Some of my favorite places in this world

I know I recently mentioned the “problem” on my Current Loves page of running into a shortage of pages in our passports.  Turns out you can get an extra 48 pages in Abu Dhabi in one hour, so that’s just what we did.  It was weird, trying to guestimate how many more pages we need, given that we’ve both flown through the alotted 24 in the first three years, with nine more to go until these passports expire.

Photo by Evan Schneider.

And getting that extra fat passport into my hands this past week got me to thinking that although I don’t count among the most-traveled of my friends, I’ve been fortunate to make it to some beautiful, thrilling places in my years.  Thought I’d share a few of my favorites, and I’d love to know:

What are some of your favorite places in this world?

1.  Cape Cod, Massachusetts

My Grandma, sisters, and I on the Cape.

I’ve mentioned how special this old sandy stretch is to me and my family in another post, but it’s certainly worth mentioning again.  My grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles all used to rent little cottages and camp out here for a couple weeks every summer, and we kids would make sandcastles, catch sandcrabs, only come off the beach for a sandwich on a paper plate, and practically sleep in our swimsuits.  Part of what makes the memories so nostalgic for me is that they’re the memories of my mom and her cousins as well, who came there every summer.  I haven’t been back in quite sometime, but you better believe I’d jump at the chance.

2.  Halong Bay, Vietnam

Summer 2011, on our cruise of Halong Bay.

It clocked in as #15 on the New York Time’s 45 Places to Go in 2012, but by then we’d already been!  My friends and I made it out to Halong Bay this past summer, and it certainly lived up to its heavenly reputation.  We loved floating between the karst peaks on our cruise, and my husband and I are planning a trip back with some other friends for our anniversary this May.

Another look. Photo by Ben Robinson.

3.  Isle of Palms, South Carolina

Another favorite family vacation spot, about an hour from the brightly colored homes and breezy porches of Charleston, South Carolina, this island is full of history, gorgeous beaches, and great food.  We spent beach week out here after graduating from college, my parents rented many a house here, and it’s where I first fell in love with shrimp and grits.  The southern pace of life promises the ultimate relaxation–perfect walks on the beaches, mysterious lagoons, and great little bars and restaurants on the water.

4.  Canillas de Albaida, Spain

On our honeymoon in Canillas de Albaida, Spain, 2008.

Then again, it was my honeymoon, but this quaint town in the mountains where we rented a little villa for two weeks in the summer of 2008 was the perfect spot from which to launch day trips into the historic cities of Cordoba, Sevilla, and Granada, Andalucia.  I’ve never been to the north of Spain, but don’t pass the south up if you have the chance.  The wine, the olives, and the coffee left me wanting more, and the breathtaking views from the mountains of white-washed villages, terracotta patios, mosques and cathedrals weren’t bad either!

5.  Lijiang, Yunnan, China

A temple outside Lijiang, Yunnan.

If you’re a regular reader, you’ve heard me rave about how magical Yunnan is, particularly Lijiang.  So far it’s my favorite place I’ve visited in China, especially the little town of Shuhe, Lashihai Lake, and the Snow Jade mountain.  Yunnan was the first place where I saw the beauty of the Chinese countryside, and the food, the people, and the landscape have left a lasting impression on me.

Another view.

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