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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Where to go on Vacation - a Tough Decision?

My husband and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in November. Our dilemma is “where do you go in November for a Romantic getaway?” We actually travel every year around this time and although we don’t think we are big fans of a turkey dinner on Thanksgiving, we have spent some amusing times looking for something resembling turkey all across Europe, New Zealand and South East Asia.

We are not really the kind of couple that would enjoy sitting on a beach for an entire week, although the thought of getting out of the dreary Northeast at the beginning of winter when all of the autumn color is gone but the whole winter still lies ahead, is a pretty enticing thought. I have used some of the information that Kuller/Class A Travel brought to the library at our last travelogue. There are some beautiful white (or pink) sand beaches in the Caribbean and along the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. We went to Cancun many years ago and made the arrow-straight drive to the famed Chichen Itza in the sweltering heat at that time, so Cancun seems like a “been there, done that” destination but perhaps further south in Cozamel or along the Mayan Rivera further south from there. I think there are some Mayan ruins besides Chichen Itza that we have not seen that we could use to break up the week of sun or in case there is a rainy day. You hear so many things in the news about it not being safe in Mexico lately that I think the resorts that were commercially developed specifically for tourism are the safe way to go.

We spent a week in St. Maartin about four years ago and didn’t find it to be the paradise that we expected. The hotel we stayed at was accessed by crossing the end of the runway at the airport and you couldn’t get anywhere on the island without crossing that road, twice. If you haven’t seen where the airport is in St. Maartin, you haven’t seen the most bizarre location for a runway. The planes land directly across a very appealing white sand beach and despite all of the huge warning signs about being burned by jet wash, people insist on sunbathing on the beach, even some topless women. When those jumbo jets come in for landing, you really think that they may not clear a standing person’s head. And the planes come in all day and all night. A hotel near the airport is no paradise! The hotel was also being converted to a time-share property so all of the pools were closed as was the casino and most of the restaurants. We did have a beautiful balcony that faced the ocean directly with a magnificent view that will most likely be gone by now with the renovation since windows with a direct view of the ocean are susceptible to severe damage in the storms that hit the islands.

We have always heard from others that Aruba is the best Caribbean Island. It seems also to be the most expensive! We have also heard that St. Lucia is the most green and lush of the islands, but it is also “an adventurer’s paradise” which reads to me that you have to have calves of steel to “hike” the trails and nerves of steel to ride the zip-lines. We remember the annoying buzzing sound that zip lines make for miles around from our recent trip to Alaska – it sounds like a swarm of bees coming around every two minutes or so – interspersed with screams of joy (and terror.)

We are also considering the Greek Isles; however, it appears that October 30 is the END of the season in Greece and most places close up on November 1st even thought the water and air temps are in the 70’s. We are looking at Crete since it is the southern most of the Greek Islands (hence the warmest later in the season) and there appears to be a large variety of white sand beaches and lots of interesting ancient history to explore. The question is, will there be any restaurants, car rentals or shops open?

How do you decide where to go on vacation each year? Does anyone have advice?

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