What's the nicest country you have seen? (Irene)
What's the nicest country you have seen? (Irene)Report Abuse
We hear this question all the time, and it does not become easier to answer….
But here is a try….
We have different reasons for different countries, but in general I must say that the Pacific is the nicest we have seen.
It starts with the Panama Canal. I think everybody should go at least once through the Panama Canal. To see the 6 locks, to experience the differences in height of the water and to just see the whole construction. It was an amazing experience.
The Galapagos I liked because of the nature, the animals. We were able to come so close to them, nowhere else in the world is this possible. I was emotionally shocked and overwhelmed by this.
After 23 days at sea The Marquises rose up from the sea with a definite feeling of power. They rose high and the lava flows came down to the sea splayed out like the feet of camels. Every single harbor was spectacular. The sense of green from the hills seemed to wash over me and each was very different from all the others.
The Tuamotus were so isolated, the waters so clean, we spent weeks there without seeing many people; one week we saw none at all! The snorkeling was just superb. I would like to go back there and experience it all over again.
In The Societies we really had a great time in Taha’a, Bora Bora and Moore’a (Cook’s harbor was marvelous with its high jagged peaks). I liked the hiking we did in these islands; the view from the top of the mountains was splendid. And I like to see the Moose anchored in such clear water that you can see the anchor chain lying on the bottom.
Palmerston atoll was so out of the way and different, the people so inviting, the lifestyle so intriguing. The generosity was striking. No planes visit this atoll; once in a while a ship comes by with goods and food. It showed me that you don’t need a lot of material possessions to be happy.
Swimming with the whales made Tonga extraordinary. In itself, we were not that enthralled with Tonga. It was hard to get into contact with the locals and the sailing/anchorages were not that great, but the humpback whales made up for it all!
But, the Caribbean is very nice too. I especially like the fact that you can sail everywhere and always. And I love the colors and the music. The islands are rich in history; we visited the forts on all the islands and had romantic ideas about what life would have been like in the days of Nelson. And it is very nice that you can jump off the boat to have a refreshing swim or to see the most colorful fish while snorkeling. The people are not always the friendliest, but the sailing and the waters are a good compensation!
And of course, Curacao is gorgeous :-)
The Azores and the Cape Verdes in the North Atlantic were also very interesting. Those two groups of islands still gave me a feeling of remoteness, with friendly people and appealing scenery. The Azores are very green and full of flowers; I especially liked Flores with hydrangeas as far as my eye could reach. The Cape Verdes were quite dry and Sao Vicente gave me the idea that it could have been Curacao 50 years back.
In Asia we liked Indonesia and Malaysia. Although I must say, in general, I find it too hot for my taste.
In Indonesia I liked the rice terraces, the vast sense of greenness that they spread. I also liked the faint trace of Dutch in their vocabulary and their food, especially their Gado-Gado. But most of all, I liked the people; they were so incredibly friendly and welcoming, it created a very relaxed and pleasant atmosphere.
To see the orangutans in Borneo was smashing. They are amazing animals and they show a lot of human character in their faces. It was very special to have spent so much time with them.
And now we are in Malaysia. We have seen quite a bit of the country and we must say that they are the friendliest people in the world. There is not enough wind to sail, we motor far too much for my taste, but that is easily forgotten among such wonderful people. Every day we are still surprised at the kindness and spontaneous good nature of everybody.
I’m from Holland and we call that a multi-cultural country. It may well be multi-cultural, but the tolerance is not there. This has really struck me over the year I have been in Asia, although I can only speak for the places I have visited. People here are so tolerant of each other. Malay, Indian and Chinese; Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist, all live peacefully together here; I observed no problems at all about religion. That for me is Malaysia: a completely tolerant, multi-cultural country. A very pleasant one to be in!
So, all in all I can say that what we are looking for is to be with nature, to be as close to it as possible and enjoy the remote places in the world, as far as there are still such places left….
My personal top 3 in the world:
1. Galapagos (especially for the birds like the waved albatross)
2. Orangutans in Borneo
3. Swimming with the whales in Tonga