Where Heather travelled in 2012 – a year in photos

December 29, 2012 by  

At this time of year it’s nice to reminisce a little and let the pleasant memories of the year wash over us to create that rosy seasonal glow. Then we can all brace ourselves mentally to look forward to new plans, new places, things we want to do more of, things we want to do differently. I’ll be sharing my plans for Spring 2013 very soon, but in the meantime, here are some of my travel memories from the last year, which perhaps will provide some travel inspiration for your plans in 2013.

Pre-Christmas break in Gothenburg, West Sweden Photos: Heatheronhertravels.com

December 2011 – Gothenburg, West Sweden for a pre-Christmas break with my husband

I’m cheating a bit here when I include our trip to Gothenburg from the end of 2011, but then it’s my blog, so I’m allowed a little cheating and we did have a great time despite the snowy and windy weather.

Why Gothenburg? I’ve always liked Scandinavia; so clean, so together and everyone speaks perfect English, and I wanted a pre-Christmas gettaway with my husband when we could eat great food and get into a Christmas mood, with just the two of us.

Happy memories? Fantastic seafood and a chat with the oyster-opening champion Johan Malm at Restaurant Gabriel, our memorable Michelin star tasting menu at Basement with head chef Camilla Parkner, sheltering in Cafe Kanold from the wind over a cup of hot chocolate with chilli, the Christmas market on the cobbled streets of Haga with the music of the marching band, the workman’s graffiti in the back of the statue of Mother Svea just outside our window at Hotel Elite Plaza, the millions of sparkling Christmas lights at Liseberg.

Where did we stay? The beautiful, 5 star Hotel Elite Plaza, once the headquarters of the Swedish Fire and Life Insurance company and full of grand marble staircases and chandeliers.

Want to read more?
Our Winter Break in Gothenburg, Sweden – Podcast
8 Swedish Foods to try in Gothenburg, Sweden – Video
Exploring the Christmas Markets of Gothenburg

Winter weekend on the Gower peninsula, West Wales Photos: Heatheronhertravels.com

February – a winter weekend on the Gower in South Wales

Why the Gower? My son is at university at Swansea nearby and I wanted to get the whole family together, including my parents, to spend some time together near the sea.

Happy Memories? Long, blustery walks along the cliffs, the wide open beaches of Langland and Caswell, sitting with the papers and a cappuccino at Langland Bay Brasserie watching the rain beat on the windows, pretty painted beach huts and exotic spiky palms on Langland beach, watching the surfers bobbing in the water from the clifftop.

Where did we stay? Maryland, a spacious 4 bedroom holiday home which we booked through Gower Cottages, perfect for extended family gatherings and only a few minutes walk from the cliff path.

Want to read more?
Our winter weekend on the Gower in Wales – Langland and Caswell – Video

Family Road trip in Texas, USA Photos: Heatheronhertravels.com

April – Texas, USA for a family road trip

Why Texas? My husband had visited Texas on a military exchange a few years before and kept raving about it, plus we wanted to find somewhere we could enjoy as a family with good weather at Easter and flights that were not too expensive.

Happy Memories? Experiencing a Blast-off at Space Center Houston, the finger-licking BBQ at Black’s in Lockhart, cycling along Mission Reach to the Spanish Missions in San Antonio, an afternoon wobble shooting at Picosa Ranch (I actually shot something!), tubing down the river at Gruene followed by Bluebell ice cream at the old fashioned drug store, tequila tasting at the Cibolo Moon at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country, eating trailer food, trying on cowboy boots and shopping for vintage in SoCo, Austin.

Where did we stay? The comfortable Park Inn Houston North, conveniently close to the airport, The Mediterranean style Hotel Valencia Riverwalk in San Antonio with views over the Riverwalk, The luxurious JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort complete with its own waterpark, our Holiday Rental in the Barton Hills area of Austin booked through HomeAway and the gorgeous boutique style Hotel Sorella in the vibrant City Centre neighbourhood of West Houston

Want to read more?
Our Texas Road Trip Part 1 – Podcast – Houston, San Antonio, Picosa Ranch
The best of Texas – finger-licking BBQ and a slice of pie
Picosa Ranch – a luxury Ranch with a slice of Texas history – video

Girl's gettaway weekend in Winchester Photos: Heatheronhertravels.com

May – a girl’s weekend in Winchester

Why Winchester? I wanted a weekend gettaway with my sister and Winchester was easy for both of us to get to, as well as having loads of things to see and do in the city and the beautiful Hampshire countryside nearby for some walking on the South Downs Way.

