2014 has come to an end and 2015 has arrived. The first week of January is a time to look back over the preceding year and look forward to the next. I spend time browsing this websites statistics and the social media channels associated with it in effort to see what is working for me and my readers and where I can make improvements.
It is also a time to reminisce on my travels and to plan ahead to next year (I will return to that in a future post).
According to the stats for the Travel Unpacked website the most popular posts are reviews. Be it kit, accommodation, airlines or places to eat or drink they are popular with visitors to the blog. Top of the list is a review of the Cabin Max Lyon, a convertible wheeled rucsac-cum-cabin bag. So for 2015 I plan on reviewing a few more pieces of kit, accommodation and airlines.
You can also expect to see a few more reviews of coffee bars, which are another category of popular posts. I hope to discover some coffee bars in cities other than London. You can read my latest review of two coffee bars in Mayfair and Marylebone here.
The weekly “Where in the World…” distorted city photograph posts continue to be popular. There is a regular following on these puzzles and for the foreseeable future I have no plans to discontinue them.
My 2014 highlights
For me the highlights of 2014 were varied in both destination and activity.
Cardiff Bay was the scene of some adrenaline fuelled inshore racing. I was fortunate enough to be invited to join the Oman Air Extreme Sailing team in a race around a fast tight course close inshore – Stadium Sailing and Formula 1 on Water are just two descriptions of the experience. The word “join” is not strictly accurate as I was sat in one place with the crew rushing round as I clung on for dear life to the net slung between the two hulls of the catamaran. We did however, beat Ben Ainsley’s boat in a straight fight – my one claim to fame.
As a result of racing in Cardiff I was invited to spend a few days in the Sultanate of Oman where I went sailing again and took a 4×4 drive deep into the mountains to peer over the rim of Oman’s Grand Canyon. The experience was awe inspiring as were the views from The View, a hotel perched on the edge of a mountain which I reviewed in this blog.
I enjoy food from around the world especially when I can experience the land from which it came. This was the case for a trip to the Alentejo. The region is known as the bread basket of Portugal for good reason. Most of the ingredients of Portuguese cuisine comes from the region so where better than to take a foodie trip. You can salivate while reading the post Alentejo, gastronomic soul of Portugal. While in the Alentejo I also enjoyed hiking the Fisherman’s Trail along the coast followed by an excellent meal.
My final highlight was a trip to Bydgoszcz, a little known city in Poland. It is relatively small, but interesting city but for me it the day we kayaked from the west Poland forests along the Brda River right into the city centre. Along the whole route we never left the city limits once. I have never known a city with so much green space – Oslo probably comes a close second. I describe my experience in the post Kayaking to Bydgoszcz.
There were many more memorable experiences but the above are the standout ones. Now I am looking forward to 2015 and some equally fascinating experiences. You will be able to read about them in future posts on this blog.
What were the highlights of your travels in 2014 and what are you hoping to do and experience in 2015. Share with us in the comments below.