Where Have You Been?

Bergenites are a well-traveled bunch, so we asked our readers about the amazing trips they’ve taken. Check out your neighbors’ exotic locales, then get packing!

India

Going to India? If at all possible, take a trip to Agra (about three hours from Delhi) to see the Taj Mahal, one of the world’s most spectacular buildings, complete with a beautiful love story behind its creation. Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal as a monument to his favorite wife, Arjumand Banu, who died giving birth to their 14th child. It took 20,000 laborers 17 years to complete the enormous tomb of white marble. Inside the mausoleum, look closely and you’ll see inlaid semiprecious stones and detailed stonework that is breathtaking. Outside, beautiful gardens and reflecting pools provide a picturesque backdrop to the structure itself.

“The biggest thing I took away from my trip to India was learning more about the culture and design inspirations for Indian celebrations. I also will never forget the awesome experience of seeing the Taj Mahal at sunrise. Plus, the private tour of the mosque, guest house and formal gardens was enjoyable.” —Bob Conti, Hillsdale

Antigua

Life’s a beach on Antigua, famous for its gorgeous white sand beaches stretching alongside miles of deep blue sea. There are 365 beaches, one for every day of the year, say locals. But there’s more to see here if you want to get off your towel and explore—sugar plantations, the capital city of St. John’s and a restored British colonial naval station called Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbor. The town, on the southeastern coast, is famed for its protected shelter, and the island is a major yachting and sailing destination.

“We went to Antigua in January and stayed at Sandals. The weather was outstanding every day. We did water aerobics, played games at the pool, took long strolls on the beaches. There were different themes each night like white night, talent night with live bands, charity casino night—we never left the property, there was so much to do! We are going back next January!” —Marguerite Herman, Dumont

Hawaii

Active volcanos, gorgeous beaches, unique flora and fauna and a tropical climate await you in Hawaii, the country’s 50th state. The Hawaiian islands were formed by volcanic activity about 2,000 miles southwest of the contiguous U.S., with the first inhabitants most likely Polynesian settlers from nearby islands, so Hawaii feels very exotic even though you are technically still in the United States. There are eight main islands, but a visit will hopefully include the Big Island of Hawaii for a mesmerizing glimpse of hot lava pouring into the sea.

“My wife Helen and I went to Hawaii several years ago and visited three islands: Kauai, the Big Island and Maui. It was the first time I’d been back after having visited the island many years ago returning from the Korean War. We took a submarine ride to view the many species of tropical fish. It was an unbelievable sight. The flowers and the beauty of the land are like a fairy tale.” —Sam Haber, Fort Lee

TCM Cruise

Cruising the Caribbean is envy-inducing on its own, but add getting to meet and mingle with stars of the silver screen, and that’s something to write home about. Turner Classic Movies does a Classic Cruise each fall where movie fans get to watch films, speak with the actors and talent who made them, take acting classes from the pros and share the experience with other like-minded vacationers.

“My husband and I went on a Turner Classic Movies cruise last November. We left from Florida and cruised to St. Maarten, Puerto Rico and the Disney cruise island Castaway Cay. On board were Leslie Caron, Jerry Lewis, Kim Novak, Dick Cavett, Alex Trebek and more. My husband and I met Illeana Douglas, and I took an acting class with Diane Baker and did trivia with Alex Trebek—he had such a great sense of humor. I got this T-shirt on the ship (see inset above). The cruise was fantastic!” —Debbie Karrel, River Vale

Categories: Bergen Health & Life