Happy Memories? The Anthony Gormley statue standing ankle-deep in water in the crypt of the Cathedral, seeing the small wooden table in the house at Chawton where Jane Austen wrote her greatest novels, eating lardy cakes bought from the farmer’s market with a view of the sulphur yellow fields on the South Downs Way, watching the mesmerising water wheel grinding the grain into flour at the Winchester City Mill, spotting the artistic bollards outside The Old Vine where we had a delicious supper.

Where did we stay? The Winchester Hotel, a stylish, modern hotel that is an easy walk from all the historic sights.

Want to read more?
10 ways to spend a wonderful weekend in Winchester – video
Yellow fields with lacy edges – walking the South Downs Way near Winchester
On the trail of Jane Austen in Winchester

An early summer break with the family on Guernsey and Sark Photos: Heatheronhertravels.com

June – Guernsey and Sark in the Channel Islands

Why Guernsey? It’s just a short flight from Bristol and has a fascinating history as well as a beautiful coastline, plus we were all intrigued at the thought of visiting Isle of Sark where there are no cars

Happy Memories? Walking along the coast from Fermain Bay to Jerbourg point through the pine trees, the exotic treasure trove of Hauteville House, home of Victor Hugo, eating crab sandwiches from a beach kiosk with a view of the sea, cycling around the island of Sark and eating fresh lobster in the garden of the Sablonnerie Hotel, hearing the stories of the German Occupation from Guernsey tour guide, Gill Girard.

Where did we stay? Self catering Albany apartments in St Peter Port that are perfect for a family holiday and the St Pierre Park Hotel with lovely gardens and golf course

Want to read more?
Guernsey, the German Occupation and Potato Peel Pie
Our spring break on Guernsey and Sark – Podcast
10 delicious foods to try on Guerney - video

Family summer holiday on Zakynthos, Greece Photos: Heatheronhertravels.com

July – Zakynthos, Greece for a family holiday

Why Zakynthos? My sister lives on the island where she runs two hotels with her Greek husband, Denis so we like to visit her every year and explore some new corners of the island.

Happy Memories? Discovering Porto Limnionas, a rocky cove in the north of the island with turquoise water and a great taverna, sitting with a drink on the terrace of Harbour House restaurant at Agios Sostis with new friend Derek Linley hearing stories from his years coming to the island, our boat trip from Agios Sostis to spot the Caretta Caretta turtles in Laganas bay and swim in the sea caves at Keri, the Greek dancing night at Windmill Hotel which never fails to entertain us.

Where did we stay? My sister’s hotel, the Windmill Studios in Argassi with a view over the sea from the geranium filled terrace. She also runs the Windmill Bay Hotel just down the road.

Want to read more?
10 gorgeous beaches and places to swim on Zakynthos
Get in your car and drive! the bits of Zakynthos that you won’t see from your sunbed
Swimming the turquiose Blue at Porto Limnionas

A wild weekend on Dartmoor with the teenagers Photos: Heatheronhertravels.com

August – an adventurous weekend on Dartmoor with the teenagers

Why Dartmoor? My husband knows the moor well from his army days and we all love the wild scenery and endless opportunities for outdoor adventure that kept my teenage son and his friends busy

Happy Memories? Having lunch at the Okehampton station buffet imagining that I was Celia Johnson in the film Brief Encounter, watching my son and his friends splash around in the river on their gorge scrambling adventure, our walk on the moor with friends above Peter Tavy followed by a hearty lunch at the Peter Tavy Inn, climbing up to the Great Staple Tor and finding a letterbox to stamp our hands, the blissfully warmth of the heat cabin at Woodovis Park and a swim with the family in the pool.

