It’s always interesting to peruse the travel destinations recommended each year by some of the well known travel sites. I like to travel away from the more popular places, but of course am curious if I’ve been to any of these recommended places already.
My travel plans for 2019 are a little in limbo currently – so whilst I start the research behind the scenes, today I thought it best to share with you some of the highlights from my 2018 travels.
I started off the year, escaping from the cold British weather, spending a couple of weeks visiting family in Spain. Although most of my time was spent working remotely, it was in a warmer climate; although it’s still pretty cold in Spain at this time of year. The biggest drawn is the food of course, with some of the best Spanish snacks.
We returned home via Barcelona, which I would recommend during the off peak season, as it’s not touristy and there’s still plenty to experience in the cooler weather. I found it was actually possible to visit Barcelona on a budget.
Northerners will no doubt have enjoyed the opportunity to visit a close neighbour, Seahouses. For us Southerners, a trip up North isn’t something that happens all that much – but I personally try to head up there at least once a year. This year instead of the Lake District, I ventured a little further and was not disappointed.
Seahouses is a wonderful little town, and if you visit between April and July, you will be treated to Puffin sightings (in their hundreds!) – of course you need to brave a boat trip out to the Farne Islands for this, but it’s really quite lovely. The area nearby has lots to explore too including the picturesque Bamburgh Castle – Farne Islands puffins, on a visit to Northumberland.
After a couple of months saving up for the visa (it’s not cheap) we took a long weekend to St Petersburg, for my first taste of Russia. A beautiful city, with plenty to do and see – check out the sights.
We were there just before the World Cup thankfully, and the highlight for me was getting creative and painting my own Matryoshka doll.
This was a busy month with catching up with friends from both home and overseas. We managed to fit in several day trips to places around the UK including Broadstairs and Bath. I would always recommend Bath for a visit, it has so much to offer all year round. Broadstairs is great for a seaside trip, and in June they hold the annual Dickens Festival which has lots happening.
Another UK destination, on a return visit from a work related stop, was Bristol in July. The weekend was a wash out with a lot of rain, but that didn’t really matter (even with just flip flops to wear!). The city has some great sights and plenty to do. I really enjoyed the Wallace and Gromit trail in particular but as an avid Geocacher, of course I would.
I visited 2 new countries for my birthday this year! Belarus and Lithuania, with time in both their capitals – Minsk and Vilnius. I would highly recommend either or both, although there are certainly some contrasts for 2 cities in such close proximity.
Somewhere I consider more of a beach destination, turned out to be quite an adventure as we travelled round the island of Cyprus by car. Staying in several of the main cities in the South we managed to cover a fair bit including a couple of border crossings into the North of the island.
It was a bit too hot for me personally, at least for my style of travel, thankfully we had aircon in the car.
A fleeting visit to the city of Seville, one of my favourite destinations, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to combine work with some tapas eating. Exploring the area of Triana, ensured we weren’t just covering old ground for the third time.
I highly recommend Seville any time of year, but avoid the peak of the hot weather in the summertime maybe.
The highlight of my travels this year has to be India. It can be one of those places you either love or hate, but for me, this being my 3rd visit, was particularly eye opening. It has changed, but it hasn’t – for example Delhi after a decade.
The food in India is absolutely amazing and in 3 weeks I didn’t get sick! I’m not sure many other people in our group did either, except after we had gone our separate ways.
I now have a stash of recipes which I’ve been slowly working through since being back in the UK and really loving reminiscing from this trip.
So that’s… one sec as need to count…
… 6 countries this year, and only 4 of those were new to me.
I just love going back to places again, and seeing how they have changed and I think in 2018 I’ve definitely done plenty of that, as well as getting under the surface of some other destinations.
Do check back in 2019, as there is plenty from my travels still to share… and of course the creative opportunities and my obsession with Street Art will continue ;).
I’d love to hear what you have planned for the year, as well as any recommendations.