I’ve had a post in my drafts folder for months now, with just the title and nothing else. It’s called “Traveletti Alphabetti Spaghetti”, which perhaps I should have kept it as because it’s ridiculous, but this week a few people have been posting their “Alphabet Adventures” on Twitter, which, let’s face it, makes a lot more sense and has quite a nice ring to it. (Traveletti Alphabetti Spaghetti? What was I thinking?)
Every day, some of my fellow bloggers like Riana from Teaspoon Of Adventure and Emma from Forever Lost In Travel have been working their way through the alphabet, posting photos from a destination they’ve been to from A-Z. The problem is, I’d have to miss some out, which of course I do in a full post as well, but let’s give this a go.
It doesn’t matter whether the destination is a country, a city or a state or region, but even so, I found some of these surprisingly hard!
A is for Austria
Let’s kick this off with the most recent country I visited – back in *takes deep breath, knowing that I won’t be getting abroad for a long time now* June last year.
I only visited Vienna, but I quickly loved it way more than I ever expected – it’s easily the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen, with immaculate architecture dominating the city centre. I thought, given that and its reputation for fine arts, that it would feel stuffy and pretentious, but it absolutely wasn’t.
Read more: A Day Wandering Beautiful Vienna
B is for Bosnia & Herzegovina
Bosnia & Herzegovina somehow catapulted itself into my top ten countries ever in my short visit to the Balkan country. I fell in love with the cities of Sarajevo and Mostar, and all of the incredible scenery in between. I’d love to go back and explore more!
One of my favourite posts I’ve ever written is my one about Sarajevo and its heartbreaking history, but equally I found a lot of positivity in Bosnia that encapsulated its resilience.
Or for something a bit lighter: Mostar: The Gem Of Bosnia
C is for Cambodia
We spent 10 days in Cambodia back in 2015; another country with a devastating history and a really difficult but important visit to the capital city of Phnom Penh. We also had some beach time in Sihanoukville (somewhere that I sadly wouldn’t recommend visiting any more since it’s become a Chinese casino town), and lapped up a whole lot of culture in Siem Reap.
We enjoyed Angkor Wat, but we loved the other temples in the park even more! You might recognise the one above from Tomb Raider – Ta Prohm is a lot of fun to explore and makes you feel like you’re Indiana Jones.
We also loved the town of Siem Reap, and one of our absolute highlights of Cambodia was taking a tour with a Buddhist monk, which ended with a water blessing from the head monk in the temple, and then meditating with the other monk as we dried off. Very surreal, and certainly something I will never forget!
Or for some more hard-hitting history: A Difficult Visit To The Killing Fields Of Cambodia
D is for Dubrovnik, Croatia
Is it possible to NOT love Dubrovnik? I went to find out – and well, I bloody loved it.
Croatia’s infamous seaside town is as much fairytale as the pictures suggest. Like so many others, I was only there for a day, but we managed to pack so much in. I think we explored virtually every single street in the old town, we chilled out by the water, and we walked the walls, taking in some incredible views!
E is for Edinburgh, Scotland
I thought long and hard about this one, because I couldn’t think of another E that I’ve been to! But let’s settle for Edinburgh, even though I live here.
Edinburgh is my favourite city in the world, and drew me back so much that we finally moved here last year. It’s packed full of more history than you can shake a stick at, and the architecture is phenomenal. Even now, I still walk around thinking “wow, I live here”. How many other cities can you walk down the main shopping street with a view of a castle the whole way?
Read more: My Highlights Of Edinburgh
F is for Fraser Island, Australia
We visited a lot of places in Australia – most of the east coast – and the one place that always sticks out in my mind is Fraser Island. It was unexpectedly my highlight of our road trip, and we immediately regretted not doing the 3 day tour.
Famed for its beaches and wildlife, Fraser Island is home to a literal sand highway (but no roads at all) and a whole load of dingoes, of which we sadly saw zero. We did, however, see humpback whales, shipwrecks and stunning lakes.
G is for Gibraltar
It’s funny – I wanted to visit Gibraltar for one reason: to cross the Mediterranean on the shortest crossing to Africa. We even stayed just over the border in the Spanish town of La Linea. And yet, we ended up absolutely loving the tiny peninsula of Gibraltar. It really did just feel like a British town with a Mediterranean twist, but of course the real highlight was the huge rock that makes up most of it.
Gibraltar rock is home to hundreds of barbary apes, one of which I managed to get into a fight with. We also went on a dolphin watching tour, which was really fun as we watched lots of dolphins swimming alongside our boat.
That and the runway is one of the most unique runways in the world – not only is it built out over the sea, but you have to walk across it to get between Gibraltar and Spain!
You can see a few not-so-glamorous shots of me in my post about the trip!
