Happy New Year!
Without a doubt, this is one of my favourite posts to write. It’s always a pleasure to look back on my year of travels, and to compare it with where I thought I might end up. From NZ to Spain to Norway and lots in between, 2017 has been another exciting year. Tricky to narrow down my favourites, but here we go!
Two Weddings and No Funeral
A common sight on this trip
Although seven flights in two weeks, including from the UK to NZ and back, nearly was the death of me! I always knew that it would be ambitious to squeeze in just two weeks at home, especially as that featured back-to-back weddings on a Friday and Saturday, in different islands no less. But it was wonderful to start 2017 by seeing my family, soaking up some quality NZ sunshine, and celebrating with all my friends.
All the Good Eats in Vienna
For sure, we squeezed in the cultural experiences in Vienna too – a highlight being the beautiful dancing Lipizzaner horses. But we paaaacked in the good eats in this trip, from the iconic torte and strudel to delicious open-topped sandwiches and schnitzel bigger than my head. Plus one of my favourite brunches ever – I still think about that meal at Ulrich!
Exploring the London Backyard
From Walthamstow to Westminster Palace (aka the Houses of Parliament) and Greenwich to Hever Castle, I had a spring of exploring my own backyard, and I loved it. The iconic neon signs of God’s Own Junkyard could not contrast more with Westminster’s hallowed passage ways, but both were magical to visit.
A solo trip to wander round Hever Castle as a treat to break up my Easter of study was very well timed, given I managed to break my arm the next day and spent days house-bound. Finally, experiencing the ferry ride down to Greenwich with my visiting parents was a great way to give them a different perspective on a city they both know well.
Andalusian Road Trip with the Family
After a weekend in Granada in March to visit Zoe and her boyfriend Tom’s latest stop in their itinerant European lifestyle, I returned in May to celebrate her birthday alongside the rest of my family. We ate our way around southern Spain, with particular highlights being stops in Córdoba and Seville, and Granada’s magnificent Alhambra. A trip to remember forever!
A Taster of Kraków
Allotting nearly a day of a weekend trip to visit Auschwitz was essential – although I think I could have passed on the afternoon spent at the salt mine. Instead, I’ve just had a taste of Krakow’s vibrant colours, cool bars and beautiful architecture – enough to convince me I need to go back for at least a couple of days exploring the city properly.
A Summer of Music
I wanted a summer of live music and that’s certainly what I got! Highlights were Frank Ocean at Lovebox, the Killers at British Summer Time and the XX at Bestival, but I spent many great hours dancing with friends to old favourites and new discoveries.
Zurich in the Sunshine
Trip number three to visit Zoe and Tom, this time in their summer stop of Zurich. Completely different to my last visit there, we swapped Christmas markets and wintry panoramas for lakeside strolls and river jumps. It was perfection!
A Return to Lisbon
My most popular Instagram of 2017 – everyone loves a colourful tram, it seems!
Nearly four years on from my first love affair with Lisbon, I returned – and fell for it all over again. I’m convinced that it’s one of my favourite European cities – that combination of beach life, beautiful architecture and amazing food is just what I love in a city!
Sea Frolics at Whitstable
While I do love London, it’s great to be able to quickly escape it to. A short train ride will take you from the busy city streets to the beautiful pebbly beach of Whistable, where we gorged on delicious fresh seafood, soaked in the sunshine, took a very quick dip in the chilly waters, and gazed on its gorgeous colours. An ideal weekend escape!
Menorca & Barcelona
More reliable than English sunshine in August is… Spanish sunshine! After amazing trips to Mallorca and Ibiza, ticking off the third Baleric Island was simply a pleasure. The tried and tested recipe of a great group of friends, a lovely villa, sunshine and beautiful waters is one I’ll happily keep repeating – it was a lovely mini-break.
But the Spanish fun didn’t stop there! Joe and I stopped over in Barcelona for just 24 hours so I could give him a quick taste of one of my favourite European cities. Delicious tortilla, the beautiful Sagrada Familia and a sombre walk down La Rambla – it was fortunately enough to convince him we’d have to go back for a much longer trip.
Laura (in orange) – our fabulous birthday girl – sure knows how to celebrate!
The best birthdays are those celebrated with travel, in my humble opinion. Fortunately most of my friends agree, including Laura, who convened a group of us to celebrate in style on the Amalfi Coast for her birthday. Delicious food, gorgeous views – the trip was topped off with a luxurious boat trip around Capri where we popped champagne and swam to our hearts content. May this tradition long continue!
Lest you think my Italian water-based adventures were done for the year… it was time to sail again! After an amazing trip around Greek Islands with Medsailors a couple of years ago, we decided to set sail for the Aeolian Islands of Sicily. This is the first year Medsailors has offered this route and I can’t recommend it enough – highlights were ALL the pasta, the gorgeous islands and hiking to the top of Stromboli to watch the volcano erupt!
Like Lisbon, I returned to Budapest after a few years, and loved the city anew. Seeing it clad in its autumn colours was very special, and getting to share one last travel adventure with Emma before her return to NZ was bittersweet.
The last of my four trips this year to visit my sister and her boyfriend in their latest European home, Oslo was icy cold but lots of fun. I’d love to return in the summer to properly explore the fjord and Oslo’s colourful streets.
A little daunting to realise that I have yet to blog about almost all of 2017… but given I also packed in a post-graduate diploma, an extremely busy working year topped off with a promotion (yay!) and, y’know, life… I’m ok with it! At least I won’t be short of material for next year, along with my travel wishlist for 2018 – if you’re interested to know what appears on that, click here!
In the meantime, one of these might inspire you for your own plans:
- 7 Awesome Things to Do in Bergen
- An Epic Day Hiking Mount Snowdon
- 36 Hours of Fun in Lyon
- Hiking the Seven Sisters
- Road-Tripping the Scottish Highlands
What was your 2017 travel highlight… or highlights, if you’re finding it as impossible to narrow down as I did?!