Where Is Your Favorite Place You've Ever Been? (Part 1)

When I put this question on Facebook and sent it to my friends and family, I hoped to get a great response. I did not, however, expect to get enough answers for three separate posts! Nonetheless, I've loved hearing everyone's selections for their favorite place in the world, and it's not only inspired me to add places to my list but has opened my eyes to all of the amazing adventures and experiences I've had and that my friends and family have had. Here is the first of three posts dedicated to some of the best and most loved places in the world. Each one will begin with one of my favorite places, and include my scattered commentary (in italics and parentheses) throughout.

  1. Peru:
    Possibly my all-time favorite, (though it’s so hard for me to choose) Peru stole my heart on a trip three years ago and I still think about it all the time. It’s the most ecologically diverse place I’ve ever been and an absolutely essential place to go in your lifetime. Even setting aside Macchu Picchu, the reason most people go, the fact that you can see the ocean, the desert, large cities, the rainforest, the mountains, and the valley all in the course of one trip is incredible. The wildlife is amazing, the scenery is stunning, the food is delicious, and the people are so kind and welcoming.
    1. Lucerne, Switzerland:
    “It's absolutely gorgeous, and you can go up Mount Pilatus, which is really cool. And the chocolate, omg”
    -Kelly Allen (currently making me move Switzerland to the top of my list)

    “It's the cutest place because it has a small town feel with a fresh market every morning. I absolutely love the bridges as well - those are probably my favorite parts walking around Lucerne. And they have a lot of cheese!”
    -Audrey San Diego (friend and fellow appreciator of cheese)

    1. New Zealand:
    “New Zealand has this raw beauty that is amazing.  Aukland is a beautiful, cosmopolitan city where you can enjoy a drink down by the harbor, have delicious food and be pampered to your heart's content.  But travel about 20 minutes outside the city and you find yourself in forests that feel like they got lost in time with giant ferns 20 feet tall and enormous Kauri trees. Or you can find a beach to wander.  Or visit a vineyard.  You can drive 3 hours south from Aukland to visit the geologically active area of Roturoa.  Or if you're feeling really adventurous, go white water rafting.  Or perhaps you'd like to nerd out and visit Hobbiton, where chunks of Lord of the Rings was filmed.  The Maori people are an integral part of the New Zealand as well, and you can experience their cultural as they work to keep it alive but also modernizing with the times.  And that's just part of the North Island.  Want to see glaciers and penguins, no problem, just travel to the south island. It's an inspiring place that I would return to in a heartbeat.”
    -Layne Van Boxtel (Should work for New Zealand’s tourism sector, because damn she’s making it sound epic)
    1. London, England:
    “Because it's the best place ever. No explanation needed. It is THE BEST”
    -Monica Hying (has uttered this exact quote numerous times in my presence)
    1. Mt. Olivet Church, West Virginia:
    “The Mount Olivet Chapel doesn't look like much, and really it isn't. The floorboards creak, there's dust everywhere, the piano doesn't play, but stepping into that place I felt the history of my family. The church sits on top of Lantz Ridge, a mountain named after my mom’s side of the family where most of the last generations in my family lived. I first visited right before my freshman year of college and it was in that place that I felt complete peace. You can sit in a pew and look out a stained glass window and see the peaks and valleys forming around you, my soul was quiet, and I forgot for a moment everything else slowly transitioning. For me it was unlike anywhere I've been before.”
    -Cat Vukodinovich (whose writing just made the simple into the magical)
    1. Manhattan, NYC:
    “Basically, I'm just in love with the energy that exists there and the fact that the city literally never sleeps. I love being constantly surrounded by so many people from so many different backgrounds. I also adore the fact that there are endless opportunities for anything: food, tourism, exploring, etc. In general, it just has such an opportunistic, hopeful vibe to it, and it's incredible. It's beautiful of course, as well! Especially at night”
    -Jonathan Cukla (who I agree with)

    1. Terracotta warriors in China:
    “It was my first time traveling abroad and I absolutely love museums. It was neat that I was able to navigate the museum and look at all the artifacts that I would not have had the chance to see otherwise. There was something mystical about standing above the excavation space and seeing all the warriors in uniform lines, ready to defend their emperor.”
    -Briana Diaz (who just introduced me to something I barely knew about and now must see)
    1. Madrid and Barcelona:
    “When I first arrived in Spain, I instantly noticed a change in the demeanor of people. No one looked stressed, or worried, but happy and excited to be living another day of their life (something America doesn't emphasize). Madrid instantly caught my eye with its constant movement while Barcelona's architecture and color amazed me! Plus, Barcelona’s crepes were to die for!!”
    -Karina Puent (who is absolutely right about Barcelona and Spanish people)
    1. Vancouver, British Columbia:
    “I loved staying in a floating house and going kayaking. And the view of the mountains behind the house was amazing too.”
    -Theo Klein (younger brother, went on this vacation with me. I can vouch for the awesomeness of the floating house)

    “Because of the beautiful scenery, renting a boat and sliding down rocks into the cold water, kayaking, and seeing the wildlife.”
    -Steve Klein (stepdad, also fond of the floating house, and now making me want to go back to Vancouver)
    1. Disney World:
    “Because my favorite Mickey Mouse (points to Mickey Mouse on her lap) favorite. Because fun vacation.”
    -Wendy Harmon (my disabled aunt and Mickey Mouse enthusiast)


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