It’s February 14th, Valentine’s Day; a perfect time to immerse ourselves in the romance of travel. Romance, both in the cupid-arrow type, and that defined by Webster’s as an ‘emotional attraction or aura belonging to . . .adventure’.
Traveling down memory lane, these are some of our favorite travel romance destinations:
1. Paris, France.
It is not a cliché – this is a romantic city. We don’t have any one spot to recommend, but I can tell you that strolling along the Seine is romantic.
2. Cape Panwa House, Phuket Island, Thailand.
The Cape Panwa House restaurant is where I’d go for a romantic Valentine’s dinner. This Sino-Portuguese mansion made such an impression on us 30 years ago that I checked the Internet and was delighted to see it is still offers diners the exotic - and romantic setting - we so fondly recall.
3. Stehekin, head of Lake Chelan, Washington State.
The only way into Stehekin is by boat, float plane or on foot. This remote hamlet at the head of the 55-mile-long glacier- fed Lake Chelan is the perfect place to picnic with bread, wine and cheese. (Buy a couple bottles of wine at any of the two dozen wineries in Chelan and don’t forget the picnic blanket.)
4. San Sebastian del Oeste, Mexico
Back when we owned vacation homes outside Puerto Vallarta, we’d break up our working trips with a getaway to the towns tucked high above us in the nearby Sierra Madres.
One of our favorite places was the old silver mining town of San Sebastian del Oeste, and our favorite place to stay was in one of the very rustic rooms at Hacienda Jalisco, just outside town. Back then it was run by a lovable character, Bud Accord. We’ve not been back to Mexico for several years and San Sebastian now has several accommodation and dining options, a web site and Facebook page! We can tell you there was no better place for star gazing than from our deck at the Hacienda – it felt as if we’d landed in the middle of the Milky Way.
5. Palace Hotel. Madrid, Spain
Our vote goes to the lobby bar at the Palace Hotel for the most romantic spot to sip a cava, the Spanish equivalent to champagne. The dignified, library-like setting is perfect for settling into its comfy chairs and couches and getting lost in its old-world flair. . .or for watching other romantics.
6. Le Sorelle Restaurant, Rome, Italy
On our last night in Rome a few years ago we happened upon this small restaurant owned by two sisters (sorelle is sister in Italian) not far from the Spanish Steps at Via Bellsiana, 30.
The food, wine, atmosphere and the sisters’ warm welcome, made us vow to return any time we found ourselves in this magnificent city. We’ve manage to keep our pledge – twice. Once when the food was as good as we remembered it being and once when our single-night stay fell on the night they were closed – we were thoroughly disappointed!
7. On deck a Greek ferry sailing the Aegean or Ionian Seas.
Despite the current economic woes and related unrest in Greece, we can hardly wait to return to its magical islands. Anyone who loves the romance of travel would find a trip on one of Greece’s cruise-ship-sized ferries to be a magical experience.. .no matter which island you were heading toward.
8. Washington State ferries from Seattle, Washington
We can’t overlook our own backyard, so must make note of the ferries that ply the waters of Puget Sound providing great views of Seattle and wonderful trips to the San Juan Island port cities and as far as Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
If you are not into ferries, take a trip up Seattle’s 1962 World’s Fair Space Needle that continues, 50 years later, to be the Emerald City’s icon. On a clear day (and we do have them sometimes) you can take a 360-degree tour of Puget Sound by walking the outside deck or dining in the restaurant.
9. Ko Olina, O’ahu, Hawaii.
Ko Olina in Hawaiian means ‘place of joy’ and it has been that for us since we began our annual visits there five years ago. Bird song at sunrise and sunset, swaying palms, gentle ocean waves, lagoons with tropical fish that find you as interesting as you do them, those incredible sea turtles, honus, in Hawaiian. . .ah, yes, a most romantic place.
10. This one is yours. What romantic destination – past, present or future - are you thinking of today?