If you’re wanting to escape the cold of winter, you should go south, where it’s not even winter—such is the way this crazy world works. You may visit the lovely Margarita Island, where you can take part in all kinds of water-sports, such as parascending, snorkeling, and water-skiing.

6. France

visit france

The geographical host of a species of human beings speaking the lovely, sexy language of French, France is a country with which, I am sure, you are all familiar. Known for its béchamel sauce, its pinot grigio, its cordon bleu training college—French food is probably even better than Italian food. And that’s saying something.

Because Italian food is also tasty. What Paris lacks in warmth—both climactic, i.e. on account of the season, and interpersonal, i.e. on account of the rudeness of its people—it is more than made up by the loveliness of its streets and the sexiness of its go-go dancers.

7. UK

visit uk

The UK is a determinedly isolationist little country separated from America by the Atlantic Ocean. Brits refer to Yanks as their ‘transatlantic friends’. In a recent survey, London was voted the best city in the world. ‘Why?’ you might be asking. It’s because of its density. It is where things happen. It is where real life goes on, where the only people worth recording in the annals of history live their lives. It’s because of its history. It’s because of its cheeky character.

It’s got a zoo. It’s got Covent Garden market; it’s got Soho where the cool kids used to hang out; it’s got squeezed-up little houses; it’s got motor-mouthed cockneys trying to sell you nice and juicy apples; get your nice and juicy apples.

8. Jamaica

visit jamaica

An island full of Jamaicans, Jamaica is a little place where people speak with a Jamaican accent. Tourists can go there and immerse themselves in the culture: they can listen to reggae music; they can smoke marijuana; they can go to the house where Usain Bolt grew up. In going to Jamaica, you’ll be doing Jamaican tourism minister Edmund Bartlett a big favor.

9. India

visit india

A country full of vibrancy, what with the zippiness of its road-users and the spiciness of its food, India is a place worth visiting if you’re feeling wan, lifeless, and dysthymic. What a lot of people who’ve gone to Indian tells me is that those people have a lot of reverence for cows, which they think are full of, like, Baraka and thus closer to the oneness than we are. It’s really lovely the way they treat those cows.

They must disdain us Westerners for our barbaric slaughter of such docile, spiritual creatures. I mean, they must feel about us the way we feel about those Chinamen who eat dogs.

What I’ve learned from this exercise is that the world is a big place, and I don’t know very much about it. I’m not in a good place intellectually at the minute, it seems, but it’s okay, because Christmas is coming, and we can all just relax for a bit seeing as it’s the season of letting go. Let go. We’ll all have to let go one day, anyway. Just learn to let go.

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