Girlfriend Getaways

There isn’t a mother who hasn’t used the line, “It doesn’t matter where I go; I’m content just spending time with my kids.” They’re lying. Here are three reliable destinations that will not only strengthen the mother-daughter bond, but will also make great stories for sharing at the dinner table. 

Athens, Greece
The low-down: Nothing says “getaway” like the panoramic view of an endless spread of azure sea. A tour of Greece, a country considered to be the cradle of western civilisation, is your ticket to an exclusive face-to-face encounter with history. The mesmerising capital city of Athens has been undergoing a radical period of urban renewal and the gradual shift from its bucolic past to a more sophisticated metropolis gives room for a lot of new art and leisure precincts.
What was once the historic centre has transformed into what has become Europe’s longest and arguably most stunning pedestrian promenade. It is also one of its most vibrant and liveliest cities, although it is in a constant state of change. Rest assured; no two visits are the same with something new popping up in every corner very often.

X-factor: Sail around the island of Santorini on a private yacht for the feeling of a true nomad. Here, you can walk on the crater of a volcano and enjoy the spectacular sunsets on their black sand beaches. It would be a waste of a trip if you do not discover the treasures of the Acropolis in Athens and then explore the majestic Agora.

The Greek Isles are quite tempting. Bask in the beauty of Crete as you visit the Minoan Palace in Knossos and the Venetian design town of Chania.

Best for: For those bitten by the travel bug: if you’re into archaeological findings and historical monuments, this is the trip for you. Take a combined Mediterranean cooking class for the perfect souvenirs that don’t just stay stashed away on a shelf. Get hooked on their vibrant street life and relaxed lifestyle where you can have three-hour coffee breaks, strolls without a destination, late night dinners and after-hours partying.

Tulum, Mexico
The low-down: Think white sand beaches, jade-green water, balmy breezes and bright sunshine all year round. We’re talking about one of the best beaches in Mexico. It might not pop up as the first destination for an escape, but where else can you expect to find all those dramatically situated Mayan ruins? To top it all, this is also home to excellent diving and snorkelling options, exquisite cenotes and dining venues that fit every budget.

X-factor: Maya Tulum Resort, located on the beautiful Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, is a seaside wellness retreat that offers amazing serenity, awe-inspiring scenery, and a true connection with the Mayan past. When you’ve come this far, it’d be a waste to go to such an exotic spa and try out the usual aromatherapy and Swedish massage. When in Tulum, like the Mayans, try out the “temazcal”, which is a 150 minute therapy for the total release of toxins. The “kaaten kuxtal” is an effective anti-stress and revitalising treatment that uses natural products for a rebirth effect. Any authentic treatment here is worth a try.

Best for: Those who are looking to unwind. Tulum offers the perfect combination of total relaxation, tranquillity and seclusion; yet it fills your day with many interesting activities in the area. This would be a perfect bonding moment, considering all that time you will spend just lying back and relaxing amidst the best views nature has to offer.

New York City, USA
The low-down: A city that needs no introduction, the “Big Apple” is a safe bet for spontaneous travellers. The centre of media, culture, food, art, trade and of course fashion, New York City is the place to be this month. You could do the usual touristy things like visiting the Statue of Liberty, The Empire State Building, Rockefeller Centre and Central Park. Or you could be a true New Yorker and join the 251st marching of the NYC St Patrick’s Day parade on March 17. That’s also your cue to be heading over to the Irish pubs in town. If you’ve missed this one, fret not. The Easter Parade isn’t so far away.

X-factor: What’s beautiful about this city is that you can have your fill of art and culture. Start with the exhibitions at the Paul Kasmin gallery before you visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Round out your afternoon with a trip to the Abrons Art Center on the Lower East Side where you will also find the Tenement Museum. You cannot leave the city that never sleeps without catching a Broadway show and having a hot dog from a street cart.

Best for: Shopaholics, especially if wedding bells are ringing. Hint hint — blowout sale at Kleinfelds. We hear there are unbelievable discounts all through March that should pull in the jewellery fanatics. Do the Friends essentials of New York — cheesecake and a trip to Bloomingdale’s — to complete the experience.

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Star Gazing : March 2012

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