Reflections on a year of travel
I’ve been moaning lately about the lack of travel for me in 2017 – I just didn't go anywhere!
However, during my morning drive to work I realised I moved around quite a bit last year.
Perhaps the year, while on the one hand whizzed by, also dragged its heels getting from one end to the other. February seems so long ago but that’s when I took my first trip.
Barcelona and Milan
This was a trip to see my beautiful friend in Italy who was undergoing chemotherapy. Fortunately, she is recovering nicely now. I didn’t see the centre of Milan, but time spent with friends is important – the sole reason for this trip.
Barcelona was a stop-off on my way to Italy. It was cheaper for me to fly from Málaga to Barcelona, stay overnight and then on to Milan, than fly direct. These opportunities should not be wasted.
I love Barcelona. Not only the quirky Gaudi architecture but the feeling of the place. I wandered the back streets, found a nice bar, watched football, drank wine and ate good food. OK, my room in the hostel was not much more than a cupboard and if I had been an inch wider I would not have been able to get up the stairs (I was walking sideways as it was with my overnight bag), but it was all I needed a place to rest my head. It was also ideally situated in La Boquería, just off Las Ramblas. Popping back to this city and taking a left instead of a right and wandering without a clue as to where I was, was wonderful.
Another visit that was driven by pressing matters, this time my Godson’s wedding. Back to the place where I grew up (Maidenhead) and then onto Staffordshire/Derbyshire to see my best friend. It was May – it was cold; it’s England!
I got to visit Chatsworth House, somewhere I had never been before, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Sometimes I miss the homeland…
Madrid and Toledo
Late May and I was heading north again, this time as companion to a friend who was carrying out familial duties. We stayed in an attractive spa hotel in the centre of Toledo, which was a great base for me when I had a day of solo wandering as my friend visited her family.
I climbed church towers and despite the weak feeling in my knees – due to vertigo rather than the usual ageing bones – scanned the views over the medieval city. Toledo is definitely worth a visit. Madrid is like Marmite – you love it or hate it. I fall into the latter. The only positive point I could take from the trip was the Prado, which is incredible.
|From a speeding car - so not very clear!|
Travel then took a summer hiatus. I moved around the province of Málaga where I live and, of course, dipped into my favourite city as the whim took me. With the August fería, trips to the CAC gallery for a modern art fix and just the desire to see its streets and port I was there quite often. We also visited a village new to us – Moclinejo in the Axarquía, did the tapas route at Frigiliana’s Tres Culturas festival and found ourselves wandering round a stranger’s house in Torrox pueblo.
December saw me return to Córdoba for a flying visit to see the horses perform in the royal stables. As luck would have it, the hostel we stayed in was in an area of the city I’d never seen before. This led to much peering into courtyards, doorways and through gates to catch glimpses of something new. The horses were lovely, the Christmas market introduced me to wasabi covered chocolate (not a typical Córdoban foodstuff) and the narrow streets of the Jewish quarter were a pleasure to amble through. A beautiful city, well worth a visit.
And that was my year of travel.
In 2018, I intend to go to the places I had planned for 2017 but never made it to for a variety of reasons and add a few more to the list.
So far, the list includes:
· Florence and surrounding areas such as Lucca and Siena
· Isle of Wight – for the music festival but it will be nice to revisit places I’ve not seen for a few years such as Carisbrooke Castle and the Needles (before they erode away)
· Romania – particularly the Bucovina area which has been in my plans for more than 2 years
· Venice – I have a novel to finish, I need to return to get the feeling back of that enticing city
· Malta – it is European Capital of Culture in 2018, and I’ve wanted to explore more after my fleeting visit via cruise liner in 2016.
Fingers crossed I’ll manage it, and more!
|Christmas Day on the beach with the boys (and cava, naturally!)|