For 2010 I did a breadandtea annual awards blog. In fact it was my first ever blog post! I wrote most of this one back in January 12, and then forgot about it! Too excited about the African adventure.
Anyway, here goes for 2011…
Best travel experience
I had lots of travel in 2011, mostly to/within Bavaria. I loved visiting Regensburg, Munich (especially for Oktoberfest and to see the ice hockey), Bayreuth and Rothenburg.
Serbia and Macedonia were fun. Ohrid is beautiful.
But it has to be a choice between the climbing trips to Kitzbühel and Garmisch in September. Schachen was scenic and wonderful, but because of the overnight stays in the Bochumerhütte, the award has to go to the Kitzbühel trip.
Wonderful hotel experiences were a bit thin on the ground in 2011. In fact, not many of any kind.
The Bochumerhütte was special of course, but it has already won something.
I loved the IN Hotel in Belgrade – sitting in the rooftop bar at dusk drinking Montenegrin beer (to the Serb barman’s disgust) while unwinding after a very long drive. A very stylish hotel.
However, I think top award has to go to Gateside Farmhouse B&B near Forres. I’d chosen it for the girls’ first Scottish B&B experience and because Sheila & Scott are distant relatives
It did not let me down. They loved it, although a bit bemused by the total lack of portion control at breakfast. When Scott produced the bottle of Benromach on the 2nd night, that was the clincher (for Dagmar and me, not the teenagers).
The vast majority of flights I took last year were with Easyjet, so it’s quite tricky trying to find a memorable flight experience.
Ryanair to Dublin? No. JAT to Belgrade? No. KLM or Aer Lingus? Very routine.
Manx2.com to the Isle of Man? I guess that’s it! Here’s what I wrote at the time…
The airline is a gem, based on my 2 flights. We left 25 minutes early from Blackpool (as soon as all the booked passengers had checked in). We were exactly on time on the return.
The weather was rotten – wet and windy – but the flights were smooth. On that route they use an 18 seat LET 410. Never heard of it before. A Czech built turbo prop.
They have a wonderful safety video on that plane (may not be the same on other services, from what I’m told). It is all acted out by Manx primary school children. Each has a line, then the next one takes over.
Sadly the airline had a crash at Cork with several fatalities about 2 weeks after I wrote that.
Best other transport
No ferries or hydrofoils in 2011. No jaunts in the sidecar of Rosi’s Vespa. The train into Munich a couple of times, but nothing special about that. A boat trip on Loch Ness? Hardly.
So, maybe the car?
The drive over the mountains from Lake Prespa to Lake Ohrid was spectacular. Navigating my way in and out of Skopje for a meeting at the British Embassy was a thrill a minute.
However, I think the marathon (6.5 hours) drive from Ohrid to Belgrade has to take pride of place. It took us (Toni – my navigator and loose change dispenser – was in the co-pilot’s seat) almost the entire length of Macedonia and half of Serbia, where driving habits are a little different. So is the policing. It ended with finding my way through Belgrade in the rush hour.
Tough one! Looking for location, food quality and ambiance to judge by.
I had any number of good food experiences in Bavaria in 2011. Then there was dinner on the balcony of the Bochumerhütte… at 4,500 ft, in warm evening sunshine looking up at the Alps and down at Kitzbühel.
Dinner by the bay, on the terrace of the Kimberley Inn (Findhorn) in June? Fish. Sun. Sea. Friends. Family.
The enormo breakfasts at the Gateside?
Ohrid? Sunday lunch at Potpeš, perched above the lake with Valentina, Toni, Claus, Ed, Kristina et al.. May. Hot, but cool.
That Lebanese place in Dublin (yes, the one with the belly dancer) must be a candidate. The food and company (no, not the belly dancer) were wonderful, and it was just a chance find. No planning apart from a walk around the city centre to find somewhere.
Nope, top prize has to go to lunch in the Biergarten at the Englischer Garten in Munich. My introduction to Biergarten food on a sunny spring afternoon. Great!