In the middle of 2021 I saw a simple cartoon which was two calendar’s talking to each other. The first calendar, 2020, says “I’m the worst year ever”, the second calendar, 2021, says “Hold my beer”.
In reality it is hard to tell if 2021 was really worse than 2020. In many ways it was the same, in some ways it was better and in others it certainly was worse.
To start with the good, in Australia, we had a decent run from February to May of near normal lifestyles. Early in the year I moved house and, for the first time in over ten years, I have a backyard where I can spend a lot of time gardening and talking to the birds, lizards and spiders. Furthermore, in the later half of the year, we were all able to get vaccines and to travel interstate again.
In December 2019 I went for a two week trip to Japan. At the time I had no idea it would be the last overseas trip I would take for more than two years and just how much things would begin to change only a month later.
On the morning of my first day in Tokyo I explored the area around Ginza, the Tsukiji Fish Market and the Hama-rikyū Gardens.
The final leg of my trip was to visit Lisbon. Getting to Lisbon was meant to be a “quick” train ride from Porto. Unfortunately, the train drivers decided to go on strike, so I ended up in a very long queue, for a very long bus trip for the 300km+ journey. When I arrived in Lisbon it was night instead of the originally planned mid-Afternoon
To wrap up this European Trip I spent the last few days in Portugal.
My first stop was Porto, and to get there from Mannheim, Germany I caught a train to Frankfurt Airport and then a flight directly to Porto. This flight was the first of two rather eventful travel events in the last few days of the trip.
A few years ago I randomly stumbled on the Technik Museum Speyer while travelling in the Rhine region. Since that trip I’ve wanted to visit the sister museum Technik Museum Sensheim, and fortunately, I was able to convince my friends on a very cold and wet day that it was a good place to visit as well.
Overall the museum was excellent, with an incredibly large collection of planes, cars, tanks and trains. In particular, I enjoyed seeing the Concorde and the North Africa WWII military displays. Although I did leave thinking that the Speyer museum was slightly better (it has more variety – including space craft).
To wrap up the very cold day, and to see off my last full day in Germany we ate and drank traditional food in nearby Weinheim.
Heidelberg is a tourist town, not just any tourist town, but one of the front cover of guidebooks, where everyone who visits Germany, visits, tourist town. It is both beautiful and overrun with tourist and associated tourist nicknacks. Because of this, the experience of Heidelberg also depends on the exact time you visit and what places in the town you visit, and this certainly extends to food. The first place we opted to eat at, we ended up walking out of, due to a lack of service. Fortunately the next restaurant was divine.
Groundhog Day. That is how we began to describe each day of 2020 on video calls with work. Every day the same, you get out of bed, have breakfast, login to the work laptop, sit in the same spot all day, log off, eat dinner, watch tv, sleep and repeat.
On one hand one could wonder why it is even worthwhile writing a review of a year in which almost nothing happened because everyone was at home all year. On the other, plenty of unusual things and changes to usual ways of living and working did happen, and it is good to document just what a utterly crazy year it has been.