The New Year is here and one of the pleasures of the holiday time is dreaming of all the places I might visit in 2009. There’s a world of possibilities out there. But before I tell you about my plans, I’d like to pause and look back over the last year’s adventures. I don’t think there’s anywhere that I wouldn’t love to go back to again and explore more fully.
We kicked off the New Year with a family get-together at Centre parcs at Longleat, staying in cabins in the woods and relying on our bikes to get around the holiday park. Our teenage crew tried out some different sports and hung out in the indoor pool complex with wave machine and lazy river. It’s an ideal place for a family get together but on the downside the cost of cabins in high and almost all the activities cost extra. You can read about it in this article;
At the start of the year I had a great weekend in Cornwall with friends at Treyarnon Youth Hostel. Despite it being February, the air was clear and the skies were blue and we blew away the cobwebs with walks along the cliff and the beach. The surfers were out too, bobbing like seals in the water. We visited the fishing village of Padstow and took the ferry across the estuary to discover a half buried chapel in the sand dunes. Cornwall is a couple of hours drive from my house, so it’s a favourite weekend destination for us, and I’d recommend it for beautiful beaches, great surfing and wild seascapes. Read about my weekend in these articles;
Bright skies and blue seas at Treyarnon in Cornwall
A visit to Padstow and a walk through the dunes to St Enodoc
At the beginning of April I spent a few days with my family in Valencia, the third largest city in Spain. It’s similar in feel to Barcelona which is a little further along the coast, but with a more traditional, Spanish feel. This was one of my favourite trips of the year, partly because the city had a great combination of relaxation and sightseeing, and partly because we made a new local friend who recommended some things that we wouldn’t have found on our own. Read about some of the things I enjoyed most in Valencia;
Late April saw the generations coming together for a long weekend to Rome with my son and my parents. We stayed in a religious guest house near the Vatican and managed to cover most of the must-see sights such as St Peter’s Basilica, the Collisseum, Spanish steps and Trevi Fountain. I had mixed feelings about Rome as most places were very crowded and I felt in danger of being ripped off at every turn. I’d like to go back and enjoy some of the less touristy spots at a more relaxed pace, rather than ticking off a list of the obvious sites, but how can you go to Rome and not see the Colisseum? Here are some of my favourite articles from the trip;
Due to our trip to Ethiopia being postponed, I planned our August holiday in Sardinia at short notice, attracted by a combination of cheap flights, warm weather and the beautiful coastline. We stayed in a campsite bungalow in the resort of Cala Gonone then moved inland into the mountains for a few days at the end of the holiday. We enjoyed the swimming, snorkling and boat trips but after a while the children got bored, as it was too hot for many of the other activities such as bouldering or mountain-biking. I’d love to explore Sardnina more fully and would go in the spring or autumn with a hire car to tour and see all the different areas. Here are some of my favourite articles from the trip;
In October, we enjoyed some late-season sunshine on the Greek island of Zakynthos. As my sister has lived there for 20 years, I’ve been many times before, but this time I was able to write about the island on my blog. We always stay for a week, and hire a car for part of the time, so we can get around to some of the beautiful beaches and other sites. I made some new discoveries this year and although we experienced warm sunshine, the cyclamen and pruning of the olive trees signalled that autumn was on the way. Here are some of my favourite articles from the trip;
In between the organised holidays, I’ve been out and about in my home patch of Bristol, in Richmond and London where my parents live and down to Devon to see friends. Here are some of my favourite articles from last year that bring back the things I saw on my days out;
The one that got away
My big disappointment was that we didn’t get to Ethiopia, where we have friends working for the next year or two. Unfortunately the dates just didn’t work out and at short notice I organised our summer holiday in Sardinia instead. I have high hopes that we’ll be able to get to Ethiopia this year instead, as our friends are now settled and keen to take us camping by the southern lakes (stay away from the hippos) and searching for the rare Abyssynian wolf. Read about my plans in this article;
When I tell people I write a travel blog, their next question is often ‘so do you travel a lot then?’. Having reviewed a year’s travel I’d have to say the answer appears to be yes (for someone who’s working with a family). And yet most of my family and friends travel just as much as I do, so I’m certainly not an exception. I’ve concluded that travel is a state of mind and my blog is a way of sharing and experiencing that travel to the full. So here’s to a Happy New Year of travelling and blogging in 2009 – I’ll be sharing my travel plans with you very soon.