Thursday, December 02, 2010

Who can decide on a favourite place in the world? Not me!

Professional Hobo Nora hit the nail right on the head in her post this week on one of the most difficult-to-answer questions that travellers get asked: "What's your favourite place in the world?" It's well worth reading Nora's response, because she suggests quite rightly that even absolutely adoring a place doesn't mean you'll like it even half as much on the next visit, or vice versa, so you really can't name a favourite place. When I was an English teacher and my foreign students learnt I liked to travel, they often asked me this question, even though I'm sure they couldn't have answered it themselves.

However, like Nora, (and a huge thanks to her for the inspiration) I have managed to come up with something of an answer to satisfy all those people who continue to ask. I guess what I have is several favourite trips - this doesn't necessarily mean the countries and places involved are my favourite, but these experiences rate among my most fun and memorable. And without further ado, they are:

Russia: Riding the Trans-Siberian train

You don't have to have read this blog for long to have come across my love for the Trans-Siberian. Crossing from Vladivostok to Moscow on the train was a dream come true for me and it more than lived up to my expectations.



Finland: Spending Christmas above the Arctic Circle

Perhaps I'm a child at heart, and obviously the attraction of a white Christmas is hard to beat for someone who grew up in Australia, but I really adored my northern Finnish Christmas. Meeting Santa was cute, snowmobiling was exhilarating, snowshoe walking with a break for hot chocolate was idyllic.



Tunisia: Backpacking its length and breadth

I ended up in Tunisia more or less by accident, knowing almost nothing about it, but it blew me away. The depth of culture and the huge variety of places to visit was incredible and I remember being truly amazed that every day brought with it a startlingly new and unique experience.



Over to you:
Do you have a favourite city, country or travel experience? Can you answer this question in a sentence, or are you like me, and need a whole blog post? Let me know in the comments.

13 comments:

  1. loved a lot of places but probably Porto, in Portugal, was the best of all! So different through architecture (especially the old city: crowded, narrow streets, colourful, etc), the setting (hill), the people (warm and noisy), etc, not to mention the Porto wine. :)

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  2. Porto sounds lovely Anca - I'm really disappointed I didn't make it to Portugal at all while I lived in Europe, but I still hope to one day!

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  3. :) Porto is absolutely amazing but my advice is to try visiting the new, emerging destinations of Eastern Europe. I've only seen a bit of Poland so far (Krakow, which is gorgeous, Zakopane, Auschwitz) and Romania, as I'm actually Romanian. Romania awaits discovery and therefore travellers who like authentic experiences and contact with local people would love it!

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  4. In my college days I spent 4 days in Tunisia with a fellow group of students (14 of us). We were spending a semester in Malta and made the trip to Tunisia as part of our experience. I, too, remember the pictures of their president everywhere and the nervous smile / laughter from the people when you asked them what they thought of their president.

    One particularly striking memory from that trip was when we spent a night in "Le Kef" which is near the border of Algeria. Evidently the town had never seen a group of 14 Americans coming together, and we caused quite a stir amongst the locals. They didn't know if we were journalists, humanitarians, or what. While we were at the hotel that night, some of the town's notable people came to the hotel to welcome us and let us know they were glad to have us in their town.

    I had never experienced anything like that before in my life.

    Tunisia is a wonderful country filled with a vibrant, friendly people. They are in a most interesting area in terms of landscape (mountains, desert, plains), geography (between Algeria and Libya), and history with all the Roman ruins.

    I had many firsts there...including first country I couldn't understand their language and they couldn't understand mine...talk about frustrating when all you want is a sandwich for lunch. they speak arabic/french, signs are in arabic on the menu, and I only speak english/spanish.

    well that's enough for now - thank you for jarring those memories loose, it was fun to sift through them again!

    --peter

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  5. Peter, thanks so much for your input on Tunisia, it sounds like you were as impressed by the country as I was. Your experience in Le Kef sounds especially fun - to be VIPs for a night! Perhaps one day you'll return?

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  6. It didn't feel fun at the time, made us more nervous than anything to have caused such an uproar. :| But I loved Tunisia and would really enjoy going back there someday. The couscous alone is worth the trip!

    My wife and I have always wanted to visit Australia - was reminded of it today @ a conference, one of the speakers is from Perth and shared some pictures of the area...

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  7. Complete travel envy with this post! My favourite experience was Vienna I think, or maybe Montreal during the jazz festival? Hmmm. It is a tricky question! Thanks for Rewinding x

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  8. Luang Prabang, Laos, is my favourite town-city in the whole world. While I do agree that loving somewhere once doesn't always mean you'll love it again, this place I could come back to again and again.

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  9. @Multiple Mum - Montreal for the jazz fest - now I have travel envy!! I love Vienna, too.

    @Hearts in asia - ooh, I've never been to Laos but would love to - and that's a big recommendation.

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  10. Havasupai Fall in Arizona - everytime I've been there it's been absolutely magic.

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    Replies
    1. Ooh excellent, love suggestions like this of places I haven't heard of, will add it to my list! Thanks!

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  11. Kefalonia is an amazing Greek Island with stunning scenery and wonderful people. I want to retire there :-) I have family in Finland, thanks for showing how special it is, I often feel it's overlooked.

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    1. Sounds lovely, thanks for the tip! And no worries on Finland - I love it.

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