This is a far briefer post than I could have imagined 12-months ago.
I had some grand plans…….
In September I should have been fulfilling a lifetime’s ambition to travel on the Trans-Siberian railway from St Petersburg to Moscow and on to Mongolia & China.
The booking has been shunted to 2021 but I will not tempt fate by predicting when this will actually take place.
Other bookings to fall by the wayside included a group rail enthusiast Eurostar trip to Brussels, a 20th wedding anniversary journey to Rhodes (where I proposed in 1998), our annual trips to Athens & Paris, a friend’s birthday celebrations in Edinburgh and UK tour of Northumberland & Cumbria including a trip on the beautiful Carlisle to Settle Railway.
I also had a rough plan visit Central Asia with my buddy Hamish with the Stans of the Kazakhs, Tajiks & Kyrgyzs on the radar.
The temptation will be to cram loads in as soon as we are able to travel freely again.
I will resist and go for quality over quantity I think. It will just be amazing to have a choice again.
My 2020 travels were all done & dusted by mid February.
The year started with an early January business trip to Bratislava. I flew to Vienna and taxied to the Slovenian capital for a two day meeting.
Next up was our annual short break with our great friend Chris.
Past trips have seen us together in Granada, Rome, Florence, Porto, Marseille, Bilbao, Athens, Segovia & Normandy. This January it was a double header trip to Riga & Tallinn.
Riga & Tallinn
We started in the Latvian capital for some lovely winter walks, most notably through the wonderful Art Nouveau (Jugendstil) district.
We also took a train to the Baltic Sea resort of Majori for a brisk stroll along the frozen shore, followed by piping hot soup in a central cafe.
We returned from the trip to a beautiful sunset.
From Riga we took a train to Estonia’s capital, with a change en route at Valga on the border.
As in Riga we availed ourselves of an excellent free walking tour and all in had a fab couple of days there.
All the Christmas decorations were still up and with our apartment being right on the main square we had a perfect view of the Christmas tree.
In the first weekend of February, Mrs Wilbur and I were joined by Hamish for a weekend In Liechtenstein.
We flew to Zürich and took a train to Sargans, before taking the bus to Vaduz, Liechtenstein’s modest capital.
We then took another bus up into the mountainside town of Triesen where we stayed the night.
Next morning we had a quick frogmarch around Vaduz and then reversed our journey back to Zürich
After a late lunch it was back to the airport via Zürich’s vast central train station.
My final trip of the year was mid February – a two night business trip to Dublin.
I met up with my niece who lives there for a bowl of Irish stew in a nice pub and that is about as far as the leisure activity went.
I did however enjoy the long tram trips out to my meeting venue, as it was a great way to see much of the fine city.
That was it for 2020 travel wise as lockdown came in shortly after.
This gave me time to do lots of gardening, grow a small mountain of fruit & vegetables and build a patio, as the weather in the UK was particularly glorious.
Drip by Drip
I also got the opportunity to write a fiction book that I’d always promised myself I would do. Set in Cambodia, Drip by Drip is a thriller telling the tale of how an ordinary holidaying British couple became embroiled with a ruthless underworld organisation.
Drip by Drip is available as a paperback and ebook on Amazon
Instead of Rhodes we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary at Champneys in Tring. Not quite the same but we had a lovely socially distanced time. Three nights there actually cost more than a week on the Greek island!
We finished the year by getting our second dog. A griffon called Ari. I have walked many miles with him on the beautiful Surrey Downs and woods which we are blessed to have on our doorstep.
Travels in 2021?
Who knows what 2021 will bring? I love to plan but am stopping myself going too far at this stage.
I have that Russian trip to rearrange, a booking for a flight to Ancona so I can tick San Marino off my European list (scrap that, easyJet have just cancelled the flight!), there is a Eurostar voucher to use and our next city break with Chris is anticipated to be to Istanbul.
Whatever 2021 brings us, I hope that you have a happy & healthy one with at least a sprinkling of fun travels.