Côte d’Ivoire

The Côte d’Ivoire, or the Ivory Coast is beautiful! About 22.7 million people live here (2015) and the capital is Yamoussoukro. The Côte d’Ivoire is a religiously secular country, with roughly equal split between Islamic and Christian followers. The official language is French. . The time zone is 4 hours ahead of EST.

In the capital, check out the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, an architectural feat and the record holder for the largest church in the world. It is absolutely stunning and worth a visit. Many people use their cameras regardless of whether they paid the fee, so it is up to the visitor to decide whether to pay or not, though the fee will go towards keeping the church well-maintained. The stained glass inside is mind-blowing when light filters through the windows just right.

Travels looking to get out of the city life can head to the well-maintained Banco National Park in Abidjan, though be prepared to plan in advance as there are a lot of mosquitoes. Bring food and water, too, if planning to be out for a while (water is a must). This is a relatively untouched jungle area, making it a great place to see different plant, bird, and butterfly species.

Lithuania

The highlight of my time in Lithuania was visiting the Hill of Crosses Vincas Kudirka Square Country Information: Lithuania gained its independence in 1918. Its capital is Vilnius and the official language is Lithuanian. About 3 million people live in Lithuania. The...

Benin

Note the yellow shirt ... this is what the motorcycle taxi drivers wear here Country Background: The capital of Benin is Porto Novo. There are approximately 11 million people living in this beautiful coastal country. The official language of Benin is French, but Fon...

Syria

Country Information: Syria is officially known as the Syrian Arab Republic. The capital is Damascus and the official language is Arabic. About 18 million people live here (as of 2021) though many refugees are leaving the country. The largest religion is Sunni Islam,...