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
Lisbon has been a city I've wanted to visit for a long time and I finally got the chance as part of a stag do for one of my oldest friends. The city has an incredible history, and was at one point the seat of the most powerful empires in the world, but more recently the city has fallen on tougher economic times. Swallowed up my an earthquake in the 18th century, and outcompeted by other nations since the Industrial Revolution, Lisbon has weathered the storm and remains an important European city - the most western capital in Europe. You can read about my trip in more detail here, but here are 5 things I loved about Lisbon.
Airport Rating ***** (Eurostar)
Reception of locals ***1/2
Airport Rating *****
Reception of locals *****
Luxembourg isn't really a name thrown around when thinking about trips to Europe. Nestled between France, Germany and Belgium it's one of the lesser known and lesser visited states in continental Europe. However, the lure of cheap flights and a couple of nights in a cheap hostel were all the reason I needed to visit this small country.
For a nation this size, it has quite a colourful history, and although very small, there's a few excellent sites to visit - particularly in the capital - helpfully called Luxembourg City. It manages to mix history, culture and modernity quite well, and in terms of per capita income, it's one of the more wealthier countries in the world.
You can read detailed notes from my trip to Luxembourg City here, and the northern town of Vianden here. In this article, I want to share some of my favourite pictures taken on my trusty, rusty 8mp camera.
This is the third time I'm writing an end of year review, and it's always nice to have a look back on the places I've been lucky enough to visit.
You can read my end of year review for 2017 here.
You can read my end of year review for 2016 here.
For the first time, I didn't do an extended trip, but instead took a large number of smaller trips to cities in Europe, Asia and North America.
I kicked off the year in Italy, visiting Rome (including a quick stop in the Vatican), Naples, Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast. I then went to Asia where I returned to Singapore after 5 years. I then experienced a personal highlight exploring Kuala Lumpur and the nearby Batu Caves. It was back to Europe as I visited Vienna, Frankfurt and Zurich in quick succession. I then had a change of pace as I climbed the 'Rock' during my time in Gibraltar. I finally got to visit a city I've wanted to see for a long time when I made the trip to Berlin. As summer turned to autumn I returned to Amsterdam before ending the year with short trips to New York and Edinburgh.
As with the posts the last two years, you can click any of the blue links to read in depth reviews of each location.
When I make a list of my favourite cities in the world, you can bet that Edinburgh will feature somewhere on it. An often overlooked destination in the UK, Edinburgh has history, culture, creative energy and it's the perfect size to explore in a short amount of time. Perhaps best of all, it's one of the most beautiful cities that I have had the privilege of visiting, thanks to its almost uniform Georgian architecture. You can read detailed notes about my visit to the Scottish capital here, but here are the 5 things I most loved about Edinburgh.
Lately it seems as if Berlin is the coolest capital in Europe, and it's not hard to see why. A youthful energy, a creative spirit, reasonable prices, and one of the best nightlifes of any European city has seen an increasing number of people visit the German capital. But it hasn't always been this way. For much of the 20th century, Berlin was a city politically divided. I don't mean in the way the UK is divided between pro and anti-Brexit movements, or the US is divided between progressives and conservatives - but actually physically divided by a wall, with two philosophies so different, it would make UKIP and the Labour Party look similar. The city has rebounded incredibly well since those days, and is now one of the most 'must visit' places in Europe. You can read my detailed review of Berlin here, but below are 5 things I loved about Berlin.
British Sikh, born in the Midlands, based in London, travelling the world seeing new cultures.