From spending Valentine’s Day in New York, to our annual mother-daughter trip, to a holiday with one of my best friends, to spending 5 weeks in what I now consider my favourite country, it’s safe to say that 2017 has been another successful year of travel. Here’s a summary of my travels this year.
February half term took me back to one incredible city: New York. This time I visited with my boyfriend. It was a gift from his parents for his (very late) 21st. I couldn’t believe the location of our hotel, right on Times Square. We spent 5 days exploring the city and even spent Valentines Day there. Highlights included seeing the view from the Empire State Building at sunset, cycling around Central Park in the snow, eating rainbow bagels and seeing the famous ‘Friends’ building.
This year my mum and I visited the Alsace in France, a region well known for its wine and picturesque villages. We stayed in Strasbourg and had day trips to many places including Colmar and Eguisheim, a village we fell in love with. We also had a trip along the wine route where we tried some delicious sweet rhymes. We chose the perfect time of year to visit Strasbourg as there was a magnificent house covered with wisteria.
One Wednesday my travel buddy, Lani, and I decided we should go on a city break. By Saturday it was booked! We chose to go to Poland and stay in two places. One was Zakopane, a mountainous town which overwhelmed us with it’s charm and beautiful hikes. Our next stop was Krakow where we explored the local food scene and took day trips to an amazing colourful village, Zalipie, Auschwitz and the Salt Mines.
In order to visit The Big Cat Sanctuary, where I adopt a cheetah, Mike and I decided to have a weekend away in Kent. We stayed in a hotel right next to Leeds Castle so we spent the Saturday exploring the castle. I wasn’t expecting the grounds to be so large. There are some beautiful walks and we loved seeing the inside of the castle. It’s wonderful that the castle is still so widely used for various events and functions. On Sunday we visited The Big Cat Sanctuary for a second time where we had a talk followed by walking around and seeing the cats. Read about our first trip here.
July and August
In July I visited what I now consider to be my favourite country, Sri Lanka. I firstly spent 2 weeks volunteering for a fantastic cause, the Sri Lankan Wildlife Conservation Society. With a group of volunteers, we spent each evening monitoring wild elephants, interviewing local villagers about the conflict and learning an incredible amount about elephant conservation. I loved every minute. After this, Mike flew out and met me in Kandy. Together we stayed in Kandy, Ella, Tissa, Tangalle, Mirissa and Colombo. We had many day trips including breathtaking hikes and we travelled on the most scenic train journey in the world. I spent 5 weeks in Sri Lanka overall and completely fell in love with the country.
To celebrate 3 years together, Mike surprised me with a weekend away to Margate, a charming seaside town in Kent. We stayed in the old town in a beautiful guesthouse. We explored the shell grotto, an underground walkway where the walls were covered in shells, walked along the beach and visited cute cafes. On the way back Mike had another surprise for me; we stopped at Leeds Castle to watch the fireworks!
My final trip of the year was, once again, in England. Mike and I went to Donna Nook Nature Reserve to see the seals. Each year in November, seals come ashore to give birth to their pups. We were a bit later in the season but we still managed to see a large number of seals and pups. It was fantastic being so close to these wild animals without seeming to disturb them one bit.
Plans for 2018:
Cotsworlds, Morocco, Italy, Switzerland, Singapore, Borneo, Germany.