What a peculiar year 2020 was.
I guess the pandemic has provided me with an excuse to talk about all those places where I have not been on holiday last year as I had hoped to. I thought it may be nice to share the plans that I had and then when I do take these trips, I can update you all about them.
When the UK lockdown came into effect towards the end of March 2020, I should have been jetting off to Ajman for some winter sun.
Ajman, the smallest state of the United Arab Emirates, is only 30 minutes north of Dubai airport and I have it on good authority that some of the best beaches in the UAE will be found here.
Ajman is much quieter than Dubai and hotel prices tend to be considerably cheaper, though if you do want to experience the sights and excitement of its more famous neighbour, many hotels do offer shuttle services.
Much activity in Ajman is concentrated along the Corniche with its attractive 16km stretch of beach overlooking the Arabian Gulf and its impressive variety of shopping options, including souqs, markets and malls.
Although many come for a sun and sand holiday, the emirate has much to offer lovers of nature too, with the mangroves of Al Zorah Nature Reserve home to 60 species of bird, including over 100 flamingos. Kayaking the creeks and lagoons is the best way to explore this wetland wonder.
I am a big fan of Fairmont Hotels and my plan was a week of relaxation at the beautifully designed 5* Fairmont Ajman, which I am advised oozes contemporary elegance with a touch of glamour.
It has 252 guest rooms and suites, seven restaurants and lounges, an infinity pool, kids club and pool plus a large beachfront with water sports.
I am now re-booking again and eagerly looking forward to reporting back further.
I have also had to reschedule my very special June trip to Canada’s Newfoundland to 2021.
Previously I had been to the east coast and Fogo Island in the fall season and this time I am including the west coast, where I plan to visit Gros Morne National Park and spend a couple of nights on Quirpon Island.
Quirpon can only be reached by a Zodiac boat and is an ideal location to watch nature's icy and blubbery giants, the whales and icebergs.
Some of you will know how much I love lighthouses, so of course, I will be staying at the Quirpon Lighthouse Inn, which has ten beautiful rooms at the base of its still-operating lighthouse.
The long, rugged, north-eastern coast of Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the best iceberg viewing destinations in the world and the stretch of the Atlantic Ocean that runs from Greenland down to St. John’s is dubbed “Iceberg Alley, where it’s possible to spot some amazing frozen formations slowly floating by.
Heading east, I intend to stay in the coastal villages of Twillingate and Bonavista, both located along "Iceberg Alley" and from where boat tours can be taken for a closer look at these amazing sights of nature.
Do you know where the most eastern point in North America is located? Luckily for me, it’s another lighthouse, Cape Spear Lighthouse that is to be found around 20 minutes east of St John's, Newfoundland’s capital.
In addition to all these amazing sights, I am looking forward to the wonderful hospitality of the Newfoundlanders and the amazing food that will be on offer and this time I may just be tempted to try the unique Iceberg Beer.
Sadly, these trips just weren’t meant to happen last year, but I am excitedly anticipating sharing my experiences when they do and may even try and squeeze an additional one or two in to catch up on lost time.