When I thought of this travel summary of 2016 in photographs I promised myself to be brief with it but then going through all my photos I soon realised it was just impossible to pick only one that could represent that trip. Actually I’d love to show you every single photo I took of all the places I’ve been but my laptop says I took 21.176 photos in 2016 only with my camera! (2.578 with my phone if you’re curious…I was, so I checked. I keep them in different folders, lol).
To be honest only now, opening those archived folders, I’m realising how much I’ve done, how many places I’ve visited. Even though I haven’t gone too far I managed to go to 7 different countries (well I included both Italy and the UK, everything counts!) and lots of cities and small towns among Europe and the UK.
I went to Spain quite a lot! But this has always been a country I love visiting, I want to go to few places in Andalusia and then I think I’m done with Spain.
I finally covered a bit of Scandinavia that has always been on top of my bucket list. I really feel like I belong to that region and I think I will grow old in Copenhagen but for now I need to stay away from it, there’s so much more to see, I can’t go there every six months.
2017 will be the year I will discover France instead. My French bucket list is ready and of course any suggestion is very welcome, can’t wait to start! I think this will be the year I’ll go south, on my bucket list I have southern Italy, anywhere in Greece and Morocco, there’s so much great architecture in Germany that I want to visit, Budapest, Istanbul and let’s see if I can include somewhere further, the world is not just Europe.
I think I’ll do this “a year in photos” every year from now on. It’s really therapeutic and makes you appreciate and realise what you’ve been through even more. Well let’s get through it, it’s going to be long enough.
AMSTERDAM – NETHERLANDS
Oh January, what an amazing beginning of the year! I was in Amsterdam for New Years and this city is truly amazing during this period even thanks to all the light installations across the city and near the water for the Amsterdam Light Festival. I definitely want to go again, maybe in summer to see how the city changes.
COPENHAGEN – DENMARK
Every single person who has met me knows about my deep love for Copenhagen. I went for the first time in August 2015 and it has been love at first sight. So far no one can compete with Copenhagen, that charm it has, the mixture of traditional and contemporary architecture that perfectly blend together, the care and knowledge that the Danes have for their homes and design, their lifestyle concept of being cozy and content which seems to be very trendy now, I’m sure you’ve heard of “hygge”.
And in January I got to see here the most incredible building conversion I’ve seen so far. If you don’t know it here it is…
MALMO – SWEDEN
Same week trip I went for few days in Malmo, the city which is considered more Danish than Swedish. My suggestion is, if you’re going to Copenhagen consider to cross Oresund bridge and spend at least a day in Malmo. The city is very beautiful when it’s covered with snow and I’ve been lucky enough to see the most purplish/pinkish sunset from the top of Emporia (which is a must see place not only for shopping!).
PRAGUE – CZECH REPUBLIC
It was after this trip that I decided to create this website in which I could share more of my traveling pics and in fact here it is my very first post
BIRMINGHAM – UK
2016 was the year of my UK exploration and it started with Birmingham. There’s so much more to see outside London so there’s no reason not to go somewhere else during weekends. Really worthy for great architecture, you can’t miss it! All the places I loved and recommend you to see are here…
MANCHESTER – UK
I’m happy even with my weekend trip in Manchester, two days are enough to go pretty much everywhere and get a good feeling of the city.
GRAN CANARIA – SPAIN
No words to describe what an absolute paradise Gran Canaria is. I had the best local guide ever who showed me the entire island driving from Las Palmas to Maspalomas beach in the south, Roque Nublo mount where I got to see the most breathtaking view ever (first picture), to Agaete, a tiny lovely port town where all the houses are white and blue, to Mogan and Aguimes in which I felt in love with old colourful doors. I clearly remember how good it felt to see life in vivid colours and feel warm air again.
It’s the trip that surprised me the most, I had no expectations at all but then it turned out to be the best place I’ve been last year and now the goal is to visit all the Canary Islands. If for any reason you don’t know where to go this year, go to Gran Canaria!
Definitely have a look here to have a small tour of Gran Canaria
EDINBURGH – SCOTLAND
This was the Easter holiday during which I spent a week in Scotland. I have to admit Edinburgh is lovely but that’s it. Everyone was telling me it’s the most charming city ever, to me it’s an okay city. Yes there’s so much history, it’s easy to find good spots overlooking the city and surroundings but I didn’t feel the excitement people were talking about when describing Edinburgh. Sorry for all the Edinburgh lovers, maybe you can tell me what I did wrong…
GLASGOW – SCOTLAND
Few days spent even in Glasgow, which I consider another okay city. Lovely Victorian old town and quite interesting newly developed area along the Clyde river where Zaha Hadid’s and Foster’s buildings are but it’s still not well-connected to the rest of the city and that’s a shame.
Anyway the 31st of March and the Riverside Museum will always remain in my memory as this was the day Zaha Hadid passed away and by chance I was walking in the museum she designed when I read the news.
