Through this time, we have all been reflecting on our travels and although none of us are able to get on a plane and head to a destination right now, we invite you to visually transport yourself from your living room to the Arabian Desert, the grasslands of the Eastern Serengeti, the banks of the Seine and other places cherished by the Esplanade Team. Read below to be mesmerized by each one of our beloved destinations around the globe.
One of my favorite places has been Al Maha in the Arabian desert. You drive out from the extraordinary city of Dubai into the quiet and beauty of the desert and as you near Al Maha you start to see a few buildings scattered on the hillside. In the late afternoon, we sat in a circle and the rangers gave us a wonderful display of hawking and they also had an owl they had trained too. One ranger did say – And where would you like your sunset tonight sir!
Photos courtesy of Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa
Anyone who knows me, knows that I love France more than any other country on earth. One of my favorite things to do is to walk along the banks of the Seine and watch life on the river, daytime or nighttime. The light on the river glows and changes as the day progresses, and now that the Rives de la Seine are open to foot traffic, there are so many cafes and bars right on the Seine where only cars used to be allowed, making the river so accessible to everyone. There is music, dancing, and general merriment as soon as the weather permits. Seeing the city from so close to the Seine also offers a completely different perspective on the beautiful monuments and buildings that line the river. I can’t wait to be back again!
After spending three months studying abroad in Florence, Italy, it has now become one of my favorite places. I loved walking along the Arno river. I would go here every morning and write in my journal or grab some gelato. I loved taking in the beauty of the architecture all around. At night, the river would be lit up by all the lights and this is when I would gather with friends and enjoy a nice glass of prosecco!
One of my favorite places in the world is Waiheke Island. It’s just a short 40 minute ferry ride from Auckland but feels like a world away. If you want to be active, there is zip lining, scenic hiking trails, kayaking, bikes for hire and gorgeous beaches to enjoy in the summer. If you’re a food and wine enthusiast like myself, treat your taste buds to a day amongst the vines at any of the 30 vineyards on the island. Tired of nature? Pop into town to visit art galleries, specialty food shops and quirky craft stores followed by a yummy meal at one of the gourmet restaurants. My perfect day on Waiheke started with zip-lining, followed by a few wine tastings, a stop at an olive grove and finished with a delicious cheese board at Mudbrick Vineyard, accompanied by more wine of course! As I sat outside looking out onto the gorgeous Hauraki Gulf enjoying the warm, island breeze, I desperately wanted to freeze time and stay on Waiheke forever. Years later, I still dream of recreating that perfect moment.
My favorite place is right outside of Lucknow, India. I miss how warm and crazy Indian culture is and I especially miss this beautiful elephant who let me sit on her back. Don’t worry – she was thanked with many treats!
While it is near impossible to pick a favorite place, lately I have been dreaming of the grasslands of the Eastern Serengeti – namely, Namiri Plains. While there’s no denying that the endless plain of big-cat country (which had been closed to tourists for decades but is now open only to guests of Namiri Plains) constantly calls my name, there is something so special about the camp itself. I’m not sure anything can compare to coming back from a long, bumpy, dusty game drive with cheetah, lion, and servals, and getting into a hot outdoor shower. As you soap up you can gaze out over miles and miles of uninterrupted grasslands rippling in the wind, then follow with a cup of tea and a nap before heading back out into the wilderness. There is something magical about an endless horizon that seems desolate but in reality is full of life and surprises, just in the distance.
One of my favorite places is Milford Sound in New Zealand. It has been 3 years since I first stepped foot in Fiordland National Park, and yet it seems as if it was yesterday. From the way the clouds were asleep on the base of the mountain to the glistening waterfalls, it’s the most magical and mystical place I’ve ever been too. Like walking through the scene of a fairytale…
South Africa has been a favorite of place of mine and is the reason I return every year and have been for 20 years. Time in the bush has a way of making the rest of the world seem a little less important just for a while. We have entered their world and it is a humbling experience.