A HAWAII WITHOUT TOURISTS?
I didn’t think it was possible to enjoy any of the Hawaiian islands without seeing franchises, burnt mid-westerners, or 300-room mega resorts; but I had a free Hawaiian airlines ticket, so what’s a girl to do? Research. The Big Island is BIG, and once you get away from the ever popular Kona region, has lots to explore. National Volcanoes Park was an interesting half day hike, even though the lava flow is no longer in view. I recommend eating at The Rim and seeing the red glow from the crater at night. We stayed near the very small, earthy Pahoa Town, which as about 7 restaurants (2 are good - Thai and Tuscan - and both BYOB so very cost efficient!), a health food store and pharmacy, 3 boutiques, a cool coffee cafe, and a gas station. You don’t really need much more. There is a sign that says “miles not measured” and the roads are very long, indeed. We stayed about 15 lengthy minutes from the town at Hale ‘Ohia, a very cool architectural delight with 2 screen-only walls and about a million Coqui frogs. The house is about a 20 minute walk from Kehena Beach, a tiny hidden beach full of naked hippies doing yoga and diving into the surf. Cannabis perfumes the air, and the sun finds those rarely exposed parts even if you’re in the shade! Relaxation and a touch of magic ensue… A quick and relatively inexpensive, and easy vacation. Beware of the rains, but also they leave the most amazing gardens everywhere.
I want to go to Africa to see the animals, but I do not want to destroy the animals habitat while I’m watching them, or the community’s efforts for conservancy. This makes choosing a suitable place to stay very difficult. It seems that choosing a “conservancy” owned by the village people seems to be the way to go. Sweetwaters seems to be doing good things, and there are definitely a lot of animals to see. It’s a contender. Aesthetically, I’m not wooed, but maybe I need to shut off that area of my brain.
A HOLIDAY ON MILOS ISLAND, GREECE
A Greek man asked us why we didn’t choose Mykonos or Santorini, and I answered because everyone else does (of course I’d love to go to both some day!). That is not to say there were no tourists; but Milos is inherently a small, quiet island with unique beaches, old fishing villages, and refreshingly chilly deep cobalt blue waters. Sarakiniko was by far my favorite beach because I cannot image there is another beach in the whole world like it. Lava and ash have been hardened and bleached bright white by the sun, and the shimmering blue ocean turns lighter shades of green as it slowly gets shallower in a narrow inlet, perfect for diving off of into for a brisk swim. Many people aptly call it “Moon Beach”. The island is full of beaches to explore; entry to Tsigrado requires rock scaling, but it is well worth the effort. The restaurants are all the same, toes in the sand and fresh fish on the table, but it never got old. I wasn’t looking for an island with foam parties or pop songs named after them, and I didn’t get that ether. Milos gave me adventure and relaxation, and plenty of beautiful pictures of the quiet, foamy sea.
HOTEL DANIELI, VENICE, ITALY
My mo has a tendency to repeat herself, and she’s stayed here a gagillion years ago, so I’ve heard a lot about it. Daughters tend to hate the things their mothers love just out of spite, and I definitely follow those rules sometimes, but I’m going to agree with her just this one little time (and she’ll never know anyways). This place looks pretty impressive. It’s like Grace Kelly’s bedroom in a time warp so it’s in the present. It’s so eerily retro I love it. I deeply wish it wasn’t a Starwood Resort, but they seemed to have kept it up ok, so… I’m in shock I’ve never been to Venice and I think it’s high-time that changed!
THE GRANDE BRETAGNE, ATHENS, GREECE
As the name suggests, it is very grande. There is no lack of things to look at - drapery, patterns, marble, and so many seating options! The bathroom alone has no less than 5 seats, and that is not even considering lounging in the tub. This is a place for wealthy relaxation. Who needs to actually walk the ruins when they’re right there! The view is indeed quite splendid. I do feel, however, that they might have an age minimum of perhaps at least 45. I wanted to stay here just for the museum quality of it all (Bridget Bardot rode her motorcycle down the staircase!), but for now, I’m going to choose something hipper and younger. I may come back here when I retire.
HIS & HER CARRY-ON LUGGAGE
I had this really whack-a-doodle idea to only take a carry-on for a two week international vacation. As a fashion-minded lady, this is absurd, yet, I persist. I think, mostly, because it forces me to buy new luggage! It will, however, also afford us to walk off a plane and directly into an exotic new location, something I have never experienced (even on a quick weekend jaunt). So my search began and ended quite effectively once I discovered these two fine specimen. For her: the soft Lipault 22” available in feminine pink or an artful array of various colors from which to choose. I want the pink or teal so very badly, but I know they will show smudges within the first flight, so I’ll probably opt for grey or black. I actually think I can fit everything in it, too! Plus, the sides fold down to make storage a cinch! And for him: the F1 Spacepak! Sleek and modern and cool and very techy looking. It comes with a variety of inside packing bags that really squish all your clothes together so 2 weeks of packing actually fit! Plus, these two suitcases look pretty cute together (with better pics).
These are actually getting close to multi-sensory photographs. I literally can smell slightly salty air and feel a soft warm breeze. I think I should apply some SPF right now just in case. E180.
Love the funky interiors and romantic vines crawling up the outside. Seems easy and relaxed. Only 2 rooms, E160 highest in season. Dreamy!
If ever there way an island after my heart, it just might be Milos. Quaint and quiet with small fishing towns and numerous gorgeous beaches. Take me away, Mr. Milos!
ONAR, Andros Island, Greece
I’m interested in Onar because it’s very green, set in nature, and has individual cabins. If they’re not growing your dinner in their farm, they source the food locally, and the toiletries are derived from bee pollen, and I know how much bee pollen costs stateside, so there’s half the board there! But I’m not really keen on brackish waters, and it seems pretty distant from any towns. I have this idea of biking into town for foods…
What is the best Greek island? This is a tough question, and one I hope to confirm via personal experience! Symi is known to be very posh and not as crowded, and people still use goats to carry heavy objects. I am going to have to be extraordinarily picky… The Old Markets B&B looks like the island’s best hotel option based on it’s sophisticated interiors, however it may fall short overall because I’m pretty determined to be nestled on a private beach. Might have to spend 4500 hours looking at villas now…
THE HOUSE HOTELS, ISTANBUL, TURKEY
I want to stay here just to recoup from jet lag, it seems like it would be a very sophisticated sleep, and for the floors. Everything is so plush and clean and nice, a perfect design hotel. I appreciate the subtle antiquities mixed with the more modern flair, it’s rather ideal actually, but also miss the eclectic fabrics and vibrant colors that I associate with the zeitgeist of Istanbul. Stumped. Definitely a place to stay though.