From time to time it’s even good to go exploring nature. The destination should have been somewhere in Lake District but it didn’t work so I remember I was looking for another place to go and I stumbled upon pictures of this reservoir. At this point the choice was easy. This is Ladybower Reservoir, if you don’t know it you have to go!
LEEDS – UK
And here it is my UK discovery! British people underestimate Leeds. A lot! Just don’t listen to them, go for a weekend and then I want to know your thoughts about it. It’s true, it’s just a small student town (so it’s very lively) but with plenty of interesting and not well-known spots (for architecture of course). So give it a go and visit Leeds!! These in the post and pictures below are just few examples of what you can find in Leeds.
YORK – UK
York wasn’t planned at all but since it is so closed to Leeds I went for few hours. As Edinburgh, really lovely but that’s it. With this I’m not saying not to go, I think it’s really worthy. It’s just not exactly my thing…
Oh my Milan! Time to get back home for a little while and explore my home city. It’s funny to see how the perception of the places I grew up changed now that I don’t live there anymore. Milan changed a lot in the past few years mainly because of the Expo 2015, both in good and bad ways. I just put in here what was new to me when I came back but this is definitely not enough to describe Milan that instead has many different faces, a bit like London. It’s artsy and picturesque but even industrial and cosmopolitan, it depends on which part of the city you are.
ST MICHAEL’S MOUNT – CORNWALL
Road trip exploring Cornwall and its beautiful sceneries until its most westerly point, Land’s End. Of course the highlight has been St Michael’s Mount (planning to visit its French twin too), just been very unlucky with the weather but hey, this is the UK! The land where you live in a constant forecast uncertainty… Beautiful even the Minack Theatre in Porthcurno!
COPENHAGEN AND MALMO – yes again 🙂
As I said, I love these cities but I need to take a break from them. This is in my 2017 resolutions. Oh and that time I got to see one of the apartments in the 8 Tallet building (my absolute favourite, first picture below if you don’t know it). I know where I want to live in few decades. Anyway, summer in Scandinavia is awesome! You can see the difference in colours and mood from January.
STOCKHOLM – SWEDEN
What a beautiful city Stockholm is! Blue water is pretty much everywhere since it is situated in an archipelago (then yes it even rained so wherever I looked, there was water). Gamla Stan, the old town, is the best part of Stockholm, with narrow cobblestone streets and those vivid yellowish facades! Combined together they really give a sense of warmness, friendly and welcoming place. And then there’s the underground world that makes Stockholm a unique city. I took a full day to see as many metro stations as I could, there are so many incredible ones!
HELSINKI – FINLAND
And then I left Helsinki as my last Scandinavian destination. So much interesting contemporary architecture in here and stunning forests just outside the city. The truth is that you can’t just stay in Helsinki but if you come here you need to explore even the surrounding areas and smaller towns as Espoo or Porvoo. I’m not a huge fan of religious buildings but here there are the most suggestive churches or spaces for meditation if you prefer. Actually in Helsinki there’s something I’ve never seen anywhere else, a chapel which is not a religious chapel but more an enclosed space designed specifically for silence, reflection and meditation (Kamppi Chapel, have a look if you don’t know it).
Plus in Helsinki I’ve seen the most stunning library ever ever! That entrance hall is simply insane and will make you feel just a tiny dot in the universe (it’s in the second picture down here). Another architecture highlight is…
MONS, LIEGE, BRUGES – BELGIUM
On the road on the way to discover Belgium. First time I crossed the Channel on four wheels rather than flying over it. Three different cities in two days, absolutely doable as distances in Belgium are pretty short. Just remember that if you travel by car each main city is an hour driving from the other.
They all have their charm for different reasons, even though Liege was a must-see only for its wonderful train station that Calatrava designed so I haven’t really seen Liege.
And then Bruges. Trust every single good word people can spend talking about Bruges, it’s so delightful, picturesque, everything’s so photogenic in such an effortless way.
VALENCIA – SPAIN
Valencia, another tick on my bucket list. I’ve dreamt of visiting it for such a long time and for a reason or another I never had the occasion or never made the decision to go specifically there…until October. Well Spain is always a good choice but I loved the double face Valencia has, typical and traditional old town combined with an ultra futuristic new part of the city. You can read and see way more down here…
BARCELONA – SPAIN
And then why not going back to Barcelona to visit a friend I met the previous year on my first Asian trip. Sounds like a good plan…and it was.
Unplanned weekend in Madrid to close this year of travels. Great experience with lots of Instagrammers, photographers and journalists from all over Europe who were invited to drive around Madrid and promote the new Toyota CH-R Hybrid.
And this is it! December has been a flat month and I spent it in London. Reminder for myself: don’t move to another country or city straight after any holiday season again. You miss the opportunity of travelling and everything’s closed the days before your departure.
I have the feeling I’ll be the only one who’s going to read this, if not you can write me a nice comment and let me know what you think of these places, if you’ve been in some of them or you want to go. The nicest comment wins a trip with me! 😉
Seriously now, if you have any questions regarding the places I’ve mentioned let me know and I’ll help you in any way I can.
Have a great 2017!!