Are you watching the new CNN series about the 1980’s? Bad hair. Sad outfits. And the music was either very, very good (The Clash, Madonna, Michael Jackson) or god awful (remember Chris DeBurgh’s “Lady in Red”?).
Here’s a look at 6 destinations featured in the news or on the air during the 1980’s and why you might want to consider them for your vacation this year.
Who can forget that hunky crocodile hunter named Dundee? During the ’80’s, we discovered oversize cans of Foster’s lager, greeted each other with “G’day mate”, and started buying our music on compact discs from Aussie bands like INXS, Crowded House, and Men at Work. I still hope to one day see the Sydney Opera House in person, but I also want to go down under to see why Australians are so passionate about roadtripping in campervans. Other reasons to consider Australia today? The exchange rate is favorable for most world currencies and those Hemsworth brothers are hot, hot, hot.
The Wall went up overnight in August 1961, effectively sealing off East Berlin from the West until it came tumbling down in 1989. The 1980’s were tumultuous in Berlin and the city’s art and punk throbbed with the pulse of impending anarchy. Check out “B Movie”, a montage of footage from the decade. Today, Berlin is united but there’s plenty of residual grit, if that’s your thing. Supplement predictable tourist activities like promenading through the Tiergarten with a visit to the city’s underbelly. You can attend an art exhibit or film screening hosted by squatters or head to the abandoned warehouses in the Friedrichshain; they’re home to a number of techno clubs including Cassiopeia and Suicide Circus.
Just do it. Rent a convertible and cruise South Beach like Tubbs and Crockett. The detectives on “Miami Vice” were so cool that their linen suits never wrinkled. You might not be as fortunate, but you’re guaranteed to have a good time.
Take a walking tour of the Art Deco district, chow down on satisfying Cuban fare or splurge on stone crabs at Joe’s, and spend some time soaking up the sun on twelve miles of beautiful beach. And, when the sun goes down, check out the action on Ocean Drive. I recommend parking yourself at a sidewalk table with a cold drink to watch the people parade go by, but if you prefer to be the action, there are plenty of clubs where you can conga till dawn.
Politically, Poland is like the cream in an Oreo, sandwiched as it is between Germany and Russia. It’s been occupied by each of them at one time or another. In the 80’s, Poland was still part of the Soviet Union and martial law was imposed from 1981-1983 in an effort to squelch Lech Walesa and the Solidarity Movement. Soviet troops left in the early 1990’s and Poland is still trying to find its way which makes it an interesting place for a holiday. The people are incredibly friendly and love to practice their English so they can tell you what they like, love, and hate about the current government.
I suggest spending a few days in Wroclaw (it was known as Breslau during the Nazi occupation). You can stroll the colorful city square, track down 300 mischievous gnome statues sprinkled around town, and head to Cathedral Island at dusk to watch the lamplighter ignite gas streetlamps that date back to the 1800’s. From Wroclaw, arrange a day trip to the Wieliczka Salt Mines and the tragic Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.
Cruise the High Seas
I hate leisure cruises – huge boats decorated in an over the top style I refer to as Trumpesque, a contrived party atmosphere, and herds of people. It’s so very 1983. The only thing I enjoy when forced onto one is playing “Love Boat” for kicks. On Day 1, I assign the real crew their “Love Boat” identities: Isaac, Doc, Gopher, and Julie, our cruise director. Then, I try to match up passengers with their 80’s television doppelgängers who were guests on the show, like Suzanne Pleshette, Don Adams, or Charo. Finally, I spin them an implausible storyline, involving, perhaps, petty theft, adultery, and an unfortunate shellfish allergy. Try it. You’ll like it. You’ll have a stupendously high bar bill but the days will pass quickly.
We couldn’t get enough of Lady Di in the 80’s. Her fairytale romance with Prince Charles culminated in the “Wedding of the Century” that was watched on television by over 750 million people, including yours truly. Visit London today and shop in Harrod’s and Harvey Nichols, two of Diana’s favorite department stores. Walk down the aisle in St. Paul’s Cathedral where the wedding was held, pause for a moment at the memorial fountain in Hyde Park, and pose with the princess at the original Madame Tussaud’s.
Hope this inspires you to cue up “Like a Virgin”, yank your hair up in a Debbie Gibson side ponytail, pull on some leg warmers, and work out with Jane Fonda. Viva the ’80’s!