In 2011 I will write my first end of year review. This is a catalogue of things I have done in the past year.
2011 is the year of travel (a nod to Earth abides where there is a custom of calling years after events). This year I have travelled to a fair few countries. I easily exceeded by my annual travel to one new country rule that I try to keep.
My first stop was spending New Year with friends in Rouen. This was the first time in that part of France and I even managed to get there using passable French. I tried skiing for the first time in Switzerland in February and even managed to get across the country and see some friends in Zermatt. The skiing part is where you tell your body to become a giant snowball. I much preferred the hiking with crimps. The Matterhorn is stunning and I had a quite chuckle as I sipped on coffee in front of the fabled mountain.
I also entered Spain for the first time but via Catalunya (they are proud of that sort of thing). I met up with a former colleague and friend in Barcelona for April. I also had the surprise of staying in a Villa outside Barcelona which was truly beautiful. Next I managed to cycle form Alkmaar to Apeldoorn, again to meet a former colleague and friend. During the early summer, I travelled to Cologne which I have described earlier. It is a truly amazing city.
After that, I joined my local rugby club for the Ameland beach rugby festival. Far too much booze was to be had under the auspices of long and ‘serious’ conversations. In other words the craic was mighty and banter was to be had. Then I went home to Ireland to see my parents. I climbed the Galtee mountains for the first time (why have I waited so long) and tried to meet as much of my extended family as I could. Even some of our American family made an appearance.
Next my job contract ended on October the 1st. I had seen it coming and was happy to leave. Instead of rushing out to get a new job, I decided to cycle the Rhine after the rugby world cup was finished for Ireland. Finally I was to get one last surprise. I was invited to Swansea and Cardiff (travel expenses paid) for a weekend; another country to tick off the list.
During the year various friends stopped off and enjoyed my hospitality. Two from New Zeeland, one from Australia and a multitude from Ireland made the journey to the low lands. I can truly say that with the upheaval in my job (I will be going abroad for a new job) and all the travel, this year was the year of travel.
Next up will be carbon capture and storage. Shudder. Even including the lie that is storage makes me cringe.