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2017: A Year in Travel

I was fortunate enough to visit some really great places in 2017, including three countries that I’d never been to before.

Goan Sunset Foodie for Thought Blog, Food and travel blog

I’ve decided to just do a quick run through of the places we visited so that it doesn’t become a holiday diary, but I’m happy to share my in-depth thoughts if you’d like. Similarly, if you have any questions on visas etc do let me know.

India

In March we travelled to India for a wedding. Spending 24 insane and unforgettable hours in Mumbai, before heading on to Goa for the wedding itself.

Mumbai

As I mentioned above, we were only in Mumbai for 24 hours but what an experience it was. I would have liked to have seen more of the city, and I would be open to going back and spending a few days there in the future.

Mumbai aer bar Foodie for Thought Blog, Food and travel blog

View from the Aer Bar in Mumbai – this is the only picture I took which shows you what a great night it was!

I’ve never been anywhere like Mumbai before: the density of people; the constant noise; the traffic and the driving (which, by the way is terrifying yet very effective) and the general buzz of the city set it apart from anywhere else I’ve ever travelled which, admittedly is mainly traditional resorts. I wasn’t prepared for the slums or the hundreds of stray street dogs (I wanted to bring them all home), but I also wasn’t prepared for just how lovely everyone was. From the taxi driver to the hotel staff to the people working at the airport, nothing is ever too much trouble for anyone.

We stayed at: The Four Seasons and spent nearly all of our time on the amazing roof top bar.

We ate: hardly anything and drank far too much on very little sleep. Do not recommend.

We drank: far too much. I think I might still be hungover.

You must: go for drinks at Aer bar on the roof of the Four Seasons.

Watch out for: luxury taxes! Really unpleasant surprise at check-out when all of the luxury taxes and resort taxes are added on.

Goa

I had one of the best weeks of my life in Goa. It truly is a magical place.

Goan Sunset Foodie for Thought Blog, Food and travel blog

Beautiful Goan sunset

We were in North Goa, the busier and more party centric half of Goa. Having never visited South Goa I can’t compare them for you, but I can tell you that North Goa is an experience you won’t want to miss. As we were in India for a wedding, we spent the whole time in a big group relaxing by the pool, visiting the beach, taking trips to the night market and generally having the best time.

Goa wedding outfit Foodie for Thought Blog, Food and travel blog

I absolutely loved my saree and is this not the most beautiful location for a wedding?

Goa is full of life. It’s so beautiful and vibrant. Busy, yes, but so alive and yet at the same time, still so relaxed.

We stayed at: Casa Vagator, where we all had our own villas and enjoyed breakfast each morning with sweeping views of the sea. Sublime.

Thalassa Goa Foodie for Thought Blog, Food and travel blog

Thalassa served awesome Greek food and had some great entertainment

Beach fruit salad Goa Foodie for Thought Blog, Food and travel blog

Get yourself a spot in the shade away from the cows and enjoy the most delicious fresh fruit

We ate: fresh fruit salads on the beach, huge quantities of pineapple and some incredible Greek food at Thalassa

We drank: vodka with pineapple. Surprisingly refreshing and very cheap.

Saturday Night Market Goa, Foodie for Thought Blog, Food and travel blog

The Saturday Night Market in Goa is something to behold

Saturday Night Market Goa, Foodie for Thought Blog, Food and travel blog

Trinkets (and tat) everywhere! Make sure you haggle if you’re buying.

Saturday Night Market Goa, Foodie for Thought Blog, Food and travel blog

Buying my saree for the wedding.

Saturday Night Market Goa, Foodie for Thought Blog, Food and travel blog

The most incredible herbs and spices!

 

You must: spend at least one night Bollywood/ Bhangra dancing until you think you can’t stand anymore; go fabric and spice shopping at the Saturday night markets and watch the incredible sunsets from the beach.

Indian Wedding Cake, Saturday Night Market Goa, Foodie for Thought Blog, Food and travel blog

Is this not the most beautiful wedding cake?

Watch out for: cows, they are everywhere and they are massive, and raves (unless you’re at one of course), an innocuous looking cattle shed next door to our hotel turned out to be an all-night rave venue. Do your hotel research if you want to get any sleep.

Dubai

We flew to Dubai from India for some rest and relaxation after the wedding. It was much needed and much deserved!

