I've noticed that media in general post retrospectives at the end of the year, so I thought I can do that! Here's my 2015 retrospective, the 12 (10 wasn't enough, 15 too many!) favourite places I saw or experienced this year. They're not ranked I'll just do them in chronological order.
1. Sydney Harbour Ferry
Favourite thing to do in Sydney is to ride the Manly Ferry across to Manly, it's the cheapest way to sail around Sydney Harbour! Beautiful views along the way.
2. Hida Takayama
Just the fact that Hida Takayama exists is interesting in itself as all the buildings were due to be submerged when a new hydro-electric dam was being built. The houses were all dismantled and then rebuilt on the current site. A fascinating look at rural life in Japan from the past.
A favourite as so little of old Japan exits in the present time. Much was destroyed by bombing in WW2. Takayama survived as it wasn't industrial and also it was on the Japan sea part of Honshu Island. It's possible to walk around authentic historic buildings, narrow streets and see some traditional shops.
A real highlight of this year's trip to the UK. What made it extra interesting was that I had just seen the movie The Imitation Game, set in and around Bletchley. I was so interested in its history I even bought the book The Secret Life of Bletchley Park by Sinclair McKay, which gives a really good explanation of the work and the life of the people who were at Bletchley Park during WW2.
5. Brighton Beach, UK
Brighton beach to me was just so stereotypically British! The pebbles on the beach, the striped deck chairs, the seaside hotels right on the seafront, the pier and the arcade.
6. Old Town Dubrovnik
Having read so much about Dubrovnik, I enjoyed finally being able to see it, walk around, walk the walls and particularly stay in the old town. Definitely worth organising to stay within the walls, you won't get a swimming pool but you'll get atmosphere!
7. Lopud Island
Going out to Lopud Island is something I would highly recommend for anyone spending time in Dubrovnik. It was just the most blissful way of spending a day!
8. Roma and Sinti Memorial, Berlin
This was a favourite as I just stumbled upon this memorial. I'd not heard of it or had even planned to visit it. I was just passing by, stopped and was really touched by it.
The reason for going to Bari was to visit the Sacrarium, I knew very little about the city itself. I ended up really liking it, right from when the plane started its descent and you could see olive groves for miles. It's a lovely city and the historic quarter is worth seeing.
Lake Como itself is a favourite place to visit and it's well loved by many tourists. Discovering Menaggio was like finding a little gem, pretty town, right on the lake, few people around and just peaceful. (In contrast to loved to death by tourists, Bellagio!)
11. Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
The Flower Dome ended up being delightful after a rather underwhelming, for me at least, entrance among the succulents! I loved the whimsey of the nursery rhyme theme.
12. Five Mile Beach, Port Douglas
Just the sheer size of it is wonderful, and then to have the large expanse of sky overhead too. It makes one feel very small and gives an emphasis to how big Australia is.