This last year has been a year of anxiety and dread, desolation and solitude. Still, we have strived to keep hope, the hope for a better world, for getting back our lives again as before the pandemic. The solitude of our own homes have become tormenting; we have been longing for the fresh air touching the face, the drops of rainfall on the skin, the wind rushing past, the smell wafting up the soil just after the rain, the smell and charge in the air just before a thunderstorm, the feeling of the sun on the skin, the taste of salt in the air near a sea, the song of the rushing water in a stream. We want to be there in the midst of the wilderness, want to feel the raw beauty of nature again. To sate this thirst, here we have picked some travel destinations that would calm our soul without a doubt :
1. Madeira Islands, Portugal :
The archipelago of Madeira, an autonomous region of Portugal, consists of 4 islands off the northwest coast of Africa. With its rugged volcanic lands with high cliffs, pebbly beaches and settlements on deltas of the Fajã River, wild natural beauty, and warm subtropical climate, it would certainly bring tranquillity to nature lovers. The Levada do Caldeirão Verde, Botanical Garden, Farmer's Market, Funchal Cathedral, and Clifftop Glass Walkway are some of the attractions here. The staggering natural beauty of Cape Girão, Pico do Arieiro, Pico Ruivo, Paul de Serra, Desertas Islands, and Santa Catarina Park puts this place on the bucket list of the travel buffs. And just think about all the opportunities of hiking, surfing, coral reef diving, trekking, wine tasting, whale and bird watching, Cable Car and Street Toboggan riding, mountain biking, and canyoning in reserves!!
2. British Virgin Islands, Caribbean :
The British Virgin Islands is a British overseas territory in the Caribbean, comprising four main islands and many smaller ones that are part of a volcanic archipelago. The yaught anchorages and bubbly pool, a naturally foaming sea pool, in Jost Van Dyke Island, The Baths, a labyrinth of beachside boulders, in the Virgin Gorda Island, the luxury resorts in Necker island and Peter island, the eateries and snorkeling caves in Norman island, the tropical forests, mountains, hills and valleys of Guana island, Scrub island with its Scrub Island Resort Marina and Spa, Cane Garden Bay and White bay with reef-lined white-sanded beaches, restaurants, and bars make this place one of the most favorites for those who love the sea.
3. The Azores, Portugal :
The Azores is an archipelago in the mid-Atlantic, comprising of 9 islands that portray a combination of tradition and modernity, spectacular gastronomy, and awe-inspiring scenic beauty. Dramatic landscapes, fishing villages, green pastures, and hedgerows of blue hydrangeas characterize the islands. Just think of whale watching in Faial and Pico, hiking in Flores, São Miguel and São Jorge, diving in Princess Alice seamount, near Pico and Faial and Santa Maria, which has 10 (!!) world-class diving spots, paragliding in São Miguel, kayaking in Sete Cidades or Furnas Lake in São Miguel, canyoning in Flores, particularly in the area between Fajãzinha and Fajã Grande, surfing in the beaches of Monte Verde and Santa Bárbara in São Miguel and Fajã de Santo Cristo in São Jorge, bird-watching in Graciosa, São Miguel, Corvo and Flores, biking, in the lagoon shores, coasteering in São Miguel island!!! Doesn't this sound like just a vacation straight out of dreams? There is also The international Azores Paragliding Festival that takes place in August for an entire week!
4. Saint Petersburg, Russia :
Saint Petersburg is known as the cultural center of Russia. The architectural landmarks: Peterhof – Petrodvorets and Tsarskoye Selo – Pushkin palaces, The Winter Palace – Hermitage, Admiralty, Mariinsky Theatre, Kunstkamera, Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, Saint Isaac's Cathedral, Peter and Paul Cathedral and Fortress, Kazan Cathedral, Saint Alexander Nevsky Lavra, Catholic Church of St. Catherine, Grand Choral Synagogue, Saint Petersburg Mosque, Eliseyev Emporium, Au Pont Rouge Department Store, Singer's House and Vitebsky Railway Station are certain to wonderstruck the admirers of architecture. The artworks of the State Hermitage Museum and Russian museum are awe-inspiring. And the traditional Russian foods(Beef Stroganoff, Savoury Pancakes, Borscht, Shchi, Pirozhki, Olivier Salad, Pelmeni and Vareniki, Chicken Kiev, Solyanka, etc.) are just to die for. And the nightlife in St. Petersburg is also extraordinary! It sounds like an absolute delight; the combination of art, gastronomy, cultural destinations, and nightlife in Saint Petersburg!
5. Rome, Italy :
Rome, the capital city of Italy, is a dream destination for anybody who is fascinated by ancient history, historical remains and archaeology, and ancient roman architecture. So many remains of the ancient Roman empire rests here. The Colosseum, in the center of the city of Rome, is the largest standing amphitheater in the world today, despite its age. The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter, Vatican City, a church built in the Renaissance style, The Pantheon, a former Roman temple, now a Catholic church, The Trevi Fountain, the largest Baroque fountain in the city, The Roman Forum, Piazza Navona, The Sistine Chapel, a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the pope, in Vatican City, The Vatican Museums of public art and sculpture, The Spanish Steps and The Mausoleum of Hadrian or Castel Sant'Angelo are some of the main attractions of the city. Although all these reasons are more than enough to fall in love with Rome, I have a completely different reason to love Rome, and that is - GELATO!! " SO . . . ITALIAN GELATO. TAKE THE deliciousness of a regular ice-cream cone, times it by a million, then sprinkle it with crushed-up unicorn horns" - This is what Gelato is as per Jenna Evans Welch in "Love and Gelato." So, even if just for Gelato, visit Rome!
So, people, after this tedious isolation of pandemic, set out and travel any of these places. Do remember to take necessary precautions, though!