Iceland's route one crossing a spit of land, with water on both sides, towards ice-capped mountains

Our 2018, and another magical year

In Life, Memories, Our Journeys by GaryLeave a Comment

A review of our year

Now, this is not a self-indulgent look back on how much we've achieved, this is not about us.  It's about the trips we took, the lessons we learnt, and hopefully, inspire you for your travels.

Gullfoss with Ice and snow - 2018, Iceland

Gullfoss with Ice and snow, Iceland

We start close to home. 

One of the things we have taken on-board is to see your world through the eye of a tourist, therefore you don't need to go a million miles to explore a whole new world.

The view over, Villefranche-sur-Mer, France

The view over Villefranche-sur-Mer, France

So let's get started

It starts with our city - London

As a Christmas gift, Janis bought me tickets to see a West End show, a perfect excuse to spend a few days in the capital.

The show was the brilliant, 'Glengarry Glen Ross' with a star-studded cast, purchased through 'LoveTheatre', but that was just the one highlight of the weekend.

Glengarry Glen Ross at the Playhouse Theatre, London, England

Glengarry Glen Ross at the Playhouse Theatre

We love exploring London; its history is so often in plain sight.  Take for example the Inns of Court, when practising law was banished to outside the walls of the City of London.  More of that in 'From the Bar to the Temple'

Inside Middle Temple, London, England, UK

Inside Middle Temple - just outside the City of London boundary

While strolling the streets of London, you may notice blue plaques on the wall noting famous people - Actually, they're not all blue, but there's a story there though. 

Why not check out 'The Round Blue Plaques of London'

Who knew?, Blue Plaques, London, England

Who knew?, Blue Plaques tell a story

We were lucky that in 2018 the capital was celebrating the 2nd Lumiere light festival, so we headed out after dark to discover 'The Lighting of London'.  It brought a bit of sparkle to the winter nights.

The Hedgehog family, Lumiere London, London, England, UK

The Hedgehog family in Lumiere London - 2018

It may have been cold, wintery, with sleet in the air, but that didn't temper Janis's enthusiasm for a cemetery.  So before we left the city, we headed to one of London’s “Magnificent Seven”, Brompton Cemetery.   

It took us a while to locate the last resting place of the suffragette - Emmeline Pankhurst, but we were not going to leave before we had.

The Main Avenue, Brompton Cemetery, London, England, UK

The Main Avenue, Brompton Cemetery, London

Boy was it cold that day, but it was nothing compared to the next trip - the Land of Fire & Ice.

Iceland, a return for unfinished business.

I'd long wanted to return to Iceland, but this time with the hope of seeing the Northern Lights.  

Just outside Breiðdalsvík, Iceland

Just outside Breiðdalsvík, Iceland

However, you have to be realistic, there are no guarantees on seeing the phenomenon, so the plan was to build a road trip to see as much of the country in just under two weeks. 

A boat moored up in Hjalteyri harbour, Iceland

A boat moored up in Hjalteyri harbour

It was fair to say it was one fabulous trip - you can read more about our epic road trip if you'd like.

Janis driving Etta in Iceland

Janis driving Etta in Iceland

Oh, we got lucky too.

The Northern Lights outside Reykjahlíð , Iceland

The Northern Lights outside Reykjahlíð 

Now we needed a bit of warmth - next stop Portugal.

Our Portuguese Road Trip

After our trip to Lisbon in 2016, we wanted more of Portugal.  

The stairway at Ponta da Piedade, Algarve, Portugal

The stairway at Ponta da Piedade, Algarve

There were the obvious places that made the list such as Porto and the Algarve, but we wanted to discover more.  

Largo da Oliveira at night, Guimarães, Portugal

Largo da Oliveira at night, Guimarães

So our Portuguese Road Trip turned into a nine-stop whirlwind tour, where we explored as much of the country as we could in 2 weeks.

The view from the bottom, Bom Jesus do Monte, Portugal

The view from the bottom, Bom Jesus do Monte

As we had caught the ferry and driven through Spain to get there, we wanted to include one stop on the way back in a country we had come to love, and we chose León.

Youre in León, León, Spain

Youre in León

A gathering in Rotterdam

A blogging conference took us to our next destination, and one we had discounted over the years - Rotterdam.

The Cube Houses, Rotterdam, Neterlands

The Cube Houses, Rotterdam

We thought it's a bit too industrial, maybe a bit too urban:  We were wrong! 

It's a fabulous city, and we loved learning its history, soaking up its culture and diving into the chic side of the city.  

Inside the Market Hall, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Inside the Market Hall

Looking for an alternative to Amsterdam?  You really should consider Rotterdam, it makes a great mini-break.

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Ypres, and the road to Remembrance

Always part of our plans for 2018, and on the 100th anniversary of the Armistice at the end of the 'Great War'.

The Menin Gate, Ypres, leper, Belgium

The Menin Gate, Ypres

As we had crossed the channel for Rotterdam, it seemed the ideal time to visit Ypres, the battlefields and the Tyne Cot cemetery.

