Friday, November 03, 2006

10 of my favourite places in the world

So I've settled in a quiet back water of Australia (maybe not such a quiet back water, since life is as busy here as I ever was anywhere else!) - but I still remember tripping around the world, and remembering some of the magnificent places I've been still feeds my soul. Here are my top ten memories.

  1. Waterloo Bridge, London. I used to look out over the Thames and want to pinch myself every time just in case I was dreaming. How did this little Aussie girl end up living on the other side of the world, enjoying the buzz and wonder of a city that has existed for over a thousand years and still pumps with life? It never ceased to thrill me.
  2. Dushanbe, Tajikistan. From the sublime to the ridiculous (or mabe it's the ridiculous to the sublime?!). Living in Dushanbe for a month was amazing - sleeping on the floor (and being chewed up by fleas!); crowding into minibuses and trying to remember the local word for 'stop' in order to get off (always induced a slight sense of panic in me!); eating with my hands; communicating with broken Russian, broken English and a generous sprinkling of gestures; wonderful, kind people all working unbelieveably hard just to survive; wearing the local costume and learning to love clashing colours and patterns... so much I will never forget. What a privilege to have experienced this.
  3. Italy - anywhere in Italy. Incredible. The history, the golden sun on cobbled streets, the art, the traffic, the exuberant people and my wonderful friend in Forli who has helped me experience the Italian life a little more. I've been back a couple of times, and every time I wonder if it will be my last chance to visit - and every time I hope I can make it again!
  4. Gorge du Tarn, a small village in southern France where I spent a wonderful summer holiday. God spoke to me in that place, so apart from the sun, the refreshing river, the horse riding (crazy trail horses - say no more!), bike riding through sunkissed valleys, never ending Abba and never ending laughs, the village holds a special place in my heart. As the cross stood out on the hill above the village , God reminded me that he is my shepherd who will take care of me wherever I go.
  5. The Swiss Alps. Summer or winter they are absolutely beautiful. Wizzing down them on skis is the most exhilarating feeling. Oh OK, timidly slipping down the snow was one of the scariest things I've ever done - if it hadn't have been beautiful it just wouldn't have been worth it! I'm proud to say that I almost reached the wizzing stage though.
  6. Berlin. Absolutely fascinating. So much recent history in that city - things that even I can remember! And to walk the streets where it happened filled me with a deep sense of incredulity - was I really in the place where this or that had been done? The Christmas Night Market was pretty good too.
  7. Amsterdam. OK, the seedy side aside (in our ignorance we accidently stumbled along some red light streets! Quite an eye opener for innocent little me) this is a charming place. There is a restfulness that comes from bikes creaking along the streets, and canals snaking in and out around the houses. And the museums and art galleries? Absolutely wonderful.
  8. San Francisco. Almost as beautiful as Sydney and I didn't experience any earthquakes which was a bonus - well none that I could feel, since they have 100 minor tremors a day (or something like that!). Riding my bike across San Fran Bridge was fantastic - another 'little me here?' moment.
  9. The Tibetan Plateau, eating yak yoghurt and boiled bread in a nomad tent while a sheep was carved up outside. This was an incredible cultural moment - we had no idea who these people were, we just stopped along the side of the road to see them shearing their sheep. Next thing we were invited into the tent, esconced on the mat and feasting on local fare. How good is that?
  10. Newcastle, Australia. Beautiful, sunny, relaxed and the place where many friends live. Not to mention where I grew up! I always love visiting.
Thanks for humouring me with a trip down memory lane. Don't we live in an incredible world - and I haven't even got onto the sites of natural beauty!


At 7:41 am, November 03, 2006, Blogger Robyn said...

Ahhhhh I loved being able to travel vicariously through you! :)


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