Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Most memorable moments

When one has been away for the length of time I have (10.5 weeks), many family and friends want to hear all about it now that I am finally home. Although I am tempted to email them the URL to this blog, which is a fairly comprehensive record, most probably want a more condensed version (!). Moreover, after blogging almost exclusively (perhaps vainly) about my adventures, I feel the need for one final indulgence to wrap the whole thing up.

So, here is a brief highlights package of most memorable moments in chronological order. They are the places or events that moved me the most, or which best epitomise an important aspect of this holiday. Following the top 10, there is a list of honourable mentions -- which just goes to show how fabulous the past two and a half months have been.

Top 10 most memorable
  1. Sarlat and the Dordogne region (France): I had never heard of this region, and it just blew me away with the richness of the history, architecture and food.
  2. Segovia (Spain): A fairytale fortified town with the most impressive Roman aqueduct penetrating the heart. Stupendous.
  3. Seville (Spain): So much to see in this town. Its Alcazar was the highlight, but also memorable were visits to the Giralda tower, bullring and a flamenco performance.
  4. The Alhambra in Granada (Spain): My reason for visiting Spain didn't let me down with its vast, beautiful gardens and carved marble frescoes.
  5. Ronda (Spain): The dramatic canyon with its unique bridge, and the narrow winding streets of the old town were breathtaking.
  6. The pudding club (UK): 6 months in the planning, this night was an orgy of British pudding consumption. The sticky date and bread & butter puddings were to die for.
  7. The Undercliff walk, Brighton (UK): We stayed in an old inn in the village of Rottingdean and walked below the white chalk cliffs into Brighton on a magical morning.
  8. Snowbound in London (UK): It took 5 hours for our car to travel 4 miles during the first snows of 30 November, and the subsequent few days saw us completely snowbound. After that, snow lay on the ground for the rest of my sojourn in the UK and then Germany. 
  9. Christmas markets (Germany): Gorgeous sprawls of snow-dusted huts bearing assorted handcrafts and delectable foods. Christmas lights and gluhwein abound.
  10. Family Christmas (Germany): The focal point of the trip saw my whole family converge on Bonn for a magical White Christmas.

Honourable mentions
  • Luchon in the Pyranees, France
  • Madrid and Barcelona, Spain
  • Bath (for the second time), UK
  • London museums, UK
  • London shopping, UK
  • Bruges - especially the hot chocolate, Belgium
  • Drachenfells walk near Bonn, Germany (I haven't blogged about this, but it involved pushing a pram up a steep and very icy hill with fabulous winter views of the Rhine River!)
  • New Years Eve fireworks in Bonn, Germany

I've had a wonderful time -- and it has been awesome to be away from work for an extended period -- but it is also nice to be home, where the sun shines and I don't need to get suited and booted merely to step out the door, where I can wear clothes other than those in my pack, where I can ask for a large skinny flat white and get a fabulous coffee . . .

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