There's a lot of places that surprised me, it's kind of hard to choose to be honest. I was really surprised by the Big Island in Hawaii. Everyone told me how awesome it was, and how quickly the landscape changes. Being from Alberta, that's kind of hard to envision, how an ecosystem can completely and consistently change every 20 minutes. But it did, and it was amazing! I got some of my favourite backgrounds there and I use them a lot almost weekly. I'll have to go back at some point.
I was also really surprised by Switzerland. When my Norwegian friends were calling it expensive, I started to get concerned. It was definitely 3x more expensive than I thought it would be, but the surrounding area of Lucerne just blew my mind. I didn't get enough photographs of there as it was a quick trip and I was burned out, but I can't wait to go back.
Luxembourg also was a surprise. I didn't know much about the country, but I went to this little restaurant that had the best salmon and alfredo pasta I've ever had. Big fan! Also those huge defensive walls around the old city totally lit my mind up.
Dieppe and Mont St. Michel, France were also incredible surprises. Canadian war history teaches a lot about Dieppe, so it was really something to see it in person, although still very sad. The surrounding town though, really is just incredible. The reconstruction, when you compare before and after, is hard to put into words. I was impressed by the human spirit and also very, very sad.
Mont. St. Michel is like walking into a fantasy story. It's so cool. I understand that it's been rebuilt a lot over the years, but regardless, it's hard to go there and not be impressed.
Lots, so many options! I could just keep going for hours. The world is so beautiful and yet, a little terrifying and heartbreaking. It's hard to not see all of it if you look long enough, and I think that's what is so intriguing.
Photo below: My sister and my friend Jay at Mont. St. Michel.