In a year of halted travel, we pined for the magnificence of Paris, the thrill of Big Five spotting, and the relaxation that only comes with a leisurely six hours under the sun on a Barbados beach (with Dark 'n Stormies on repeat, naturally). But we also found ourselves longing for the little things, too, like the smell of the bushes at South Africa's Babylonstoren. We even realized that we love travel so much, we actually missed being able to gift it to someone. (If you've never done this, may we suggest you consider it for the next holiday season?) Below, an extremely non-comprehensive taste of the little things we've missed from our travels all over the world.
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Those sensory moments
“I’m longing for sunset in Alentejo, Portugal. To return to the hotel São Lourenço do Barrocal, where there’s nothing but silence and olive trees, and conversations with good friends over local wine and cheese.” —David Moralejo, Spain
“The scent in the fynbos gardens at Babylonstoren, South Africa, while enjoying their fluffy scones.” —Sarah Khan, Middle East
“I love the buzz at Rome's Caffe Peru, which is a small and not widely known, but with a loyal following of cool Romans. Getting an Aperol Spritz with a side of potato chips and half-reading a newspaper while I people-watch is my favorite way to kill an hour.” —Erin Florio, U.S.
“Nothing quite compares to eating a perfectly toasted club sandwich inside the plush beds at New York City's Plaza hotel.” —Betsy Blumenthal, U.S.
Flying for food
“I tried making a papaya salad out of the Hartwood cookbook in lockdown. It went a little sideways. At least I already know what I am ordering the next time I am in Tulum.” —Noah Kaufman, U.S.
“In Vienna I always go to Meissl & Schadn at the Grand Ferdinand Vienna for schnitzel, a dish I’d no sooner prep at home than I would form my own oompah band. As restrictions ease, I guarantee I’ll be enjoying it with views of the Ringstrasse before the end of summer.” —Rick Jordan, U.K.
“On month 10 of quarantine, my need for black dal grew so intense I considered a two-day recipe. Half a day in, I adjusted my ambitions. No one does it like London’s Dishoom anyway. I’ll have to manage my cravings till I can get back.” —E.F.
The gift of giving
“Counting down the days till we can all see each other again, I gave relatives up and down the West Coast gift cards for Alaska Airlines. I figured that when they’re ready to fly, all they’d have to do is go online and book a trip (hopefully to see me).” —Rebecca Misner, U.S.
“My sister and brother-in-law turned 40 under lockdown in London, at home with their three kids. So when it lifted, I gifted them a stay at Thyme, an idyllic rural retreat where the grounds are primed for strolling, the spa offers exceptional massages, and the pub is around the corner.” —E.F.
“For my dad’s 60th birthday, long before the pandemic, I told him to pick the destination and I’d pay for the vacation. Looking at a picture of him from that trip to Egypt, jumping off a felucca boat into the Nile with a giant smile on his face, I realize how overdue we are for a return engagement.” —Jesse Ashlock, U.S.
A version of this article appeared in the July/August 2021 issue of Condé Nast Traveler. Subscribe to the magazine here.
Originally Appeared on Condé Nast Traveler