In honour of the New Year, we asked some of the best travel bloggers around to look back on 2010 and tell us all about their favourite and most memorable travel experiences of last year. As you might expect from such a well travelled bunch we had some amazing responses. What I find particularly exciting about this carnival is that the wide variety of experiences our friends have chosen. No matter what you look for in a trip, you are sure to find inspiration in at least one of these posts, if not many more.
We have tales of trekking in the Alps and in Iceland, but also of the Alaskan wilderness enjoyed from the safety of a cruise ship. We have tales of searching for anacondas in the pampas of Bolivia, but also of absorbing the vibrant atmosphere of the New Orleans jazz scene. There are ancient ruins and there are unique journeys, there are wonders of the world and there are wonderful locals.
I’m excited to say that the first blog carnival of 2011 is probably the biggest and best so far. If you are, like me dangerously impressionable, then there are enough trip ideas to take you well into 2012 from the next ten posts!
Barbara’s travel highlight for 2010 was visiting the Mayan ruins of Palenque in Mexico, where she followed in ancient footsteps exploring the narrow passageways and living areas of this powerhouse of Mayan culture. Be sure to watch Barbara’s video and join her on her journey around the temples, palaces and tombs. Barbara has great commentary, but also listen out for the sounds of the jungle in background, you will also see how it encroaches on the ruins in the photos and video. Read full post
There are few places on earth more remote or difficult to get to than Easter Island so perhaps it is no wonder that when she made it there it became one of Andi’s travel highlights of the year. This post gives you a chance to share Andi’s wonder from her first sighting of the Maoi in the distance, to getting up close and personal with these iconic symbols of Easter Island. The photography in this post is a real treat, and it has certainly inspired a resolution in me to get close to these magnificent monolithic statues myself some day. Read full post
Last year’s travel highlight for Jennifer Miner, along with the rest of The Vacation Gals, was exploring Alaska by cruise ship. Ironically, when all the gals had long wanted to visit Alaska, the opportunity came separately for all three of them is 2010. Jen travelled on a small boat, with space for less than 30 passengers, which meant her Alaska cruise gave her a really intimate experience of this magnificent wilderness. Both Beth and Kara travelled on larger boats, more traditional cruise liners. Interestingly this meant they were able to take family members along with them for the trip, Kara travelled with three generations of her family! The fact that each of the gals got so much out of their own Alaska trip really goes to show there is more than one way to experience this remarkable part of the world. Read full post
In this post Erin transported me to the magical world of the Bolivian rainforest, I almost felt like I was there with her when the squirrel monkeys were jumping on the roof of a neighbouring stilted-hut. As Erin explains, most travellers visiting the Bolivian Amazon choose between visiting the pampas or the rainforest. Fortunately the guys visited both and this post gives a really interesting comparison of the two experiences and looks frankly at the pros and cons of both. Read full blog
Justin takes us hiking through the otherworldly, Icelandic landscape of Landmannalaugar. You can see from Justin’s photos of the volcanic glass covering the ground how this land has been effected by volcanic explosions. The conditions sound foreboding; there is no day or night in the summer instead the land is bathed in a perpetual twilight. Despite the season hikers can still perish in freak blizzards. Justin tells us of geothermal vents and of glaciers and he tells us no matter how long we look at his photos we will still not believe our eyes when we see it for ourselves. I love Justin’s pictures and was inspired by his post, but still can’t decide if this is one of those times where it is better to be an armchair traveller! Read full blog
As you can see from his round-up post, 2010 was a busy year for Andy. Of the many great experiences that he shares, the one that stood out most for me was his trip to Niagra Falls. Andy illustrated his highlights post with one of the photos from his Niagra trip, and I just had to see more so I followed (as you should) through to the post he wrote about his experiences. The photography is fantastic, I could almost feel the water thundering towards me! Ther are also some great tips on how to get the most out of a visit to the falls, something you will be keen to do after reading this post. Read full blog
Heather also managed to cram an incredible amount of travel into last year, in fact her highlights post shows that she managed to get away once a month if not more. Heather’s post is a great reminder that there are great travel experiences to be found on our own doorsteps and she has accounts of great UK based trips as well as international ones. Of all the posts, make sure you check out Heather’s video diary of her experiences walking the Tour de Mont Blanc. Heather really does know how to pick a backdrop for her travel videos! Read full post
Pam’s travel highlight this year was taking the slow boat from Chiang Saen in the north of Thailand to China. The boat departs Thailand at sunrise and follows the Mekong river to China, sailing along the border of two countries with Laos to the right and Burma to the left. The boat runs sporadically at best, Pam discovered when she planned to travel that it was only running 4 times that month. This great post has certainly inspired me, until now I didn’t even know the service existed. Now I do, I really want to take a slow boat to China! Read full post
What first springs to mind when you hear the name New Orleans? Did you say jazz? When Emily visited The Big Easy in 2010 that was her most enduring impression and also her travel highlight of the year. Although when she arrived Emily was not a fan, as a musician herself she marvelled at the talent of the jazz musicians she saw playing in the bars and clubs, but also in the restaurants and out on the streets. By the end of her stay Emily was a jazz lover, and by the end of this post you will want to be right there with her. Check out the two videos of street bands, amazing! Read full blog
Liz and the Tripbod team look back on their year of travel and as ever are full of ideas and inspiration about how to get the most out of your trip. Their local experts know all the cool and unique things to do in their local area, and can help you experience things other travellers often miss. You can see in this post that the Tripbod team know exactly how to take advantage of that knowledge when planning their own trips whether they are into trekking in Nepal or cooking in Sorrento. Read full blog