Verona to Venice

Wondering the streets of Verona and Venice, with no particular direction or aim, is the best way to explore these cities. Both have winding narrow lanes that will open to a plaza, a great bar or small coffee shop. The opportunity to sit, think of nothing and enjoy a wine or a coffee whilst people watching is probably one of the most wonderful things.

These cities are designed to make you fall in love. Maybe leave that for another trip, I think you will enjoy getting lost even more!

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Lake District – England

This was a walking holiday to take to get away from everything. The Lake District delivered on a grand scale! It was unbelievably wet when I arrived and I realised right from the start that I had packed too much. The tent I bought, along with camping stove and pots was destined never to be used, it was too wet. Instead, I stayed in YHA’s dorms and took day trips to surrounding mountains. One of the most beautiful places I have ever been to.

Finland

A place full of trees and kind people. I may be a little biased because my girlfriend is Finnish… But, I truly love this country, its language, the fact the floor is covered in mushrooms and blue berries and they know how to cook the best chicken wings!

 

 

Camino

Like most things, I did the Camino de Santiago a little differently from others. I went from Tui, on the border of Portugal straight up North to Santiago. I arrived only to find the scale of my map was not going to help me find the trail.

The next day, with a little help from the local people, I found where it began. Rather disappointingly the first part was pretty drab and industrial, but then it passed through small towns, quiet countryside and interesting tracks. I stayed in Albergues where many locals get up early wearing head torches due to lack of street lighting. It was pretty unpleasant having these shone directly into my face, but seeing the sun rise made my early start worthwhile. Since nobody spoke English and my Spanish was not up to conversation levels, it was just me, Nelson Mandella and the Long Road to Freedom, which seemed appropriate.

 

Switzerland

If you see mountainous landscapes and green valleys on Instagram, more often than not the picture would have been of Switzerland. The walks between green hills are almost too perfect and are accompanied by a soundtrack of cowbells ringing in the distance. Visit intimate Art galleries housing private collections of works by Picasso, Paul Klee, Giacometti to name just a few. I recommend:

Rosengarten, Lucern 

Sammlung Oskar Reinhart, Winterthur 

Each of the larger Cantons also has their own Museum of Modern Arts. Bern’s has the best Picasso gallery I have ever been to, with hundreds of paintings. Although I was more impressed by Giacometti’s work housed downstairs in the same gallery. Zurich’s Kunst House also has a fine and varied collection with many very familiar works that I have only seen before through reproductions. It was exciting to stand in front of so many famous works without the queues of people that we experience in the UK.

During the winter, the skiing and views are incredible. Skiing was not my parent’s thing so we went mountain walking and then single ski sledged all the way down, brilliant!