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2012 Travel Adventures in Photos

2012 was an epic year for travel adventures. 14 countries and over 10,000 photos. Makes it hard to choose just 12 of our favourites but we have tried!

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Costa Brava Church, Cycling in Costa Brava

2012. What a year it has been.

It’s hard to imagine that the year is nearly over because it feels like only yesterday that we were in Egypts capital city, Cairo, ringing in the New Year.

But since then it has been a whirlwind of travel adventures for us.

2012 Travel Adventures in Photos

This is actually the first time that we have looked back on all the travel adventures we have done this year. We are so fortunate to have been to 14 countries this year. 

So grab a coffee, sit back and take a moment to reflect back on the last 12 months of travel.

January 2012 – Egypt

Egypt Pyramids of Giza, travel adventures,

Pyramids of Giza, Cairo, Egypt.

Egypt was the perfect start to the year. It had been a dream of mine to visit the Pyramids of Giza for a longtime and I had huge fears that they wouldn’t live up to my exaggerated expectations. Luckily the Pyramids, and Egypt in general blew my mind.

A truly magnificent country.

February 2012 – Amsterdam

Amsterdam at Night, Red Light District

Red Light District Canals, Amsterdam

We wrote a few risqué posts from our 48 hours in Amsterdam. No surprises that our “How to smoke weed in Amsterdam” and “Visiting a Peep Show” posts continue to drive thousands of visitors to our travel blog each month.

What amazed me the most about Amsterdam was the high number (pun intended) of  Tourists that miss out on the highlights of Amsterdam such as the Anne Frank Museum. I guess they are too busy eating waffles, smoking weed and visiting the Red Light District,

March 2012 – 3 Valleys, France

3 Valleys Peak Panorama, Travel Adventures

3 Valleys Panorama, France

We hadn’t skied in over a year when we made the decision to go skiing in the 3 Valleys. The snowcapped French Alps were endless and we quickly fell in love with the area.

It’s also why we are moving there for this winter season. So you can expect lots more picturesque panoramas to come 🙂

April 2012 – Scottish Highlands

Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland, Travel Adventures

Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

We are so glad that we made the decision to live in Edinburgh rather than London. Scotland continues to grow on us every day with its stunning Scottish Highlands and Castles around every corner.

We did countless drives around Scotland, but the one that stands out the most was our trip to the Isle of Skye. A vast, windswept and rugged Isle that left us wanting more.

If only the weather was a little better.

May 2012 – Turkey

Sail Turkey Busabout Sunset Cruise, Adventure travel

Sail Turkey with Busabout, Turkey

After shivering in Scotland for the winter we knew we had to escape to somewhere warm. Turkey proved to be one of the best decisions in the last 3 years.

We originally planned to just visit Istanbul and attend the incredibly moving ANZAC ceremony in Gallipoli. As an afterthought we tacked on a Sail Turkey cruise with Busabout. In one week lifelong friendships were forged and it has been one of the best travel adventures we have done.

June 2012 – Italy

Colisseum Pictures, Rome Pictures, Colosseum Panorama, Colosseum Pictures

Roman Colosseum, Rome, Italy

I get shivers looking at the Colosseum. While others may not agree with me I think it is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.

But Rome wasn’t the only highlight in Italy. For 4 weeks we toured the northern half. We hiked Cinque Terre, explored Tuscany by scooter, ate copious amounts of Pizza and Pasta, sea kayaked in Naples, visited Ferrari museums and celebrated La Notte Rosa in Rimini.

We could travel around Italy forever.

July 2012 – Running with the Bulls, Spain

Running with the Bulls, San Fermin Bull Fighting Pamplona, travel adventures

San Fermin Bull Fight, Pamplona, Spain

With the blood pumping in our ears and the vibrations of hooves on the cobbles we ran for our lives during the San Fermin Running with the Bulls festival in Pamplona. Never in my life have I been more terrified, excited and pumped up on adrenaline than for those 2 minutes.

The bullfighting wasn’t the only travel adventure we got involved in though. Surfing in San Sebastian for 2 weeks helped me rediscover that passion that I had forgotten while we have been travelling.

