Around this time last year I wrote about the trips I took in the first half of the year and what I had learned from each of them. I never published the second part of the post, but there’s definitely some great stuff to shout about, so here are all the places I visited in the last 12 months and the lessons I learned.
I’m saying Eastbourne, but I really only walked from the station to the pier and then on to Beachy Head. Which led to the Belle Tout lighthouse where I stayed for a night in the actual keeper’s hut before walking the Seven Sisters towards Seaford the next morning. My favourite bit was reaching the ocean at Cushmere Haven and dipping my toes in the ice-cold water.
Lesson l learned – I can handle a 4 hour hike. Also, put on another layer of sunscreen, even if you already have.
The journey from London to the Dutch Island took me 9 hours and 6 modes of transportation to reach, but boy it was worth it. I forgot how much I love the charm of the little places in the Netherlands: staying in a hut at an eco camp, cycling across the island and relaxing at the beach. Next time, I hope it will be a bit quicker to get there though.
Lesson learned – E-bikes are the best way to explore the island, where have they been all my life?
I got the most out of my first trip to New York and saw everything on my list, well except MOMA which was closed during my visit. But I managed to do everything else that I put on my New York For First Timers list: from exploring Central Park to seeking shade in the museums and getting the ferry to Staten Island to get a closer view of Lady Liberty. And not forgetting running around at Sleep No More, cheering at an ice hockey game and trying out all the ice-creams the city could offer. But don’t worry, the list for my next visit is three times as long.
Lesson learned – Don’t book accommodation in Brooklyn on your first visit. For convenience, it’s really easier to stay in Manhattan.
I was sooooo surprised by what the island had to offer! I was always put off by the all-inclusive holiday image it had. But there is always room to admit one is wrong! And I owe Lanzarote an apology, because the landscapes were amazing and I really enjoyed Timanfaya National Park, Cueva De Los Verdes and the Cactus Garden. But the definite highlight was dipping in the pool that came with the house.
Lesson learned – Don’t judge a place by its image.
Amsterdam changes so much that every visit feels like new. This time I crossed off Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder, Museum van Loon and the Amsterdam Light Museum. And I got to devour all my favourites including pancakes with syrup and powdered sugar, a cheese sandwich and glass of buttermilk combo, and, of course, Dutch fries with satay sauce.
Lesson I learned – The Red Light District is quiet and empty from 8 am until 9.30 am
Does 4 hours in Paris count? I mean it was for a meeting, but I did have to take the metro to a new neighbourhood, where I walked through the main street, ate a Quiche at a random corner bakery and had a glass of wine. So yeah.
Lesson I learned – If there is a queue in front of a bakery, chances are the €2,50 quiches are to die for.
The last trip I took before lockdown. It was only a few weeks after the first COVID-19 case was there and I initially wasn’t sure I wanted to go, in the end I was happy I went and explored the different ages via the city that is York: from the Roman walls, to Medieval streets and Georgian buildings. I’m still dreaming of the pastries from The Bakeshop.
Lesson I learned – I really need to explore the UK more.
What has been your biggest travel lesson this year? Or well … if you travelled in the first 2.5 months of 2020