It's the end of another year, and just as I have done before, it's time for another end of year review looking back at all the trips I've taken over the past 12 months.
You can read my end of year review for 2018 here.
You can read my end of year review for 2017 here.
You can read my end of year review for 2016 here.
I took the least amount of time outside the country since starting this blog in 2015. I began the year with a short trip to Lisbon for a friends' stag do. My next trip was a return to Paris after 2 years (and I ended up going twice this year). My longest trip of the year took me to Seoul, and then a personal highlight when I finally managed to go to Hong Kong, a city I've wanted to see for years. I had another stag do in a random place as I crossed the Irish Sea to Belfast, before a short trip to Brussels (and that second visit to Paris) ended my year.
As always, you can click any of the blue links to read in depth reviews of each location.
It's frequently called the capital city of Europe due to the presence of many EU institutions, Brussels is a city that punches above its weight. After all, it's a medium sized city in one of Europe's smaller nations.
I spent a few days in Brussels thanks to a work trip and I have mixed feelings. Rampant homelessness, a lack of greenery and some drab looking buildings are balanced by good food, and a central plaza that ranks among the best I have seen. You can read my details notes from Brussels here, but read on for the 5 things I loved Brussels.
There are a lot of things New York does well, and a few things that it doesn't do so well. One thing the city does particularly well is its museums. Across the 5 boroughs of New York, there are 80 museums, 32 of them in Manhattan, the area in which this article will concentrate on. The city has its own 'Museum Mile' an area that is covered with museums.
This number is considerably smaller than London (where there are over 200), and not only that, unlike the UK, museums in the United States charge admission prices, and some of the prices can be incredibly steep. However, despite these negatives, and the relative youth of the city, the museums in New York more than hold their own against European and British museums - and here are 10 of my favourites.
The High-Rise City
Chicago might be the birthplace of the skyscraper, but New York City is undoubtedly its home. A combination of inventions, and a Great Fire, gave the skyscraper the impetus to become the building that dominates most major city skylines around the world, and for New York, skyscraper fever began in 1890 when the World Building overtook Trinity Church, a building that had been the city's tallest for over a century.
Since then, New York has seen three different skyscraper booms: 1890 - 1930, 1960-1972 and finally the current boom that began with One World Trade Center. Most of these 200+ skyscrapers are located either in the financial district or Midtown. As mentioned in previous articles, New York hasn't (at least until very recently), taken building preservation very seriously so very few of the earliest skyscrapers exist. In fact, some skyscrapers stood for a matter of years, only to be replaced by taller buildings in their very spot.
I'm sure everyone has their favourite skyscraper in NYC, here is a list of my top 10.
The Thai Islands
Did you know there are 1430 islands in Thailand? These are split between the Andaman Sea (on the west), and the Gulf of Thailand (on the eastern side). I visited a handful of these during my time in Thailand, each of them with their own unique character, different in their own ways. I spent most of my time in the southern islands in the Gulf of Thailand.
I previously shared pictures from my trip to northern Thailand, and although probably not the best photos I've ever taken (on a phone that was basically a potato), I decided to share some photos from my trip to the south for completeness. You can read about my adventures in Thailand here.
Airport Rating n/a
Reception of locals *****
The Amalfi Coast
This is part of a series of posts where I look back at some of my favourite pictures from different cities that I have visited. You can read the rest of the series here.
I'm not sure I've been to too many places more photogenic than the Italian Amalfi Coast. From houses perched on the sides of hills, to beautiful churches and cathedrals, all framed by an incredibly blue sea, the Amalfi Coast is picture perfect. It's probably not somewhere to go on your own like I did, and it isn't the cheapest place in the world either - but I can promise, you won't find much better scenery anywhere else. You can read about my full trip to the Amalfi Coat here, and my visits to Pompeii and Herculaneum here.
Segregation, provocative marches and murals, relative deprivation and not a lot of brown people. You'd think I would have hated my time in Belfast, but I didn't. It's probably the most interesting city in the UK - and yes that includes London. Not for the landmarks it has, or the things you can do - but to study and understand the effects of two groups of people who live in close proximity but who couldn't be more different in their world views. You can read my in depth review of Belfast here, but below are the 5 things I loved about Belfast.
(Disclaimer: I took the photo above from the Emirates Cable cars - not from the climb)
I've been to the O2 a few times, but I've never managed to experience Up at the O2 - an opportunity to climb the famous dome and see the London skyline from a different perspective.
So when my friend decided to take me along for a climb, I was looking forward to ticking off something from my London list..
Airport Rating *****
Reception of locals ***1/2
British Sikh, born in the Midlands, based in London, travelling the world seeing new cultures.