August 2012 – Budapest, Hungary

Széchenyi Baths Budapest, travel adventures

Széchenyi Baths, Budapest, Hungary

Budapest turned out to be a real eye opener for us. We hadn’t yet ventured into Eastern Europe on our travels but it had always been in the backs of our minds. It’s funny how one little trip changes everything because now we want to bike around Eastern Europe next summer.

Not only did we get to relax in the local Széchenyi Baths, but we also attended the Sziget Music festival and Adela faced her fears by going caving under Budapest.

September 2012 – Costa Brava, Spain

Ermita de Sant Elm Church, Costa Brava, Spain, Travel Adventures

Ermita de Sant Elm Church, Costa Brava, Spain

This photos sums up Costa Brava for me. Gorgeous. On my second (out of three) trips to Spain this year I had the opportunity to explore the northeast of Spain in depth like a local.

Costa Brava has all sorts of travel adventures from hot air ballooning, remote Castle villages like Besalu and cycling old rail trails. It really is the perfect place to visit.

October 2012 – Oslo, Norway

Oslo Guide Vigeland Park, Crazy Baby Statue Oslo

Vigeland Park, Oslo, Norway

Living in the UK has been great but unfortunately I could only obtain a two year visa. Before I got booted out of the country for good we did a quick visa run across the North Sea to Oslo.

In hindsight we could have chosen somewhere cheaper (Oslo is the worlds most expensive city) but it turns out that Oslo in Autumn is spectacular. The fall colours and crazy baby statues make it a really fun city to explore.

We are also planning on returning to Norway in summer because we have heard they have some of the best adventure activities in the world.

November 2012 – Whangamata, New Zealand

Clark Island, Whangamata Beach, Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand

Clark Island, Whangamata, Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand

For the first time in over 3 years I nearly quit travelling when I returned home to New Zealand. See the problem with travelling is that you miss out on so much back home. Especially when your home is one of the most talked about countries in the world.

Being able to go diving or surfing in Whangamata and relax on the beach afterwards with views like this are what I miss the most. After family of course. This is what will pull me home sooner than I thought…

December 2012 – Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand

Wentworth Falls Valley Hiking Trail Bridge, adventure travels

Wentworth Valley, Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand

And to top off our travel adventures for the year, another photo from New Zealand. This one was taken on the hike up to Wentworth Falls. I don’t think it needs much explanation as to why it joins the 2012 adventure travels list. Who wouldn’t want to hike here!

Lets hope that 2013 brings just as many, if not more, travel adventures as 2012 did.

Tell us your favourite travel memory from 2012 below.

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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79 Comments

79 Comments

  1. Dusty Soles

    December 17, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    What a round up! Except for NZ and Amsterdam these are locations I’ve dreamed of but not quite made it to.. and I’m supposed to be bloody European! It’s true that when something is on your doorstep, you’re less likely to take advantage of it.

    Cannot wait to hear what adventures 2013 has for you!!

    • Cole Burmester

      December 18, 2012 at 5:14 PM

      Well at least you have made it all the way down to NZ! Not many people can claim that 🙂 We hope for lots of adventures too. Going to be hard to beat 2012 but we will give it a shot!

  2. Stephen S.

    December 17, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    Man what a year! Looks like great fun. That is an epic picture of Eilean Donan!I saw you did Busabout sail turkey, and seemed like you enjoyed it. I am sailing Croatia with Busabout and debating doing the sail turkey after Oktoberfest to kill some time before TBEX Dublin

    • Cole Burmester

      December 18, 2012 at 5:15 PM

      Sail Turkey was definitely a highlight of this year. Met loads of people we then became friends with long term and travelled with throughout the year. I think it is a lot more chilled out than Sail Croatia to be honest. Not as many parties although nothing to stop you having a good time too.

  3. Jade - OurOyster.com

    December 18, 2012 at 4:07 AM

    Sounds like an awesome year! Can’t wait to see what you get up to in 2013

  4. The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen)

    December 18, 2012 at 5:18 AM

    What an amazing year you guys have had! I’ve certainly enjoyed following along and I look forward to seeing what the coming year holds for you. Enjoy the slopes in France!

    • Cole Burmester

      December 18, 2012 at 5:19 PM

      Cheers Ellen! We have enjoyed sharing our adventures with you and are stoked you follow us 🙂 So much snow falling here in France at the moment too. Looks like a perfect season!

