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July 2021 Destinations: 4 Favorite Places

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Ireland, Germany, Michigan, Botswana: Pick Your Place.

Welcome to Head Roam’s July 2021 Destinations! This month, we’re highlighting 3 places we’ve been to and loved, and 1 more we’d love to get to. Here goes:

Let’s Go!

July 2021 Destination 1: West Coast, Ireland

As you can read in this post on Travel Inspirations, Ireland was an entirely serendipitous find for us: Someone had a home to swap, we had time, and magic happened.

Steve stares out at the Irish Sea, over a wall in Dun Laoghaire featuring a quote from Ulysses.
Steve stares out at the Irish Sea over a wall in Dun Laoghaire (pronounced “dun leary”) featuring a quote from Ulysses. Joyce set the first chapter of the book in this quiet Dublin suburb.

Why Ireland in July? The light!! 18 hour days—that island’s really far north. And even in July, the far west coast, where the Dingle Peninsula is located, is not teeming with tourists. In fact, you’ll hear people speaking Irish here, though they’ll switch to English for your benefit.

One of countless exceptionally charming and good-looking bartenders in a Dublin pub. Steve went the Guinness. I don’t drink beer. That’s all I’m saying.

Our upcoming post will feature a lot more about this wonderful journey in its entirety, from Dublin/Dun Laoghaire to the Ring of Kerry to the Dingle Peninsula and Blasket Islands.

We also love this perspective from Roaming Required. And, in addition to their excellent list of points to visit in the enigmatic if somewhat unfortunately named Dingle Peninsula, bloggers Roma and Russell offer a ton of great info all over Ireland—and for that matter, all over the world.

For cooking, check out our recipe for the Emerald Isle Bowl, as well as our July 2021 Global Cuisine Picks post for links to other Irish and Irish-inspired recipes. And check out Movie Date: Ireland post if you want to preview the country from your living room.

easy roasted salmon with fresh greens

July 2021 Destination 2: The Black Forest, Germany

Look, we’re prejudiced. Steve built a home here with his previous wife, a native of Germany. Following her death in 2010, he kept the house.

Double rainbow over the small town of Friedenweiler, Black Forest, Germany.
The view from our house. True story: The double rainbow showed up days after my mom died. I was feeling sad, looked up at the right moment and caught this.

We’re crazy about the Black Forest. It’s beautiful, and they call the air “champagne air,” it’s that crisp and refreshing. Of course, any hiking will take you into high altitudes and the air is thin. So sunscreen up.

We spend our time hiking a few kilometers from our place to small mountain restaurants that stuff us full of fabulous cake. Which we eat guilt-free. Like Chief Wiggum, We’ve Earned Our Treat.

A treat break following a Black Forest hike: rhubarb tart, cheesecake, and cappucino.

We’ve yet to catalog our wanderings in our neighborhood, so highly recommend the wonderful guides by Kati and Sabrina—in particular this comprehensive guide to the area—over at their blog, Moon & Honey. To our mind, it’s superb post-pandemic travel: not only is it open air, you can find great bargains on AirBnB’s and other lodges throughout the area, budgeting in the occasional spa visit to relax and refresh your hard-working legs and feet.

Finally, be sure to check out our July 2021 Global Cuisine Picks post for recipes that mimic, as closely as possible Black Forest Cake and other area specialties.

July 2021 Destination 3: The Upper Peninsula, Michigan

We gotta push our home state. And for a summer getaway, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the UP, is very fine indeed.

You can read all about our Upper Peninsula itinerary at this post. (Note our snappy previous logo on the graphic. I loved that sassy chick, but onward and upward, as they say.)

There, you’ll find lots of links and suggestions for a great 7-10 day trek. And of course, you can do a much more immersive approach by just selecting one or two of the 10 spots we visited.

Bond Falls, a hidden gem near the Porcupine Mountains in the Western UP.

It’s mostly cool temperature-wise, and there are tons of waterfalls so you can get right in the mist on hot days.

The roads are a pleasure to drive, and it’s only about 4 hours by car from most Michigan locations.

What do you eat in the U.P.? Pasties—pronounced “PASS-tees,” not like those things strippers wear—a legacy from the Cornish immigrants who helped to populate the area in its mining days.

This pass-tee/pasty recipe from Fox Valley Foodie has thorough instructions. Make it the way Ben says, and you’ll have the real deal.

Coming in from Detroit? We beg you: schedule a couple of days in this vibrant and often misunderstood city. Our Detroit post has all sorts of cool recos.

We challenge you, like us, to fall in love with its resilience and gritty charm. Though we admit: In July, bring sunscreen, an umbrella (for shade, not rain), and comfy distance walking sandals. And be sure to book a room with A/C.

Foodies, be sure to check out our July 2021 Global Cuisine post for PASS-tee and other recipes that’ll put your taste buds right smack in the Wolverine state.

July 2021 Destination 4: The Okavango Delta, Botswana

Okavango Delta wildlife; photo courtesy pixabay at pexels.com

We first found out about this wondrous place in the PBS series Nature, a frequent stop for comfort viewing before, during, and whatever “now” means re: the pandemic.

Learn all about the “Okavango: River of Dreams” episodes at this PBS link. And if you’re U.S. based and don’t have PBS passport? We seriously urge you to get it. It provides multiple opportunities to escape and armchair travel throughout the year.

But wait, of course there’s more—like the Okavango Wilderness Project from National Geographic, which has its own documentary, Into the Okavango.

Since July is when the Okavango finally fills up from the rains that come down from the mountains, it’s a great time to visit, even if it may seem to be counterintuitive.

And if you really get serious, check out the safari packages to the area, as well as in many other African locations, offered by Mahlatini. (They are not an affiliate; we just love the look of their tours.)

Their prices include airfare; trust us, these are great value. Especially when you factor in the Trip of a Lifetime component.

What do people eat on safari? We’re glad you asked. Our July 2021 Global Cuisine Picks post will tell you.

July 2021 Destinations: Thanks for Reading!

Do you have experiences, stories, photos, and/or videos from any of the above places? Post them to the Head Roam Facebook group, or let us know on Twitter or Instagram! Or email [email protected].

Any requests for next month? Whether or not we’ve been there, we love your suggestions. And we’d be thrilled if you want to let us run your stories and/or visuals.

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