By various authors
Not surprisingly, the travel industry is one of the most affected by the coronavirus pandemic. While Europe and other countries have international travel shut down or heavily restricted, some airlines simply stopped flying and most of us are told to, at least, practice social-distancing. However, we are still dreaming of traveling. We wish to explore the most breathtaking landscapes and enjoy glorious vacations. So at Trip Trip Now we asked travel bloggers to share their thoughts about the best places to go and to tell what can be of interest to other fellow travellers.
Donoussa, Greece, for sun, sea, and silence
By Sofia and Simon, from Spain, blog Trip Trip Now
Last summer we went to Donoussa, a hidden gem among the Greek islands. We had such a wonderful time that we were meticulously planning our next time there. This would be, again, a time of relaxing, sunbathing, and swimming in crystal clear waters. We are not sure for now if we’ll be able to make it to Greece this summer, but our return to epic vacation will certainly be in Donoussa.
What is there to do in Donoussa?
Basically, walking to its four beaches, having Greek food in its traditional bars and restaurants, and appreciating silence. Donoussa has nearly no cars and is a bit wild. No posh places to go, no resorts, only scenic Mediterranean landscapes. Donoussa is perfect for creative relaxation, recharging batteries, and calming the spirit. There is where we are daydreaming right now about traveling to after the coronavirus pandemic.
Exploring Spain for its culture and cuisine
By Hannah Armstrong, from the USA, blog Bad Tourist
Once isolation is over, there are so many places I would love to go. However, there is one country that really tops the list: Spain. I am a big traveler who loves spending significant time in a place (live there if I can!) and lived in Madrid, Spain for a year teaching English. I have wanted to go back and slow travel the country ever since and even maybe doing some road trips around Spain. While I lived there, I visited a lot of cities outside of Madrid and truly loved them all. Each one is unique, has its own subculture, cuisine, and overall experience. I would love to spend more time in each place and really dig deep, get to know it.
If you can’t tell, I am in LOVE with Spanish culture. I love their simple but delicious food, how they value family above all else, and how they really focus on enjoying life. It truly is a work to live culture that I found to be full of love and passion. The streets are always alive and full of energy and there seems to be a new festival every week! No matter where you are in Spain there is always an amazing market to discover and live music to be seen. Also, tapas.
Eating and drinking are two of my favorite things to do when I travel and not only is Spanish food some of my absolute favorite food but it’s also cheap! It is cheap to go out for a glass of wine or a cerveza, which sometimes even comes with a free tapa! It’s the perfect place for food and wine lovers.
Another reason Spain is so special to me is that this was my first time living outside of the U.S. and my first time in a culture so different from mine. I had been to England and Canada but never a country where English isn’t the first language. This trip changed my life. It ignited my passion for travel, interesting cultures, and challenging all the “truths” I had been taught by my society growing up. I got to see another way to live. For me, that’s what traveling is all about.
To follow Hannah on Instagram, go here.
Walking the Camino de Santiago again
By Inma Gregorio, from Spain, blog A World to Travel
I must begin by saying that I have never walked the entire main route of the Camino de Santiago. For such an adventure, one would take many weeks – even months – to start with. Moreover, nobody is 100% sure about the true starting point of it. In any case, what I do know for sure is that if this feat has been popular since the Middle Ages, it is for something.
Being based in Galicia, where Santiago de Compostela is located (the end of the Camino), I have walked parts of many different Caminos throughout my life. Among them, the North Way, the French Way, the Portuguese Way by the coast, and the Finisterre Muxía Way.
Each time this adventure has had its ups and downs, nonetheless it has always provided me with learning that I would not get in any other way.
Now, bearing in mind that when we can finally leave our homes, ‘tourism’ will be local before it can spread to other regions or countries, I do not see a better option than to – once again – undertake the Camino to Santiago starting somewhere nearby.
Walking or biking mostly in nature – respecting social distancing – is one of the greatest advantages of this seamless plan, and it is also clear that once again I will be fascinated by the route.
What could possibly go wrong? Here’s a guide to the Camino for beginners and see you somewhere along the way!
Going back to Costa Rei, in Sardinia, Italy
By Claudia Tavani, from Italy, blog My Adventures Across The World
Italy was the first country to go into lockdown after China, and I am very much craving to be able to go outside and explore again, especially the winter is finally over and we have been blessed with glorious spring days.
Though I am missing travel very much and I can’t wait to board a plane as soon as possible, I must say that the first place I dream of visiting once this pandemic is over is Costa Rei, which is at a mere one hour drive from my hometown Cagliari, in Sardinia. I know Costa Rei pretty much like the palm of my hand. My parents took me there when I was just a baby. Back then we’d camp at the beach, luxuries were little but we were happy.
As I grew up, they bought a small house there, and this quickly became our happy place, the one we go to hide from the stress of city life, to celebrate holidays, to spend the summer. There is always a good reason to go to Costa Rei.
