As indicated in the name of my blog, Mo travels, and travel I did in 2011. Whether it was family vacations, girlfriend getaways or solo sojourns to conferences or trips in the name of blogging, my travel dance card stayed full.  Join me as I take a look back at my travels in 2011, but instead of listing where I went, I’m going to do a sort of degrees of separation type thing, linking trips by things they have in common.

The year begin South Africa to the safari lodge on the edge of Kruger Park, Sabi Sands, where we saw elephants, rhinos and lions. We left Sabi Sands and went to Cape Town, South Africa where we could see the Lion‘s Head – a mountain top in Cape Town – and rode the cable car to the top of one of the new wonders of the world, Table Mountain.

Doesn’t it look like the head of a lion?
My little wonders at the top of one of the world’s new wonders, Table Mountain.

The Alpine village in Lech was where we went for our ski holiday. This Austrian mountain is popular with the Dutch and Jordanian royal families, and was also a favorite of Princess Diana.

 

My family and I were among the estimated 1 million people along the processional route in London during the wedding of Princess Di‘s son, Prince William, to Kate Middleton. We sat with thousands of other well wishers, and watched the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the jumbo-tron in Hyde Park across from Buckingham Palace.

 

 

 

We just missed seeing them drive away in the Aston Martin on their way to their honeymoon because we didn’t want to miss our flight to the Maldives, an island in the Indian ocean, which we discovered is not just for honeymooners.

We enjoyed a spring city break in the Nordic country of Norway. While in Oslo, the girls learned of the country’s Viking origins, became acquainted with Nobel laureates at the Nobel Peace Center, such as the late Wangari Maathai, the environmentalist who passed earlier this year, and learned a little more about some they were already familiar with like, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Barak Obama, and visited Vigeland Sculpture Park with its wonderful statuary.

 

 

The New Nordic Cuisine conference took me to Copenhagen. This cuisine which has made the world stand up and take notice of the innovative gastronomy coming from this region, emphasizes cooking with fresh, local and seasonal ingredients.

Cooking was also a big part of a trip to Florence with a group of ladies, where we took a cooking class and made a delicious three-course meal. Italy may be one of the E.U. ‘s problem children, but there is no problem when it comes to the country’s wine, as I discovered during a wine tasting in the Chianti region on the same trip. Salute!

 

The family joined me on one of my running trips, which took place in Luxembourg. One of the founding members of the E.U. and home to a number of its institutions, Luxembourg is beautiful, tiny, and – as I discovered during my race – incredibly hilly, as a fortress city probably ought to be.

Tallinn is another fortress city I visited in 2011. I’d long wanted to visit this UNESCO World Heritage site, with its towers, tunnels and buildings topped with red tiles, and was delighted that, except for the Christmas markets, Tallinn surpassed my expectations.

 

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site I had the opportunity to visit was La Lonja in ValenciaLa Lonja is the old silk exchange and probably the world’s most magnificent merchant building. Built in the 15th century, the Gothic building resembles a church from the outside and inside, a palace.  Valencia is also home to the futuristic Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (City of Arts & Sciences), Europe’s largest leisure-cultural complex, and Bioparc, a zoo without borders that manages to recreate several different animal habitats.  Though you are right in the center of Valencia, you feel as though you are experiencing the wildlife in an Amazonian rainforest, Madagascar or an African safari.

In December, my family and I left winter and went to summer and safari in Botswana, followed by a visit to the majestic Victoria Falls in Zambia. It is appropriate that the final trip of the year was to southern Africa, ending where it began, and connecting 2011 to 2012.

What’s the travel itinerary for 2012? So far, a blogger trip to Barcelona, skiing in Switzerland, a farm in Tuscany and races in Milan, Madrid and London are confirmed. And that’s only as far as spring! It looks like 2012 is shaping up to be an even bigger trip than 2011! Hope you come along.

Where did your travels take you in 2011 and what are your travel plans for 2012?