A (belated) look back at 2014

Distracted by El Salvadoran beaches, Bolivian salt flats, ancient Inca cities and Guatemalan jungles in December (not to mention the less-than-speedy South and Central American wifi connections), I missed out on posting the usual end-of-year memories and round-ups. Would you mind if I caught up now? Because 2014 was a pretty epic year. Here is a belated look back at my adventures over the past 12 months…

January

The year kicked off in pretty magical style. I woke up on New Year’s Day in the Maldives after a spontaneous decision on Boxing Day to get away.

Booking with two days notice for New Year’s meant our accommodation options were limited, and while Vivanta by Taj was a gorgeous and luxurious hotel, given more time to research I would have chosen one of the hotels I mention in this article.  Still, a blissful, incredible five-day winter getaway.Maldives

Oh, and this happened… so that trip will always be a favourite. Read more…

The end of the month, I went on a two-day press trip to Swinton Park, Yorkshire to review the luxurious castle hotel. It was like stepping onto the set of Downton Abbey. Read more…Swinton Park

February

February was my fiancé’s 30th birthday, so a big group of us went skiing in La Plagne, France. It was a riotous week on the slopes, and our chalet was fantastic, complete with a hot tub on the deck. Good times with good friends. See more on Instagram…La Plagne

March

Venice was always somewhere I assumed I’d get to one day, but wasn’t that excited about visiting, having heard so many complaints about it being overpriced and too touristy. My opinion was transformed after a long weekend in early March there… as I learned, you can do Venice like a local. Read more…Grand Canal, Venice

April

Ahh, Bruges. So charming! I really enjoyed spending a few days there, walking, eating, drinking beer, and soaking up the atmospheric city that looks like it belongs in a storybook. A lovely weekend destination. Read more…Bruges-6

May

Morocco has been on my bucket list for years. In May, I got to Marrakech and loved it. We stayed at a lovely Riad in the Medina for a few days, then headed outside the city for a few more days of relaxation at the gorgeous Fellah Hotel. Throw in a day of exploring the Berber villages in the Atlas Mountains, and it was a fantastic trip. There are so many other destinations in Morocco I yearn to visit, with the blue city of Chefchouen firmly at the top of my list. Read more…Medina, Marrakech-7

My father and I spent a long weekend in Krakow at the end of the month. We explored the city and visited Auschwitz – a harrowing experience, but one I’m glad I experienced. My tips on visiting Krakow were picked up by Lonely Planet’s blog, which you can check out here... Krakow Poland

June

No trips in June, le sigh…

July

… But in July, I was lucky enough to enjoy two wonderful work trips. First, a trip to Taormina in Sicily to review two Belmond hotels, Grand Hotel Timeo and Villa sant’Andrea, for MailOnline. My BFF and I turned the opportunity into a girlie holiday and we both fell head over heels for the picturesque coastal town. One of my favourite trips of the year, and I haven’t stopped singing Taormina’s praises to anyone who will listen since. Read more…Taormina Sicily-15

A few weeks later, a bloggers’ trip to the Dordogne Valley in France was great fun, particularly getting to do this and thisRead more…

Les Jardins des Marqueyssac-4

August

Prior to 2014 I hadn’t stepped foot in Poland, and suddenly I was visiting twice in a matter of months. Off the back of my Lonely Planet blog on Krakow, I was invited to spend a few days in Poznan in August. Admittedly, I’d never actually heard of the city before they extended the invitation to me, but boy did I learn a lot on those few days… and was utterly charmed. Beautiful architecture, steeped in history and with lovely locals, I really enjoyed my few days in Poznan and would highly recommend it as a fun weekend away for those who want to go somewhere a little less touristy. Read more…Poznan Market Square-7

September

My absolute favourite trip of 2014 was undoubtedly our week sailing the Dalmatian coast in Croatia. I worked with Yachts and Friends for the trip, and we chartered an incredible 57-foot monohull. We had great friends join us for the week, and lucked out with a brilliant skipper and hostess in Mate and Riley. My favourite of the islands was Vis, where we dropped anchor for the day in a beautiful little cove, Stiniva, with its hidden beach and turquoise waters. A pinch-me perfect day. Read more…Stiniva Bay, Vis-4

I also returned to Marrakech on a press trip to review the newly-opened Royal Palm Marrakech. A luxurious few days of spa treatments, shopping in the souks and decadent meals. My idea of a good working week! Read more…Royal Palm Marrakech-23

October

After a zippy press trip to Berlin to visit the Waldorf Astoria hotel as part of the Taste of Waldorf campaign, I had to be rolled back through Heathrow. Amazing food courtesy of Pierre Gagnaire, incredible hotel suites with panoramic views, and long walks around the city. Read more…East Side Galery Berlin Wall-1

November

November was all about enjoying as much of London as possible before embarking on our South and Central America trip on December 1. I crammed in as much last-minute sightseeing, girlie dinners, drinks with buddies and London moments as I could before making the big move.

December

I travelled as much in December as I did the rest of 2014 combined. The itinerary included: Rome, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, La Paz, Salar de Uyuni, Cuzco, Machu Picchu, El Tunco, Antigua Guatemala, Lanquin and Semuc Champey, and Tulum (via Flores and Chetumal). I checked in with the blog via my postcards from each destination, but will be posting more in-depth tales and photo diaries over the coming weeks.Machu Picchu

We arrived in Tulum, Mexico on December 31st, and saw the sun rise on the new year on the beach. As I watched the arrival of 2015, I reflected on an incredible year of travel and adventure. And now having finally moved home to Australia, here’s hoping this year is just as memorable!Tulum sunrise

  • http://www.bloggingfromparadise.com/ Ryan Biddulph

    Wow did you get around Andrea! Well done! I lived vicariously through your MP pictures because I fell ill 2 years back when I visited. I did the Cusco bit and loved it but MP was off the list due to some wicked stomach issues/Alien in my stomach. You saw SO much in 2014. We did 4 spots in Thailand, 4 months in Fiji and 1 month in Bali. Next up: 4 months or more in Jimbaran, Bali then we’ll take it from.

    Happy travels and keep on inspiring!

    Ryan

    • http://www.somekindofwanderlust.com/ Andrea Magrath

      Thanks so much Ryan – what a shame you missed MP, but Cusco is lovely isn’t it! Sounds like you’re doing pretty well in the travels yourself, enjoy!