Well, 2016 is almost over and it’s time to recap another 12 awesome months of travel. It was also my first full year of blogging as Travel Lexx and I’ve had an absolute blast along the way!
So, here are my highlights of 2016!
After a busy 2015 (there were only two months when I didn’t travel abroad) I kicked off 2016 with a weekend break to Paris with a friend. It was a rare occasion of me handing over the reins to somebody else and just enjoying the trip without having to plan anything! We had a blast, focusing on less-crowded sights and experiences. We walked along underground passages lined with six million bones, ate at an organic restaurant with a difference and enjoyed jazz in a medieval dungeon. Check out my 5 Off-The-Beaten-Path Things To Do In Paris!
Less than a week later, I was jetting off to Thailand for some much needed sunshine! Flying with China Southern Airlines, I had a short stopover in Guangzhou and had time to review its International Boarding Area. I was lucky to see in the Chinese New Year in Bangkok, cycled around the “Green Lung” of the capital and explored temples and communities of Nonthaburi Province just outside the city. I spent a few days in Chiang Mai, one of my favourite cities in the world, before enjoying the sunshine and beaches of Koh Chang in Thailand’s east. Cruising around Koh Chang Archipelago was a definite highlight.
A top deal at a travel show and clever use of annual leave around the Easter holidays allowed me to explore Morocco. I wandered around Marrakech’s medina and countless souqs, discovered one of the highest waterfalls in North Africa and rode a camel to a Berber camp in the Sahara. I met tree goats, got lost in the winding streets inside Rabat’s Kasbah and met snow monkeys in a blizzard in the Atlas mountains. And, of course, I ate a lot of mouth-watering Moroccan food.
I attended my first blogging conference – Traverse in Cardiff. It was a great way to meet fellow bloggers, attend useful workshops and seminars as well as network in cool venues around the city. I have already booked my tickets for next year – the 2017 event will be taking place in London from 24th-30th April.
Later in the month, I headed to Amsterdam to celebrate Koningsdag, or King’s Day, in the biggest street party of the year. I also had time to enjoy some amazing food in the capital as well as spend a day in cosy Utrecht.
May and June
These were the first two months since August 2015 that I didn’t travel but I kept busy. I had a pretty successful year in sport (my other passion) with the tennis competitions hotting up around this time.
I went from attending a work conference in the Midlands straight to the airport in London for my next trip to Croatia and Montenegro. Along with a friend, we partied at the Sea Dance music festival in Budva, managing to pack in plenty of sightseeing too. A day trip to Kotor included climbing up to a fortress overlooking a stunning bay and hiding from a storm in a crumbling church. Next up was Dubrovnik in Croatia, where we explored the city walls, kayaked around green Lokrum Island and were transported to the world of HBO’s Game of Thrones.
After saving some money and enjoying the summer weather in London, I headed to Provence to visit friends. I explored Marseille’s historic Vieux Port, climbed up to the Notre-Dame de la Garde church and wandered along timeless Le Panier district. I enjoyed an adventurous hike in the Calanques National Park and spent time navigating the cobbled streets of Aix-en-Provence.
Japan was 2016’s Big Trip and the Land of the Rising Sun did not disappoint. After a stopover in Istanbul, we flew to Osaka and ate our way around Dotonbori, with its unlimited culinary delights and explored the stunning Osaka Castle. Day trips to sacred Mt. Koya and Nara sandwiched an incredible few days in Kyoto with its many temples and shrines. Fulfilling a long-time dream of travelling on a bullet train, I headed to Tokyo, exploring its many diverse districts. I hiked the ancient Nakasendo Way, visiting post towns of Magome and Tsumago. I finished the trip with visits to Hiroshima and a beautiful island of Miyajima.
A quick weekend break to Munich for the Christmas markets and an awesome day trip to the magical Neuschwanstein Castle brought down the curtain on another busy year of travel.
2016 was great but 2017 could be a year of big new opportunities for me personally as well as for Travel Lexx. I can’t wait to find out what it’s got in store.
Happy New Year!