Travel highlights of 2015

When I returned back to the UK at the end of October 2014, I thought that was the end of a significant amount of travelling and adventures. I thought life in the UK would be boring. In 2014, I travelled to 12 countries (10 of these being new), and thought nothing could top that.

Truth be told, 2015 has been a fantastic year for travelling. I haven’t wandered too far at times (though others would tell you different), but I feel like my experiences have been much richer.

In 2015, I visited 6 countries, with 3 of them being new. Here is my travel review for the year. 

1. London, UK 

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2015 started off for me, celebrating in a secluded area in London, watching the fireworks. I had written a letter to myself, for my wishes and dreams for the new year. I was still living a transient lifestyle, and the start of my year was a little rocky, then it got so much better, as I actually started to settle.

I got to explore parts of London that I didn’t know existed. I fell in and out of love with the crazy city, but ultimately found it rather charming.

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2. Dublin, Ireland

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I’ve visited Dublin a fair few times in my lifetime, but it isn’t somewhere I’ve ever written about. It is a great city, with plenty to do, but my visit here back in Feburary was for one main purpose – a rugby match.

For those that know me, will know that I am a massive rugby fan, and that I support my national team; Ireland (even though I am from Northern Ireland, but that is another story).

Dublin isn’t too far from where my parents live (a 4 hour car journey), but at the time, I was living really close to London City Airport, and got a cheap flight to Dublin, then hitched a ride with my mum up North to see family for the weekend).

3. Berlin and Düsseldorf, Germany 

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In March, I was invited to a wedding, of a couple of good friends I met when living in New Zealand. He is a kiwi and she is German (hence the wedding being in Germany). So I stayed in the Berlin area for a few days, then took a train over to Düsseldorf, to meet up with another traveller – Marc, who I met in Chiang Mai.

I had previously been to Germany – to Berlin in fact, but on a short stop over, on the way back from Lativa (which I have yet to write about). Germany is a country which will be on my 2016 travel list also. It is a great country, with a lot of good meat and cheap beer.

4. New York, USA 

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This year saw my third trip to the states. I had previously been to Chicago (9 years ago now) for New Year. I returned this year, to visit one of the most populared cities in all of the states – New York. Before I travelled there, I was adament that I wouldn’t think too much of it, as it was a trip for my little sisters 21st birthday. It was a dream of hers, to always visit, and I was glad that I could make it happen for her.

In the end, I actually really enjoyed it. We had rented out a little apartment, and felt very much part of the neighbourhood. It may be somewhere I return to at some point, as there were so many places I didn’t get to see.

Looking out to the World from the Rockefeller Center in New York City, USA
Looking out to the World from the Rockefeller Center in New York City, USA

5. Turkey – various cities and towns

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Turkey was ever really a place that was high on my radar, until a friend of mine visited, and I was in awe of her photos. So it went on the list, and in June this year, I finally went.

I did a lot of the touristy stuff, in the beach area of Fethiye, as well as some off the beaten track stuff in Istanbul. I took a hot air balloon ride over a barely woken up city of Cappadocia, and I loved it.

Paragliding in Fethiye, Turkey.
Paragliding in Fethiye, Turkey.

I loved the tea, and the food. The locals were friendly, and despite the location, I was not worried at all for my safety.

6. Copenhagen, Denmark 

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Denmark was one of those cities, that I knew was cheap to get to, and not far away, but not so cheap to stay in, so I made a long weekend of it, and I loved it. It was orderly, and forward thinking, but it had some more creative areas to it, such as Christiana.

I loved its use of bikes, and did I bike tour with bike the city. Denmark really likes to show the rest of the World, what we should all be doing. Everyone I met, was proud to be Danish, and generally looked healthy and happy.

I’d like to explore more of Denmark, beyond the cities, one day.

7. Porto and Lisbon, Portugal 

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For the past 4 years, I have celebrated my birthday in different countries, and so I wanted to continue that theme. I’ve celebrated my birthdays mainly in Northern Ireland (as a youngster), then England, as a student, and progressed to France, New Zealand, Australia, and in a 5* hotel in Indonesia.

This year, I decided that I’d like to visit Portugal. It wasn’t ever somewhere high on my list, as all I had seen from friends photos, were the resort locations in the South of the country.

So I went on a city hopping trip, and covered Lisbon and Porto, both were beautiful. I loved the food and architecture. We made some travel mistakes, but saw the most beautiful train station in the World, and had a fine dining experience. I wouldn’t rate Portugal as my favourite destination this year, but it was a great place to visit.

8. Snowdon, Wales, UK 

Llyn Llydaw, an incredible lake in Snowdon
Llyn Llydaw, an incredible lake in Snowdon

Snowdon in Wales, is the highest peak in the UK, and in Wales. It was something I wanted to acomplish, after being taken up it, by train as a kid. I climbed it, and it was beautiful. The area is so secluded, and it was a great retreat.

Cimbing Snowdon was a great achievement, and it made me want to get back to climbing more peaks in the months and years to come.

9. Bath, England, UK 

Roman Bath Somerset

I had heard a lot of chat about Bath in England. How beautiful it was, and that I must visit. I did visit this year, for the first time, and it was beautiful. Though I didn’t actually have time to go to the Bath spas. I got to see wonderful historic buildings, the original ancient baths, and have wonderful cream tea.

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If you’ve not been, put Bath on your list. It is rather delightful.

10. Northern Ireland, UK 

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No round up of travel could be complete, without talking about my beloved home country of Northern Ireland. I have travelled a lot, but no matter where I roam, Northern Ireland, will always be home.

Sometimes I forget about how beautiful Northern Ireland is. The North Coast is a lovely place to visit. The Giant’s Causeway is a bit of a favourite for visitors, as  well as other places such as Downhill and the Dark Hedges (thanks to the Game of Thrones series).

I’ll ever tire of the beauty of my home country, and if you’ve never been – put it on your list.

 

I already have a number of trips booked for the start of the New Year, with Luxembourg, Slovenia and Brazil being up first. 

Where should I travel in 2016? Comment below and give me some inspiration! 

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