H is for Hawaii, USA
Sometimes I still can’t believe that we’ve actually been to Hawaii – AND we did it on a budget!
We flew to Hawaii from Australia, because believe it or not, it was the cheapest way to get to Vancouver. Add in the fact my friend was au pairing there so we got to see her, AND she could show us around, and it was one of the best detours we could have taken!
Of course, typically we did get some pretty bad weather, which meant our road trip to the North Shore was a bit of a washout, but we did also pack in a couple of gorgeous hikes when the sun was out!
Read more: Hiking Hawaii: Amazing Views Of Oahu
Or if you want to read about how we did it on a budget: Hawaii On A Budget: How I Did It For $300
I is for Iceland
There are a lot of countries I want to return to, and Iceland is definitely one of them. We visited in winter, which had its upsides (waterfalls in the snow, but no northern lights sadly – but I’ve seen them in Scotland so it wasn’t a make-or-break necessity for me!), but I’d love to visit again in the summer.
We also only had 3 days (two full days) which means we didn’t get to see all that much – we did spontaneously hire a car though, so we saw some of the best waterfalls on the south coast, AND we went quad biking, which was a lot of fun!
J is for Jasper, Canada
If you’re new to this blog, you probably don’t realise just how much I adore Canada – in fact it was originally my C on this list, and after considering changing it to Croatia or Copenhagen or Cairns or the Czech Republic, I was very tempted to just keep it because Canada is one of my favourite countries so why not include it twice? It’s my most visited country, and apart from Australia, it’s the country I’ve spent the most accumulative time in (9-10 months; Australia 15 months).
ANYWAY, we all know I ended up choosing Cambodia, so here we are representing Canada in the J section.
I’ve only actually made it to Jasper once, or twice if you include the time we drove as far as the Columbia Icefield, which is part of Jasper National Park. While I don’t personally love it as much as Banff, it still has a hell of an impact.
I’m also sad now, because if we had made it to Japan last month, that would have been my J.
K is for Koh Tao, Thailand
I originally had Thailand down on the list, before I realised I couldn’t think of a K that wasn’t in Thailand (I have since thought of Kotor, but it’s too late now).
We went to a few islands in Thailand, and our favourite hands down was Koh Tao. This slice of divers’ paradise gave us exactly what we needed – some downtime, some fun, and some beautiful scenery! I conquered my fear of being underwater by snorkelling amongst impressively huge shoals of fish, and climbed a “mountain” barefoot.
We contemplated going back there to live for a few months so that Ash could get some PADI qualifications, but that’s never come to fruition… yet.
Read more: Koh Tao: Our Favourite Thai Island
L is for Lisbon, Portugal
Oh Lisbon. How I yearn to go back! Lisbon is one of my favourite European cities, and actually one of the first ones I explored solo.
I loved everything about it – the architecture, the trams, the music, and of course the pastel de natas!! I also stayed in the absolute best hostel I’ve ever stayed in, which just added a huge bonus.
M is for Montenegro
Montenegro was on my list for years, and I was thrilled when I finally made it there last year. It lived up to every expectation, and I only wish that I’d had more time there as I only saw Kotor and stayed in Budva. What a beautiful, incredible country!
The highlight, obviously, was climbing the walls of Kotor for one of the best views I have ever seen in my life. The weather literally could not have been better, which considering thunderstorms were apparently supposed to follow us around the Balkans, had been worrying me, as we only had a few hours there.
Read more: Hiking & Heating Up In Kotor, Montenegro
N is for New York City, USA
NYC goes against everything I normally love. It’s horrendously busy, overwhelming, too many tall buildings, a dirty and confusing subway, and I love it. I cannot put my finger on why. Is it because it’s so iconic? Is it because it’s just really good at being a city so it feels like it works? Who knows, but every time I visit I can’t help but think “this is amazing”.
I haven’t really ventured off the tourist path at all, so if I find myself back there, I’d like to try more local haunts.
Read more: A Layover In New York City
O is for Oregon, USA
Another American one, but I was struggling to think of O’s, and I didn’t think I should really include Orkney!
I expected to love Portland, but it took me a while to really feel it (although we did visit the most ridiculous museum I’ve ever been to – and I’ve been to a penis museum!). In the end, it was the coast that swept me off my feet. We only stopped for a couple of hours at Cannon Beach, which is absolutely stunning!
The more I read about the Oregon coast, the more I’d quite like to see more of it, but Cannon Beach was definitely a great start!
P is for Paris, France
I’ve never written about Paris, despite the fact I’ve been three times. They were all pre-blog visits, and as such I don’t remember a lot about the trips and also don’t have the content to write about them because my photos are… lacking.
The last time I visited, we went on an overnight bus for £5, and then came back the following night for another £5. Ash was not impressed about having to sleep on a bus for two nights in a row, but I was thrilled by the prospect of a £10 return trip to Paris, and I was adamant that it would be worth it. (This was also when I owned a shop and couldn’t really take the time off to stay – otherwise we would have done!)