  5. Jennifer

    December 18, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    What an amazing year you both had! Here’s to hoping 2013 is even more amazing for you.

    • Cole Burmester

      December 18, 2012 at 5:22 PM

      It has been crazy busy but very enjoyable! Mostly because of the people we have met 😉

  6. Salika Jay

    December 18, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    You guys seem to have had an amazing year. It’s always nice to read your articles. Looking forward to reading about your adventures in the coming year 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      December 18, 2012 at 5:26 PM

      Thank you so much for reading along with us Salika! The adventures are more fun when we share them with people 😉

  7. Jeremy Branham

    December 18, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    What a great year of travels! I’ve been to many of the countries you’ve visited. However, I am still envious of a few of your adventures. I’ve got a similar photo of the Szechenyi Baths in Budapest. I went there in 2007 when a lot of people didn’t know about them (too bad I didn’t have a blog back then!).

    However, the one I am most envious of is the Scottish Highlands. I’ve covered some Scottish festivals here and have wanted to go there for a few years.

    • Cole Burmester

      December 19, 2012 at 6:14 PM

      Haha I have so many places I still have to write about from when I didn’t have a blog 😉 You definitely need to make your way over to Scotland. Lots of places for you to connect with!

  8. Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey

    December 18, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    Another great year. Congratulations you guys! But 14 countries in 12 months makes our heads spin. We managed only three countries in 2012 but BOY do we KNOW Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama by now….

    • Cole Burmester

      December 19, 2012 at 5:41 PM

      We couldn’t believe we had been to 14 either. We spent two months in Spain and Italy so that was good that we managed to get to know them much better than the others! Would love to travel slower if we could afford to.

  9. Ruth (Tanama Tales)

    December 19, 2012 at 2:03 AM

    What ana amazing year. Hope next years bring more awesome adventures!

  10. Laurence

    December 19, 2012 at 9:05 AM

    Well, no idea how you’re going to top that lot in 2013, but I’m sure you’ve got a cunning plan 😉

    • Cole Burmester

      December 19, 2012 at 6:12 PM

      Starting with France and then… mind blank. Nothing planned yet 😉

  11. Steven

    December 20, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    Sounds like (or looks like) you’ve had an awesome year! That is a great photo of the Ermita de Sant Elm Church, and what is with that wild statue in Olso..

    • Cole Burmester

      January 14, 2013 at 8:58 PM

      Was a fantastic year even if Vigeland park in Oslo was really confusing with the crazy statues haha.

  12. Laura @Travelocafe

    December 20, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    What a wonderful year! May 2013 be at least as adventure packed as 2012 for you!

    • Cole Burmester

      January 14, 2013 at 8:58 PM

      Thanks Laura 🙂 We can’t wait to see what it brings!

  13. Pete

    December 20, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Great photos mate. All the best in 2013 and enjoy the slopes in France 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      January 14, 2013 at 8:58 PM

      Thanks Pete. Hopefully this is the year we get to catch up on the road.

  14. Arti

    December 21, 2012 at 1:47 AM

    What a memorable 2012 you had! I was there with you most of the time! My most memorable travel trip of 2012 was my 6 day trip Japan, what a fascinating country.

    • Cole Burmester

      January 14, 2013 at 9:00 PM

      Thanks for following us in 2012! Hope you enjoy following this year too. We also want to get to Japan towards the end of this year so might have to ask for some travel tips sometime Arti 😉

      • Arti

        January 20, 2013 at 1:55 AM

        I will be glad to help you 🙂

  15. Stephanie - The Travel Chica

    December 25, 2012 at 2:41 AM

    What a great way to reflect on the past year. I’m totally stealing your idea 🙂

  16. D.J. - The World of Deej

    December 25, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    A great year and enjoyed tagging along with you here. Here’s to a great 2013!

    • Cole Burmester

      January 14, 2013 at 9:06 PM

      Cheers D.J. Been a pleasure having you onboard for our travels! Maybe we get to catch up somewhere on the road this year.

  17. Noah

    December 26, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    Love the photos. Costa Brava, Oslo, and the Scottish Highlands are incredible shots. I really enjoyed my ten-week honeymoon, but if I had to narrow down that collection of awesome snapshots to just one, I would have to say hiking Sapa in the rain. The rice paddies were greener than I could have imagined.

