Saturday, June 28, 2014


So, once someone finds out that you have either lived overseas or visited multiple places overseas, there is one question that is almost always asked.  "What was your favorite place to visit?"  I'll be honest, this is quite the difficult question since there is such a variety of things to see for a plethora of reasons.  All of it really depends on what you like and want to see as an individual.  For me it is an exceptionally hard decision.  I basically decided upon 5 countries that I think you should visit if you have limited time.  And choose your own adventure based on what your preferences are.

1. Austria.  Austria is, in a sense, very similar to Germany in culture, food and history.  Though, at least in the portions I've visited I've found Austria to have something special in beauty with the lakes, valleys and mountains that it possesses.  It also has spectacular sites to visit including Hallstatt, Innsbruck and the Grossglockner High Alpine Road.  If you are a big nature person and enjoy hiking/biking/driving in the mountains or skiing, then Austria is a fantastic choice.

2. Spain.  I have been to Spain twice.  While in Spain I have visited Barcelona, Pamplona (Running of the Bulls), Consuegra, Toledo, Madrid, Malaga, Zaragoza and Seville.  (Not including Gibraltar and Morocco which were visited while I was in Spain).  The atmosphere in Spain is festive in general, running late into the night every night.  You can also participate in a multitude of enjoyments from festivals, fantastic food, flamenco shows or simply just relaxing in the countryside or beaches.  So I would say that if you prefer partying and fun in the sun then you can't go wrong with Spain.

3. Ireland.  Ireland was a blast, especially due to the natural beauty of sites such as Giant's Causeway and Carrick`a`rede.  Not to mention the awe inspiring castles that are around.  As for cities, Belfast and Dublin are both great places to see.  Whether you're interested in trying the food and drinks (Guinness/Jameson) or the historical side of things (Book of Kells) it is well worth a visit.  So, if you prefer seeing nature and sites, but don't care for the strenuous hikes than Ireland is a good choice.

4. Scotland.  Scotland has man of the same benefits of Ireland, though in some cases I think it may be more "touristy".  Definitely has the beauty (Loch Ness) and is rich in castles as well.  And you can't go wrong with either the food or drink, since most people know that scotch comes from Scotland and they make fantastic Shortbread cookies.  The special feature that Scotland added, with at least our home base in Aberdeen, was an in depth look into ghost stories and myths.  So if you want nature, history and myths, then Scotland is the place to go.  Did I mention you can "purchase" a small plot of land and become a Scottish lord?

5. Italy.  Everyone I know is a fan of Italy, for a variety of different reasons.  Perhaps the top reason is simply the food and wine, some of the best is in the region of Tuscany.  It is also as rich as, if not more so, the rest of Europe in history with the plethora of monuments, cities and structures including Florence, Pisa and San Gimignano.  Basically, if you like food, wine and history then Italy is a must.  Oh, if you're a car enthusiast, did I mention that Ferrari, Lamborghini and Pagani  all have sites to visit?

Obviously I didn't really narrow it down much, though these are not the only places I've visited.  In reality, I think anywhere in Europe is worth a visit to expand horizons and experiences.  I'd suggest looking for what you want to do and start there.  There is always something else worth seeing nearby.  Safe travels!

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