favourite spots around the world

It hasn’t been the most pleasant time these weeks with heavy snow in Europe & Japan, flood crises in Australia & the general gloomy economic outlook…
So as usual I read an article from Boots&All on My Round the World Top 10 Places to Visit, and thought about what my own top 10 places are … I was inspired by the writer and gave it a thought on every aspect that the writer had addressed – I guess it is time to track the wonderful, albeit limited places, I’d been to, maybe for my own memory-sake, hopefully also to motivate all of you out there who are working too hard to get down to planning a trip out…

1. Country with the best food – Hong Kong
Great selection of porridge, noodles & most importantly – desserts! We could expect the typical dim sum (savoury fillings with thin skins that don’t starch up your mouth as you chew…), rich beef porridge (it leaves a wonderful taste lingering after you’ve cleaned out the entire bowl…) etc… But as a dessert-lover, I simply cannot stop thinking of the wonderful Almond Paste / Glutinous Rice Balls and these unique “Steamed Milk in Two Films”, “Steamed Milk with Ginger Juice” & “Steamed Egg Desserts”!! Sounds odd? Give it a try, you won’t regret it!

2. Friendliest People – ???
I can’t seem to think of who the friendliest people are. I could say Germany, Japan, maybe Hong Kong too… I’d been travelling around and meeting relatively nice people around the world, I couldn’t state who might be the friendliest … I guess it’s time to pack and travel again! This time – to identify the friendliest people! 🙂

3. Most beautiful landscapes – New Zealand! Switzerland! 
Peaceful, scenic, out-of-the-world … Was it in Queenstown, Christchurch, Wanaka, Milford Sound, Bay of Islands, Mt. Eden … it was just New Zealand! Once you step in you wouldn’t wish to head back to this daily toil in the city … Some day, I wish to head back there; some day, I wish this beautiful country will be rebuilt to its former magnificence & hopefully relieved of sufferings from the natural disasters we have seen over the past year…
And of course we have Switzerland with its snowy mountainous regions … so breathtaking words could not describe…

4. Easiest country to travel – Singapore
Small city-state that boasts a great variety of food & this sunny all-year-summer – one couldn’t get lost in there. This wonderful country is also well-situated & centrally-located with a great airport, best suited for travel to nearby Southeast Asian states…Travel anywhere you wish to in SEA but do also remember to stop by Singapore for a day or two!

5. Most challenging country to travel – Russia
A vast country with terribly cold winters & scorching-hot summers, I have reluctantly placed my favourite spot under this category. It isn’t easy travelling around Russia despite a well-developed subway system. A road-trip from St Petersburg to Vladivostok is in itself a challenge. Multiply this by total number of cities in Russia – there you go with the difficulty level… Of course we’ll have other difficult spots like Tibet (more of a vertical clearance & fitness challenge … ), but I’ll leave this to my next list when I set foot in it!

6. Country with best natural wonders – Australia / New Zealand
I guess I could concur with the writer that Australia has a great number of natural wonders … But I could also consider New Zealand with its beautiful fjords running through the city. Now I need to pay more attention to this at my next travels…

7. Best place to sleep under the stars – Austria
Couldn’t remember when/where, but I’d this impression that it was Innsbruck, Austria… somewhere close to the Hafelekar mountains…
This doesn’t do any justice to the wonderful city – it deserves its own category such as the “Best skiing location” or “Best place to hide-out from city noise” … Do drop by Austria when you can! A lovely place one should never miss!

8. Best backpacker community – (skip)
I don’t exactly backpack … so I’ll take a pass on this one

9. Best architecture – Much of Europe (Specifically Germany?)
I couldn’t rate this again – I loved the architecture in Russia, influenced by the years of Russian Orthodoxy, then Westernisation, then the Rococo era, Lenin/Stalin eras etc …
I could also say France, with France being the origin of the earliest pioneers in many architectural styles (Roman, Medieval, Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassicism etc) … I simply cannot pinpoint one country that has the most lovely architecture! But my favourite of recent times lies in Germany, along the Romantic Road… we see Schloss Neuschwanstein near Hohenschwangau in Southeast Bavaria, today what has been the inspiration of much fantasy castles, likely even that of Disney’s fairytale castles. An amazing landmark commissioned by the wonderful Ludwig II of Bavaria, I must say this is architecture deserves special mention time and again, alongside this wonderful character that has given the world a view as magnificent as such…

10. Favourite Place – !!!
I doubt I have one favourite place. As inspired by the original article, I gave much thought to what was my favourite place and I really couldn’t pinpoint it. I wanted to say Germany for its rich history (my foremost considerations), food that I enjoyed even if it wasn’t fine dining of the French, but I compared it to Russia where I loved learning about its history, enjoyed the authentic & traditional shashlik, borsch, Blini pancakes etc… and then of course I could not undermine my foremost-mentioned cravings for the great food in Hong Kong, dreams of this wonderful life in New Zealand etc etc…

Tell me really, what is/are your favourite places to travel to?

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