Fly me to the moon…

Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Fly me to the moon…

As the Corona Virus crisis continues, one thing is for certain – we are all missing the joy of travel. Whether it’s the chance to escape our everyday lives and jobs, the inspiration we get from experiencing new things or places, or the nourishment of the soul from breath-taking natural beauty and connecting with nature, most of us would be off in a heartbeat if we could.
And it’s not just the lack of travel itself that’s gets us down – it’s the uncertainty of when we will be able to travel again, and what that might look like when it does happen. As most of us dream of empty beaches, cool drinks in the sun, hiking through stunning terrains or getting lost in new and foreign cities, the thought that this may not be possible for some time is enough to make anyone feel down.


We especially have sympathy right now for our travel partners whose livelihoods rely on the world becoming ‘open’ again. We’re working on ways to support them and in our next blog, we’ll be bringing you some great updates and news about openings…
But for now, instead of wallowing in the many restrictions and sadnesses of the pandemic, we must remain positive and look to a brighter future that will (eventually) come.
As news brings ever-changing headlines about certain countries opening borders to certain people, flights possibly resuming and constantly shifting quarantine rules, we at BBB have chosen instead to put all that aside for now, ignore the press and take our brains and hearts away right now. We wanted to share with you some of the amazing places we have been over the weekend… we hope you’ll find them as uplifting as we do.

First up we headed east to Zhangye Danxia Geopark, China. Popular with nature lovers, geology enthusiasts and Instagrammers alike, these ‘Rainbow Mountains’ are quite simply spectacular. The colours were formed by the layering of sedimentary mineral deposits over millions of years, but it’s hard to look at the flowing reds, yellows, and oranges and not feel like you’re witnessing a kind of magic. Something to lift the spirits, just what we all need right now…

From natural wonders to manmade landmarks, we head over to Tamil Nadu in India. Most travelers head to North India for its Mughal palaces and forts, but the Southern state of Tamil Nadu is where most of the country’s major Hindu temples are found, including the brightly-colored Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple and the Meenakshi Temple Complex, which is so large it’s considered a mini-city! Occupying an area of 155 acres (63 ha) with 81 shrines, 21 towers, 39 pavilions and many water tanks, it is the world’s largest functioning Hindu temple. Hard to believe that it began life as far back as the 11th century, imagine all that it’s witnessed…

Next up we head to the amazing pools of Pamukkale in Turkey. These natural, snow-white hot springs overlooking the nearby city of Denizli put every Instagrammed infinity pool to shame. Pamukkale is also home to the impressively preserved ruins of the ancient Roman spa-city Hierapolis where you can bathe like an emperor among the submerged centuries-old columns. Now this is what we call self-care!

Continuing the theme of water, we head to Comino Island off Malta. Accessible by ferry only from mainland Ċirkewwa, Comino is Malta’s least inhabited island, with just 3 residents reported since 2017! Visitors to the island come to experience some of the clearest waters known to man, including the stunning blue lagoons. This is what we call isolation! [repetition from above]

There is something truly fascinating about things left by ancient civilisations. The Nasca Lines in Peru are a perfect example of this. These beautiful animal figures and geometric shapes etched by the ancient Nasca into Peru’s barren Pampa de San José are one of South America’s great mysteries. Visible only from the air or from a metal viewing tower beside the highway, some of the unexplained shapes are up to 200m in length. Theories about how these came about abound, but for art lovers or anthropologists, these offer some perspective on time during this difficult pandemic.

Heading back east, we took ourselves to Miho no Matsubara in Japan. Known as a place of particular beauty since the 1920’s, Miho no Matsubara is famous for its majestic pine trees, but people have come to realise that its black beaches are just as magnificent. We’d love to be sitting on that shore today, pondering life and what the months ahead may bring…

The Lofoten Islands of Norway are like something out of Game of Thrones. Technically located in the Arctic, the area contains some of the warmest temperatures due to an elevation anomaly. It’s also a great place to watch the Northern Lights in the winter season. But for now, we’re content just to perch on this clifftop and look out over this expanse of opportunity. If like a monarch from ancient times, this was our kingdom below, how would we rule it? How can we apply these thoughts to our navigation of the real world and how we create our best life?

The remote Sossusvlei and Deadvlei are located in Namibia’s coastal desert and are home to the world’s tallest sand dunes, including one that is nearly a quarter-mile high, and a stunning ‘forest’ of ancient trees. The trees are estimated to be approximately 900 years old, but they have not decomposed due to the dry climate. Deadvlei is a paradise for photographers as the contrast between the pitch-black trees and bleached-white pans, and the rusty-red dunes and deep blue sky, make for dramatic images. While we’re feeling apocalyptic, it’s wonderful to see nature’s answer and how long such beauty has lasted.

The ancient city of Bagan in central Myanmar is made up of thousands of Buddhist temples and pagodas and really is a sight to behold. One of the prettiest views is from above, best enjoyed from a hot air balloon ride at sunrise. Waking up to this would surely set the rest of our day off perfectly!

The last place on our inspiration list is the Eternal Flame Falls at the Shale Creek Preserve, a section of Chestnut Ridge Park in Western New York. This beautiful waterfall has a small grotto at the base that emits natural gas, which can be lit to produce a small flame. This flame is visible nearly year round, although it can be extinguished and must occasionally be re-lit. We choose to see this as a reminder that things can exist and persevere through the most extraordinary circumstances, a symbol of hope…
Flights are starting to happen again and borders are starting to open. We will have to wait and see how the situation unfolds, but many travel companies are offering fully refundable terms on bookings, plus there are some great deals on accommodation as economies strive to recover and survive. So if you’d like to talk to us about any ideas, questions or possible future travel plans, we’d love to talk to you. As you know, we work with a host of specialists who deal with everything from wine trips to safari, skiing to visas and beyond. [We’d love to hear from you!](mailto:info@thebbbookl.com)