Hey, I’m Jo, a travel blogger, freelance travel writer and passionate explorer. For the last four years I’ve been travelling slowly around Europe, running my business on the road while exploring different places, experiencing other cultures, and trying lots of delicious food and wine. The Road to Wanderland is the home of my travel stories. Here you’ll, Read More
If you follow my Instagram account, you may have noticed the two months I spent in Maribor this summer were fairly, um, boozy!
I didn’t plan it that way.
I can’t really explain what drew me to Maribor – I knew I wanted to visit Slovenia so I was browsing Airbnb for accommodation. I’d left my booking late (as usual!) so I couldn’t find anything affordable at the coast, which was my original intention. Then I stumbled upon a flat in Maribor and it sung to me. I looked up Maribor on several travel sites – it was described as a place of quiet charm, surrounded by vineyards, with Pohorje, its majestic ski mountain, a hiker’s paradise in summer.
Turns out my intuition did me some favours – Maribor wine is renowned in Slovenia and my Airbnb accommodation was run by Marko, one of the Find Eat Local team, a Slovenian startup that promotes and lists local food and wine places. So we teamed up for a few tastings… Read More
As a traveller, I try to arrive in new places with an open mind and not form an impression based on things I’ve read or heard from others. That said, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what Gran Canaria was about before heading there earlier this year: mass tourism, good surfing and a buzzing digital nomad culture.
And Gran Canaria is each of these things. But it’s so much more besides.
It’s been described as an island of many faces, and with good reason. It has magnificent mountains, deep ravines and stunning craters, yet is fringed with beach resorts, ranging from secluded coves to huge tourist beaches with sunbeds crammed on every grain of sand. It has a desert, yet its interior has areas of rainforest. The tourist resorts lining the south are crammed with people, but drive a short way and you could be the only person around. It has a spiritual core and a reputation for brashness.
The diverse landscapes of Gran Canaria mean the island experiences extreme microclimates – you could be baking on a beach in the south, while sheltering from rain in the lush, mountainous north, and bemoaning the seemingly constant cloud in the city of Las Palmas (which I did a lot!).
With all this packed into a circular island only 1,560 sq. km. in size, it’s little wonder Gran Canaria has been called the world’s smallest continent.
As a fun way of showing off the diversity of the island, I thought I’d highlight some interesting places moving from south to north, inspired by a road trip with friends. During our journey I was fascinated to watch the landscapes of Gran Canaria vary dramatically as we drove from the desert at Maspalomas northwards into the heart of the island. Read More
Before last year, whenever I thought about music festivals my mind conjured up images of muddy fields and welly boots, tiny tents and burly security guards, partying post-A-level teens and glow-sticks, huge crowds of drunken dancers and expensive stodgy food. And rain, lots of rain…
But that was before I went to the Worldwide Festival in Sète.
Now, when you mention the word festival to me, I’m transported to a world of rosé wine and seafood, long days dancing in the sea and along the water’s edge, magical nights in the Théâtre de la Mer, and the friendliest crowd of people you’ll ever meet. People united by a single thing – a love of Gilles Peterson and his unique brand of eclectic music.
Worldwide 2015 was the 10th anniversary of this special little festival. It was also my first visit, after years of listening wistfully from a distance. And it was one of my undisputed highlights of last year. Could Worldwide 2016 live up to that? You know, if possible I think it was even better… Read More
The waiter indicated to a spare table on the outdoor terrace at Fotografiska. I slipped into the chair, feet gently throbbing, and tucked the soft blanket around my legs – it may be summer in Stockholm, but as the sun fell below the horizon there was a definite nip in the air.
Sipping my cool glass of wine, I reflected on my jaunt around the city. Since beginning life as a digital nomad, I’ve tried to stay in places for a minimum of a month, preferably longer, to give myself time to really get to know a place and its people. Finances, not helped by the freefalling GBP following the disastrous Brexit vote, meant I only had a short time to spend in this notoriously pricey city when I was lured here by the TBEX travel blogging conference. But armed with a free Stockholm VIP pass courtesy of TBEX Stockholm and Visit Stockholm, plus a 72-hour transport pass, I’d spent the past 48 hours on a whistlestop tour of some of the main things to do in Stockholm.
Here are my highlights. Read More
I’ll admit to slight nerves, mainly because my blog is fairly new and I wasn’t sure if I should be better established before mingling with the travel-blogging elite.
(Also, ahem, because it followed the Worldwide Festival in Sète – one of my highlights of the year – a seven-day music festival that finished at 4am on Monday morning, with the official opening party for TBEX Stockholm taking place that Thursday evening. Ouch!)
So was I glad I attended and what did I learn from the experience? Read More