Wandering Kiwi’s 2017 Travel Highlights

Although I never feel like I’ve done enough travel, looking back over my 2017 travel highlights the Wandering Kiwi family had a great year!

It’s important to take a moment and be reminded of all the wonderful experiences we have had in the past year.

As well as travels within the UK, to Europe and the Middle East, there were lots of fun days in London, such as visiting the Handel & Hendrix Museum and days at Hatfield House and Leeds Castle.  Here are my 2017 travel highlights:

Ski holiday in Austria

All we managed to do in January was sit tight and wonder at the amazing experience we had just had in Myanmar but in February with hauled out the suitcases with great excitement for our ski holiday. And this year Austria had a special treat in store for us. Our week in Alpbach allowed us to discover one of Austria’s most beautiful villages, an incredibly hospitable community, and fun family skiing. Alpbach is a true gem.

Alpbach village in Tirol Austria

Spring adventures in the Wye Valley

The beautiful Wye Valley lies on the border between England and Wales and its meandering river, rich forests and fascinating history makes it a great holiday destination. We explored the ruin of Goodrich Castle, went canoeing on the Wye River and rock climbed on the crags alongside.

The Wye Valley

Derbyshire rock climbing

Derbyshire and the Peak District National Park are a favourite haunt of ours and this year we spent the best part of a week rock climbing at Stanage, camping and walking. We also had a great afternoon at Chatsworth House, home of the Dukes of Devonshire and squeezed in another historic site by visiting Bolsover Castle.

A day in Stratford-Upon-Avon

The small town in Warwickshire where William Shakespeare was born is one of the most popular tourist destinations in England and well worth a visit to see the various houses where he and his family lived. My favourite has always been Anne Hathaway’s cottage, where his wife grew up.

Anne Hathaway's Cottage Stratford Upon Avon England

Fairy Festival in Cornwall

We made a return visit to the Three Wishes Fairy Festival in Cornwall in June. Amazing costumes, fun creative activities, delicious food, music and more make this a magical weekend for children of all ages.

3 Wishes Faerie Festival Photo by Natasha von Geldern

Via Ferrata hiking in the Italian Dolomites

In the last week of June I went on an early summer trip to the Italian Dolomite Mountains, where I attempted the Alta Via 4 high hiking route that runs from north to south through the Dolomites. Challenging hiking, via ferrata sections and simply stunning scenery every day made this a wonderful week adventuring with my brother.

Tre Cime di Lavaredo - hike in the Dolomites

We also managed a cheeky day in Venice at the end of this trip to Italy because my brother had never been to Venice and because, well, Venice!!

San Giorgio Maggiore Venice Italy

Music and words at Latitude Festival

I haven’t written about my experience at Latitude Festival yet but in my head I’m still enjoying in my head all the transporting music and talks I heard at this very special event in the English county of Suffolk. Talk about food for the soul!

Latitude Festival Suffolk England

Sound of Music in Salzburg

I have been planning this trip for awhile now (perhaps ever since I first saw the Sound of Music movie as a child?) and this summer I finally indulged my inner von Trapp and took my daughter (and husband) to Salzburg for the ultimate Sound of Music experience. We sang our way around this beautiful city in Austria, went on the cheesy bus tour, loved the Marionette Theatre and swam in Lake Fuschl. Essentially we went everywhere Maria/Julie went in the film and we absolutely loved it all.

Mirabell Gardens Salzburg Austria

Action-packed family holiday in the English Lake District

Our summer holiday took us camping in the Lake District this August. England’s lakeland is a rich tapestry of lush countryside and fellside. We camped in the Great Langdale Valley. I climbed England’s highest mountain – Skafell Pike – and we had a very active time gorge scrambling, walking, kayaking, cycling and hiking. On the last day we persuaded Wandering Kiwi Jr up Bowfell Pike.

Climbing Bowfell in the Lake District web

Britain’s Loveliest Castle

This is quite a big claim but Leeds Castle (which is actually in Kent) is very pretty indeed. There is interesting history, beautiful gardens and grounds, falconry displays, a maze and much more Leeds Castle is a great day out.

Leeds Castle Kent United Kingdom

The Great Brussels Beer Weekend (again)

We love this festival so much it was our third visit! Two days of tasting exquisite beers from an enormous range of artisan brewers in the gorgeous setting of the Grand Place in Brussels’ medieval heart. If you enjoy drinking beer, the Great Brussels Beer Weekend event is a must!

Belgian Beer Weekend Brussels

A big bucket list tick in Jordan

In late October we set off for our most exciting trip of the year – Jordan. We have had this beautiful country on our travel bucket list for many years (who doesn’t!) and it did not disappoint. Exploring the ancient ruins of Petra, floating in the Dead Sea, driving the Kings Highway, camping out in the red deserts of Wadi Rum, the impressive Roman city of Jerash… we even managed some rock climbing!

The Monastery Petra Jordan

December in the Low Countries

We finished off the year with a lovely road trip to visit family in Belgium and the Netherlands. We stopped for lunch again at our favourite Trappiste brewery for a delicious lunch and a selection of La Trappe.

I hope your travel year was just as satisfying and that your plans for 2018 are coming together nicely. Maybe my 2017 travel highlights gave you some ideas!

With lots of love and new year’s wishes from,

Natasha 

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