It is that time of year to reflect on travels undertaken this year and to look forward to what the new year will bring.
All in all 2017 was very good travel wise.
It started with a bang in January when I visited Cuba with Mrs Wilbur and regular travel buddy Hamish to celebrate Mrs Wilbur’s 50th birthday.
We started and finished in intoxicating Havana, now one of my favourite ever cities.
In between we visited Santiago, Baracoa, Camaguey, Trinidad, Cienfuegos, Santa Clara & Bayamo.
It was a trip stuffed through with highlights as we learned all about the Revolution, Castro & Che. We even visited Fidel’s tomb less than three weeks after his interment.
Next up saw a whistle stop and hugely enjoyable trip to Ljubljana in February. I went solo and will be going back with Mrs W for sure.
March saw my first of three visits to my good wife’s home city of Athens. We enjoyed our Spring visit as ever and were back for pre-Christmas socialising in November.
In between we also visited in June as a precursor to a lovely few days in Crete when we stayed in Chania.
I hired a car and drove us to a wonderful monastery and some nice beaches. Chania itself was fabulous with its atmospheric old Venetian harbour and tantalising restaurants.
Just before that we travelled to Lille at the end of May, primarily to see the awesome Depeche Mode. Lille itself was very enjoyable too, featuring some splendid architecture.
As ever July & August were spent at home, including some fabulous music at the Love Supreme Jazz Festival in Glynde, Sussex and three nights enjoying Norah Jones, The Cinematic Orchestra & Goldfrapp at Somerset House in London.
Travels continued again in September with a a wedding anniversary trip to Paris by Eurostar. A year without Paris is not an option in our house! We stayed in perennial favourite Montmartre and visited the Montmartre Museum, Montmartre Cemetery and local cabaret Lapin Agile – all firsts despite our frequent visits.
We also took a side trip to Chartres with its majestic cathedral.
Most years I manage to squeeze in a trip with my regular travel buddy Hamish and 2017 was no different. This year it was a tour of the Balkans by ferry, bus & train.
We started in Corfu, travelled through Albania, on to Kosovo, across to Macedonia, north to Belgrade and finally finishing up in Timisoara in Romania.
October saw a long weekend in fabulous Porto, embellished with a side trip to beguiling Guimaraes. For a Harry Potter freak like me the trip was wonderful. The port wasn’t bad either!
For the record, I did a couple of other trips by train to Antwerp & Paris on business whilst consulting for Thomas Cook.
That was it for foreign travel, though Edinburgh also featured strongly thanks to a good friend of ours moving to Leith. I am actually in Edinburgh now preparing for the Hogmanay celebrations tonight. We also visited in February and I travelled up in August for a few excellent days at the Fringe Festival.
So what will 2018 bring?
I have booked a day trip to Berlin on my birthday (please be on time easyjet!) and at the end of the month Mrs Wilbur & I are off to Norway.
I have been twice before and a third visit is on my bucket list as I know Mrs W will love it. Specifically we are booked to do my favourite ever journey by train and bus – Trondheim to Fauske by train and then Fauske to Narvik inside the Arctic Circle by bus.
We will finish in Tromso when I am praying that we finally see the Northern Lights.
April is due to bring three new countries in Brazil, Argentina & Uruguay. I can’t wait already!
That is it as far as bookings are concerned, but I am planning a train tour of Romania in June with Mrs W featuring the Maramures region and a September/October tour of the Stans with Hamish.
We have a loose itinerary planned taking in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan & Kazakhstan. Hopefully it will come off and I will set to work on the logistics soon.
That just leaves me to wish all my fellow bloggers, authors & travellers a fantastic New Year full of exciting travels.