What's on your Dream Travel List?
My travel dream list evolved over the years, reticent at first, then ultimately placed in ornate, calligraphic letters some decades ago.
At various times, changes were made, destinations became à la mode, brand-new resorts emerged and ultimately some on the list were realized.
So, what is on Girlwelltravelled's dream list? Interestingly, still an awful lot, but here are the top ten.
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. The place too, to celebrate a very significant anniversary or birthday.
Swimming in Bora Bora's fifty shades of blue, getting an education on one of Taha'a Vanilla plantations, trekking the rugged mountains of Mo'orea, are all recurring dreams. 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, depending on who is looking).
No honeymoon required. Simply a two-week cruise around the islands on Regent Seven Seas Cruise ships.
Best for: Cruise lovers, honeymooners, 50 shades of Polynesian Blue,
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, adventurers, epic train journeys
One night on board the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express
Okay, two nights is the least I'd want on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Either way, this leads on favourably after my reverie in experiencing the Trans Siberian Journey. The Venice Simplon-Orient Express, on the other hand, is an experience. It's a romance. It's nostalgic! It characterises a time when the world was well dressed and stayed well dressed. 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 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, luxury traveller
Namibia has been on the list for approximately four years! After seeing the Sossusvlei red, wild dunes, I've imagined waking in the morning hours, 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 protects their skin from the harsh Namibian climate and 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, after all, 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, families (malaria-free), call of the wild, luxury safari Namibia
Around the World on a Four Seasons Jet
Ahh, the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, a brand synonymous with luxuriousness and service. A brand in a league of its own. Just imagine then, an around-the-world journey on their spacious 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
Never more 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 a lot!
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 uncovered. 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 daily, all in one hour.
The remainder of the days, I'd spend 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 or Japanese whisky coffee here and there. A trip that will ensure I'm always close to a cup of coffee, as freshly ground and brewed as it will ever be.
Best for: Coffee lovers dream, nature lovers, plantation living
A Weekend in Sylt, Germany
Yes, Germany is on my dream travel list but not the side of 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 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, island idyllic
Foodie getaway around San Sebastian, from Hotel Maria Cristina
San Sebastian's 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.
Promising, is the belle epoque-styled Hotel Maria Cristina. 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 endless 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 schedule my visit for the week-long Gaucho Festival. Men on horseback, barbecues, music...
And to travel this far and not take in the panorama of Perito Moreno glaciers, would be an absolute disgrace.
Best for: Nature lovers, wild awesomeness, cinematic scenery, South American getaway
Wonders of the Northern Lights
Now, this only made it into the top ten because hanging out in temperatures that cause vapours to leave my lips has never appealed. But for the chance to see an explosion of colour move across the sky, the Northern Lights has made the top ten.
But which country is best to visit, see this cinematic performance? Where would you recommend? Finland, Norway, Iceland? Either way, the chance to witness the magic of the aurora borealis should be on everyone's wish list. Better still, if seen from the warmth of my glass igloo. I hear Kakslauttanen is idyllic.
Best for: Nature lovers, winter wonderland, Icelandic escapes, cinematic skies
At best, these are some of the dreams on my travel dream list and varied. The chance to go cruising, fly the skies the private jet way, chase time on epic train journeys, eat glorious food and escape in nature.
So tell me, what makes it into your top ten of travel wish list?