    • Cole Burmester

      January 16, 2013 at 10:14 AM

      We haven’t experienced much of Asia yet and can’t wait to get there hopefully this year! I bet there are some amazing photos to be taken 🙂

  18. Cheryl

    December 26, 2012 at 8:22 PM

    Wow, that’s one heck of a good year! Loved following your adventures, seeing your photos and look forward to following them even more closely in the new year! 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      January 16, 2013 at 10:15 AM

      Was great having you along for the ride Cheryl! You don’t realise how much we always appreciate your comments 😛

      • Cheryl

        January 17, 2013 at 3:36 PM

        Awww, glad to hear! =)

  19. Suzzane from Travel Universally

    December 27, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    Of all your travel pics , the most attractive is Oslo, though it’s the most expensive city, but the nature of the Autumn city attracts me !

    • Cole Burmester

      January 16, 2013 at 10:16 AM

      Did you see our Autumn post with all the photos? Stunning! Although I have heard summer is just (if not more) lovely.

  20. kami

    December 27, 2012 at 10:34 PM

    it truly loks like you’ve had an amazing year! hope that 2013 will be even better for you!
    and since I’m considering booking a flight to Cairo – would you say it’s safe for a solo femal traveler to go there?

  21. Belle

    December 28, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    What an awesome tribute to 2012, as someone who has only just hit the road, I can’t wait till I can look back at all the places I would have been to over 12 months!!!

    • Cole Burmester

      January 16, 2013 at 10:22 AM

      Good luck for your travels in 2013 Belle! Look forward to your end of year wrap up post 🙂

  22. Joy

    December 29, 2012 at 4:35 AM

    Great pics! They’re so colorful. You’ve had a great year!

  23. Felicity

    December 30, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    The photo of Budapest is beautiful. I’ve just recently followed your website and I’m always amazed by your travel. Hope you guys continue to share your travels to us

    • Cole Burmester

      January 16, 2013 at 10:24 AM

      Thanks for your comment Felicity! Hope you enjoy the rest of our posts for 2013 😀

  24. Jeremy Branham

    December 31, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    I am jealous of your trips to Scotland and Budapest. I went to Hungary years ago and loved it. I think it’s one of the most underrated destinations in Europe. As for Scotland, it tops my bucket list. Awesome photo as well! Best wishes in 2013!

    • Cole Burmester

      January 16, 2013 at 10:32 AM

      You loved Ireland so you will LOVE Scotland Jeremy! Let us know if you make it here before the end of the year.

  25. Erik

    January 1, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    WOW! It looks like you’ve lived four years in that past 12 months 🙂

    As incredible as 2012 was for your guys, I’m hoping 2013 is as equally blessed with adventures and safe travels!

    • Cole Burmester

      January 16, 2013 at 10:33 AM

      Sometimes it feels like we did too much to be honest Erik! We hope 2013 is as great for us (AND YOU) as well. Cheers.

  26. Michael

    January 3, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    Wow, wonderful pictures. Can’t wait for your latest traveling in 2013.

    • Cole Burmester

      January 16, 2013 at 11:12 AM

      We hope that our travels are just as exciting and picturesque 😉

  27. ANGLO/Dale

    January 4, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    New Zealand has been on the lips of everyone recently, whether it has anything to do with ‘The Hobbit’ coming out at Christmas I couldn’t say, but, it looks every ounce as amazing & scenically beautiful in your pictures.

    Secretly holding out that we’ll make in there this year 😉

    • Cole Burmester

      January 16, 2013 at 11:13 AM

      I really hope you guys make it out there this year too Dale! We hope to be back sometime towards the end of the year too 😉

  28. Matthew Karsten

    January 5, 2013 at 5:16 AM

    Love the bullfight ring photo. 14 is a lot of countries in one year!! You guys are travel machines! 😀

    • Cole Burmester

      January 16, 2013 at 11:14 AM

      We were exhausted after it all anyway! Totally burnt out by November. Hopefully things will be just as exciting this year, but also a little slower. No one can keep it up for that long.

