2017 was once again a year involving lots of overseas travel. It began with an early morning stroll to St Mark's Square, Venice on the 1st of January, where I enjoyed the beautiful early morning light in the mostly vacant plaza.  Returning to the UK, I didn't get away again until the Easter Holidays, when I spent 10 days travelling around Jordan, a fascinating place full of natural and man-made beauty, friendly hospitable people and delicious food. Particular highlights - as everyone finds, it seems - were Petra and Wadi Rum. Summer plans were reduced compared to the previous two years, with a three-week trip to the Balkans that nonetheless took in eight countries, including the highlights of Bosnia, Montenegro and Albania. The Balkans are a vibrant, varied and under-visited area of Europe that I'd highly recommend. 2017 was rounded off - as 2016 was before - with a New Year trip. This time we visited Nuremberg for 3 days. Despite being chosen for its cheap flights, the Franconia region of Germany was well worth a visit. We spent three days in three different towns - Nuremberg, Bamberg and Regensburg. 2018 already promises to be another bumper year. At Easter I'll be returning to Japan after a ten year absence. It will be great to see old friends and revisit great cities like Tokyo and Kyoto, but also add some new experiences in places like Kamakura and Kanazawa. In the summer my long-awaited big trip to Central Asia will be going ahead - a month travelling through Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, my 50th to 52nd countries.
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