Although like many people I will be glad to see the back of 2016, in some ways, it’s been a brilliant year and I’ve been lucky enough to travel a fair bit and enjoy some wonderful experiences.
2016 will be remembered as the year that saw me leave the UK post-Brexit only to arrive in America in time to see Trump elected! Despite what’s been happening in the wider world, I wanted to focus on the positives for my last blog entry of 2016 – if I’d been blogging all year, these are the highlights that would have got my full attention.
From history, architecture and spas to wonderful restaurants and quirky bars, Budapest has all of the ingredients needed for a relaxing but busy city break.
For me, the highlight was spending an afternoon the Szechenyi thermal bath complex, made up of 18 indoor and outdoor pools, steam chambers and saunas.
Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark
Not only does Copenhagen have some of the best restaurants in the world, it’s also one of the cleanest, safest and economically equal cities in the world.
Of course several of the highlights were food related, but the absolute must-see is Tivoli Gardens, which is the place that inspired Walt Disney to create the original Disneyland. The beautiful gardens and surroundings are incredibly well-kept and home to a great mix of modern rollercoasters and more traditional rides. I would love to go back at night, as the gardens look even more magical lit up in the dark.
Guide Dogs National Breeding Centre, Leamington, UK
On a ‘Puppy Helper Experience’, I Iearned about the guide dog breeding program and how dogs are trained, fed a litter of puppies and socialized another litter. A brilliant and educational day. Plus…puppies.
The Hot Tug, River Thames, UK
“You’re going in a what?”
Despite the odd (and possibly rude sounding) name, one of my favorite memories of 2016 is tugging down the Thames in this novelty vessel. The ‘Hot Tug’ is 6-seater hot tub inside a tug boat.
We felt like celebrities in the Hot Tug as people going past on other bigger boats were taking photographs and cheering our little boat.
The Hot Tug is available for hire from the runnymede-on-thames hotel.
Morecambe Bay Crossing, Cumbria, UK
Having lived in the Morecambe Bay area for several years when I was at Lancaster University, crossing the infamous sands on foot has been on my bucket list for a while. This shouldn’t be attempted without guidance from Cedric Robinson, the Queen’s Guide to the Sands. The sands shift daily which means no crossing is ever the same. This was an amazing experience shared with my family and one I am glad I experienced before we left for the states.
The top two are very well known ‘must do’ travel experiences, but hopefully, the last three are a little more interesting and perhaps less well-known. In 2016 I was also lucky enough to visit Spain, Sardinia, Cyprus, Germany, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia before moving to California. I should have started blogging sooner!
In 2017 I hope to reduce my carbon footprint and focus on shorter trips exploring the west coast of America, as well as taking the next steps in my career.
Happy New Year!