Farewell 2008, hello 2009|
Unlike many on my friend’s list (it seems), I had an amazing year. We traveled around Spain, Italy, Slovenia, Ireland, and France; made many new friends; stayed on budget without too much effort; and returned home healthy and happy.
It’s hard to choose any favorite places. There’s really nowhere we visited that didn’t have a lot to offer. I was stunned by the Moorish flavor of southern Spain, Italian art and architecture, French food and villages, Irish coastal scenery, and Slovenian mountains and hospitality.
A few favorite moments of 2008 (it’s hard to choose!):
--touring the Alhambra at night
--wandering the ruins of a Roman town at Herculaneum (similar to Pompeii)
--my first glimpses of statues by Bernini and paintings by Caravaggio
--hiking among the traditional mountain herdsmen settlements in Velika Planina, Slovenia
--paragliding high over Lake Bohinj, in the Slovenian Alps
--hiking out a remote peninsula in southwest Ireland, across fields, bogs, rocky hilltops, and jagged coastline
--seeing Monet’s massive waterlily painting displayed at the Orangerie museum in Paris
--walking up the pilgrim’s route to medieval Vezelay and then stumbling upon Mass being chanted in the famous Basilica
The two big negatives were my massive ankle injury that left me on crutches for 2 months and the fact that we invested quite a lot of money in the stock market around this time last year—sigh. Most likely, this means that we’ll have to completely support ourselves (maybe working in park lodges? teaching English?) in 2010 and maybe 2011 while our investment recovers.
We’re leaving on Thursday (eek!) for a three-four month trip around southern Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and Guatemala. There will be a strong emphasis on snorkeling, which we’ve been missing (and we might learn to dive). Belize and the Bay Islands of Honduras are supposed to be some of the best (and for the Bay Islands, the cheapest) places to get a great fishy fix. We’re also excited about exploring various Mayan ruins, touring the highlands of Guatemala, and improving our Spanish. We’re leaving the laptop and giant camera (sob) behind for this leg, but will hopefully be checking in pretty often through internet cafes.
Then, in May, we’re heading to Vermont for a summer-long housesitting gig (visitors welcome) where we will catch our breath and get some paying work done. The plan is to spend the fall and winter in South America, probably primarily in Peru and Equador.
Check out our webpage at www.theslowroad.org for more about last year and new updates as we start our new adventures!
I miss all my far-flung friends and hope 2009 treats you well!!!