Another year over, and what have you done? As John Lennon very nearly sang. Time to reflect on what we’ve done, seen and achieved in 2018. Time to mull over the highlights of 2018. One of my favourite things at the end of the year is to see which blog posts proved most popular, so with just a few hours left here are the top ten Cultural Wednesday posts of 2018.
I confess that I love a museum membership, and not only museums: theatres and concert venues get a look in as well. It seems that I am not alone, as my most read post this year was a guide to London Museum Membership.
Exploring London with the Teens is a great joy. We are lucky that we can be in central London in less than an hour from our front doorstep but London can be pricey. Over the years we have discovered that London has a mass of things to do for free and that a day out need cost no more than a one day travel pass.
Weekend in Lyon with Teens
One of my proudest moments as a parent was when the Teens asked if they could go on a mini break for their birthday, chips of the old block. We chose to leap on the Eurostar and go to Lyon. Trains go direct from the centre of London to the centre of Lyon making it a perfect short break destination from London.
Visiting the Frisian Islands
If you like an endless sandy beach (and who doesn’t) then the Dutch Frisian Islands are for you. Hire a bike, head off along the many cycle paths and in no time at all you will find yourself on a beach with very few, if any, other people. We visited in summer but I confess that I would love to spend a windy winter week there.
SEO is king, that is the lesson that I have learnt this year. The Freemason’s Hall was one of my very first blog posts, it was written without even the knowledge that SEO existed. In 2017 it got a grand total of 7 views, early on in 2018 I gave it an SEO makeover and hey presto it has powered into the top ten most viewed posts. If you are in central London do take time to pop in and take a free tour of this amazing Art Deco building.
Every year since he wrote this post three years ago it has been in the top ten. It is by far the most popular post that has ever been published on Catherine’s Cultural Wednesdays. Every year since the Teens were seven we have headed to Venabu in Norway to cross country ski, we are taking a break in 2019 whilst the Teens prepare for GCSEs and I recover from a broken wrist (not skiing related).
Floating around in warm spring water is a profoundly cultural thing to do, especially in Bath. Jane Austen came to Bath for the curative waters, the Roman’s flocked there. Bobbing around in the rooftop pool with views over Bath Abbey and the honey-coloured Regency rooftops was the most relaxing cultural experience that I had in 2018.
Plane loads of people visit Barcelona every year but many of them never venture outside the city, which is a shame because the countryside around Barcelona is filled with many cultural gems. Just a short train ride from Barcelona will get you to Sant Cugat del Valles with her stunning monastery and beguiling markets.
Over the years I have spent hours looking down at bacon fat attached to a piece of string. The joy of pulling the string up with writhing crabs attached to it has not diminished as I have grown older. Wells-next-the-Sea (yes that really is its name) in North Norfolk is one of the finest places to go crabbing.
2018 saw a huge blue and red pyramid take up residence on the Serpentine in London’s Hyde Park. Like all of Christo’s work it was temporary and in many ways that added to its joy. Over the course of the summer I viewed it from the shore, from terraces of both Serpentine cafes and circumnavigated it in a pedalo. I hope that the fact that my post about the London Mastaba was one of my most popular means that lots of other people had the joy of seeing it too.
I’ve lost count of the number of exhibitions that I have been to in 2018 (note to self keep a tally in 2019) but my highlights have been the two exhibitions looking at the collections of father and son Charles I and Charles II at the Royal Academy and Queen’s Gallery, Sensing Spaces at the Hayward and I am, Ashurbanipal at the British Museum. If you haven’t been introduced to Ashurbanipal yet he will be holding court until 21 February 2019. Further afield I loved discovering that Costa Barcelona is so much more than just one city, met my new favourite museum in Antwerp and glimpsed the beginnings of what promises to be a bumper year for Rembrandt in the Netherlands.
What does 2019 hold? In London I am looking forward to Dior at the V&A, Leonardo da Vinci at the Queen’s Gallery and Van Gogh at Tate Britain. The teens have GCSEs this summer and as a reward we have let them select our summer holiday destination …… California here we come! For cultural travels, Leonardo da Vinci, Bruegel and Rembrandt all have anniversaries this year putting the Netherlands, Flanders and Milan at the top of my wish list.
How about you? What do you hope to see in 2019 and where?