People often ask me where is the best place that you have been. Well…….that’s kind of hard to answer. There are so many places that I fell in love with over the years. Here is a list of the most beautiful places that I have been blessed to see and experience.
- Colosseum – Yes, this has a lot of the signs of a tourist trap, but get a good guide and your mind will be blown with the history of this place. For starters, it’s been standing for close to 2,000 years. And if that fact alone doesn’t blow your mind, over 50,000 ancient Romans used to sit there to watch gladiators fight lions, tigers and bears…… pretty awesome. Put this on your bucket list for sure!
2. Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia, Turkey – This has got to be the most awesome landscapes that I have EVER seen. Basically, there are hundreds of natural rock formations that ancient peoples made homes out of. Some people still live in the rock homes today and you can stay in one of several “cave” hotels here. Awesome.Yes. I explored the rock city by four-wheeler and I will say that it was indeed the best way to explore. 🙂
3. Hagia Sophia – A common theme among my favorites are holy and historical sites. The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey offers both. Originally constructed as a Christian church, turned into a mosque 1,000 years later and now a museum. There are Beautiful golden mosaics inside and giant circles with Arabic calligraphy hanging from the ceiling. It is a site to see for sure.
4. St. Peter’s Bacillica – The center of Catholicism. The holy of holies. This church is major. Not only is it the largest Christian church on the planet, if the walls could talk, they would have a lot to say. I had a guided tour through the Bacillica and Vatican museums and I highly suggest going that route. I learned a tremendous amount from the guide and it’s much more interesting to listen and learn in person than to read a guide book yourself :). St. Peter’s is much more than a church; it holds the history of the Catholic church. There is even a piece of the spear that pierced Jesus inside! There are popes buried there. Everything is covered in symbolism. I love it!
5. Neuschwanstein Castle – Germany is basically a land of fairy tales come true. For the 4th and 5th grade years of my life, I was lucky enough to live here. Castles and palaces were everywhere and became everyday sites for me. Neuschwanstein is the castle of castles and even the Disney castle has been modeled after it. All I can say is, it is a dream, the landscape is a dream and you must experience it for yourself.
6. The Grand Bazaar – For about 500 years, this has been the place to shop in Istanbul and one of the best places in the world to shop. You can find everything from gold jewelry, carpets, leather goods, clothing, Turkish delight and ceramics here. Shop keepers of the over 3,000 shops speak a plethora of languages and are ready to help you spend your money. Come, get lost, haggle, shop!
7. Cemberlitas Hamami -This is probably the most famous Turkish bath in Turkey. I came to really love and enjoy these historic and cultural institutions. They are much more than a place to bathe. These are the places where, traditionally, women socialized and even looked for potential mates for their sons. Men and women are completly separated inside the bath. You will have to leave your inhibitions about nudity at the door though 😉 You will be scrubbed by your own personal scrubber lady and I suggest springing for the oil massage as well. For about $65 you will have the best spa day life.
8. Sagrada Familia Basilica – It would probably take a lifetime to see every carving and statue covering this massive church in Barcelona. Construction started in 1882 and is currently still going on. In all of the places I have ever seen, I have never seen a church like this before. Every single space on the outside of this bacilica is covered with some type of symbol, statue or carving. You can really see the magnitude from Park Guell, which is on a hill in the distance.
9. Costa Rican Rainforest – I planned a trip for me and 3 other girlfriends to the Atlantic side of Costa Rica a few years back and we spent most of our time in the rainforest. Our bungalow was situated in the rainforest on a resort property. Check it out here . The website looks a little cheezy, but it was a cute place and I had an amazing chocolate massage there. 🙂 The rainforest was simply beautiful and full of life. It’s not everyday that you see toucans and sloths in the treetops. The zip-lining was one of the best things that I have ever done and I highly recommend it.
10 Forsyth Park – Despite the dark history of the antebellum south, the beauty of the land and historical buildings is undenieable. Walking through Forsyth Park is like walking through a dream or the set of an old movie. The trees with the dripping moss and the beautiful fountain in the middle make for a perfectly lovely stroll around. Stay at one of the beautiful b&bs overlooking the park for southern lux at it’s finest.
11. Tian Tan Budda – This giant bronze statue of Budda is located on Lantau Island, Hong Kong. I saw this on my first solo international trip. Not only was the landscape a beautiful backdrop for this statue, but looking around, I realized that it was much more than a tourist attraction. This was a holy place. There were people carrying incense up the stairs and saying prayers along the way. When I reached the top, I went inside and marveled at the beautiful history of Guatama Budda. It was at that moment that I realized that maybe people aren’t as different as we think. Holy is holy, respect is respect.