  29. Jenna

    January 5, 2013 at 5:17 AM

    This is one of my favorite round-ups of 2012 that I have seen. So many amazing travel destinations and photos! The Scotland photo is particularly great. I also have always wanted to see the Great Pyramids, but many other places on here are on my list, including Scotland and New Zealand.

    • Cole Burmester

      January 16, 2013 at 11:15 AM

      We were extremely lucky to have the opportunity to see so many wonderful places in 2012! Hopefully this year will top it, or at least equal it 🙂

  30. Red Hunt

    January 8, 2013 at 1:30 AM

    Great travels, wow! The Scottish Highlands shot is super, it makes me want to be there….I love those kind of shots. And Egypt….oh Egypt, one day I’ll get there…have fun in 2013!

    • Cole Burmester

      January 16, 2013 at 11:30 AM

      Hopefully you can make it to Egypt in 2013! It is a fascinating place with SO much history. Totally blew my mind.

  31. Michael Figueiredo

    January 8, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    Beautiful photos! It certainly looks like you had a great year of travel. Best wishes for 2013!

    • Cole Burmester

      January 16, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      Thank you Michael! We hope that your year of travel goes well too 🙂

  32. memographer

    January 10, 2013 at 5:21 AM

    Seems like a great year. Surprised that you went to Egypt. I am afraid it is still not safe to go there.

  33. Kristy

    January 10, 2013 at 6:21 AM

    I am looking forward for your next travel stories this 2013! Hopefully I can also go to Egypt! I super love all the pictures you’ve posted here about your travel escapades.

    • Cole Burmester

      January 16, 2013 at 11:39 AM

      Thanks for dropping by Kristy! Appreciate your comments and hope your travels go well in 2013 too. Maybe Egypt will be ticked off for you!

  34. Lady

    January 10, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    Wow! Beautiful pics. I can’t wait to see more of your travels!

    • Cole Burmester

      January 16, 2013 at 11:40 AM

      Cheers Lady! We hope that our photos at the end of this year can live up to the yours (and our) expectations!

  35. Mary @ Green Global Travel

    January 11, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    So many of these are on our Dream Destination List for 2013. Thanks for the great photo wrap up!

    • Cole Burmester

      January 16, 2013 at 11:49 AM

      Maybe we should swap travel plans for a year or something! You guys are always on trips we want to do haha.

  36. Dana

    January 13, 2013 at 9:15 PM

    Wow! Those are gorgeous places… and gorgeous photos! What a wonderful year of travel!

    • Cole Burmester

      January 16, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      We are hoping that 2013 will be just as beautiful! Good luck for all your travels too 🙂

  37. Laurel

    January 19, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    You guys have really had an incredible year! New Zealand is still on my list, can’t believe I haven’t gone yet, considering how I keep hearing how good the hiking is.

    • Cole Burmester

      January 20, 2013 at 7:55 PM

      Put NZ on your list just before Istanbul 😉 Hiking is world class!

  38. ourjourneytothesea

    January 20, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    What a beautiful collection. I can only imagine what is contained in the other 9,988 photos!

    • Cole Burmester

      January 20, 2013 at 8:01 PM

      It is tough to take good photos sometimes! Thanks for the kind words 🙂

  39. Simon

    February 7, 2013 at 8:48 AM

    Great photos of 2012. My favorits are: Scotland, Clark Island and Amsterdam. I am looking forward to reading your travel reports of 2013. Take care of you!

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Adventure Travel

Tips Before Sending Christmas Photo Cards

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Finally, it is that time of the year! You are excited that you can gift shop for your family and friends, and maybe even spend time with them. Sending them a Mixbook Christmas photocard is a unique way of letting them know how much you value and care for them, especially with the Christmas spirit.

Below are some tips to keep in mind before mailing them the photo cards.

Take a Photo-shoot

Nothing beats the joy of a casual and fun family photo-shoot in matching outfits for the holiday season. You can also play around with different fun themes and ideas for your family photo card. For instance, you can have a matching pajama party theme and take amazing photos.

On the other hand, you can also try out a Santa theme photo-shoot, with matching red trousers, complete with the white beard, black boots, and red hats. Have fun while at it! Remember, a high-quality photo with happy faces can spruce up your holiday cards. Plan the shoot in advance to avoid the last-minute rush trying to capture a perfect angle.

