Friday, March 13, 2015

The Most Outstanding Places I Have Visited

Or, a more fitting title for me (and those who know me well will be unsurprised by my use of this word), "The Magic of the Places I have visited."

Recently I have been giving some thought to all the places I have seen in my lifetime thus far.  I have found beauty, adventures and excitement in all of them.  However there are of course some that stand out among the rest.  I have my own personal favorites, the ones that resonated deeply within me or that I found particularly amazing.

So without further ado, here they are:

(I have decided to describe them in either only short sentences or with single adjectives instead of in paragraph or story format).

(All the photos in this article were taken by myself, except for the photos of New Hampshire, Salzburg and Boston).

Cinque Terre (Italy): Sun-drenched, old, untouched by time, truly embodies the word "paradise."  The air carries scents of salt, water, sand and the slight aroma of seafood.  This place lends one feelings of being carefree, laid back, deeply relaxed.  As though time has slowed.  Hours do not matter.  Instead the day is split in terms of daytime and after sunset.  The water is a stunning, brilliant, crisp blue.  One feels as though life here would be rich and yet completely, refreshingly simple at the same time.

Paris (France): Modern.  Bustling.  Elegant.  Romantic.  Stylish.  Chic.  Glittering.  The "City of Light." Historic.  Gothic.  Ornate.  Mouthwatering pastries.  TONS to do, see, explore and taste.  Lush and flowering gardens.  Art and fashion.

Monets waterlily garden in Giverny.

´The French countryside during Autumn.

Rome (Italy): Chaotic, busy, loud.  Modern, but with ancient surprises around ever corner.  Romantic.  Outdoor cafes filled with patrons lingering over wine and each other.  Cobblestoned alleyways.  Golden piazzas scattered with bubbling fountains and lined with enticing restaurants.

Prague (Czech Republic): Medieval, magical, charming and beautiful.  Fairytale-like.  With a barely visible dark underside, beckoning in shadowed corners.  Bewitching alleyways and ornate squares.  Green, hilly parks sprinkled throughout the city, with the ancient marvels of the Prague Castle and the Charles bridge as the city focal points.

Florence (Italy): Stunning panoramic views, rolling mountains, sultry sunsets.  Mouthwatering food.  Cobbled walkways.  Cathedrals and renaissance art abundant throughout the city.  Gardens, flowers and lush greenery dotting the landscapes.  Cafes on every street corner.  Charming and richly peopled piazzas.

Germany: Storybook charm, quaint, breathtaking.  Rolling hills like patchwork quilts.  Tiny villages.  Lush, small cities.  Romantic countryside.  Fast paced, large, exciting cities.  Wealthy mansion-dotted, woody, family oriented towns.

Oktoberfest in Munich.

Salzburg (Austria): Bright.  All buildings seem to be bathed in shades of cream or light pastels.  Walk-able.  Clean.  Mountainous.  Glowing and bustling downtown area.  Same European charm as other cities I have visited.  The air feels fresh and cool, as though one is drinking a refreshing glass of water.  Glockenspiels chime in the background periodically, tinkling beautifully in the air.

Venice (Italy): Quiet.  Mysterious.  Narrow pathways.  Crumbling.  Winding watery canals.  Magical.  Romantic.  Dark history.  Gondolas gliding through the city.  Ancient.

My first time in Venice, when I studied abroad in Italy (2008).

Look at how narrow some of the alleyways are!

Lucerne (Switzerland): Surrounded on almost all sides by snow capped craggy peaks.  A huge steel-gray lake as the city focal point.  Alpine and mountainous (saw baby goats bounding along the side of the mountains while riding the gondola up to the peak of Mount Pilatus).  The modern area of the city is gray and fairly nondescript, not much to write home about.  The beauty is in the scenery, which is breathtaking.

Barbados: Sun-soaked.  Sexy.  So relaxing.  Scenic and sparkling.  Lush and wild natural beauty.  Pale pink sand beaches.  The most Caribbean and jewel toned blue waters you can imagine.  The sun and air begs one to nap outside.  Delicious food (especially the fried flying fish and the macaroni pie).  The ultimate beach vacation to lounge, read, relax and enjoy the outdoors.

Can you see the little monkey just a foot or so in front of me???

PINK sand!!!

The White Mountains (New Hampshire, in the USA): This folks, is where I am from :-D.  Not the White Mountains specifically, but from New Hampshire and proud of it!  This state is gorgeous and has it all.  Mountains, beaches, the forest, skiing, fall foliage, hiking, delicious food, affordable living, etc.  With that said, now, onto the White Mountains.

This area is stunning in all seasons.  During summer time, green everywhere, woodsy, streams and rivers, mountains to hike.  In the autumn, people come from all over the US to view the leaves change colors ("leaf peepers" they are called).  Romantic, crisp air, explosions of color, cozy fireplace warmed homes.  This is NH in the fall.  In the winter, snow blankets the earth.  The trees look like lace against the sky.  Breathtaking.  Serene.  Lots of skiing and snowboarding, ice skating and sledding.  And then in the spring, flowers emerge, brooks bubble, hiking begins again, etc.

Lake Superior (Marquette, Michigan, in the USA): Quiet.  Peaceful.  Laid back.  My childhood memories and nostalgia are full of images of this place (I spent a couple weeks here almost every single summer with my family, from when I was born up into young adulthood).  Beach fires, "The Villa" garlic bread, the icy chill of the lake and welcome warmth of the sun.  Croquet.  Great food.  Lots of reading and lounging.  Cards and board games.  Fireworks.  Photographs.  Jumping off the Black Rocks down 15 feet into the lake.  Conversations that always get interesting and are great fun.

My family's little cottage right on Lake Superior, where I have been going almost every summer since I was born!

View of the beach from our lake cottage.  Awesome.

Lovely Lake Superior.

And, last but not least...

Boston (Massachusetts, in the USA) (Where I lived for the past 5 years prior to moving to Europe): Small city with towering skyscrapers.  Historical.  Bustling and busy.  Charming and quaint.  Major food scene here.  SO much to do in Boston (museums, concerts, parks, restaurants, history, sports, duck tours ;-), shopping, the theater, etc etc etc) (in fact, Boston is frequently named as one of the top places to live in the US).  European feel to the city.  Such diverse and neat areas, such as Harvard Square (trendy), Back Bay (glitzy), Beacon Hill (old and picturesque), The Commons (expansive park, great for fun in the summer), Fenway (big time fun bar scene over here), Medford/Somerville (university area, a bit more family oriented).

Back Bay area of Boston.

Fenway area. Always happening, always fun.

Newbury street.  Very famous, super trendy, always a nice stroll.  Very European feel to this street.

Harvard Square, one of my favorite areas in Boston.

Next up on my list...Portugal!!!!  In two weeks to be exact!  Maybe this will land among the ranks of my favorites and I will have to amend this list afterwards.


  1. Brooke's mother and father met each other in the White Mountains, and lived there for about four years.

    This is an incredible list of beautiful cities, countries and locales, many of which I have never seen!

    I'm so pleased that my daughter has had the good judgment to spend time outside of the US and see how other people live.

  2. Brooke's mother and father met each other in the White Mountains, and lived there for about four years.

    This is an incredible list of beautiful cities, countries and locales, many of which I have never seen!

    I'm so pleased that my daughter has had the good judgment to spend time outside of the US and see how other people live.