One plan for after my retirement in 2020 was to travel the world and experience new places and peoples before I kick the bucket. Covid quickly put a stop to my plans, but 2023 was finally the year that Roma and I got to believe in our dreams. This year we visited eight different countries - some for the first time: UK, France, Spain, Dubai, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and South Africa.
First up in January was a trip to London with our daughters Claire, Kate, and Vicki. It's not often that the five of us manage to get together at the same time, so this was quality family time. London is a fantastic city to visit, though I did find it very crowded and a bit on the expensive side.
Our fourth and final stop was in San Sebastian back in Spain. Roma rejoined me here and we set about to explore this beautiful city. A highlight for us was a food tour around the Old City. We loved the tapas bars in Spain as it was a great way to try different foods. When we left San Sebastian to get to the ferry back to Ireland, we had some time in Bilbao and saw the incredible Guggenheim Museum.
I though that was it for the year. I had spent most of the summer in Wexford and knew that Roma was planning her ninth trip to volunteer with Mellon Educate in South Africa. She thought it would be her last time, so we decided that I would join her (after all the building work was done!) So I headed off to Cape Town crossing the Equator for the first time ever on the way. We packed in lots during our week's stay with the highlights being Table Mountain, the Cape of Good Hope, Franschhoek, a Township Experience, and Robben Island.
So that's it for this year - we are so lucky to be able to visit eight countries in one year. We are already looking to see where too next while we are still able for long trips. We are considering Japan for our big trip of the year, and I'd also like to get in another bike ride in Europe - probably Italy. We had a trip booked to Iceland a few years ago, but had to cancel - I'd like to check out some volcanos and perhaps ride around the island!