Hill 60, Belgium

Hill 60, Belgium

An emotional trip, but we were so pleased we undertook it.

The Cross of Sacrifice on top of the Tyne Cot, Passchendaele, Belgium

The Cross of Sacrifice on top of the Tyne Cot

Amiens, France

Following on from Ypres we headed across along the Somme, to the capital of the Picardy region, Amiens.  

The Quai Bélu at dusk, Amiens, France

The Quai Bélu at dusk

We love France; it's history, culture and its flavours. 

Amiens was a perfect end to a trip that started in Rotterdam, and of course, we had to end with the ultimate traveller - Jules Verne.

The Dewailly clock, Amiens, France

The Dewailly clock

An English Road Trip

We love our country, but we are guilty of not exploring enough of it.  Since we started blogging, we decided to put that right, and this year was no different.  A friend's birthday placed us west of London, so we thought let's explore a little more. 

The Angel accross the Thames, Henley-on-Thames, England

The Angel across the Thames, Henley-on-Thames

The first stop, on the way to the historical city of Oxford, was Henley-on-Thames, just a week before the Royal Regatta.  

The Radcliffe camera, Oxford, England, UK

The Radcliffe camera, Oxford

Being in Oxford placed us on the edge of the Cotswolds, so we spent a couple of days exploring this beautiful area of the country, before heading onto the home of the William Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon.

The Street, Castle Combe, Wiltshire, England, UK

The Street, Castle Combe in the Cotswolds, Wiltshire

The river Avon, with the Holy Trinity church in the background, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England, UK

The river Avon, with the Holy Trinity church in the background, Stratford-upon-Avon

In the summer of 2018, which will go down on record as being just perfect, this was Britain at its finest.

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Another British Summer, another trip to Wimbledon.  Janis and her mother escape for another jaunt to SW19 to take in the Wimbledon Tennis Championships.

Pimms and Lemonade, Tennis, Wimbledon, London, England, UK

Pimms and Lemonade at Wimbledon

Janis also shared how you could get your hands on those Wimbledon Tickets.

Dover Castle

With the great British summer actually turning out to be great we headed into Kent and broke out our English Heritage cards to visit the historic Dover Castle.  The story of this site is terrific with its Roman Lighthouse to its wartime tunnels.

The inner walls of Dover Castle, Dover, Kent, England

The inner walls of Dover Castle

Then a short drive along the white cliffs and you come across Capel-le-Ferne and the Battle of Britain Memorial.  This site is dedicated to those of Fighter Command who kept the enemy at bay during World War II. 

Looking out over the White Cliffs, Battle of Britain Memorial, Capel-le-Ferne, Kent, England, UK

Looking out over the White Cliffs, Battle of Britain Memorial, Capel-le-Ferne

The French Road Trip

September 2018 marked 30 years since Janis & I met at a concert.  So to celebrate we decided to return to a trip we first undertook in 2012 and headed back to the south of France.

A lttle restaurant in Place Favier, St Remy-de-Provence, France

A lttle restaurant in Place Favier, St Remy-de-Provence

This 2018 Tour de France mixed up some old favourites with some new locations, and it didn't disappoint.

Moored on the Lake, Annecy, France

Moored on the Lake, Annecy

A French day trip

A trip that came a little out of the blue.  Eurotunnel had an offer on, a mid-week day trip crossing for £25.  Too good to be true.

But where to go?  Then we hit on an idea. 

It was close to the 100th year of the ending of World War I. 

We live in a small village in Kent, as with all towns & villages in Britain there's a war memorial. 

Ours has 33 names of those who fell in the 'Great War'. 

We did a little research, and located the memorials for those in France and set about tracking them down.   


The Eccles War Memorial and Clock

The cross of sacrifice in , Loos Memorial, France

The cross of sacrifice in , Loos Memorial

We visited nine cemeteries across Northern France to remember those on the Eccles War Memorial.

The German Christmas markets 

Our final trip of the year was a return to Germany and the Christmas Markets.  

The tree in front of the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin German Christmas

The tree in front of the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin

We planned this early on in 2018, as we always do with the Christmas markets, we wanted to drive, and we wanted to go to Berlin.  

So we created a four destination route, starting with Bremen, before heading across to Berlin, back to Hamburg before our 11th year in Cologne.

The little Ferris-wheel, Bremen, German Christmas Markets, Germany

The little Ferris-wheel, Bremen

An entrance to Rathaus Market, Hamburg German Christmas Markets, Germany

An entrance to Rathaus Market, Hamburg

A view over the Dom Market, Christmas Markets, Cologne, Germany

A view over the Dom Market in Cologne

As always it didn't disappoint, although we haven't put together our plans for 2019 - yet!

So that's it

It has been a fabulous year, and when we write this review, it just reminds us of how good it is to travel.


Has anything on this list inspired you?  Don't forget to follow up the posts, and if you have any questions then please ask.

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Our 2018, and another magical year

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