"My travels so far - a timeline" mandybailey's Profile
I was lucky to grow up having family holidays, usually with extended family and friends, to Spain, Majorca and Ibiza. We also had many UK caravan holidays, in keeping with the kind of holidays my parents had when they were young, to Scarborough, Bognor, Great Yarmouth... Classic British holiday destinations! I was also lucky to have 2 holidays to Florida with my family as a teenager, although at the time they were pretty stressful! All those theme parks can make a family with 3 teenagers tired and irritable! Thankfully we survived them and still have enjyable family holidays most years.
When I was 17 years old I did my first city break, to Amsterdam, and I instantly loved the city. I remember at the time thinking it was a city I could be very happy living in. Aged 17 I also had my first 'girlie' holiday, 10 days at the beach in Majorca with my girlfriends, drinking too many cocktails and singing karaoke badly! Oh to be 17 again :)
Aged 18 was another girlie holiday, this time to Tenerife. 13 of us - I'll say no more!! Age 19 I went back to Amsterdam with a group of friends.
Before the summer of 2006 I'd hardly ventured out of Europe. I adore city breaks, and Europe really does have the greatest cities in the world! So I started to explore...
Intially I was particularly fond of the charming eastern European cities, Prague, Budapest, Bratislava and Riga featured. I love the gothic architecture, old towns and red roofs. I haven't visited that part of Europe for years now and I feel maybe my preferences have changed...
As I grew older I developed a love for Germany. German cities definitely get a thumbs up from me, particulalry Berlin and Munich! I need to go back to Germany for the Christmas markets; mulled wine anyone?! I also adored Florence and Siena and I need to get back to see more of Italy ASAP. How have I not been t Rome or to Venice?!! Likewise with Spain, I'd like to explore more of the great Spanish cities, I certainly enjoyed my visit to Madrid!
I've been to Paris a couple of times too, but for some reason I've never fallen in love with the so called romantic city...
Budapest - Dec 2004
Prague - March 2005
Salzburg - Oct 2005
Bratislava - Dec 2005
Berlin - March 2006
Riga - Dec 2006
Madrid - March 2007
Hamburg - July 2007
Florence/Siena - Aug 2007
Cologne - Feb 2008
Glasgow - Feb 2009
Munich - Oct 2010
Aside from the cities, I also had some great European sun holidays with family and friends around this time; Albufeira in the Algarve, Portugal; Corfu and Malta. Ah I love Europe!
As much as I adore cities, I'm a sucker for beautiful natural scenery, rolling green hills, a white sand turquoise sea beach, snow capped mountains... I was surprised to discover that the north of France has some truly beautiful beaches. I love a nice beach!
For other brits - don't rule out the UK, although I confess I haven't seen much of it, but check out the stunning beach at Tenby, Wales...
The summer of 2006 I ventured further...I spent 3 weeks in Brazil and 9 weeks in South-East Asia.
I instantly loved Brazil and I'd go back today if I could! The beaches, the Amazon, Rio... The people! They're so much fun and so friendly! It's easy to love Brazil!
Asia took some getting used, but once I did I really fell in love with it! Learning to use chopsticks, getting used to squatting in disgusting toilets, eating noodles/rice for breakfast...and it was my first long trip and I had to adjust to living out of a backpack! I spent time in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Singapore. I loved them all for so many different reasons!
How do you beat all that I did in 2006?! In 2007 I had a family summer holiday to Spain in September for starters and then I followed that up with one of my all time greatest holidays in November, to the Philippines! I had an incredible time. I can't understand why it isn't in more travellers plans; the people are the most friendly and happiest I've ever met and it's a beautiful country; over 7000 islands - my idea of paradise! This was the start of my love affair with the Philippines!
2008 was relatively quiet, back to Corfu for my main holiday, I really love it there and have now been 4 times! 2009 saw the start of my friends/sister getting married abroad, a good friend's wedding took me back to Thailand in April 2009 and this time I got to explore the west coast and islands, with an amazing wedding in Phi Phi. Then back to Corfu in September 2009 with 100 family and friends for my sisters wedding, which seemed to go on for 2 weeks as we all enjoyed the holiday together!
In December 2009 I had a long weekend in Marrakesh; what a crazy and magnificant city it is! It was my first time to North Africa and I was really looking forward to experiencing somewhere completely different to anywhere I'd been before. Part of me was concerned that it might be a little intimidating and/or overwhelming... It was neither of those things! I absolutey loved the chaos, hustle and bustle of the medina and the stunning scenery outside the city. Spectacular! I can't wait to go back one day.
In March 2010 I finally got to go back to the Philippines and this time the sun was shining bright, the skies were blue and it was even more beautiful! The second time round I went back to Manila, Boracay and El Nido, I also went to Donsol for the first time to swim with the whalesharks, the ocean's largest fish - and don't I know it! I went to Singapore at the start of the trip and Hong Kong at the end. Of course the Philippines were the highlight, it's impossible not to love those beautiful islands and its beautiful people.
Then at very short notice I went to Cyprus in August 2010 for another wedding and then to Lanzarote with my family in September, lucky me!
August 2011 we had a Corfu reunion, with lots of family and friends returning 2 years after my sister married there, for another holiday together.
So for 2012, I'm off to Dubai in 5 weeks time for some winter sunshine and I can't wait to get back to an Arab country after my love for Marrakesh! Then in June I shall be revisiting Amsterdam. As for the rest of the year, who knows! I want to go to Jamaica and also to Japan... We will see! Happy travels! :)
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