I have mixed feelings about Valentine’s Day. It has always seemed so contrived and artificial, why do we need a day to tell our significant others that we love them? On a personal level, throughout our nearly decade long relationship, my partner and I have attempted many Valentine’s Day surprises, which almost always have failed. You would honestly think flower companies would be able to successfully deliver flowers on their biggest day of the year, but not so much.
Regardless of my antipathy towards Valentine’s Day, I am a romantic at heart and we have had countless times throughout our travels that were perfect romantic moments. Here are some of my favorites.
Lana’i - It’s hard not to find romance in Hawaii. It’s the honeymoon champion for a reason, after all. While I do love Oahu and Waikiki, for a more secluded and private experience, take the quick flight to the small island of Lana’i. Lana’i does not suffer from modern day distractions, rather it is the perfect place to relax and be with your loved one. Our favorite romantic moment was oddly enough on a golf course. We were on the 12th hole at the Challenge at Manele Golf Course and we stopped to admire the breathtaking views while spinner dolphins frolicked in the distance. It was one of those perfect moments when everything just seemed right in the world.
Vienna - While in Vienna several years ago, I wanted to plan an evening of classic Viennese romance. We started the evening with a quiet dinner at one of the city’s many fabulous, intimate restaurants. After the gastronomic delights, we walked across to the famous Wiener Staatsoper, the Vienna Opera House, for a performance. We don’t necessarily like opera and we had no idea what was playing, but it was amazing to be in the classic building living out a scene from Amadeus. Afterward we strolled across the street to the Hotel Sacher for a late night snack of their famous Sacher Torte and strong, Turkish coffee. Vienna is one of the best places in Europe to experience Old World romance at its best.
Bangkok - The capital of Thailand may not be at the top of many people’s most romantic places lists, but it is certainly on mine. Bangkok suffers from an embarrassment of romantic riches. There are many unique ways throughout the city to share a special moment with your loved one, be it from the rooftop of a swank hotel or sharing a river boat on the Chao Phraya. For me, my favorite romantic moment was a simple dinner. We had enjoyed a long day of sightseeing and were exhausted. We caught a river taxi to Thewet pier, an area of town with which we were somewhat familiar. Not wanting to enter into a long quest for a suitable restaurant for dinner, we decided to eat at the first place we saw and, wow, we were lucky. The In Love Restaurant offers seating overlooking the mighty river that truly is the heart of the city. We sat there enjoying a perfect meal, watching as the sun set behind the Rama XIII bridge, grinning for no reason at all. I looked across and realized just how lucky we were to be there at that moment and place. It’s a moment I will never, ever forget.
Montreal – I love Montreal for many reasons, not the least of which is its ability to bring Old World flair to North America. It was chilly when we visited, which was good as it meant most of the tourists were no where to be found. One evening we were walking around the Old Town at dusk and, unexpectedly, a light snow began to fall as we approached the imposing Notre Dame Basilica. It wasn’t enough snow to accumulate, but it was more than enough to create a perfect, romantic travel moment.
Singapore - This may be a little quirky, but it was a special moment for us. It was our first afternoon in Singapore and we decided to go in search of the Southernmost Point of Continental Asia; I’m really not sure why. Located on the amusement island of Sentosa, we walked through the throngs of families, past the gigantic Merlion statue, through a beach and over a rope bridge in order to reach this spot of dubious travel interest. While the spot itself probably wasn’t worth the trek, the gorgeous sunset was an unexpected surprise. We stood there looking across at the open water, watching the gigantic cargo ships leave the port just as the gloaming began. It was a remarkably quiet, serene moment – an all too rare event in this oftentimes hectic city.
What’s your most romantic travel moment?