If my husband looks at the title he is going to laugh. I have a very hard time narrowing down my “top” lists. We tried doing a favorite song, but my list was well over five (we capped it at 100, and even that is changing!). I thought it might be fun to look at some of my top picks – places I’ve been, cruise destinations, travel bucket list. Today I’ll start with places I’ve been. I haven’t done a lot of traveling, except for cruises, so a lot of places are on my wish list.
St John, US Virgin Islands
This is one of the most beautiful islands I have ever been to. The vast majority of the island is a National Park so you don’t have all the houses and resorts as you traverse the island. We have been there many times while on cruises. One trip we rented a car and drove all around the island, finding a deserted beach (part of the park) where we could swim and snorkel. There were coral beds, stingrays, turtles and many fish in this bay. One other group came while we were there, otherwise, we had the place to ourselves.
We have passed through the Panama Canal on a couple cruises. Both times it was equally amazing! What makes this destination so incredible was taking the time to learn about the history of the building of the canal. The massive number of people who gave their life while working on this marvel. How they cut into the Continental Divide. How our ship just barely fit into the locks. How the ship rose up to Gatun Lake basically by water power.
We visited Marseille and Villefranche on our Mediterranean cruise and found Southern France to be unexpectedly welcoming. We had been told that people from France don’t really like Americans and that was so far from the truth where we visited. We visited Châteauneuf-du-Pape (one of my favorite wines!) and Avignon from Marseille. Avignon was an incredible place to visit. From the Popes’ Palace you can see the city of Avignon and the Rhone River.
From the port of Villefranche, we were able to visit Nice and Eze during our stay. Shopping in Eze was so much fun once we met “Horst”, though he got us in a bit of trouble and almost made us miss the bus to Nice. The views of the Mediterranean Sea from Eze were incredible!
Juneau, Alaska is the first place I’ve been to that is cold where I actually felt like going back again! Friends drove us around the city before our shore excursion, getting us acquainted with the area. I only wish we had more time to visit Mendenhall Glacier (definitely in 2014!). The geological history of the area is what was so inspiring to me. The nature that we experienced from the glaciers and snow-capped mountains to the humpback whales and bald eagles and everything else in between. Just incredible.
One of the wonders of the world, Machu Picchu is breathtaking. First, I was amazed that I lived through the week of touring other Incan ruins in Peru. Walking around the first building when we reached the park and seeing all of Machu Picchu before us was mind-blowing. To think that Incans built a city like this in 1450, nearly 8,000 feet above sea level is difficult to comprehend, even when you visit here.
Okay so this is number six (I told you I have a problem!). I just had to add this one in here because of the feeling I get every time I arrive at Disneyland. I feel like a little kid! I get all giggly and excited. It’s truly my happy place. I don’t get that way with Walt Disney World, just Disneyland. Probably because it was my first Disney park when I was 24 years old. We walked through the turnstiles and I proclaimed “This IS THE happiest place on earth!”. And that comes back every time we are there. It doesn’t bother me that the park is in the middle of a city, in fact, I like the convenience of walking everywhere without needing to take a bus or shuttle. I was so excited when Disney California Adventure was built and enjoy that park nearly as much as Disneyland.
This was hard enough limiting the list to five, or six. Here are a few other places that have a special place in my heart for a variety of reasons: New York City, San Francisco, Castaway Cay, Barbados, St. Kitts, Estes Park (Colorado), Temecula (California), Mackinac Island (Michigan), Napa Valley (California), Hudson River Valley (New York)
So what are your top favorites? Join in the discussion on Facebook in our ToaDers Group.