When my boss decided to treat me and my colleagues to a 3-day city break to Porto, I didn’t know what to expect from Portugal’s second largest city. Oddly, the country wasn’t ranking very high on my travel ‘wish list’, so I didn’t really know much about it when I received the invitation. Upon doing some research, Porto looked very promising to me. The historic city centre, the gorgeous views dominated by the Douro river and of course the Port wineries; what’s not to love?
Even before I ever went there, I have always been in love with London. When I finally set foot in the British capital, I was delighted to discover it was every bit as great as I could have hoped for. Despite the fact that my first trip was ill-planned, and far too short, London felt like home away from home, and I have been eager to return ever since. Now, four and a half years later, I find myself making plans to do just that.
The crowd goes mental as the last ethereal sounds of the Drones choir track die down, whilst twelve large balls of light slowly descend from their hiding place just under the roof, towards the stage in the centre of the arena. This series of Muse concerts is not called the Drones Tour for nothing. At the sound of the first chord from Matt Bellamy’s guitar, the entire venue is literally trembling with the earth-shaking energy from the crowd on the floor.
Anyone who knows me, knows I love music. At home, I often listen to music whilst I am working. During a road trip, my favourite music keeps the long days in the car interesting. The best way to enjoy your favourite music however, is attending a concert. In last year’s rant about writer’s block, I hinted at incredible concerts I had attended, but until now, I did not realise that I had not actually published that story yet. Better late than never?
Whenever someone asks me what the most memorable part of my trip to Israel was, I feel like I ought to tell them it was Jerusalem. Most people who have visited the Holy Land seem to agree on this point. Looking back at my trip now, almost five years later, as the details of the memories start to fade, I cannot help but think the city is somewhat overrated. The part of my week-long stay in Israel that stuck with me the most, consists of the days spent in the north of the country, after leaving the capital.
Two and a half years ago, I travelled to the city of Prague for a short city break. Unlike on previous trips, I had not planned ahead much further than booking flights and a hotel. I wanted to make the rest up as I went along. In a way, despite the shortness of it, this trip shaped the traveller in me. It made me realise that my possibilities in solo travel go far beyond road trips in my own car. This trip made me see the traveller I want to be in the future. This planet is a big place, and I yearn to discover as much of it as I possibly can.
After my unfortunate trip to Wallonia this summer, one would expect me to be hesitant about returning to Belgium in the near future. Yet when my grandmother expressed an interest in visiting the North Sea coast for our short holiday in November, I found myself agreeing immediately. After comparing some hotels and cities, my eye fell on a seaside hotel in Blankenberge.
I really should be writing. It has been exactly three months since my last blog post. If I actually have any readers left, I do not want to lose them, so I will need to produce some words. Better yet, I will need to start producing words on a more regular basis, rather than once every three months.
Not all my holidays consist of taking my car and my tent on a road trip. In a country like Morocco, I would not have felt comfortable to drive around on my own, especially not in the chaotic cities. Despite that, I did not want to spend an entire week in one place. When I decided to travel to the country of couscous and tagines in 2012, I booked a week-long guided tour of Morocco’s famous imperial cities.
A feeling of melancholy washes over me as I drive through the city. Even though I am taking the exact same route through Rotterdam that I have been taking for years, today is different from the countless other times I drove here.