I've decided to relaunch my blog after neglecting it for many months, and I intend to keep it up on a regular basis. Since my last post I've had quite a few memorable trips, and I've also made great progress on my Balkan travelogue.
Last September I explored the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna for The Independent, taking in Bologna, Parma, Modena, Ferrara, Ravenna and Rimini, and the resulting article was runner-up for Best Newspaper Article at the Italian Travel Writing Awards in February 2010. I was so chuffed to get the award, especially as the trip was quite arduous and squeezed in a lot of regions in a comparatively short time. And I was given 3kg of pukka parmigiano reggiano from a local cheese-maker. Gorgeous.
I followed that up with a few idyllic days in Provence in late October, where the temperature reached 25C as we wandered through the Vaucluse, Bouches-du-Rhône and ended up at the quayside in Marseille. I'll be making a return visit to Provence in May.
A ski trip to St-Lary in the French Pyrenees rounded off 2009. You can read about it in greater depth in The Independent, but, briefly, it was a bit of a disappointment because of a distinct lack of snow and a surfeit of rain. Still, as I had the luck to celebrate New Year's Eve there, it was a fantastic time, and the village is incredibly pretty. The French do New Year's Eve so well – high spirits, partying in the streets all night and no public drunkenness. Astoundingly civilised.
I'll be able to make up for the lack of snow by squeezing in another ski trip to Courchevel and Méribel in mid-March in time for the Altitude comedy festival. I won't forget to blog this time.