2012 in review…

Annual review time!

For those who live outside Scottieland, please bear in mind that the whole country shuts down for 2 weeks over Christmas & New Year.

Folk sit around the TV for a fortnight guzzling alcohol and potato crisps, alternately whining about how “that film was on last year” and making New Year resolutions about giving up the couch potato lifestyle. Must be some genetic failing – why have 2 weeks holiday when the weather is at its worst, and we have only 7 hours of daylight?

I don’t participate. I (1) leave the country, (2) work or (3) adopt “normal” public holidays. Sometimes all three. However, that still leaves lots of time for blogging.

Best travel experience

Not an easy choice. Going up to the summit of Zugspitz was fun. Ben Lawers too – a cloudless sky in the Scottish Highlands!

Ben Lawers

Ben Lawers

Landing at Beirut Airport takes a bit of beating as well.

Then there was the safari. Very middle class and middle aged, but once in a lifetime.

Ngorongoro

Ngorongoro

Come to think of it, I’ve had quite a year!

At the end of the day, nothing can match the trip up Mt Kilimanjaro.

at 14,000 ft

at 14,000 ft

Best accommodation

I have some prime candidates for this – the Hilton in Addis Ababa, the Arcadia in Trier and the Zur Goldener Ente in Salzburg all come to mind for varying reasons.

At the end of the day it’s hard to see past the Mount Meru Hotel in Arusha. It was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but the view of Mount Meru in front of the hotel made it special.

Mt Meru

Mt Meru

Best flight

Like last year, most of my travel has been in steerage class – easyJet. A New Year resolution beckons – do better in 2013!

If I disregard easyJet, Ryanair and the likes of FlyBe I don’t have much else to think about. After that, the decision is easy – Ethiopian Airlines from Kilimanjaro to Addis Ababa.

homeward bound

homeward bound

The flight wasn’t busy, the service was good, we left and arrived on time – can’t be faulted. It was unique as well. First time I’ve seen cabin crew dancing to the inflight background music. Africa…

Best other transport

The bus from Arusha to the park entrance to start our hike up Kilimanjaro? 25 guides/cooks/porters crammed in with 6 climbers and enough kit for almost a week? Bouncing around on African roads of varying quality for 5 hours.

that bus...

that bus…

The same in reverse – when none of us had showered for almost a week?

My train journey across Germany – Trier to Koblenz, on to Nürnberg, and then to Ingolstadt?

No, I reckon the cable car from the top end of the Zugspitz railway to the summit. Stunning.

Decent view

Decent view

Best food

As usual I’m spoilt for choice in this category! I ate really well in Salzburg, and in Bavaria on many occasions. Lunch and dinner at the Kimberley in Findhorn always get close to the top of the list.

I had a great steak frites in Brussels – nothing fancy, just top quality.

I remember a wonderful seafood dinner by the beach in Bournemouth at sunset.

Or could it be injera for lunch by the lake in Bishoftu?

better than it looks!

better than it looks!

Ultimately I’ll go for the Griesbräu in Murnau, close to the Bavarian Alps. Good food. Great beer. Wonderful atmosphere. Excellent company.

Prost!

Prost!

© iain taylor 2013
(apart from the bus photo, which is © bill stewart 2012, and used by permission)
This entry was posted in Beirut, Brussels, Ethiopia, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Salzburg, Tanzania, Trier. Bookmark the permalink.

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