This one is a pretty important category to me, and Ireland triumphantly takes the top spot. I've seen friendly places before, but only in Ireland, did random people continually come up to me and start up a conversation as if I were a livelong friend. And it wasn't just in the pubs either. I could be on the metro, in a park, or just walking down the street and it seemed like everyone was looking forward to greeting me and getting to know who I was. Not to mention, more than anywhere it seemed like the people in Ireland were eager to lend a hand and make sure I enjoyed my stay as much as possible. I mean, literally on my first day there, a random guy rolled down the window of his car just to hand my friend Blake a beer. Nowhere else have I ever seen that happen. Plus I've made some strong lasting friendships despite only being there for two weeks. So yeah, it's really friendly.
Have you ever wished to go somewhere and be treated like an honored, esteemed guest? If so, stop what you're doing right now and buy the next plane ticket to Georgia. More than anywhere else I've ever been, people were so excited to get to know me and show me the best parts of their country. There was not a single moment in which I did not feel as if I were being welcomed with open arms. And this was especially true in the rural parts of the country where foreigners don't usually travel. On multiple occasions, families invited me to stay over their place and would do everything in their power (which included making delicious food) to make sure I enjoyed my stay. I guess the one thing that puts Ireland ahead is the long lasting friendships I formed. Nonetheless, Georgia is super friendly.
This goes not just within the country, but applies to pretty much every polish backpacker I've met as well. No matter where I was, it seemed like within minutes of starting a conversation with a Polish backpacker, they would be giving me recommendations of places to go and providing me people to contact while there. Case in point, the first day I arrived in Georgia and mentioned to a Polish girl that my friend and I would be going to Krakow later in the summer, she instantly stopped what she was doing to message a bunch of people she knew there. And, best of all, all the things people recommended were awesome adventure-type things like mountain climbing or exploring old ruins (as opposed to general touristy things).
Ok, time to break the stereotype once and for all. It's been nearly two years since I first moved here and I can say that without a doubt, that the notion that are cold and unfriendly absolutely not true. It may seem so at first glance as you walk down the street and see no one smiling, but as I was told by a friend here, smiles would not mean anything if you were just using them as a polite presentation. Russians take friendships pretty seriously, and when you reach that level, you'll be treated as if you're a member of the family. And I can honestly say, a Russian friend is a friend that will have your back till death. Nothing like the western-style acquaintance. I've made some of the closest friends of my entire life here, and (with the exception of the occasional security guard on a power trip) have been treated with incredible hospitality.