Where did we stay? Woodovis Park in a comfortable mobile home. It’s an immaculate, 5 star, family run camping and caravan site which is a great base to enjoy all that Dartmoor has to offer.

Want to read more?
Wild and Wet adventures on Dartmoor – staying at Woodovis Park

Walking in the Alps on the Tour de Mont Blanc Photos: Heatheronhertravels.com

September – walking on the Tour de Mont Blanc in Switzerland and Italy

Why the Tour de Mont Blanc? I’ve been walking the TMB which is a long-distance mountain trail, in stages with my friend Julia and this was our third year on the trail. We both love the wild mountain scenery, the feeling of escaping our busy lives and the physical challenge of the walk.

Happy Memories? Watching the scenery change on the train journey from Geneva alongside Lake Lausanne and on the St Bernard Express, feeling on top of the world on the Grand Col Ferret at the border between Switzerland and Italy, staying at the fantastic Rifugio Walter Bonnati, undoubtedly the nicest refuge we’ve stayed in so far, having a picnic on the mountain overlooking Courmayeur and surveying the route we had just walked, the excitement at the start of the Tour des Geants in Courmayeur.

Where did we stay? A number of small hotels and mountain refuges; Gite Bon Abri in Champex Lac, Hotel Col de Fenetre  in Ferret, Rifugio Elena, Rifugio Walter Bonatti , Hotel Bouton d’Or in Courmayeur

If you plan to go
Click here to get my FREE Tour de Mont Blanc Packing guide

Want to read more?
The Tour de Mont Blanc Diaries Day 1 – Champex Lac to Ferret and a walk in the woods
The Tour de Mont Blanc Diaries Day 2 – Ferret to Rifugio Elena and over the pass into Italy

In Girona, Costa Brava, Spain Photos: Heatheronhertravels.com

September – Girona, Spain for TBEX

Why Girona? I attended the TBEX Travel Bloggers’ Conference being held in Girona where it was great to meet some of my  blogging friends in person and hear the speakers on different aspects of blogging.

Happy Memories? Staying in an apartment with Barbara Weibel, Isabel Romano and Laurel Robbins and just a floor down from Janice Waugh, Simon Falvo and Sarah and Terry Lee made for some great late night chats and bonding, eating pretty Pinxchos in a side street cafe with new blogging friends, wandering along the river with the tall pastel houses and criss-crossing bridges, the historic food by El Celler de Can Roca at the TBEX opening night party, the day out at Vall de Nuria in the Pyrenees after the conference

Where did we stay? A comfortable apartment in the old town of Girona booked through Wimdu

Want to read more?
Staying in the heart of Old Town Girona with Wimdu – video
A Sunday Stroll in the Pyrenees – Vall de Nuria
Case study – Costa Brava Marketing campaign – podcast interview with Jaume Marin

Travels in 2012 with the family Photos: Heatheronhertravels.com

And what about the family?

Of course for many of these trips I was with various members of my family, but they also did some travelling on their own that they wrote about for me on the blog;

My husband Guy spent much of August on a school trip in Namibia looking after a large group of teenage girls, where they did some community work in a local school, went trekking and had close encounters with the desert elephants and other African wildlife.

Read more about Guy’s Namibia Trip
Not that old zebra crossing joke again!
An encounter with the desert elephants of Namibia

My oldest son, William had a fun snowboarding trip in Andorra with a group of friends from university, which was spent mostly snowboarding, drinking and doing what students do on holiday. Read William’s article on Snowboarding in Pas de la Casa – a student’s guide

My daughter, Sophie-Anne wrote about her moving visit to Auschwitz with the Lessons from Auschwitz educational programme, designed to ensure that young people understand what happened and don’t let history repeat itself in the future. Read Sophie-Anne’s article on What every schoolgirl should know about Auschwitz – video

I hope you enjoyed my travels in 2012 and that you may feel inspired to visit some of these places yourself. I’ll be sharing my exciting travel plans for the spring of 2013 with you very soon.

