The New York Times: 52 places to love in 2021

The New York Times: 52 places to love in 2021

The New York Times: 52 places to love in 2021

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09/01/2021 09:19

The New York Times: 52 places to love in 2021

The New York Times asked their readers to tell them about the spots that have delighted, inspired and comforted them in a dark year. Here, 52 of the more than 2,000 suggestions we received, to remind us that the world still awaits. Con Dao is also one of 52 wonderful places.

Con Dao, Vietnam
“A tropical paradise with a terrible past.”

My dad was a journalist, and he was imprisoned on Con Dao, an archipelago off Vietnam’s southeastern coast, from 1961 to 1963. He was in an activist group that was a part of the first coup against South Vietnam’s then-president, Ngo Dinh Diem. He was held in a “tiger cage,” a five-by-nine foot space, with five or six other people. Conditions were terrible. My mom later told me that he survived by doing meditation, and by telling stories.

My father never went back to Vietnam. He died in 2006, and now, when I travel there, I bring his journalist card with me to return his spirit, in some way. Having a refugee background means I have an urgent need to love this place because Dad could not.

I spent three days on Con Dao. I visited a cemetery, where relatives of people who died or suffered in the prison can bring offerings. There’s a marine conservatory, where baby turtles are being raised. On the last day, I was on the beach. As I swam out in the warm, turquoise water, I burst into tears. It’s important that we have these places where we can remember the people we’ve lost. Someday, I’d like to take my children there so they can learn more about their grandfather.

—THANG DAC LUONG

 

 

South Wales, Wales

“You’re in a place set apart.”
Over the last 20 years I’ve traveled to South Wales about seven or eight times with my wife, and later our children, to visit family in a town near Swansea called Mumbles. (The name is a corruption of the French word for “breasts.”) It sits at the edge of the Gower Peninsula — a beautiful wild place that offers expansive beaches, medieval castles, hilltop trails, horses that graze near Stone Age ruins and picture-book villages with friendly pubs serving Sunday roasts and local ales in dark-wood booths.

Mumbles is homey and welcoming, yet we never saw tourists there. The roads are so small and narrow that getting from one place to another feels like it’s much farther than you actually travel.

Punctuated by weddings, births, graduations, anniversaries and deaths, our trips represented different stages in our lives. But each trip also seemed less like a visit to relatives in the old country than an escape to a secret, beautiful place that only we knew.

—OWEN MARTIKAN

 

 

Saipan, Northern
Mariana Islands

“An island of hidden caves,
covered in untamed jungle.”

The Saipan Hash House Harriers running club meets every Saturday and full moon, with a designated person — the “hare” — bushwhacking a trail for the rest of the runners.

Saipan is only five miles wide and 12 miles long, but runners showed me parts of the island I never would have found myself. We saw a beautiful B-29 engine from a plane crash in the mountains. Also a staircase cut into a cliff, from the last Japanese command post.

Runners took me boating, diving, hiking, camping, spelunking and golfing. Swimming in a lagoon that dropped toward the Mariana Trench, we marked how far we’d swum with the top halves of three submerged Sherman tanks — a door open, guns sticking out. I was never the hare, but I’m coming back to set a trail.

—MEGHAN WEST

 

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/travel/places-to-visit-vacation.html

Edit: Michelle Hà Bùi

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