I love travelling!
I think I was born with my passport in my hand and my bags packed. By the time I was 11 years old I had been to Europe 8 times. I had been lucky enough to come into the world as a part of a family who believed in exploring.
Although we originally came from Swaziland, my fathers sisters had moved to various countries in Europe, so growing up, I got to visit them. While other children spent their Christmas holidays at home, I was exploring Rome and Milan.
I remember as a little girl being whisked away for weekends at the beach. One of the most surprising moments for me was at age 12, on a school trip to the seaside (Swaziland is landlocked) in South Africa, a classmate saw the ocean for the first time. I remember her face so clearly as she exclaimed with her first sight of the powerful and incredible ocean. I don’t think you can prepare yourself for how great the ocean is until you actually experience it first hand. I had grown up with the ocean, the first images of me around 3 years old frolicking in the waves in Durban.
Yes, I’ve been lucky. I’ve travelled to many countries during my lifetime. I’ve climbed mountains, sailed though the air with Condors, been up the Eiffel tower and swam in the warm ocean down under. This weeks list is a list of the best places I’ve visited. In some cases, I love the entire country but in others, just a tiny corner. I haven’t visited every part of every country I’ve been to but I have visited some pretty special parts.
Here is my list of top choices counting down from number ten. Please note that this list does not include anywhere in South Africa. There are just too many options for that so I’ve decided to make an entire list dedicated to places I love in my country.
10. Italy – Perugia.
Perugia is the capital city of the Umbria region in Italy and bordered by Tuscany, sitting at the top of a mountainous area. It is breathtakingly beautiful. A friend I went to high school with moved there with her fiancé and I was lucky enough to be invited to the wedding. Even luckier still was that I was on my gap year and travelling all over the world at the time which made a wedding stop in Italy completely possible. It was back in 2008 so I don’t really have many photos of my visit but have a look here for images. The cobblestone streets and the feel of the place is magical. I absolutely loved visiting this incredible city.
9. Czech Republic – Prague and Sedlec Ossuary – Kutna Hora
Prague in the Czech Republic is honestly one of the most enchanting cities I have ever visited. It is so romantic with its cobble stoned streets and rich history. You can’t help but fall in love with the city. I visited for 3 days which was enough to explore the surface of the city but I didn’t get a chance to experience it as I would have liked to. The food is incredibly rich and delicious and the beer matches it. There are also lovely little bakery stores all over where you can sit down and enjoy a sweet treat. I can’t wait to go back there.
Kutna Hora – Sedlec Ossuary
The Sedlec Ossuary or Bone chapel is home to the skeletons of between 40 000 and 70 000 people whose bones have been artistically arranged to form decorations in the chapel. Frantisek Rint, a woodcarver, was commissioned in 1870 to decorate the chapel with the bones as a reminder of the impermanence of human life death.
Being surrounded by the bones really does make you question your own life and it’s impossible to consider the inescapable nature of death.
8. Scotland – Edinburgh
I visited Edinburgh a few years back when a friend was studying there. It’s a city, a beautiful city with beautiful old buildings and a rich history. My most exciting experiences however were the ghost tour through the cities old tunnels and streets at night and a visit to the graveyard which is rumoured to be haunted. Although there are far more “exciting” places to visit, I loved the feel of the old city and hype around the eerie and haunted that exists. It’s probably more of a tourist trap but I loved it all the same in spite of not believing in the supernatural.
I visited Morocco with my mother in 2007. The country is so overwhelmingly rich and colourful. The people are beautiful and the cities are bustling. We visited Marrakesh, Essaouira and Casablanca and had the most fantastic experiences. We walked through markets and ate breakfast on roof tops. We walked through the city’s winding streets and were amazed by the beautiful doors that lined the buildings. Oh Morocco…. <3
6. Peru – Machu Picchu
There are no words to explain the breathtaking views of Machu Picchu. When you stand and look over the size and spread of the city your mind can’t even begin to understand how this was done before machines existed. You need to go there yourself to experience it in all the glory. I wish I had photos but I lost my camera while travelling in South America so I just have memories to go on.
5. Thailand – Ko Samui
I visited Thailand in 2007 with a friend from University. We spent a few days in Bangkok which is very polluted but also very charming before moving on the islands. We visited Ko Samui for a week before moving on to spend the last few days of our holiday in Phuket. I remember Phuket being very touristy but with older tourists and it had a much more relaxed vibe than Ko Samui. I don’t think I would visit Ko Samui again now that I’m older and prefer more quiet environments but for young people looking to explore and experience the craziness that only Thailand has to offer it is a one of a kind experience. The people, the food, the culture, the customs, the colours are all vibrant and wonderful. It doesn’t hurt that the shopping in Thailand is incredible. Go with empty suitcases if you ever decide to visit.
4. Germany – Berlin
These photos from Berlin are a little bit biased. My favourite part of the city was the East Side Gallery. The parts of the wall that still stands has been covered with over 100 paintings and documents a time of change showing hope for a better future. Most of the original art work is covered in graffiti but that does not take away from the emotion that went into the individual pieces. What I loved about Berlin was its contemporary feel. It’s such a contradiction to the historical trail of oppression left behind and you can almost visibly see the effort that has gone into ensuring that the past is not longer welcome in the city. Berlin is my hands down favourite European city.
3. Bolivia – Salar de Uyuni
Located in the southwest of Bolivia, the Salar de Uyuni is the world largest salt flat at 10, 582 square kilometres. When ever anyone asks me what my favourite country is, I have a tough time with the answer. Off Bolivia always stands out for the unique experiences and landscapes that I’ve not seen anywhere else. The salt flat is the most amazing but there are the red lakes, the people, the capital city, La Paz with its craziness.
If you want to see flamingoes, deserted landscapes and salt that covers the ground for miles like snow… go to Bolivia.
2. Australia – East Coast
The land down under. Now there’s an adventure for you. Nothing can compare to the three months I spent travelling around Australia. It’s a lot like South Africa in how different each part of the country is. You can move in a matter of hours between desert and rainforest. The landscapes are beautiful, the people are friendly and there is a pub on every corner. I made tonnes of friends while travelling out there on my own. Many of them I still keep in touch with today. I jumped out of planes, surfed in Coffs harbour, climbed through caves south of Melbourne and stayed out all night dancing on many occasions. I’ve never felt like I belong as I did in Australia.
I wanted to move there and if I didn’t meet my husband when I did, I most probably would have done just that. The only downside, the cost of everything is really high.
and in first place…..
1. Tanzania – Zanzibar
This island is where dreams comes true. The water is warm, the food is good, the people are friendly and it’s just so beautiful. It is literally the most incredible tropical paradise I have ever been to. I can’t wait to get back there some time. I may very well be biased on account of getting engaged when I was there but I really think I would have loved it either way. Go to Zanzibar, visit Jambiani on the South East Coast if you want to relax on a quiet beach. Visit the north if you prefer the hustle and bustle of high tourist traffic. I personally wouldn’t bother going back to the north where there are so many Italian tourists that the locals automatically address you in Italian. In Jambiani we stayed at a lovely little resort called White Sands and we watched the local kids playing soccer on the beach every evening. We ate food from the local village and we spent all day swimming in the ocean.
So those are my top ten places that I have visited in the world. I’d love to know what yours are or of you had a different experience to me in one of the places I’ve mentioned in this post. Send me a message or post a comment and share your favourite spots.