2017 was definitely a Year of Travelling for me. I milked the fact that I live in Luxembourg and was finally earning a regular wage (with the fantastic availability of lots of leave), and took lots of little (and other not-so-little) trips to new and old places.
This post is a list for me to remember all the places I visited in 2017, but also a few travel ideas for you that might spark some plans for the months to come.
I visited Paris in January with a group of lovely Italian women who also live in Luxembourg – we visited museums, ate delicious food, and did a lot of shopping and walking around. We also stayed in a real Parisian apartment in Montmartre – glorious.
My only new country for the year was Portugal, when I whisked my boyfriend away on a surprise trip for his 30th birthday to Porto in February. We ate a lot of yummy food and drank a lot of port. Mmm.
We went to Berlin in May for a long weekend visiting my boyfriend’s cousin. We had never been to this city before and we both fell in love. It is so painfully and excellently hipster.
Maybe this doesn’t really count, but I found myself alone on a sunny Saturday once and decided to drive to Liège in Belgium for a long day out. I visited churches and bookshops and had an amazing outdoor lunch in the sun. Trips on your own can be amazing.
One of the most spontaneous trips was to another new city, Padova, where we spent a couple of days boiling in the sun, visiting cultural sites and lots of churches, and eating the best food of our lives. Go to Osteria ai Scarponi if you’re ever there – we went twice in the span of 15 hours…
I visited Brussels several times throughout 2017, but only went once for a proper “touristic” visit, with a couple of my sweetest friends. We did the Magritte museums and lots of food and lots of bookshops. Also, wine.
Utrecht was another new city which we visited this year. A good friend of ours from Malta had moved there and we took the opportunity to visit him as well as his new city – which is gorgeous and very Dutch. Definitely one to return to.
Another old friend lives in Leeds, and we visited his lovely house in December for a couple of days of hearty English food and a Field Music festival. Great fun and lovely eggs.
I went to London twice this year, once as an add-on to our big Iceland trip (detailed below) (which was a bit of a bad idea, to go to the noise and craziness of London after two weeks in the serenity of rural Iceland). The other London trip was the annual Christmas trips with my two best friends, which is always a Christmassy success (even if my flight on the way back got cancelled, but that just meant that I could hang out and stay with some lovely London-based friends who took me in so willingly).
For Easter we planned a last-minute mega road trip around Normandy (with Amiens as our first stop to split up the car ride). It was so gorgeous – their churches are seriously impressive (I love a good church) and the countryside was beautiful, as were their beaches.
My big trip with my two best friends this year was Ireland for a week – we went on a road trip (and a boat trip) and had a lovely time hopping from one place to another. So many beautiful bookshops and puffins.
Another “big” trip for the year was Werchter in Belgium, for Rock Werchter. We camped for 4 days in a muddy field and listened to some great artists. It was OK, but there was so little personal space and hygiene, that “OK” is as good as it could have been. At least it then prompted me to want to go “proper” camping in a Luxembourgish field the following weekend where it was completely serene and quiet and peaceful – heaven.
The final trip of the year was Sicily for 5 days – it was a “bigger” trip, but in reality I spent most of it in our beautiful B&B in bed, because I got hit by a terrible cold which completely restricted me to a horizontal position + Netflix. At least I managed to climb Etna and explore Catania (and the fishing villages above Catania) a bit. I’m actually writing this post from my bed in Sicily. So glamorous.
THE BIGGEST TRIP
I went to Iceland for the third time in October with my boyfriend and my parents – it was quite an epic trip and required a lot of preparation and organisation, but it ended up being brilliant. We did a road trip around Route 1 but also spent a few days in the Westfjords (easily my favourite part of Iceland now). Log cabins, natural hot pots, incredible Northern Lights… It was very special.
I was never too far from a Malta trip this year. I visited in January, February, twice in March, May, June, August, September, November, and December. (Technically twice in December, if you count that we travelled to Sicily from Malta.) For my sanity, I’ve really come to realise that I need to touch base back in Malta at least once every two months, ideally every month. This might sound excessive to a lot of people, but it’s really what’s best for me right now. While I’m hoping to calm down with the travelling (at least concentrate on a few big trips rather than just a million little ones!) in 2018, I’m still keeping it in mind that I’ll need to fit in 6-10 trips to Malta during the year.
And finally, I should say that apart from the trips I listed above, I’ve done plenty of day/evening trips to places across the border in Belgium, Germany and France, but they don’t count since they were only for a few hours (especially since these usually only necessitate a 20-minute drive). Ah, the perks of living in a little country in the middle of continental Europe.
I’m very excited about my travel plans for 2018 – as I said, they will hopefully be more focused on longer, more special trips, and one of my resolutions is to travel to a new country… I wonder which one it will be. Any suggestions?