When I saw the topic for this month’s travel linkup, I knew that I had to get involved. The prompt was super creative, and definitely got me thinking: if travel were a menu, what would be my ideal trip? What would be my starter, a short-haul location that would be the perfect start to a trip? What would be my main, a long-haul destination that was worth spending a little longer exploring? And finally, what would be my dessert, a place that really leaves a lasting impression every time I visit?
Choosing my perfect travel menu turned out to be surprisingly easy: made up of two places I know well and one bucket-list spot I’ve yet to tick off, this is definitely my dream trip. So, shall we dig in?
My perfect starter: a mini-break in Copenhagen
Choosing my favourite short-haul destination was easy. Copenhagen is easily one of my favourite European cities, and due to having spent a year living and working there, probably the one I know best. My time spent living in the Danish capital was one of the best times of my life: I gained an encyclopaedic knowledge of the best spots in the city for everything from coffee to cocktails, not to mention a few bumps and bruises as I learnt to cycle in one of the bike capitals of the world. I tried my hand at learning Danish, a bloody difficult language, found out that cycling everywhere just about justifies the insane amount of Danish pastry that I became accustomed to consuming, and developed an appreciation for hygge, that elusive art of facilitating coziness and togetherness wherever possible.
For first-time visitors, Copenhagen has it all: it’s a gorgeous city with an incredible foodie scene thanks to the legacy of Rene Redzepi and Noma. The shopping is incredible, with Scandinavian style inspiration at every turn, and it’s smaller and less overwhelming than a lot of the European capitals, while retaining all the culture and charm you’d expect a capital like Copenhagen to offer. I can’t recommend this city enough, and while I won’t rave about the city too much here, I have written a couple of blog posts about Copenhagen already here, and there will definitely be more to come. In short, it’s my perfect starter: a great place to hop on a bike and explore, without too much of an agenda. A city to get lost in, get inspired by, and whet your travel appetite.
My dream main course: a two week trip to Japan
When it comes to my perfect long-haul destination, I’ve actually chosen a place that I haven’t yet visited, but one that sits firmly atop my bucket list. I’m completely fascinated by Japan, and dying to experience the food, the culture and the way of life in this country. My girlfriend and I always talk about how we can’t wait to travel to Japan: she even bought me a mini guidebook to Tokyo last year, despite having no concrete travel plans as of yet. I can’t wait to see the sakura, walk the streets of Harajuku, order noodles from a machine, and shop for stationery to my heart’s content.
As it’s known for being an expensive destination, we want to save up and really do our trip justice, but hopefully we can get there soon! I’d also love to learn a little bit of the language before we go, so I’m hoping to enroll in an evening course at some point in the next year or so! I’m 25 now and I’d definitely like to visit Japan with Beth before turning 30. Now to save those pennies!
My all-time favourite dessert: a few days in the South of France
When it comes to destinations that really leave me with a lasting impression, it’s always places where I really feel myself soaking up the atmosphere and living like a local. This isn’t possible on every trip, especially when you visit somewhere new and find yourself with a list of things to see and do that’s so long that you find yourself more tired when you get home after your holiday than before you went. However, one place where I really do find myself decompressing on holiday has to be in France. There’s something about the relaxed, laissez-faire attitude, the daily rituals of going to buy bread at the boulangerie, of browsing the market stalls, of taking your morning coffee at the same gorgeous café every morning, of saying a friendly bonjour to the staff and other regulars as you arrive.
From Paris, a city I’ve always adored, to Bordeaux, where I spent 3 months living and studying the language as part of my degree, to the childhood holidays I spent in Brittany, I can’t get enough of this country. A couple of years ago, my parents actually bought a place in Saint Remy de Provence, a gorgeous Provençal market town, and are now splitting their time between their place there and the UK during their retirement. This means that I’m lucky enough to have one of my favourite travel destinations available to me throughout the year: a place I can go back to, time and time again, and experience as an almost-local. There’s something about the Provençal lifestyle: the markets, the lazy mornings, the crisp glass of rose on a terrace before dinner. Unlike many of my trips, I come back well-rested, bronzed and re-energized, ready to jump back into life at home. It’s the best possible dessert for my travel menu: a destination equivalent of the perfect tiramisu, and I can never say no to tiramisu.
So, what about you? If you had to create your ultimate travel menu, which 3 destinations would make your list? I’d love to hear which spots you would choose – let me know in the comments below, or on Instagram or Twitter!