A BIT OF A SHOCK

We still can’t quite believe it, but two weeks ago the UK Blog Awards named Anywhere We Roam as UK Travel Blog of the Year for 2019. We actually heard the result while sitting on a park bench in Marylebone before heading for dinner, which we really can’t remember much about – we hear Veuve Clicquot was involved.

So thank you very much to every one of you who reads our articles, sends us comments and hit that vote button all those months ago. We were only in the running due to the support we get from all of you. Hopefully, we can use it to produce better content and a better blog.

So where have we been?

SPRING COMES TO SOUTHERN SPAIN

We love Andalucía, a heavily underrated and under-visited part of southern Spain. It has an intriguing history, great tapas, and very cheap wine.

And in Spring, there’s no better way to explore the area than on foot. Orange trees dot picture perfect squares, flowers adorn shimmering white facades and the warm glowing sun is not yet too hot. With London still cowering around 8 degrees, the 20+ temperatures were a treat.

We started with a few days in Seville, then meandered south and hiked around the little known but rather stunning scenery of Sierra de Grazalema. After wearing ourselves out climbing the highest mountain and dropping into the deepest canyon, we road tripped through the white villages in the area; ending at one that had been painted blue for the Smurf film. It was a fun trip.

IMPRESSIONS OF CUBA

Before Spain, we got back from Cuba, which now feels like ages ago. How to sum up this place? Fascinating and frustrating in equal measure. There is really nowhere quite like it. A country that has made almost no progress in 30 years, but is very slowly stirring from its slumber.

The countryside is a throw-back to 200 years ago when oxen pulled ploughs and men handpicked crops. The natural scenery is a magnificent mix of mogotes (vertical sided flat-topped hills), coral reefs and mountains littered with waterfalls and natural pools. But it is in Havana where you see the changes beginning. Cool new cafes and restaurants are nestled among Spanish colonial buildings that are still crumbling into ruin.

And yet amongst the intrigue and good sights lie challenges. The food is universally dreadful, the shops sell about 10 items and the racket is unbelievable. If you think the modern way of life in a big city is noisy, go to Cuba. Forty year old trucks screech along pot-holed roads; horse hooves clatter down cobbled lanes; air conditioners roar like B52 bombers. Roosters (kept in kitchens) cock a-doodle do from about 2.30am; pigs (usually kept in yards) oink from dawn to dusk; and the cattle, sheep and dog symphony plays throughout the day.

If you want a relaxing break in the sun then Cuba wouldn’t be our choice. But if you want to experience somewhere completely different, then it’s a unique place to go.

WHAT’S HAPPENING ON THE BLOG?

Although we have been back from Cuba for a couple of months, we decided to publish some Lisbon and Spain content first, so check those out and keep a lookout for Cuba articles later next month.
Here are some highlights from the blog over the last month.

WHERE NEXT?

We are off to Morocco in a few days. We last went almost 10 years ago and loved it. So after a few days in Marrakesh, we hit the road and complete a road trip around the Atlas mountains before ending in Fes. We can’t wait and can already taste the mint tea.

Then in June, as the cable cars begin to open, we are off to the Dolomites. The main reason is for the Traverse 2019 event in Trento, where digital content providers get together to meet and learn about the latest progress in the industry. We are up for the Best Opinion Piece of 2019 in the Creator Awards, so we are keeping our fingers crossed.

Afterwards, we have 10 solid days of hiking in what we consider some of the finest mountain scenery in the world. Paul is looking forward to the first three of them, after which Mark might be on his own.

In the mean-time, if you have any questions about the blog or our destinations, get in touch via social media or comment on the posts and we will get back to you.

Thanks again.

Cheers,
Mark & Paul.