With 2013 done and dusted I thought it would be fun to summarise all the places I visited last year and create a "bucket list" of places I would love to visit over this year and 2015. Hopefully, over the coming months I will be able to write individual posts on each of these trips, but for now, this will have to do :)
Hamish and I were lucky enough to ring in the New Year in New Zealand with his parents in the National Park. Picture a tiny little wooden hikers lodge, one(ish) street, one railway station (not in use anymore) and 2 pubs, all sitting in the foreground of the massive Mt Ruaphehu (used as part of Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings movies) - quiet, peaceful and stunning. We spent the first week of January exploring the world-renowned glow worm caves, Auckland City, Waiheke Island and Rangitoto Island/volcano. It was a holiday of a life time - I can't wait to share a full post on it soon. Everyone should try and visit New Zealand at least once in their lives.
In February I changed jobs and managed to organise the start date of my new job so that I was able to have some time off - always a good thing! I spent this time recharging and visited some family in the UK. I spent a few nights with my Nana in Manchester before heading back down south to see my mom in the Midlands.
Hamish and I spent Easter in Scotland. We met up with an old school friend of mine who I hadn't seen in years and had a lovely weekend being tourists in Edinburgh and even managed to fit in a day trip to the Highlands and a spotting of the Loch Ness monster [he is real!].
|Beautiful Scottish Highlands|
|Beautiful Scottish Highlands|
May turned out to be a pretty busy month, starting off with a long weekend in the North of Spain. I had no idea it was such a beautiful area. We met up with one of Hamish's friends from Australia and the three of us toured around San Sebastian, Pamplona, Sanguesa, Monasterio de Leyre and even hopped across the border to France for dinner in St Jean Pied de Port which also happens to be the starting point of the Camino de Santiago pilgrims walk which is something that is definitely now on my bucket list.
|St Jean Pied de Port|
Towards the end of May we flew out to South Africa for a long weekend so I could spend some time with my oldest and best friend and her beautiful family. It was a fleeting visit to Johannesburg, and I made Hamish promise it did not count as his SA trip - he needs to see that beautiful country properly :)
We had the most wonderful summer in 2013 and I loved every second of it. June and July were spent in London and the UK. We made a trip to the Lake District with my dad and Nana in June and in July we went to a wedding in Cambridge. We spent long lazy evenings having picnics in parks, swimming in outdoor pools near Hampton Court and walking along the river Thames at Kingston. Perfection!
This must have been one of the busiest months of my entire life. We spent a weekend in Northern Ireland and did a little road trip along the Causeway Coastal route which included seeing the beautiful Giants Causeway rock formations and the lovely Dunluce Castle ruins. We also managed to squeeze in a Black Cab tour around Belfast. I will go into this in more detail at a later stage, but I highly recommend it, it was so fascinating and interesting hearing all about the Troubles.
We then had a quick trip to Berlin, Germany to meet up with some more friends (I love having friends all over the world, it gives us even more of a reason to travel to new places). It was my first time to Germany and I certainly hope not my last. I will be recapping this whirlwhind trip in a full blog post later on.
To top August off, on the 31st we headed off on our US adventure - first stop: NEW YORK CITY!!
|New York City [pic taken from Brooklyn]|
I think that as this was my birthday month it was only fair that it was extra amazing. We spent the first two weeks of September road tripping around the East Coast of the USA with Hamish's parents. The last time I went to the states I was 10 and was just pleased to get Mickey and Minnies autographs. This time around, I literally fell head over heels in love with the country. We went to New York City, the Hamptons, road tripped up the lighthouse dotted coast of Maine to Bar Harbor and then went inland though the forests of New Hampshire to Vermont before making our way back down to the beaches of Connecticut and back up to Boston in Massachusetts. I loved every single second of it. Another highlight of the trip was the quick stop off in Canada to see the magnificent Niagara Falls. They were breathtakingly beautiful and well worth the detour. I am so excited to write about this trip soon and get to relive it all over again in my mind.
|One of hundreds of lighthouses in Maine|
In October I went on a girls trip to Turkey for my lovely friend Sam's hen do. The weather was perfect and it was such a nice break lying in the sun for three days! October also saw Hamish and I jetting to Milan and Lake Como for a long relaxing autumn weekend. My mom joined us on this trip which made it extra special. I love Italy and it will certainly be featuring on my 2014/2015 travel bucket list.
|Stunning view from Bellagio|
|Me and mom, Lake Como|
Another few months spent enjoying our own "backyard". We had a fantastic weekend in the Cotswold's with two other couples and stayed in the quaintest [read creepiest] log cabin in the woods miles away from anything or anyone else. Walking through the English countryside is a new found favourite activity of mine and I hope to do a lot more of it this year. We also managed to get up to my moms for a weekend before Christmas in December and then again for the actual Christmas break. She lives in a tiny village in Leicstershire and it is always a relaxing break from London city life.
|Cabin in the woods|
|Walk through the countryside|
2014/2015 Bucket List: (In no particular order)
- Greece [Corfu and some of the isles]
- The Amalfi Coast in Italy
- Hong Kong
- The great wall of China
- Explore the ancient temples of Angkor, Cambodia
- Climb Snowden in Wales and Scafell Pike in England
- Visit the Swedish Lapland and see the Northern lights in Norway
- Blue Lagoon in Iceland
- Go back to New Zealand and see the South Island and more of the North Island
- Road trip from England to the Interlaken region of Switzerland
- Show Hamish South Africa properly [booked in for later this year :D]
- West Highland Way walk (or part of it)
- Camino de Santiago de Compostela Pilgrimage walk (part of it - the whole thing can take weeks!) in France and Spain
- French Polynesia
- Visit the German Christmas Markets
- Mt Everest Base Camp
- Climb Mt Kilimanjaro
- Road trip through the deserts of Namibia and canoe down the Orange River with friends
- Visit the Iguaza falls in Argentina
- Walk the Inca Trail to Machu Piccu in Peru
Okay, so I am aware that this list is a bit idealistic and will probably take [alot] more than two years to conquer, but I have to start somewhere, right?
I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and holiday break and wish you all the best for this new year, I hope 2014 is magical!