My Top 5 Favourite Countries


Another Top 5 for ya! This time round will be my favourite countries that I’ve wandered about. This differs from my favorite cities because in many cases I have only seen one city within a country. This in turn does not always give me a feel for the whole nation.  Of the countries listed, I have visited at least two locales, if not more. And as always, this list is in flux as I continue to travel and see more.

  1. IRELAND – How I love this country. It’s lush and green and stunning. I feel comfortable there. I did not think I could love a place as much as Paris yet Ireland swept me away. I want to move here. It is my happy place.
  2. Myanmar – I did not know what to expect from Myanmar really. I had done some research yet still I did not know how it would go. It went with love, that is how it went. Even though I had some tummy issues, was harangued by locals to buy items, and was only so-so about Yangon (though I loved Bagan), I was still mesmerized by this place. When I think of it I am back there with a smile.
  3. India – I dream of returning to India to see more of it. My visit was like a tease even though it was a month long. India plays on all your senses. It is crazy, it is chaotic, it is beautiful, it is loud, it is colourful, it draws you in and I can’t wait for that to happen again.
  4. United Kingdom – For a small island there is plenty to see and do. I just really like the U.K. So much of it is old, it has history (well compare to Canada) which is something I love to learn about anywhere I go. And Scotland has amazing whisky so that should just sum it up. 
  5. Canada – Yes, I know. I was born and raised in Canada. I can (and do) love it. This is a vast and varied country. I have not seen nearly as much as I’d like though that will change. The natural beauty here is some of the best in the world. 

All photos taken and owned by Eeva Valiharju / Wanders The World

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Pub life in Killarney, Ireland

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Myanmar sunset over the Irrawaddy River

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The Golden Temple in Amritsar, India

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Chester Rows in Chester, England. Love the old-world charm

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Canadian West Coast sunset

 

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My Top 5 Man-Made Sights


Last month I posted about My Top 5 Cities to Wander. This month my Top 5 is about man-made places or things. These places or works of art hold a special place in my memories, my heart, and bring a smile to my lips.

  1. Michelangelo’s Slave and Bound Slave, Louvre Museum (Paris) – I have never been more captivated by art than these two unfinished statues. They are complete by being incomplete. I do not know how Michelangelo did it but there is feeling, emotion in those statues. I have seen them three times and still my heart stops each time. 
  2. Eiffel Tower, Paris – Anyone who knows me, knows I love this building. It was among the first iconic buildings I had seen when I first visited Europe and has been imprinted on my heart ever since.  I have been to the top twice, once on my birthday where I drank sweet sweet champagne with my sister and friends.  If I had never seen Michelangelo’s Slaves this building would be number one.
  3. Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur – The circular and geometric designs of its spires and the walkway them give them a unique look.  I learned of them shortly after they were built I had wanted to view them for myself ever since.  They did not disappoint. I think they are most beautiful lit up at night against the backdrop of the dark sky and city lights
  4. Taj Mahal, India – I had wanted to see the Taj Mahal since I was a child. For a short span of years I thought I may never see and tried to downplay its importance, that it could not be that spectacular.  Silliness really. Yet I did make it to Agra. A hot, humid and crowded experience that was all shed to the side when I finally saw the splendour of this magnificent building. It stands majestically and rightly so.
  5. Pagodas of Bagan, Myanmar – There are so many things I could put for number five. Yet the pagodas throughout Bagan are the first I think of. The entire area astounds me with the sheer amount of pagodas to be found. I loved wandering through the back roads on my scooter and viewing the beauty and importance of these buildings  to the people. 

All photos taken and owned by Eeva Valiharju / Wanders The World

 

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Michelangelo’s talent is breathtaking

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Gustave Eiffel’s treasure to Paris.

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Those brightly shining Petronas Twin Towers.

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The Taj Mahal, a labour of love.

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One of the numerous pagodas in Bagan

My Top 5 Cities to Wander


The Internet is riddled with Top 5 lists or whichever number is trending so I figure I will post one too. Where does this wanderer like to wander? Aside from just about everywhere I do have some faves. As I continue to traverse the globe I suspect this list will change though this is the list currently. 

It’s all about the cities. I have to say I prefer cities and the energy found within them. Of course small towns and nature are phenomenal and even entire countries I find amazing, though today it’s about the urban landscape. 

Here they are:

  1. PARIS – Paris! Paris! Paris! Arguably the most beautiful city on the planet, I always find wandering in Paris a joy. The art, the history and vibe. 
  2. ISTANBUL – An extremely close second, Istanbul took my breath away with its history, architectural beauty and culture.
  3. CHICAGO – Not only did I have a fab time in the Windy City I adored its arts, buildings and that deep dish pizza
  4. BUDAPEST – Not only does Budapest offer a gorgeous and clean city there is much to do.  Caving nearby, history, ruin bars & thermals baths makes for a very fun city!
  5. GEORGETOWN (a.k.a. Penang) & BELGRADE – tied for 5th as I was unable to decide. Both so different yet equally cool. Penang’s street art and street food within a chill atmosphere compared to Belgrade’s history, great people and fun nightlife made it a definite tie. 

There you go. My current top 5 cities. Next up will be my fav countries. 

All photos taken and owned by Eeva Valiharju / Wanders the World 

 

Top row (L – R): Paris, Istanbul, Chicago
Bottom row: Budapest, Belgrade, me on boat in Belgrade, Georgtown (Penang)