2016 Travel Round Up – Scotland, Germany & Poland
2016 was officially my first full year of blogging. Officially I started in December 2015 so to keep a project going this long is just amazing. 2016 is also the year that I got to tick a few more things off my bucket list, including road tripping up to Glencoe, visiting Auschwitz in Poland and getting to see the Berlin Wall in person.
Glencoe, Scotland – March 2016
After visiting Golspie in November 2015, my craving to see more of Scotland intensified. So as the new year rolled around, I was desperate to book somewhere up north for a few days. And so a weekend in Glencoe was born!
The whole weekend was magical, from the drive up to the snow-capped mountains to the relaxing spa facilities in the hotel. I didn’t want to leave. As we were only there a few days and the weather was terrible, we spent one day relaxing in the leisure facilities and walking around the local pubs and the other day driving down Glen Etive to find James Bond’s famous Skyfall location.
Glencoe is a beautiful place in itself, but even just the road trip up had so many amazing spots where we (and some tourists) wanted to stop to take pictures.
Berlin, Germany – June 2016
After our jaunt up to Glencoe for the weekend, summer started to roll around and it was time to get abroad. I travelled over to Berlin with two of my old friends from school for a girly weekend away. Berlin had always been on my radar and having finally found three days out the other 362 of the year, we booked up to stay in Kreuzberg in Berlin. It was also my first time using Airbnb for accommodation which was amazing!
The capital city was so educational and taught me a lot about the war and the divide in the country; plus it was great to visit a bucket list item – the Berlin Wall. I also had the opportunity to visit the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, Checkpoint Charlie, the TV Tower and the Holocaust memorial. Unfortunately the Brandenburg Gate was closed off due to the European Championships, but it did mean we got to go to the fan zone and cheer on Germany during a national game!
Krakow, Poland – September 2016
The darker nights started to roll in and as we both looked forward to our birthdays coming up, we were also preparing for a trip to Krakow Poland. To be honest, we weren’t really planning to go a holiday this year and to save up properly to visit America in 2017. But I just couldn’t not go away. Plus the flights were SUPER cheap! And I had always wanted to go to Auschwitz.
Visiting Auschwitz concentration camps was one of the most overwhelming and moving things I have even done in my life. And I’ve visited some historical sites of tragedy and suffering, including the Killing Fields. It was nothing like I had ever experienced, and I tried to jot down my thoughts and feelings but I don’t know if I did it any justice. Although it was emotional, I was so glad I did it. I felt like I had come away with a mission to tell everyone’s story, how they were treated and the suffering they went through so it never happens again. It’s terrifying what humans are capable of.
In Poland we also got to visit Wawel Castle and the Salt Mines which were amazing. The Salt mines were such a surreal experience. At times I felt claustrophobic when I realised that I was 287km under ground. Oh and the food. I need to mention the food in Krakow. As a poor traveller, it was great to find some cheap authentic Polish street food at the local markets surrounding the Main Square in the Old Town.
Loch Lomond – November 2016
By the time November came around, winter was quickly following in its shadows. With only 4 days spent in Krakow, I felt like I deserved another little trip away. So we booked to go to the Loch Lomond Waterfront lodges where we were treated to loch views, an private sauna in our lodge and an outdoor hot tub that also looked down on to the water. It was the perfect few days of relaxation. If we weren’t walking out in the surrounding hills or lochs, we were in the hot tub with a cocktail. Pure bliss.