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mar 11 2009

5 editors share their dream trips

Doi Suthep (Sean O'Neill)

After publishing our most recent list of Dream Trips, we thought it would be fun to find out more about where a few of our coworkers hope to travel themselves.

Rosas, Spain, to eat at Ferran Adria's elBulli restaurant. I've been obsessed with this chef ever since I first read about him about five years ago. He's known as the pioneer of molecular gastronomy, which sounds horribly unappetizing but is actually really fascinating—sort of like a mad-scientist approach to cooking. For example, he uses nitrous oxide to make things like potato-and-lobster foam. The tasting menu at his restaurant lasts hours and consists of something insane like 30 courses (each pretty tiny, but still). Getting reservations is pretty ridiculous (the restaurant is only open from April to October, and all reservations have to be made in October for the following year) and the prices are pretty outrageous (in 2008, the tasting menu with wine hovered around $300 per person), but from what I've read, the experience is absolutely worth it. Added bonus: The town of Rosas is on Spain's Costa Brava, which looks incredibly gorgeous. I'd travel the coast a bit, and end up in Aix-en-Provence, France, where a friend of mine is living. Beth Collins, associate editor

Taking my wife to my favorite spots in Dublin. She has been to Ireland before, but I lived in Dublin for three years, so I want to take her to places tourists usually don't go. We'll take a long walk in Irishtown and Ringsend (the gas ring is a hulking, rusty relic, but I love it, and my old local chipper and pub will have to be on the agenda) and over to Sandymount Strand. There's a beautiful pub in Clontarf called the Sheds; I was last there eight years ago, and I hope it hasn't changed much. On a nice afternoon, a picnic and/or nap on the grass in Merrion Square can't be beat. The Garden of Remembrance commemorates the 1916 Easter Rising, but what I like about it is the Oisín Kelly sculpture of the Children of Lir, from an Irish legend; I used to study early Irish literature. In the city center, there are too many good pubs and restaurants to mention them all, but we should certainly spend an afternoon in the library bar of the Central Hotel. Add in good friends, and the craic will be ninety. Thomas Berger, copy chief

Because my husband is very opposed to traveling via boat for an extended period of time, to sail the Greek islands for two weeks may definitely be a dream—or done with someone else! I would like to be on a small boat with just a few people and start by the eastern most islands (Kos), and slowly and leisurely make our way to Athens, hitting Santorini, Mykonos, and Kythonos on the way. Our days would be filled with swimming and snorkeling with lots of time for daily excursions to the islands to check out the sites, people watch, and eat good food. —Lauren Kamin, editorial production manager

My dream: I'm walking along the ridges of the Haraz Mountains in Yemen. It is hot, and the terrain is sometimes tortuous, but exploring a region so few have experienced is invariably exciting. Sweeping views of terraced hillsides and rugged landscape keep me inspired. From one ancient village to another, I meet kind, welcoming Arab people that transport me back in time, to a time of simplicity, a time of mud brick buildings and living off the land. I see myself sitting up against a rock with my wife and our guide, who speaks broken English, sipping on excellent coffee, while watching the sun peak over the surrounding ridges. We all marvel and are thankful for such a beautiful morning. It's an absolute dream, which I realize is just a dream when I spill my coffee on my keyboard. Unfortunately for now, it is just a cubicle reverie. For my "Dream Trip," I thought of hiking in the Haraz Mountains because the area is virtually undiscovered by tourism. You can hike from one village perched on a hilltop to another. Guides are needed because hardly anyone speaks English and the trails can be deceiving…you need someone that knows the way. —Michael Mohr, associate photo editor

For years now, one of my friends has raved to me about Chiang Mai, a northern Thai city that lies near the village in which he had once been stationed as a Peace Corps volunteer. Well, I've just returned from my first visit to Chiang Mai, and it was the Best Trip Ever. The city has all of the Thai charm of Bangkok without the capital's infamous nightlife or Blade Runner-like enormity. I'm not much of a shopper, but I snapped up Chiang Mai's heavily discounted celadon housewares, silk flowers, and other hand-made items as if I'd never visit Asia again. One of my prized purchases was of a red-and-black lacquered jewelry box with the image of a deity-as-a-snake on it ($24). I justified the purchase as a gift, but I haven't been able to part with it since. A highlight for me was renting a bicycle ($2 per person, per day) and exploring the area. I was particularly wowed by the view from Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, a serene mountain temple overlooking the city ($1 admission). I also liked taking a break in one of the city's dozens of independent cafés, where locals linger over Thai iced coffee ($1) in outdoor gardens. Coming from Bangkok? I recommend you skip the high-priced plane tickets and instead hop the 13-hour, overnight sleeper train ($33, first-class private car, tickets can't be booked at online, book at the main train station in Bangkok or through a travel agent). You'll see more of the countryside that way plus save a night of lodging expense. Sean O'Neill, senior editor online

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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