5. The Scottish Highlands. I loved Scotland - rain and all. My mother is a Macdonald and so their blood runs thick through my veins. I felt at home there with its dramatic history of deprivation and the eerie folklore of the land. The atmosphere was laden with mystery and I felt overwhelmed by its beauty. Visit it some time and see if you agree.
4. The Yasawa Islands in Fiji. I lived and taught in Fiji for a year on Volunteer Service Abroad when I was eighteen and fell in love with Fiji. I spent one school holiday on Yasawa-I-Rara, the northern-most island of the Yasawa Islands before any businessman had decided it had the potential to make him a heap of money in the form of an exclusive resort. Unfortunately this influx of tourism is killing the beautiful, multi-coloured coral as luxury boats cruise the waters, polluting the seas. But there are still many unspoilt areas in Fiji if you know where to go.
3) The Angkor Wat complex in Cambodia. Yes, there's a photo of it below as well. This ancient complex of temples, which is visually, artistically and architecturally breathtaking, was at its power between the 9th and 12th centuries. It was rediscovered hidden in dense jungle in 1860 by Henri Mouhot. The first Tomb Raider movie was partially filmed here and a more haunting place you would have difficulty finding.
2) My uncle's fishing and hunting lodge on the Zambezi River in Zambia. Yes, I've mentioned this before too and I could have chosen a different place but this is truly number two in my mind. Eight hour's four-wheel-vehicle driving from the main road, this paradise on earth is truly isolated. Overlooking the mighty Zambezi River, it has views straight across into the wilderness of Zimbabwe. I've mentioned the brilliant red sunsets and sunrises before but they are inextricably wound up in my mind with this place. Visit in winter when the heat is not too overwhelming and most creepy crawlies are hibernating.
1) Rome. As you can probably guess from my choices above, I am not a city lover and yet Rome is my number one choice. I have seen it several times and each time, it takes my breath away. Every corner you turn has another magnificent monument to the artistry and creativeness as well as tenacity of man. Each building has a history and glory that makes you want to touch and smell and absorb its essence. Staying in Rome transports you to another time when life was very, very different from today and yet when man essentially was just the same. Our need for beauty has never wained.