Now that we are back in LA, everyone is asking us what was our favorite place we went during our year of travel. Honestly, the answer is everywhere. Everywhere we went was so unique and amazing, almost every place we visited was our favorite while we were there.
We know that is not a satisfying answer however, so we’ve put together a few lists of favorites from our trip. We’ll share these over the course of several posts, and up first, here are our favorite sites from this trip:
Yellowstone offers so much, all we can say is wow. Beautiful scenery, spectacular drives, gorgeous hot springs, crazy rock and mineral formations, thousands of animals, and last but not least: Old Faithful. I’d say that Yellowstone has enough for two or three national parks, the fact that it is all in one is incredible.
The Statue of Liberty is an icon, and we were blown away when we visited it. The whole site is so grand, all the moreso because of its location and what it represents: honoring freedom, welcoming immigrants, showing the strength of America, and not just raw power but honor, fairness, dignity, and respect. Visiting this statue was a powerful experience, one that made us proud to be Americans.
Having been to Iguazu, we prepared ourselves to be underwhelmed by Niagara. But boy were we wrong. Niagara Falls is so powerful, we could feel it inside our chest, in our bones. And then there’s the boat ride we went on, where we saw the falls from the water down below; it was beautiful and it was awesome!
Did you know that Gustav Eiffel, the man who built the Eiffel Tower, also built the Statue of Liberty? Talk about a great resume! Inna and I absolutely love the Eiffel Tower, it is so beautiful and romantic, the perfect symbol of Paris. We visited in the evening, relaxed on the lawn and listened to musicians playing The Beatles and other music; it was one of the best nights on our trip.
Mont Saint-Michel was one of the most peaceful and spectacular sites we visited. The town/fortress/abbey was awesome, and the views from it were unreal. Even better were the views from water, where the fortress and the beach looked straight out of a fairy tale. We loved it!
Visiting Giant’s Causeway, we felt like we had reached the end of the world. One, we were really far north. Two, the coast was so peaceful, and ridiculously beautiful. And three, this place was weird! Naturally occurring hexagonal columns that literally form steps into the sea. It doesn’t seem natural or real, but it is.
France isn’t the only country with amazing fortresses providing unbelievable views; the best we found were provided by Dun Aonghasa, the largest fortress on the largest of Ireland’s Aran Islands. More than anything, the photo opportunities were unreal, I took the best panoramas I’ve ever taken while here.
Sydney’s harbor isn’t as old as some other sites on this list, but even so, it is as grand as the best of them. The Opera House is so bold, and complimented so well by the bridge and the water. We admired everything here: the architecture, the views, the locals, the waterfront; it was spectacular.
We visited so many reefs on our trip around the world: in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. Everywhere they were spectacular, but Inna and I had different favorite spots. For me it was the Great Barrier Reef, where I saw sting rays, tons of fish, and a reef shark, while Inna loved the Andaman Coast, where saw manta rays, moray eels, sea turtles, sting rays, and she even got to swim through several schools of fish!
I am running out of superlatives and we’re only halfway through this list! Ha Long Bay was so awesome, peaceful and beautiful and serene. We could have spent weeks enjoying and exploring this place; we had a great time the two nights we stayed here.
People talk so much about Thailand, but somehow we never heard about their temples. Not that we’re complaining, because not knowing about them made discovering them all the more incredible! We’d never seen architecture like this before; with buildings that look like jewelry. Thailand had tons of temples like these, but Wat Phra Kaew was the grandest, and we had an amazing time here.
Angkor was so cool; I don’t even know. The site isn’t even just Angkor Wat, there are dozens of ruins here. Each one was incredible, not just historic but also unique and fun, as we got to explore temples, climb pyramids, discover massive building-destroying trees, and so much more. Sunrise was also incredible here, one of the most beautiful sunrises in the world.
The Taj Mahal is one of the most hyped places in the world, and it completely lives up to it, and then some. The site is so beautiful, the symmetry of the layout, the intricate designs and details, the gorgeous marble shining ivory-white; it all comes together in what really is one of the world’s greatest and most iconic sites.
The most incredible aspect of Burj Khalifa is not how tall it is, it is the fact that despite being so tall (more than 600 feet taller than the world’s next tallest building), the building appears to be exactly as tall as it should be. This is due to its gorgeous design, one that is artistic, powerful, simple, and sleek. Viewing this building felt like witnessing a modern pinnacle of artistic/human achievement, moreso than anything else we saw on our trip.
From a pinnacle of human achievement to whatever the opposite of that is, that is Chernobyl. Visiting Chernobyl, particularly the abandoned city of Pripyat, was so cool; it felt like an apocalyptic film, except real. And then there’s the fact everything was Soviet, including party leader posters, Soviet era machines and technology, and even a ten million watt, fourteen-thousand ton, fourteen football-field-sized over-the-horizon radar antenna. It was unreal!
And there you have it, the fifteen favorite sites we visited on our trip. We hope you enjoyed it and stay tuned for our next list!
Honorable Mentions go to: Basilica de San Vitale, Queen Victoria Harbor, Wharariki Beach, Daintree National Park, Borobudur, Paradise Cave, Ranthambore and Chitwan National Parks, Main Square Krakow, Cesky Krumlov Castle, and so many more.