2017 Gone, 2018 Beckons

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.


Samarkand, Uzbekistan

That just leaves me to wish all my fellow bloggers, authors & travellers a fantastic New Year full of exciting travels.



  1. How was Santiago? Any recommendations? I’ll be there in June this year.

    1. Santiago has a great vibe, the cathedral is of course a major highlight. There is a good jazz club and very nice cafes. A side trip to La Coruna or a walk on part of the sacred path would be fun too.

  2. Oh wonderful Norway trip planned! Sending you some extra good juju that the Northern lights make their appearance while you’re up north. We did some similar travel this year, with Paris and Athens on our list as well! We adored Athens and I still want to see Chania, but we chose Kefalonia instead for fall break and loved it too! Keep traveling and sharing – love your perspective! Happy New Year from Copenhagen, Erin #FarawayFiles

    1. Thanks Erin, I love reading your posts too. Happy travelling and good health. Wilbur.

  3. 2017 was a good year for travel for you! You visited a lot of amazing places! Timisoara being my favorite! I also wrote a similar article! Happy 2018! #FarawayFiles

    1. Happy 2018 to you too.

  4. Wow, you are all set for 2018 – looking forward to hearing all about them over the course of the year. Especially Kazakhstan which I’ve heard is amazing. Thanks for joining #FarawayFiles

    1. Without wishing the year away I cannot wait! Have a great 2018.

  5. I wish you wonderful and fulfilling travels in 2018 and beyond.

    1. Thanks and same to you.

  6. Thanks for the follow! I look forward to reading about your travels!

  7. That sounds like a great year and good luck seeing the Northern Lights in Norway – this time six years ago we were flying home from Tromso having seen the Lights four nights running. Very lucky! I’m hoping you’ll swap tips on Trinidad and Havana (I’m going back after 14 years in January) for some on Argentina and Uruguay (I’ve been twice and they’re both incredible countries. PS I grew up five miles from Depeche Mode

    1. I am from Essex originally too! 4 nights running, that’s amazing fortune. Just once will do and more would be a big bonus. Havana is fabulous. Get away from the tourist bits for a while if you can to the locals area of the old town. Such colour. Sunset from the fort is amazing and if you like jazz La Zorra Y El Cuervo near Hotel Nacional is great. Trinidad the tourist train is touristy but fun. We had an unofficial tour of the train yard which was brilliant, as was an impromptu visit to a nearby cigar factory. I have lots on my site about Cuba as a whole. Some Argentina tips would be great as we have 6 days in BA. We will do a day trip to Uruguay. Have a wonderful 2018.

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