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Top Ten Travel Moments of 2016

I’ve had some really fantastic travel experiences this year but there are certain moments that really stand out to me. You know those pinch me ones, is this really happening, am I really here? I can’t believe I’m living out a dream.

1. February: Drinking Champagne in Champagne, France
I’d always dreamt about visiting the Champagne region, which was in my mind some sort of mythical place where my drink of choice was invented and produced. Visiting the MUMM and Perrier-Jouët cellars and meeting the cellar masters and tasting the wines with them was such an incredible opportunity.
Yup, drinking Champagne in Champagne definitely beats having a Sandwich in Sandwich or a Yorkshire Pudding in the eponymous county!!

2. March: The Cliff top Hot Tub at The Scarlet in Cornwall 

There’s something so wonderful about immersing yourself in hot water when it’s freezing cold outside. Relaxing in the cliff top hot tub with Mr S by my side and a glass of champagne in hand was one of those simple, tranquil moments of pure bliss. 
Looking out on to the moody skies of the Cornish coast as the sun went down was easily one of my favourite moments of the year.

3. April: My Best Friend’s Wedding in Florence

Perhaps the moment that comes closest to the magic of your own wedding is watching your best friend getting married. 
Anna chose to get married in Florence with the Tuscan Hills as a backdrop.
It was honestly one of the most beautiful weddings I’d ever been to and I was proud to stand next to her as a bridesmaid. We absolutely loved our trip to Florence and other highlights were our stay the Four Seasons Firenze and a trip to the Chianti countryside for wine tasting.

4. May: Trying sushi in Japan 

Eating authentic sushi in Japan was top of my bucket list and trying it for the first time in Sushi Sora in Tokyo was an utterly mind-blowing experience. Eating sushi in the intimate restaurant with the chef’s incredible knife skill before our eyes was truly a transcendental experience for sushi aficionado such as myself. 
It was also incredible to visit Tsukiji Fish Market, the world’s largest fish market, to sample sushi and sashimi at it’s very freshest with a sushi breakfast. 

5. May and October: The Pristine Beaches of The Philippines and Zanzibar

Mr S has converted me or perhaps I’m just getting older but some of my most cherished moments this year have been spent relaxing on the whitest of sands and admiring Azure blue seas. It may seem silly, but this year I’ve finally realised that travel is not all about indulging your FOMO and rushing around trying to see everything but instead it can be about long lunches with your feet in the sand, days filled with your loved one and ending with superb sunsets.
Amanpulo in the Philippines was the perfect place to relax after a frenzied two weeks in Japan where I never quite got over my jet lag.
And a stay at Mnemba Island, part of the Zanzibar archipelago, meant a break from any worldly distraction and a good lie in after four days spent on safari.
The beaches of The Philippines and Zanzibar are easily some of the beautiful that I ever seen!

6. June: A Yacht Trip in Jersey

My weekend in Jersey was a real highlight for me this year partly because I fell in love with the island but also because I got to spend time with my friend Theresa and we met some lovely new people.

Once again it was case of sometimes the simplest moments are the best as my friend and I enjoyed the gorgeous Jersey weather whilst drinking champagne on luxury yacht, the Fizz Too with the owners of Longueville Manor.

7. September: A Riva Experience in Venice

For me The Gritti Palace, my hotel in Venice, epitomised everything about the city. The food, the interior design, the location, the history and even the reflection of the canals on the ceiling…So as you can imagine it was an incredible experience to explore the canals and island of Venice in the hotel’s private Riva yacht.
I loved seeing the beautiful multicoloured houses of Burano, a city famous for the lacemaking tradition, before discovering the narrow canals on Murano. The three hour excursion flew by and was easily one of the highlights of my year.

8. October: An Out of Africa Picnic, Kenya 

Climbing up to the peak of a hill whilst staying at Angama Mara in the Maasai Mara was difficult in the blazing African sun but it was so worth it when we got there.
As we drank our bubbly while gazing out at the incredible view, I knew this was a memory that would last a life time.
Our picnic feast was the icing on the cake of an absolutely wonderful experience!

9. October: A Camel Trek in Samburu, Kenya 

Kenya was such an incredible trip, where Mr S and I did several things we’d never done before and experienced some of our favourite moments together. One was our camel trek to the top of ‘Pride Rock’ while we were staying at Sasaab in Samburu. 
The jerky ride up hill on a camel was a little unnerving but nonetheless thrilling and though we were thwarted by a herd of elephants we drove / walked to our final destination.

When we got to the top of the hill and we were greeted by the beautiful red of the Samburu sands before our eyes, we felt on top of the world!

10. October: Giraffe Manor, Kenya

Ok, so I’ve included it in every one of my yearly round ups so you’re probably fed up of hearing that yes…I stayed in THAT hotel where you can interact with Giraffes. So instead of once again telling you about breakfast and afternoon tea with giraffes, I thought I’d give you some of the outtakes from the experience. 
Such as kissing a giraffe…

And the aftermath…

When a giraffe sneezes…

Warning…approach from the front…

And stand back!

Those are my top ten travel moments of the year and the outtakes! What are yours?