Travel the world - 12 countries in 12 months written by: Jens Skovgaard Andersen
Travel the world - never too late
12 months before I was to write my thesis, I decided to spend my last study time traveling. As much as possible. I wanted to take advantage of the freedom associated with being a student and decided that I should visit 12 countries in 12 months.
The number of trips - and life as a student at SU - obviously put some limits on the scope. It must not be too expensive, and I must not be away for too long at a time. In addition, there was free stroke, and I completely let the cheapest tickets dictate where I was going month after month.
This often resulted in arbitrary package solutions from various companies, which should have filled planes, buses and hotel rooms far outside the destination's peak season.
It therefore required a little more of me when I wanted to dive into the local culture and avoid the standardized tourist experiences. It can be done in all sorts of different ways, and here are a number of those I myself have tried my hand at.
Edinburgh - take part in local events
Travel to Scotland is most sought after in May, June and September. This is where the best opportunity to get some days in the sun in an otherwise rainy climate. Therefore, there are often cheap flights to Edinburgh in the coldest months. We set off at the end of January, where there is an annual, national celebration of a personalization of Scottish cultural heritage - Robert Burns Night on 25 January.
Robert Burns was a Scottish poet and songwriter who is nationally celebrated as a pioneer in the field of romance, and is regarded by many as the pride of Scotland. Internationally, Burns is probably best known for his version of the folk song Auld Lang Syne, which is sung on December 31 at midnight.
During the week around the 25th, there are guided tours and events with Burns as the theme, which many will enjoy. We even chose to find smaller concerts and extra activities that the local pubs arrange to keep up with the increased level of activity in the area and to take part in the financial gain from tourists like us.
We thus had half a week in Edinburgh with Scottish live music, poetry readings and communal singing in the name of national romance. With bagpipes, violins, bulkheads in kilt and lots of pints. We were on the go during all the waking hours of the day, so it fit nicely with a cheap hotel that functioned as nothing more than a bedroom and bathroom.
Marrakech - travel to the four corners of the world
Sometimes you have to be seduced by a new city and agree on the terms of the infrastructure. We had four days in Marrakech and our tactics were simple; to go north, south, east and west respectively on each of our days in the city. We stayed in Riad Misria et Spa - a riad within the Medina.
The Medina is the old town of Marrakech and is best known for its red-dusted streets and buildings. The whole area is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and a sight in itself. During the day, mopeds mill around every corner among pedestrians, cyclists and lorries hit by mules.
In the evening, the street scene turns into a color orgy, when spices, lamps, plates, rugs and all sorts of wicker baskets are lit up by the street lamps in the souk in front of the red backdrop.
On our way around Marrakech we passed El Badii Palace - a palace from the end of the 16th century. The palace is decorated with fragrant orange trees within the ruin walls and abounds on various lists of sights in Marrakech.
So does the large marketplace Djema el Fna, which we also happened to pass by one evening. Here you can experience snake tamers, ride in a horse-drawn carriage and buy yourself everything your heart desires.
On the trip, we stayed primarily within the 20 km long wall that frames the Medina. One day we headed out into the modern part of town, where familiar logos like Starbucks and McDonald's adorn large glass facades. A fascinating culture shock that underscored my own fascination with the red Medina.
Basel, Mulhouse, Freiburg - travel and visit someone you care about
There are many benefits to having family and friends who have settled around the world. You can save a little money on food and accommodation, and you also get your own personal travel guide with insight into the habits and preferences of the locals. For example, I have an aunt who has settled in Badenweiler, where I passed by.
I flew to EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg, which acts as a base for easyJet, which is why there are often cheap tickets to be found for this. The airport is located on the French-Swiss border - not far from the German one. In other words, you are in a triangular area that offers both French, Swiss and German sights and experiences.
The trip included sightseeing along vines in Mulhouse, bathing in the naturally heated mineral water thermal spa at the Badenweiler, walk in Basel and not least a visit to the sumptuous Konzerthaus Freiburg. Back and forth across the Rhine countless times.
Costa del sol - pack the car
By renting a car, you get rid of guided tours and mass-produced experiences. And since we had been staying at the Medplaya Hotel Bali in Benalmádena in early December - far out of season - this was exactly what we needed. A charter holiday hotel in the cold months can quickly become such an awkward affair that one has to take an ironic distance from it. That was the case here.
Besides a half-empty British retirement tourist bus, we were the only guests at the large hotel. One evening, a dancing and singing staff performed the musical Mamma Mia! - half in Spanish and half in English. Probably a magnificent move in the tourist season, but quite foggy in a half-empty hotel bar with December rain on the windows.
The coast of Benalmádena is almost made up of large luxury hotels, and it is clear that many travel there to spend as much time in the hotel as possible. Thus, it can be difficult to explore the city. A decision to rent a car and drive up the coast was our rescue. We set course for Malaga.
I was of the opinion that Málaga did not have a particularly sensational cultural history until we noticed that the name of one painter, potter and sculptor in particular went again along the galleries and museums of the Sun Coast; Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso - better known as Pablo Picasso - was born and raised in Málaga.
At the Plaza de la Merced in Málaga you can visit Picasso's childhood home. The home is a re-creation of the Picasso family's private environment as it looked at the time they lived in Málaga. The rooms are filled with the family's personal belongings with everything from family photos and furniture to Pablo Picasso's school assignments. Of course, there are also both paintings and ceramics by Picasso.
Travel the world and experience monkeys up close
As a small side benefit, it is not far from Benalmádena to Gibraltar; the British territory, where there is ample opportunity to meet wild Berber monkeys on top of the Rock of Gibraltar.
If you want to travel a lot and a lot, it is very much about keeping an eye on the opportunities that present themselves. Instead of settling for a destination or a specific experience, you can get carried away by good offers and tourist traps. Most places are exciting to visit if you know where and how to lead.
If you announce to your circle of friends that you plan to travel 12 times in a year, they themselves start to come up with suggestions for travel destinations - and invite themselves on the trip. And voilà! This is how 12 trips in 12 months practically plan itself.
Travel the world now!