Marvelling at the Stone-Carved Treasures of Mamallapuram in India
I'd been dreaming of visiting India since I was a child. When I was growing up I used to live next door to an Indian family and everything about their culture fascinated me. The colourful clothing, chant music, ornaments of Hindu Gods and the aroma of spices that would drift through into my garden when their mother was cooking. So in February, I finally went!
I only had two weeks so instead of travelling long distances to cram in the major attractions like the iconic Taj Mahal, the startling pink palaces of Jaipur or the pristine beaches of Kerala, I settled upon concentrating my time in Tamil Nadu, India's southernmost state.
Meeting Penguins from Ushuaia
Patagonia had been high on my list since forever, and this year I finally made my way there! Some of you will already know that I love the Arctic, so naturally I've always wanted to head to the southernmost possible region of the world: Antarctica. However, since stepping foot on Antarctica would require me to sell one of my kidneys on the dark web, I 'settled' for Ushuaia, which is commonly referred to as the gateway to Antarctica.
My 1st Trip to Cambridge
I can't believe it took me 30-some years to finally visit the historical city of Cambridge, famous for its university and architectural triumphs. If you've been to Oxford before, it's unsurprisingly not too dissimilar - the two cities have had something of a rivalry since time immemorial. Aside from wandering around the impressive city centre and visiting a few of the university campuses where the likes of Stephan Hawkings and Charles Darwin once lived, my absolute favourite bit was visiting the home of former Tate curator, Jim Ede, at his home-turned-museum, Kettle's Yard.
Epic Mountains & Glaciers in Santa Cruz, Patagonia
Santa Cruz is arguably Argentina's most beautiful province. The nature is out of this world, with few places on Earth coming close to the panoramas of Los Glaciares National Park. The park is huge and is home to such iconic landmarks like Mount Fitz Roy and Perito Moreno Glacier. I spent a few days in the small towns of El Chalten and El Calafate which are ideal places for hiking and seeing many of the main attractions of this region.
Ghent's Fairy Tale Castles & Canals
I absolutely loved Ghent! It's topped the list of my favourite Belgian cities for sure. It's brimming with Flemish charm - in a similar way to Bruges but with less tourists, and personally, I think it's far more interesting.Ghent has a fabulous balance of old and new to explore. A city where you can marvel at its historic medieval centre while relaxing in hipster cafes or browsing through fancy design shops. It's also the ideal city break holiday for a romantic weekend away with its picturesque canal, Gothic architecture and the medieval splendour of Gravensteen.
Getting the Precarious Chairlift to Alum Bay Beach
These rattly, old, chairlifts will send anyone with a fear of heights to an early grave. I'm scared of many things but a fear of heights isn't one of them. My poor friend, however, clung on for dear life and practically kept her eyes shut the entire time. Fortunately for her, the ride didn't last long but she missed the views from our seat which were stunning.
The chairlift took us over to the small but beautifully formed pebble beach of Alum Bay where I looked for fossils (unsuccessfully, I add). The beach is famous for its cliffs of multi-coloured sand, composed of many minerals to create a rainbow effect of red, grey, white, and yellow layers. It also has a glorious view of The Needles, which are a row of three stacks of chalk that rise about 30m out of the sea.