We are torn between nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known.Carson McCullers
All of us who love to travel, and are fortunate enough to be able to do so, will I hope be looking back on a year filled with both familiar and foreign places. For most of us, 2022 was the year in which we began to feel comfortable travelling again. When, despite a few new forms to fill in and masks to be worn, perhaps reluctantly, on planes, the world opened up again and we could scratch that travel itch, relieve that homesickness ‘for the places we have never known’.
Marsha asks us to remember 2022 with quotes and photos. I hope she’ll allow me to include just a single quote? Meanwhile Terri asks what we did in 2022. Well, I did quite a lot, but this is primarily a travel photography blog and I did a fair bit of travelling, so that is what I’ll reflect on. And I’m grateful to the Hungry Travellers for inspiring me with a format for my review!
A travel year in numbers
In 2022 I had four trips within the UK (plus two overnight stays necessitated by funerals and one for a wedding), three in Europe and two long-haul. I spent a total of 68 nights away from home and slept in 23 different beds. I took 17 flights and made six journeys by train and 13 by road. Here’s where they took me:
Our first long-haul destination post-Covid, chosen in part because the focus is so much on outdoor activities.
Memorable people: Marcela, our passionate and knowledgeable guide in the cloud forest; Victor, who pulled our boat along the Rio Nosara when the propeller broke, ignoring the danger from crocodiles.
I’d been some years ago for a Virtual Tourist meeting and felt that Chris would like this unassuming town and the lovely coastline. He did!
Memorable people: for the wrong reason, Restless Jo, who was unable to meet up with us as planned due to Covid.
Memorable sights: the beautiful old monastery of Nossa Senhora da Assunção; a chameleon in the grounds of Faro’s cathedral; gorgeous blue (mainly) azulejos everywhere!
A week spent hosting the three-times postponed Virtual Tourist Euromeet (originally scheduled for May 2020). Thirty six members from fourteen different countries attended. That’s a little fewer than usual due to concerns about potential last-minute Covid issues scuppering plans, but nevertheless a wonderful turnout.
Memorable people: all those amazing VT members who came; Robert from Lundgren Tours who led us on a fabulous day out on the Northumberland coast, dressed in full Viking costume.
Memorable times: throughout the meet, having the support of the members to keep going with the plans despite Covid’s best efforts to scupper them.
Memorable sights: seeing how much everyone loved my favourite places such as Tynemouth, Bamburgh and Lindisfarne.
The trip that wasn’t, thanks to me testing positive for Covid two days before we were due to leave!
We spent a night in Norfolk to attend a party hosted by friends to celebrate their 60th birthdays. On the way home we stopped over near Cambridge to visit some of the nature reserves in the area.
Memorable people: my friends Wendy and Steve dancing the night away in their lovely garden!
Memorable sights: the big skies of that area; lots of bees and butterflies in the reserves.
Yorkshire and Derbyshire
We spent a few days in lovely Ripon in Yorkshire, and stopped off in Derbyshire’s Peak District on the way home.
Memorable people: Nolon Stacey, a talented artist with a gallery in Masham where we treated ourselves to a beautiful drawing of a heron
What is becoming an annual treat, a city break in our favourite European city where we spent our honeymoon.
Memorable times: a lovely walk in the Marais with a visit to the Fondation Henri Cartier Bresson; drinks at various pavement cafés watching the Parisian world go by.
Memorable sights: the views from the Tour Montparnasse; the special light on the banks of the Seine.
Fortunately we’d been able to reschedule the trip we’d cancelled in June, finally making it to Sofia in late September. As with Faro this is a place I’d visited for a VT meet and thought Chris would like, and as with Faro I was right!
Memorable people: we were able to meet up with a local VT friend, Lilyana, and her husband.
Memorable sights: street art around the ul. Iskar; people-watching in the City Garden.
OCTOBER / NOVEMBER
Our second long-haul trip of the year and a wonderful one. We loved this vibrant and varied country!
Memorable people: Ayush, from the local travel company, who came to the rescue when I forgot to hand in our room key when checking out of our last hotel and found it in my pocket on arrival at the airport; the worshippers at the Buddhist Golden Temple in Patan, who made us feel like welcome guests rather than camera-wielding tourists.
Memorable sights: the stunning Newari architecture in all the cities; seeing rhinos in Chitwan NP; watching the sun rise over the Annapurna Range near Pokhara; flying over Everest.
Back to Newcastle at the end of the month to see in the New Year. It’s something we used to do annually pre-Covid but haven’t been able to for a few years.
Memorable people: catching up with friends and family, too numerous to mention here.
Memorable times: some great meals in favourite restaurants; walks by the sea (Druridge Bay and Tynemouth) and by the Tyne.
Memorable sights: interesting art in the Baltic gallery; a rainbow over Druridge Bay (technically in 2023 as it was on New Year’s Day, but as the trip started in 2022 I’m including it in this round-up!)
And what about 2023, you ask!
We have a trip to Colombia booked for February. I have plans to visit Norway in May and Chicago in September, both for Virtual Tourist meets. Our anniversary weekend is booked for Paris in September too. And that Chicago trip may well be extended into a longer road trip. I have no illusions these days that a planned trip means a definite trip, but it’s great nevertheless to have plans. And no doubt there will be more travels, as yet unplanned or even dreamt of!