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  • Gemma Fottles

A year of travel – Happy New Year!

At the beginning of 2014, I was worried that becoming more and more settled in my new home of Amsterdam was going to be decidedly detrimental to how much travelling I was going to partake in. I mean, it took a long time for my boyfriend and I to become somewhat financially stable and ‘sorted’ here, so any big trips were out of the window. The beauty of living in mainland Europe, however, meant that my fears were never realised, and we easily made several trips all over the continent without much trouble at all. Although my feet are constantly itching to get out there and do something more, it just goes to show that travel doesn’t need to be an expensive, time consuming feat only suitable for gap years and the rich. Two perpetual paupers managed to get some awesome trips in, using weekends and the odd holiday from work easily. So, here’s my 2014 travel highlights:

1) St. Christoph, Austria

A ski holiday was the first on my list of big fat WANTS this year, but something that I thought was completely unrealistic. Skiing is notoriously expensive, and something often reserved for the middle classes amongst us. But no! With a bit of research (…or, rather, several hours of research), we managed to do have an amazing week in one of the most expensive ski resorts in Europe for under €600. We took a 10 hour road trip, stayed a little bit out of the main resort, and smuggled tiny Jäger’s into our seemingly endless après ski frivolities. Read how we did it quite so cheaply here!

Loving life on top of a mountain in Austria

2) Berlin, Germany

After visiting Berlin in 2013 and leaving with a bitter taste in my mouth, I was invited out by GoEuro to give the city a second chance. I spent the weekend riding around the city, thankfully avoiding most of the rain, and getting a completely different view on Germany’s capital. The verdict this time round? It’s still a big, grey city… but absolutely worth a visit. With a very cool underground culture present every where you look and nights out that apparently never end, make sure you pack your hangover cure. One word of advice though, it still takes some planning. Don’t go unprepared and expect everything Berlin has to offer to miraculously land in your lap! Read about second chance trip here.

Hanging around in Teufeslberg, Berlin

3) England

Being an expat mean that though I love the country I’ve made my home, I still miss my motherland! This year I’ve managed to make quite an impressive three trips back. Whether it’s Nottinghamshire to visit my family, London to attend the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards, or Brighton to frolic in the October sea with one of my best friends, it’s always great to visit home. England has so much more to offer than the sights of London, and being away for so long has made me realise that!

Red Mile sunrise in the English countryside

4) Oberwesel, Germany

I’d almost forgotten about this weekend trip to a gorgeous little German town on the Rhine. Again highlighting the greatness that is living in mainland Europe, it was an easy four hour drive from Amsterdam, and perfect to get away from the city. My dad travelled down the Rhine after he left us, and told us that this area is full of quintessential, old German villages and towns. I’d like to go back and spend a week or so there, but for a weekend break it’s perfect. Good food, even better wine, and the friendliest people Germany has to offer! Read about our German road trip here.

a very old castle in oberwesel, germany on the rhine

5) Barcelona, Spain

My inaugural trip to Barcelona was, by far, the highlight of my entire year. Everybody raves about Barcelona but until my boyfriend was sent to work there for two weeks, it hadn’t really appealed to me that much. When I arrived, I have no idea why it wasn’t on my travel radar. It has everything. A nice city beach, such a rich history, beautiful culture, amazing food and – a personal favourite – a year round wonderful temperature. My trip at the end of September enabled me to escape the rapidly depleting warmth in the Netherlands and fully enjoy 28 degree weather. Read about the most perfect day I had whilst visiting the city here.

Catalan flag in Barcelona

Considering I work full time and have had a plethora of boring things to pay for out of an utterly unimpressive wage, I’m pretty happy with my travel highlights of 2014! Add in numerous trips around the Netherlands and a wintery trip to Belgium, and I can safely say that travel can be undertaken by anybody. If it’s what you want to do, then make 2015 your year to go places, see things and widen your perspective of the world. Sack off the excuses. I assure you, it’s not as hard as it looks.

Happy New Year!

#Amsterdam #Money #Budget #Spain #Belgium #ski #Austria #NewYear #Netherlands #Travel #England #Barcelona #Berlin #Germany

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