At last, the annoying tones of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ have finally faded, along with the remnants of 2017. Not the best year, with most of the world repeatedly punching itself in the face we’re just relieved we scraped through it unscathed. Unlike my initial predictions, we can start 2018 on a positive note as we haven’t ended up foraging for food in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
Hope you’re not too depressed, world news aside, personally we were lucky enough to have had quite a good 2017. We had the chance to visit many new and exciting (and not so exciting) destinations. So in no particular order, here are our top 10 favourite travel moments of 2017.
Hiking The Svínafellsjökull Glacier In Iceland
Iceland is a spectacular place and despite its popularity and increasing crowds, it doesn’t take long to get out of the city and feel completely alone amongst its rugged, volcanic landscape. About 4 hours out of Reykjavik is the Svínafellsjökull Glacier, it has been used in a number of films but recently as Dr Mann’s ice planet in Interstellar. So it was great to spend an afternoon hiking in the footsteps of Matt Damon but without the space suits.
Watch our first Icelandic Glacier Hike.
Visiting Pandora, The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Orlando
It took Disney long enough to build, but last summer Pandora, The World of Avatar finally opened at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The theming was amazing and despite the crowds and the 90-minute queue to get on the rides, it was actually enjoyable. It’s also good to visit somewhere in Disney which was not covered with the dreaded bug-eyed princesses from ‘Frozen‘.
Watch our trip to Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Lunch On The Shore Of Lake Como, Northern Italy
It doesn’t get much better than taking a private boat across Lake Como, Italy to lunch at an exclusive lakeside restaurant. It makes a nice change from a pack of sandwiches and a dishwater cup of coffee in a plastic cup. During our lunch, a few other people arrived on their Riva Aquarama speedboats but alas no George Clooney and Amal.
Watch our boat trip from Bellagio across Lake Como.
A Winter City Break To Kraków, Poland
It’s always good when you find a place that is quick and easy to get to, reasonably priced and far better than expected. Kraków, Poland last February was one of those destinations, cheap flights, really cool hotels and restaurants and a great city to explore on foot if you don’t mind the winter’s weather. Although, as so many people wear masks over their mouths in the winter, everyone does end up looking like Tom Hardy’s ‘Bane‘ from Batman.
Watch our tour of the Old Town, Krakow.
Visiting Salem At Halloween, Massachusetts, USA
Halloween, Americans and a New England town where they used to hang witches, what could be a better combination for a bizarre and spooky day or two. Only a short train ride from Boston, Salem with its rich history is actually worth a visit any time of the year. Just don’t forget your broomstick.
Read more about Salem, Massachusetts.
Getting To Turn Left On The Plane
Fed up with being crammed into economy class and always wondered what happened beyond that mysterious curtain we finally got upgraded on a long haul flight. What was good wasn’t really the extras but the lack of fuss, the personal check-in and the exclusive stress-free security. However, what isn’t so great is having to troop back to sardine class on the next flight!
Watch our trip to Boston with Virgin Upper Class.
A Birthday In Manhattan, New York
Whatever people claim, there are only a handful of truly global cities which seem to stand alone, even from their own countries. Of course, one of these is New York with its classic skyline and vibrant soundtrack and atmosphere. When you visit for the first time, whatever the hipsters say, you must see these iconic attractions. After all, this is why the city is famous in the first place, you can leave all those generic coffee shops until later, most cities have enough bearded baristas.
So it was great to celebrate a birthday by having lunch at Gabriel Kreuther’s restaurant and ending the night in a rooftop bar watching the lights on the Empire State Building.
Watch our highlights of New York City.
Riding The Heathrow Pods For The First Time
Not the most glamorous of locations – the Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 business car park ‘Pod Parking’ service. Getting to ride on these little driverless cars which transfer you from the business car park to the terminal building. The 10-minute trip still makes us a smile, it’s like being 5 again at your local funfair.
Watch us having a ride on the Heathrow Airport Pods.
Making Proper Paella In Castellón, Spain
Exploring Castellón, a region of Spain which is often overlooked by UK visitors. While we were there we tried making traditional paella which was originally made by labourers from ingredients they had to hand including rabbit, chicken, rice, green and white beans, snails as well as saffron. Surprisingly, no seafood is used as this is a modern addition.
Read more about Castellón, Spain.
Glühwein And Brätwursts In Hamburg, Germany
What’s better than ending the year at a German Christmas market. Nothing says Christmas more than eating too many sausages washed down with warm, sweet alcohol. This was our second visit to Hamburg and we were surprised how much we enjoyed the place. It is definitely worth a visit in the spring or summer too.
Read more about our 48 hours in Hamburg.
So that was 2017, we still don’t really know where we will get to in 2018 but it will include Nice in France, Rotterdam in the Netherlands and a trip back to the USA.
Happy New Year from Mr & Mrs W.