After an incredible 2014, I’m pleased to say that 2015 was another great year of travelling for me (#sorrynotsorry).
But while 2014 was all about visiting new places (including seven new countries), this year was all about revisiting places: from my old homes of Leipzig and St. Petersburg, to one of my all-time favourite countries, Poland.
Going back to old places has never been a big feature of my travel plans, making this year something special. My travel quest to visit every country in Europe took a bit of a back seat (only Romania was added to the list), while I headed off to show friends around my favourite cities.
So just like last year let’s look back on my top 15 travel moments of 2015.
Showing off my Russia
Back in July I headed off to Russia for the first time in two years. Once again I spent some time in Moscow and once again I stayed at the Comrade Hostel (making it three stays over five years). But the icing on the cake? Dragging four friends around Russia and showing them exactly what keeps me going back.
Taking this photo…
If Staithes doesn’t top the list of most beautiful coastal villages in the UK, it must come pretty close. When I went in May, we scrambled to the top of a hill to get this iconic shot of the town.
…and this photo…
Working in Mallorca for a fortnight was a real highlight of 2015. Luckily we managed to combine work and a bit of downtime.
…and this one
My second mystery work trip with trivago took us to the Baltic Coast in Germany’s North. But of course, the party train en-route was one of the real highlights. Don’t try this at home.
My first Karneval
My first carnival (Karneval in German) really was as insane as everyone said. In the Rhineland, this is marked by five days of near-constant drinking and dressing up, culminating in a parade on Rosenmontag. This huge knees-up is best celebrated in Dusseldorf or Cologne.
Landing in Morocco
Another first this year was my trip to Morocco – my first time on the African continent and my first journey outside of Europe for six years. Seeing the rich red soil and the terracotta rooftops of Marrakesh is something I’ll not soon forget.
Reunited with Pelmeni
Pelmeni with mayonnaise is a must in Russia – even if most Russians don’t agree with me. I tucked into my guilty pleasure in Moscow’s Gorky Park.
Calo des Moros
One spectacular find this year was this quiet hidden beach on the eastern shore of Mallorca. The tiny strip of beach was packed with people when we visited, but it was definitely worth it for these beautiful views.
Back to Moscow
Moscow is a city I’ve revisited a few times over the years but this time, I managed to recreate one of my favourite shots – and now I love it all the more.
Meeting bloggers new and old
One fond memory I have from this year is finally getting to meet so many travel bloggers I’d been following for so long: including Cherie, Lucy, Rachel, Emily and Auston. Aside from Traverse and WTM, I also managed to meet up with both Vlad from Eff It I’m on Holiday and Adri from CityOfTheWeek on my trip to Transylvania this summer.
Romania was the one new country in Europe I visited this year. It’s hard to pick out one particular moment but finally exploring beautiful, gothic and traditional Transylvania was an amazing experience.
A royal visit
One of the best museums I’ve been to this year was Hampton Court Palace, in Kingston-upon-Thames. Traverse was held in the town back in March and – aside from meeting so many great bloggers – walking around this historic gem is something I’ll definitely remember.
Ait Ben Haddou
My favourite part of our trip to Morocco was definitely our day trip to the amazing Ait Ben Haddou. I’ve been to plenty of castles in my time but there’s nothing that quite compares to seeing this fortress city rising up from the desert-like landscape.
I’m very rarely spontaneous but thanks to a great sale, Ryanair was offering return fares to Warsaw that were too good to resist. We then had a fantastic 36 hours in the Polish capital in early November.
Back to St. Petersburg
July marked my first trip back to St. Petersburg since the end of my 5-month stint there in 2011. I fell in love all over again with a city I realised I knew so well. St. Petersburg truly is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve visited and I feel that I can now appreciate it all afresh.