Dubai, Foodie for Thought Blog, Food and travel blog

Sunset views from 360

I’d never been to Dubai before but I wanted to go for ages so I had a list of things in my head that I wanted to do but by the time we arrived, exhausted having left the wedding in the early hours of the morning to fly to Mumbai and then on to Dubai, all I wanted to do was sit on the beach with my kindle.

Dubai is really awesome, I absolutely loved it. I can’t wait to go back and see and do more things and just spend more time there. There is so much of Dubai to see and so many things to do that a few days really wasn’t long enough, but it’s the perfect stop for a long weekend if you just want to relax with guaranteed sun.

Grosvenor House Dubai, Foodie for Thought Blog, Food and travel blog

English Garden cocktail at the Grosvenor House

We stayed at: Grosvenor House and I cannot recommend it enough. One of the best hotels I’ve ever stayed at.

Le Royal Meridien Dubai, Burj Al Arab, Foodie for Thought Blog, Food and travel blog

I can think of worse ways to spend a day…

We ate: the world’s best club sandwich from room service on arrival, never have I spent £20 on anything more enjoyable or essential in my life; also the Crack ‘N’ Cheese Balls at the Street Feast Brunch in the H Hotel were the best things ever.

Dubai, Foodie for Thought Blog, Food and travel blog

The best ever frozen strawberry daiquiris

We drank: frozen strawberry daiquiris on the beach at Le Royal Meridien. They were the best.

You must: watch the sun set from 360.

Burj Al Arab, Foodie for Thought Blog, Food and travel blog

Burj at Sunset

Watch out for: rogue taxi drivers without meters and the price of alcohol. It can take your meal from £100 to £300 real fast!

Portugal

In June I spent a long weekend in beautiful Portugal, my first of what I am sure will be a lifetime of visits to this beautiful place.

Conrad Algarve Portugal, Le Royal Meridien Dubai, Burj Al Arab, Foodie for Thought Blog, Food and travel blog

Sunset from my balcony at the incredible Conrad Algarve

I really fell in love with Portugal. It is a stunning country. The food is exceptional – the flavours divine, the people are incredibly friendly and it just feels like the most wonderful lifestyle. A few days away in the sun was exactly what I needed after a busy few weeks at work and Portugal delivered exactly what I needed. We stayed in Quinta de Lago in the Algarve, sandwiched between golf resorts and not too far from the beach, though we didn’t visit. Days were spent by the pool, reading books and reclining in the sun and it was honestly perfect.

We stayed at: Conrad Algarve, which I think I’m going to say is the best and most beautiful hotel I’ve ever stayed at.

Conrad Algarve Portugal, Le Royal Meridien Dubai, Burj Al Arab, Foodie for Thought Blog, Food and travel blog

My lunch view – all the piri piri chicken!

We ate: fabulous piri piri chicken and beautifully fresh salads.

Conrad Algarve Portugal, Le Royal Meridien Dubai, Burj Al Arab, Foodie for Thought Blog, Food and travel blog

The famous rose sangria!

We drank: so much rose sangria the lovely man at the bar let me have his recipe, which I shared with you!

You must: stay at the Conrad Algarve – you won’t regret it.

Watch out for: not wanting to come home. You’ll fall in love with the place, the people and the hotel.

Tenerife

My grandma loves Tenerife so we spent two weeks there in July.

Tenerife Sunset Foodie for Thought Blog, Food and travel blog

How’s that for a sunset?

Having just spent a long weekend in Portugal I wasn’t in a desperate rush to get away but being able to switch off for two weeks and just lounge in the sun, read all of the books and enjoy the all inclusive buffet was a great way to spend the summer and put me in a good place for a really hectic and stressful autumn at work.

We stayed at: Barcelo Santiago, a nice hotel near Los Gigantes with amazing views.

We ate: quite disappointing food at the hotel but they had an excellent selection of cakes.

We drank: pina coladas. Pre-mixed but good enough.

You must: watch the sun set over the sea, the location is unbeatable for that.

Watch out for: the lack of things to do in the area.

Paris

Paris is one of my favourite cities in the world, so much so I’ve dedicated a post to it rather than trying to sum it up here. We went in early December for a nice pre-Christmas break and it was perfect.

Eiffel Tower, Paris, Foodie for Thought Blog, Food and travel blog

The beautiful Eiffel Tower

Read my full Paris post here.

At the moment I’m currently thinking about where to go in 2018. I’m off to Dubai in just a few weeks for a long weekend and then after that, I have nothing planned. I’m hoping to go back to Portugal but apart from that I’m not sure. What holidays do you have planned?

Victoria

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