It’s that time of year again, when I look back over the last twelve months. I’ve had a busy travelling and blogging year, with a round the world trip, meeting up with other bloggers, and exploring my own backyard.
The ruins of St Mary’s Abbey, York
January was a quiet month, planning the year’s travel and visiting the Destinations Show in Manchester for inspiration. But we did some local exploring, including a visit to the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey in York – the first time I’d been there despite going to York many times before.
Devil’s Cauldron, Arthur’s Pass, New Zealand
In February we set off on our round the world trip, spending a few days in Tokyo before going on to New Zealand. In Tokyo we had heavy snow and food poisoning but still managed some sightseeing. And in New Zealand we based ourselves in Christchurch but travelled around the South Island, fitting in wine tasting, whale watching, walking and much more…
The iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
We finished the RTW trip in March, ending with a few days in San Francisco. It rained all the time but we still managed to walk up and down the legendary hills, ride the cable cars and drink some cocktails. I’d only ever been in the US once before and was amazed at how much I loved it – a return visit beckons!
Gold Hill, Shaftesbury – scene of the classic Hovis advert
I finally got round to setting up my Instagram account in April – check out some of my pictures here. And we spent some time travelling in the UK, including a week in Devon and a visit to Shaftesbury in Dorset where I went to school many years ago. The picture may look familiar to UK readers – Gold Hill featured in the classic Hovis advert.
The grotto church of San Michele at Cagnano Varano, Puglia
In May I was lucky enough to be the guest of Eco Pizzicato B&B; in Puglia’s Vico del Gargano. This part of Italy is popular with Italians but largely ignored by everyone else and I was happy to have the opportunity to share it with my readers. You can read about this trip here.
Stained glass at St Helen’s Church, Welton, East Yorkshire
In June we did lots of local walking, trying to get into shape for our forthcoming walk along the Yorkshire Dales Way. We took the opportunity to explore some nearby villages, including Welton whose church has some rather fine stained glass by William Morris and Edward Burne‑Jones.
In Wensleydale the silage bags advertise the local cheese!
More walking in July, including a few days in Wensleydale. As well as the walking we sampled the cheese and admired the abundant waterfalls.
Cairn on the Cam Road, the highest point of the Dales Way
We walked the Dales Way in August. This is an 84 mile walk from Ilkley in Yorkshire to Bowness‑on‑Windermere in Cumbria, passing through the beautiful and unspoilt countryside of the Yorkshire Dales. Much of the route was previously unknown to me, and I discovered some lovely remote villages; despite heavy rain (and mud!) much of the way it was an unforgettable experience.
The Cutty Sark, London’s historic sailing ship
In September I was in London for the annual conference of the Historical Novel Society. I took the opportunity for some sightseeing as well (to say nothing of visiting restaurants and pubs!), including the famous Cutty Sark – a 19th century tea clipper and the fastest sailing ship of its time.
The Temple of Athena Pallas, Athens
October was the annual TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange) European conference in Athens. This was a great opportunity to meet up with fellow bloggers and to explore Athens. Of course I went to the Acropolis but I discovered that there is much more to Athens than this – I went on tours of modern and Byzantine Athens as well as a truly scrumptious food tour.
A typical autumn day in England
November was a time for enjoying the English autumn and planning next year’s trips.
These traditional oasthouses have now been turned into a hotel
And in December we were off to Kent for Christmas, visiting family and taking a couple of days out. The picture is of some old oasthouses – traditional barns for drying hops – typical of this part of the country.
So what about 2015? Well, we are off to South Africa in January and back to New Zealand in March. And in April there will be the TBEX conference in Spain. But who knows what the rest of the year will bring?
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