Quiet Oasis in a Quiet Part of the World
Sometimes when you travel, you find places that overwhelm you with peace the minute you step into their space. My husband and I found such a place on one of New Zealand’s most northern shores. New Zealand is a sparsely populated country, especially in the far north, where you can drive for miles without seeing another soul.
After a very cold and wet winter on the south island, my husband and I were desperate for some sunshine and beach time. They say the tip of the north island enjoys an endless summer, so we made our way up the coast and booked into the “Endless Summer Lodge.”
Tucked into a beautiful green hillside, this oasis is not only surrounded by the thick, gorgeous green New Zealand’s known for; it also sits directly across from the beach. The windows on the front of the lodge look out across a vast expanse of ocean with nothing but a couple palm trees interrupting the view.
This retreat provides the opportunity to walk along endless stretches of beach, or to lie in the hammocks set up in the front yard while listening to the waves roll in. The owners are extremely kind, and you can enjoy your dinner in the garden behind the lodge each night.
The quiet town of Ahipara sits at the end of ninety-mile beach. You can reach it by car from Auckland taking Highway 1 north. There are a lot of great small towns to stop in on the way, so take your time getting there; and once you do, soak up this little oasis as long as you can!
Red, White and Blue
During our trip to Iceland this January, my husband and I took a drive to the charming red and white Garðskagaviti lighthouse near Keflavik. The lighthouse is the tallest in Iceland and was built in 1944 as a gift from American servicemen grateful for being rescued from a sinking U.S. Coast Guard vessel.
I loved the red and white of the lighthouse against the brilliant blue sky. We were the only ones willing to venture out in the blustery cold to visit the lighthouse so we had it to ourselves. We were so glad we took the time for a visit – definitely worth a trip.
An hour outside of Brasilia, we found ourselves surrounded in tough, scrubby land. A friend at a nearby nature reserve took us on a long hike down the path of a waterfall, which pooled in various places and formed a sort of natural waterslide.
Skip Cancun and Head to Isla Mujeres
If you’re not a fan of huge resorts and big hotels, Isla Mujeres is the perfect getaway from Cancun.
Just catch the ferry to the island located 13km to the northeast of Cancun. The ferry ride in itself is enjoyable, as you float over shallow reefs and turquoise water.
Once on Isla Mujeres, I recommend staying near North Beach with its white sand and abundance of bungalow accommodations. Rent bikes and pedal around the entire island and be sure to make your way to the lighthouse crawling with iguanas.
Summer by the Lake in Switzerland
At the foot of the Jura mountains, with a view of the Alps across its vineyard-ringed lake, is the university-town of Neuchâtel. Its distinctive sandstone architecture led the writer Alexandre Dumas to describe this French-speaking city as ressembling ‘an immense toy-city carved out of butter.’
It felt like a great place to call home during the month I spent there: ten p.m. twilights, breezes off the lake, nursing an espresso (or a glass of the local white wine) in the shade of Renaissance façades.
The University attracts students from all over during its summer language programs; my classmates came from Italy, Poland, the Canary Islands, Canada, and the German-speaking regions of Switzerland.
Hourly trains run to Neuchâtel (‘Neuenburg’ in German) from both Geneva and Zürich–the trip lasts about an hour and a half. Lausanne and Bern are only 40 minutes away by train. And yes, you can set your watch by those trains…
Guide Curated by: Serena Renner
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