New York Times Travel pages asked its readers to tell them about the spots that have delighted, inspired, and comforted them in a dark year. The newspaper received more than 2,000 suggestions and picked 52 places.
The entries of the list were submitted by readers in response to a request for nominations. The writer of each chosen submission was interviewed, and the final entry was a combination of their original nomination and those interviews.
Despite the Travel uncertainty due to COVID-19, the world with all its stunning natural beauty and cultural richness is still around and waiting to be explored. If 2020 has done anything for people who love to travel, it has reminded them that the world is not a checklist of the usual, famous places to tick off. There are many more to explore, experience and love. Places that are linked with other people’s experiences. Places so wonderful that have inspired hope, beauty and consciousness.
Among those chosen “52 Places to Love in 2021” was our beautiful Island of Andros and this is no accident.
The reader who suggested Andros and got to win a place among the 52 was Maria Dal Pan, a writer and a founder of Erwin Park Communications. She lives in Montclair, New Jersey. Here’s what she wrote:
“Philoxenia, or hospitality, is at the heart of everything on this island.”
I first went to Andros, the island where my family is from, in 1992, the summer before I started high school. It was magical. My cousin Yanni and I were just gone, all day and night. We’d wake up in the morning and go swimming and be out dancing all night with the new friends we’d made. The island was full of life.
I went back in 1996, and Yanni had cancer. And while I remember 1992 like it was yesterday — what I wore, where we went — I can’t really remember that second trip. Yanni was in and out of the hospital, getting chemo. He died a year later.
In 2017, I went back with my children and was relieved to see it mostly unchanged, though there were things I hadn’t noticed before, like a modern art museum and a cinema showing vintage films. It’s this warm, welcoming place, and the air smells like flowers. Now, my kids can’t wait to go back.
MARIA DAL PAN