B-Side Destinations: Best of 2018

2018 has been a fun and inspiring travel year for me, with some interesting lessons obtained about both solo travel and travel with the little ‘uns. As I did last year, I’ve selected a few highlights, in no particular order. I hope you enjoy them and….feel free to comment!

  1. The History Museum in Hong Kong
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Symphony of lights. What a great welcome to another Asia trip.

I enjoyed my stop-over in Hong Kong on the way to the Philippines. Of course, the highlight that first day of my Asia trip was the food and and the evening views of Hong Kong from Kowloon, with the light show tackily called “Symphony of lights.”

Back from the Phils, however, I decided to squeeze a museum visit between the Dim Sum in Wan Chai and an evening in the Mongkok markets. I thought it would provide me with a deserved break from the hot, humid weather, and I was eager to learn a bit about the history of the city and the Opium Wars

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  1. Superb hiking in Murcia, Spain

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In May I traveled to Murcia, my dad’s family home region, together with my children. Murcia will probably not strike a cord among hardcore mountaineers or beach bums, but hey, in a long weekend I was able to enjoy beautiful hikes on the most diverse terrain. If one day my kids and I were hiking in beautiful Sierra Espuña -our base- the day after we discovered the trails, beaches and coves of Calblanque Natural Park, an unspoilt region close to overdeveloped La Manga.

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Senda del Caracol – a true Panoramaweg!

 

3. Discovering East Bohol, Philippines

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Shout-out to my fellow madrileños!

I have written several entries about my trip to the Philippines, surely my travel highlight of the year. Beautiful beaches, waterfalls and people, but of all of them East Bohol found a place in my heart. The wonderful coastal town of Anda and the scenery in Candijay and Alicia just got to me in special ways.

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I love you, Tailsay beach

4. Camping with kids in Murcia and Cuenca

Forget about Disneyland, Escape rooms or video games. If you want your kids to have some good, clean fun take them camping. Pitching the tent, cooking, exploring the campsite with a flashlight at night…It’s about fun and funner.

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5.  Snorkeling in Moalboal, Cebu

I’m glad I managed to squeeze in 4 hours in Moalboal en route to Dumaguete, although I suspect that that very intense way got me nice and ripe for the horrible food poisoning episode I suffered at night.  I enjoyed the laid back vibe, and loved the snorkeling, right off the shore. And it was funny to see the Chinese paying for boat rides to take them just 30m far from the shore. 

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6. Turquoise waters in the Philippines and Ibiza

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Yep – that’s the beach were headed for! (Port Barton area, Philippines)

Turquoise blue turned out to be the color of my year. The Philippines offered it to me aplenty, obviously in picture-perfect Palawan, but interestingly in Siquijor, which, I felt, offers mediocre beaches but amazing swimming.

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Anonymous beach in Siquijor. One of my best swims ever!

Back in Spain, I was lucky enough to visit Ibiza in the Fall and get yet another fix of turquoise, mainly in Cala D’Hort and Cala Saladeta. All in all, Ibiza was as mind and heart blowing as the colour of the sea water. Keep reading for more.

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No Instagram filters. Cala Saladeta offers the most beautiful waters I’ve swam in.

 

7. Unusual skimo destinations in Sierra de Guadarrama, Spain

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Hey let’s check out that couloir next time! (Puerto de Navafría, Sierra de Guadarrama)

Guadarrama mountains, my spiritual home. So many familiar trails, summits and valleys, and yet every season there are surprises on the menu. This year the heavy snowfalls allowed my group of friends and I to ski in some unusual bowls and valleys. Best, perhaps, was a Winter outing starting from Puerto de Navafría, where we enjoyed a Scandinavian atmosphere and a totally unexpected way down to the Lozoya valley.

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8. Ibiza in November

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It sounds almost like a joke to write about Ibiza as a B-Side to anything. But let’s call Ibiza in the Fall a delightful B-Side of Ibiza in the Summer

The weather was touch and go. The roads were quiet, and parking was plentiful, although this time it was not me behind the wheel, but someone both more beautiful and knowledgeable of the island.  The beaches and coves were a gift of the gods for those to enjoy them, warm enough if one found shelter from the wind. The water, of course, was chilly, but refreshing and crystal clear.

In Ibiza I wondered at the color of the water, only comparable to what I’d seen in the Philippines. I also wondered at life and love over 40, with a smile on my face and as few clothes on myself as I could brave. 

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Sunset from Cala D’Hort. Worth the chill.

There’s more, but that’s what I’ve managed to put together before we say goodby to 2018. I hope you also enjoyed your travels, and are slowly but surely figuring out what kind of traveler and person you are, and which destinations hit your sweet spot.

Best B-Side wishes for 2019!

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