The beach in Costa Rei will be my first stop. I am craving a walk along those 12 km of fine, golden sand; and I am missing swimming endlessly in those crystal clear waters. I can’t wait for the chance of having an early wake-up to admire the beautiful sunrise, or for the sun to slowly go down at night and finally meet my friend for an aperitivo before we all go home in time for dinner, which inevitably is on the veranda.
I will take the chance to walk to the lighthouse in the nearby Capo Ferrato and to walk all the way up the hill to the haunted house to admire the best coastal views. I will visit the small local businesses, buy fresh fruit and vegetables directly from the farms, greet the workers at the same newsagent I have been going to since I was a child.
I feel incredibly blessed to have been born on such a beautiful island and I just can’t wait to be able to explore it again.
Traveling to Israel for the first time
By Alina Schweiger, from Austria, blog World of Lina
At the end of March, I was supposed to go to Israel for 11 days. Two weeks before my departure I got a mail that my flight was canceled due to the virus. It hit me very hard because I wanted to escape the cold winter in Austria. I was craving warm weather, sunshine, and beach so badly. Plus, I wanted to explore the country and get to know its culture.
Israel has always been super high on my bucket list because of its interesting and important history. I’m a true history-freak and I planned to spend at least three days in Jerusalem, one of the oldest cities in the world. Even thinking about visiting the Western Wall, Dome of the Rock and all the other ancient places made me jump with joy!
Another reason why I was dying to visit Israel is the vegan food scene there. Apparently, Israel is one of the vegan-friendliest countries in the world and is also called “Vegan Nation”. No wonder, almost 5% of Israel’s population is vegan and Tel Aviv, Israel’s hippest city, was named the “vegan capital of the world”.
I was already seeing myself hopping – or rather rolling – from one plant-based restaurant to another, stuffing myself with one vegan deliciousness after another.
Well, I guess this must wait until I finally make it there.
Besides indulging in vegan food and exploring the country, I was hoping to have a few relaxing days at the beach too. Moreover, I included a day trip to the Dead Sea in my itinerary. I imagined myself floating on the water and reading the newspaper as I saw many other people doing that.
The rest of my time I wanted to spend in Tel Aviv and do some work while enjoying a good cup of coffee in some nice vegan cafés. I also have a friend living there who I wanted to meet and explore the city with.
Even though my plans didn’t work out and I had to cancel everything, I’m positive as I know I’ll make it to Israel sooner or later. And then I can do all the awesome things I wanted to do!
To check World of Lina’s Instagram profile, go here.
Daydreaming with Oman
By Daisy Li, from Canada, blog Oman Travel Guides
The last destination I visited before social-distancing at home, was Oman. Being the 26th country I have visited, I was surprised by how quickly I fell in love with this Middle-Eastern gem.
Be it the rolling mountain ranges, the vast Wahiba Sands, or the deep, mesmerizing wadis, Oman holds breathtaking natural beauty that is quick to capture one’s heart. Better yet, the country offers a feeling of peace and serenity, unlike many other destinations I’ve been to. On my first day in Oman, my friend told me that driving in the country is like being hugged by the Al Hajar mountains. The ranges follow you with every twist and turn, no matter where you are.
She wasn’t exaggerating.
After staying in Oman for a month, I felt as if I have been there for ages. It was somewhere both quite foreign yet extremely familiar. I felt like I was home. This is one of the many reasons why Oman is worth a visit.
I know it’s a privilege to be sheltered at home in Canada during this pandemic. However, I still daydream about leaving my room and heading to a place that gives me a sense of freedom that four walls will never be able to provide. I am sure many feel the same way.
When I can travel again, I’d love to head back to Oman for a quick taste of the warmth that was offered during my time there! Be it two days in Oman or two months across the country, I will happily hop into a 4×4 and cross the hills, deserts, and drive along the coastlines.
Although I understand the world continues to change, and the world of travel will surely be quite different once we go back to ‘normal’, I still hold onto the hope that normal will be sooner than later.
Heading back, 10 years later, to travel through Southern Africa
By Keith Erskine, from Australia, blog Travellin’ Lite
I recall the first time I read Ted Simon’s wonderful book “Jupiter’s Travels” years ago. It was, and still is one of the greatest travel books ever published. The book filled me with inspiration about motorcycle touring as I read about his solo ride through 45 countries over four years.
Back in 2010, I decided to travel to Africa to undertake my own 6,200-mile (10,000 kms) motorcycle trip across Southern Africa. My itinerary covered South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini (formally Swaziland), Botswana, Zambia, and Namibia.
Everything in Africa is big! I can recall vividly seeing giraffes along the side of the road in Botswana. Words cannot convey how tall they stand when seen up close in real life.
To stand in awe at the majesty of Victoria Falls. The local people call it Mosi-oa-Tunya, which translates to “The Smoke That Thunders” due to the mist rising from the falls themselves.
