How is Christmas only one week away!? This year has absolutely flown by and I can’t believe the new year is just around the corner. In this post, I thought I’d try something new and give you an overview of my travel adventures in 2022.
2022 was the year travel restarted for me after the arduous lockdowns of 2020 and 2021. My first trip out of Hamburg was to my home city London in February with the mission to declutter years and years of ‘stuff’ left in my parents’ attic. My dad was moving in the summer so I had to finally unearth all the
hidden treasures junk that had been stored there. Between the decluttering, I also found time to see my family, go to some museums and have a truly great lunch at Hawksmoor, a fancy steakhouse in London!
In April, my boyfriend and I visited Portugal for the first time; starting in Porto where we did a lot of port tastings (turns out I’m a huge fan!), then onto Pinhão in the Douro Valley region which we loved. Afterwards we took the train to Coimbra (an old university town with archaeological structures dating back to the Roman era), then to Lisbon and Sintra. We really liked Lisbon’s food scene and the historical sites like Carmo Convent and Jerónimos Monastery. Sintra was an easy day trip and our favourite places were Quinta da Regaleira (a pretty country estate) and Castelo dos Mouros (a well-preserved medieval castle!).
In May I visited Berlin with my dad – his first time there since 1983! The city had obviously changed in so many ways and it was fun watching him retrace his steps reminisce. We did a self-guided sightseeing tour of the city, visiting many cultural and historical landmarks including the East Side Gallery, where we admired all 1.3 kilometres of political street art and murals. We did a day trip to Potsdam, a short train ride away and home to many beautiful buildings including Sanssouci Palace, the summer residence of Frederick the Great.
In June, my boyfriend and I went to Rome (which always feels like coming home) to catch up with some friends then onto Cassino to visit my boyfriend’s family. We then took a train with his parents to Bologna, Modena, Ravenna and Padua. Highlights include diving into Bologna’s fantastic restaurant scene, doing balsamic vinegar tastings, touring a dairy farm near Modena and trying some glorious Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (of varying ages), being utterly blown away by the magnificent mosaics in Ravenna, and eating so much delicious food and wine from the Emilia-Romagna region.
In July and August, I decided to stay in Hamburg and actually earn some money! One of the perils of being a freelancer with a travel addiction is that I don’t get paid when I take annual leave. So I decided to stick to weekend trips throughout the summer months. I made the most of a special offer in Germany, which enabled tourists and locals to travel on any regional train or underground/overground network across the country for just €9 per month. Such a bargain! I explored more parts of Hamburg and visited Scharbeutz, Travemünde, Mölln and Schwerin by train (all within 1-2 hours of Hamburg).
In October I had my first solo holiday. I decided to try a working holiday in one of my very favourite places; Siracusa on the island of Sicily. I was nervous beforehand: would I feel terribly lonely? Would people laugh at me for dining alone? Would I get hopelessly lost? The answers were no, no, and yes! (I have a very poor sense of direction). It turns out I really enjoy my own company and the flexibility and self-reliance that comes with solo travel. I based myself in Siracusa for fifteen nights, working some days and taking others off as holiday. I did some day trips to stunning baroque towns like Noto, Ragusa and Modica. I also visited Catania, and went to Palermo for two days. It was delightful eating amazing food, exploring new places and practising my Italian every day.
In November, my boyfriend and I went to Nuremberg with his parents. Germany is known for having some of the most charming Christmas markets in the world and Nuremberg’s are some of the oldest and most popular, attracting millions of visitors every year. Nuremberg is a great city destination; it’s pretty, walkable and has a fascinating history. It was very easy to visit nearby Munich and Bamberg by train and explore their markets as well. This part of Bavaria is really special, especially during the festive season.
Then, in the blink of an eye, December arrived. I’ve been to two Christmas parties hosted by two of the language schools I work for, visited some of Hamburg’s Christmas markets and watched some very cheesy films on Netflix. I’ll be spending the Christmas break with my family and my boyfriend’s parents, enjoying quality time together along with lots of delicious food and drink. This Christmas will be the third without my mum, who died in 2020. The festive season was her favourite time of year and we will be thinking of her and missing her tremendously, as we do every day. If you are also mourning a loved one this year, my thoughts are with you.
So that was – in a nutshell – my year of travel. I’d love to hear how – and where – you’ve spent 2022 and what brought you a smile to your face this year. I would also like to thank you SO much for supporting my blog throughout the year. I have really enjoyed sharing my holidays with you and every comment, like and share is very much appreciated. Stay tuned for exciting 2023 adventures…
Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!
Izzie, the Curious Sparrow