Confirm Addresses

It will be sad to go the extra mile, customizing holiday photo cards only for your friends and family not to receive them. Before mailing the photo cards, kindly ensure you have the right address on the envelopes.

Additionally, you can include a mail-back address for your recipients if they need to send one to you. Seal up your envelopes and also include holiday stamps to add a unique style.

Find Your Design

Your Christmas card design plays a significant role in the general outcome of the card. The plan includes different aspects such as size, colors, format, and foil options. You can also play around with different trim options and photo orientations before settling on the final outlook. Mixbook photo cards can help you create suitable, fun, and engaging designs for your loved ones. Plus, you can experiment with different designs.

Return Favors

Have The Joneses been sending you holiday photo cards for the last three years and you haven’t mailed them one? Now it will be a perfect time to return the favor. It’s courteous and mindful of people who appreciate you and your family. Let them know that you also love and think about them.

Be Unique

Many people will send out holiday photo cards. However, what will make yours stand out? Select your photos and incorporate a unique design to complete the look. Additionally, you can also hand write the address of the envelopes with your recipient’s names.

You can also include a special event that happened during the year. Share the moment with your family. Moreover, let every personality in your family stand out in the photo.

Additionally, think of the personalized messages you can send to your family. Think outside the box and let your photo card express what you feel. However, don’t put too much pressure on yourself, ignoring limits of your budget. Be you: that is all that counts in the end.

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Adventure Travel

Your Top Destinations For No-Contact Water Sports

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While it can be hard to stay cooped up inside throughout a beautiful summer, there are plenty of other places you head to for some fun in the sun before colder temperatures set in. The best news? If you’re an American, you don’t have to leave the continental US or mess with self-quarantining.

Lake Tahoe, California

A classic vacation spot, Lake Tahoe has it all for visitors. Great climate, little rain, a background of mountains, and one of the largest, most serene lakes in the US. This makes Tahoe not just a great place for spring break partying, but also for some amount of isolation, or at least a bit of peace and quiet. You can find yourself reflected on the water and reflect upon the world around you while out on the lake. Because of the still waters there, it is also a wonderful place for paddle boarding. In case you are looking for quality gear for water sports, you can look into Gili Sports.

Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

The Outer Banks of North Carolina are another classic vacation destination, especially for anyone who loves water sports. The weather remains mild in North Carolina all year round (with the notable exception of hurricane season), so it makes for an outstanding destination through any season. Kitty Hawk, famous for the Wright Brothers first flight, is an outstanding destination, as well as smaller towns like Currituck. You will find slightly rougher currents out in the Atlantic Ocean. However, paddle boarding is also popular here, as is windsurfing.

New Braunfels, Texas

The city of New Braunfels has a river entirely within its limits, the Comal River. This allows for many water sports activities, with tubing as one of the most popular choices. In these times, tubing is a popular choice, as it is a great activity for families that doesn’t involve a lot of contact with strangers. New Braunfels has a huge German influence, with its largest water park named the Schlitterbahn.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Although there is a city in Florida named Venice, the city of Fort Lauderdale is often referred to confusingly as the “Venice of Florida.” This nickname was won because Fort Lauderdale has nearly as many canals as its famous Italian counterpart. Fort Lauderdale boasts 23 miles of beach coastline, but if you add in all the city’s canals and lakes, that puts it at 300 miles of coastline. Fort Lauderdale is also a magnet for yachts, so you can paddle board or kayak past boats in the harbor you’ve only dreamed of. Summers in South Florida can swelter, but there’s also a reason that old folks go down in the winter.

Seattle, Washington

Although it is a huge metropolis, Seattle also offers some of the most pristine coastline in the country. Although it gets colder in the PNW than it might get anywhere in the southeast, the climate in Seattle stays relatively mild. One advantage of Seattle over more southern spots is its glacial lakes, which offer a beauty that few islands can replicate. Even as the summer wanes, there are so many places in the continental US that you can get out and enjoy the water.

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Adventure Travel

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

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Trekking through the valleys of Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys with Middle Earth Travel feels more like the set of a Star Wars movie than a historical region once carved out and lived in by humans. Churches, homes and pigeon houses are scattered throughout the valleys, all waiting to be explored. The best part is, Middle Earth Travel know all the hidden secrets.

