After a pretty low key June and July, August and September felt crazy busy. With a few long weekend trips, as well as city breaks, spread over both months, the weeks flew by.
October’s also set to be a busy month- I’m taking my first extended chunk of time off this year- spending a few days in Bucharest for a conference, then heading to Tel Aviv for a few days before flying to the States for a week for a friend’s wedding in Indiana, and to spend some time with family and friends in Pittsburgh.
I’m so excited to spend my favourite month of the year seeing so many people I love and doing such exciting things, but a part of me is also looking forward to the stillness of November- the only thing on the travel books is a long weekend trip to Lisbon.
Favourite moments from the month
Belfast, a city previously defined by The Troubles, is quick becoming a destination worthy of a city break. Slowly rising from its dark past, Belfast is less crowded and cheaper than Dublin.
Regarded as one of the most beautiful drives in the world, Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coastal Route is the kind of rugged coastline you don’t really find anywhere else in the UK.
Tallinn, a medieval Old Town surrounded by 13-century walls and oozing charm at every turn. Albeit I wasn’t there long, Tallinn didn’t need more than a day to capture my heart. A charming Old Town, beautiful red roofs, picture-perfect cobbled streets- it’s like stepping back in time to the medieval age.
I may not have had a ton of time in Helsinki on my first visit, but it was enough for me to fall in love. Stockholm is still my favourite Nordic city, but Helsinki has secured a spot as a close second. Trendy restaurants, excellent cold brew, beautiful architecture and design, relaxing Finnish customs and incredible nice locals make Helsinki a great city break.
Gdańsk, a place I hadn’t heard of until moving to Europe, but one I can’t believe wasn’t on my travel radar sooner. A beautiful city on the Baltic Sea, Gdańsk is often overlooked by travellers heading to Poland, heading to Krakow or Warsaw instead.
One of Tuscany’s best kept secrets, Lucca is a charming, beautiful city. Cobblestone streets, homes in warm yellows, oranges and pinks, it’s a place of effortless beauty. A walled medieval city, Lucca has managed to remain relatively free from the hordes of tourists that head to more well known destinations in the area, Florence and Siena.
Cinque Terre, idyllic, quaint, rustic, and perched on a rugged part of the Italian coast. Five UNESCO protected villages: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore overlooking the pristine Mediterranean Sea- they’re the kind of places you have to see to believe.
Long on my list of places to visit, it wasn’t until I started planning a weekend trip to Tuscany (flying in/out of Pisa from London) that I first Google’d ‘Can you see Cinque Terre in one day?’ The short answer is: yes. You can see Cinque Terre in one day, albeit a busy day. It’s unquestionably worth it though, in my opinion.
Shere, a village so quintessentially English, it’s been featured in numerous films (The Holiday, Bridge Jones) as a picture perfect place. Surrey villages are some of the most beautiful in England. Think: red brick cottages, cosy pubs, a babbling brook, charm around every corner.
London wise, a few places I’ve explored and loved these past two months:
- Eat: Breakfast at Dishoom and Lantana; an epic catch-up dinner at Bob Bob Ricard; comforts from home at Shake Shack
- Drink: Wine market shopping at Wine C4r Boot; Ping pong tournaments at Bounce; pints at George & The Vulture, People’s Park Tavern, & The Lion & Lamb; cocktails at Happiness Forgets, the Iron Stag; Peckham Levels; Near & Far; Frank’s; cheese + bubbly at Champagne & Fromage
- Things: Victoria Park; an indulgent pedicure at Townhouse; Notting Hill Carnival; The Serpentine; Bathhurst Mews; infrared sauna relaxation at Glow Bar
Here’s what I’m thinking so far for #Take12Trips 2018:
- January: Weekend in Marrakesh, Morocco
- February: Weekend in Hamburg, Germany
- March: Weekend in Riga, Latvia; day trip to Whitstable; long weekend in Norway (Bergen & Stavanger)
- April: Weekend trips to Amsterdam to see tulips, and to Krakow, Poland
- May: Day trips to Hastings, 7 Sisters County Park and the Cotswolds; weekend in Vilnius, Lithuania; and a road trip around Ireland at month end
- June: Weekend in Edinburgh and a long weekend in Cornwall, visiting Penzance, St. Ives, Mousehole and Newlyn
- July: Weekend in Cologne, Germany
- August: Long weekend in Belfast and Dublin mid-month for the Rock ‘n Roll half, and a quick trip to Gdansk over the bank holiday at month’s end
- September: Long weekend in Helsinki + Tallinn
- October:Weekend in Pisa, Romania for work, a few days in Tel Aviv, Oxford for a race, and heading back to the States for a bit (Pennsylvania, Indiana)
- November: Faro + Lisbon in Portugal for a belated birthday trip
- December: Munich and Salzburg for Christmas markets. Also in the process of deciding where I’d like to spend Christmas in Europe, but looking like a trip to Norway + Budapest
How about you? Are you planning any trips this year that you’re excited about?