Things do seem to be getting better generally around the world on the covid front (with exceptions), but there’s still plenty of lockdown and quarantine and travel restrictions – so much so I’m still pretty much grounded: none of my usual globetrotting (be it work or non-work-related) to new, interesting, far-flung places, and my blogpost-reports thereon a short while after. But never mind: I’m sure things will be back up and running shortly. And in the meantime?…
In the meantime: archive digging – into some of the most beautiful places on the planet I’ve had the pleasure of visiting, most of which feature on my Top-100 List of Must-See Places on the Planet.
But how do I whittle that 100-strong list down to a mere dozen of the very best, most must-see, totally OMG places? Actually, it’s rather simple.
It’s all about… time: how much time you spend at a place, how much time you’d want to spend there ideally, and how many times you’d want to go back there for more.
Even among the ‘elite members’ of the best places on earth, there are some many you don’t spend a great deal of time at – nor would you want to. You arrive, you are bowled over, you stroll around the place for an hour or two, you purchase the proverbial (or real) t-shirt, you place the proverbial (or real) check on your list of ‘beens’, and that’s it: all done in no time at all, and you’ll never go back, because – why would you?
But then there are the places – in particular, the views – you just want to get back to, sometimes over and over, and once you are there you want to stay there, gawping, forever. The paysages that hypnotize, take the breath away, blow the mind; and sometimes there’s a bonus: those paysages change over time. And it is these ever-so-special places that make up this mini-series on the best of the best of the best places on the planet…
So I’ve shaved and sheared and pruned my Top-100 and been left with some 20 best-evers: the world’s most magical mountains and volcanoes, the most delightful deserts, the most wonderful waterfalls, and so on in that vein. Yes, and by ‘that vein’ I mean: natural wonders of the world – nothing man-made (maybe a Top-20 of those comes later?!).
And I won’t be ordering the 20 by snaking round the planet as I’ve done in the past. The ordering this time will be a little different. And I’ll start off with nothing less than… the most fabulous, most fantastic, most grandiose natural object on the planet!
Of course, it’s the most fabulous, most fantastic, most grandiose object on the planet – in my opinion, for there can be never be full objectivity here. All the same, it is the most beautiful natural landscape I have beheld personally in my life ever. And here it is…
A monumental spectacle. A ‘live’ picture constantly changed by the unbelievably unstable weather conditions of the Kurils. A colossal volcanic caldera with a lake inside it, out of which rises the cone of a new volcano: