A few weeks ago, my best friend from school sent a message to our group chat to remind us all that in a world without COVID-19, we would be headed off on holiday for a week. Needless to say, like so many other holidays, it is not going ahead.
To add insult to injury, for the next week we all had countless ‘one year ago today’ notifications across social media about last year’s city break to Venice, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.
My schoolfriends are currently all across the country (and in one case, in Australia!), either travelling, working or at university, and it’s now rare that we’re all in the same place. Living across a variety of tiny North Yorkshire villages with questionable public transport does not help the situation. A trip abroad together was much needed and something we had been looking forward to for a long time.
My dreams of spinning across the hills a la Julie Andrews and recreating the entirety of the ‘Do-Re-Me’ sequence will have to wait a year
We had planned to be based in Vienna, Austria for a week and aimed to complete several bucketlist trips from there. I was pushing for an overnight trip to Saltzberg, a town on the other side of Austria that I’ve wanted to visit for a long time, mostly because it’s where The Sound of Music is set. Sadly, my dreams of spinning across the hills a la Julie Andrews and recreating the entirety of the ‘Do-Re-Me’ sequence will have to wait a year.
Other trips we were discussing included heading across the border to Slovakia, which many say is an underrated tourist destination. A trip from Vienna to Bratislava, the ‘criminally underrated’ capital of Slovakia, is a mere hour by train. Bratislava is a city likened to Prague; architecturally beautiful, historically fascinating, even down to the river (The Danube in Bratislava’s case) slicing it in two.
Vienna itself is also a city steeped in history and beauty. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city centre is famed for its stunning buildings and remarkably unspoilt. Palaces, markets and museums were all on our list to wander around, as was merely sitting in one of the many sunny parks and people-watching with an ice cream. Vienna, like most European cities, is easily walkable and is also the greenest of the 50 most visited cities in the world.
My family and I, after banging off the walls of our house for several months, had a UK-based holiday in Dorset
While my friends and I agreed to reschedule our holiday for next year, I have managed to get a little travelling in. With COVID-19 restrictions loosening slightly my family and I, after banging off the walls of our house for several months, had a UK-based holiday in Dorset.
Starting in Bath, which I had never visited and is now one of my favourite UK cities (after Notts of course!), then a trip to Stonehenge which again I had never visited. We also planned to spend a few days near the south coast which, controversially, I wasn’t as impressed with. Childhood holidays on huge, deserted, sandy Scottish beaches meant I just didn’t get the appeal of the pebble beaches of Dorset.
Clifftop walks and ice cream stops still made for a pleasant and peaceful few days. While COVID-19 may have taken away my chances of a holiday abroad, the UK still has plenty to offer tourists and I am impressed by everyone who has managed to make tourist destinations such as Stonehenge feel as safe as possible while still enjoyable. Even so, hopefully this time next year I will be writing a Vienna city guide instead!
In article images courtesy of Charlotte Smith.
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