Thursday, February 25, 2016
Reportedly Friendly Countries to Visit
I'm really busy this week, but I wanted to put something helpful out there to all of you who are struggling with the idea of taking a dream trip. I was listening to the radio about this list that was done a few years ago of 140 countries in the world ranked by who is the most friendly toward travelers. I found it interesting and I looked into the top ten. The countries in that top ten that I know about personally are spot on. The rest you'll just have to look into.
1. Iceland is reportedly the most tourist friendly country in the world. I, based on my knowledge, would agree. This is one of those countries where you're never completely sure what's going to happen, but if anything does happen the locals are right there with you. What you tend to find in Iceland is culture, northern lights, waterfalls, volcanoes, glaciers, and some of the greatest scenery anywhere in general. This country has taken to swimming in a big way. So, if you go up to Iceland, no matter what time of year, make sure that you go when the Aurora viewing is good. There are several places around the country now that have it set up so that you can watch the northern lights from a swimming pool outdoors all year round. The thermal heating in the country makes this possible. Thank you volcanic activity!
2. New Zealand has always fascinated me, and while I've never been there, I do know a lot of people from that wonderful country. I think that from what I know, the list was right about this one. The folks that I've met visiting my country from New Zealand have actually given me their phone numbers and addresses and told me to look them up if I'm ever there and they will take me on a guided tour. That's friendly. I have researched this country. There are all kinds of things to do in this country, and for an active person it's heaven. The outdoors is the main thing in New Zealand. They have some of the best surf in the world, some of the best mountains in the world, and some of the most amazing activities in the world. This place is the home of bungee jumping. They also have epic hikes, caves with worms that glow and Hobbiton. Throw in some great wine, amazing local Maori culture and the general Kiwi laid back friendliness, and you will have a great time.
3. Morocco is one of those places that I was scheduled to go to and then didn't get to go. I was upset, but there was a small time period when they were a little unsettled there a few years back. I was going to visit as part of a trip to southern Spain and Gibraltar. From Gibraltar it's only a short ferry ride across the strait. I have a friend that spends an enormous amount of time in Morocco, and he loves it there. He hates to come home, but work is here. He started out with visits to larger cities like Tangier and Marrakesh. Now, he loves to take trips into the desert areas. The architecture and the people who live in the smaller desert towns are amazing he tells me. Oujda is one of his favorite cities with the ancient walls and the medieval mosque and the souq where you can buy all the best fabrics and leathers and eat some fabulous food. The best part about Morocco is that it's well known and there are several tours to go there if you've never been. My friend tells me that the Moroccans are the friendliest people in the world, so maybe they deserve to be at number three.
4. Macedonia comes in at number four on this list. Macedonia is one of those countries that we only know so much about. We know that they used to be part of the whole Yugoslavia grouping during the Soviet years. I don't know a whole lot about this country, but I have visited all around it. I know that it's a small section of the Balkans; about the size of Vermont. I know that it is a cross rep of all kinds of cultures from Greek to Turkish to Ottoman to Roman to Serbian and beyond. There are mosques, churches, ancient ruins, aqueducts, and ancient cities. There are also mountains and amazing countryside. So, if what I found in other surrounding countries which are considered unfriendly for some reason stands for Macedonia; I bet the folks there are really friendly as well. I always found the Eastern European countries very friendly when I was visiting them. Maybe you reap what you sow on that one.
5. Austria. I won't lie; this was one of my favorite countries too. I went there with a group of students who didn't want to go out and do anything. So, there I was running around Vienna all by myself. It wasn't long before I ran into a whole bunch of local people who were eager to show me around and get to know me. We went everywhere in town while I was there. I saw all the cathedrals and parks and they even took me all the way out to Grinzig and Schonbrunn Palace. We rode the wheel in the park and had a great time. I didn't know any of the three people who joined me for those three days until I met them in the main square. So, from the Alps to the Olympic town of Innsbruck to the history and the palaces. Stop by Austria and have a great time. Come to Vienna in the winter for the ball season and you will have a fabulous time.
6. Senegal is right next to Morocco on the African map and is also well known for it's hospitality. My friend who spends a lot of time in Morocco also spends a lot of time in Senegal. For one thing, he loves the Dakar Rally. This is one of the most grueling cross desert races in the world. It's mainly for motorcycles, but there are other vehicles in it too. Senegal is the end of the race for those who make it that far, and they do love to meet outsiders. Similar to Morocco, there are many exotic spots to visit and great architecture to see. Tuaregs come to market here and there are tons of things to see and do and eat and buy in the souq at the Medina. This is a great combo trip to go to Senegal and Morocco and visit two of the friendliest countries in the world.
7. Portugal showing up on this list did not surprise me a bit. Once again, not one of the countries that I have visited, but some of my dearest friends and their families are from there and some of my best friends have spent significant time there. This exotic cliff country by the sea is well known around the world for its wines, food, architecture, and the Azores Islands. There are so many beautiful places to see from churches to castles to cliff towns to volcanoes. There is always something amazing in the tiny western European country of Portugal.
8. Bosnia and Herzegovina was at the heart of the Serbian war that took place directly at the end of Yugoslavia. This little country was nearly wiped out of it's indigenous people during that war. It amazes me that the beauty that exists today in this country survived it all. This is another one of the countries like Macedonia that has ties to many ancient dynasties. They too were ruled by Greeks, Romans, Turks, Ottomans, and the Soviets by proxy. Today this place is laid back and beautiful. There isn't a place that's not worth seeing, so it's a great time to go and see all the beauty. The locals will be very happy to help you see all the best stuff. In modern times they have also become famous for their casinos.
9. Ireland is one of those lands of myth and legend from the kings to the Norse to the leprechaun. If you're looking for a place to visit to find out what's at the end of the rainbow, then Ireland is your spot. This country is famous for pubs and beer. The countryside is gorgeous. The castles are some of the most amazing in the world. The legends are beyond comparison. The people are warm and friendly and it's probably easier to rent a room in someone's house or do a farm stay or rent a castle here than anywhere else on Earth. No matter where you go, people in Ireland are friendly. Just make sure you don't miss out on that tour of the Guiness Factory while you're there.
10. Burkina Faso is the one country on this list that I know virtually nothing about. I do know that it lies in the war torn areas of Africa, and I know that there are diamonds there. I don't know anyone from there or anyone who has been there. So, have fun with the links below.
The Global Tourism Report comes to me via Time and the radio program that I was listening to when I first heard of it. They have good information on this thing and you can look at the entire list of the 140 countries. I didn't want to call anyone out on being on the bad end of the list which is the 10 unfriendliest countries in the world. I will ask everyone to take notice. The United States, Canada, France, UK, Germany, Switzerland, and many other popular countries are not in the top ten of this list. So, take some time to check into some spots that maybe you wouldn't ordinarily think about, and maybe you'll find a country that is way more than you thought it was. Enjoy!