This article by Heather Cowper is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com - Read more travel articles at Travel Blog Home

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

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Comments

22 Comments on "Where Heather travelled in 2012 – a year in photos"

  1. Hels on Sat, 29th Dec 2012 4:22 pm 

    Are those little green and cream buildings on the Gower Pensinsula privately owned beach huts? I have seen them elsewhere on British, Australian and other beaches, but these look neat, small and lovely.
    Hels´s last blog post ..Remarkable Sassoon family: the English branch

  2. Heather Cowper on Sat, 29th Dec 2012 4:39 pm 

    @Hels Yes, I believe that they are owned by the local council and then rented but these beach huts are generally very sought after so they stay with the same person for a long time. Langland is also a big surfing beach and the huts are ideal for surfers to change and leave their gear

  3. Barbara Weibel on Sun, 30th Dec 2012 3:05 am 

    What a busy year! Looking forward to reading about your plans in 2013.
    Barbara Weibel´s last blog post ..PHOTO: View From the Top of Eiffel Tower Looks Out Lights of Paris, While Blue Laser Sweeps Over City

  4. Carolyn on Sun, 30th Dec 2012 5:17 am 

    Wow! What a fantastic year of travel you have had. I’ve really enjoyed reading about all your travels along the way and look forward to more great posts in 2013.
    Carolyn´s last blog post ..Tips for travelling to Europe in winter

  5. Heather Cowper on Sun, 30th Dec 2012 2:09 pm 

    @Carolyn – Thanks, it’s been a very enjoyable travelling year and hope to have more fun in 2013. Happy travels

  6. Erik on Tue, 1st Jan 2013 3:09 pm 

    Heather,
    Love the new look! This is a great redesign!

    Looks like you had an amazing 2012. Hoping you have another great year in 2013 :-)

  7. Heather Cowper on Tue, 1st Jan 2013 5:30 pm 

    @Erik Thanks so much – I’ve been wanting to freshen things up for a while, so glad that I finally got around to it

  8. province on Fri, 18th Jan 2013 8:45 am 

    The places you have been visited were so nice. I hope you could also visit my country Philippines, I’m sure you will enjoy too.

  9. Heather Cowper on Fri, 18th Jan 2013 8:50 am 

    @Province I’d also love to visit the Philippines, so many places to see and never enough time!

  10. Wil on Thu, 24th Jan 2013 4:24 am 

    Looks like you had a great year. Lets hope 2013 treats you just as well!

  11. dave on Wed, 6th Feb 2013 6:16 pm 

    Nice year! Looks like you got the real Texas experience, shootin’ and all.

  12. Heather Cowper on Sat, 9th Feb 2013 2:21 pm 

    @Dave – Yup, my boys are really into that shooting thing, me not so much!

  13. Brandon Elijah Scott on Sat, 9th Feb 2013 4:33 pm 

    Great shots. Looks like a successful year of travel :)

  14. Richard Crest on Thu, 9th May 2013 5:40 am 

    That was fruitful and exciting 2012. You have been in so many beautiful places.

  15. Heather Cowper on Fri, 10th May 2013 7:32 am 

    @Richard – Yes and hoping to see many more in 2013

  16. Jaclyn Kader on Mon, 20th May 2013 2:44 am 

    What a fabulous year! Where would you love to go that you have not already been? What place is your absolute favourite…..or can you even pick one?

  17. Heather Cowper on Mon, 20th May 2013 8:34 am 

    @Jaclyn Difficult to choose a favourite but I always love going back to walk a bit more of the Tour de Mont Blanc – so far we’ve had fabulous weather so cross fingers that it will be the same when we go back again to fininsh it this year.

  18. tour package to darjeeling on Mon, 17th Jun 2013 12:07 pm 

    great pics and information.

  19. flight booking on Mon, 9th Dec 2013 5:13 pm 

    Awesome locations,i would like to visit atleast once in my lifetime.

  20. rent a car chennai on Sat, 28th Dec 2013 11:29 am 

    great locations and post.. Thanks for sharing

  21. cohibavillas on Wed, 5th Feb 2014 6:28 am 

    Awesome locations,i would like to visit at least once in my life with my friends and want to enjoy the location .

  22. Raj on Sat, 8th Mar 2014 7:54 am 

    What a journey you had done….Amazing.

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