Corvallis, OR, US
I lived in Portugal 20 years ago and Lisbon was a city of which I have many fun memories. I'm FINALLY getting back for a visit in a few months, so I'm trying to remember the old (like CENTURIES old) faves, as well as check out all the new things which have appeared in recent years (hello vegan sushi and drag queen cooking classes!). Staying in a 5th floor walkup with no elevator, so I'll be sure to work up an appetite for eleventy million pastéis de nata.
This place is special to me because… it’s an outstanding beautiful place. Sintra is full of extravagant palaces, romantic gardens and parks, beautiful castles. Here we find nature, trees, culture, peace. Amazing place to go for a walk or hiking. And to look for inspiration!
Weehawken, NJ, US
This place is special to me because it's where we go on vacation every summer to visit my mother-in-law, who moved to the town of Carvoeiro over 20 years ago. Drawing this map, I kept thinking of all the wonderful reasons I love it here. The rocky cove beaches, the amazing azulejos (tiles) covering the outsides of buildings and insides of churches, delicious fresh fish (grilled sardines!), the scent of eucalyptus trees up on Monchique, where you can refill your water bottle directly from the spring, the beautiful doors everywhere, the crystalline turquoise water and deep blue skies, the curious cork trees halfway stripped of their bark, (and shops that sell everything made of cork), the dolphin sightings, the delicious pastry called pastel de nata (custard cups...think flan pie!), the fabulous soaps I bring back, the hill towns and medieval castles. The soulful fado singing. The fields of crooked almond trees, and almond liqueur. The piri-piri hot sauce that I'm obsessed with! A million stars pinned against a clear black night sky. Sooooo many good things. My daughter took her first steps and went to her first beach here, on Praia Grande. The weather is always sunny and perfect, and each time we go it's a combination of visiting all of our favorite places (like Porches, for pottery) and trying new ones. One time we drove to Sagres which is the most southwestern point in Portugal. You can walk out to the tip of the cape, atop tall vertical cliffs, surrounded by water on 3 sides. The place is magical and really feels like the edge of the world. A nearby beach made of smooth black rocks is a good place to watch surfers. The people in the Algarve are so friendly and welcoming, it really is an easy place to just be. By the end of our visit we always realize how this place has taught us to slow down and relax.
This place is special to me because this is where I used to spend my summer vacations as a child and teen. I always stayed in my cousin’s house. It was an adorable typical little house. Ericeira is a small and lovely village. Is a very calm, charming, typical fishing town that is situated along a coastline of outstanding surfing beaches. Nowadays, and because of the boom of surf lovers, Ericeira is a nice fusion of Portuguese heritage houses and atmosphere with a cool surfing ambience, where traditional fishermen’s cottages live amongst trendy lounge bars and cafes. The fresh smell of the sea is all over this place. It’s truly just wonderful.
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This place is special to me because since I was little I had always had a fascination with witches, black cats, and the strange and unusual. Salem’s history is iconic and always draws in the curiosity of many, from the famous Salem witch trials, to being the film location for the cult classic Hocus Pocus. The charming pubs, historic locations and museums aplenty will surely put a spell on you as well.
This place is special to me because it is emotionally connected to my childhood. My dad was born in this region and we took this trip several times by ourselves and with our extended family when my sisters and I were little, and we have many fond memories and funny anecdotes from these trips. The south of the Dominican Republic is beautiful and it is very rich in biodiversity.
Graz by von_leonieNürnberg, Deutschland, DE
I've moved around a lot but Graz is the town I call my home town, so it's my special place. The whole old town is gorgeous and the view from Schloßberg is spectacular. Alle of the view points can be seen from the top of this hill, which makes it the perfect place to visit. The Kunsthaus (also described as friendly alien) is definitely one of the stranger buildings I've ever seen.
[Mapping Special Places]
This place is special to me because it combines the beauty of the Ukrainian mountains and the sophistication of a European city. Here live the most talented people on planet Earth. Uzhhorod city champion of mini-sculptures!
Imagine what an ocean of fresh water would be like and this beautiful slice of Ontario comes to mind. Georgian Bay, (part of the (Great) Lake Huron, features more than 30,000 islands and 2,000 kilometres of shoreline. It is world renowned for incredible swimming and boating, boasting endless beaches and long smooth rocks, decorated with majestic pines. It has a rich marine heritage and is home to some of the most impressive waterfront properties in North America. I feel very lucky to have this gorgeous piece of nature an hour’s drive from my home.
This is a special place to me because I love an underdog and Eastern Oregon is often overlooked. There is loads of information about the west side of Oregon, and it is for good reason; they have amazing food, nature, and culture. Frankly, most of Eastern Oregon feels empty and intimidatingly vast. I wanted to highlight a few of the lesser known but majestic places to visit. You might not get a five star hotel or a life changing meal, but the stars are impossibly bright, the skies are huge and ever changing, and the sounds of nature reign supreme.
Northern Öland, an island and a county in the south of Sweden, is one of my happy places. My family and I have spent almost ten years in a row there now, it was love at first sight. It's the garden, the cottages, the barns, the beaches, the sea, the landscape ... Evening bike rides between corn fields, or getting fresh cranberry scones from the bakery in the mornings, our dog trying to "rescue" all of us as we swim and play in the sea. Whenever the gray northern weather strikes, I imagine myself walking on the beach, sun set and the sound of the waves.
The golden deer is the symbol of the flag of Öland, and nightingale is the county's animal. The small island just outside of Öland, called The Blue Maiden, is thought to be a magic place in Swedish folklore, it's where the witches were believed to meet up ...
This place is special to me because it perfectly connects past, present and future. Attracted by it‘s myth I visited Bad Gastein. Located absolutely idyllic, 1002 meters above sea level, surrounded by the Austrian alps of Salzburger Land, there is a lot to discover: charming Belle Époque buildings, it‘s iconic waterfall in the town centre and the alpine scenery. The thermal springs made it to an popular bathing resort in former days. There was an endless coming and going of famous artists, royals, novelists and composers. After it has been temporary forgotten it‘s been rediscovered by young creative people, who became aware of it’s great potential. Little boutique hotels and alpine lodges with new concepts opened. Bad Gastein is absolutely worth a journey to experience this unique historic atmosphere, the new established urban chic, combined with the stunning scenery which invites to ski and hike.
This place is special to me because I have always loved the museums in the South Kensington and Knightsbridge areas and was intrigued to discover that this part of London was nicknamed 'Albertopolis' after Price Albert, husband to Queen Victoria, as a way of recognising his contribution to the cultural history of the country.