You might imagine that being a fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogger that I love art, design, fashion, colours and landscapes; that I’m passionate about history, photography and, of course, travel. Lots of travel…I’m a fan of pretty, beautiful and incredible things. I always say that if you put a map on front of me, cover my eyes and let me throw a dart, I’ll go anywhere with my eyes closed.
But you only live once – a life which is so short and fleeting that you have to make the most of it, so before I leave this earth, all I ask for is five stories to experience, five stories to tell, millions of emotions to feel, hundreds of photographs to take and hours and hours of places to remember. This is my list of incredible plans and dream worthy destinations which will make any summer a summer to remember.
The Silk Road
You only need 28 days to cover the 9000km which separate China and Turkey, on a magical route full of landscapes, sights and sounds with an Eastern flavour. Passing through central Asia, camera in hand, is bound to be one of the greatest experiences of your life.
The starting point is Xian, the capital of silk and the old trade centre. It houses famous historical monuments such as the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, famous for his army of terracotta warriors. And that’s just the beginning, because every one of the points along the way is uniquely interesting and beautiful. Lanzhou is famous for the gold trade and the birth of Buddhism and Taoism; Dunhuang for its dunes; Kashgar for having the largest mosque in all of China; Jiayuguan is the end point of the Great Wall; and of course, the famous and beautiful Samarkand (in Uzbekistan) is known for being a historical heritage of humanity site. But Bukhara, Khiva, Merv or Mosul also offer amazing experiences.
Arriving in Istanbul after 27 days of travelling from East to West and coming across one of the most beautiful destinations in the world must be incredible. Istanbul is the historic and economic capital of Turkey, and its main attraction is the old town, which is small but full of charming monuments such as the beautiful Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque.
The wild side of Mexico
One of the most incredible travelling experiences is to do a themed trip according to your hobbies: practising yoga in India and visiting temples and spiritual schools, volunteering with villages and social projects in Africa, discovering marine life in Mexico, etc. If, like me, you love diving, you must go underwater once in your life. Mexico offers divers such a rich and diverse underwater experience that each dive is unique. Both on the Caribbean coast and on the Pacific coast, you can come across dolphins, giant mantas, whitetip sharks, barracudas, prochilos, tortoises, parrotfish, trumpet fish and, of course, the second longest coral reef in the world after the famous Australian barrier reef.
The route should definitely include dives in Playa del Carmen (Mayan Riviera), in the Revillagigedo archipelago (in the south of Baja California), in Cozumel or in a cenote.
Tuscany on wheels
After having visited Florence years ago and some of the north of Italy last year (Milan, Bergamo, Verona and Venice), I know a bit about Italy. It’s a country with an impressive cultural history and architecture. But if you are also a romantic, a lover of the classical touch, the narrow streets with flowers, charming restaurants and hotels and candlelit dinners, then Italy is always the place to stay. Touring Tuscany by car must be really special, especially if you enjoy the scenery and the colours, lights and shadows of nature. And, of course, the good wine.
Florence is one of the most beautiful places in the world with an impressive cultural richness; the Chianti area, with Panzano and Geve, is famous for its wine tradition and picturesque villages; Monteriggioni is a pretty medieval village with cobbled streets and Romanesque art, and Siena has been declared a World Heritage Site because of its beauty. San Gimignano, Volterra… A route of between 7 and 15 days which can hook you in forever.
The Hemingway Trail
For real travel lovers, there’s the Ernest Hemingway trail. A long and fascinating trip which can last a whole summer, based on the exciting life of the American writer and journalist. Hemingway had lots of influence over 20th century fiction, but he was known by later generations as an insatiable traveller. The novelist left his mark on much of the world and there were few countries or continents he didn’t pass through. Illinois, Toronto and Chicago, Africa, London, Paris, Italy, Key West (Florida) near Miami Beach; Wyoming, New York, Cuba and the Caribbean, Spain and Idaho were some of the destinations which marked his life. Choose a continent or a country each summer and prepare to relive each chapter of the biography of one of the most observant adventurers in the history of the world.
If there is a country that wishes for the arrival of summer more than anything else, it’s the Netherlands. In fact, Holland doesn’t wait for summer to arrive – Holland creates the summer. Amsterdam and other nearby cities are full of festivals in the sunny months of June, July and August. Discovering a new type of summer is always a great idea, especially for those who love music and performing arts. The festival season kicks off with PinkPop, an international music festival which welcomes more than 50,000 people each year. In the middle of June is the Oerol Festival, ten intense days of activity on the island of Terschelling centred around musical street performances and performing arts. In July, the Dunya Festival and the Rotterdam Unlimited Summer Carnival bring a touch of light and colour to the summer; but August is definitely the best month for music and festivals. Various music festivals take place throughout this month, such as Lowlands, Grachtenfestival, Mysteryland and Jordanfestival. Music lovers and free spirits would love to spend a summer here.
Could you imagine a better summer?
By Vanessa Cano for In Front Row Style