So, this year has been a year of firsts. First time on a solo weekend break, first time in South East Asia (I don’t count two stopovers in Singapore airport when I was 16, really!), first time in a rainforest, first time getting bitten by a bed bug, first time I visited Eastern Europe and first time I felt as if I had found a path I was happy on. All of that aside I noticed a little pattern emerging from my destinations. This year was the B year! Budapest in February, Berlin in March, Borneo in July, Bali in July, Belfast in August, Bucharest in October. While I had never intentionally set out to visit places that began with B it made me think that it would be a fun, albeit slightly obnoxious and privileged way to travel. Imagine choosing a letter and visiting destinations that begin with that letter-notions!
Budapest stole my heart and I hope I get the chance to go back because there is so much to see that I didn’t get around to during my first visit. I knew so little about Budapest, to my own shame, aside from that George Ezra song and seeing the Grand Budapest Hotel movie (which isn’t even about Budapest!). This city has history, culture, good food, stunning cityscape, a young and vibrant feel and famous ruin bars. What more could you want from a city break?!
I was spoiled rotten staying at the Aria Hotel in Budapest and if you want to absolutely #treatyoself I suggest you stay there and enjoy the delectable, complimentary wine and cheese evening for guests or rooftop cocktails overlooking St Stephen’s Basilica. Not to mention a sumptuous breakfast in your robe on the terrace before indulging at the Harmony Spa. I loved the wine river cruise with Hungaria Koncert and the spa experience was great fun. Follow the links to read about how to make the most of your Budapest weekend.
I know I was lucky with the weather the weekend I went to Berlin because I am sure trudging around any city in the rain puts a dampener on your memories. The Spring sunshine, blue skies and ample supply of things to do meant my first trip to the German capital was a great one. I think the Fat Tire bike tour was a great way to see the city and if you can ride a bike you should sign up and get your fill of history and culture. There are so many great museums to visit and the architecture is such a mix of old and new that it takes your breath away. Berlin has worked hard to own its troubled past as the home of Nazism and has developed a really interesting and fascinating selection of museums and tours to learn about this era, So much so that it is now a fun, exciting and incredibly diverse city to explore.
Borneo always seemed like one of those far-flung places I admired but would never get to visit. Home to the oldest rainforest IN THE WORLD and the endangered orangutan it was an incredible experience to see them up close and not in a zoo setting. I know I developed a healthy fear/ respect for monkeys after my visit there. I would absolutely suggest to you to book a jungle trek with Uncle Tan to really get under the skin of this incredible place. Here you can see flora and fauna where they were meant to be witnessed. In the wild. Watch out for bugs, you’re in their territory now. Click this link to check out my post on Borneo.
Bali is for honeymooners, right? Wrong. Having been there now I don’t think I’d want to have waited until my honeymoon to visit this beautiful island. Every day was leg day in Bali from climbing Mount Batur, to sunrise hikes along the Campuhan Ridge, waterfall chasing and rice terrace wandering. My first visit to South East Asia was jam-packed and full of news and firsts.
Belfast, Northern Ireland:
This summer’s trip was my third visit to Belfast but each time I go I find something new about it that I really like. If you want great shopping, plenty of bars and restaurants, history and my favourite museum in the world (Titanic Experience) then Belfast is your gal. From jazz bars and prohibition style restaurants to quaint pubs and champagne afternoon teas. It’s a short enough drive to many Game of Thrones film locations and the Causeway Coastal Road is simply breathtaking. I challenge you to find your favourite thing about Belfast on your next trip.
My first press trip to Bucharest in October is one of my favourite trips this year. I was blown away by the beauty of the city centre and how proud the Romanians are of their country and history. Romania is certainly a hidden gem with countryside and mountains to rival Switzerland and Italy but without the hefty price tag. For now. Skiing and beach holidays as well as Transylvanian history, and culture awaits. Go check out my weekend guide to Bucharest complete with where to eat, drink and what to do.
Have you ever deliberately chosen destinations because of a theme, be it initial letters or otherwise? How did that work out?!