Here for starters is a listing of all the countries – large or small -that I’ve previously visited outside the UK, organized roughly north to south where Europe and Africa are concerned.
1. Finland (inc. Ivalo, 200 miles north of Arctic Circle)
2. Sweden (to verbally examine a PhD candidate’s thesis in public!)
3. Denmark (Copenhagen – somewhat disappointing)
4. Germany (Berlin especially memorable)
6. Belgium (Bruges highly memorable).
7. France (8 years full-time residence in historic port-town of Antibes on the Riviera, approx halfway between Cannes and Nice).
Historic country, vast array of scenery, but something lacking tourist-wise – lack of communication, joie de vivre?).
8. Jersey (Channel island, Crown dependency, not part of UK) – honeymoon destination.
9. Monaco (tiny but spectacular location)
10. Luxembourg (Ardennes uplands esp. attractive).
11. Spain (inc Majorca, Ceuta on Morocco coast)
12. Gibraltar (3 month sojourn – memorable)
13. Portugal (including 6 of the 9 remote mid-Atlantic Azores islands – crater-strewn Flores esp. interesting plus Sete Citades caldera on western end of San Miguel island. )
14. Italy (inc independent Vatican City, plus Sicily, Sardinia) – shame about its adoption of the euro- arguably killing Italian economy stone-dead…
15. Austria (Krems on the Danube a relaxed and scenically-attractive holiday spot)
16. Switzerland. (But never ever been skiiing!)
17. Slovenia (Lake Bled truly magnificent)
18. Hungary (the Lake Balaton resort of Tihany especially historic and interesting)
19. Slovakia (several trips to Bratislava and neighbouring locations to look after a friend’s cats!)
20. Poland (Krakow especially memorable – wide river, magnificent castle, main city square and environs)
21. Czech Republic (esp. Prague, plus Brno to south and Karlovy Vary in the north)
22. Croatia (coastal Opatija of interest)
23. Greece (inc Corfu, Santorini). Corfu has many hidden/not-so-hidden gems.
24. Turkey (inc neighbouring Greek island of Kastelorizo, main sheltered port especially?).
25. Cyprus (Paphos in west having entirely different character from Larnaca in east, latter with a memorable Syrian restaurant).
26. Georgia, eastern Europe (ex-Soviet capitalist outpost of Tbilisi especially interesting)
27 Ukraine (fly-over back from Georgia with brief stop at Kiev airport)
28. Morocco (inc. over-rated Marrakesh, over-touristy)
29. Tunisia (esp. the populated Matmata caves and tunnels that featured in a Star Wars film)
30. Ghana (2 year teaching stint in Accra capital with wander round interesting sub-Saharan far north – medically punctuated by early “glandular fever” (or was it cat-scratch fever?) , bacterial dysentery, late-stage malaria!)
31. Togo (capital Lome, missing French acute symbol over the ‘e’) – memento to French colonial status.
32 USA (2 year research stint at Univ of Pennsylvania Hospital Medical School, inc side-trips to NY, Chicago, Georgia)
33. Chile (4 locations: Santiago (capital), foothills of Andes, Algarroba ( unspectacular Pacific seaside resort bar those out-of-area resident self-herding Humbold penguins on neighbouring island), Valparaiso.
Near top of favourites : : Ronda in Spain, plus northerly bay town of Kassiopi on Corfu, plus Azores, plus Andes foothills in Chile, plus Togo capital (Lome) ) etc etc.
Favourite resort/choice for single return visit?
Nope, not a foreign destination – not in the above list!! My shortlist has a mass of UK choices: Devon, Cornwall, Stratford-on-Avon, Snowdonia , Lake District, Yorkshire etc etc. Top of list?
Answer: wait for it… Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh (Royal Mile especially – albeit highly touristy – but outdoor cafe-chat friendly!). (Went up there with Sheona to see both sons competing in same marathon, nipping to one or other vantage point at different stages of the race.
Edinburgh (charismatic castle in distance perched on volcanic outcrop)
Second and third choice re Scottish destinations? Spoiled for choice – wouldn’t know where to start!
Sorry to end on what some here may regard as a misleadingly flagged-up favourite destination locale – home based! .
Glaswegian/Aberdonian-raised Sheona may differ re my own personal top choice of Edinburgh!
(Apols for having posted this initially as a comment Bearsy : I had overlooked the “Write” command in the top hand corner of your site’s Home Page on my laptop screen!)
Postscript: a comment has just appeared from Gazoopi. His favourite destination, he says, if away from home, is where he and his wife spent their honeymoon (Sterzing, aka Vipiteno in the S.Tyrol).
Yes, it’s a good looking spot, Gazoopi, but a teeny bit derivative, wouldn’t you say, of the, er, Royal Mile in, er, Edinburgh, (esp. as the Sterzing church lost its original spire in a fire we’re told!)? 😉
PPS: here’s another comparison of two piccies. They have been chosen to concentrate the mind on the specific feature highlighted in this posting: choosing a SINGLE destination, one that scores over all the others one has encountered previously.
On the left is a piccy of a spectacular Norwegian fjord. On the right is one taken in the North Yorkshire moors of England. Yes, the latter is gentler, less spectacular. But does it have compensating features. If so, what?
Which of the two would you return to if having been to both. More to the point: WHY?
Third postscript: Hello again Sipu. I’ll be back later re your extensive and highly impressive travelogue by transatlantic yacht etc. etc. For now, could I insert a corrective? “Ped” is not me.
Here’s a piccy of Ped I took way back in 2007 (at a Telegraph Open Day in London).
Ped was quietly very impressive. Sadly the two of us have lost contact (probably coinciding with the demise of My Telegraph). Does anyone have news of Ped, many years after I took the above picture?
Late addition: Tue Jan 5, 2021
Well, I’ve been through several of my photo albums – admittedly not all – but as soon as my eye alighted on holiday pix I took in 1989. I thought: “Yes, that’s it – Kastellorizo!
It’s the most easterly of Greece’s Mediterranean islands, , highly mountainous, hugging the Turkish shoreline, accessible from nearby Kas by tourist boats.
Kastellorizo got a brief mention in my posting above, notably for its charming 3-sided harbour. Here’s a piccy of the same, taken from the island’s main website:
And here’s a dual piccy from my album, with the elder of my two sons in the foreground (who celebrated his 45th late last month, father of two grandsons!).
See the wiki entry
But be warned: Kastellorizo has a complex history, up to and including the 2nd World War. It’s twinned with Perth, Australia. Indeed a number of the harbourside bars were owned and run by expatriate Australians who had returned from the Land of Oz back to their family roots, giving the place additional exotic character, in addition to its more obvious admixture of Greek, Anatolian (and Italian!) inputs