Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The 13 most awesome things I did in 2013

Well it's that time of year again....when you reflect on the year that has passed and look forward to the year ahead.  2013 was an awesome year travel wise - not as many trips as I normally take but then again I had two huge trips instead.  All of the best things happened to me while traveling with the exception of one...and the number one thing it turns out....

So here it goes - in no particular order until we get to the top three...

#13 -  Spending a long weekend in Ottawa - with Sir Paul and friends (mine, not his!)  Ottawa was my "back-up" plan.  I always hate "just" seeing Paul once - what if he cancels?  It would be devastating.   So I always try to see two concerts per tour.   It also enabled me to see a couple of friends (well four if you include the doggies -which I do!) and take advantage of their hospitality. (Thanks Donna & Dorri!)  A free place to stay and I used airmiles...I had bought a nose bleed seat just to be in the arena but my friend Pat came through for me phoning to say there was a fifth row seat available. So I quickly got on the internet and voila...it was in my hot little hand.  So my friend Donna got my nose bleed seat as a thank you.  It was a great weekend away. 

Library at the back of the Houses of Parliament

 #12 - Alberta Road Trip

In early August I headed to southern Alberta for a family wedding and decided to make a road trip out of it.  I rented a car for a week and off I went...My first solo road trip since Newfoundland in 2008....and I liked it.   I don't think twice of hopping a plane alone for a far flung place but driving for hours in a car on my own doesn't thrill me - to say the least.   I enjoyed myself and look forward to doing another one sometime soon. Highlights?  (besides the wedding of course)  Visiting Fort Whoop Up in Edmonton and meeting Mary Frances the Goat, visiting Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump and visiting the Alberta Birds of Prey centre and kissing an eagle!!  (well sort of kissing...she was game...I was a bit...shall we say shy....of her beak...)

Love that sky! 

#11  Staying in the Yellow Submarine Room in Singapore

I must say when I travel I tend to do it as cheaply as possible...while still having an authentic and meaningful trip.  I am not one for big chain hotels - even if I could afford them they are not my thing.  However when I read about the Yellow Submarine room at the Wanderlust Hotel in Singapore I knew I had to splurge and do it.  So on my stopover in Singapore on the way home from Cambodia I stayed there.  I loved every minute. (well except when the drunk Indian men kept me awake at night partying on the street...) of it.  Would I stay there again?  Probably not...too many other places to try out.

Long, narrow and very unique!!! 

#10 -  Walking the Seven Sisters in East Sussex with a long time friend

I had done this in 1997 and have been wanting to do it again ever since.  My German friend Claudia was going to be in the area when I was so I asked her if she wanted to do it with me.  She was game so off we went.  We were lucky to have a glorious day and it was spectacular.  A windy walk but oh my...such a beautiful one.  Almost ten miles of ups and downs but lots of fun.

Beachy Head - most of the walk was done at this point.  What a view!!! 

#9 - time spent at my little "Banana" Bungalow in Kep, Cambodia

When I saw Kep Lodge's website I KNEW I had to stay there. After a busy two week Intrepid tour of Cambodia I figured I would need a rest.  And rest I did....for six nights in my own little bungalow.  A lovely breakfast was included, the pool was magic and the staff absolutely delightful.  I explored the area most days but happily returned to my little slice of heaven each evening.  I certainly hope to return some day...

Looking towards the main lodge...pure heaven

#8 - Exploring Reykjavik

On the way back from the UK I had a four night stop off in Iceland.  I absolutely fell in love with Iceland and especially the quirky little capital of Reykjavik, population 200,000.  I spent one full day exploring the city and it's definitely on my "must return" list.

View from the cathedral

#7 - Walking the Cotswolds in September

I love the Cotswolds and being able to explore them on foot was a dream come true.  The last time I attempted that I was thwarted by an abscess tooth - somehow the walks weren't quite as enjoyable.  This time basing ourselves in the delightful village of Broadway we explored Broadway Tower, Snowshill and Stanton.  As well as taking a bus over to Winchcombe and touring Sudeley Castle.  I fell in love with the silly looking sheep, got accosted by a greedy horse, I had the best ice cream of my life, ate black berries fresh off the branch and had so many laughs with my friend June.  A wonderful time!

How could you not love scenery like this?  Well the guys in the orange jackets kind of ruin it...sigh...

#6 - Rediscovering Singapore

I liked Singapore the first time I visited it in 1977 and fell in love with it when I revisited in 1990. Sadly there was a 22 year gap. (but there won't be again)  It is one of my favourite places on earth - just a shame that it takes so long to get to....I was able to explore Little India for the first time while rediscovering old familiar places like Orchard Road and the harbour area.  I had another Singapore Sling at the Raffles Hotel Long bar where it was created - something I also did in 1977.  I had to have an Asian stopover on the way to Cambodia and I opted for Singapore - both ways.  No regrets!!! 

Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, Little India

#5 - Seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland  (on my first try!)

While they were white to the naked eye they were dancing in greens, yellows and reds.  All over the sky. My photos didn't turn out however a nice fellow emailed me his.  However as they are not my pictures I will not show them here.  Just trust me when I say it was a beautiful sight and one I will never forget.  And yes people had gone out on previous evenings to cloudy skies and no action - I was VERY lucky!!

#4 -The boat trip from Battambang to Siem Reap in Cambodia

Who would have thought gliding along in a wrecked up old metal boat would be one of the first things I think of when I look back on my time in Cambodia...or rather the crazy things that happened to us that day.  Like being in a boat crash with another boat, doing "our business" through a hole on top of the lake with some pervy fish swimming below, having a fish AND a food vendor(not at the same time!)  jump into the boat with us.  Something that makes me smile when I think of it. 

Life along the lake

#3  Walking the Great Glen Way in Scotland (from Fort William to Inverness)

I have always wanted to walk a long distance path in the UK so when my friend June (who runs Treadon travel) said she was planning a trip walking the Great Glen Way I jumped on it.  And what a walk it was!  Scenery like below....great company, good food, lots of laughs. I had the time of my life!!! 
How could you NOT love walking here?

#2 Exploring the temples of Angkor, Cambodia

It was really close between #2 and #3 - in fact I'd say they are pretty much tied but I think this experience edged out the Great Glen Way by a tiny tiny bit.   The temples at Angkor absolutely blew me away - yes after two days you get "templed out" but what I would have loved to have done is have a day off and then go at it again for another two days.  Ah well, maybe next time!

Ta Prohm temple at Angkor

And the #1 thing for 2013...happened right in my own back yard - seeing Paul McCartney in Regina!

Yes my hero finally came to see me!  (well I like to think so...ha ha!)  On August 14th, 2013 he played at Taylor Field (yes, sorry it will always be Taylor Field to me) and totally blew me away.  I decided to splurge and go for VIP tickets so had access to the sound check for the first time ever which I LOVED.  For the concert I had third row centre and it was a total dream come true.  It was my 42nd time seeing him in concert but as always, it felt like the first time.  Something I will never ever forget!!!  Thanks for coming to Regina Paul!!!

Here I am Laurie!  

No comments:

A bit of bliss in Mirissa, Sri Lanka

While I enjoyed my tour of Sri Lanka I also found it exhausting.  It was nothing against the tour - it hit all the spots I wanted to see an...