2017 has been an amazing year for me especially in terms of travel, exploration, and writing. It is the year I started my blog, which is still in its early stages really but I am finally happy with how it is starting to look. I have been so lucky with the travel I have been able to do this year and I am really proud to say that I have funded it all myself– from working and saving, which isn’t as easy as it sounds being at University 24/7. I am going to list the places I have been to in a photo diary, brief writing kind of way, hope you enjoy! (I have also travelled around England this year such as London Wales and visiting places in the campervan, however I will save these for another time).
I kick-started this year of travel at the very start of January 2017 as I flew to Hamburg in Germany. I have never been to Germany before and to be honest, I went to Hamburg with not much of a plan as I booked it so last minute.
Hamburg was amazing, although absolutely freezing. Being the place where The Beatles became famous I had to visit Indra Musiklub which actually wasn’t open, but the area surrounding is dedicated to The Beatles and so it was extremely interesting all the same! The central square is super pretty to walk around and the city itself is beautiful, with food stalls and lights set up everywhere. Alster Lake is also extremely beautiful, I would love to go back again in the summer when it may not be as misty!
The Dolomites, Italy
I absolutely love skiing, I had only ever been once before and so traveling to Italy in February for a skiing holiday was so exciting! Going with my family made it all the more special and I had the most wonderful time.
The absolute bliss of skiing is one like no other and it has to be my favourite type of holiday, for a whole week it feels like you have nothing to worry about and the scenery is absolutely stunning. The weather all week was so great, the sky was always blue. My favourite moment by far was swinging in the mountains as you can see from the first picture, it was so relaxing and a great way to un- wind from all the January deadlines!
In April me and my friends visited Dublin in Ireland and whilst we found the city to be extortionately expensive and we didn’t get into the clubs for being too young or under– dressed we had an amazing time!
The city itself is so vibrant and colourful which makes it so interesting to walk around. The pubs are of course extremely lively and enjoying a pint whilst listening to live music was definitely a highlight (even if said pint was £8)
In June I started my almost three-month long adventure to Asia. My first stop was three nights in Hangzhou, before I was to get the bullet train up to Beijing from The South. Flying to Asia was quite scary for me as I have never left Europe before or been on a plane on my own before, and here I was forced to do both at once.
Hangzhou was absolutely beautiful and so was the food. The contrast between the city scape and the rural landscape right next door was spectacular and you can overlook this from a temple. The central lake is absolutely huge and it provides an amazing view of the mountains behind.
The scariest, most daunting thing I have ever done is probably this– living in Beijing for two months. I worked here, where I taught the sweetest little girl English and figure skating. The family I stayed with are people I will never forget and hope to see again some day.
Beijing is an absolutely incredible city and I have to go back there, I could even work here. Living here for two months I managed to see a lot of the city, some of my favourite aspects were; the art district, The Great Wall, the temples. Hoi Hai. I also had mandarin lessons for five hours per week which I loved and made the most amazing friends.
With the family I was staying with, they were kind enough to take me to Suzhou in August just before I left. I stayed for four days and I loved my time here, it is so much more relaxed than Beijing (whilst still being a huge city).
I had the most amazing time in Suzhou and was able to meet some truly incredible people, the man I stayed with being a famous and talented artist (Yang Mingyi) introduced me to composers and other artists. I was also able to dine in the best resteraunt in Suzhou where we had our own room at the top of the resteraunt. The food was stunning, even if I did feel a little awkward each of us having our own waiter.
I was sad but also in a way ready for my two months working to come to an end, I had the most amazing time and in August it was time for me to set of two weeks travelling on my own, the first place I visited was Tokyo.
Tokyo is certainly a place like no other and a place I will never, ever forget. I stayed right in the centre, in Shinjuku and I feel so lucky to have been able to visit Tokyo at just 19 as I know Tokyo is often a dream for a lot of people. The character of the city and the different areas absolutely blew me away; from the high– end shopping streets to the almost ridiculously quirky Harajuku where I dined with a fluffy character as a waiter. Tokyo literally has everything and I feel like everyone must see it! The personality and the quirks of the city is one like no other.
After four days in Tokyo, I headed back to China, just because flights worked out so much cheaper this way. Guilin was spectacular and definitely one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.
Biking through the strangely shaped mountains, shapes like none other I have seen was definitely hard but definitely worth it! I stayed in a sky hostel which had a roof terrace overlooking this beautiful scenery. I also made friends with all the staff who worked there and was able to go to a midnight BBQ with them and also go clubbing with them, which surprisingly was a really good night. I also watched a Chinese circus / dance performance and it was spectacular.
My final stop of this once in a lifetime trip was Hong Kong at the very end of August and again it was an absolutely unreal place.
Hong Kong was probably the prettiest city I visited, all the buildings were so impressive and the marketplaces were huge. I went up Victoria Peak, the highest mountain in Hong Kong which over- looks the city. Victoria Harbour is also one of the most amazing views I have ever seen especially at night as the buildings acorss the water light up different colours, the boat across the water was also a great thing to do.
I have honestly loved every minute of my travels in 2017 and I am so grateful that I have had the opportunity to travel as much as I did, I feel very lucky even if I did have to work quite a lot of hours! Happy new year and I hope you enjoyed this fairly lengthy blog post! Katy x