After the conclusion of any long-term trip, I find it interesting to think back and pinpoint my one favorite stop in the region; somewhere that stood out as particularly beautiful or fun or friendly, or all three. To choose the place I’d be most likely to return were I to find myself nearby once again, or even to setup shop and live for awhile should the opportunity arise.
My choices for the past few years would be the following:
In Japan, everywhere – anyone who’s read more than a couple post knows how much I love it there. But if I had to pick just one spot, it would without a doubt be Kyoto. It’s my second home, and probably my favorite place on the planet. At this moment, if I could choose anywhere in the world to live, Kyoto would be it.
In China, I’d pick Hong Kong. Although many would say it isn’t “real” China (and I would agree) I do think it’s nestled closely enough to choose it as a favorite destination on that part of the Eurasian continent. Hong Kong has got great weather, fabulous nightlife, and is completely English-friendly – there’s little you could ask for that the international megacity (and its surroundings territories) can’t deliver.
In the Middle East, Tel Aviv. A vibrant coastal city where everything is easy to reach, the women are gorgeous, the locals are friendly and hospitable, and the beaches are picture-perfect even despite being right up against such a major population center. After spending a couple springtime months right in the heart of it, I almost never wanted to leave.
In Brazil, Morro de Sao Paolo. Sure it might be a shameless tourist haven, but still, this place has it all: by day, tropical paradise with jungle hikes and snorkeling in crystal-clear water; by night, throbbing beach parties drawing young crowds from every corner of the globe. Spend a week sipping the icy goodness that is Caipirinha by day and letting loose by night, and I’m sure you’ll find it hard to disagree.
And finally, we come to Eastern Europe:
When I started this trip I was sure that my favorite stop would either be Belgrade (Serbia) or Odesa (Ukraine). Ironically, Odesa turned out to be one of my least favorites – and while I definitely did like Belgrade, I still wouldn’t put it quite at the top. So where was my favorite destination? In Eastern Europe, Kiev – though to be fair, I’m pretty sure that if the weather had been more consistently nice it may very well have been Budapest instead. Sadly, my impressions were drastically impacted by the neverending rain that plagued the first month or so of the trip.
And what about throughout all of my 2010 trek through Europe? I think I’d have to pick Denmark – save for the one obvious issue of cost. If prices had been a bit more on par with the rest of the continent (/world), I can’t think of a place I would’ve liked better. There’s just nothing not to like.
So there you have it. Europe is finally behind me.
But don’t worry…it doesn’t end there. Not by a longshot 😉