Thursday, October 20, 2011

Travel Guide {Edition I}

well here it is. some of you have asked specifically for it so this is my attempt at rating the places i have been thus far in my nineteen years of life. why edition one? well i figure there will be more added for each year i travel. enjoy and keep in mind that this is my opinion and i have talked with many others who would differ depending on their experiences. {also, i would like to note how incredibly hard this was to do because i like each place for different reasons and it is hard to say one is better than the other}.

12. Burma {Myanmar}
It was definitely a very interesting and insightful experience but I would not want to go again. It is war-torn and extremely poor, but the countryside is beautiful. {see the post here}
11. Grand Cayman Islands
I went here as a part of a Caribbean cruise I went on. Pretty but since we spent most of our time at Sting Ray City I did not enjoy it too much. {i mean who wants hundreds of sting rays swarming them and rubbing all over their body? how do you think steve irwin died?!}
10. Canada
I haven't been to Canada in a while, but I do remember that is can be gorgeous, green, and great for people who like nature. Last time I was there we went to Niagara Falls, which is cold and wet and magnificent.  
 9. Ireland
Part of my time spent in Ireland was awesome and part of it not so awesome, but it was an adventure that's for sure. If you want to see the Ireland they show you in the movies you need to get far away from civilization and plan on getting lost because tourism information is not Ireland's forte. But once you get out into the green rolling countryside it really is breathtaking. 
{posts one, two, three, and four from ireland}
8. Mexico
Mexico is great for many reasons. First and most important of which being the food. Mexican food is a gift from God. REAL Mexican food...nothing is better. And now I am hungry. I have been to Mexico a couple of times I think, but more recently on a cruise where we stopped in Cozumel and Costa Maya. The snorkeling was the best I have had so far (comparing to Florida and Thailand), souvenirs are cheap, there are ancient ruins just waiting to be explored, and the people are generally nice and humble. 
7. Belize
Man, Belize was so much fun. It was also part of the cruise and while we were there we went cave tubing in the rainforest. Dream come true? Yes. At that point in life I was obsessed with rainforests so this was perfect. We saw a lot of wildlife and got to float down a river, in and out of caves, on an inner tube. So awesome. The people in Belize were also nice and we got some good food there too. 
6. Scotland
My trip to Scotland was perfect, but too short. We only got to go to Edinburgh for a day and a half but we did a lot in that time. Including hiking to the top of an inactive volcano for sunrise at 3:30 in the morning, where I got to be the highest person in Scotland for just long enough to have one of the more incredible experiences of my life. We went on a ghost tour at night and visited the cafe that J.K. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter series in. Bonus: Scotland is gorgeous. {posts one and two
5. Costa Rica
One word: amazing. Loved every moment of Costa Rica. I convinced my parents to do a trip here during my rainforest phase. We were there for two weeks in the town of Jaco {a major surfer destination} and stayed in an awesome hotel complete with a private beach, huge pools, and hammocks. Our days consisted of horseback riding to waterfalls, kayaking, zip-lining, rainforests, national parks, beaches, and lots of monkeys. Oh and really really good food. Plus I loved the people there, they even sang me happy birthday at one of the dinners. GO TO COSTA RICA. Can I emphasize it enough? They are also one of the countries that are preserving their surroundings instead of destroying precious and rare life, and by doing so they make all their money through tourism. 
{some of the pictures are in this flickr photo album}
4. England
Oh England, what can I say to some you up? Well I spent about two months in this country and I have my likes and dislikes, but mostly fond memories. Six of those weeks were spent in lovely London on my theatre study abroad through BYU, where I also went to Dover, Oxford, and Stratford-upon-Avon. And the other two were spent in Harrogate with my sister and her family, enjoying the countryside, during which time we went to Bath on the way to France. England is simply beautiful. It looks just like it does in all the movies- green, rolling, and full of sheep. Combine their accents, their sophistication, their history, and their wonderful array of sporting events and you have a must-see. Plus the weather was quite enjoyable whilst I was there. Oh and it doesn't help that I am a Jane Austen addict either. {I am not about to link every post about England because there would be like a hundred but here are some of the posts on my side trips: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven. And if you want to read about London you will just have to dig through the archives or my facebook pictures}. 
3. Italy
Three cities, two days each, six days of jam-packed tourism. I loved Italy, and I think I would have loved it even more if I had gotten to take it slow and spend some time in the country too. Rome was perfect to us the first day, and the second day was a bit interesting hahaha. Florence was breathtaking and full of art {most of which I didn't get to see}. Venice was sunny complete with clear blue waters, fascinating architecture, and slow times riding bikes to the beach on a quaint little island. And the best part of Italy? Food, of course, but mostly GELATO. And it helps that there are lots of good looking men with great fashion taste and excellent glasses.
 {see the posts for all three cities here: one, two, three, four, five}. 
2. Thailand
Six weeks in Thailand, and it only took one day to fall in love. Riding elephants and ostriches, playing with adult and baby tigers, lighting thai floating lanterns, side trip to the beaches in the south, temples, and lots and lots of rain. However, my favorite aspect of this was the children we taught at the orphanage through HELP International. Northern Thailand is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, the skys are gorgeous, the hills are a perfect shade of green, and it is almost always sunny. The food is delicious, the markets have everything you could want and it is incredibly inexpensive, and the people are the most friendly of all. {again, to read more you'll need to search past posts because there are a lot of them}
1. France
Been there twice and it is still my favorite country so far. I love everything about French culture- the language, the food, the pastries, the lifestyle, the art, the architecture, and the countryside. What more is there to say? Paris, Loire Valley, and Normandy. C'est bon. 
{see the posts here: one, two, and three}

And now for some less detailed lists:

1. London
everything you could ever want at your fingertips: culture, music, theatre, art, food- and all in an incredibly quiet, clean, and efficient city of its size.
2. The cities of the Loire Valley in France {Amboise, Beaune, Blois, Chinon, Tours}
3. Florence
4. Venice
5. Rome
6. Paris
7. Chiang Mai, Thailand
8. The Normandy Region of France
9. Edinburgh
10. Jaco, Costa Rica
11. Harrogate, UK
12. Chiang Rai, Thailand
13. Phuket, Thailand
14. Tachileik, Myanmar
100,000,000. Dublin, Ireland

1. Thai
2. Costa Ricans
3. Italians
4. Scottish
5. British
6. Burmese
7. Irish
8. all the other ones i will not list because i have no opinion slash too much bias