Travel Expert Ryan Culver Has Unusual Places for Valentine’s Travel!
Ryan Culver knows travel. He should. He’s a pilot who delivers his company clients’ planes to all corners of the earth – sometimes in a single week. His answer to a friend’s recent dinner party request was,
“As soon as I get back to Los Angeles next week. I just have to pick up and drop off planes in Reykjavik and Saudi Arabia first.”
That’s all. How James Bond is that, right?
Not that Ryan spends all of his time with his head in the clouds, though. When his feet are firmly on the ground, he’s a natural, fun-loving explorer whose curiosity has led him everywhere from climbing the mountains of the Sierra Nevada Range to navigating the finer points of a Moroccan medina. For an outdoorsy couples who want to celebrate Valentine’s Day with an off-the-beaten path adventure, Ryan was ready to share his top-five places!
#5 Reykjavik, Iceland
You’ll have to bundle up this time of year, but it’s a good excuse to ask for more body heat from your partner.
There are some great drives through the volcanic landscape and you can check out the natural thermal lagoons (Avoid taking pictures of yourself after spreading the slimy, white silica mud on your face – trust me).
Downtown Reykjavik offers plenty of shops, fun people, and great food. Beautiful people abound and they’re surprisingly chipper during all that winter.
#4 High Sierras, California, USA
If you’re nature lovers, this place is sensory overload. If you want a road trip, head up the east side along Hwy. 395 for great small towns and beautiful scenery. Blast U2’s “Joshua Tree” album in the car for the full experience. Spend some time in Bishop, CA, at the Galen Rowell photography gallery before going for a hike or a climb in the Buttermilks.
Or take the well known, but always new and inspiring trek onto the west side and into the Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks. See for yourself what has inspired poets, painters, musicians and photographers to devote their life’s work to this area.
#3 Whale Beach, North Sydney, Australia
From Sydney, jump the Circular Quay ferry to Manly Beach. Take the slow one and enjoy the harbor cruise along the way. Upon landing, get directions to the local moped rental place. Grab a couple mopeds for the day and head north along Pittwater Road. It’ll end at some point so you can’t really go “too far,” but a few miles before the end, keep an eye out for some small signs to Whale Beach. Much less crowded, great for a little private getaway, but still with a nice restaurant and a chef who prepares fresh seasonal menu items.
#2 Crete, Greece
Have an understanding with your partner before you land on the island that you may have a second love here: The food. Ask the locals and hunt down the small family- owned restaurants. They will be staffed from top to bottom with the family members. Enjoy the wine and don’t be afraid to ask them for something “off the menu.” They like the opportunity to show off the family recipes and may prepare something unique (and utterly amazing), especially if you’re there while it’s not too busy.
Ask around for the good spots to check out and plan on doing a bit of nature hiking as well.
#1 Florence, Tuscany, Italy
You will find that most people talk about getting into the Tuscan countryside. While the countryside is of course beautiful in so many ways, the city offers something I have not felt anywhere else I’ve traveled. If you are artistic or a lover of art, I have found that Florence will seep slowly into your bloodstream the moment you enter the city. The history of all the great artists that have walked its streets, worked in its shops and sat and painted on the walls of the Ponte de Vecchio imbibes you with an acute artistic desire. Don’t be surprised if you return home wanting to paint or sketch, even if you’ve never done it before. Maybe you won’t even wait until you’re home.
Remember to take the time to cross the bridges and head away from town center up the hillsides around town. Not only are there some great old buildings to discover, but the views of the city and surrounding area are postcard worthy.
Back in town, make a quick lunch stop at Il David in the square and get a simple bowl of Spaghetti. That’s Amore.
ABOUT RYAN CULVER
Ryan Culver (www.RyanCulver.com) is a co-founder, partner and CSO of Windward Aviation, a global aircraft delivery and logistics company whose pilots and staff fly, manage and handle the relocation of private aircraft throughout the world. And when he’s not jet-setting the world like a real-life James Bond, he lends his adrenaline-filled, thrill-seeking talents to acting, like playing the character of Nathan Drake in PlayStation’s latest promotion trailer and advertising spot for the new PlayStation 3 video game “PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale”.
Thanks to Ryan Culver for all the great recommendations on unusual, fun, and great escapes for Valentine’s Day! He definitely got MY attention with some of his suggestions
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