2019: Year in Review

Old Car in Cuba

I should start by saying 2019 has been a great year! With that, however, I haven’t posted on my blog since June… That’s not so great. It has been quite neglected as I’ve been busy with other things. I do plan on blogging much more in 2020 and I have a lot of amazing places I’ve not blogged about yet including more of Thailand, Cuba and my unbelievable suite in Paris overlooking the Eiffel Tower.

Have a look at my infographic at the bottom of the page to see some quick-fire stats of 2019. You can also check out my 2016, 2017 and 2018 year in review posts too. Here’s how my adventures took me to nine countries (including three new countries) in 2019.

January – Orlando, United States

The first trip of the year was a return to Orlando in the US. Have you ever lived in Scotland in winter? It’s brutal! This was 100% to escape the cold winter nights of Scotland but it turned out to be fairly cold over there too. At 14 degrees I, naively, expected it to be a bit (much) warmer. I did make a return to Disney and enjoyed some basketball while really chilling before the return to Scotland.

February – London, United Kingdom

As a big football fan, I was really looking forward to this trip. The reason for this was to watch Chelsea v Manchester City in the final of the Carabao Cup. The match was extremely dull but we did get to enjoy Club Wembley hospitality for the first time while watching the match and that didn’t disappoint! While we were down in London, we also went to see School of Rock which was actually really good too.

June – Nice, France, Toronto, Canada & Cuba – Two New Countries

The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup was to be held in France and Scotland v England was due to be held in Nice in early June. If you’ve read my previous blog post then you’ll know how much I loved Nice when I visited in 2016. It was an easy decision to make! Ticket prices were extremely reasonable and the atmosphere was really enjoyable. Although Scotland lost (and went out in the Group Stages…) it was lovely to return to Nice.

Nice, France

The biggest holiday of the year was by far Cuba. This was a gift from my other half for my big birthday. The 10-day trip was sandwiched by full days in Toronto on either side so I managed to watch my first live baseball match too with the Blue Jays playing. I didn’t really know what was going on but it was still a cool experience, despite the sunburn!

The trip to Cuba was operated by G Adventures and took us from Havana right the way around the eastern part of the island to Vinales, Playa Larga and Trinidad. I did have salmonella for the majority of the trip (which I didn’t find out until afterwards) so I did feel sorry for myself but my god, what a place! We got to enjoy horse riding, the cars of Havana and of course, the world-famous gin and cigars. I’ll be posting much more on this, including my story of how I came face to face with a toad in my hotel room!

August – Dusseldorf, Germany, Luxembourg, Hamburg, Germany & Midtjylland, Denmark – One New Country

In the space of a couple of weeks I took two trips to watch my football team, Rangers, play in Europe. The first was a return to both Dusseldorf and Luxembourg and then using Hamburg as a base to visit the centre of Denmark. Which was the first time I’d visited the Scandinavian country. As I was short on holidays both of these trips were fleeting visits so I’d love to go back to Denmark and visit Copenhagen.

September – Scottish Borders, United Kingdom

After the spending on football trips and the 20 shows in the Edinburgh Fringe, September was a much more chilled month. It did involve one trip down to the Scottish Borders to visit a nice little farm place near Galashiels with a couple of friends and their other halves. This is the third trip with those guys after visiting Lake Garda in 2017 and another Scottish Borders retreat in 2018. The 2020 trip may see us return to Italy.

October – Orlando, United States & Porto, Portugal

We made our second 2019 trip to Orlando in October. This involved a trip to Jacksonville to watch the Jacksonville Jaguars play the New Orleans Saints in the NFL, Orlando Pride play Reign FC in the National Women’s Soccer League and hospitality at the Orlando Magic NBA pre-season match against Miami Heat. Can you tell I love sports? The hospitality at Orlando Magic was fantastic and if you’re ever looking to go then it’s 4x cheaper for a pre-season match than a regular season match. It’s definitely worth it, with court-side seats and unlimited alcohol. There will be a post coming soon on that!

My first visit to Porto was a fleeting one as Rangers played Porto in October in the UEFA Europa League. The match was pretty good as we drew 2-2 with the top seeds in the group while the weather wasn’t that great. My shorts didn’t make it out of my bag unfortunately.

November – London, United Kingdom & Amsterdam, Netherlands

After the second 2019 trip to Orlando in October, it was time for a second trip to London. We had decided to treat ourselves with hospitality tickets to the NFL match at Wembley between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans. The hospitality was amazing and we ended up being in the tunnel with the players before kick-off and being pitch side before the game. It was truly an amazing experience, but that was because I won a competition that I forgot I entered!

I hadn’t visited Amsterdam in a good few years but again this one was for football. The trip was definitely one of the better ones with a day or two needed at the end to recover! We also managed to get a draw over there which teed us up nicely for another football trip in February 2020.

Eiffel Tower at Night - Room View

December – Paris, France

The last trip of 2019 was a big one. It was a weekend trip to Paris and I stayed at the amazing Pullman Eiffel Tower right next to, you guessed it, the Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately, there were strikes on at the time so getting around the city was an absolute nightmare. However, I splashed out on the room overlooking the tower and popped the question to my other half so it was probably worth it in the end! The room was unbelievable (and I don’t think I’ll be in a room like that again for a while!) and I’ll be posting about it soon.

Year Summary

Compared to last year I’ve been on fewer trips and been to fewer new countries but I’ve still been able to experience a lot of cool places. In 2020 I’ve already booked up to visit Japan so I’m sooo excited about that one. If you have any tips then throw them my way! I’ll also look to start my blog up properly again as I’ve been very poor on that front in 2019 too.

I hope everyone had an amazing 2019 and all the best for 2020!

2019 Year in Review Infographic

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