I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
If you were offered an all-expenses-paid trip to one (one only!) of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, which one would you pick (and why)?
I hope Themis-Athena won't mind me outing her as the author of this task, but when I saw it show up on the plans, it was a bit of a woo-woo moment for me: I was preparing to go for one week to Vanuatu, to Efate Island, which is the location of a UNESCO World Heritage site - AND - it was an all expanse paid trip. My mother-in-law, god love her, wanted to celebrate her 70th birthday by flying all the family to Vanuatu for a week, and putting us up in a heavenly resort.
So, my task isn't so much as which location would I pick, but "hey! this was my vacation!".
While the 'why' of picking it seems obvious - my mother-in-law did all the planning and choosing - Vanuatu has been a place I've longed to visit ever since I learned of its existence and that it has an active volcano they let you walk to the rim of. So, when MIL was considering destination options, I might have nudged her a bit.
We had a spectacular week - Vanuatu is beautiful, the people are really, really lovely and friendly, and I don't think either MT or I have ever felt so relaxed and ... safe while on holiday before. I say safe because this is a place where the people are so genuine and friendly that not even my safety-paranoid self would think twice about walking around in the dead of night, or sleeping with our bungalow opened up to the night air.
I won't kill you with a mess of photos, but here are a few highlights:
We did go to the volcano, and it was spectacular. They rate the level of activity and we were there during a "low Level 2"; I'm told Level 3 is the best show, and they close it to visitors when it reaches Level 4.
You really are standing right on the rim, and looking down you can see everything bubbling away, with an occasional show of lava exploding. After dark is absolutely the time to see it in all its glory.
The videos are even better, but I'm not a YouTube person.
The other big draw to Vanuatu is the snorkelling / scuba diving. Situated in the Coral Sea, the islands are entirely rimmed by coral reefs just meters/feet off the shore. Our resort had one of the best reefs of Efate just off their pier and MT and I were snorkelling fiends, going out 2 or 3 times a day. Every time we went out, we saw something completely new, and we didn't have to go far: I saw two moray eels in water no higher than mid-shin, and we saw a sea snake as it came out of the water to hide in a seawall niche.
We had one day of sailing, where we snorkelled over deep water reefs, where we spotted our one and only sea turtle.
Knowing the snorkelling was supposed to be spectacular, I purchased a small point and shoot waterproof camera. I took over 1200 photos, but I've whittled it down to just a few to give you an idea of how gorgeous it is: