Year in review Pt 1 – 2016

It’s that time again for our ‘Year in review’ post, if you enjoy this post why not read my first review post of our travels in 2015 here.

So lets get down to it as we have a lot to cover!

Back in 2016 we reached our ‘most travels in a year’ goal, together we went on five holidays and eight countries. Nick, not to be outdone had an extra two trips with his friends making his total seven for the year.

Our 2016 looked a little like this:

At the bottom of this blog you will find my simple rating for each place we visited.


Reykjavik, Iceland

So, first up is Reykjavik one of the most beautiful places between the snow, little shops and natural phenomenas there was so much to see.

Our hotel room was classed as a business room in the Radisson Blu, we chose this purely as there was not much price difference but a lot better size wise and facilities. There wasn’t much design to the room as it was meant to be more functional, we did however have a balcony which we could never get out to, whether this was because it was frozen shut or locked we will never know.

Our first night there however was spent panicking to book all excursions as we naively had thought we could book while we were out there but as it turned out spaces were very limited.

We did manage to book tickets for everything we wanted to do including the Blue Lagoon, Golden circle and Northern lights tours. Out of all three I would say that The Golden Circle Tour was my top pick, it may have been FREEZING cold while at Gulfoss waterfall but it was all worth it to see the spectacular views. Even the tomato soup from the Friðheimar greenhouses was soo good with a homemade roll of your choice.

12801228_10153208981881184_3908902772698650026_nBack in town there was so many little restaurants to eat at with seafood specialities and fish on the menu. No blog about Iceland would be complete without mentioning the cathedral and the Harpa, opera house.  Just having a place that looked so beautiful in the dark with the lights to go to when we had finished walking around was perfect.

Overall Iceland was a perfect place to spend my 25th birthday walking around the streets cosied up in scarves, gloves and fluffy coats. The sights to see are enough of a reason to visit without including the Blue Lagoon which is a big bucket list item for a lot of people. 


Rome, Italy

Rome is just Rome, there’s nothing quite like it. We saw everything we wanted to from the Colosseum to the Trevi fountain (at least 6 times), it was a whirlwind tour with no regrets.

Our hotel I think was slowly being redone as our room was nothing too special but had all the essentials. For what we wanted it for it was ideal plus being based near the Pantheon, the location was central to everything except the Colosseum and Vatican City which was a little further out.

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We chose to have a guided tour around the Colosseum as only certain tours have access to the very bottom where the gladiators would walk and very top. When we went back this year (2017) these tours were very hard to come by and most had no places, it seems as though the underground tours are limited even more than they were when we went.

For one of our days we travelled on the bus to Vatican City and visited the Vatican museum and St Peters Basilica. Getting there could not have been easier but coming back we could not find the right bus stop which got very stressful. St Peters Basilica however was beautiful on a grand scale after a short queue to get in you could walk all around inside the church and even go to the very top of the dome.

Overall Rome was amazing, I would say you have to visit at least once, to truly experience the sheer scale of iconic landmarks such as the Trevi Fountain and the Colosseum. 

Read pt 2 next Wednesday 31st July. 

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Rating

Overall cost – How expensive was it to travel there? How expensive was the hotel? Cost of food? – 1/10 cheap as chips to 10/10 needing to remortgage.

Hotel – Was it good value for money? Was it clean? View from the window? Quality? Look of the room? Friendliness of staff? – 1/10 awful to 10/10 perfect.

Attractions/Museums – Quality of the museum? Interesting? Quantity of places to see? Entry price? – 1/10 Bored to tears to 10/10 couldn’t pack more in if we tried.


Reykjavik, Iceland

Overall cost – 8/10 Flights were a good price and we did splurge on our hotel a little as it was for an occasion but overall it is only an 8 due to the excursions themselves being expensive but so so worth it.

Hotel – 7/10 Our hotel had a good selection for breakfast from hot food to range of cereals. The room was large but had no colour or design as it was a business room so functional.

Attractions / Museums – 8.5/10 I had to rate highly purely because of the beautiful waterfalls and tours. Despite missing the northern lights the other excursions soon made up for that.


Rome, Italy

Overall cost – 7/10 Overall the cost of food was the main expense as well as the Colosseum tour with Mind the guide. Flights weren’t too badly priced as we visited at the end of March and the hotel as well was good value for money and well located.

Hotel – 6/10 Our hotel was a basic small room as we felt we would spend more time outside and so to spend on an expensive room wouldn’t make much sense. The decor was dated but we did have a balcony and all the basic facilities were there.

Attractions / Museums – 9/10 How can you not rate the Trevi fountain, Colosseum and St Peters Basilica highly?

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