However, there is another side to motorcycle travel in Africa – the people and unexpected experiences along the way.
Border crossings are the best example. Back in 2010, the only way to get from Botswana into Zambia was by the Kazungula Ferry. An experience in itself!
To get the clearances for both myself and my motorcycle to enter Zambia was an exercise in patience. I mean serious patience. I was directed from one office to another, paying all sorts of ‘taxes’ and ‘registration fees’. Some had to be in American dollars, others in the local currency (kwachas). Information on the motorcycle given at one check-point had to be fully entered again at the next.
I was crossing the border at the same time as another motorcyclist. An American guy who didn’t seem to understand the warning signs at the border which stated: “Photographs Forbidden”. For some inexplicable reason, he decides to snap a photo.
In the blink of an eye, a very young, camo-clad soldier, holding what looked like an ancient AK-47, leaps towards us. He is not happy! After some tense words, I tell the guy to delete the photos in front of the gun-toting kid. That done, I get on my way.
I relay the border crossing story to my host for the night, Faan, at the beautiful Falcon Lodge. He smiles and replies “TIA” – “This Is Africa”, deal with, get over it.
So next year, I’m heading back to travel through Southern Africa. Not by motorcycle this time, but by 4WD. Things will have changed in the past decade, for sure. The old Kazungula Ferry replaced by the new bridge. But I suspect some things will have stayed the same. At least that’s what I’m hoping.
Business and surfing in Sri Lanka
By Bilal and Izzy, from the United States, blog Travel in Time Now
Sri Lanka, the pearl of the Indian Ocean, is a small island country with everything you could wish for. You’ll find stunning beaches along the coastline, the Cultural Triangle cities taking you back 2600 years, its own big five wildlife, beautiful and kind people, and, last but not least, some of the healthiest and yummiest food you’ve ever eaten.
Our first 2-week trip to Sri Lanka consisted of traveling through the Cultural Triangle; visiting the infinite stupas/dogbas and learning about the historic roots which started the rise of Buddhism on the island.
The second time around, we decided to take it slow and spend our days catching a tan and surfing the waves on the Southern beaches. Weligama quickly became our favorite beach town as it was a haven for surfers and still untouched by gentrification. We enjoyed our first surf lesson here and the exhilarating feeling of riding our first wave to the shore. Weligama was the perfect mix of locals to tourists all unified by one thing – surfing.
Wildlife safaris in Sri Lanka are also some of the best in the world! When you think of safaris, you think of Africa’s national parks and “big five” – the elephant, buffalo, leopard, lion, and the rhino. Well, Sri Lanka has its own version of the “big five” – elephants, leopards, sloth bears, blue whales, and sperm whales. It’s one of the only places you can experience a land safari then head out to the ocean to spot these whales lounging around on the surface.
One thing to note is that Sri Lanka recently emerged from a Civil War and also terrorist bombings that dropped tourism significantly. However, its potential is incredible, it is perfectly possible to travel on a budget there, and many foreigners have seen the long-term opportunity and have started to build businesses working with locals.
After one and half months on this gem of an island, we too decided we wanted to be more than just travelers passing by. We’ve made a few contacts and are waiting for this pandemic to pass so we can travel back and set things in motion for the next high season. We also want to explore the rest of the island on the east side which we didn’t get a chance to do. Not to mention Sri Lanka is also only 2 hours away from the Maldives! It’s the perfect hybrid of mixing business with pleasure.
Being in my city, New York
By Talek Nantes, from the United States, blog Travels with Talek
My dream destination after Covid-19 is New York City. I actually live in NYC but am in lockdown…Big time, so I can’t enjoy my beautiful hometown.
When most people imagine New York City they think of the iconic attractions known worldwide; the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, The Empire State Building, world-class museums, the quirky and trendy neighborhoods, and the amazing restaurants.
One of New York City’s largest revenue generators is the tourism industry. And with good reason. There is plenty to see, do, and experience. It is one of those places you “feel” rather than just “see”. People come to NYC to experience the place, its theater productions, its soaring architecture, its ethnic diversity, its unique history – NYC’s first European settlers were Dutch traders.
What I miss most are the simple things that make a city home. I miss strolling in Central Park. I am hungry for the local ethnic cuisines from Argentinian to Yemeni and everything in between. I can’t wait to just wander around Soho and stop at cute little stores. Not that I’d actually buy anything, the prices are outrageous, so I just window shop. I miss my local Honduran coffee shop with tasty pastries.
I miss BEING in my city. The noise is missing, the people navigate around each other to keep maximum distance, the energy level is muted. NYC is not in its natural state.
I just want to go “home” the way New York City is and has always been, alive with wild promise and unending possibility. The only city that looks better in person than in postcards, a place apart, unique.
What is your dream place to go?
To be continued…The secondpart of this article has valuable travel tips about California, Lake Como, Japan, Faroe Islands, Bali, Ireland and much more. Check it out here.