Standing at the top of Cappadocia

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

On the 26th of July (which just so happens to be my birthday!) Middle Earth Travel took us on their private and guided Top of Cappadocia day trek. From Pasabag, along the top of Cappadocia and down through the Gulludere Rose Valley to Goreme, we trekked 15kms in one day! (We recommend getting your bearings with this map)

Upon arrival to the Middle Earth Offices, we were warmly greeted by our new friend Atil whom we had met a few days earlier while mountain biking through the Kizilcukur Red Valley. We were then introduced to our guide and given a briefing regarding the day. Normally, the Top of Cappadocia tour would start from Çavuşin, however, since we had already explored Çavuşin Castle, they adapted our tour to compensate ensuring we would explore new terrain!

With charged cameras, plenty of water and our running shoes on, we were driven to our starting point of Pasabag. We wandered through the fairy chimneys, coming across camels and markets – then the true hike began.

Pasabag in Cappadocia

The police station in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

It was a slow and gentle incline. With no trees to provide shade, I quickly realised why our tour guide had chosen to wear fully covered clothing! As the sweat quickly set in (a waterfall in Moss’s case) we snapped away with our cameras and enjoyed the entertaining shapes of Imagine Valley and the amazing view. We also passed a lot of rock piles, which according to our guide mean ‘father’ and are built to help lead the way.

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Middle Earth Travel, Cappadocia

Making our way to the top of Cappadocia

Father leading the way (rock pile)

Father leading the way (rock pile)

The higher we trekked, the more breath taking the views became! As we walked along the summit of Bozdag mountain (the Top of Cappadocia) we could see EVERTHING – Pasabag, Çavuşin Castle, Kizilcukur Red Valley, Gulludere Rose Valley and Goreme. We were on the Father of Valleys! After a quick nod of agreement to the guide, we pushed ourselves the extra distance and made our way to the flag, as this HAD to be the highest point and was definitely worth a photo and a selfie or two!

View from the top of Cappadocia

View from the top of Cappadocia

Flag at top of Cappadocia

From the flag we looked down upon Aktepe Hill which is known as a popular destination for watching the sun set and could spot Kizilvadi Restaurant, our destination for lunch! Kizilvadi Restaurant is an attraction of its own. With its own historic winery and Grape church, plus some Middle Earth Travel treks even stay there for the night! After having a massive feed of soup, salad and pasta plus a surprise birthday cake, we made our way down into Gulludere Rose Valley.

Kizilvadi Restaurant

Kizilvadi Restaurant

The scenery is amazing, with strong colours visible in perfect layers on the chimneys, you would wonder what an artist was thinking, had it been a painting. Also, hidden to the side of the track we walked across a little bridge and not expecting anything to be there we were wowed by the massive church carved. It was absolutely huge and hard to believe that its most recent use has been as a pigeon house!

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Church in Gulludere Rose Valley

Hard to believe this Church is carved inside a fairy chimney!

Middle Earth Travel Review

  • The team at Middle Earth Travel were extremely knowledgeable and certainly know Cappadocia’s hidden secrets. They have friendships with local tea garden owners which is also of benefit as it gained us entry to locked churches and hidden rooms that we would not have otherwise seen.
  • We covered a lot of ground, however we did not feel rushed. The whole day focused on showing us the region, therefore we had as much time as we needed to explore each church and to take ‘just one more photo’.
  • It wasn’t all about trekking. With a whole day and 15kms to cover, there were a few silly poses (especially in Imagine Valley), and we learnt a lot about the myths, legends and way of life in Cappadocia.
  • In conclusion I highly recommend Middle Earth Travel if you wish to go trekking or mountain biking in Cappadocia.
  • Cost: Day treks with Middle Earth Travel range from 50-90 euro, depending on the number of people taking part. This includes lunch, guide, vehicle transfers and entrance fees to historical sites, but excludes alcoholic and soft drinks.
  • Middle Earth Travel are outdoor enthusiasts and offer multi-day over night treks, mountain biking, abseiling, or custom made itineraries, in multiple regions throughout Turkey.
  • www.middleearthtravel.com

Disclaimer: We were provided with a discount for the trek with Middle Earth Travel, however, as always our thoughts on our adventure travel blog our own.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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