Photo: Taksang Monastery in Bhutan
There are books listing the 1000 places to see before you die. And this Christmas, I received a calendar on this theme.
So, I started thinking about the places that I have visited and found remarkable. Not easy to select.
There are the somewhat obvious ones, and then there are the ones that seduced me even though they were very simple and pretty unknown…
A few of these places are in Asia, so I decided to share them with you. So here they are.
For me, the top 2 have to be the Taksang Monastery in Bhutan, an unbelievable place right in the middle of a 1000-meter cliff, and Angel Falls in Venezuela. The two places are hard to reach. I am sure it makes them so much more desirable and charming.
You reach the Taksang Monastery after a good 3-hour hike and Angel Falls are in the middle of the Amazon, at the end of a 6-hour ride in a pirogue, which starts at 4:00 AM in total darkness. It is a beautiful high and thin waterfall which you look up to see, as high as your eyes can take you. It is actually the tallest waterfall in the world.
2021 Update: I learned recently that Angel Falls got their name from Jimmy Angel, the US aviator, who was the first person to fly over them, not from the word angel!
Then I have fond memories of so many other nice places:
- the Forbidden City in Beijing;
- walking along the Seine in beautiful Paris;
- downtown Stockholm with its reflections on the water;
- hiking in the Swiss Alps;
- skiing on a sunny day in Lake Louise, Alberta;
- listening to Carmen’s opera at the opera house in Vienna;
- walking the streets of Quebec City in December at night, with its snowbanks and its Christmas lights;
- watching the tide go down on the beautiful pink granite of the small Brittany island of Brehat;
- taking a helicopter ride above the cliffs of Kauai, Hawai;
- and staying in the smallest and cutest harbor in the world, on the English Channel island of Sark.
So many very fond memories. I could also add:
- the Palace of Versailles and the castle of Chenonceaux,
- the magnificent abbey at Mont Saint-Michel,
- the ocean view from the American cemetery at Omaha Beach in Normandy,
- the Bayeux museum with its gorgeous medieval Bayeux tapestry – actually an embroidery of 230 feet/ 70 meters of length,
- little fishing ports along the coast of Brittany or Normandy, like the one of Honfleur, all of these in France;
- the interior courtyards in the ruins of Pompei, Italy;
- a concert of classical music in the impressive cathedral of Montreal, Quebec;
- a night in the London theater district;
- Langkawi island, Malaysia, with its rock islands raising from the ocean and its old Malay houses;
- the city of Marrakech, Morocco with his fortified walls, his souqs, mosque, and busy square.
And much more. Forty years of memories! So, what is the best place on earth for you?