50 reasons to love the world – a personal list.


BBC’s recent campaign that gathered 50 places and reasons to love the world inspired me to create my own list.

This is by no means in order of preference and if anything there is very likely a recency bias embedded in this download. I’m sure that tomorrow I will think of more and if your country or city is not included, it might just not be top of mind right now….or I haven’t been there yet and really need to visit soon!

Any surprises? Anything missing? (believe me, I need to know…)


  1. The breathtaking majesty of Torres del Paine, Chile.
  2. The unexpected cultural richness of Vilnius, Lithuania on a Saturday afternoon.
  3. For the warmth of Italian people, the knowledge that the food will always be comforting and wherever you go, life is art: Italy: Florence, Rome, Cinque Terre, Siena – how could there be a favorite?
  4. The best fiestas, pan de jamon at Christmas and being treated like family: Venezuela.
  5. Buenos Aires, Argentina and Montivideo Uruguay, because it was the first holiday my now-husband and I took together, because we met Juanita, a retired tour agent at the fort and enjoyed delicious barbecue and spicy sausages at the market.
  6. Helsinki, Finland for its fresh air, white bait and a trip to Suomenlinna on the same day as a visit from the president of Estonia.
  7. Dubrovnik. Croatia, the Pearl of the Adriatic indeed, because of the rich history and cultures and best seafood risotto ever.
  8. Shanghai, China, because it was my first trip to Asia and I experienced a completely different culture and laughed a lot with my local hosts (especially when I tried to speak Chinese).
  9. Matsumoto, Japan because we hadn’t expected to go there, Kyoto, Japan’s beautiful walkway and green tea ice cream!
  10. The mystery and special energy radiated by Macchu Picchu, Peru.
  11. Visiting the UNESCO world heritage gem, Boyana Church in Sofia, Bulgaria on a crisp morning, it’s internal beauty glowing and unanticipated.
  12. Toulouse, France for la ville rose‘s warm welcome, the Musee des Augustins, the entertaining waiter at the Cafe Saint Sernin and the ornate Cathedrale Saint Etienne – and for teaching me to speak French in an accent that amused my (northern) French language professor!
  13. Homer, Alaska – open beach, bonfires and the Salty Dawg – cool or what?
  14. Boulder, Colorado, for the bus services, the mountains and the coolness of a college town.
  15. Barcelona, Spain: Gaudi, jamon serrano, El Corte Ingles, friendly bemused people who think my Spanish accent is strange (because I learned it in Venezuela)
  16. Berlin, Germany, because I hadn’t imagined it to be so cosmopolitan and friendly.
  17. Bogota, Colombia: Zipaquira salt mines because we experienced the exact place where my father-in-law had been photographed many years earlier.
  18. Ile de Groix, France – sauvage yet civilized.
  19. Skopje, Macedonia – for its mixture of cultures, sun-drenched wine and welcoming locals.
  20. Vienna, Austria’s museum of art because it houses a picture of hunters in the snow by Peter Brueghel, a copy of which was hanging in the living room in our childhood home (and when it got damaged, I mended it with felt tip).
  21. Malmo, Sweden, because we got to see that the twisted torso building I had raved about actually existed and the salmon sandwiches at Espresso House were hearty on a old day.
  22. London, England: so many memories, the Kings Road, the South Bank, the Tate…Clapham Common, pubs, trains.
  23. Oxford, England: running in Christchurch meadows or rowing in the Cherwell on a crisp Fall morning, having the privilege to use the Bodleian library.
  24. The interesting experience of herring sandwiches with a pint of milk for lunch in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
  25. Betsy-Coed, Llangollen, Conway, Bala Lake Wales because they have the most amazing castles, nobody can pronounce any of the place names properly and they remind me of childhood day trips and adolescent hikes.
  26. Bath, England for its architecture, rich Roman history and the fact that Oliver Twist was filmed there rather than in London (“who will buy this wonderful morning?”)
  27. Salar De Uyuni, Bolivia, because I had never seen anything like it before and the combination of salt, bright sun, freezing cold temperatures and utter peacefulness (except our group of travelers) was such a unique experience.
  28. Quito, Ecuador, because I got to ride horses and wear a poncho and big furry pants!
  29. Tobago for the opportunity to stay in a beautiful eco-lodge and eat curry with “plenty pepper”.
  30. Tierra del Fuego, Chile because it was the “end of the world” (or close to it) and yet it felt just like Scotland!
  31. Tanzania, Africa: fish curry and amarula with my brother and friends after hiking Mt Meru.
  32. Singapore for the orchid gardens, peppered crab, street food and use of British English.
  33. Rome, Italy for its perfect juxtaposition and integration of the ancient and the modern.
  34. Madrid, Spain  and the train journey to Segovia where we were entertained by a young boy on a school trip pretending to be Antonio Banderas and constantly offering to share his snacks.
  35. Potosi, Bolivia, because we got to buy dynamite in the main street (to give to the miners for allowing us to visit the silver mine) and for the spectacular view of the rosy pink Cerro seen from the center of the village.
  36. Dunkerque, France, because I ate crepes with the “Leamingtons” on a rainy day trip from college.
  37. Dungeness, Sequim, Washington for the fresh sea-foam flecked breeze and the vision of the meticulously maintained lighthouse that spur us on our hike along the spit.
  38. Riga, Latvia  for a delicious buffet lunch, giant colored snails planted around the city and an introduction to the solemn beauty of Russian orthodox churches.
  39. Talinn, Estonia for the intricate ceiling in a warm coffee house on a very rainy day in a picturesque town
  40. St. Simon’s Island, GA and sitting in an oversized swinging chair, sipping coffee and watching the waves.
  41. Arles, Provence in France for the aioli, the charming restaurants lit up on the town square, bull tapas and a wonderfully preserved amphitheater nestled in the middle of town.
  42. France for its trains, Italy for its trains, Japan for its trains…
  43. Hong Kong for its unapologetic appreciation of luxury.
  44. Zion Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Utah for introducing me to the splendor of the high desert.
  45. Glen Ellen, Alaska for the opportunity to skim across the river, accompanying my salmon-fishing family and friends in a James-Bond style motorized dinghy.
  46. Prado museum, Madrid and Uffizi, Florence for presenting me with the original Goya and (unexpectedly life-sized) Botticelli paintings.
  47. Denali, Alaska and seeing Mt McKinley on a clear day.
  48. Taipei, Taiwan because I went on an unplanned work trip for which I was unprepared, but the string quartets and wonderful restaurants of the family-owned Sherwood Hotel and the people with whom I worked made me appreciate the trip and I soon overcame my grumpiness!
  49. Bainbridge Island, Washington…just because.
  50. The places in my imagination: the next trip, the next adventure, the next discovery and comfort in the fact that anyone can tell me what to do, but no one can tell me what to think! (no idea why I fight against being called an introvert…)

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