The other day I mentioned how this year had been massively characterised by live concerts. If that is true, and everyone, including I, particularly in this funny chunk of time between Christmas and New Year, is in somewhat reflective mode at this moment, the other thing I have done a lot this year is travel. Admittedly, I do go away a lot, but one of the luxuries of the self employed is that as long as a laptop comes too, anything is possible. Clients never need even know one is away. Or at least that is the argument I have put over the past four years I have been doing this. Anyway, this year has been notable. Glancing at my calendar for the next six months, that looks quite busy too. There's an absolute diamond (clue!) coming up in March. In truth, a bit of a run of it coming up in the next three weeks. But, let's look back not forward, at least for now: my idea had been to look back at the 'best destinations' of the year. Maybe with one or two photos. So I will do just that.
First: the turn of the New Year in Ely, Cambridgeshire
Skiing - Chamonix, February
A lot of mist and a lot of snow, confounding what everyone had said about last year's poor conditions in Europe. The memory of that will have to stay with me for a bit - I'm taking a year out from the slopes in '08. Shame really, as I was getting quite good by the end of the week. There's always another year...
Easter in Copenhagen - April
Despite having a stinking cold, I remember the city very fondly. Gorgeous (if pricey) food, friendly (and divinely sexy) men. But, dismayingly, just not the gay ones (I saw, anyway).
Paris trip number one... May
In which I experienced the divine bliss of Paris in the Spring. Something recommended to anyone with a pulse and a will to travel - the month of May in the French capital has it at its thrilling peak.
The sheer divine beauty of Tuscany - June
Every cliché came true - but especially when we drove down to Chianti - that's where all the rolling hills and stuff of mythology can be found. We actually stayed near Lucca (a couple of hours drive from the above). Lucca is beautiful, of course, and to be strongly recommended. But if you're after the terracotta tiles, olive oil and red wine (and most people are - that's San Gimignano above) find lodging in the south of the region.
Herrsching, Germany - July
What was I saying about National clichés? Every last one came true in the suburbs of Munich. In fact, the shot above was taken in the centre of the city, but I will never forget being served wienerschnitzel and gigantic foaming jugs of ale by a woman in lederhosen called Helga. Fo'real.
The day-trip to Edinburgh - August
An unexpected day trip on glorious easyJet to Scotland. It was really for work, so I didn't have much time to myself, but this shot was taken on a sidestreet off the Royal Mile, and when you turned your head there was a backdrop of sharp cliffs behind.
My real summer holidays began with a few days in Madrid in August...
Really my experience of Madrid was a solitary one. That's not to say I didn't make a few new friends along the way while I was there, but my plans had to change at the last moment and I ended up being there alone. It did mean I wandered the city and took dozens of photos, however, including the above outside a street café. Gazpacho strongly recommended. Speaking to anyone with the inevitable potent onion breath afterwards, is cautioned.
From there, I flew on direct to Majorca in early September...
About as close as you can get to Paradise - in Europe anyway. For me the Far East can keep their Palm-fringed Thai coves - this is heaven.
New York - November
A truly stunning week in the city that never sleeps. It's either that the experiences keep getting better or my ability to figure out how to enjoy the city becomes more acute. Either way, I am not giving it too long till I test the theory again.
And finally, a weekend inspecting a baby in Paris, my second trip of 2007, travelling from the new terminal at St Pancras, in mid-December...
A delight, but this blue-skied shot belies the truth, which is that it was the wettest weekend in Paris in human history. Still, my friends' kid was a delight, sleeps like a teenager and doesn't scream in the night. And you can't ask for much more than that.
Also, for what it's worth...
My most played song of the year
Sophie Ellis Bextor If you go (from Trip the Light Fantastic)
My favourite song of the year
Robyn With every heartbeat
My album of the year
Tracey Thorn Out of the Woods
Tracey Thorn Raise the roof