No one else wanted to list their favorites. Av and Si were asked repeatedly along the way "what was your favorite place"? Their answer was always "We like them all". They believe that an attempt to say what is best (and worst) would diminish the experience. I don't believe this will happen for me. I rate things. I log and score the books I read. I used to keep a daily log of how much I jogged. GEEK!!! So I have always scored and rated things. Here goes:
10) Score of 9.1 The beautiful city of Dubrovnik in Croatia. The views of the city from the fortified walls were incredible. So were the views of the Adriatic from the rocky escarpments near Dance Beach.
9) Score of 9.2 I didn't anticipate that the Leaning Tower of Pisa would be spectacular. It was. The views of the Pisa Cathedral and Baptistry from the top of the tower (leaning) at sunset were breathtaking.
8) Score of 9.2 I loved the street scenes of McLeodganj, in Northern India. The smells. The look of the older people. The beggars. The ever present burgundy robes of the Tibetan monks at ground level...and the foothills of the Himalayas up above.
7) Score of 9.2 The incredible symmetry and beauty of the Taj Mahal. Wonderfully landscaped gardens contrasted with the poverty of Agra. I expected it to be the #1 sight in the world before we left. Not quite, but it's a gorgeous world and the Taj adds to its beauty.
6) Score of 9.3 The incredible grandeur of the karst formations on our Li River outing near Yangshuo, China. They jut hundreds of feet up, solitary in their beauty. Much better than the calendars and posters in Chinese restaurants at home.
5) Score of 9.3 The beauty of hundreds of paper lanterns (kom loy) floating in the air during the festival of Loy Krathong in Thailand. The energy and gaiety of the festival added to the wonder.
4) Score of 9.3 The stunning views inside the volcanoes of Rapa Nui (Easter Island). The caldera rim was bleak with beautiful vegetation growing in the lake down below. I didn't expect the scenes here to have this much of an impact on me. They did.
3) Score of 9.3 When the lions walked directly beneath my window of our Safari Land Cruiser on game day in Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. Incredibly gorgeous scenery and animals.
2) Score of 9.5 Gargantua del Diablo or Devil's Throat Falls inside Iguazu Falls National Park in Argentina. The extreme force of nature astounded me. Too loud to hear.
1) And the #1 sight for me with a score of 9.6 is Peron Dunes, outside the hamlet of St. Helens in Tasmania. It is an unlikely #1 since I had never heard about it before we left and even as we got to Tasmania after leaving Sydney. I walked out and saw the starkness, the mist, the deserted beach, and the dunes rising high into the sky. The outerwordliness of this place. I felt totally at peace.
IT'S A BEAUTIFUL WORLD!