I also have a real love/hate relationship with Paris. It’s never swept me off my feet like I thought it should. And that’s okay – plenty of other places have done that. I don’t need to love Paris.
Q is for Queenstown, New Zealand
If you think of New Zealand (which was going to be my N), you’d probably think of Queenstown. It’s home to practically every adrenaline activity in the world, and has the scenery to boost. Queenstown is actually a tiny town, and I instantly loved it. I expected it to be rammed with tourists, but I think we were lucky and it wasn’t lost to the hubbub of people.
R is for Rila, Bulgaria
A year ago, I’d never even heard of Rila, home to a monastery in a national park in Bulgaria. When I started looking at potential day trips from Sofia (which I also fell in love with totally unexpectedly), I couldn’t choose whether to prioritise Rila or Plovdiv. Sadly I never made it to Plovdiv, but I am SO GLAD I chose Rila!
The entire drive through the national park was sensational, and Rila Monastery itself… well, I felt a sharp intake of breath the second I walked inside the walls. It’s absolutely stunning!
S is for Seville, Spain
I suppose I could have also just chosen Spain, but the truth is, it took my third visit to Spain to really get the hype. And that’s because I visited Seville!
Seville is absolutely beautiful, and I loved every moment of getting lost in its labyrinth of alleyways and narrow streets. I loved the cathedral; the largest gothic cathedral in the world. And I really, really loved the piece de resistance of the city: Plaza de Espana! I could not get enough of this place, and it’s another city I hope to return to with Ash.
Read more: A Day In Beautiful Seville, Spain
T is for Tirana, Albania
Tirana is the capital city of the weirdest countries I’ve ever visited – and is the only place I actually stopped in the country.
Albania is an absolutely fascinating country with a history unlike any other. It was so closed off for fifty years that nobody really knows even now what went on there. It was even more closed off than North Korea is now. But Albania is officially open for tourism and it’s still got its awkward legs, it’s slowly learning to walk and it’s definitely still one of the most unique places in the world!
U is for Utah, USA
Apart from California, Utah is my favourite US state. There’s just something about desert, and when you throw in some mountains it makes for something pretty magical.
But not only that, Utah holds so many special places, from Monument Valley (one of my favourite places in the world) to Arches National Park to Zion to the cute town of Moab. In fact, there are a whopping five national parks to explore, and I’ve only been to two of them.
V is for Vietnam
Whenever anyone asks what my favourite country is, my immediate response is Vietnam. I don’t even know where to begin.
Vietnam has EVERYTHING – incredible scenery, amazing food, the friendliest people you will ever meet. It’s one of the cheapest places you will ever go. We could have stayed in Hanoi for a month and it would have cost us under £100 each (in fact, we were tempted because we loved our hostel so much). Beer is 15p a glass. Want beaches? They’ve got ’em. Want culture? Everywhere’s got it. Want a cute town? Head to Hoi An.
We spent 3 weeks in the country and loved every single day.
Read more: We’re Gonna Miss You, Hanoi
W is for Wanaka
I already included Queenstown, but do you know where’s better than Queenstown? Wanaka. Wanaka is a tiny, quieter version of Queenstown, with possibly even better scenery. It’s easily one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.
It’s also another great place for adrenaline activities, and I decided to do a sky dive there because it looks better than any other place I’ve seen!
Unfortunately I didn’t do the Roy’s Peak hike, which I now seriously regret, so I’ll have to go back some time, right?
X is for ??
Ha! Nobody can ever think of an X. Unless they’ve been to China (and I’ve tried twice now).
Y is for York, England
I think York might just be my favourite English city (well… except Brighton). We’ve visited 3 times in the past year, but two of those times have been for a couple of hours, so in December we finally decided to visit properly.
York just has that quintessential ye olde towne feel that you don’t get in many English places any more. We love exploring the Shambles, and York Minster is absolutely spectacular.
Read more: A Festive Weekend In York
Z is for Zion National Park, USA
I realise that I already included Utah, but I literally can’t think of another U or another Z. Technically I’ve been to place in Texas called Utopia, which was, erm, an experience in itself and definitely not a utopia, but I don’t know, how many of you have even heard of Utopia?
Anyway, Zion is my favourite national park in America, apart from Yosemite. It’s absolutely stunning! Plus the Angel’s Landing hike has got to be one of the best I’ve ever done.
Read more: Hiking Angel’s Landing In Zion National Park
Whew! That was harder than I expected. And the only one I had to miss out is X, most of which will be in China, which apparently after two attempts, I’m not allowed to visit. I tried to include as many countries as I could, and I think I ended up with too many American ones, but that’s okay – I’ve been to quite a lot of places in America!