To celebrate the end of an eventful year I have compiled my personal travel highlights. Feel free to comment your favourite 2016 travel moments and recommend trips for 2017!
Japan was a brilliant 24 day adventure, I am already planning my return. The biggest highlight was climbing Mt.Fuji, my first ever mountain climb. It was both tougher and easier than I expected. I found ascending reasonably easy but the descent took way longer than it should’ve as I found it really tough on my knees and ankles. Juna, school friend and travel buddy, suffered from altitude sickness which I was really lucky to avoid.
Everyone we interacted with were incredibly friendly and I am still in touch with many of the brilliant people we met. We visited 4 regions during our time, Kyoto was one of the most beautiful places I ever witnessed, Tokyo was brilliantly mad, Takayama was a stunningly peaceful mountain village and my visit to Hiroshima still lives with me everyday.
Wales was my chosen cure for my Travel Bug instilled by Japan. But it soon became another place for me to return to. Staying in a homely Snowdonia b’n’b we were up at 7.30am every morning for breakfast (I won’t be replicating that at home) and spent the entire day hiking and photographing. The locals were very approachable and my first taste of Welsh Rarebit certainly didn’t disappoint.
My first trip of the year was to the Southern coast of Italy, Naples with my two cousins Chloe (23) and Harry (21). Unsure of what to expect I really enjoyed my few days there and happily over-indulged on pizza. Visiting Capri out-of-season turned out to be a good move. Almost completely free of any tourists, most of the shops were shut (handy for a poor student) and there was a light breeze which created a perfect day for exploring the island and going off the beaten track (once I got over feeling sea-sick). Before flying out I heard some negative stories surrounding Air b’n’b, although I’ve used them before I’ve never used it in a country where I can’t speak the language. But my apprehension was unfounded as our host was an Italian actress who was incredibly buoyant, helpful and motherly towards us (we were often told to put a coat on to avoid catching a cold).
A short train ride away from Venice is Verona. Although famous for Juliet’s balcony it has a lot more to offer and worth at least a day of exploring. It has a mix of beautiful architecture and expensive shops. There’s a great range of restaurants to chose from and the locals went out their way to help us find our way and recommend their personal favourite parts of the city. Due to its close proximity to Verona we were able to spend a day at a very foggy Lake Garda.
I was really excited to return to Venice. I haven’t been there since I was a child and couldn’t wait to exploit the photo opportunities. It was just as I remembered although much, much busier and selfie sticks have now been invented. It was a complete coincidence that we were there for the Venice Marathon but the atmosphere was brilliant and they built ramps over the stairs which prevented loosing energy which I used to consume ridiculous amounts of pizza and pastry.
2016 has provided many challenges but also lots of personal highlights. These included my nan and mum watching me graduate, climbing my first mountain, going on my longest ever flight, travelling on a bullet rain for the first time and visiting Wales, which means I have now travelled to all the nations of the U.K. Although I flew 6000 miles to Japan I also made an extra effort to explore places closer to home which I really enjoyed. So heres to more adventures in 2017 both far and near!