Hi everyone! This week I wanted to write about something a little different on the blog. As I have been tucked away in the library for the past couple of weeks finishing up my studies and the weather being what it is, it has become increasingly difficult for me to stop going on Pinterest sprees searching for exotic travel destinations…. Anyone else guilty of the same? So far I’ve only booked tickets for a rather unusual destination in Spain, but Japan, Malaysia and Singapore are next in the shopping cart! There is also a rather luxurious entrant in my wanderlust wishlist because hey, a girl has to treat herself, right?
My Three Travel Destinations This Summer
Florence, Italy – Luxury Shopping
I have been wanting to explore Italy in more depth for a while, especially the Tuscany area. I’m not going to lie, one of my motivations to visit Italy is for the amazing shopping that they have – especially in the outlets. I have been wanting to buy a designer bag for myself to finally celebrate the end of a 4-year struggle in uni, and what better way to do it than in the birth country of so many luxury brands. I have been to Milan before, which is why I’m more interested in exploring Florence. And how romantic would it be to jump on a boat cruise on the river Arno that divides the city?!
Firenze offers more than enough options for travelling on either budget or high end, but as I am looking at Firenze as my only truly luxurious travel destination for the summer, and I can’t wait to take advantage of Italy’s relatively affordable 5-star hotel prices. Immediately in the city centre there are quite a few hotels, however the best view that I found is from the Portrait Firenze, which is immediately next to the iconic Ponte Vecchio.
Sightseeing/Things To Do
Apart from being the home for Michelangelo’s David and other renaissance masterpieces, Florence is undoubtedly known for its luxury shopping. One of Italy’s biggest outlets for brands such as Gucci, Prada, Fendi, Balenciaga, Valentino, Dior and many more are located in The Mall, which is a 30 min bus ride away from Florence. I’m not one to buy designer goods on a consistent basis, but when Italian outlets often have items on sale for as much as -70% or more, it would be silly to say no.
Camino de Santigo, Spain – Hiking 300 km
This is the only destination on my list that I’ve booked so far and it’s a bit of an odd one: Me and my parents are going to hike 300 km across Northern Spain in June on a historic pilgrimage route spanning from Leon to Santiago. I am not religious by any means, but I like the idea of going on a loooooong hike and disconnecting from the entire world for 2-3 weeks. The original pilgrimage route of Camino de Santiago spans 780 km from the mountainous Pyrenees at the border of France to the seaside of western Spain in Santiago, but let’s be real – I couldn’t possibly stay away from social media for more than 2-3 weeks! I’m already getting a little anxious just thinking about it…
To be completely honest with you, I haven’t looked up much about the location other than that it is mountainous and that there are many small historic cities along the way. However I’m excited to go, because the best trip of my life was a very similar, “odd” trip: my friend Liisa and I cycled across France from Paris to Nice with just a few items with us. There’s nothing more freeing than getting a bit crazy every now and then.
My parents and I will be staying at guest houses intended for pilgrims and possibly sharing the room with other people. I have heard the hostels may have bed bugs, yikes! This will definitely be my lowest budget journey during the summer.
Sightseeing/Things to Do
The experience that most people are after on the Camino de Santiago journey is a spiritual one. The aim is to reconnect with nature, yourself and the present moment, do a lot of meditation and all that. There are also vast amounts of scenic landscapes and ancient villages with churches and other medieval buildings on the way – a very different experience in Spain compared to your average Brit’s holiday in Ibiza!
Japan: Tokyo, Nara, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Mt. Fuji – Temple Discovery & AI Technology
Many of you wouldn’t know this, but I actually used to be a huge Jpop and Jrock fan in my teens. I used to hate my life back in my emo teenage days, and my form of escapism was emerging myself in the world of J-drama and J-music. I became obsessed with the culture and language, and studied it so hard that I actually became semi fluent in it, even had a blog – written in ギャル語 slang (D̶o̶n̶’̶t̶ ̶j̶u̶d̶g̶e̶!̶) and did a 1 month language exchange in Tokyo with a family that spoke no English. I haven’t been back since I was 15, because quite shortly after my trip I moved countries, stopped hating my life and stopped watching Japanese TV. A part of me still misses Japan, the culture and everything that I didn’t get the chance to see yet, so I’ve decided to travel there with a friend this year. Too bad we’re missing the cherry blossom season, that would have been amazing for the gram…!
My friend Sef and I are planning to stay in Japan for about 2 weeks and the majority of the time we will be staying in a casual Airbnb. However, when we visit Kyoto I absolutely want to stay in a Japanese ryokan, which is a traditional guesthouse with tatami mats. The Japanese people are extremely welcoming, and my previous experience in a guesthouse was so great that I would want to repeat it again! Oh and, perhaps it would also be worth checking out the Hello Kitty themed “love hotels” that they have in Japan.
Sightseeing/Things To Do
There are so many things to do in Japan. I have a list of activities I want to do spanning from riding the steepest rollercoaster in the world to relaxing in a natural hot spring in the mountains. Japan has it all! My other top highlights include: the free roaming deer of Nara, Buddhist temples in Kyoto and the hustle and bustle of crazy Tokyo. I have always wanted to visit a Host Club as well, which is a very strange Japanese concept. Essentially a host/hostess club is a club where only attractive men/women work and customers need to pay for their time, either directly or by purchasing drinks or food. Sexual acts are forbidden and only talking is allowed. The top hostesses reportedly earn $100k a MONTH which is a crazy amount of money for just talking! I don’t think I would enjoy my time too much in these clubs, but it is definitely something to tick off from the to do list!
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What’s on your wanderlust wishlist and where would you travel to next?