I updated my Facebook status just before midnight on New Years Eve, commenting on how my year had gone from starting in a salsa club in balmy Cali, Colombia to it’s end in a cold Leeds houseparty, and how that seemed quite an apt summary of how the year had gone. I stand by that, it wasn’t the best of years for many reasons – the death of my Grandad, work-related disappointments and a couple of failed job interviews all contributed to a general malaise and I spent a lot of the year (too much of it) feeling sorry for myself – but it wasn’t all bad, as I can remind myself here with a few selected highlights….
I spent 12 nights in BA all in all, and I enjoyed just about every single moment of it. The weather was great when I was there, I enjoyed the atmosphere in the city, it’s an interesting and rewarding place to visit, the food and wine was fantastic – and going to football matches there was a great experience. As often happens in the best places I also met a load of great people who I had a great time with, I’ll be upset if I never get back there.
Perito Moreno Glacier, El Calafate, Argentina
Perito Moreno Glacier
One of the few glaciers in the world that is growing, an amazing thing to see close up. It seems strange to say but I could have stood watching, and listening to, it for hours, it had a hypnotic effect on me, and all the other visitors too. If you get the chance pay it a visit.
Copa del Rey Final
OK, Atletico lost the game, but it was a fantastic experience that I’m unlikely to forget in a hurry. From arriving at Girona airport full of Atletico and Sevilla fans singing at, and with, each other to the family of Sevilla fans who “adopted” me in Girona where I spent the afternoon all the way to Barcelona and the Nou Camp (even though I had more of an idea of where we were going than they did) then just the experience of a big event with 60,000 Atletico fans it was a really enjoyable day. Maybe one day I’ll get to see Bradford City in the FA Cup final?
I’ve had a bit of an obsession with the Amazon since doing a school project on it when I was 11, so when I was visiting the jungle city of Iquitos in Northern Peru, and I found it was possible to visit the place where the Amazon itself begins (at the confluence of the Ucayali andMarañón rivers), I had to pay a visit. Being brutally honest, it’s nothing special – just where two rivers meet, but I was happy to sail on the river for a bit, and to have the chance to play with some dolphins for a few minutes.
2010 may have been the year when I started to appreciate nature a bit more, Cappadocia in Turkey was another superb area and landscape that was an enjoyable place to visit. A stunning natural landscape enhanced by the amazing human carved buildings in the rock, the fact I almost fell to my death while scaling across a sheer cliff face didn’t even put me off. Another place I’d like to re-visit and explore more at some point in the future.
On top of those there have been a few other moments, sporting wise Bradford City have given me nothing, but Diego Forlan scoring at Anfield to knock Liverpool out of the Europa League was a moment of sheer joy, England’s cricket team crushing the Aussies in the T20 World Cup Final, and in two tests to retain the Ashes provided some more. Back to travel I enjoyed spending some more time in Istanbul and seeing Suede, one of my favourite bands from my youth, in Paris was something to remember too.
All in all my 2010 wasn’t great, but 2011 still has a bit to live up to.