What's on your Dream Travel List?
My travel dream list evolved over the years, reticent at first and ultimately placed in ornate, calligraphic letters in 2008.
At various times, changes were made, destinations became à la mode, brand new resorts emerged and naturally, some on the list were realized.
Consequently, what is on Girlwelltravelled's dream list? Interestingly, still an awful lot, but here are the top nine.
Fifty Shades of French Polynesia Blue
Since day one, French Polynesia has been on the list and has remained at the top of that list.
For most, it is the ultimate honeymoon destination. To place to celebrate a very significant anniversary or birthday.
The thought of swimming in Bora Bora's fifty shades of blue, getting an education on one of Taha'a Vanilla plantation, trekking the rugged mountains of Mo'orea, has often been a recurring dream. Immersing in the culture; talking with the islanders; hearing my name in Tahitian (since the letter 'B' does not exist in the language); and wearing a tiare (left or right, depends on who is looking).
No honeymoon required, simply a two-week cruise around the islands on Regent Seven Seas Cruise ships.
Best for: Beach lovers and honeymooners
Chase Time on the Trans Siberian Journey
Taking the Golden Eagle Luxury Train out of Moscow covering five time zones, journeying through three countries - Russia, Mongolia, China, and two train changes-this is the 3rd longest railway journey in the world. A three-week train journey filled with lots of culture and travel to lands less traversed.
Living the life of a nomad in a traditional ger for a day or two in the Gobi to picnics in the fresh open air on the banks of Lake Baikal, savouring the local delicacies of buuz (steamed dumplings) and omul and a visit to the formidable Genghis Khan statue. All enjoyed from the comfort of a private cabin, sophisticated surroundings, fine dining and the ever-changing landscape beyond The Golden Eagle Luxury Train.
Best for: History and culture lovers and adventurers
One night on board the Venice Simplon-Orient Express
Okay, maybe two nights on the Orient Express. Either way, this leads on favourably after my reverie in experiencing the Trans Siberian Journey. TheVenice Simplon-Orient Express, on the other hand, is an experience. It's a romance. It's nostalgic! It characterises a time where the world was well dressed and stayed well dressed. For me, experiencing the Orient Express is the definitive occasion to express my overly glamorous fashion sense in the matching ambient environs aboard the Express.
Two nights to sit and watch Europe go by from the regal seating of my elegant glossy wood cabin. Then again, I'd be all dressed up, and it would be a detriment to remain in my suite, even being as opulent as it is. A shot of Japanese whisky and a compelling conversation with a fellow passenger in the very swanky 3674 bar car. The ultimate in fashion and travel, I will keep this high on the list and look forward to when I join the glitterati and the elegant onboard!
Best for: The discerning traveller
Namibia has been on the list for approximately four years! After seeing the Sossusvlei red, wild dunes, I've created visions of waking in the early hours of the morning, catching the sun as it rises over the dunes in a floaty white dress.
That's an Instagram post inspiration! Visiting the Himba tribe, one of the last indigenous people of Namibia distinctive for the reddish tint of their skin and hair brought on by the ochre in the ojitze. (Ojitze not only protects their skin from the harsh Namibian climate but also duals as a method of hygiene.) Unparalleled stargazing experience by night and wildlife watching by day from the balcony of the remote Serra Cafema on the banks of the Kunene River. This is Africa, the ultimate wildlife park. A safari game drive or two at Etosha National Park hoping to spot at least three of the big five would complete the discovery of this untamed country.
Best for: Nature lovers and families (Namibia is malaria-free)
Around the World on a Four Seasons Jet
Ahh, the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, a brand synonymous with luxuriousness and service in a league of its own. Just imagine then, an around the world journey on their palatial private black jet visiting up to nine exciting countries all chosen for their culture, desirable cuisine and just as important staying at one of their Hotels or Resorts in each destination. This has to be the pinnacle of around the world travel. If that doesn't make you as elated as it did me whilst typing this ... there is no knowing what will.
Best for: The jet-set, discerning traveller
From Bean to Cup at Elewana Arusha Coffee Lodge
Nevermore than two feet away from a cup of coffee, staying on a coffee plantation would be my coffee travel dream. A trip combining two things I love most! Coffee Plantation owners have identified the coffee drinkers of this world would indeed seize the opportunity to stay and, in some instances, actually work on their farms, and thus we have coffee tourism. Elewana Arusha Coffee Lodge on the outskirts of Arusha in the northeast of Tanzania is one of the more classy plantations I've come across. There is no working on the farm here, simply put, they offer an enlightening tour around the estate on coffee growing, harvesting and the end product we sip on at least twice per day, all in one hour.
The remainder of the days is for fritting away on the veranda of my private plantation cottage discussing coffee over coffee while overlooking the coffee fields. But, of course, should that become tiresome, there is always the in-room log fire to snuggle up with a cup of affogato possibly or Japanese whisky coffee here and there. A trip that will ensure I'm never too far from a cup of coffee, as freshly ground and brewed as it will ever be.
Best for: Coffee and nature lovers
A Weekend in Sylt, Germany
Yes, Germany is on my dream travel list but not the Germany you may immediately be thinking of. Off the north-western coast of Germany in the North Sea (actually, it is that far north Denmark could lay claim) is an island called Sylt. The island inhabits some thirty-eight square miles and having lived on an island of similar size; I am guessing it can be navigated in under half an hour.
Let's be honest this is a beach holiday in the North Sea from where I'd make the streamlined contemporary surrounds of the Fahrhaus Sylt hotel my accommodation of choice. Picnics and horse riding on the beach to a flash drive around the island in a Porsche all provided by the hotel. A very plush weekend complemented with a chartered private jet into Sylt airport.
Best for: The jet set
Foodie getaway around San Sebastian, from Hotel Maria Cristina
San Sebastian dining scene is lauded the world over. Occupying an area of twenty-three square miles, this city has more Michelin stars per square meter globally, a total of eighteen, only surpassed by Kyoto.
By now, you have guessed my list is not only laced with exceptional experiences but accompanied by luxurious hotels at which to stay.
Advantageously, the belle epoque styled Hotel Maria Cristina is host to a rotation of Michelin starred chefs, keeping the dining experience intriguing. Swiftly followed by a distinguished three Michelin star dining experience at Akelarre and a gastronomic delight at Mirador De Ulía, both with nonstop views out to sea.
Best for: The discerning palate
Riding out with Gauchos at La Bamba De Areco, Argentina
In my head, at least, I'm dressed in full gaucho regalia, hair parted down the centre into two side braids under a black sombrero; red neckerchief; brown poncho flapping in the wind etc. etc. riding out with a band of gauchos on the pampas to round up cattle. Indubitably, I would be sat with the estanciero at Relais & Chateaux's La Bamba de Areco (an assured stamp for the discerning palate and privileged stays), sharing a traditional Asado and brushing up on my Spanish.
Ideally, I'd time my visit to coincide with the week-long Gaucho Festival. Men on horseback, barbecues, music...
Fundamentally, it would be an absolute disgrace to travel this far and not take in the panorama of Perito Moreno glaciers.
Best for: Nature lovers and adventurers
At best, these are some of the dreams on my travel dream list. So tell me, what's on yours?