As much as I love exploring new places, my focus this year has been on revisiting the countries that mean a lot to me. Writing this blog has made me obsessed with capturing everything, from random hand-painted signs to colourful assortments on market stalls, things just seem even more interesting when I’m away from Blighty. I’ve been to all of these places pre-IWYTK and taken the odd dodgy disposable camera snap (why oh why did I think it was okay to put my finger anywhere near the viewfinder), but it’s only now that I’m starting to see these locations in a new light. Is it only me who feels like each country has it’s own Instagram-like filter? I feel like someone turned the saturation up in Jamaica and England would definitely have to be the most grey!
It goes without saying that this little island is very special to me. My first visit at age 10 was so eye-opening, since it was my first proper family holiday and involved us cramming into a car and driving all around. We tasted the most amazing fried fish on Hellshire Beach, climbed up Dunn’s River Falls and observed a vastly different way of living each time we whizzed past a shanty town. My grandparents moved there almost twenty years ago and it’s only from my recent trip that I’ve managed to piece together snippets of their lives (if you’ve seen my vlog you’ll know that my Granddad used to write songs) and realise some of the struggles they went through in order to create a better life for my Dad and his siblings. I definitely want to try and get out there every few years to see them, plus there’s still the eastern side of the island that I need to explore. I’m craving the jerk chicken as I type this!
Remember planning your first ‘grown-up’ holiday as a teen? My bezzies and I went for Barcelona, since sunshine seemed guaranteed and we wanted our limited funds to go as far as possible. I religiously stuck to the guide book (borrowed from the local library and returned with sand between the pages) and realised that exploring the character-filled streets was more important than beach time. During my recent trip we were taken on a walking tour hosted by The Treasures, learning all about the Jewish influences and districts where certain trades would settle. There’s so many fascinating places, for example Casa Gispert which has been selling nuts, dried fruit, chocolate and other treats since 1851 and Casa Colomina for your nougat fix. I’ve made a note of the streets to head back to so that I’m not wandering around quite so aimlessly next time.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been to Germany, I’m probably it’s biggest fan from outside the country! My aunt moved there twenty years ago, so I’m pretty familiar with Wiesbaden and a couple of the surrounding towns. It’s somewhere you’d go for a pretty chilled break, there’s a real emphasis on enjoying nature with all the lush forests, plus thermal baths and probably the best ice-cream outside of Italy. I now have a reason to visit more often thanks to the arrival of a new baby cousin and they’ll be moving further north, which means I’ll have a whole new area to explore.
I’d love to know of any particular countries you have a connection with!