I have no lingering desire to visit new places. But I have a strong desire to visit again places I have already enjoyed and so my list arises from such locations, always in my mind, hence the title of my blog today.
Without priority, I will start with the Yorkshire Dales as I am in the Dales as I type this response. I have been coming here for over forty years and find its distinctive rolling countryside with dry stone walls the very epitome of a place to relax and unwind. Though my walking days are behind me I can enjoy driving around, snapping photos and just relaxing as I am now in The Cottage Tearoom, Kettlewell, having driven down from Aysgarth, through Buckden, Starbotton to here. Its unspoilt nature and largely quiet countryside enable contemplation, rejuvenation and reflection and thus a good place to come and take stock. The hustle of life seems a long way away when sat here!
Geographically I am not moving far for my second pick, the wonderful fishing town of Whitby on the marvellous east coast of Yorkshire. It is the perfect base for visits to nearby Sandsend, the location for childhood holidays, Staithes, the enticing Robin Hood’s Bay and then down the coast to Flamborough Head, Scarborough, Bridlington and, if you are a little posh, Filey! If the weather was just a bit better theses areas would not be able to cope with the traffic. As it is I prefer Whitby on a cool, clear, crisp but dry winters’ day when the streets are empty but the views crowd your senses and the fish and chips at the incomparable Magpie Cafe rounds off a perfect visit. I can never wait to visit again!
I travel down the length of the country for the quintessential English county, immortalised by Thomas Hardy, of Dorset and as a base Weymouth. I spent so many years camping there with my two kids and explored the wonderful countryside and coastline from Lyme Regis in the west to Swanage in the east. It evokes so many memories and my children took me there for a surprise birthday weekend on my sixtieth in 2012 and we had such a wonderful time recalling so many simple but wonderful pleasures. Durdle Door is probably our favourite but there are so many it is difficult to choose.
I leave the UK with a nod to the Lakes, the Western Isles and Pembrokeshire before pausing briefly in Stockholm, Brittany and Amsterdam before moving swiftly on to my fourth and probably my favourite destination of all, Hong Kong. It is the only country I have lived in apart from the UK. (and apart from six years, Yorkshire to be honest) I went on sabbatical there for seven glorious months having been a regular visitor for around ten years. It is a seductively attractive place. Its a safe place to visit, there is so much to see including some wonderful countryside and islands if you seek them out. It has a calming effect on me despite it being a crowded and bustling city with 7 million people. You can always find quiet and enjoy just letting the world go by. People are welcoming and indeed I have made some good friends there. I still get excited when I have the opportunity to visit and, but for life’s uncertain pathway, I would have lived there for a few years but that is not now to be. My only regret in life.
So to my final choice and as we hop back on the plane we can go to the other side of the world and bask in the wonderful country that is New Zealand. I only discovered New Zealand in recent years but it is one of those places where people’s descriptions of their own visits are never exaggerated and it lives up to every expectation. I have been fortunate to return there for short visits and to visit a good friend of mine who moved to work there and to retire there in a few years. Staying with him and his wife for a week was just such a wonderful experience. The pace of life, the unending splendour of the countryside, the pleasant nature of so many New Zealanders I met, was wonderful. I do hope to go back there.
So that’s it my five places to visit. I could have included USA and there are so many countries I have still not visited but if I could visit these five places in rotation for the rest of my life I shall remain happy and content.