We had a lovely, restful week, staying in Vernazza. The buildings often have locals living on the first floor or two, and the upper floors are available for rent.
A woman by the name of Rosa rented us our room for several days, and the kitchenette allowed us to buy lovely bread, meats and cheeses and make breakfasts and lunches ourselves.
We walked to the other towns over the course of several days, and could take the train back if we wished. The scenery was beautiful, food excellent, and everyone was very friendly – even the tourists were pleasant and respectful.
As an avid gardener, this place doesn't disappoint, either. Italy is famous for its' flower pots everywhere, and the villages of the Cinque Terre are no exception. One of the best examples were the overflowing pots that flanked the entrance to the village ice cream parlor.
In one pot, the owner had tomatoes, parsley, hot peppers, cantaloupes and a few geraniums in 1 2' high pot! (he was waiting for the basil plants to be ready at the market next week), and in the other pot, he had another tomato, cucumbers and some more peppers... oh, and some more geraniums.
One of the things that makes Cinque Terre among the best romantic travel destinations is that it has been made into a national park, so there can be no more building. Cars are prohibited in most areas, and there are several initiatives in place to conserve power, water, and recycle so the influx of tourists does not overwhelm this beautiful place.
This means that when my husband and I go back there for our tenth wedding anniversary, the place should look just as quaint and serene as when we were there in 2001. I hope you enjoy my vacation ideas.
Definitely one of the best romantic travel destinations was my honeymoon vacation at the Westin Resort & Spa in Cancun, Mexico.
Now, everyone knows about Cancun, and many people have been there, but I don't know how many people have actually gone off the beaten path there.
Local attractions are plentiful there, and even with these most people just sit in their hotel pool or frolic on the hotel beach. We stayed at a hotel on the murkier side of the spit that Cancun is located on, so we didn't do much time on the beach, but we did spend time in the pool.
Photo Credit: flickr.com/photos/danielleherner
Chichen Itza was a day trip away, and though I wanted to go we never actually did, but it was what we did do that made it all the cooler. Fortunately for me my wife is Salvadoran so she and I actually ventured into the real world of Cancun, not the high gloss tourist world.
We went to a local vendor's market, which isn't uncommon, but because we had language on our side we were able to enjoy the experience a lot more. On top of that we also went to Walmart (I found it incredible that Walmart existed in Cancun). Now I've never enjoyed Walmart before, but this was a definite exception as we strolled about a Walmart in Mexico I was having more fun than the beach-goers.
The other thing out of the ordinary that we did was, instead of the big trip to Chichen Itza, which everyone does, we went to some Cancun located ruins.
The ruins of El Rey are right in the midst of Cancun, and they are very cool, but for some strange reason they were empty, it was me and my wife and maybe a couple of other people in the whole of the park where El Rey is located.
I enjoyed climbing up and around the ruins, trying to imagine who had lived there, what they had done, what they looked like, etc. It was fascinating, and while Chichen Itza would have been awesome as well I think there was something more interesting about El Rey because we had it to ourselves and didn't have to share with thousands of others.
Then, of course, it came time to leave. September 14th, 2001 was not the easiest time in the world. We couldn't fly back on our original flight due to air travel restrictions into the U.S.
When we talked to our airlines they told us they could get us to Tijuana through some AeroMexico flights. Before this we contemplated taking a bus or a train across Mexico but decided against it when we found out it would take us a week or more to get home.
So we went with the flights and got to spend one night in Mexico City on the way home. Flying in I was absolutely astounded by how large Mexico City is, I couldn't see the end of it in any direction as we landed. So that's my story about romantic travel destinations.
While we didn't get to spend much time there Mexico City was an added highlight to our vacation. The next day we spent two hours at the border in Tijuana and then two hours on the road back home to Los Angeles.
All in all a very eventful and well spent vacation, that I remember well with a carved Aztec calendar and a little bat for some sport that they liked to play because my wife wouldn't let me get the souvenir ceremonial Axe.
For anyone who is interested in a trip to Cancun I would definitely recommend doing it a little differently than the average tourist. Instead of flying directly in and out of Cancun, perhaps take a night or two in another area of Mexico that interests you.
Instead of hitting all the popular sites, look for the ones that are a little less noticeable, a little off the beaten path. You will find that they are very engaging and you will have more fun, just watch out for the taxi drivers since they like to intentionally miss your stop (if you catch my meaning).