Have you ever thought and dreamt about places you’d love to go back to?
For me there are many destinations to which I’d like to return and many many more I’d like to discover, so picking just 5 of my favourites was almost impossible.
What I decided was to pick my top 5 holiday destinations that I would love to revisit, in the hope they might appeal to readers looking for exciting or scenic holiday spots with the possibility of a little adventure thrown in.
On Safari, Madikwe, South Africa
There’s something about Africa that gets in your veins, like a drug from which you can’t break free. Once bitten, never shy for Africa will keep the beat of her heart in your heart always, and the animals and exciting safari experiences will lure you back to adventure. I am no exception.
One of the places I would most like to return to is Madikwe, one of South Africa’s premier and largest safari destinations, set in a game reserve of 75,000 hectares. It’s situated in South Africa’s North West Province which is bordered in the south by the Dwarsberg Mountains, while a short drive to the north west is Gaborone, the capital of Botswana.
From my journal
“Madikwe might be conservation-minded and malaria-free, but it’s home to the Big 5 (leopard, lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo) and we’re ticking them off rapidly. There’s a sudden rustle along with a rancid smell emanating from the Black Thorn. “Lion,” hisses the ranger as he gently eases the jeep into first gear, just in case. As if on cue a male lion saunters into view, and then a female, to confirm my suspicion that Madikwe really is a modern day Noah’s Ark.
It’s almost dark when we begin our return journey back to the lodge. The ranger swings the spotlight from side to side as the jeep jolts through the bush. We see an African kangaroo (a bush hare) and a jackal slinks across the road. Sometimes the honey-sweet aroma of the Black Thorn wafts our way, while the gentle ‘coo-coo’ of a dove hangs in the night air like a lullaby. I am dangerously lulled.
Suddenly there’s a roar so loud it makes my ear-drums rattle. The ranger spins the spotlight faster from side to side and pulls up abruptly. “There,” he says in a stage whisper, and there’s a collective gasp as we see, not 50 metres away, a pride of 7 lions devouring what we think is a wildebeest that isn’t quite dead. The noises the lions make as they feed are spine chilling; deep rumbles and angry outbursts, as mesmerising as they are scary, but soon the wildebeest lies still with one spindly leg and a small black hoof raised in the air like a flag.”
Historical Bath, England
We spent a weekend in Bath a couple of years ago and I’m not sure why we waited so long to visit. I was captivated by the living history and fabulous architecture and invigorated by the thought that this World Heritage Site contains well preserved ruins dating back to the Roman Empire. A torch-lit summer tour of the Roman Baths will forever be etched in my memory as we walked across 2,000 year old pavements beside steaming pools once used by toga clad Romans.
Then there was Sally Lunn’s, Bath’s Oldest House dating back to 1482.
Wow! What a far cry from the modern buildings of Perth in Western Australia!
Tiny rooms with low ceilings, and a cellar museum where we could see the Roman and Medieval foundations, and also the original kitchen with its faggot oven, Georgian range and old baking utensils.
Named Sally Lunn’s after a young French refugee who arrived in England nearly over 300 years ago it’s said that Sally had great buns! Or should I say baked great buns! A rich, round and generous bread now know as the Sally Lunn Bun which became a popular delicacy in Georgian England. Yum!
Bath’s a city for walking shoes, a camera, a love of history and an inquisitive mind.
Two days in the city wasn’t nearly enough, so I’d love to go back.
Island Hopping, Dalmatia, Croatia
It’s hard to pick just one town in Croatia, so I’ve gone for a region because we had such a brilliant time cycling and island hopping.
There are islands I haven’t yet visited which I’d like to get to, and I really encourage cycling as a great way to stay fit when you’re over 50 so I’d go back and do more cycling and island hopping, for sure, with the Katarina Line.
We adored bicycling around the hilly islands of Brac, Korcula and Hvar.
Here are just some of the reasons to book a cycle cruise.
Out of season we didn’t experience huge crowds or full moon beach parties, we didn’t see with the glitterati from yachts and cruise ships descending on ancient ruins as we were warned, but we did sip a designer cocktail or two in the delightful old square at Hvar before climbing almost alone to the ancient fort on top of the hill.
From my journal:
“There were beautiful sea views as we climbed from Milna to Bol, and fields of poppies, mulberry, fig trees, pine forests, olive groves and vineyards. We came to a marble quarry and found out that the white marble was used, among other things, for building parts of the White House in Washington and the Reichstag building in Berlin.
After some kilometers we turned onto a gravel road and wound our way to Gazul, a little shepherd village with stone houses, where a traditional Peka lunch was served. Peka is a dish of meat and vegetables cooked for a long time over hot coals, and for us served with a reviving glass of the farmer’s home grown Schnapps.”
Tropical Beaches, The Philippines
Oh tropical in spades … and beaches, don’t mention the palm fringed sandy beaches please!
We lived in the Philippines for nearly 4 years, and holidays were spent on dreamy islands with palm fringed beaches; Boracay, Sangat, El Nido Palawan, Pandan, Mindoro and an island hopping trip I’ll never forget on a dive boat called The Coco Explorer.
One of my favourite places was Puerto Galera on Mindoro Island where we spent many long weekends and happy family holidays when our children were small. From our favourite accommodation, El Galleon, on Small Lalaguna we’d catch Bancas (wooden outrigger boats) to various white sandy beaches for lazy days snorkelling and exploring.
Puerto Galera is a tropical paradise echoing with the soft lap of waves and a soft breeze rustling through tall palm trees. There are beaches and coves, named and unnamed; mountains and forests with orchids and flowers; waterfalls and rivers; over 30 dive sites close to shore; and Puerto Galera Bay which has is possibly one of the most beautiful on the entire planet.
Sailing into Puerto Galera Bay for the first time on the ferry was without doubt one of the most memorable boat rides of my life.
I’d like to do that again.
The Himalayas, Nepal
For those of you who’ve read the start of my Memoir (Disconnected. A Memoir) you’ll know that we lived in Nepal for nearly two years from the time our son was just 5 weeks old. We lived first in Kathmandu and then at a remote construction camp near Mugling on the Kathmandu to Pokhara road in the foothills of the Himalayas.
We’d both done some trekking and white water rafting in Nepal before we were married and had fallen in love with the country; with the friendly people, the magnificent mountains, the sound of tinkling of mule bells on mountain passes, and village life in the Himalayas.
Hmm … It wasn’t quite the same with a baby. A decent standard of hygiene was really hard to maintain, and we were for much of the time located a three hour precipitous drive away from the nearest Doctor and without a telephone (I can hardly believe it now) so we were a little more tied to the house and focused on our baby. But we would often strap Sam into a baby-pack put him on our backs and head off for long walks to remote spots for a bit of local Dal Bhat (rice and lentils) and some Chai or beer with friendly villagers while Sam attached himself to the safety of my breast.
I’d like to go back again and trek – to get out in that pure mountain air and see Fish Tail mountain again at dawn from Poon Hill. I’d like to wander the streets of Kathmandu and infuse myself once more with its Medieval history and ancient Hindu and Buddhist culture.
I’d like to come home to Western Australia.
Why not tell us in the comments which places you’ve visited to which you’d love to return.