As part of my Magical Places of the world series, I introduce the various regions of the world – Africa, Antartica, Asia, Europe South and North America and Oceania. What a beautiful world we live in.
As we venture to Africa, there’s an awakening of all that the bright continent holds, from ancient 12th-century churches carved out of volcanic rock with the help of angels, to vast plains teeming with wildlife, to the elusive mountain gorilla proudly protected. Waterfalls cascade, volcanoes spew fire into remote island skies and independently evolved lemur add their distinct song to rain forests. Mystique and tradition, culture and capture—the history of these often-dusty lands are ever being rewritten, while colourful fabrics, bustling markets, and enticing cosmopolitan cities are reminders of change.
Magical Places in Africa: Benin, Ouidah the Birthplace of Voodoo. | Sossusvlei’s Rusty Red Sand Dunes, Namibia. | South Africa’s top tourist attractions. | Lalibela, Ethiopia’s New Jerusalem. | Cairo, Egypt’s timeless city. | Zanzibar, the Spice Island.
At the southern tip of the globe and covered by 90% of the world’s ice lies a continent shrouded in mystery. Antarctica has long invited the brave to race to the South Pole and pioneers to circumnavigate its expansive frontier despite their fears of falling off the edge of the Earth. Home to curious colonies of empire and king penguins, languishing sea lions, research stations, receding glaciers, and deep, dark dark subglacial lakes, Antarctica is the last great wilderness.
Home to countries at the forefront of the global economy and technological advancement and with towering skyscrapers greened by urban gardens, pop culture and Lolita fashion holding place alongside futurist inventions until recently not yet imagined. Simultaneously traditional and with the deep spiritual conviction that sees thousand-year-old temples revered and still in use. Through the centuries, the rise and fall of the royal family, the struggles of war, the fascination of Sumo wrestlers, and the calming presence of Buddhist monks. Meditation, contemplation, mosques, ornate tombs, wats, and godly devotion – and then there’s the unmatchable ode to love. For the adventurer, Asia offers rocky outcrops, endless hiking trails, remote deserts, mythical lakes, and jungle-green rainforests. Asia, arguably, has it all.
Magical Places in Asia: Singapore, an island state reimagined.
Norwegian fjords, blue lagoons, and towering alpine peaks command attention from the impressive architecture, ornate details and abundance of the metropoles so rooted in their history and culture. Castles and fortified citadels, cathedrals and floating abbeys, the marks of war overshadowed by the message of hope. Rivers connect to bear witness to change as green living, bike lanes and artisan markets become the norm. Expression is in art, street art, film, and literature – conversations at relaxed side-street cafes. And while the warm waters continue to draw sunseekers, the midnight sun and northern lights become Europe’s new point of worship.
Magical Places in Europe: Turkey. Istanbul where East meets West. | Salzburg. Baroque architecture, Mozart and riverside walks.
From the tip of snow-covered peaks to the lush green valleys and forests of trees that turn golden rust each Fall, to rocky outcrops and sacred land, canyons and crevices – the natural attributes of North America are plentiful whether you simply choose to stand in admiration of their grandeur or tackle them with expeditions into the unknown wilderness Ancient Mayan villages, pirates and Punta music. Lakes and modest men carving worlds for themselves in the mountain rockface all add appeal. That’s before the cities that never sleep, the birthplace of Jazz, Havana nights and carnivals that pulsate rhythmically through the streets.
Oceania brings you the world’s most liveable city with its active food culture and art scene. There are thousands of islands, some shaped by history, others like delicate coral hearts that shimmer about tranquil waters. Ancient lands and rock formations, Māori tradition and sacred rituals. Pristine beaches, rugged coastlines, ice-carved fiords and striking glaciers. Discover the varied shades of blue of French Polynesia and soak up the romance. This understated area has it all for the nature lover.
From sultry Caribbean beaches to the tip of Cape Horn, Darwin’s natural world and the mysterious Rapa Nui moai. Add the lost land of the Incas, food scene in Lima. Christ the Redeemer overlooking Rio de Janeiro and the passion-fused samba and tango, and you have every area of interest sated.
Read my Magical Places post as I work through the above regions here. Some are already posted, but many more to come with the hope that they will encourage you to choose one of them for your next trip.
** Pics sourced.